Friday, February 10, 2006

A Story of Roman Love

The Sweethearts Assembly brought an opportunity to present another story from our Ancient Roman Heritage to the student body. I was told to make it Romantic. It is rather ironic that Roman History is not the most promising field to plow for stories of tenderness. My first thought was to relate the story of Romulus and the Rape of the Sabine women. I even worked out several ways of finessing in those lines from the Musical, *Seven Brides for Seven Brothers*; “They acted angry and annoyed, but secretly they was overjoyed.” But I decided that encouraging kidnapping and holding girls hostage until they fall in love and produce babies is not something to be advocated to 800 high school men in the “season of the rising sap”. I settled instead on the story of Collatinus and Lucretia. I didn't go into the rape there either; I tried instead to model the virtue of a devoted wife serving her husband, the faith of a husband in his wife, and the mutual loyalty of a truly loving couple that is often missing in today’s “Romantic” relationships.

Story of Roman Love – Collatinus and Lucretia

As we review our Lancer Heritage, we discover that Valentines Day traces its roots to a Roman holiday. The Lupercalia was held on February 15th to ensure protection from wolves. Not a bad precaution to consider as the Sweethearts dance approaches. However, I would like to relate a more important Roman lesson on love.

In the days when Rome was ruled by a king, the young lancers found themselves at war. The armies of Rome had surrounded the City of Ardea and settled down to a long siege. One night, the royal princes were entertaining their friends at their tent. When ever boys get together the conversation turns to girls and the young men began to compare the virtues of their Sweethearts. Each praised the beauty and goodness of his love, until Collatinus called, “Stop! What need is there of words, when in a few hours we can prove beyond doubt the incomparable superiority of my Lucretia? We are all young and strong: why shouldn’t we ride to Rome and see with our own eyes what kind of women our wives are.” The young men rode off to the city.

When they arrived at the royal palace the troop of heroes found the princesses enjoying themselves at a wild party. While their husbands were away at war defending Rome, their girls were making marry in great luxury.

Collatinus lead his dejected friends to his home. It was late in the evening when they arrived. But there they found the beautiful Lucretia in the hall of her house, surrounded by her busy maid-servants. She was still hard at work by lamplight spinning thread from which to weave her husband a warm cloak. Although her love was far away, her heart was true, and her thoughts on him. Lucretia won the contest of virtue by proving her love through service.

Lancers should follow the examples of Collatinus and Lucretia and define our Sweethearts not in boastful words and party times, but in act of faith, service, loyalty and love.

Good luck in finding the perfect Sweetheart, and let’s do our best to keep the wolves away!

We hear so much about the decadence of the Romans that we have come to accept that image out of hand. We have even come to judge Rome by a pretended morality. I believe that, to a great extent, it was the pervasive force of ethnic nationalism that pushed the vilification of Rome. In a culture were we are considering the vertues of "Broke Back Mountain", giving consideration to the positive aspects of Roman character could be of lasting value in shaping and bringing power to a meaningful education.


Anonymous said...

Cicero says:

Nice post Lysis, I do like to hear the stories you tell, but while we are fighting for our cultural lives here in the great "diverse" state of Utah, I would like to talk about something that all people, from gays to Mormons are impacted by...Bush Administration's economic plan.

While many people see him as the great savior of the economy of the United States, many, many people see his policies hurting the poor and middle class.

I have always wondered why the government can overspend and borrow, but the common man, if he is to stay out of the poor house, cannot.

To borrow from David Broder of the Washington Post, I share the argument that Bush is Plundering Peter to save Paul!

1. "Financing military operations has taken an increasingly large share of the federal dollar, with health care and Social Security easting up much of the rest."

The real money to finace the fedral plan and the "War on Dandruff" to quote Gore Vidal, comes at the expense of states and cities.

2. "In the last five years National Defense outlays rose 76%..., with haelth care and Medicare up 57%..., and everything else the government does up 39%..."

3. "During these five years public debt rose from 3.3 trillion to 5 trillion, with a measure of the degree failing to pay for government activities the Congress and the Preseident have approved."

4. "What this essentially means is that states and cities are short-changed, while federal payments to indivisduals, through payments to Medicare, welfare, and food stamps, where states share the costs grew rapidly during that period."

5. "Money spent for infrastructure, housing, education, and other domestic purposes grew more slowly, even with the addition of large sums for homeland defense."

While I am no economist, I have noticed as I read the papers and economic websites, that once again the Bush administration has targeted urban programs for cutbacks.

Last year Preseident Bush tried to kill the Community Development Block Program, but protests from commuinity leaders and mayors from both parties lobbyied Congress to reject the idea.

It is ironic that this year the administration has used the CDBG to deliver 11.5 billion in emergency money to Gulf Coast communities devestated by Katrina.

The essential question is this..."Why does the Bush administration refuse to raise the revenues needed to support the ever-more-expensive war effort?"

Could it be that while we continue to create a democratic Iraq and secure our borders from evil terrorists, we are crumbling from the inside out? Now how ironic is that?

Lysis said...

Great to hear from you Cicero, and sample your expertise on the “Bush Administration’s economic plan”. I am eager for examples of how the President’s policies hurt the poor and middle class. Especially since I am poor, and dream of someday becoming a member of the Middle Class.

As you wonder at how the government can overspend and barrow while common men cannot – consider first that you are barrowing money. Probably far more that you make in a year. Your debts are probably at least 100% of your assets, if your creditors were to call them in, you would be financially destroyed. But, Cicero what if you had barrowed from yourself – and were working on paying yourself off, with interest? Would you call in the debt, and destroy your self. America lends money to America, and pays itself back with interest. Thus Peter, in this case is Peter.

Let’s look at Brooder’s claims.

1. Financing military is taking increasingly large share of the federal dollar. How would Dave cut that spending? Does he say? Maybe he would take some short cuts in training, cut the salaries of those who are willing to die for our freedom, or how about cut back on the armor and weapons we give them. Surely their lives are worth that trip to Disney Land or those new CDs Americans feel they have.

Perhaps David and Gore would like to live with the dandruff.

2. I would point out Cicero that in the five years in which the defense outlays went up, we were attacked by al Qaeda and have had to fight for our survival by removing dictators in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is interesting to me to see the same folks who say Saddam was no real threat, go crazy over Admadinejad.

3. During these five years public debt rose from 3.3 to 5 trillion American has recovered from 9/11, liberated 50,000,000 people and stopped at least 10 terrorist attacks on the level of 9/11 launched against our homeland. Dealt with Huracains and instigated No Child Left Behind, relaunched the space shutte, and feed the hungry of the world; dealing with Tsunami disasters and earth quakes which have struck around the world. In the mean time America has become richer, more Americans are a work that at any time in history, more Americans own homes – or at least mortgages, and tax revenues have increased by 22%

4. If States and Cities are short changed by not receiving federal handouts of tax money, why not get the locals to pay for what they want. Utah had a billion dollar surplus last year. She doesn’t seem they are suffering from lack of federal handouts. Why not ask governors, mayors, and local communities to pay their way?

5. So money for infrastructure, housing, education, and domestic purposes GREW more slowly. What’s the harm? The spending grew didn’t it; things are getting better? If you and Dave and Gore want everything right now –pay for it. If you want an economy that can continue to lead the world and a defense force that can keep you and yours from terror, death, and slavery; realize that such things don’t grow on trees. The President suggested Congress cut 140 programs, and this morning there were 140 fanatic supporters of each explaining why the world will end if their plum is plucked.

So Bush is “cutting back on projected growth” in urban programs and giving the money to Katrina victims. Would you rather he spent more money we don’t have, or leave the Gulf Coast folks in the dark.

To answer you MAIN QUESTION – “Why does the Bush Administration refuse to raise the revenues needed to support the ever-more-expensive war effort? Answers:

1. Congress, not the President raises and allocates revenues.

2. Tax increases would destroy the economy, cut government revenue, and increase the debt.

3. If we quit spending money on the war we would find ourselves at the mercy of enemies who have announced and sworn their intention to kill us. You remind me of someone complaining about the cost of life jackets on the war canoe. What would another 9/11 style attack do to our economy, to the poor, and the middle class? If you think Admadinejad and bin Laden are dangerous, try to imagine a Saddam Hussein with out restraint. The U.N. can not keep Iran from building Nukes, what would they have done with Saddam had he still been in power and determined to reconstitute his programs. The anit-war groups complain about the number of Iraqis murdered by terrorists; that number pales compared to the 100’s of thousands murdered by Saddam. We spend money on war so we don’t have to spend more on a worse one.

Cicero asks; “Could it be that while we continue to create a democratic Iraq and secure our borders from evil terrorists, we are crumbling from the inside out?” Answer your own question – honestly. Is America crumbling? Which stable, safe, free, and solvent state would you rather live in? America is not as bad off as you have been lead to believe, but there are some people who will benefit a lot if they can get you to think it is falling apart.

