Saturday, August 19, 2006

From Heaven to Earth

It has been difficult to leave Paradise and I am still a little empty with the separation, but I must admit; there is one think I have been looking forward to back here in the real world. That is to check up on our Anonymous’ predictions of stories in the summer
NEWS. It has proved as pleasant as I had hoped. Here are Anonymous’ predictions with the truth of the summer NEWS to contrast:

“Let me give you some of the headlines you will miss while we will be gone this summer Liesis:ROVE INDICTED! Cultrure of Corruption Runs Deep in White House
***The TRUTH – Rove was acquitted and the culture of corruption has died as a Democrat talking point as the REAL crimes of Democrat politicians are revealed daily.

Iraq Civil War Broadens; Bush Signals Cut & Run
***The TRUTH – The war on terror in Iraq continues – it is painful, but the increasing abilities of the Free Iraqi army every day takes on more and more of the burden of the war. Rather than running Bush has proved himself right!

Bush Approval At All Time Low (To be run weekly until your too soon return)
***The TRUTH – Bush’s Approval rating of 37% - 40% is higher than in the Spring and continues to rise as the elections near. Go figure!!!!

Debt Ceiling Raised; Spending Deficit Projected To Grow
***The TRUTH is that the deficit has been cut in half after only two years of the Bush plan – this in spite of War and disaster. Bush predicted it would take ten years to cut the deficit in half. He’s so humble!!! Reaganomics still works. Anonymous – needs a new crystal ball.

Trade Deficit Still Out of Control
***The TRUTH: U.S. Economy: Trade Deficit Narrows as Exports Rise (Update1)
Aug. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in June as exports rose to a record, helped by a pickup in economic growth abroad and a weaker dollar.
Imports exceeded exports by $64.8 billion, following a $65 billion shortfall in May that was larger than previously reported, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. American imports of cars and consumer goods such as televisions and clothes also rose.

Cheney Continues To Say Deficits Do Not Matter - President Agrees
***The TRUTH – A lot of people agree with this statement, but I can’t find any quote from Cheney.

Dollar Continues To Fall (Down 7% last week alone - that was a true headline from last week as investors decided the Republican majority is not serious about deficit control.)
***TRUTH – the dollar is mixed in it’s relations to the Yen and Euro – but the economic consequences Anonymous predicts have been proven as specious as the rest of his predictions.

Cheney STILL Insists Iraq Has WMD, Calls For Nuking Anbar To Be Sure Of Their Destruction ***TRUTH – I love this one!!! as Iraqi WMD possession has been proven this summer. Of course you had to trust to Silver Lining to get the truth. We also now know that Saddam was spending billions on bribes and preparing to launch a nuclear build up that would make Iran’s and North Korea's look like a joke. One will look hard in the liberal biased media for these truths – but then, they were too eagerly hoping that Anonymous would be proven right. Wrong again Anonymous!!!

Cheney Demands U.S. Nuke (insert country or Blue State here)
***TRUTH – this never happened, but the democrats dropped their own bomb on a “blue state” by turning Lieberman into a sure win independent and a sure loss of a seat in the Senate for the Democrats.

No One Held Accountable In White House
***TRUTH – The person that is being held accountable here is Anonymous – for his silly predictions and his sad dreams for the destruction of his own country.

Oil Prices Record High, America Still Addicted To Oil -
***Truth: CRUDE oil prices slumped overnight to levels last seen in June, amid signs of an economic slowdown in the United States and a lowering of tensions in the Middle East, dealers said.
New York's main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in September, closed down $US1.83 at $US70.06 a barrel.
It had tumbled as low as $US70 in earlier trading, hitting its lowest point since June 21.
In London, Brent North Sea crude for October delivery settled down $US1.25 at $US71.58 after earlier dipping to $US71.31, its lowest level since June 28.
Crude futures have shed around $US4 over the course of the week

Bush Continues Erosion Of Democracy At Home
***TRUTH – Thanks to George Bush Democracy is safer than ever in America and spreading throughout the world. Go George GO!!!!

Taliban Resurgent In Afghanistan As Coalition Forces Struggle To Keep Up Pressure With Limited Resources (that was a headline last week too, maybe you saw the General in charge of Asian ops give that press conference.)
***TRUTH – NATO has taken over the war against the Taliban and is mopping them up in southern Afghanistan. Sadly the war on Terror goes on, on all fronts – encouraged by the nay-sayers like Anonymous, but the Taliban victory Anonymous is hoping for will not happen!!!

Former White House Officials Call Bush "Twit"
***TRUTH – Can’t find this quote in the NEWS either. How about you Anonymous?

Bin Laden On The Loose; Al Queada Still Plotting
***TRUTH – Bin Laden and his Al Queda were foiled again in Britain just over a week ago. What a great victory for the West - Yesterday one of Bin Laden’s closest confidants was caught in Pakistan. Can Bin Laden’s demise be far behind? Many hope he will be gone soon – but of course Anonymous is rooting for him!


-It's a shame I won't be able to tune in here every week and read your ridiculous apologizing and rationalizing about how all of this news is actually great and not the sign of some of the worst leadership this country has yet endured. But it isn't that big of a shame. We still got six months of ridiculous Republican control to hear the same stupid type of things being said in the news almost every day.
***TRUTH – America continues to benefit from the courageous leadership of President Bush. In the weeks to come we will see how well it (The US) follows that leadership. Anonymous – would you care to make some predictions on the November elections? That should give us something to look forward to on November 8th. As for “not being able to tune in every week” Well now you can give us a try!

