Opinion

The Great Debate

Obama and the wrong side of history

By Bernd Debusmann
May 21, 2009

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate—Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.—

Ringing words, smoothly delivered: “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Did that memorable line from President Barack Obama’s inaugural address on January 20 mean his administration would break with a long American tradition of paying lip service to democracy and human rights while supporting authoritarian rulers friendly to Washington? Too early to say for sure, but probably not.

Four months into his presidency, Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, lean towards pragmatism over ideology and principle, closer in foreign policy outlook to Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger than to George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice.

On her first official visit to China, Clinton said concern over human rights must not “interfere” with cooperation on the global financial crisis, climate change and security issues such as North Korea’s nuclear arms programme.

As for those on the wrong side of history, one leader who fits Obama’s description is President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, from where the U.S. president is scheduled to make a high-profile speech to the Muslim world early in June.

A long-time U.S. ally, Mubarak has been in power since 1981. He won uncontested elections four times. The fifth and latest, in 2005, featured charges of vote-rigging and the arrest of his main opponent.

The U.S. Department of State, which issues annual reports on human rights, gives Egypt poor grades and notes “the government’s respect for freedoms of press, association and religion declined during the year (2008).” No unclenched fist here.

To boot, Mubarak has played host and acted as a sponsor to Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for war crimes in Darfur. The court issued a warrant for Bashir’s arrest in March.

At the height of the Bush administration’s “freedom agenda,” the second-term drive for “democracy promotion,” Washington publicly scolded Mubarak. Rice, during a visit to Cairo, announced a break with the past:

“For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in the region. And we achieved neither. Now we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of the people.”

TARNISHED IMAGE

By 2005, when Rice made her democratic aspirations speech, the U.S. image in the Arab world was so badly tarnished by the war in Iraq, the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and Guantanamo that few Arabs were inclined to believe anything the Bush administration said.

Her remark stood out for its bluntness and its venue but the idea was not new. Support for democracy against dictatorships has been a key theme of American foreign policy since the U.S. rose to big power status at the turn of the 20th century.

That did not keep the U.S. from overthrowing democratically-elected leaders it did not like (Chile’s Salvador Allende, Guatemala’s Jacobo Arbenz) and propping up dictators it did (the Shah of Iran, Congo’s Mobutu Sese Seko, Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines). Saying one thing and doing another earned the U.S. an enduring reputation for hypocrisy.

The Bush administration’s enthusiasm for democracy promotion in the Middle East fizzled rapidly after the Islamist group Hamas, shunned as a terrorist group by the West, won a resounding electoral victory in Gaza in 2006. Since then, part of the American foreign policy establishment has framed the alternatives in the region as Islamists or authoritarians.

If there were free elections today in Egypt, many experts predict that the Muslim Brotherhood, whose aim is the establishment of an Islamic state, would win easily, an uncomfortable prospect for Washington.

To push an Arab peace plan Obama wants to make part of an effort to create a Palestinian state side-by-side with Israel, Mubarak is clearly a better partner even though he may be on the wrong side of history. The plan offers Israel normal relations with all Arab states in return for withdrawing from territory it seized in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

The plan was first floated by Saudi Arabia, another staunch U.S. ally far from democracy and prone to silence dissent.

How (and whether) Obama intends to persuade countries on the wrong side of history to switch to the right side should become clear in his speech to the Muslim world. It could be a turning point in America’s relations with a fifth of the world’s population, but there is a lot that could go wrong, even for a president with Obama’s charisma and outstanding political skills. Not to mention a middle name that resonates: Hussein.

The goal he set himself for the speech, spelt out before he took office, is ambitious: “Reboot America’s image” in the Muslim world. Words alone won’t do it, but they are a start.

Comments
176 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

America’s image in the Middle East has never been good stemming from the policies and actions of business men and politicians since before WW II. The American population may have a short memory and shorter attention spans, but those in the Middle East do not forget. To understand our image problem in the area, we must understand the past.

Simply put, mostly US Oil businessmen basically ripped off the Arab world for decades after oil was discovered in the area by “trading” cars and other items of material to the Sheiks, Sultans, and tribal leaders while making millions in profits. Rather like how European settlers traded the Native Americans beads and clothes for all their land, more than a fair deal from one sides point of view, and a heinous crime from the other.

To add insult to injury, The United States government backed the Arab worlds old enemy, Israel, and without any kind of consent from any Palestinian or Arabian, the U.N., backed by Brittan, France, and USA, simply took land from Arabs to give to Israel. Put yourself in Arabian shoes – The world is against you, businessmen lie and cheat you, other Nations Governments back your enemy, who the whole of Arabia expelled from the land centuries ago(you’ll get a different story why depending on who you talk to), steal your land, and your religion is under attack from Christianity, the Roman Catholic Church, and Jewish movements around the world.

And the Bush administration told us the Islamic world hates us for our freedom. Well, I guess I would hate a country and world who use such “Freedoms” to lie, cheat, steal, oppress, undermine, corrupt, and extort my people, my country, my religion, my natural resources, my freedoms, my governments, and my way of life.

It would be one thing if America practiced what it preached, but it is Business as usual here in America with Obama slowly but steadily backing away from the “Change we can believe in” and the powers behind congress, (Lobbyists=Banks, Business, Industry, and why does the nation of Israel have on of the largest Lobbying firms in USA? What kind of Nation buys influence in another? isn’t it treason to accept money from another nation to affect policy in this one?) rear their ugly head to continue their predictable road of greed, selfishness, and disdain for the Constitution, the greatest document on human freedom, liberty, and the rights every soul on earth deserves.

 

Wait I missed something, what’s different from Obama and Bush’s foreign policy?

Are we not pulling out of Iraq at a snail’s pace like under Bush?

Are we not nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Are we not going to support Israel’s eventual war with Iran?

Are we not going to send over Cabinet members to beg the Chinese for money?

Do we still have troops in 136 countries?

Did we just pass a record “defense” budget?

Blathering and speeches means nothing to me, this is status quo business as usual.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive
 

Great post C.D. Walker. When discussing the Middle East with conservatives I’m constantly faced with the argument: “Muslims hate America because of our freedom and there is nothing we can do to change that”. I know this is totally false so I launch into my history lesson, similar to what is included in your post. More often than not I am faced with outright denial…until a simple Google search. It is high time that America learned from her history. It is baffling to me how we have repeated the same mistakes over and over with our foreign policy.
I think President Obama needs to give America a nationally televised history lesson on our past involvement in the Middle East. He has excelled in explaining his reasoning for the stimulus, healthcare reform, etc. Why has he not explained WHY we need a totally new direction in the Middle East?
Not only would this serve to silence people like W, who try to convince the public that Muslim countries hate America for no reason, but it would also open the eyes of millions of Americans to the true reasons that America is so despised by many Middle Eastern countries. I also think it would go a long way towards assuaging the anger in Muslim nations over the fact that America will not even acknowledge mistakes in the region.
It’s past time for America to learn from our history and craft a nuanced foreign policy with GLOBAL peace, health, and stability at its core.

Posted by Daniel | Report as abusive
 

C.D.,

Thanks a million for your post here. Now all we need do is to have about a million other Americans begin to realize what an ‘island’ mentality we have developed in our country. ‘USA! Number One!’ ad nauseum. We pretty much control, dictate or co-opt whatever goes on in Canada or Mexico and don’t feel – as the only superpower left – much of a need to engage with other nations and cultures who differ with us on profound issues. We have the military, the GNP equal to all the rest of the world and corporations that live by the credo, ‘Greed is good!’

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

Listen to us…

Stop complaining about the US and start doing something about it. One of the most intriguing aspects to me about my fellow Americans is how much they rant and rave about issues they neither provide direction on or leadership within.

We talk of silencing people…how about silencing the attackers for over 7.5 years. We all have a debt of gratitude owed to our fellow Americans protecting our freedom.

Let’s provide leadership America, not rhetoric.

Posted by DA | Report as abusive
 

Daniel

You are talking like a child if you believe the Muslims will respond to offers of peace, health and stability.
Their leaders only retain power by building a US “evil straw man” and convincing them through the aid of their religion that the non-Muslim world must be defeated and eliminated. There is no appeasement possible. Their Muslim leaders only understand and respect power and strength.

Posted by AccountingDude | Report as abusive
 

Excellent article and the comments following it are absolutely spot on. It is true that US foreign policy is hated in the ME, but not American values or people.

Posted by SAS | Report as abusive
 

You made an excellent point “C.D. Walker”.

Unfortunately empathy is not usual among the human race.
And those who have that amazing capacity usually are not the ones that make the decisions.
If all the decision makers from all the nations (from the US and Europe to Iran, Israel and Palestine) had that quality, although still very difficult, I believe a solution to the problems in the Middle East was possible.

Let’s hope more people read your excellent point and try to put themselves in your shoes.