Could it be that David Brooder and his ilk are far more interested in getting back in power than they are in solving real problems? I wait patiently for the alternative suggestions to Bush’s budget plans, to Bushes war on Terror efforts, to Bush’s Plan for building a democratic Afghanistan and Iraq in the middle of West Asia. I wait and wait, and all I get from the Democrats is hate for Bush, fault finding, and determined efforts to insure failure. All I get from David Brooder and those who follow his thinking are rhetorical questions, not answers to difficult problems.

The world in not perfect, America’s best days are yet ahead. But what America need now is a leader who will act in spite of criticism, and serve in spite of the difficulty of the challenge and the bitterness of the opposition. Thank God we have one.

Rumpole said...


We have threatened to discuss the budget many times at the Agora, but have never really detailed it. Here is a breakdown of the new budget. It is based on the Washington Post Article – 2006 Budget Proposal: Agency Breakdown – February 7, 2006. The next paragraph is a direct quote from that article. Then there is an agency-by-agency breakdown. I took the license of adding some commentary.

“Overall, discretionary spending other than defense and homeland security would fall by nearly 1 percent, the first time in many years that funding for the major part of the budget controlled by Congress would actually go down in real terms. The cuts are scattered across a wide swath of the government, affecting a cross-section of constituents, from migrant workers to train passengers to local police departments.”

Agency-by-Agency Breakdown

AGRICULTURE – Decreased by almost 10% over 2005. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa and ranking Democrat on the Agriculture Committee) is against the cuts. I would suggest that if a Republican were from Iowa he would be against the cuts also. This is the general problem with cuts. Everyone wants to cut everywhere except where they will feel impact.

COMMERCE - Increased by 49% due to the folding in of programs from other departments, those folded in programs being cut by about 1/3. Block grants are among them. Where have these block grants been successful? I would like to know more. If they haven’t been, I would suggest throwing more money at them will make them successful. That is a government mentality that we must shed ourselves of.

DEFENSE – Increased by almost 5% over 2005. Remember the “peace dividend” from Clinton that gutted Defense? I didn’t buy it then, and I don’t buy it now. This is one area where increase is warranted.

EDUCATION – Decreased by almost 1%. If it were me, I cut more and push responsibility down. The nationalizing of the education system is a mistake.

ENERGY – Decreased by about 2%

EPA – (QUOTE FROM ARTICLE) “President Bush is requesting a cut of half a billion dollars for the Environmental Protection Agency, a reduction of 5.6 percent, for a total of $7.6 billion. Environmentalists warned that the cuts would gut valuable programs, while administration officials said that the cuts would not harm the environment or the public health.” (END OF QUOTE) This is a great example of the inconsistency of the President’s detractors. Just as Agriculture, everyone wants to cut everywhere except where they will feel impact.

FDA –Increased by roughly 24%. This really bugs me. Will an inefficient agency suddenly become efficient with more money? We’ve got to rid ourselves of that mentality.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES – Increased by roughly 9%. The President wanted to reform social security. The Democrats applauded that it hasn’t been done.

HOMELAND SECURITY – Increased by about 1%

HUD- Decreased by 11.5 %, mostly due to shifts in programs.

INTERIOR – Decreased by 1.1%

JUSTICE – Decreased by 5.5%, mostly due cutting programs Clinton instituted to cut crime. The Bush administration believes those programs didn’t work. Some sense! You mean if a program doesn’t work we ought to get rid of it?

LABOR – Decreased by 4.4%.

NASA – Flat.

STATE – Increased by nearly 16%. Why? So we can fund more programs like “oil for food?” Cut the heck out of it!

TRANSPORTATION – Decreased by about 7%.

TREASURY – Increased by about 4%, mostly to the IRS. Again, some sense. The IRS is the only revenue generating agency in the lot.

VETRAN AFFAIRS – Up by about 1%

As to your questions to Lysis:

1. Where does the notion come from that Mr. Vidal seems to have that military funding comes at the expense of states and cities? John Jay, Federalist No. 3, “Among the many objects to which a wise and free people find it necessary to direct their attention, that of providing for their safety seems to be the first.” Can anyone improve on that?

2. Independent of defense, I am with you here. Spending is up. 1% is a start, but it is not enough! Cut it!

3. The deficit is too high! We don’t, however, need to increase revenues. We need to decrease outlays. What could be done more efficiently? According to the AP –Feb 2 2006, there were over 14,000 “earmarks” (funding on local projects “put in in the dark of night by people who have substantial power and authority” Diane Feinstein) on pork barrel legislation in 2004. Feinstein, along with Trent Lott have proposed a change that would, in essence, give Senators their own “line item veto”, the opportunity to kill those special projects inserted.

Can the Senate police itself? Give the President the Line Item Veto. The responsibility of the budget, the budget that he has no authority to approve, is laid at his feet. Give him the authority to bear that responsibility fairly.

This is way too long. With 4 and 5, and your summary I would agree that by this budget, Urban Programs are being cut. I have no problem with the reductions of those programs. As a “Regan Conservative” we desperately need a “rebirth” of the “entrepreneurial” spirit that Regan promoted. Let’s lose the “entitlement” mentality and solve problems without government! My issue with President Bush is that he didn’t go far enough!

Anonymous said...

Cicero says:

Okay Lysis and Rumpole, you know how much I just love spending time responding to this blog, but I just cannot help myself. I belive in conservative issues, and would categorize myself as one, but COMMON SENSE dictates that I disagree with the President and his "ilk" (to quote Lysis). Again, I do not see how two educated, bright people cannot see the simplicity in this matter. My beef with the President is that he relies on deficits to run America.

Lysis, to claim that you are poor is a real blast of hot air. You are rich beyond imagination and you know it! How do I get my Wed. cookie and green tea! There are tens of millions in this country who live in poverty, your not even close!

You ask me to tell you how the President's economic ideals hurt the poor and middle class, here it goes:

1. Every time a person uses a credit card, they are borrowing from themselves. When I use my card beyond what I am capable of paying back in a resonable amount of time, I impact many things in my life, but most importantly future spending. When my debt becomes so high that I cannot manage it, I either continue to make my children and family suffer, by not buying food, clothes, paying rents, etc or file bankrupcy. I am hurting myself and society either way.

When my debts become so big that I cannot pay them off, I must borrow more to just make my min. payments, which hurt my future earnings.

2. Everytime the government borrows money to pay for its programs, from military to eductaion and welfare it is essetntially taxing the people. This causes goods and services to rise, impacting those who have the least amount of capital. Simply put, printing money to pay for federal spending dilutes the value of the dollar.

"Borrowing money to cut the deficit is only marginally better than raising taxes. It may delay the pain for a while, but the cost of government eventually must be paid. Federal borrowing means the cost of interest is added, shifting the burden to a different group than those who benefited and possibly even to another generation. Eventually borrowing is always paid for through taxation." Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)

3. Running up huge deficits ignores the approaching crisis in Social Security and Medicare. If we don’t solve these problems now, we may break the budget and our promise to the elderly later. And, allowing people to invest Social Security funds may cost money in the short term.

I am done for now, with lots more to say...I am being pressured by a little curly haired blond who wants to kick my butt in the game of "Sorry"---you know the state of our nation if we do not fix the deficit problem NOW! Sorry!

Lysis said...

Rumpole; Thank you for going to trouble to present some “facts” on the issue of the budget and deficit spending. I am impressed, not only with the facts but with the analysis – John Jay, for Pete’s sake! Well done! The point by point review of expenses and their “champions” is telling. Now we have a foundation from which to discuss this issue. It is so much more meaningful that just calling “opinions” out of the air.

I know a Boy Scout Camp that got on just fine for 45 years with out any EPA visits. You give these people money and they feel obliged to spend it! And the money the rest of us have to spend to jump though the UNNECESSARY hoops they construct for their own “job protection’” purposes is staggering.

On the other hand it should be clear to Cicero that some things have to be paid for. If your curly headed champion is attacked, where would you stop the investment? If raising taxes costs revenue, as experience proves; if military investments are worth the cost, as history proves; then the money must come from somewhere. Cicero, you act like this War on Terror is a discretionary choice made by President Bush, like building a National Park in Southern Utah, reintroducing wolves in Yellowstone, or financing a prep athletic program in public high schools. If Congress won’t cut the spending, I suggest you go to bin Laden and explain to him that his attack is upsetting your investment scheme. (I am being sarcastic Cicero – As I was when I said I was poor. Isn’t it wonderful to live in a country were I can be made rich, beyond the dreams of kings, by doing what I want to do – all day, everyday?)

I agree we should give up our addiction to the “credit card” and live within our means EXCEPT IN CASE OF EMERGENCY. Now let Congress accept the responsibility for controlling the purse strings. Bush has given them a way to cut the budget by 1%. Will they have the courage to do even that????

As for Social Security; I think any one under the age of 50 should have to pay into the program, but never be able to getting anything out. I think we should have an entitlement that helps me, and that you “young bucks” should gladly pay for. Let’s change then name for the young; we’ll call it taxes that Cicero is calling for, as it goes in, and Social Security, that I call for, as I take it out!

Rumpole said...