24 comments:

Rumpole said...

Lysis,

It is truly a triumphant return! Summer’s passing has exposed the Anonymy’s predictions as empty wishes rather than fulfilled prophecy. The Anonymy’s unfulfilled predictions sadly but clearly portray the Democratic Party’s position for what it is; America (i.e. President Bush) must be defeated for terrorists (i.e. liberals) to gain world domination.

Will our Anonymous friends claim that this is a faulty comparison? Consider this while mulling over the Anonymy’s predictions and their results:

ROVE INDICTED – Why did both terrorists and liberals want Rove indicted? It would have been easier to salve wounds that have been inflicted based on marketing rather than on truth. Fortunately we still live in a land that honors truth.

BUSH APPROVAL – I’m sure it is frustrating for both terrorist and liberals to see that job performance (both foreign and domestic) still counts for 42% (and rising) of Americans.

DEBT CEILING RAISED – Both terrorists and liberals were hoping that the Bush plan would “break the bank”. Fortunately, Americans elected a leader that followed the footsteps of forward-thinking Presidents like JFK and Ronald Reagan, who had the courage to promote sound economic policy.

DEFICITS – I guess cutting the deficit in half in 20% of the predicted time shows a lack of seriousness about controlling deficits. The figures speak for themselves.

I don’t have time to cover every point as well as you have, Lysis. Suffice it to say that I find it frightening to believe that any group of Americans would depend upon taking up the position of the defeat of America for their own political gain. Sadly, that is what both liberals and our own little Anonymy have done.

Reach Upward said...

I'm a little confused about what the whole brouhaha is about the trade deficit. Yes, we buy more from many other countries than they buy from us.

And this tells us what? That they produce goods/services we want that we have found uneconomic to produce domestically, and which our robust economy permits us to purchase. That they lack the economic prowess to purchase goods/services from us and/or punish their citizens for doing so (with high tarriffs, etc.). Maybe it means that we aren't producing anything they want. Is this a problem?

That depends. The company I work for has a 'trade deficit' with almost all of its suppliers, but that is rather meaningless. The more it buys from a supplier, the better deals it gets and the more it can get the features it wants. Of course, if the supplier becomes the sole provider of a product, that gives the supplier some leverage over my company. Diversification with multiple suppliers can help ameliorate this.

This seems to be the situation in which the U.S. finds itself. It has many foreign suppliers, making it possible for its citizens to get the best value in the global market. It avoids being too tightly bound to a single supplier.

In exchange for these supplied products, the U.S. exchanges its currency (a manifestation of time/productivity), which is yet one of the most desirable commodities our country produces. Why? Because it is the most secure, fungible, and tradable commodity on the international market. Why? Because our government and culture mean that the country is better able to stand behind the value of its currency than any other country on the planet.

Currency values float based on a broad variety of factors, only a very few of which can be controlled by our government. Economists, for example, know that a 'strong dollar policy' is a crock, because there is very little the government can do to directly affect the value of the currency. It operates on free market principles, and we would not want the government controlling it, the way China has tried to control the Yuan.

The trade deficit is something to be aware of, but it does not always signal something bad. It means we have a strong economy and freedom to trade with other countries. Other countries should be so lucky.

Silver Lining said...

Depending on how familiar the different Anonymy are with Lysis' schedule, we may not hear from them until September, as Lysis' post did say see you in September. I imagine one of them will snark at me now for supposing to know or not know anything about them. I digress.

I ask out of ignorance about Reach's trade deficit arguments. What about China? Do we not have a lack of diversification in suppliers in that situation as to create problems in other situations. Namely, we seem unable, unwilling, or both to get more help from China in dealing with North Korea (nevermind Iran). Are we so tied to them economically that we become diplomatically and politically weak? I agree with your argument on trade deficits. This question lingers for me though.

Also, on a side note, I had the sketches of an idea in the shower Sunday morning. When we worked at Camp Cherry Valley with Lysis, we dealt with and were treated by the Alumni Association. It is my understanding that Paradise could do with a good quality passenger van or two. (I personally still miss the happy fun bus.) Donations go a long way with helping with vehicles and the like. I wonder if a fund raiser of sorts could be organized to help toward this goal and/or an alumni association formed that could fund raise and help toward this goal. What do all of your minds so much more capable than my own think of this?

Anonymous said...

I once had an occasion to visit LHS on some business -- I think I was checking on the availability of tickets for a new play entitled "Cruci-Talibani,and How Mocking Islamo-Talibanis for fun and profit cannot be Bigotry against Moslems."
Anyway, I chanced to walk by a classroom and overheard the following lesson.