 

“Obama’s charisma and outstanding political skills”?
Why not say it? He’s a rockstar…and a rockstar who lies well. Not a shred of substance. Not one little bit of respect for the truth. Hopefully, this empty suit falls on his liberal ass before he has the chance to do too much damage to this country.

Posted by Tim | Report as abusive
 

It has always been bewildering to me that individuals are so prone to be upset about transactions with others only after the fact. Could this be due in no small part to the human emotion of jealousy we are so convenient to exhibit once we see that another has the ability to “turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.”
Unfortunate for some, fortunate financially for others, there will always be those with vision to see a bountiful garden where others only see rocks too big to break. We need to face it and move on that the value we place on an item is relative to our immediate needs at the time. If all of us were blessed with vision then of course the Native Americans would have never sold Manhattan for $24, but they did not place value on land the way the settlers did. Who are we, with our revisionist history, to say that they did not feel as if the settlers were the “suckers” in that deal.
My daddy used to say “Son, as long as there is no fraud involved then a deal is a deal and no crying after.” What he meant is that if someone buys your land and pays you a fair market price then don’t complain if they then decide to dig a well and find oil. It’s a sign of weakness when we start with the recriminations after the fact. Remember we really are supposed to learn from our mistakes; “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”

Posted by L. Perez Jr. | Report as abusive
 

You guys appear to be big Fox News followers as you are so “Fair and Balanced”. Thank you for letting us know that the Arab world is without sin. Your history lesson would benefit from sharing all sides. Can you not think of one sin that the Middle East has performed or is all the fault simply US based?

Posted by TL | Report as abusive
 

To often liberals like yourself claim falsely that America plays lip service to democracy and supports dictators or authoritarian leaders who are friendly to the US. The fact is that few of these dictators are friendly to the US and we attempt to buy influence with money and support. What people like Bernd Debusmann fail to acknowledge is that many of the leaders we supported were the lesser of two evils as was the case with Nicaragua and Iran. The factions that stepped in were the Sandinistians in Nicaragua and the Aytollah Komeni in Iran. Both of which were hands down more brutal and repressive than either of the people they replaced. The fact is that many times we have no white hat to support and so we must choose between the lesser of evils and attmept to influence that person over time with dollars and persuasion. The alternative is to walk away and let the chips fall where they may. The reality of letting the chips fall where they may is there is usually already another influence in the area for the other evil. In Nicaragua the Cubans and the Russians supported the Sandinistans. They took over. Shut down the press and murdered their enemies. They stopped all elections. In Iran, the same. With our help, the Contras restored the press and free elections. So the glassy eyed liberal, who for the most part agrees with the tyranny applied by a socialist government, we were wrong to support the old Nicaraugian government and we were wrong to support the Contras. It was our fault the Sandinistans murdered people and stole their money. It was our fault that a theocracy took over Iran and suppressed the rights of all the people. But the liberals have no problem with the foreign governments who supported the opposition to the US interests in that area. So really, what Bernd Debusmann supports is anyone who opposes the US. He doesn’t support democracy, he supports a thug in charge who doesn’t hold elections as long as the thug opposes us. He is anti-American. He has a believe that we are an unjust and undemocratic government. What he doesn’t oppose is people who support brutal regimes without elections who oppose us.

 

It’s so easy to recognize a confused, so called “conservative” by the hate-driven retoric and profane, personally insulting comments. I left the Soviet Union because of the fear-mongering, hate-filled ideology that eventually lead to that state’s self-distruction. I certainly would not want to see it happen in the U.S., but it will, if hateful and arrogant ideology of the current and past GOP supporters is allowed to proliferate. We chose Obama to change the course but, he may not be able to advance his honorable agenda because the haters have not been outed and brought to justice. We, as a country, will not be able to move on from our shameful recent past of the Bush years if we keep sweeping this history under the rug, until we fully reflect and redress all they have done, bringing justice and fact-based, truthful policies back into our government. Prosecute torturers, liers who concocted the war argument, war profeteers and financial manipulators – that’s the change I and millions of people all over the world believe in.

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive
 

CD: Your general thesis is correct, but you’re making a dangerous error. The US and britain did not “steal” Arab land to create Israel; the land was controlled by Turkey (not an Arab state) before WWI, and was captured by Britain. This was not some elaborate part of a british plot; in fact, British diplomats tried thier hardest to keep Turkey from joining the central powers.

Granted, Britain unjustifiably procrastinated in fufilling thier promise to create Arab states. Nonetheless, the issue was eventually turned over to the UN which overwhelming voted to establish two Palestinian states– Palestine and Jordan– as well as one Jewish state in the region. (Opponents of Israel often point out that the Jews recieved more land per capita; this is true but much of that land was the worthless Negev dessert.) Israel was willing to co-exist; its neighbors were not, but Israel won every war and the rest is history.

Am I nitpicking on one detail? No. If you condemn every US action in the middle-east, you’re being as bad as the people who buy the ignorant “they hate us because of freedom” line. It is true that the US has, and continues to, hypocritcally sponsor un-democratic leaders. But it is also true that corrupt and incomepetent middle eastern leaders use us and even more so Israel as a straw-man, and that Israel is the only stable democracy in the region not built by the US military, with the arguable exception of turkey.

It is bad to continue the pattern of hypocracy, but just as bad to abandon all our ligitimate causes. The myths and facts of American misconduct in the Middle East that caused 9/11 are fanned both by the US’s hypocritical actions and by liberal apologists who make the US’s ligitimate actions seem hypocritical in the eyes of the world as well.

Posted by ZT | Report as abusive
 

You are just wrong about how Arabs feel about Americans. I own an environmental consulting firm with an office in the north of UAE. I have traveled the Middle East extensively, and find that our media is out of touch with how most Arabs, at least those in the business world feel about Americans. Arabs are the one group of people that I have done business with that can sift out politics from business. They appreciate our way of business and our way of life. They hate that we, as a country, support Israel, but in business dealings they can mostly sift that out too. Your words are eloquent, but your research has significantly misguided you,

Posted by Nick Patz | Report as abusive
 

In response to CD I can only say that wars have consequences. When you lose you suffer the consequences. When you win hasn’t it been said “Tthat to the victor go the spoils.” Either way, you must face facts. In 1948, the entire world created the State of Israel not the United States. The United States has become their biggest ally and rightfully so. To imply that you can turn back time and change things is just unrealistic. Israel will remain a vibrant free State and you are just going to have to get used to it. As for America, when have you ever witnessed a country act contrary to its own self interest? OK, when the Communists finally stopped killing the people trying to leave East Germany I will give you that one. Let Freedom Ring.

Posted by Lyle Hartog | Report as abusive
 

Peace works on both sides – right now Christians are being persecuted and killed by Muslims in Iraq and other countries. Muslims are not permitted to convert to any other religion – there is no religious freedom in their countries.

It’s hard to be friends with someone who just wants to convert you or kill you.

http://worldblog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2 009/05/09/1927475.aspx

http://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHMG _enUS300US305&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q =christians+under+attack+in+muslim+count ries

Posted by ST | Report as abusive
 

I dont know if anyone has noticed this but, for every presidency there is a certain atmosphere that goes with that president. Its a reflection on what that president is doing as well as on the media. During all the dumb mistakes in Bush’s presidency there was still that underlying feeling of nurturing. In Obama’s, amid all the empty promises that he is incapable of fulfilling, there is a feeling of hollowness. He doesn’t work to improve this country or the world. Or even to share our freedom and keep smaller countries above the water line as Bush did (or attempted). Instead he made promises. And beneath those promises there is not a slow growing concern for our (or others) welfare. Nor is there a love goal for this country. Instead there is a concern for his image, and in his rush to preserve it he is undoing all past work, getting tangled up in it and ultimately harming the American people. At the very least he needs to focus on one thing at a time, lose the empty promises and charades, and warn us the upcoming flood of dangers. Not pretend like its not there. I’m sorry I was off topic but I needed somewhere too say it. And please don’t brand me a liberal or conservative. I’m a member of no party.

Posted by Estevan | Report as abusive
 

Here is an interesting fact. In George Washington’s farewell speech he warned the American people of mounting national debt, the growing power of political parties, and entangling foreign alliances. Obama is doing all three

Posted by jacob | Report as abusive
 

Debusmann needs to pull his head out of the sand. Islamic fundamentalists are dead-set against:
1. Women’s rights
2. Any religion other than Islam
3. Free market capitalism

You need only examine Islam’s history to know this is true. It isn’t us – it’s THEM.

Obama’s policies will make us less safe. Closing Gitmo for example, is a terrible idea. Do we REALLY wish to further the radicalization of violent felons in our prison system? It’ll happen if we stock our prisons with terrorists from Gitmo.