I’m sorry to bother you with a little more history, but I feel that it is pertinent to the discussion. I hope to answer your questions indirectly with the history and my explanation. I have the following information from the Office of Management and Budget. The information was provided in the President’s 2002 budget. It is important to note that 2002 and beyond in this information are estimates. Those estimates do not, however, detract from the accuracy of the historical data (pre 2002) in the budget. I found it by “Googling” “budget surplus”.

To begin, here is a direct quote: “For most of the Nation's history, deficits were the result of either wars or recessions. Wars necessitated major increases in military spending, while recessions reduced Federal tax receipts from businesses and individuals.”

Deficits were the exception, not the rule, until 1931. Another quote: “Deficits returned in 1931 and remained for the rest of the decade—due to the Great Depression and the spending associated with President Roosevelt's New Deal. Then, World War II forced the Nation to spend unprecedented amounts on defense and to incur corresponding unprecedented deficits.”

Now, we are into the realm of my memory. In order to pull out of the Great Depression, FDR turned to the great economist of the day, John Maynard Keynes. Keynes was the originator of the idea that the nation could spend its way to prosperity.

Here is the important point to that history, as follows:
“Since then—with Democratic and Republican Presidents, Democratic and Republican Congresses—the Government has balanced its books only 11 times, most recently last year."

Let’s first discuss the “politics” of the deficits, then discuss the “reality” of deficits. Every President since FDR has turned to Keynes’ theories about economics. Why is this suddenly an issue at the forefront in the minds of Democrats? Why was it not an issue with Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, etc., but it is such an issue now? Have Democrats had a change in heart as to spending? As a “Reagan Conservative” and a supporter of President Bush, you know how I answer. I am interested in your response.

Now, as to the “reality” of the deficits, another quote: “Nevertheless, since 1983, spending has grown dramatically across a wide variety of programs. Total spending in 2000 is 37 percent higher than in 1983 in constant dollars. Medicare and Medicaid, combined, are 175 percent higher and Social Security is 48 percent higher. Similarly, spending for net interest is 60 percent higher in 2000 than in 1983. In total, discretionary spending is six percent higher. But NON-DEFENSE DISCRETIONARY SPENDING IS 30 PERCENT HIGHER WHILE NATIONAL DEFENSE DISCRETIONARY SPENDING IS 11 PERCENT LOWER THAN IN 1983. In recent years the growth in discretionary spending has accelerated, especially since 1997. Between 1997 and 2000, total discretionary spending has increased five percent, with non-defense discretionary spending increasing more than eight percent during this three-year period.”

As John Jay suggested, the safety of the nation must come first. Further, from 1983 to 2002 NON DEFENSE DISCRETIONARY SPENDING IS 30 PERCENT HIGHER WHILE NATIONAL DEFENSE DISCRETIONARY SPENDING IS 11 PERCENT LOWER. I would suggest that we find ourselves in the military spending predicament of today (both literally and figuratively) because of Clinton’s “peace dividend”.

Further, the current administration has attempted to resolve the looming Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security crises only to be rebuffed and then applauded by Democrats that the issue still looms.

I’ve gone on too long again. I’m sorry I didn’t answer point by point. Let me summarize that I agree that deficit spending is only wise as a short term strategy. We must return to the surpluses that the Reagan administration provided the Clintion administration with. That requires a strong defense and the prudent use of Supply Side economics.

The Republican-that-must-be-obeyed requires here Sunday nap. That means I have to tend to the Littlest Republican. She doesn’t know how to play “Sorry” yet, but she’s working on saying it! The Democrats apparently haven’t learned how to say “sorry” either. Hopefully they will wake up and face issues like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security (like the President has attempted to do) so they won’t have to learn! NOW!

Lysis said...

Rumpole; Thanks for sticking to the facts. I am impressed with the power of history to help us understand present situations. I want to deepen one point. I note that Cicero considers Bush’s efforts to balance the budget as shifting expenses from the federal level to States and local governments. This is a good place to shift them, but more importantly, you demonstrate very powerfully that Clinton was shifting money from military expenditure (the FIRST responsibility of the Federal Government) to support the domestic programs that he was instigating to push his entitlement state on the nation. What is doubly sad is that this “shell” game has no doubt cost the lives of American servicemen and of our people in terrorist attack after terrorist attack. Attacks motivated by Clinton’s cowardice and indecision. I note again, for all, that since 9/11 the spending Bush has been forced to increase has thwarted at least 10 major attacks against the homeland. Cicero, I call that money well spent!!!

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...


Anonymous said...

Cicero says:


Thanks for refresher history lesson. Like Lysis stated, I am impressed with your use of historical fact to prove your points. Very nice!


While I admire Pres Reagan greatly, I am able to see some flaws in his economic ideals.

On February 5, 1981, two weeks after taking office, in his "Address to the Nation on the Economy" Reagan said:
"By 1960 our national debt stood at $284 billion. ... Today the debt is $934 billion. ... We can leave our children with an unrepayable massive debt and a shattered economy."

I realize that Reagan's solution to the recession of the 1970's (which was a product of the Nixon-Ford-Carter Administration's) was to spend our way back into prosperity. But, By the beginning of 1981, the national debt had fallen to 32.5% of GDP. Then, Reagan took office and the national debt took off. It rose non-stop for 12 years to 66.3% at the end of Bush's term, erasing 25 years of progress in paying down the national debt.

I do not believe that Reagan can take credit for the surpluses in the Clinton years, but Bush I, who was wise enough to convience Middle Eastern countries to pay us for our service in the Gulf War.

Clinton and the Republican Congress did a great job of managing the surplus and paying down the debt. The recession of the early Bush II administration is not a result of bad economic policy, but Y2K and the problems assciated with over supply of goods. Once Y2K passed business was left and with surplus of goods and naturally and recession was the impact.

Bush II, in the spirit of Reagan, and as a result of the War on Terror, adopted the deficit spending policy to fund his programs.

Now, I have gone to long and am in trouble with the wife. It seems that in the true spirit "Reagan Conservatism" she does not care about deficit spending, and only sees and understand life in the moment and wants the clothes she washed put away! NOW! Gotta Go!

Lysis, did you buy your clothes for Tuesday??

Rumpole said...


I appreciate your response. Before I begin here now, I acknowledge that most of what I post will be from memory.

First, Reagan’s solution to the problems of the 70’s was NOT a Keynsian solution (to “spend our way back to prosperity”). Reagan reduced tax rates with the intention of increasing tax revenues. He (as do I) believed that revenues in the hands of the private sector generate a greater return, a larger GDP, and hence would increase the tax base. As you have suggested, the national debt initially increased! Economies lag! Regan had to continually urge to “stay the course!”

Further, his domestic policy was backed by sound foreign policy. Reagan brought an end to the “Cold War” by financially breaking the Soviet Union. Clinton’s Administration (painful as it was for Clinton) acknowledged the victory with the invention of the “peace dividend”. The “peace dividend” was, in my mind, a fairly successful attempt to dismantle the military under the guise that we had eliminated all of our enemies. Had Clinton maintained sound foreign policy and sound domestic policy I would suggest we would not have to spend on a war being waged both necessarily and preemptively. Remind me again who it was that had Bin Laden and let him go!

As to your point about Bush I, kudo’s for convincing Middle Eastern countries for paying for our service in the Gulf War. But did those countries overpay? I don’t think so. With a break even war, the enlarged tax base facilitated by private investment (Supply Side economics) provided the revenues for surpluses!

I do not agree that the recession of the early Bush II administration was associated with Y2K and an oversupply of goods. I would suggest that it came about by the burst of the bubble. Companies like Amazon had huge influx of capital without the P/E ratios to back them up. When investors came to that realization, the bubble burst. The Clinton economic boom was not created by solid investment in durable goods, but by investment in the “new economy” as the Clinton Administration called it, which was nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

Enough for now! The Republican-who-has-reached-the-peak-of-his-knowledge-curve (my sixteen-year-old who knows everything) needs the computer for his homework. I’m certain that Lysis, as one who wallows daily at the public trough with many such adolescents, would not want me to stand in his way!

Lysis said...

Cicero, I will agree with you that a lot of thinks came together to produce the balanced budget of 1999. By the way, the fact that there was no deficit in 1999 did nothing to reduce the debt. The Debt and the annual Deficit are two different things.

Having said this, let me add that Reagan’s prophesy that debt would equal a shattered economy did not prove to be true. As for the Reagan spending; remember the Cold War!!! That military build up necessitated by Carter’s neglect, brought freedom to generations and billions of people through out the world!!!! We own a great debt to that debt.

You got it right; Bush II has acted in the spirit of Reagan, and to fight the War on Terror. He has turned the Clinton recession into four years of sustained and record economic growth for America. Well done George!!!

I'll get the cloths!

Lysis said...

Rumpole; Good stuff, I think that your point on tax cuts shows even more the parallel between Reagan’s success and that of Bush II. I also feel that four years of Carter and eight years of Clinton were among the greatest disaster of the twentieth century.