Q: Lysis, why did we have to attack Iraq?
A: Because they had weapons of mass destruction.
Q:But the inspectors didn't find any weapons of mass destruction.
A: That's because the Iraqis were hiding them.
Q: And that's why we invaded Iraq?
A:Yep. Invasions always work better than inspections.
Q:But after we invaded them, we STILL didn't find any WMD's did we?
A: That's because the weapons were so well hidden.
Q: Why did Iraq want all those weapons of mass destruction?
A: To use them in a war, silly.
Q: I'm confused. If they had all those weapons that they planned to use in a war, then why didn't they use any of those weapons when we went to war with them?
A: Well, obviously they didn't want anyone to know they had those weapons, so they chose to die by the thousands rather than defend themselves.
Q:That doesn't make sense. Why would they choose to die if they had all those big weapons with which they could have fought back?
A: It's a different culture -- Islamo-facists just want to die and then get 72 virgins.
Q: I don't know about you, but I don't think they had any of those weapons the Bush Administration said they did.
A: Well, you know, it doesn't matter whether or not they had those weapons. We had another good reason to invade them anyway.
Q: And what was that?
A: Even if Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein was a cruel dictator, which is another good reason to invade another country.
Q: Why? What does a cruel dictator do that makes it OK to invade his country?
A: Well, for one thing, he tortured his own people.
Q: Kind of like what they do in China?
A: Don't go comparing China to Iraq. China is a "fungible" economic competitor where millions of people work for slave wages in sweatships to make U.S. corporations richer.
Q:So if a country lets its people be exploited for American corporate gain, it's a good country, even if that country tortures people?
A: Right
Q: Why were people in Iraq being tortured?
A: For political crimes, mostly, like criticizing the government. People who criticized the government in Iraq were sent to prison, tortured and killed.
Q: Isn't that exactly what happens in China.
A: I told you, China is different -- Divine Jupiter told me so!
What's more, Saddam Hussein came to power through a military coup, so he was not really a legitimate leader anyway.
Q: What's a military coup?
A: That's when a military general takes over the governmnet of a country by force, instead of holding free elections like we do in the United States and Iraq.
Q: Didn't the ruler of Pakistan come to power by a military coup?
A:You mean General Pervez Musharaf? Uh, yeah he did but Pakistan is our friend.
Q:Why is Pakistan our friend if their leader is illegitimate?
A: Only Saddam Hussein. Pervez Musharraf is our friend, because he helped us invade Afghanistan.
Q: Why did we invade Afghanistan?
A: Because of what they did to us on September 11th.
Q:What did they do on 9/11?
A: Well, on Sept. 11th, ninteen men -- fifteen of them Saudi Arabians hijacked four airplanes and flew three of them into buildings in New York and Washington, killing 3,000 innocent people.
Q: So how did Afghanistan figure into that?
A:Afghanistan was where those bad men trained, under the oppressive rule of the Taliban.
Q:Aren't the Taliban those bad radical Islamics who chopped off people's heads and hands,
A: Yes, they oppressed women, too!Didn't you see my Cruci-Talibani" production?
Q: Didn't the Bush administration give the Taliban 43 million dollars back in May of 2001?
A:Yes, but that money was a reward because they did such a good job fighting drugs.
Q:Fighting drugs???
A:Yes, the Taliban were very helpful in stopping people from growing opium poppies. If people were caught growing opium poppies the Taliban would have their hands and heads cut off.
Q. Don't they also cut off people's hands and heads in Saudi Arabia?
A: That's different. Afghanistan was ruled by a tyrannical patriarchy that oppressed women and forced them to wear burqas whenever they were in public, with death by stoning as the penalty for women who did not comply.
Q:Don't Saudi women have the wear burqa's too.
A:No, Saudi women merely wear a traditional Islamic body covering.
Q: What's the difference?
A: The traditional Islamic covering worn by Saudi women is a modest yet fashionable garment that covers all of a woman's body except for her eyes and fingers. The burqa, on the other hand, is an evil tool of patriarchal oppression that covers all of a woman's body except for her eyes and fingers.
Q:Sounds like the same thing with a different name.
A: Now don't go comparing Afghanistand and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are our friends.
Q: But wasn't Iraq one of our friends back in the 1980's too?
A: Well, yeah. For a while.
But at the time Saddam was fighting against Iran, which made him our friend, temporarily.
Because then as now, Iran is our enemy.
Q: Wasn't it at this time that Saddam gassed the Kurds?
A: Yeah, but since he was fighting against Iran, we looked the other way to show him we were his friend.
Q: So anyone who fights against one of our enemies automatically becomes our friend?
A: Most of the time, yes.
Q: And anyone who fights against one of our friends is automatically an enemy?
A: Sometimes that's true. However, if American corporations can profit by selling weapons to BOTH sides at the same time, all the better.
Q:Why?
A: Because Divine Jupiter has proven absolutely that war is good for the economy, which means war is good for America. Also, since Divine Jupiter (God) is on our side, anyone who opposes war is a godless LIBERAL unAmerican terrorist!!!!
Do you understand now why we attacked Iraq?
Q:I think so, We attacked them because DJ (God) wanted us to, right?
A: Yes
Q: But how did we know DJ/God wanted us to attack Iraq?
A: Well, you see, besides me, Divine Jupiter personally ALSO speaks to George W. Bush and tells him what to do.
Q: So basically,what you're saying is that we attacked Iraq because you and GWB hear voices?
A: Yes! You finally understand how the world works and why I'm now giving you an A+!!!!

Lysis said...