Lastly, visit this link for an example of how Bush’s policies have kept us safe since 2001:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/05/ 21/security-experts-say-patriot-act-like ly-helped-thwart-nyc-terror-plot/

 

Well, it’s teh same old problem, or rather geo-political game that started 50 years ago.
I’m French, fomr our side of history, we had seen in the USA, Immensly respectable politicals figures untill the 80′s.
Starting at teh Yalta conferance in 44 or 45 I think, the Allies devised a way out of 2nd world war.
In teh summer of 1945, after liberasation of much of Western Europe, UK, USA faced the Soviet problem, who despite all assurances made by Lenin during the Yalta conference, used their advance on the western front to promote communism ideollogy, and to undermine fragile democracy in Eastern Europe who will opposes Communisms.
The end of WW2 witnesses the biggest land grabbing in the history of Europe.
In April 1946, the US,UK and France, sent their respective Foreign secretaries and minister in Moscow to start negotiating with Molotov and Stalin: (Marshall, Bevin, Bidault), after one months of negotiation concerning war reparation, economic recovery actions, and determining most of all a strategy for Germany, the pivot point in the negotation, nothing positive came out, adn no solution were reached.
What followed is then the beginning of the cold war.
The soviet, lead by Lenin, were more interested in advancing communism ideology in Europe to gain Western Europe, mainly france and Italia, as well as the whle of germany.
In effect a weak Economy in Europe would have been more prone to sudain or gradual take over by soviet coup.
Especially in France, where the communiste party almost gain a majority in the French parlement, backed up by the USSR.
The then french political apparatus was extremly worried about a communiste majority if its economic situation continued to deteriorate. on this basis, teh USA who was already senidng vast ammount of aid to Europe but not enough to lead to economic recovery, offer European contries to propose a plan for recovery to the USA, who iwll in turn finace the plan on a massive scale.
The plan was the now famous : Marshall Plan, who helped Western Europe to economic recovery, but also to set up the fundation of the European Union, starting with free trade agreement between France and Germany over steel and coal.
Men like Marshall, have literally carried the world to peace, despite all ods, form lake of US fiance to unfaforable Public opinion obout foreign aid.
Without men like Marshall, Clayton, kennan and others, the futur of Europe would have been much more incertain if not under soviet rules.
This Economic recovery wasn’t helping the USSR in its expenssionite plan, and was a major factor for teh cold war.
Now so far history shows that middle-eastern problems are more linked to cold war left overs,than religion.
When the USSR leaders understood that they couldn’t not win domination in Western Europe, strategy for expenssion was oriented in South-East-near Asia and the middle East.
As nixon explain with intense clarity in his book “teh real war” USSR goal was to undermine energy feed from the middle east to Western nations, which is why the MIddle East became a strategic point not only for its energy reserve, but most of all for its strategic position against USSR, the USSR war in Afganistan was no more than the result of Strategic ambition toward middle eastern Oil reserve, and so did many conflict in Africa and the middle East, but also, why Israel has been seen so important to the Eyes of western Power, has it was the lastest county who would not give in USSR ambition, it was a safe-gard against Russian advance.
The cold war unfortunatly has lead to numeral “bavures”; as the politic of the US became more focus on result rather than democratic values and who was simply supporting any totalitarian regime, as long as it oppose USSR advance in the world, that will explain Chili, Angola, Irak, Iran (althought he US failed supporting the iran Cha) vietnam, and much more.
The whole cold war wasn’t about democracy but about Energy reserves, and for good raisons.
In the last 8 years, the Bush administration has actively pursued its own cold war against, China I guess, or was it Europe, or was it Russia.??
The war in Irak, has been anyway a cold war left over, lead by man, forged in the outdated cold war strategy.
They could have based their strategy instead on sustanable development and by phrasing out the used of oil by pushing for Electric Cars, as Obama and the EU are doing today, they did not, which can lead to the conclusion, but that’s own so I’m all ears to alternatives, that the war in Irak, was more about US and UK Oil company making a final run for oil suppremacy and generating obcene profit from it than really trying to fight china or the EU.
Which is why, and I apologies for bringing back a 5 year old debate, numerous country in the EU did not backed up the war, especially Germany and france, because it was simply seen as a war run by private business, for corporate profit, but using public funds and ressources.
With teh end of the oil age, as new technologies offer pretty good alternative to oil, the cold war strategy is vanishing as well as oil reserve.
This is maybe the most major shift of policies that the world will experience for the last 60 years.
Obama role, as far as the US is concern, is to progressively phrase out old cold war strategy and replace them with active economic development in the MIddle East, I think his conference yesterday with Ben Netanyahu, and his garantee of turning down blank check and Though Love attidude toward Israel are a sign, that things are starting to move around.
It is time to let go Israel pretention toward the right to exist at the expenses of others, and to start building a bold plan for economic development in the MIddle East and more importantly in Africa.
The the US or the EU can do it alone, and it is time to come together rather than pursuing distinctive goals on each side.
the EU and the US are faced with instable totalitarian regime, such as China/Russia, who despite as much good deed the chinese people can offer on their own, their view of the world is in all economic expenssion at the expenses of others where it is for energy or natural ressources, as we can see in Darfur.
The challenge we face ranging from unprecedented economic crisis, oil price rise, new energies to be developed, global warming, cannot be carried alone by either the EU or the USA.
There’s a point where Americans will have to stop isolating themselves from the rest of the world, and where the EU must stop being so suspicious of the USA.
It is also a point in time, where just as 60 years ago, we need to come with a bold plan for recovery after 8 years of war.
We need a new Marshall Plan.

Posted by jean | Report as abusive
 

I am proud that Israel was given to the Jews. What was left of them after Hitler.
Anyone that does not support Israel is Un-American.
The muslims in this world that hate Israel so bad are Jealous of the sucess that Israel has accomplished in the short few years of its very existance. They are a determined society and very intelligent people. They have built Israel into a thriving country. They give Muslims jobs and have done a lot to help the other people in the area. What do they get in return ?? Killings bombings, etc. etc. Why….because the very people that depise them as a society are jealous that they do not have the drive and desire to want to better themselves. They want something for nothing. They hate the jews and Israel because they are sucessful. Just like they hate America. Envy and jealously.
They have hate and envy in their hearts and minds. Not love and compassion for their fellow man. The Koran is a peice of garbage. It is all a lie. You can take what I have said as you may. I do not care. But all I have said is the truth. Look at that strip of land called Gaza. Nothing but trash lives there. These people have no desire to better themselves. If they did, they would go elsewhere, get a job, go to school and learn and make something of themselves. I have no sympathy for the people in that area that are so full of hate, that they kill, cut of heads, burn people, \”really\” torture folks and I don\’t mean BS kids play like waterboarding.
Obama I hope will be toast in 4 years. I feel sure of this. The people drank the KOOL AID, but I think it is working its way out of their system and more and more folks are waking up now to see him for what he really is. An empty suit. Yeah he has that great skill of speaking well form a telephompter. That is about all I will give him credit for.
His policies stink. He has no clue about the economy and the people that he has put into place to run all these different departments are socialists just like he is.
I for one do not wish to buy my neighbor a car, put food on their table, pay their mortgage for them while I work my a– off to pay for their sorriness. They have the choice just like I did to get an education and get a damn job and get up and go to work everyday, just like millions of other Americans do.
People need to wake up and wake up now ! When the elections come around in 2010, 2012, and 2014 there needs to be a real change. Term limits would be great for all of congress. It has become so corrupt that I at times wonder what the heck America has become. A nation of liars, thieves, tax cheats and child molesters, women chasers and on and on. Most all on our Government are made up of a bunch of rich folks that coudl care less about you are me. yeah they pretend they do but they only care about power and money. All of them need to be booted back home. A lot of them belong in jail.
This country needs change alright but it sure aint Obamas kinda change that are going to make things better.
The news media in this country has poisoned peoples mind and they try hard to guide and direct them on Politics. The newspapers are as bad as the National Enquirer.
The Unions have ruined the Auto industry and other companies in this country. All they care about is their dues so they can live high on the hog and funnel money to the Democratic Party. Hollywood has become a bunch of crazy people and morons.
Wall street has become a nightmare with crooks, mobsters and more. Not all are bad at Wall street but there are enough bad eggs to make it all look bad.
Check car, global warming, Carbon Tax, Free Health care, the UN, THE G20, THE G7 and the World bank, the monetary fund, World Health Organization and all the other Orginizations and last but not least….The Bilderburg Group.. if people even know much about them. Find out where Timothy Geithner was last week. He was in Greece from Wednesday til Saturday. Look at his schedule.
They together are all like a big cluster F…! The world is out of control. All these groups want to establish a NEW WORLD ORDER.
CROOKS, LIARS AND THIEVES.
What do to ??? Don\’t look the other way. It will only get worse. STAND UP AND FIGHT ! FIGHT FOR AMERICA !
Expand your mind. Research and learn what is REALLY going on in the world and all around you.
Just do it.

Posted by Mary | Report as abusive
 

What some posters fail to report is the 4 Trillion Dollars the west has paid to the countries of Saudi Arabia, et al in the last 40 years for their oil. It has been the largest transfer of wealth.