Rumpole, you’re right, I am always for homework. Today, I’m glad you did yours!!

Dan Simpson said...

One thing I would like to add. Let us not overlook the massive strides forward in consumer technologies in the 90's that were made possible only through the huge strides in technology made in the 80's because of government military expenditures.

Cell phone technology, computers, GPS, etc. Almost every dollar we spend for military technology will 'trickle down' (heh, heh) to consumer goods, and create jobs, and sales.

Anonymous said...

In Main, thirteen years ago, Karen wood was shot and killed by a hunter who said he had mistaken her white mittens for the retreating tail of a doe. She was hanging clothes in her backyard and her twin daughters were inside the house waiting for their mother to come back inside. They screamed from their playpen while she bled to death.

But, of course Mullah Lysis will explain that "Cheney didn't do anything he wasn't supposed to do." (direct quote of another apologist)Just like the mother of the twins as she left the house to hang up her laundry, the Cheney hunting victim was to blame because even though he DID have a safety vest on, he DID NOT announce himself!!!!

Once more with Bush/Cheney the victim becomes the perpetrator.

In Boy Scouts, when there were good Scout Masters, I was told that the shooter was ALWAYS responsible to "know and see" the target before shooting.

Hey, with zero military and war experience in a "real" theatre, and feeling "macho" with his trusty 28 gauge (talk about flaccid) Cheney was hungry for his first KIA!!!!

Better luck next time Deadeye Dick.

Lysis said...


When I was a little boy, my family lived in Alaska. Not yet a state, Alaska was a long way away from relatives and friends come the holidays. My dad tried to make the best of things by preparing a very fancy Thanksgiving dinner for the four of us. Set out on the linen table cloth were big goblets of grape juice. As the dinner began I tipped over my glass, dad reached across the table to smack me for my mistake and tipped over his own. We both learned a lesson that day, we both grew up a little. One should be careful of attacking another for an innocent accident; your turn will come.

Of course what happened to Dick Cheney was an accident. There is many a slip between cup and lip. He is embarrassed, and he will be the butt of many tasteless jokes, but he is innocent.

Child, it demonstrates your lack of maturity when you break into a conversation among adults to squeal on someone for something beyond their control. I am however, glad to see you so confident of your FACTS. I guess you must have been an eye witness to the whole affair.

I will note that there was a real crime committed this weekend. While Cheney was shooting off his gun, former V.P. Al Gore was shooting off his mouth. His lying accusations against American law enforcement, military, and Administration personnel, are treasonous. He has NO evidence of any of the accusations he made of unjust or malicious treatment of Arabs in American or else where. To throw “gasoline” on the flames of the Islamic Radical response to something as innocuous as cartoons depicting Mohamed, endangers lives. Remember that people died when New Week falsely reported disrespect to the Koran at Guantanamo Bay. Innocent people will die because of Al Gore’s lie. Where is your outrage for this real crime, this real act of murder, my Child? There is nothing innocent about Al Gores dangerous misrepresentation. He is now clearly rooting for the enemies of America. He has gone past aid and comfort to joining the fight on their side.

The Anonymous Child can make jokes about V. P. Cheney’s body count numbers; there will be real deaths because of Gore’s verbal pot shots. Who’s laughing now?

a quiet listener said...

I wonder if those who now are so desperate for anything to blame on the president and current administration reacted the same when ted kennedy left his passenger for dead back in 1969.

Here's a reminder
On July 19, 1969: 9:45 AM, Ted Kennedy arrives
at the Edgartown police station and speaks to chief
Dominick Arena. He states that he took a wrong turn
at 11:15 PM the previous evening on the way to the
ferry-landing on Chappaquidick and had gone off the
Dike Bridge.

He states he returned to his hotel room and fell asleep.
He decided to contacted the police when he "fully realized"
what had happened (ALMOST TEN HOURS LATER)

Police divers find Mary Jo Kopechne in the car, dead.

stifled41 said...

Lysis, I love you. I think the difference between the rape of Lucretia and George Bush's speech is great. Keep it real.

Silver Lining said...

Romance is dead in the Agora. A post attributed in part to the holiday, and the discussion is about the economy and Cheney's hunting accident.

Lysis said...

Silver Lining, Romance will not be dead as long as you are alive. Happy Valentines Day!! I just got back from a quick visit home, Suprizing my wife. My grandson is staying with grandma while his mom takes classes at the college. She was baking treats and getting ready to go to her job at the elementary school. I held my grandson while my virtuous wife spread frosting and then I took out the garbage she had gathered into a bag. As long as there are wonderful wives and mothers and grandmothers, there will be Romance. I am a blessed as Collatinus ever was, as are many luck husbands that I know, none more than yours, Silver Lining. Romance lives on as long as lovers serve in love.

Anonymous said...

Quiet . . .
It took Cheney 24 HOURS --spin time -- to report the incident.

Cheney broke the law by not having a proper license and has been so charged. (so much for Lysis' "innocence")

With regards to Lysis' criticism of Ted Kennedy's accident of another day, I TOO will say . . . "YOUR time will come."

All of Lysis'"Christian charity" is used up by blatant and hypocritical partisanship . . . not Christian, Not Charitable --

Also, I've read about what Lysis considers to be HIS "eye-witness" account of John Kerry -- sorry, That dog won't hunt!!!!

Hypocrisy and opportunistic morality doesn't bother the Mid-Eastern Mullahs either!!!!

Lysis said...

Child you really are too good to be true! I enjoy dealing with your assertions; sometimes they require some research; but thanks for all the “free” shots this time around. Let’s look at your misleading spin point by point. When are you going to learn that you always get caught when you try to deceive?

1. 24 hours to report the incident. Not true, Cheney and the crew reported the incident to the emergency service system and the police at once. There is no requirement to report anything to the Washington Press folk or the New York Times.

2. Cheney did break the law by not having his hunting stamp. He has been justly chastened by receiving a “warning” ticket. But as for the charge you leveled above – that Cheney was out to kill someone for a body count – of that “crime” he is completely innocent! He committed no crime in shooting the other hunter.

3. My criticism of Kennedy was for trying to cover up the death of a girl with whom he had been having an illicit affair and I was criticizing the stupidity of the people of Mass. for voting for the useless lump of flesh. When I do the same things, I will be deserving of chastisement. Kennedy was not innocent. He planed the cover up, delayed reporting, and was driving drunk when he killed another person. The differences between Kennedy’s offence and Cheney’s accident are obvious to those trained to recognize truth by reason; if not to those drilled in F/O recognition games.

4. Please point out were I ever claimed to be either a Christian or Charitable. My partisanship is blatant – not hypocritical.

5. I was an eye witness to Kerry’s treason. You are free to claim the same level of knowledge about Cheney. I have explained how I saw Kerry lie, have you explained how you saw how Cheney shot? Seems your hypocrisy has been flushed out. I call that “good hunting”.

I would agree with you that SOME Mid-Eastern Mullahs are opportunistic hypocrites. You and I have amply demonstrated our own traits and those of the people we support. I am not afraid to be judged by the witnesses, are you? Before you answer, check out #5 above.

Reach Upward said...

I enjoyed the original post. I agree with Lysis that romance will live on as long as there are wonderful wives, mothers, and grandmothers. I can vouch for the fact that Mrs. Lysis falls into this category. I also honor my wonderful wife on this Valentine's Day.

I have kept quiet while observing the interesting and civil debate over the nation's finances (devoid of the childish misuse of upper case letters and redundant exclamation marks). I have complained in this forum about our federal gotta-spend-more philosophy. I appreciated Rumpole's analysis of where cuts should occur. It has been pointed out that nobody wants cuts to occur where it would impact them.

It has also been pointed out that Congress allocates all spending. This is true, yet the President cannot abdicate all responsibility in this matter. He submits the budget proposal to Congress and he either signs it into law or vetoes it. The veto, which Pres. Bush has yet to use, is one of the most powerful tools the Constitution grants the executive. Appropriate use of this tool is called leadership. I have no reason to believe that the President would use the power-shifting line-item veto any more than he would use the veto power he now has.

We're also missing much of the story of the current budget (see here) where it says, "The truth is, President George W. Bush is proposing significant spending increases, and Congress is almost certain to outspend his requests by a wide margin. Runaway spending is scheduled to continue unabated unless the president makes congressional Republicans take spending restraint seriously." It is really up to the voters to send this message to their elected officials, but that's not happening either.

Can the nation spend its way to prosperity? Given the current hot economy, is that what we think we have accomplished? Having spent part of my career in finance, I cannot see how this is possible. I have helped foreclose on businesses that thought this way. At some point the fiddler must be paid.

Anonymous said...

Last I heard, Cheney was considered part of the White House -- Cheney/"The White house, didn't release the information, and it sat around for nearly 24 hours after the shooting."!!!!

Was there an obligation to release this information? Only in a FREE society where timely information is important -- a phone call from Texas only SEEMS like another country.

No, I do not believe that Cheney was really "out to kill someone" anymore than Kennedy was -- Neither, Letterman nor Lenno.