Rumpole: Great to here your reasoned comments on the flaws of Anonymous’ perdictions. Clarification is always of value in dealing with such relativists drivel. The key point here is that the enemies of America, foreign and domestic, have common goals. When they can’t win on truth they are all too willing to concoct positions and extol their imaginary victories along with their imaginary gods. (See Anonymous’ post below)

Reach Upward: Your comments on Trade deficit are right-on. Since America’s enemies have no real disasters to crow about, no 25,000 cannibalized corpses floating around New Orleans, they must concoct disasters – make them so by words, and then foist them off on the ignorant to gain power. It is the same with the Democrats new found abhorrence with deficit spending. The same “New Deal” that FDR used to fight the Depression, the same “barrow from ourselves” genius he used to overwhelm the Nazis and Japanese Imperialists were condemned when used by Reagan to end the Carter generated collapse of the American economy and defeat the evil empire of communism. Flip-flopping for political expedience in the hallmark of “new age Liberals, the neo-libs”.

Silver Lining: Good point on China – but I would appeal to Rumpole to share some observations on the return of “high-tech” manufacturing to the United States. I also heard recently that China was hoping to launch an automobile export industry – in ten years or so. I submit that the growing wealth of China, and its successes economically, enabled by American tolerance, will end the slavery of that people in due time. This is a case of using the best weapon to deal with specific problems. One of Bush’s long suits!!!

To Silver Lining’s side note – I have been thinking a lot lately about establishing an alumni association. A source of income for the Camp outside of council control. Perhaps a non-prophet cooperation. I am confident that there are many, some now very successful, people who would see the value in strengthening the summer camp they grew to love. I will take more with you on this later.

Now to Anonymous: First I am dismayed that you still cannot tell the difference between terrorists and Moslems, but then that is the stupidity that the terrorists in Al Queda and the Taliban count on. I am sure you were incapable of seeing the evils in Communism either. I am sure you would have viciously condemned Chaplin’s “Glorious Dictator” as insulting to all Germans. Again you demonstrate the ignorance that the monsters of the world rely upon.

As for your fictitious eavesdropping dialogue; first of all it would have gone this way.

Q; Lysis, why did we have to attack Iraq?

A: Because their murdering dictator had and had used weapons of mass destruction.

Q: But the inspectors didn’t find any weapons of mass destruction.

A: I know, the UN inspectors had been paid off by Saddam, but now WMD has been found and here is the proof.

The discussion would have ended there and the rest of your fabrication been rendered moot. Please take the time to look up the proofs of WMD provided by reputable NEWS sources and government and international agencies reveled throughout the summer and quit spreading this noxious howler.

As for the rest of your pretended arguments – excusing Saddam’s murders because others murder as well - they are right out of Marx. If you’re going to choose a model of argumentation you ought to try one less universally discredited. Screaming “he did it too, did not excuse my youthful errors to my wise mother, nor will it work as an excuse for genocide. Your reliance on this childish “Nha Nha” proves the impotence of your entire exhibition. How typical.

Strategos said...

Somewhat like Lysis I spent my summer away from the news, I’m somewhat behind on international politics and the Iraq war. (to tell the truth I’m finding it hard to become interested again after spending a summer working on more important things) but I do have a few questions

Lysis could you give us some more detailed examples of WMD proofs?

Anonymous could you give us some more detailed examples of human rights abuses in China, and specifically how they are caused by U.S. corporations?

Also, though it’s probably a review for most of you could someone please explain the connection between 911 and the war in Iraq. Bush’s answer to that question in the latest news conference was pretty unclear.

Reach Upward said...

SL, I did not say that our trade deficit means everything is hunky-dory. I merely said that trade deficits are not necessarily all bad, and that there are many positive elements involved. It deals, after all, with 'trade.'

We must be careful what we trade. Trading political influence for cheap stuff, which you seem to imply, is a scary thing. But how would our political pull with China be any greater if we instead refused to trade with them? I think Lysis makes a good point in suggesting that freer markets in China will eventually further the cause of freedom there more than any other pressure we could apply.

Silver Lining said...

"SL, I did not say that our trade deficit means everything is hunky-dory. I merely said that trade deficits are not necessarily all bad, and that there are many positive elements involved. It deals, after all, with 'trade.'"

I don't believe I suggested you did say that everything was hunky dory. I simply had a question. I do not believe our political pull with China would be greater if we refused to trade with them, nor do I think we should cease trading with China. I do think that many if not most in the diplomatic community fear diplomatic boldness in relations with China due in part to economic relations. Perhaps there is no boldness to show as China's self interests simply won't allow for any more help on their behest. I admit I've no expertise here and am just seeking increased understanding. China's economic vs. political situation is unique and interesting. It does appear that freer markets is helping to further the cause of freedom there. It is an issue that, in my opinion, is generational.

Rumpole said...

Reach,

I read your follow-up to Silver Lining after having written this post. I appreciate the clarification, but I still think much of what I have written might stimulate some conversation. I don’t claim to be an expert on deficits; however, here are some points to consider. You post (pertaining to the deficit):

“Is this a problem?”

“That depends. The company I work for has a 'trade deficit' with almost all of its suppliers, but that is rather meaningless. The more it buys from a supplier, the better deals it gets and the more it can get the features it wants. Of course, if the supplier becomes the sole provider of a product, that gives the supplier some leverage over my company. Diversification with multiple suppliers can help ameliorate this.”

“This seems to be the situation in which the U.S. finds itself. It has many foreign suppliers, making it possible for its citizens to get the best value in the global market. It avoids being too tightly bound to a single supplier.”