The West is not like basically because we are not Muslim and that is the bottom line. It has been that way for 1300 years. We will never be liked as long as we practice Judea-Christianity. We may co-exist, but fundamentally their religion only tolerates other religions as long as they are in control. Jews are not allowed to practice their faith in Saudi Arabia or Dubai by law. The Bible is not even allowed in Saudi Arabia.

Posted by Wags | Report as abusive
 

During the 1980s, there were two superpowers, struggling for domination. It was easy for each of them to defend their actions as nessessery to prevent the other side from winning. A lot of compromises have been done in the name of the greater good.
In 1990 the world was left with only one superpower. It was a good time for the US to become the pillar of the world community.
Of course, we are living in a real world. The habit of protecting the US interests whatever the costs was hard to overcome. USA became the world bully.
I don’t know of a powerful country not doing exactly the same, but since the last time a country was strong enough to stand unoposed (the British empire) the world has become a lot more civilized. Besides, from the ‘we fight for freedom, democracy and justice’ boasts I was kind of expecting less hypocrisy. A logical person would either say they do the right thing and do it, or more likely act egoistically and don’t brag about it. Not the US.
Sure, they did the right thing fighting for Kosovo independence. The Serbs had been killing Albanians for a long time and even though Kosovo is the historical cradle of Serbia killing people to get it back is not justified in the modern era.
Sure, they scold China for oppressing Tibet.
Only they support Turkey in its campaign against the Kurds. Let me tell you, people don’t want to break apart of a big developed country that protects their rights, they want to emigrate there. What country would imprison a member of the parliament for saying “I take this oath for the brotherhood between the Turkish people and the Kurdish people.” in Kurdish after taking the oath? If you don’t believe it search ‘Leyla Zana’ in the internet.
They supported Georgia in North Ossetia. What country would level its own cities with artillery, as Georgia did with Tskhinvali, a city they claimed was theirs.
They supported Israel in keeping the living conditions in Palestine unbearable. If you are left without electricity, food, water and kept in a city with hundreds of thousands of desperate people in the same position will you not fight back? Israel claims Hamas are terrorists, yet they committed act of terrorism im the past, as bombing King David Hotel. Its Likud party originated from the Irgun, an Israeli terrorist group.
Happy, satisfied people rarely commit suicide bombings or support communism for that matter. America stopped Soviet domination in western Europe just by lifting the living standard. They can remove the popular support for Hamas by sending food and medical supplies to Palestine.
By using a double standard the US have shown themselves as hippocrates. By being dependant on non-democratic states funding their budget deficits have lost their economy lead, whatever GDP figures may show.
USA is sinking like the Titanic, slowly but inevitably. They still have the best military, but how long can they fund it?
Obama could have done something eight years ago. Not any more.

Posted by NDT | Report as abusive
 

Thanks Liberals,

For proving the theory that you do blame the USA at all costs..

It is easy to Monday morning quarterback political decisions over the last 100 years from one side of the fence. It is true, the US backed Dictators at the cost of freedom in certain cases. However, Soviet and Maoist Communism as a political movement in the 20th Century resulted in the needless murder of over 30 Million people (not counting the people killed numerous wars fomented by the required “revolution” for Marxist theory to exist). Sometimes, you pick the Devil you know.

Case in point, the Shah of Iran. Iran was a staunch ally of the USA. Iran was, is and has been, for the last five thousand years, a very powerful military and political force in the region. President Carter decided that a religious government of any kind would be better than a Dictator who supports the USA. So, he drops support for the Shah and encourages Ayatollah Khomeini to foment revolution. Khomeini does just that, stabs Carter in the back and, in 1979, we have a Soviet friendly totalitarian state who views America as “Shaitan” based on our support of Israel. Within a few months, the Soviets invade Afghanistan because they aren’t concerned about Iran counterattacking. Osama Bin Laden fights the Soviets there. A great deal of the Mujihadeen of Afghanistan later become the Taliban. The Taliban create training camps where Osama trains a bunch of guys to attack the USA – 9/11 happens and suddenly I have to put up with TSA screeching at me to take my shoes off every time I fly.

Call it a 6 degrees of separation moment but the timeline illustrates why picking allies solely over Morals isn’t always the best course of action.

Let’s not forget, 9-11 happened because Muslim Extremists attacked the US without provocation (unless you want to call supporting Israel provocation). Since that day, Liberals have tried everything imaginable to make 9-11 the fault of the United States. When the schoolyard bully hits you in the face, you don’t give him flowers.

After 9-11, Bin Laden stated that the 9-11 attacks were done to force the US to abandon it’s bases in Saudi Arabia. Since then, the Islamists who have political control have repeatedly stated that their goal is to create the world Caliphate envisioned by 7th – 10th Century Muslim leaders. Followers of this radical form of Islam believe that “Kaffirs” (non-believers – I’m one of them – My guess is that most of you Libs are agnostic at best so you are too..) do not have the right to exist. To Islamists, all non-believers must convert or be killed. That is the tack of the people you Liberals so wish to cozy up with. The Islamists use the lunacy of self loathing American and European Liberals provide in order to create the Western power base they need to succeed in their goals.

We didn’t start this. You aren’t helping us finish it either.

Posted by Thomas | Report as abusive
 

Nice lesson in history jean, but are the world leaders ready to learn or are they still stubborn as an ASS.
They either repeat history or make history.
Now in the time we live in ISLAMISATION of the world is the goal of the islamic clergies as in “if your are not with us you are against us mentality” where will our freedom be if this happen. Look also to the fact that those islamist are fighting among themselves and to make matter worst they prefer to terrorize those who are around them.They are lucky to be oil rich, if not who in his right mind would give attention to them.
And if we hear of the Islamic Nuke what will we do? Do we surrender or fight?
Those world leaders knows something we do not know which could really repeat or make history. Let us do what we can to make a better world and let our leaders know that we are against crime on humanity and freedom.
I am not against any Muslim or Arab. What I am against is terrorism using Islam to reach their goal.

Posted by Mar | Report as abusive
 

The first US contacts with the Muslim world occurred two centuries ago, and the Arabs were blackmailing our young country. The military sucesses over the Arabs was not one of conquest, but of correction to a powerful group of corrupt religious and political leaders. Of the three major religions in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, none has gained more converts in such a short period time than Islam. Most of those converts were at the point of a sword. For those who love the film Casablanca, let’s not forget that the Nazi’s wanted something that France and Great Britian already had-overseas colonies which brougt lucre to the mother countries. Even poor little Belgium and Holland had major colonies when Germany attacked them in WWI. The Russians formed the Soviet Union after 300 years of military conquest over its neighbors. In the face of all that, why is the US hated, as so often claimed. Could it possibly be ignorance of history? What colony has the US had? Does anyone think we will stay in Iraq? Or Afganistan? Is Viet-Nam better off because we “lost” the war? When I was stationed in Spain, the Spainish often were confused by my white skin and the fact I spoke English, whom the Spanish hate. I had to explain that I was American, and then they loved me. A friend, a professor from a very liberal University just returned from a trip on the Orient Express. He found that Americans are held in esteem by the Russia and China. Perhaps the only people who hate are the politicians and hacks who whip up the hatred towards their own country.

Posted by mike hammer | Report as abusive
 

Reboot America’s image? Obama supporters are fixated on the benefits of image. What does image do for you in confronting those that don’t have the same principles you have, and are committed to wiping you off the face of the earth if you don’t believe in their God?

Are not our values about freedom, choice, life and personal responsibility? Let’s talk about ideas, results, and values; and not do we look and sound good.

Carter had a good image, Clinton had a good image and look what it got us, Carter put in place the current Iranian situation (that’s really been a positive) and Clinton oversaw many terrorist attacks on US properties around the world, plus two genocide events, one against Muslims in Europe and one against blacks in Africa.

Lets be sure to look good!

Posted by D Brown | Report as abusive
 

Very good post.
I would like to say that not just the ME hates the american foreign policy!! And not just muslims hate american policy.
I think it is important not to confuse extreme islamist and muslims… I guess like any other religion. Some have a very short memories. Christians are not saints, they did kill in the name of thier god too.
Regarding Marshall plan, well the american after the WW2 were the only ones with gold. The old Europe had used all of it for the war which went into the american pockets. Without the plan marshall well, the US will have a limited expectation of economic growth, because it will not been many export. And De Gaulle accepted the plan Marshall because we did need the money to recontrust France, not because he trusted Americans. But his vision of Europe was to counter power the rise of the US economically and politically. I dont think it was wrong, we have seen the USA going to war which are not justified in any way, except by the american way.
I am French and catholic.

Posted by Celine | Report as abusive
 

Our diplomacy in the Middle East is all too one-sided – in favor of Israel and our oil interests. We’ve been fighting a ‘proxy war’ in the Middle East for years, supplying Israel with trillions (not just billions) of our money for its ‘defense’.

And in Israel, we already know,
the seeds of terror daily continue to grow.
Each bombing strafe, each bulldozer foray,
makes the Islamics madder than they are today.”