If all you believe about Kennedy is true, why wasn't he prosecuted and convicted of murder/manslaughter? -- Or just another "eyewitness" "swifboating"by Mullah Lysis whose bias will not waiver or be handicapped by a knowledge of the FACTS?

You need not be Christian Or Charitable nor even have Opportunistic ethics to be a HYPOCRITE.

Then Mullah Lysis posts:

"I am not afraid to be judged by the witnesses."

What are you talking about Mullah Lysis?

Is this the sound of one hand clapping?

Are the three Nephites back in town?

Has Veg. been spying into my sock drawer?

Has a spy cam has been implanted into my telescreen/ er monitor?

Whatever it means it sure sounds Biblical and Apocryphal -- are you sure your not a Christian????

Would you like to know more????

"Looking for LOVE in all the wrong places . . . "

Rumpole said...


There is much that we agree on. It is not wise long-term fiscal policy to spend our way to prosperity, as Keynes advocated. As a short term philosophy, however, the results have been proven. Keynesian economics brought us out of the Great Depression.

The deficit spending that brought us out of the 70’s recession was also very effective, but it was NOT after Keynes model. President Reagan reduced taxes at the same time he increased spending. If I am not mistaken, that was historically unprecedented. He did it to infuse investment into the private sector. The ultimate goal was to expand the tax base while reducing big government.

When he spoke publicly I loved his rhetoric. What he did not accomplish, and what we have not seen, is a real reduction of big government. Again, I think we agree that President Bush has not gone nearly far enough in his attempts at that reduction. Bush 41 was the same. Lysis may disagree, but I do not consider either Bush a fiscal conservative. However, (foremost because it is the truth, and also for Lysis) we can not forget that as Jay suggested, the safety of the nation must come first!

Before we run completely over 41 and 43, however, we are lacking one important statistic. How much of that deficit is made up of entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.?

If I am not mistaken, Social Security is not considered part of the deficit. The funds from Social Security are considered “off-budget”, and are accounted for separately. In the past the inflows were greater than the outflows, but rather than maintaining that overage for the day when demographics will reverse that trend, I understand that the overage has gone into the general fund!

Further, the proposed Health and Human Services Budget for fiscal 2006 (which includes both Medicare and Medicaid) is roughly 710 Billion. The entire budget is 2.57 trillion. (See the Washington Post article I cited earlier). That is roughly 28% of the entire budget. Contrast that with Defense at 419 billion, which is about 16%.

My point is twofold. First, the defense budget issues have been created from circumstances that pre-dated President Bush. They are currently unavoidable. Second, the real solutions for the problems with the deficit have to be rooted in Health and Human Services (Medicare and Medicaid), and Social Security. Bush 43 has attempted to address it! He re-emphasized it in the State of the Union. At this point I don’t see it as being factually accurate to lay the deficit problems at Bush 43’s feet.

The Republican-at-the-peak-of-his-knowledge-curve has returned! I need to go check the car, with the faint hope that I will not have the need for any deficit spending of my own! Got to go!

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...


The White House didn’t release the information for 24 hours. Why did they have an obligation to release this to the media? What ever happened to reading the Police blotter?

No, Kennedy wasn’t out to kill anyone, but he was drinking and driving. He wasn’t prosecuted for the same reason he’s a Senator – he is John F. Kennedy’s brother. That’s the facts!

I agree with you that one doesn’t need to be a Christian, or Charitable, or opportunistic to be a HYPOCRITE. I have given examples of your hypocrisy; you have failed to give any of mine.

The witnesses I referred to are those who are judging you now; the ones reading here at the Agora. No need for secret surveillance, your words and mine are here, side by side, to be judged by all who witness.

Reach Upward;

The line item veto works in many states. It makes it possible for the President to remove “pork” without sacrificing the legislation our country needs to survive. The Congress has the upper hand in the “veto game” for now. They have the greater power, and the greater responsibility

Last years budget is interesting, from a historical point of view, but this year the President has submitted a decreased budget. If the Congress increases it by 22 billion dollars, let’s fault them.

Reach, I am interested in the leverage your article claims the President will gain from vetoing. It seems that even in this case the “Presidents spending-slaying sword” would be more efficaciously wielded in a surgical manner rather than “shotguning” (rather poor pun intended, sorry) entire pieces of legislation.

I wish Phil Kerpen would have listed some legislation to cut rather than just calling for random aggressive and rapid spending cuts.

Rumpole – Great stuff. It was Keynesian economics that ended the Great Depression – but not the New Deal. The necessary expenditure was only set in motion by WWII.

As for cutting taxes to raise revenue – Kennedy successfully did the same, I understand.

I do no consider the Bushes fiscal Conservatives in the model Reach seems to want. However I find their spending justified. My only regret is that Bush I raised taxes after saying he would not. His trust of the Democrats was his down fall.

I appreciate you points on the burden of entitlements our budget is forced to carry. I applaud Bush’s call for SS reform, last year and this. Perhaps Reach should consider this when consider how courageous Bush was in wielding his “sword”

Dan Simpson said...

I think that there are good points made by each side. However, I have to disagree, at least somewhat with Lysis on this one.

Lets look at what the President can do vs. what he cannot, this then shows us where (and how much) blame can be apportioned.

The president cannot enact Social Security legislation, 100% of the blame for social security reform not happening (in any form, not just the presidents plan) rests solely at the feet of Congress unless and until they send a plan to him that he vetoes.

Bills that do come to him (be they spending or anything else) he can veto. While it is obvious he did not pass them, congress' job, he did sign them into law. Thereby putting his stamp of approval on them. At this point he has shouldered some of the blame.

When spending is irresponsible there is a horde of blame to go around, but some of it must land squarely on the President. Talk of 'political capitol' has been bandied about here, but there is no limit to how many times a president can veto bills.

This president has chosen to not veto any spending bills, this has not made him any more or less popular when it comes to defending the country, so I think the argument that he needed to save his political capitol for that don't pan out.

So many things today are in direct relation to what the party believes are in their best interest, not the country's. I will point to two main examples (one spending one not).

First, subsidies. In whatever form, subsidies cost a lot of money. Some of them may be good, encouraging businesses to develop new technologies that will greatly help the country. Some are ridiculous, paying people lots of money to grow cotton in California, even though the same cotton can be grown elsewhere, in climates more aptly suited for it, for much less money. Sugar subsidies, wheat subsidies, mohair subsidies (you may think that I am kidding on the last one, but there really is a mohair subsidy.)

Subsidies are ridiculous, but look at which states really get a lot of them, and then look at which states hold the first ten primary elections every four years.

Second, Cuban embargo. This makes absolutely no sense. Why are we still doing it? Because Florida has more than 20 electoral votes, and there is a huge Cuban immigrant population that hates Castro. Contributing to the poverty in Cuba won't end communism, people with nothing don't have a lot to fight for. Put goods into their markets and the people will see what they want, and could have if they were free.

Silver Lining said...


See that is what I am talking about, and, of course, you understood as I am not sure our Anonymous friend can that I was being light. Glad to hear that Reach is so happy. What Rumpole? Dannyboy? No quick comments about how wonderful the Republican who must be obeyed is? I know Dannyboy has an incredible wife. O.k. I am done playing.

On the Cheney thing. He was under no obligation to disclose at all. When hunting, he is not acting as the VP. What I mean specifically is that he is not doing the duties of the VP or acting on behalf of the American people. He is a citizen. He is under no more obligation that any of us to report such a thing. That being said. He is the VP and a very public figure and one the press stands at the ready to carve up if they can. Therefore, though he is in no way in the wrong for waiting 14 hours to report the incident to the White House Press Core, he should have made a brief statement Saturday night. That is just the politics of it. Lysis is right. He was going to get harassed for it regardless, but knowing he is a very public figure etc. etc. etc. and that his hunting accident would be as big as Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston getting divorced, he could have done better by issuing a statement. Anonymous, you prove why he should have by the conclusions you jump to so quickly about the incident. Perhaps you would have come to the same conclusions, I don't know. I hope things work out o.k. It is never fun to be responsible for hurting another person, and it surely has to be awful to feel that you have seriously hurt a loved one.

There is so much good information about the economy that I don't have anything really to add other than the thought that since the Great Depression and the creation of so many programs by the Federal Government to help, we have inherited a different mindset about the responsibility of the government to create jobs and provide programs etc. I can't help but wonder if we don't need a nationwide re-think of how involved the government is and should be in the economy and in job creation etc. etc. etc.

Reach Upward said...

Good points, all. Silver Lining makes a very good point about our mindset about the proper role of government. That seems like the actual root of the matter.

Rumpole is right to bring up our social programs. The budgetary and "non-budgetary" social items together are massive in relation to GDP. Automatic renewable spending is another problem. About 84% of the budget automatically renews at an anually higher rate. Congress only squabbles about the remaining 16%. So spending increases are on autopilot.