Silver Lining suggested her uneasiness (i.e. China) to such thinking. Perhaps I could add to those comments. Here are some examples of where it may be a problem.

1. Copper. Much of the copper formerly mined domestically has shifted abroad. There is currently a major strike in Peru. Copper prices have quadrupled over the last year. Would it be fair to suggest that there is little ability to predict what happens in foreign labor markets? Of course it is also difficult to predict outcomes in a domestic labor market, but 20-20 hindsight suggests that we have a more stable domestic labor force.
2. Steel. Much of the steel formerly domestically produced has moved to China (i.e. Geneva). Steel has recently more than tripled in price. Certainly there are those, (myself included) who would argue that the price increases are market driven. The problem here (unless I am mistaken) is that Chinese producers are government-owned. Are our hard-earned dollars best served by investing in a foreign government which promotes policy diametrically opposed to freedom?
3. Oil. Oil prices are determined on the world market. Is it sensible to risk being held hostage (ala Carter) to the political whims of Middle-Eastern nations?

Keeping those examples in mind, as Lysis suggested, we recently had a discussion on the return of business to America. A few years ago I watched with great fear as domestic industry began a process of “outsourcing” to foreign countries like Mexico. Interestingly, in “high-tech” manufacturing, many of those jobs have begun to return to our shores for two reasons. A dependable labor force (you can’t manufacturer if no one shows up for work), and quality of product (savings cannot be realized if you have to re-manufacture product two to three times over).

Will that exchange balance the risk with the deficit problems I noted above? I don’t know. I’m interested in your view.

Reach Upward said...

I believe the government has a role to play when it comes to international trade. However, that role needs to be carefully considered, and we must realize that the factors that affect international trade are varied, complex, and often beyond our control.

With copper, for example, our local environmental policies have contributed to the high cost of mining domestic copper. Is that bad or good? Some of both, I'm afraid. Our rigid policies have helped resolve domestic environmental issues at the cost of altering the domestic labor situation, but many of the environmental ills we cured have merely been 'exported,' if you will, to countries from which we now buy copper. And, as Rumpole notes, we are at the mercy of the whims of those countries' domestic situations. Some good and some bad.

Ditto with steel. However, we tried to fix the steel problem by imposing high tarriffs on foreign steel four years ago. That only harmed us even more. Just because other countries engage in the insane, self-hurt game of high tarriffs doesn't mean that we have follow suit. So, government must be careful in how it inserts itself into international trade.

For four decades we have refused to trade with Cuba for political reasons. The well-educated Cubans have survived with their dictatorship and communal poverty intact. Has this refusal to trade improved our influence with Cuba? Nope. Has it toppled the regime? Again, nope. It has only resulted in the importation of many people that now work in our economy instead of improving the Cuban economy. How should we expect a similar policy toward China to turn out?

Oil is an especially difficult problem, because the largest oil-producing countries really have single-dimensional economies. All they really have is oil, and everything else in the economy revolves around it. Whoever controls the oil, therefore, controls all aspects of life: economic, political, and even religious to one degree or another. This reason these countries so often have governments that are de-facto dictatorships or oligarchies is because despots only have to gain control of one element to have all power.

Since oil is yet the least expesive, simple, abundant (for now), fungible, and easily distributed mobile energy source, the rules of the marketplace dictate that its price will fluctuate according to the supply-demand scale. However, countries with the largest sources of oil act very similar to a large monopoly, that we would break up via anti-trust laws if it were possible.

Since we can't do that, we accept the negatives of the situation along with the positives, hoping that the good will outweigh the bad. We pursue policies designed to keep despotic regimes in place, for example, in hopes of ensuring more market stability. This policy of stability has served us well only in terms of the short view. In the long run, it has been a disaster for us and for the peoples of the oil producing countries.

Had we been more willing to allow the market to function more naturally, we would not have raised such high barriers to entry into the field of energy production. Alternative sources would find it easier to gain a toehold in the market. But there would be a lot less stability. Everyone throughout the whole market would have to scramble and be a lot more flexible (think car makers, for example), and consumers would constantly be adapting to new developments, much as we do in the world of computing today. But market power would be more diffused than it is today and pricing would constantly be pushed down by competition. I can't say what life would be like for the citizens of oil producing nations, but Iran probably wouldn't be able to afford to pursue nuclear weaponry and we probably would not be propping up the royal cleptocracy in Saudi Arabia.

When it comes to international trade, the government can only do so much to create a level playing field. We must accept many imperfect situations. Mostly, the government should do its best to enable market policies to work, and then get out of the way. Market policies always apply. Countries attempt to thwart them at their own peril in the long run. Notice what Russia has wrought, for example.

In China, those government-owned behemoth industries are giving way to more entrepreneurship. Why? Because the international market in which the country operates demands it. The ruling party can keep the brakes on this only so long, but they can't stand athwart history forever. They can change with the times or be swept away. Of course, this could take a while. But it's a lot more effective than our policy with Cuba.

The problem with a free market is that it is unpredictable in the short run. It messes up people's routines. People don't like being laid off when their job is outsourced to Mexico, even though, market forces may eventually bring that job back home. But we prosper best when we find ways to enable the market instead of searching for ways to limit or control it. This holds true accross the board (think education).

Rumpole said...