Israel currently has one of the biggest nuclear arsenals ready to fire. Israel repeatedly pushes its policies with games of genocide, ethnic cleansing, chemical defoliation and murder, as well as its own discriminatory practices against non-Jews.

The current problems in Jerusalem further emphasize that discrimination inasmuch as it has recently destroyed homes that have been built without the proper ‘approvals’. ‘Approvals’ from whom? In Israel, Arabs cannot live wherever they want; however, Jews can. Schools are segregated, entire neighborhoods within Israel are segregated. Much as the current fiasco over Bernard Madoff who resided in a ‘Jewish enclave’ in Florida, has demonstrated, the problem is not just within ‘Israel-proper’ – it is global.

Immigration preference is given to those of the Jewish faith; all policies are highly bent in favor of a majority Jewish population that is being constantly threatened.

Is this democracy or theocracy?

Recently, also, Israel banned the press from Gaza – and a few years ago from Jenin. Why? Cluster bombs were used in Lebanon, against all international accords against their use. Why? Phosphorus flares were used, too, maiming hundreds of innocent civilians in both Gaza and Jenin. Simply put, they wanted to conceal their ruthless, inhumane slaughter.

What will not be immediately exposed in our biased media is that Israel has used “Roundup”, a chemical defoliant with reputed cancer-causing chemicals to defoliate areas of the Negev desert in a vicious attempt to roust Arab nomads have been raising sheep for centuries.

The mantra “Israel is good and Islam is bad” is entirely without basis. And as long as we avoid a necessary confrontation with Israel over their discriminatory policies, we’ll continue to have threats against us.

Posted by Bernie | Report as abusive
 

It’s interesting hearing the neocons on this website, whether they be republican or democrat.

Governments consistently use society’s prejudice and racist for means of their profiteering in war. Fact is most Christians in this country (the US) want Muslims dead and most Muslims in the Middle East want Christians dead. Both are simply fanatical, crazy theologies and gov’t stomps on the opportunity.

You think the neocons in this country would put up with 120,000 dead Iraqi’s if they were Bible-toting blondes?

You think the neocons in this country would put up with us destroying the 3rd poorest country in the world if it were full of Christian missions?

Where is it that you people have faith in what this government does over there? Does the photo of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam mean nothing? Do the blank checks and blind military support of Bin Laden from the Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush presidencies mean nothing?

We should do nothing over there, stop trying to influence the world and spend our money and resources on defending our borders and having satelite missiles, nothing else is necessary. Look at the strain and fear this puts on our economy, we can no longer afford militarily or economically to try and be the world’s hall moniter.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive
 

“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Exactly. It is time for the administration to look in the mirror, and see the applicability of that statement to its own actions, both foreign and domestic.

 

Celine,

Your understanding of the Marshall Plan isn’t very good. America had money at the end of World War 2 because we had a manufacturing base. No one had actually repaid war debt at the time (the UK paid off it’s debt in 2006 and France never will). So the “gold” to which you refer wasn’t in US pockets at the time. Europe was never a target for US Export, even in the post war years. The Marshall Plan was based on Humanitarian and Political exigencies of the time.

Humanitarian because, just like the Belgian Relief of 1918-19, the US felt a responsibility to rebuild what Europeans themselves had destroyed. Political because the Soviets were positioning themselves to take Western Europe to join the East as satellites. Ensuring economic prosperity along with a heavy US military presence was the best way to ensure freedom in the West.

DeGaulle was a man driven by patriotism. What few Americans understand is that the French and Americans are so very much alike in the ways we view our country and our world outlook. So, when DeGaulle saw NATO as a threat to French sovriegnity he walked away. The US would have done the same thing. However, due to his decision American and French opinions of each other were indellibly changed at that very moment.

The US had two things going for it at the end of the War:
We had a manufacturing base and we hadn’t fallen in to a spiral of self destruction as Europe did almost every 30-50 years since the 16th Century. We utilized our productivity to become a rich nation and, since the ’80′s, have done everything possible to destroy our ability to produce. Shame on us.

Posted by thomas | Report as abusive
 

Mr. Debusmann,

I’d like to hear your thoughts about Obama’s “prolonged detention” concept, raised in his speech last night. Many of us liberal/leftists here were quite upset. I’m still undecided as to whether Obama is actually going back on his resolve to stay within the law. I would prefer that these prisoners go through the U.S. Federal court system. Surely we can manage it somehow. As for prisons, unfortunately we have plenty of them, with more than enough room for a few jihadists.

What do you think? Is this a big departure for Obama from the “rule of law,” or is it just because of a special, difficult situation? Should we give Obama the benefit of the doubt?

Thank you.

Regards,

Ralph

 

I understand why people get so upset with America. (Full disclosure: I’m American). Throughout history, my govt has contradicted itself time and time again. You lay out just a few of the many examples. But what the world and, more importantly, Americans, need to understand, is that our gov’t does what’s best for America. Period. And most of the time, what’s best for America doesn’t align with the morals and values we tell everyone we have. If we think a dictator like Mubarak is better for the American agenda, which he is, then we support him. If he gets out of line, we change our tone to scare him back into place. America does not want the Muslim Brotherhood in power in Egypt, nor will it ever let that happen. But that’s why we have the CIA.

Personally, I was shocked that the Bush Administration went into Iraq. Suddam was the perfect dictator and ally to the US. Its been evident these past years the level of turmoil and unrest a “free” Iraq can cause. I would have thought no matter how much of a pain Saddam was, his iron hand rule of law was exactly what America wanted. Unfortunately, Cheney, in the height of Hubris, thought he could do a better job.

I would have hoped that this past decade opened the eyes of many Americans. We desparately need to reconcile our words with our actions and our perception of our actions. Many Americans beleive we are a great people, with the highest moral standard and that everyone loves us. Unfortunately, this is not the case. We are not great, we dont have high morals and not everyone loves us. But instead of confronting that and dealing with it, our politicians use it as a pep rally to charge the team with going out and attacking those people that dont like us. Hopefully, Mr Obama starts to change that dialogue.

Posted by Tony | Report as abusive
 

An old joke from USSR.
Ukrainian Nationalists converse:
– Have you heard what the damn Moskals (a slur for Russians in Ukraine Nationalist speak) talk about? “Beat the Jews to save Russia!”.
– Sure I heard. A great thing to do, but the goal stinks big time.

That’s exactly how the Muslims would react to “Pressure Israel to promote American policies in the Middle East, the chief of them democracy and freedom”.
For them, Israel is only a convenient pretext to explain their hate of America and West in general. If there was no Israel they’d find something else. But the root cause is that we are “Infidels” to them. The fact that Infidels live on this Earth, and don’t bend to recognize the supremacy of Islam, is an insult to every faithful Muslim. The fact that Infidels generally live better than Muslims is an insult many times over.
Bending over before them as Barack Hussein Obama did before Saudi king will only embolden them. Giving them concessions as Barack Hussein Obama is apparently going to in his planned Egypt visit will only send the wrong message to them that they are right and should press even further with their idea of global Islam supremacy.
Persuading the countries on the wrong side to switch to the right side is an exercise in futility because leaders like Mubarak and all the oil monarchs know that free and fair elections will spell the end to them, not only politically but physically as well. The worst part of it is that whoever will then democratically grab the power will be only more repressive to their own people, and surely much more anti-West. As bad as Palestinian Fatah is, Hamas is even worse, and they are poised to win elections if those were held today. Algeria suffered a civil war as a result of Islamic radicals winning the elections – luckily the Army chose to protect law and order instead of bending over to the democratically elected radicals who didn’t even try to hide their plans to throw law and order (and democracy as well) down the toilet and replace them with their radical Islam. Try to conduct free, fair, and democratic elections in Afghanistan now – Taleban will win, just to make sure the elections were the last ever.

Posted by Immigrant from USSR | Report as abusive
 

America’s image in the Middle East has never been good stemming from the policies and actions of business men and politicians since before WW II. The American population may have a short memory and shorter attention spans, but those in the Middle East do not forget. To understand our image problem in the area, we must understand the past.

Simply put, mostly US Oil businessmen basically ripped off the Arab world for decades after oil was discovered in the area by “trading” cars and other items of material to the Sheiks, Sultans, and tribal leaders while making millions in profits. Rather like how European settlers traded the Native Americans beads and clothes for all their land, more than a fair deal from one sides point of view, and a heinous crime from the other.

To add insult to injury, The United States government backed the Arab worlds old enemy, Israel, and without any kind of consent from any Palestinian or Arabian, the U.N., backed by Brittan, France, and USA, simply took land from Arabs to give to Israel. Put yourself in Arabian shoes – The world is against you, businessmen lie and cheat you, other Nations Governments back your enemy, who the whole of Arabia expelled from the land centuries ago(you’ll get a different story why depending on who you talk to), steal your land, and your religion is under attack from Christianity, the Roman Catholic Church, and Jewish movements around the world.