DannyBoy2, thanks for your point about the president's avoidance of vetoes in relation to political capital. Your point about subsidies is also appreciated. Lysis also makes a good point about broad as opposed to surgical veto power. But politics are at play here as well. I wonder if the President would wield his veto pen next year should the Democrats retake Congress this fall. Perhaps he feels he cannot veto bills passed by his own party.

I fully concede that national security is a tier 1 issue and that finances are a tier 2 issue. But that does not mean that we can never work to get our financial house in order as much as possible while dealing with national security issues. Some belt tightening is in order to allow us to better forcus when dealing with security threats.

I have read a lot about the synergystic effect of tax cuts and government spending. My research leads me to believe the argument of tax cut synergy (when reasonably managed), but I am as yet unconvinced that we can spend our way to prosperity. I need to see more evidence. Can anyone point me to works that support this theory?

Lysis said...

Danny Boy – I will agree with you and Reach that President Bush ought to veto some irresponsible spending bills. When one comes along, let’s point it out to the President and hoe he does the right thing. I do think it rather premature to be condemning him for not vetoing bills that are not yet presented to him. I don’ know his motivations in the past – but I don’t believe they were to curry favor with anyone. That doesn’t seem to be his way of doing things. As for subsidies; I will only point out the agricultural structure that feeds the world has long been motivated and supported by those subsidies. With agriculture providing the bulk of American exports in the present economy – I feel to encourage farming in any way we can. Subsidies, like many tax breaks, are usually granted in exchange for some “service” or concession by the recipients for the benefit fall. I would like to know what those subsidies are buying for our nation and its economy before I jump on a band wagon for eliminating them wholesale.

As for Cuba – I agree. The best way to get rid of Communists is to buy them out – it worked in China, it should work in Cuba. But overlooking the generations’ long human rights abuses of Castro is difficult. To allow Castro to claim the benefits that trade with America would bring to Cuba would legitimize a totalitarian régime that is soaked in innocent blood. Again I am for buying out Cuba; perhaps the truth about Castro will come out quickest in a free Cuba.

Silver Lining,

I agree with you that Cheney should have played the P. R. Game. Isn’t that too bad for our country?

Reach Upward,

You and Silver Lining both hit on a real problem facing our country, not just our President. How do we deal with so many “spoiled” people who demand so much. As I said above, I think Bush will unabashedly veto anything he feels needs vetoing. I have a feeling he is about to redefine “lame duck” in a way that will make the Democrats sit up and scream for decades. However, I don’t see the need to veto “just because one can”.

May I suggest that the best way to strengthen America’s economy is for Americans to strengthen our home economies. It doesn’t take a Presidential veto to increase our savings or our productivity. It will be easier for Americans to demand their government live within its means when they take similar responsibility them selves. It is hard in a nation were bigger house and bigger toys are available to all who are willing to sing on the dotted line.

Dan Simpson said...

SL-How right you are, the problem is, there is no way for me to adequately praise my wife in written words. That, and she doesn't read this blog, so I just tell her.

Anonymous said...

News Flash:
If you have a son or daughter in college or you are a college student or graduate, you should be aware that changes are happening with the country's student loan program. If you are a student you're probably paying about 4.7 percent on your loans. If you're a graduate, it's about 5.7 and parents are paying about 6 percent. But Under the current legislation,(eminating from the Republican controlled Congress & Bush admin.) STUDENT RATES ARE GOING UP to seven percent and parents will be paying more than 8 percent.(This means YOUR education Sophs) The good news is that you'll have till JUNE OF 2006 to lock in the interest rates on loans you are NOW paying. It's called a loan consolidation. The disadvantage is that you'll lose the deferrment of rate payments. But at the same time, you'll have much lower payments for many years to come. Remember, lock in before June or see your interest rates double!

Personally, I am against the *econmic drag* of these HORRIFIC subsidies of college and university students -- let the strong and the "well healed" prosper and all of you economic "freeloaders" perish!!!!

Obviously, I've paid off MY student loans or I think a College education is a Liberal plot. (I wonder how Rob Bishop et al voted on this?)

Subsidies are like taxes -- it all depends on "whose ox gets gored".

So . . ."we are both being judged"?
What is the point? (I think EVERYONE'S being constantly judged)

You think you are more popular, or that more Agorites AGREE with you?

Do you think you could win the Agorite of the Year award over ME?

Lysis, democratically elected by the Agora? To what office?(Considering some who've been "elected" by popularity recently, I don't think it means ANYTHING has been achieved necessarily). also, see Roman literature.


The derision and contempt that flow in such wanton quantities in the Anon.'s direction at the Agora I find to be elating and challeging.

I have written postings for which *I* am proud -- not for accolades, not for recognition, not for popular acclaim -- that's all pretense. Arete and Virtue is what *I* gain -- thank's for your honest scorn and enmity!!!!

Anonymous said...

I have never come across a group of people so wiling to make so many excuses for so much incompetencies as I have the completely right wing Republican apologist fascists as post in this forum for the extremeisms and incompetenicies of the current brain dead Republican-in-office, George Bush. Stop the torture. Stop the lying. Stop the BUSHWHACKING!

Lysis said...

Flaccid, I agree with you on some things tonight. I agree on the college loans. People should pay their on way in college, either by scholarships or by money they earn themselves. If they barrow money, they should pay them back at a “fair” rate. Tax payers should not subsidize the carriers of those who can carry their own weight.

I don’t care if I’m more popular than you, nor do I care who agrees with me. I only care for truth. I’m not aware of the award for which you aspire. The only award I seek is knowledge and a clear conscience.

I am amused by your obviously negative “opinion” of the democratic process; typical of neo-libs.

I am honored to have your post with mine here at the Agora. I hope you will long continue to add to our conversation. I am delighted to have our words and ideas compared side by side.

Anonymous the other:

So we’re fascist, extremist, incompetents? If you have some arguments or evidence to back up your name calling please present it. Name calling has no effect on those who have the truth.

Reach Upward said...

Here is an article favoring the tuition bill requiring market rates on renegotiated student loans. Here and here are articles that discuss how government subsidies actually cause the cost of college tuition to increase. I recently read a very detailed broad-based study that backs up this point of view, but I was unable to find a link to it.

The dairy farmer in my neighborhood is one of the few remaining family farmers in the area, and he barely hangs on. Thre other family dairies in my vicinity have shut down over the past decade. Why? Because farm subsidies are structured mostly for the benefit of large agricultural producers like Con-Agra rather than inefficient mom and pop operations. But like many subsidies, farm subsidies mask the market and cause price escalation.

An argument can be made that there are other benefits gained from the subsidies that make the higher prices warranted, such as perserving domestic farming. But it's not as if farming would go away if the subsidies went away. The market would set the prices and force strong competition, thereby, forcing efficiencies and establishing acceptable quality levels.

With Ford and GM about to come grovelling to the government for bailouts, it can be argued that there is sufficient value to the country to maintain domestic automobile production despite the increased costs the desired subsidies would cause. But it can also be argued that both companies would end up better off and would make better cars (after some painful adjustments) if they were forced to compete unencumbered in the marketplace.

Once again, we come back to the question of the proper role of government. And, as Lysis points out, if the citizenry is unwilling to exercise personal fiscal restraint, it is unlikely that they will require fiscal restraint of their government or of the businesses they patronize.

Lysis said...

Great stuff Reach – so nice to see you answering mindless attacks with evidence and reason; it makes debate a learning experience. I have long considered the impact of insurance on the costs of medicine, and then again on the costs of insurance. What a vicious circle.

I have a question for your dairy farming neighbor. Do they receive government subsidies? If so, would they be willing to give them up if they were also cut to “factory” farms. What I want to know – is it the subsidies that destroy family farming or is it the fact that family farming is an enormous amount of work, and family farmers have discovered that there are easier ways to make a good living?

If foreign agriculture, as well as foreign car production, was not support by government subsidies, it might be FAIR to require American farmers and car manufactures to compete in the free market. But the fact is that our major international competitors heavily subsidize their farmers and car makers. I can’t speak for the success of Japanese farmers, but Japanese car makers don’t seem to have suffered greatly from the advantages their government gives them.

Now don’t get too excited, I am not arguing for the end of the free market – but I feel it is wise to consider the entire world economic picture when we consider the needs to use the enormous wealth of our nation to strengthen domestic production on a very unlevel playing field of the world economy.

Reach Upward said...

Lysis, you complete the cycle of my dairy farmer analogy. My friend does indeed receive subsidies, but at a far lower percentage than before the passage of the recent farm bill that increased subsidies to major farming operations. But you are correct in suggesting that the subsidies are only part of the story. When I admitted that mom and pop operations are inefficient, I meant in comparison to many industrialized operations.

The reason for depopulation of farming towns in the midwest is that newer farming technologies allow fewer people to accomplish the work than before, thus, allowing a lower worker-to-land area ratio. Would my friend's operation survive if all subsidies were cut? I don't know, but it would at least put him on a level playing field with the big boys.

You also make a very good point about our global economy. I remember how Boeing was going nuts a few years back because they were having difficulty competing with the highly-subsidized European Airbus company. They still have difficulty performing in that market.