Reach,

You post:

“I believe the government has a role to play when it comes to international trade. However, that role needs to be carefully considered, and we must realize that the factors that affect international trade are varied, complex, and often beyond our control.”

This seems more than reasonable. My current struggle with government’s role in international trade, however, is that government has carefully considered factors that have interfered in that exchange in non-varied, non-complex, and easily controlled ways.

Local and national policies have certainly played a role in the high cost of copper. The institution of those policies inserted external forces into a market and drove domestic production costs beyond what domestic markets could bear.

The same can be said for steel and oil. National policy has made it so difficult to produce and refine oil domestically that much of that production has moved overseas. The price of oil is not completely market-driven. Domestic production prices are artificially inflated to the point of limiting that very production. Certainly, as you imply, there are those who see that as positive.

Forces have been introduced into domestic markets by our government that don’t have anything to do with anti-trust, or with the monopolies created by oil-producing nations. I do not disagree that we have pursued foreign policy “designed to keep despotic regimes in place, for example, in hopes of ensuring more market stability.” However, our domestic policy has resulted in the opposite scenario, a scenario of market instability.

In my estimation, trade imbalance with commodities like copper, steel, and oil are reflective of falsely created short-term stability teetering on the edge of suffering long-term consequences. In short, our trade imbalance in not a creation of failed foreign policy. It has been created by failed domestic policy. Market interference has put our nation and its security at risk.

The irony that I see is that it is the very people who most support these policies are also the people screaming the longest and loudest about trade deficits. These policies were created under 30 years of Liberal rule in the house and the Senate. Now those very same Liberals (like our friends in the Anonymy) try to suggest that President Bush is the responsible party for these risks.

Republicans are not blameless. Republicans need to get some backbone and make the necessary changes to once again allow our economy to operate under free-market principles. As Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” concept suggests, such policy will insure the long-term stability we all want.

MindMechanic said...

Welcome back to one and all. I hope everyones summer was well spent!

1-It is hard to fathom how we can still be having the WMD arguement. Clinton said Saddam had them. The UN inspectors following the first Gulf War said he had them. The pictures of the dead villagers in Halabjah pretty much prove he had them. Even democrats in their anti republican rants say of COURSE he had them because we sold them to him.

Seems to me the relevant question is "what did George Bush SAY in regards to his reasons for attacking Iraq?"

1-Saddam and Iraq were state sponsors of terrorism. Undeniable. Saddam paid Palestinians and their families to enagge in suicide bombings. Iraq provided safe havens for terrorists. Iraq allowed Al Qaeda training camps to exist and thrive. The photographic evidence is undeniable.

What was NOT said was that Iraq was in any way responsible for 9-11.

2-Iraq and Saddam Hussein were responsible for genocide. That too is undeniable. Bill Clinton cited genocide as his SOLE reason for attacking and ousting the Serbian government. Estimates are that they are responsible for anywhere between 5 and 15 thousand deaths, depending on who you believe. Liberals accept and support genocide as a justifiable reason to go to war.

George Bush cited genocide and to date anywhere between 750 THOUSAND and 1.5 MILLION bodies have been uncovered. This alone should be adequate justification for war, IF liberals posess ANY integrity.

3-George Bush did NOT list or catelog Iraqs WMDs as his justification for war. George Bush stated very clearly that it was Iraqs REFUSAL TO GIVE ACCOUNTABILITY FOR the existence or disposition of their WMDs. So great was the belief that he ahd them that the world passed 17 different UN resolutions attempting to force compliance.

UN inspections failed for 13 years to bring about results. The UN refused to enforce any of the consequences of the violation of those UN resolutions.

There were 17 points presented when Bush spoke before the world but these are the three main points. PLEASE do not take my word for it. Look up the transcript of his speech and read for yourself.

In Saddams accounting he failed to disclose the existence of some 17 thousand tons of biological spores used to make chemical weapons, 16 thousand tons of chemical weapons as recorded by the first UN inspections teams, and literally hundreds of WMD delivery systems.

That they at one time existed is undeniable...even liberals arent stupid enough to claim that. What HAPPENED to them...that IS the million dollar question. Hussein had the entire Clinton administration to hide, move, sell, transfer, or yes...even dispose of those weapons. All he had to do is explain what he did and there would have been no justification for war.

I wonder...isnt the left just a LITTLE bit curious about what happened to them? They never seem to want to address that...

Once again...welcome back. annnndddd were off...

Anonymous said...

To:
Agora 'flat-earth' WMD MYTH makers.

Bush WMD LIES in the State of the Union address ran directly over what top CIA intelligence KNEW to be inaccurate, had informed him was inaccurate and what Bush KNEW himself to be inaccurate falsehood.

The FEAR the lies in his speech created in the American psychy was OBVIOUSLY what Bush used to get the support he needed. The WMD threat SPECIFIED, was a nuclear one because THAT WMD lie created the intenisty of fear that motivated a country to invasion and war -- to the Admin. justifications for going to war was ALL that was important -- certainly not accuracy or TRUTH.

Typical Administration strategy -- tell BIG lies, then later quibble over meanings of words and factual accuracy when intent and history can be obfuscated.

Historical obfuscation and pandering public opinion is a specialty of many at the Agora.

What was Reagan and Rumsfield doing giving Saddam "purported" WMD weapons in the first place?