And the Bush administration told us the Islamic world hates us for our freedom. Well, I guess I would hate a country and world who use such “Freedoms” to lie, cheat, steal, oppress, undermine, corrupt, and extort my people, my country, my religion, my natural resources, my freedoms, my governments, and my way of life.

It would be one thing if America practiced what it preached, but it is Business as usual here in America with Obama slowly but steadily backing away from the “Change we can believe in” and the powers behind congress, (Lobbyists=Banks, Business, Industry, and why does the nation of Israel have on of the largest Lobbying firms in USA? What kind of Nation buys influence in another? isn’t it treason to accept money from another nation to affect policy in this one?) rear their ugly head to continue their predictable road of greed, selfishness, and disdain for the Constitution, the greatest document on human freedom, liberty, and the rights every soul on earth deserves.

 

“Fact is most Christians in this country (the US) want Muslims dead and most Muslims in the Middle East want Christians dead.”
-Michael Ham

You must be very accurate when make such statements!!! It talk more about your surrounding rather than whole country! There is big gap between want “somebody dead” and “don’t like”/”don’t trust”.
There is little love to Muslims to loose in US, but I don’t see “most Christians in US want to see Muslims dead”.
In general Americans avoid using words “kill”/”dead” when it comes to group of people. I guess politically correct behavior takes roots.

Posted by SKV | Report as abusive
 

Wanting war with and wanting dead, SKV i dunno the difference. The more religious the area of the US, the more willing they are to give the thumbs up to mass muslim killings.

The Bible says all those who don’t accept Jesus as their savior belong in hell, so if you’re Christian than that means you think 7 billion people currently on the planet deserve to burn for eternity and be tortured for an infinite period of time.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive
 

leftist crap. get an education.

Posted by Will Carter | Report as abusive
 

Lol, only in America can you be against big government expansion into the middle east, against big government spending on nation-building, speaking out against Obama, and still be called a leftist liberal.

Everything is so backwards today in US politics.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive
 

I do not normally post comments to ANY news commentary, but as a Christian Conservative US Citizen of Irish/German descent, I must say that I am appalled at the amount of hatred and just plain ignorance in FAITH that is out there in the world today. I do not wish ANY Muslim dead. It is not up to me to judge anyone on this Earth. That is entirely up to God. God by the way, is based on the same principles in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Faiths. Any educated person who has read the Bible, Torah, and Koran knows that. If you don’t like your government, don’t vote for it. President Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan etc. are not the government: Congress is: and Congress starts in your own backyards. Start placing the blame where it belongs: on OURSELVES. I am guilty, how about you?

 

Not that it matters anyway. Obama’s international policies are not really different to the Republicans. Missile shields, Israel support and empire are all cranking along quite nicely.

Only the radicals (on both wings) are upset about this.

The Democrats are happy because they think they have ‘won the argument and turned the page’. They have their cookie, and now they can calm down.

The Republicans are happy because their international policies are still being enforced. What matters is not who enforces right-wing international polices, but that they are enforced. And Obama will do that.

Posted by Anon. | Report as abusive
 

As a precaution,one cannot enforce democracy.But,one can enforce liberty.

Posted by baddiel | Report as abusive
 

It is impossible to properly analyze a foreign policy in a comment or even in an opinion column. It would take several volumes of books full of dull and sleep inducing text (except to policy wonks). Pragmatism is nothing new in foreign policy. Another word for it is “diplomacy”. A nation acts in its self-interests or it falls. It’s that simple. You support those leaders, dictators or freely elected, who either wholly support your goals or, at the least, do not impede them. the fringes of political thought dream of world peace and liberty for all. But they have no idea how to implement it. They cannot even get along with each other. I am not talking about just those on the Left. The fringe Right is equally ignorant of its own faults. Obama is not doing anything different than Bush did and the only real difference is that Obama (currently) has the support of the Media. When the media begins to lose its power (and it is coming) then Obama will fall by the wayside. The world will continue as it always has: The Strong will dominate the Weak, charismatic leaders will rally the oppressed and then become the oppressor. It’s all in one’s perspective who is teh oppressor and who is the oppressed.

 

John, I understand your sensitivities I do. Religion is #1 for everyone, I went to a catholic school for 3 years and a catholic church for 18 years.

However you didn’t really dispute anything I said, if Iraqi’s were bible-toting blondes do you think there’d be 120,000 civilian deaths? I don’t mean to lump all religious people into that category, but the majority is the case I believe.

Trust me, I haven’t voted for anyone in office now. I’ll never vote for a republican or democrat, so if that’s the only thing on the ticket I just won’t vote in that category.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive
 

Wrong heading. Should be “Obama on the wrong side of history”. It’s only 4 months into his term, yet the damage he’s done will cost us way beyond 2012 when he’ll be gone.
Everyone chided Bush for growing national debt. Bush is down, and the debt? Way up. Who will pay? The US tax payers anyway, either through higher taxes, or by devaluing US$ and cutting everyone’s savings, or a combination of these.
BHO singlehandedly (well, with assistance of one activist judge) rewrote bankruptcy laws. It was “secured creditors paid first”. In precedent-setting Chrysler case it turned into “political allies of sitting president paid first”. The same fate awaits GM. But there’s no way UAW-ruled Chrysler and GM will survive without eventually borrowing again. And who would be that fool that will cut a loan to them? Not only automakers, everyone else will suffer because making a secured loan became much riskier than it used to be, so it will cost more to borrow.
The much-ballyhooed credit card bill is another example of the liberals chocking industry with regulations. Credit companies already hinted that as a response they would have to cut credit lines to the ones they see as higher risk, raise interest to everyone, and eliminate many traditional perks including grace period. Guess what? I (and many others like me) will just cut up credit cards and switch to debit cards and good old cash, though it will be much less convenient. The ones who can least afford that will be stuck with higher interest and fees – and no grace period to avoid these extra expenses.
This discussion is about foreign policies, but so far BHO has done nothing of substance on that front, except, as somebody else mentioned, bowing down to Saudi King. Bad precedent – not one US President before bowed down to anyone, ever. At this point we can only speculate about what new direction, if any at all, will take American foreign policy. Though the omens were not encouraging. Seems like once again the long term American interests will be pushed aside to make way for the politically correct dish of the day.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive
 

Mr Dratman:

Is he going back on his resolve? Your guess is as good as mine but I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Regards,

BD

Posted by bdebusmann | Report as abusive
 

I am really tired of people all over this country trying to split up this country along ideological, theological, economical, and political lines.

“We the people of the United States of America, in order for form a more perfect union establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our prosperity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.”

Where is the Justice when a credit card company can whimsically charge 20-30% interest for the privilege of spending your own money? i know, the argument, “If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it”, well, what can people afford today with $10 an hour, $400 a week, only $1200 a month, all before taxes. A $150,000 home on a 30 fixed rate of (Gasp) 5% is $802 a month. Hmmm, 1200- 802 = 398. So a full time worker making 10 an hour trying to live in a home(The American Dream) only has 400 dollars to pay for his car payment, car insurance, car maintenance, gas, health insurance, property taxes, home insurance(Flood and Fire insurance extra), home gas bill, electric bill, water bill, trash pickup bill, homeowners association costs, don’t forget food, and if he decides to have a child, you have extra food costs, health costs, toys, on top of schools costs(i thought public education was supposed to be free? isn’t that promised? why must parents pay for public school?) and of course saving for your child’s college, and retirement for you of course. If he gets married, it may or may not add some income to the home.

Where is the promise of Liberty when the entire financial system is constructed to make sure a person is enslaved to debt right out of college, if they even go, and if they don’t have a college education, a person is almost guaranteed a life lived in conditions close to poverty. Where is the general welfare of this country when the Middle Class and the Yeoman farmer, the group that represents “WE THE PEOPLE” have no means with which to ensure they have “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This country was not founded by Bankers, Businessmen, Financiers, Lawyers, or Politicians, yet this small, small majority of people run this country, and i promise you this small, small group of people do not have the best interest of the American public in their hearts.

The biggest fear the small, small group of people have is the population seeing through them, seeing how this group has distorted the constitution and the institutions of this great country to fit their greedy, selfish, self-serving wants, and united to drive them all out of office.

Why else would this small, small group of people continue to keep the American population divided and polarized, keep them from seeing the truth and keep them from getting this country back to what is means

“For the people, by the people.”

 

I am quite concerned that President Obama is slowly being engulfed by the Dark Side. It is incredible his latests moves to ingratiate himself to the republicans following the un-convicted War Criminal Chenney. We must clean up the mess and prosecute the whole bunch that violated the Constitution and International Law.