I also know that the U.S. has argued with other countries in the WTO about a variety of subsidies. Nobody likes them, but nobody is willing to take the first step to drop them.

Anonymous said...

Reach Upward Posts:(agreeing with Lysis)
"If the citizenry is unwilling to exercise personal fiscal restraint, it is unlikely that they will require fiscal restraint of their government or of the businesses they patronize."

I, for one, would not lay the phenomena of "lack of fiscal restrain" on the backs of "the CITIZENRY.

Nearly as many and as much (maybe more) "CORPORATE WELFARE SUBSIDIZATION" is funded as are subsidies for "CITIZEN WELFARE".

Social "do good" engineering to improve the "general welfare" of the country by administration of various "subsidized" cures and ministrations of GOVERNMENT sets the course for business and the citizenry.

For example, the Federal Reserve is a hybrid form of government intrusion in the market place that seeks to ameliorate MARKET highs and lows primarily by controling interest rates. As a consequence, high interest rates "subsidize" one part of the economy while lower interest rates "subsidize" other parts of the economy. Clearly, subsidization here offers the controls we desperately need.

Reach's belief that "The market would set the prices and force strong competition" argues for the ideals of pure capitalism without accepting responsibility for the GREATER GOOD of responsibility to the GENERAL WELFARE of the citizenry.

Some subsidies are warranted and contain a vision of a better tomorrow -- that is great leadership.

Some subsidies are self-serving money-grabing schemes of government, business and citizens -- that is leadership that will destroy what is good about America.

To say "low interest student loans raise tuitions" (which they very well might do) is to ignore the GREATER cost benefit analysis of how much GOOD these loans have done and would continue to do for citizens, business and government!!!!

I do not understand why the "anti-Darwinists" Right wants to make the "Social Darwinist" economic argument every time.

Reach Upward said...

Actually, Anonymous, I agree with much of what you write. Obviously, most voters agree that many subsidies achieve a greater societal good, even if some of them have certain immediate economical drawbacks. We know, for example, that in the long run it's a lot cheaper to educate people than to have an ignorant citizenry. But you are also correct in stating that some subsidies are bad to the bone.

Though I made a strong capitalist argument and I am a vigorous supporter of a free market, I understand that the free market has its drawbacks. Like any energetic force, it must be properly managed to be fully effective. The problem of our time is to constantly work to find that magic point where controls achieve the greatest benefit with the least amount of intrusion.

Lysis said...

Flaccid; isn’t it great to live in a nation were the Citizenry, the Corporations, and the Government are all the same people!! Reach may well agree with my call for greater responsibility from We the People in our personal finances, but it is your imagination that construes that I call anywhere for the suspension of “good” subsidies; either for individuals or companies.

Asking college students to pay a fair rate of interest once the tax payers of the country have given them a “leg-up” is not a call for ending student loans; nor is pointing out that American companies need government help on the unequal playing field of the world economy a call to end “do good” actions in the “general welfare”. When one recognizes underlying universal truths, it is possible to support “good” subsides and demand the end to “bad” ones. Of course one must first recognized the existence of good and bad.

I am for government subsides that strengthen our economy and aid the citizens. I agree that, “Some subsidies are warranted and contain a vision of a better tomorrow - - that is great leadership”. And I point to the fact that President Administration is calling for and the Republican Congress are providing such valuable supports. I also agree that “Some subsidies are self-serving money –grabbing schemes.” I am all for student loans that benefit America by building better citizens, business, and government!!!!” I also believe that once they have been benefited by the taxpayer, graduated students can pay a decent interest rate on the money they barrowed. Someone had to work for it – they may as well shoulder a little of the burden; as they are reaping most of the benefits.

As for Darwinism; I agree completely with Charles Darwin’s explanation of how God created man through the laws of natural selection. I am not an anti-Darwinist. I am an anti Social Darwinist. Herbert Spencer was misapplying “survival of the fittest” to cultures and races. I agree with Adam Smith, who predates Darwin by eighty years, and recommends, along with Reach, that “less is more” in meddling with economies. Neither Darwin nor Smith could have envision the world mankind has evolved, but fortunately both were all for adaptability.

Flaccid, your mistake is thinking you know US without listening to us. As Reach Upward points out – in this case we are more in agreement than at odds. You assume that since I support George Bush, I must disagree with everything you support. It would be a benefit to our discussion to set such prejudice aside and seek the truth.

Rumpole said...


I am confused as to your not wanting to “lay the phenomena of ‘lack of fiscal restraint’ on the back of the CITIZENRY.”

Is this not a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people?” I refuse to go off the topic with this example but it is so illustrative that I must use it. According to Al Gore (Forbes – February 13) “Arabs had been ‘indiscriminately rounded up’ and held in ‘unforgivable’ conditions. The former vice president said the Bush administration was playing into al-Qaida's hands by routinely blocking Saudi visa applications.”

The Forbes article also stated that Gore said “the U.S. government committed "terrible abuses" against Arabs after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and that most Americans did not support such treatment.”

What Gore said was Kerryesque and ludicrous. But it is illustrative of what he would want the citizens of this nation to believe about our government. In effect, Gore promotes that the people are powerless to control the evil Bush Administration!

Nothing could be further from the truth! The CITIZENRY (both by popular and by geographical vote) elected Bush to represent them! The CITIZENRY elected each respective Congressman and Senator. If the Legislative and Executive do not reflect the will of the CITIZENRY and its desire for fiscal restraint, the CITIZENRY must take the responsibility to elect officials that reflect that will!

Further, I would suggest that government’s role in promoting the “general welfare” is not one of doing for Americans what they can do for themselves.

Reach briefly mentioned the plight of Ford and GM. Based on what I have read, those companies are in trouble because of the huge debt they have saddled themselves with by agreeing to collective bargaining agreements that have stripped them of their competitiveness. There is not enough revenue generation to support the demographic shift within the company toward the pension program.

The last thing I want to see are those companies run out of business. My livelihood depends on them. But unions representing the employees of those companies negotiated deals that were not in the best interest of those employees. The revenue structure of the Ford and GM cannot support those pension programs. It is not my (the CITIZENRY) responsibility to solve that problem!

This may well turn out to be an example, as you have suggested, that in the short run the GREATER GOOD will sacrificed for the GENERAL WELFARE. I hope not. Naïve though it may be, I would hope the in the long run the GREATER GOOD would ultimately PROMOTE the GENERAL WELFARE.

Compare that with Social Security. The government, in the name of promoting the GENERAL WELFARE, created a program that is on the same track as the auto pension funds. When the demographics shift, what will be the result? Will the “general welfare” have been promoted? I can’t think of a better example as to why we SHOULDN’T leave the government to “Social ‘do good’ engineering to improve the ‘general welfare’ of the country.”

I acknowledge that government will play a role. I suggest, however, that a wise CITIZENRY will limit it at every possible turn.

As I see it there is only one solution to the impending demographics problems facing social security. We must create as many LITTLE REPUBLICANS as possible! Not only would that solve the Social Security crisis, it would drive demand for the MORMON ASSAULT VEHICLE (a mini-van, for those from Rio Linda) through the roof. Long live FORD and GM!

Anonymous said...

Lysis Posts:
"I agree completely with Charles Darwin's explanation of how God created man through the laws of natural selection."
I am familiar with Darwin's ideas about the laws of natural selection.
I would like to read DARWIN'S scientific commentary and the evidence that was used when he wrote about "how God created man" through those same laws.
Please quote from the Darwin standards "Origin of Species" and/or "Decent of Man"

Also explain:

". . . and the world mankind has evolved."

I understand how things can evolve, but I do not understand how mankind "EVOLVES" things?

"Your mistake is thinking you know US -- in this case WE are more in agreement than at odds."

Who IS us/we?
Lysis, are you using the Royal prerogative again? Please stop speaking plural!!!!

Lysis said...

Flaccid – thank you for asking constructive questions. I will be glad to teach you about these things.

1. To answer your desire to read from DARWIN'S scientific commentary and the evidence that was used when he wrote about “how God created man” through those same laws, let me quote from Darwin’s *Origin of Species*. I would suggest you read both Darwin’s books mentioned here in their entirety. A great problem we face today is both Darwin’s so called supporters and so called opponents, have never read his commentary and evidence. I quote for you from the last page the last chapter of *Origin of Species* entitled, “Recapitulation and Conclusion”.

“To my mind it accord better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the CREATOR, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual . . . .

“It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct actions of the conditions of life and from use and disuse: a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character, and the Extinction of less-improved forms. . . .

“There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the CREATOR into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.”

Flaccid, I reiterate that I agree with Darwin’s explanation of how God created man through the laws of natural selection.”

2. You next request an explanation of “the world mankind has evolved.” Here I was speaking somewhat in mock of Herbert Spencer; but I was also implying that neither Smith nor Darwin could have foreseen a world where “we”, meaning mankind, are capable of examining chromosomes and mapping the human genome; or where a world wide economy would become globalize to the extent it is or where the population and the resources at their disposal would become so great or so interrelated. My intended implication was that man has developed, “evolved”, a world greatly different from the one either Darwin or Smith knew, and vastly more complicated and at least technologically advanced than they could contemplate.