Did the United States go to war to retrieve WMDs it had provided already? . . . Dumb!

Would ANY of the WMDs purportedly now "found" in Iraq have motivated the invasion like the LIES that were told in the Bush State of the Union claims?

WMD as it was used by the Admin. THEN and WMD, as Lysis and the et al apologists use the term NOW, are not nearly the same.

Quibble on . . . but this war continues to be built on lies and 'Myth'stakes!!!!

truth to power said...

brainmechanic,

"Saddam and Iraq were state sponsors of terrorism. Undeniable. Saddam paid Palestinians and their families to enagge in suicide bombings. Iraq provided safe havens for terrorists. Iraq allowed Al Qaeda training camps to exist and thrive."

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The will of the American people immediately after 9/11 was to go after terrorism everywhere, not just some narrow pursuit of the one group that had crashed our planes. The nation as a whole was behind this idea. We eliminated the Taliban for harboring bin Laden, and we took out Saddam, but there a lot of terrorists we haven't defeated yet. Are we just naturally so egocentric as to abandon it this quickly?

"That they [WMD] at one time existed is undeniable...even liberals arent stupid enough to claim that. What HAPPENED to them...that IS the million dollar question."

Why is this never ever talked about? You won't hear it in any of the mass media that I can find.

Everybody knows Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Where are they now?

"I wonder...isnt the left just a LITTLE bit curious about what happened to them? They never seem to want to address that..."

I agree; it's almost like they want to pretend the weapons never existed, without coming out and making that claim. But you know, the right doesn't seem curious about them either. Maybe that's because they're embarrassed and don't want to mention the weapons at all anymore. I believe this question should have a higher priority. We're talking about some pretty dangerous material; we really out to establish who has it.

Anonymous said...

"We really ought to establish who has it (WMDs)


TTP:

January 2005 the CIA and your favorite Admin. DISBANDED the search for WMDs.

Now I know you know more than the CIA and have all the facts; but it seems to me that your complaint is not with "liberal" curiosity about WMDs but with how to get the Admin. to spend more time and money searching for what DOESN'T EXIST, so YOU don't have to experience some distasteful political realities and lies!

Considering that the U.S. SOLD Chemical and Biological WMDs to Saddam, I know where you can look for them first!!!!

MindMechanic said...

Are you so blinded by your hatred that yount even see your own contradictions???

"He lied there were no WMDs" followed by

"why did we sell them to him in the first place"

"If you want to find them look to those who gave them to him"


1. OK...so fine...you DONT think Bush is a liar...he DID in fact have them. OK...then you admit that. That puts that one to rest.

2. Your problem then is with those that initially dealt with Saddam (and of course since you have integrity that would include going back to the beginning of the Hussein regime when he first began building a WMD arsenal).

That is a great topic for discussion BTW...why would the leaders of the US engage first the Shah in Iran, and then later Saddam in Iraq. There is a LOT to discuss there. A little thing about the USSR, communist expansion, especially the south and westard expansion of the soviet union and their little plan of global domination and what control of the worlds oil supplies might do to bring about that conclusion.

IF you want to go into it...

truth to power said...

Okay, anonymous, you imply that Saddam's WMD no longer exist. So what happened to them? Is it your contention that he destroyed them while refusing to let the UN inspectors verify the fact? Why?

MindMechanic said...

Anon...what of arguements 1 and 2?

By your reckoning was Bill Clinton a war criminal for attacking a sovereign nation in the name of comabting genocide (as well as all the liberals that supported him) or was it just cause for war?

And if so, why not in Iraq?

MindMechanic said...

"Nevertheless, all Americans should acknowledge that Iraq does, indeed, pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf region, and we should be about the business of organizing an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter, and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.

Now let's be clear: There's no international law that can prevent the United States from taking action to protect our vital interests when it is manifestly clear that there's a choice to be made between law and our survival. Indeed, international law itself recognizes that such choices stay within the purview of all nations.

I believe, however, that such a choice is not presented in the case of Iraq. Indeed, should we decide to proceed, our action can be justified within the framework of international law rather than requiring us to go outside the framework of international law.

In fact, even though a new United Nations resolution might be helpful in the effort to forge an international consensus, I think it's abundantly clear that the existing U.N. resolutions, passed 11 years ago, are completely sufficient from a legal standpoint, so long as it is clear that Saddam Hussein is in breach of the agreements made at the conclusion of the Persian Gulf War.

Now, here's another of the main points I want to make: If we quickly succeed in a war against the weakened and depleted fourth-rate military of Iraq, and then quickly abandon that nation, as President Bush has quickly abandoned almost all of Afghanistan after defeating a fifth-rate military power there, then the resulting chaos in the aftermath of a military victory in Iraq could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam."

"Here's why I say that. We know that he has stored away secret supplies of biological weapons and chemical weapons throughout his country. As yet, we have no evidence, however, that he has shared any of these weapons with terrorist groups. If the administration has evidence that he has, please present it, because that would change the way we all look at this thing.

But if Iraq came to resemble Afghanistan in its current depleted state, with no central authority – well, they have a central authority, but their central authority, because of the administration's insistence that the international community not be allowed to assemble a peacekeeping force large enough to pacify the countryside, that new government in Afghanistan controls a few precincts in one city, and the warlords or drug lords control the whole rest of the countryside.