Posted by Fritz Schenk | Report as abusive
 

C.D. Walker,
What makes you think that living in own house is an entitlement? For the ones making $10/hr there are other more affordable options, like rental apartments and trailer parks. And if you are making per capita less than certain amount you become eligible for one program or another like subsidized housing or Section 8. And food stamps, too.
Also I don’t see what role are car payments playing in the budget you tried to lay down. If you make $10/hr you are not supposed to buy new cars. I’m making multiples of that, yet I’m not feeling rich enough to buy brand new, when I can get a 2 year old car just off a lease for half the price. And used cars are usually sold for cash, not on credit.
And if you believe that people making $10/hr should be allowed to supplement their income with credit card charges, please be consistent and say you also believe that people are entitled to borrow, default, wipe the debt in bankruptcy, and repeat this cycle over and over, just because their income is not sufficient to support their chosen lifestyle. How about honest living within one’s means? Too old style, too conservative for you and other leftie fighters for social justice like you?
And let me tell you $10/hr is not Middle Class these days. You are probably stuck in weed smoking Seventies to suggest that. These days, depending on where you are, Middle Class is more like $30/hr, and in places like NYC or Silicon Valley it only begins at $50/hr.
Also it’s all about individual choices and responsibilities for these choices. If you chose to drop out of school you should expect being precluded from most but the most menial employment. If you decided to pursue in the college a degree in liberal arts you should expect your job prospects being way below those studying accounting or business administration or computer science.
Since you seem to be fascinated by the legal documents of the dawn of the United States of America, I’d advise you to re-read the Declaration of Independence. It spells out “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” as birthrights. But neither the Declaration, nor Constitution, nor any other piece of legislation states that Happiness is an entitlement. Whether or not you can achieve Happiness on your $10/hr income, get a life.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive
 

C.D. Writes:

“I am really tired of people all over this country trying to split up this country along ideological, theological, economical, and political lines.”

And then proceeds to attempt to do just that. Ok, maybe he skipped the theological part.

Let’s get real, CD, $10 an hour is not a middle class wage. Debt is a choice, not a requirement, in this country. I saw and heard this same rhetoric in the early 70s (even spouted it myself) when I was struggling in a minimum wage job with a wife and child to support. I survived without going deep into debt. I managed to make it without demanding someone pay for my mistakes.

Grow up.

 

There are two ways to rebuild America:

1. Remove all the politicians, businessmen, financers, lawyers, bankers and property traders. And then sit around in the dirt all day.

or

2. Stop people from taking out loans they can’t afford, defaulting and throwing a wrench into the world financial system.

Hard choice that. One properly drafted Bill, and this financial crisis will never happen again. If you want the American dream, then save up for it.

Posted by Anon. | Report as abusive
 

GMT – 70 years ago, we killed a lot more than 120,000 civilians while fighting blonde haired, blued eyed Christians. Heck, they didn’t even attack us first – the first shots fired between the US and Axis in the European Theater came from US troops when we invaded North Africa – and we shot at Frenchmen!

The fact is that dark haired, brown eyed Muslims attacked us this time. Those cowards used civilians as shields and blow up their own people because they disagree on right of succession for a Caliphate that doesn’t exist (and never will if those of us who love the US Republic have our way).

Stop crying about Civilian deaths in Iraq and start helping us win this war. With an enemy who lives in the 10th century, the only way to peace is victory or defeat. Just because you choose defeat doesn’t make it right.

Posted by thomas | Report as abusive
 

“…if Iraqi’s were bible-toting blondes do you think there’d be 120,000 civilian deaths?” – Posted by Michael Ham
___________________________________

Do you think a shipment of hydrogen peroxide, Bibles, and bright pink tote bags to tote the Bibles would solve any problem under the sky?
:-)

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive
 

excellent piece BD.

Posted by nikolai | Report as abusive
 

To the Anon guy

If we got rid of the bankers, lawyers, businessmen, politicians, property traders……..

we’d be left with project managers and the actual workers who,GASP do the work instead of pushing nothing but a bunch of paper around to make many times more than what the average person makes.

And $10 an hour is a middle class wage when you understand that most construction jobs pay about that, unless your in a Union, then its $20 an hour, and that my friends is more a Middle Class wage, you can live on that.
Someone will come along and denounce Unions, and I like to say, I’m not a fan of Unions either. I have always been a Henry Ford fan of his business model, which was against Unions. Mr. Fords philosophy was that if you actually PAID the people who worked a better wage, it instills a sense of loyalty, the training is less, the job turnover is less, you attract better workers, and you can keep the better workers.

Unions had to form because of the overly oppressive Factory workers. Does no one remember history in school when we all were taught about the cruel conditions in factories and other workplaces like sweatshops? Who set up those kind of work conditions? Certainly not the employees.
Look at the history of business from just before the turn of the century, 1890 to today and you will realize the Worker has had to Fight, kick, and claw his way to the MEAGER pay he receives today. All because greedy corporate types only have THEIR bottom line in mind, THEIR profit margins, THEIR money, and they want to give up as little of it as possible to the worker and the government in the form of TAXES.

So not only does Business screw the average AMERICAN, they screw us twice by hiding their profits, keeping profits in other countries and other banks so as not to pay TAXES!

To Businessmen, all Businessmen, money is their Coke, they need more, want more, crave more, will do anything to get more, screw whoever, bribe whoever, steal, lie, and cheat, do ANYTHING to keep and hide what is theirs.

What would you do to get your hands on one million
How about 10 million?
100 million?
Look what Madoff did for Billions, do you think he’s alone when their are people all over this country who would screw you out of a 100 dollar bill if they could.

Businessmen, Lawyers, Bankers, Financiers, Politicians, and Traders are no different, they are just smarter, smoother, college educated, and their whole lives are spent in the pursuit of as many pieces of paper that can be printed.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

By the tone of so many comments I read and the decay of our cities and towns, it is clear that our government has failed at securing “Domestic Tranquility” let alone securing the “Blessings of Liberty”. The old Roman adage divide your enemies and conquer them one by one has been turned upon the American citizenry by politicians seeking to further their power against political enemies. We have weakened ourselves by stooping to play this game. We are in a war of words with ourselves.

If as a nation we choose to stand on principle we must then be tolerant of the choices other nations make for themselves. I thought the power of all governments come from the people. It is a matter of self determination and not democracy. If we were not so dependent upon the resources of others we would not be so concerned as to who by and how these nations are governed. Instead of pursuing a path to economic self sufficiency we have simply gone down the path of empire, first taking what we want and then what we need.

Ultimately even Roman Consuls answered to the voice of the People. Fully one third of the ancient capitol’s citizenry was unemployed and on state relief. No one wanted food riots under their watch. Rome eventually had over 100 holidays a year with food and entertainment all her citizens. The resources had to come from somewhere as the Italian peninsula could not provide for Rome’s burgeoning population and appetite.

Economics is the new world religion. The concerns of climate, health care, education and human rights (the discourse between nations) are secondary to governments attempting to secure the best economic deals for their Oligarchs. When the economy is in the tank we are told we can’t afford to address these issues. We the economy is chugging along we are told addressing same said issues will threaten the economies health. This all sounds so pagan.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive
 

It spells out “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” as birthrights. But neither the Declaration, nor Constitution, nor any other piece of legislation states that Happiness is an entitlement. Whether or not you can achieve Happiness on your $10/hr income, get a life.

By Anon

A birthright is not an entitlement? Did you get your degree in logic from Business School? Bet you forgot everything in that Ethics Class. What is a birthright then? Here is the definition off of Merriam-Webster Online:

: a right, privilege, or possession to which a person is entitled by birth.

WOW! it even has “entitled” in the definition.
This is the problem I am talking about. Big Business has people in this country all turned around, especially when someone tries to denounce our Constitution, trying to use words to trick the average reader who wouldn’t look up “Birthright” in the dictionary. Big Business has had the budget for public education slashed so many times over the years, just for this purpose. Business WANTS a dumb America so the DUMB Americans keep on falling for the traps of Business.

How easy is it to trick a 10 year old who knows nothing?
Schools today just teach kids to memorize facts, multiple choice, don’t think, we’ll do that for you. School today teaches kids to be CONSUMERS. I want to know why Public Schools do not teach the same way as Private Schools? Private Schools OBVIOUSLY WORK! so why doesn’t the Government take what works for the rich kids, and fulfill a promise, fulfill a right, to good free education. To me a smart nation is a part of National Pride, National Security, National Identity, but smart people are the most dangerous thing to Business in America.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Thomas you are somewhat incorrect. German u-boats were sinking liberty ships supplying Britain under the Lend-Lease Act as early as 1940 if memory serves. U.S. naval escorts were provided and German submarines were hunted and sunk. This was kept a secret from the American public. Had it been made public it could have been used as a pretext for a declaration of war against Germany. Germany officially declared war on the U.S. subsequent to the U.S. declaration of war against Japan pursuant to the Tripartite Act.

A little known fact of WWII history is that Military contractors paid three to four times the prevailing wage. The government rationed or prohibited the availability of many goods and products. American workers earned more money than they could possibly spend so they saved and bought war bonds. That is how the middle class was created following the Great Depression. The middle class are now moving to public housing and tents. Remember the term “Hoovervilles”?