3. You wonder who the “us” is I reference. The “us” I referred to are those you seem to want to identify with your conception of the “anti-Darwinists” Right who employ “Social Darwinist” economic arguments. As Rumpole, Silver Lining, Dannyboy, Reach Upward, Vegimatic, and others were discussion, with me, the economic and budget concerns of the nation; I spoke for all whom you seemed to be classifying as “anti-Darwinist Social Darwinists”. I felt you were wrongly characterizing a group to which I belong. Thus I was justified in speaking for the members of that offended group. I could be wrong – but those are the people to whom I referred as us – I was not referring to myself alone in the plural, although I don’t see any harm in it if I had. Although people often refer to me in the plural – I rarely do so myself. It offends OUR sense of modesty.

There you go Flaccid. See how easy it is to learn when you comes to class with the right questions and an open mind?

Lysis said...

Flaccid – By the way WE means I added you to the US meaning you and me and the others discussing seem to agree on many things this time around. Reach Upward said the same thing about himself and you – I was just agreeing with you both. Do we agree on this?

Anonymous said...

Typical Rumpole logic;
blame citizen victims when big business and government rips them off! "Well, they had a chance to elect honest representation -- so they deserve what they got!BUNKO!!!!

When Houston-based Enron (a BIG Republican contributer and Bush friend)folded because of accounting shenanigans by Arthur Andersen, thousands of workers lost their jobs, thousands more lost their pensions and 401k plans and investors lost 60 BILLION. Enron also gave bonuses ranging from $350,000 to $5 million to its top 20 executives before it declared bankruptcy and laid off workers."

United Air Lines has set up a $20.7 million retention bonus program for 350 senior managers. (do the math)
The UAL union says it will oppose the bonus plan because it believes all employees should sacrifice during bankruptcy reorganization.

GM and Ford financial difficulties are caused by the UNIONS? Well,I suppose that if U.S. employees worked for what their Mexican counterparts worked for, Ford management would be very pleased.(bigger bonuses) However, Ford's and GM's problems have more to do with their dwindling market share over the last ten years.

I own 2 Fords, 3 GM's and 1 Toyota.
Guess which one gets 32 mpg and has NEVER been to the mechanic????
I know, Rumpole, I know -- dumb me!!!!

Anonymous said...

Darwin believed that all species of plants and animals are the result of millions of years of natural selection, NOT unique instances of divine creation.

Though the theory of natural selection refutes the presence of God the Designer, it does not completely remove the influence of God, at least in Darwin's mind. However, Darwin defined the process of evolution in terms of immutable laws of NATURE which laws he took pains to SCIENTIFICALLY and EMPIRICALLY justify. On the other hand, God's will is felt INDIRECTLY according to Darwin. Darwin's ideas (at the time of the Origin) express a more DEISTIC belief in God the Rulemaker, who created the laws that governed the process of evolution, but did not participate in every step of life.

I do not find what I asked for in Lysis response. In the selections he quotes I do not find an EMPIRICAL account, written by Darwin, about HOW God created man.

Darwin offers no evidence about MAN per se, just a testimonialabout God's intervention with the law of natural selection. In short Darwin *scientifically* accounts for natural selection but TESTIFIES about God's deistic role.

Nothing in the Origin explains MAN'S role --Does Darwin believe that MAN was created by GOD as someting "special and immutable" BEFORE He turned everything loose in a world of "natural selection" laws?
Has man always been man or has man evolved continuously from pre-man life forms?
Is man continuing to evolve?
What will MAN evolve into?

It was not till he published his *Descent of Man* that Darwin formulated the scientifically, empirically and factually established explanation of the evolution of Man, AND THERE IS NO MENTION OF GOD IN IT!!!!
"He who is not content to look like a savage at the phenomenae of nature cannot any longer believe that man is the work of a separate act of creation." . . . That man is a CO-DESCENDANT with other mammals of a common progenitor."

If Lysis wishes so align himself with the "Mullah approved" version of Darwinism, I'll just say, I've seen all of this before and once again, that dog wont hunt -- it died of rabies!!!!

Rumpole said...


You post “I have written postings for which *I* am proud -- not for accolades, not for recognition, not for popular acclaim -- that's all pretense. Arete and Virtue is what *I* gain -- thank's for your honest scorn and enmity!!!!”

Unfortunately my purposes for posting are a little more selfish. I post for two reasons. First, the debate is helpful to me in clarifying my own positions in my personal search for truth. That process is more stimulating when there is discussion from others and different views are presented to press against.

Secondly, I enjoy the presentation. I like to write. The Agora gives me the opportunity to present ideas in a forum that gives me feedback as to their clarity.

I was worried about my last post. I wasn’t sure I had clearly conveyed my intentions and my meaning. Thanks for your last post. Your response indicates that the message was received exactly as it was intended! Further, in calling my response typical, you point out the consistency of my postings. Thank You again!

It IS the responsibility of individuals to protect themselves from the intrusions of both big business and big government! Your examples of Enron and United are quite telling. There are inherent risks involved in living in a free and capitalistic society. Many are unfairly impacted by the greed and selfishness of others. There are inherent risks involved in living in a free and a capitalistic society.

On the other hand, many are positively impacted by the greed and selfishness of others! What you fail to recognize in your posting are the innumerable examples (so many that I will not attempt to list any) of successes provided by that same free and capitalistic society! Are employees at the Post Office (the closest example of working in a vacuum I could think of other than being a debate coach) the only people in our society who have ideal employment, because the monthly remuneration is secure, and the leadership of the organization will not abuse its position?

I acknowledge that this is a rhetorical question. The returns are well worth the risk in a free capitalistic society.

Do you suggest that we attempt to remove those risks with governmental “social engineering”? Such an approach “begs” the question that those put into power can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. I see too much historical evidence of the opposite being true, of those in power abusing that opportunity rather than promoting it. The current state of Social Security illustrates this very concept.

I would therefore suggest that the founders designed the Constitution as means to protect from such tyranny. “We the people” have the responsibility to change the course of government, and to protect the right of doing for ourselves! That, to me, is the defining view in being labled a “Reagan Conservative”.

Mistakes will be made along the way! Unions, while promoting much good early in their existence, have outlived their usefulness. Yes, Ford and GM’s difficulties are due, in part, to the UAW! Had the Union used foresight it would not have negotiated deals that are currently breaking those organizations! Management is also not without its responsibility, as it should have exercised that same kind of foresight when agreeing to those deals.

In addition, management does have the responsibility to see to the engineering of the best product for the money! If it is your Toyota that has never been to the mechanic and is hence the better bargain, GM and Ford better quickly go back to the drawing board. Where did the idea come from that a safety net had to be provided to protect bad decisions by either Unions or Management?

My suggestion is that in the hands of government, the problems would be worse, on a grander scale, and far more difficult to unwind. We only have to look as far as Social Security to verify that truth.

The Littlest Republican wants me to read her the “Princess ABC’s”. I must stop now so that I can lay the foundation she needs in order to be independent and to do for herself. Thanks, again Anonymy for the reinforcement of clarity!

Lysis said...

To Rumpole:

I think the workers also have responsibility to produce quality. To demand more and more, while working less and less is a sure way to kill the goose that lays their golden eggs.

To Flaccid:

No one is as deaf as those who will not hear. You asked to read what Darwin said. You read it. Now you say, “All right, I agree that what Darwin said is exactly what you (Lysis) said he (Darwin) said, but he didn’t say I wanted him (Darwin) to say so I will make up what Darwin should have said – what he meant to say according to my Flaccid opinion.”

Darwin said, “Laws impressed on matter by the CREATOR.”

Darwin said, “These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction, . . . Inheritance, . . . Variability, . . . Ratio of Increase, . . . Struggle for life, . . . Natural Selection. . . There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the CREATOR into a few forms or into one; . . .” He spends his entire book giving empirical evidence to support his “Conclusion”.

I suggested that Flaccid read these books, as I have done, before he makes claims concerning them.

Darwin clearly believed that man evolved through the God Created Laws of Natural Selection he stated so clearly. Of course God’s role is Deistic – that is what God means.

Once more Flaccid makes up a definition of what “WE” must believe God must be – and when the air is let out, he flops flat.

Darwin does not discuss his beliefs of when the soul of man was created but he obviously believes man evolved according to God’s laws. In *The Decent of Man* Darwin clearly states his belief in man’s divine nature, his godlike reason. Darwin does believe man will continue to evolve and even encourages mankind to insure the “struggle for survival” continues so that man might be even more perfected.

Darwin believed that man came from a common progenitor as other mammals, and he never abandons the God given laws that made this possible.

Saying the “dog won’t hunt” did not prevent me from hunting up the quotes you asked for or from proving in his (Darwin’s) own words that I agree completely with Charles Darwin’s explanation of how God created man through the laws of natural selection.”

Flaccid, the only dog in this debate is your limp and impotent stand.

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