What if, in the aftermath of a war against Iraq, we faced a situation like that, because we've washed our hands of it? What would then happen to all of those stored reserves of biological weapons all around the country?"

Al Gore
Sept 2002
Dem Fundraiser
The Commonwealth Club,
San Francisco, Ca

MindMechanic said...

There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. And that may happen sooner if he can obtain access to enriched uranium from foreign sources -- something that is not that difficult in the current world. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.

When Saddam Hussein obtains nuclear capabilities, the constraints he feels will diminish dramatically, and the risk to America’s homeland, as well as to America’s allies, will increase even more dramatically. Our existing policies to contain or counter Saddam will become irrelevant.

Americans will return to a situation like that we faced in the Cold War, waking each morning knowing we are at risk from nuclear blackmail by a dictatorship that has declared itself to be our enemy. Only, back then, our communist foes were a rational and predictable bureaucracy; this time, our nuclear foe would be an unpredictable and often irrational individual, a dictator who has demonstrated that he is prepared to violate international law and initiate unprovoked attacks when he feels it serves his purposes to do so.

The global community -- in the form of the United Nations -- has declared repeatedly, through multiple resolutions, that the frightening prospect of a nuclear-armed Saddam cannot come to pass. But the U.N. has been unable to enforce those resolutions. We must eliminate that threat now, before it is too late.

But this isn’t just a future threat. Saddam’s existing biological and chemical weapons capabilities pose a very real threat to America, now. Saddam has used chemical weapons before, both against Iraq’s enemies and against his own people. He is working to develop delivery systems like missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles that could bring these deadly weapons against U.S. forces and U.S. facilities in the Middle East.

And he could make those weapons available to many terrorist groups which have contact with his government, and those groups could bring those weapons into the U.S. and unleash a devastating attack against our citizens. I fear that greatly.

We cannot know for certain that Saddam will use the weapons of mass destruction he currently possesses, or that he will use them against us. But we do know Saddam has the capability. Rebuilding that capability has been a higher priority for Saddam than the welfare of his own people -- and he has ill-will toward America.

I am forced to conclude, on all the evidence, that Saddam poses a significant risk.

Dem Senator John D Rockefeller IV
Senate Floor
October 2002

MindMechanic said...

Saddam has misjudged what he can get away with, and how the United States and the world will respond, many times before. At the end of the day, we cannot let the security of American citizens rest in the hands of someone whose track record gives us every reason to fear that he is prepared to use the weapons he has against his enemies.

As the attacks of September 11 demonstrated, the immense destructiveness of modern technology means we can no longer afford to wait around for a smoking gun. September 11 demonstrated that the fact that an attack on our homeland has not yet occurred cannot give us any false sense of security that one will not occur in the future. We no longer have that luxury.

September 11 changed America. It made us realize we must deal differently with the very real threat of terrorism, whether it comes from shadowy groups operating in the mountains of Afghanistan or in 70 other countries around the world, including our own.

There has been some debate over how "imminent" a threat Iraq poses. I do believe that Iraq poses an imminent threat, but I also believe that after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated. It is in the nature of these weapons, and the way they are targeted against civilian populations, that documented capability and demonstrated intent may be the only warning we get. To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? We cannot!

Dem Senator John Rockefeller IV

MindMechanic said...

Now, I believe the facts that have brought us to this fateful vote are not in doubt. Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who has tortured and killed his own people, even his own family members, to maintain his iron grip on power. He used chemical weapons on Iraqi Kurds and on Iranians, killing over 20 thousand people. Unfortunately, during the 1980's, while he engaged in such horrific activity, he enjoyed the support of the American government, because he had oil and was seen as a counterweight to the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran.

In 1998, the United States also changed its underlying policy toward Iraq from containment to regime change and began to examine options to effect such a change, including support for Iraqi opposition leaders within the country and abroad.

In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001.

It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.

Now this much is undisputed.

Senator Hillary Clinton
October 2002

MindMechanic said...

I know that the Administration wants more, including an explicit authorization to use force, but we may not be able to secure that now, perhaps even later. But if we get a clear requirement for unfettered inspections, I believe the authority to use force to enforce that mandate is inherent in the original 1991 UN resolution, as President Clinton recognized when he launched Operation Desert Fox in 1998.

If we get the resolution that President Bush seeks, and if Saddam complies, disarmament can proceed and the threat can be eliminated. Regime change will, of course, take longer but we must still work for it, nurturing all reasonable forces of opposition.

If we get the resolution and Saddam does not comply, then we can attack him with far more support and legitimacy than we would have otherwise.

Hillary Clinton
October 2002

MindMechanic said...

This matter cannot be left hanging forever with consequences we would all live to regret. War can yet be avoided, but our responsibility to global security and to the integrity of United Nations resolutions protecting it cannot. I urge the President to spare no effort to secure a clear, unambiguous demand by the United Nations for unlimited inspections.

And finally, on another personal note, I come to this decision from the perspective of a Senator from New York who has seen all too closely the consequences of last year's terrible attacks on our nation. In balancing the risks of action versus inaction, I think New Yorkers who have gone through the fires of hell may be more attuned to the risk of not acting. I know that I am.

So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him - use these powers wisely and as a last resort. And it is a vote that says clearly to Saddam Hussein - this is your last chance - disarm or be disarmed.

Hillary Clinton
Oct 2002