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive
 

Cd, 25,000 dollars a year for a family of four falls under the Federal governments guideline for poverty. Such a family would be eligible for Medicaid, Foodstamps, housing assistance and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Essentially this family would be subsidized by our tax dollars. Is it your position that middle class wage earners should be relegated to poverty status and subsidized? Where do you think the money will come from, the Fed’s printing press? By the way most union and non union tradesman made well in excess of 30 dollars an hour until this economic catastrophe beset us.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive
 

“To Businessmen, all Businessmen, money is their Coke, they need more, want more, crave more, will do anything to get more, screw whoever, bribe whoever, steal, lie, and cheat, do ANYTHING to keep and hide what is theirs.

What would you do to get your hands on one million
How about 10 million?
100 million?” – - Posted by C.D. Walker
______________________
The next quote is much better phrased, but the similarities are startling.
“Capital is said by a Quarterly Reviewer to fly turbulence and strife, and to be timid, which is very true; but this is very incompletely stating the question. Capital eschews no profit, or very small profit, just as Nature was formerly said to abhor a vacuum. With adequate profit, capital is very bold. A certain 10 per cent. will ensure its employment anywhere; 20 per cent. certain will produce eagerness; 50 per cent., positive audacity; 100 per cent. will make it ready to trample on all human laws; 300 per cent., and there is not a crime at which it will scruple, nor a risk it will not run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged. If turbulence and strife will bring a profit, it will freely encourage both. Smuggling and the slave-trade have amply proved all that is here stated.” – P. J. Dunning
Phrased so well that it was recited in Das Kapital by Karl Marx – the Bible of Communism. In fact, often the whole quote is mistakenly attributed to Marx himself.
So, dear C.D. Walker, now you showed your true colors. You can claim Republicanism all you want, but the fact of the matter is that you are a Communist. You don’t like it in America with all the “bankers, lawyers, businessmen, politicians, property traders”? Then get yourself a one way ticket to N.Korea, where you’ll meet none of them. Well, except for politicians, but all of them will be your Communist soul mates, so it doesn’t count.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive
 

LOVE all the anon posts.

No my book on finance, my bible, is the “Historial Setting of the Austrian School of Economics” by Ludwig von Mises
copyright 1969 Library of Congress # 73-89668

I simply believe Business today has lost all loyalty to Nation. If the Americans who run Big Business had more patriotism, a sense of responsibility to their fellow America, a sense of civic duty; hell, a little more humanity, we wouldn’t be in this mess now would we?
There is no such thing as Communism and there never will be. Communism is a word used to scare or gather the masses. The definition of Communism:
the political theory or system in which all property and wealth is owned in a classless society by all the members of that society.

As long as money is around and people are divided by intelligence, theology, and workability, Communism is a word used to SCARE and fear-monger.

Anubis- no i do not think the Middle Class should be regulated, or subsidized by our tax dollars. If Business volunteered to pay more to the Middle Class, then government wouldn’t have to waste tax money caring for its citizens, which is the duty of any government. As for the Union, Entry level pay into Unions (At least the one my poker buddy and his kid work at) is 20 and goes up to 60. The money could easily come from Business, all they have to do is set their profit margin lower. Lower their greed. Management never takes a pay cut do they? but they pass all extra costs to me and you.
Business is the worst thing to this country, by paying less to people it is forcing government to pay more for its people, then uses the government helping its people with propaganda “like Socialism”, and government help is bad!
If business did its job and supplied Society with a decent wage, government wouldn’t to.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

C.D. Walker,
I thought even a 10 year old can tell the difference between “pursuit of Happiness” and “Happiness”. Apparently you can’t. You can pursue something all you want without any guarantee or sometimes even a slight chance to achieve the object of your pursuit. That’s why “pursuit of Happiness” is a birthright or, as you noted, an entitlement. On the other hand, “Happiness” is neither birthright, nor entitlement, but a mere object of the aforementioned pursuit, and only very few actually achieve it, sometimes only to lose it the very next moment.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive
 

Man i love debate! to the Anon guy calling me a Commie, look up the definition of Communist and then point to ONE country on the map where such a political system is in place. Every Communist country is really just a dictatorship. The “Communist Manifesto” is the Commie bible
and both that and “Das Kapital” are so full of inconsistencies and illogical references its laughable, not that I think you have even studied it. Can’t beat your enemy unless you know how he thinks.

Wiki “classical Republicanism” and you’ll get “In the classical itself the term republicanism did not exist, however the term “res publica”, which translates literally as “things public,” was in usage.

Republicanism, how Milton viewed it, warned of the dangers of Corruption and put great emphasis on civic duty for a Republic to be successful.

How corrupt is our Republic because of Big Business today? Where is Big Businesses sense of Civic Duty to the country in which it owes its allegiance to? Where is the Republican sense of Duty and Responsibility?

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

of course the US is on the wrong side of history its an empire just like all the other ones that have been around for millenia
They just keep the hypocrisy going to fool the many stupid and ignorant people that America is doing the right thing. Just look at the Memorial Day Concert. I’m pretty sure that the Romans did the same in their time too.

Posted by Eldon Lopes | Report as abusive
 

“…That’s why “pursuit of Happiness” is a birthright or, as you noted, an entitlement. On the other hand, “Happiness” is neither birthright, nor entitlement…” EXACTLY. We are each of us entitled to PURSUE happiness, but no one is assured of SUCCESS in that pursuit. There are always winners and losers. There are always those who PREPARE well for the pursuit, and those who don’t. And, there are always the vagracies of LUCK. But the simple right to PURSUE happiness has driven the US way of life very successfully for 200 years now, and amid the occasional reversals, our economy has dominated the world for most of those 200 years.

Posted by Old Mike | Report as abusive
 

Oldmike-

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Why is it that our Economy has dominated the world
and not the principles this country is based upon?
To me your saying Money, and how it is used is more important than the values and ideals of Liberty and Freedom this country is based on.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

THE US IS NOT CAPITALIST! The US is about as capitalist as the Soviets were Communist. The US controls world trade through international organizations and its military (it’s number 1 investment). Basically we don’t allow countries who are poor and militarily weak to advance and we get their resources, which are necessary for our “happiness”.(Iraq, Africa, Afghanistan, LAtin AMerica etc.) If our economy was truly based on excellence explain this paradox. How is a country that takes in more money than it gives back have a AAA rating. (We’re in so much debt that even our own imperialist credit agencies are thinking about downgrading us!) It’s obviously fixed. Credit is debt not money!(Surprise for many Americans) We’re imperialist I wish this country would at least be honest with itself!

Posted by Eldon Lopes | Report as abusive
 

The idea that all peoples, of all nations, are ready for the same thing (democracy & freedom) is simply a wrong assertion. It is like your high-school graduating class: some very mature with a vision, most in the middle and unsure about what to do but ready to test the world, and those at the low end who either don’t care or simply take it all too lightly to understand the implications of their choices.

Nations are like this. Some, like the US, were built on a people ready for freedom and have been warriors about it ever since (both right & wrong). Other nations simply don’t have the collective social maturity to make that step and become self-ruling, and for them something much less awaits them. Collectively they have to choose freedom and no amount of prodding, manipulating, or encouragement will bring them forward. I think that it just comes down to people being beaten down, until collectively, they decide a different path.

We should neither choose it for them, nor dine at the same table with those that would seek to manipulate them. Trying to find that middle ground is very hard in a capitalistic world and the US’ record is very poor in this respect. I think though that with Obama, at least we can try something new, rather than reacting in the same old unproductive pattern we have before.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive
 

Happy Memorial Day to all those who gave their lives for the illusion of freedom.

Posted by +67-89 | Report as abusive
 

“Reboot America’s image”

Remove the word “image”, and Remove Obama.

Posted by Russ | Report as abusive
 

If we weren’t so Resource needy, we wouldn’t need to be Imperial and could focus on what made this country so great.

Remember when the “roads were made of Gold?”
The economy became a monster, useful when needed, but today we need to rethink its use in the form it now presents itself as.

Money is only a tool, a means of exchange. Too many horde, by not paying a person an honest wage.
With an honest wage a person can spend his/her money in what ever way they wish, follow any hobby they chose, travel, invest, start a company, read, write, woodwork, go clubbing, out to eat all the time.
The beauty of capitalism is its freedom. Capitalism allows the population to spend its time doing what ever it wishes (within the law and moral decency)
Communism tells its people what to do.
The problem with the American Economic model of today is its overly burdensome strain on the Middle Class.
Money is a liquid, and as we have learned with credit, it has to flow.

It didn’t bother credit companies to issue horrible credit, after horrible credit to people and companies. It bothers these companies now to give credit when its most needed because it doesn’t profit them. At least as not a good as before.

Society has to spend money for any heavily dependent consumer/manufacturing economic model because what is made must be used. and replaced. More times its needed to be replaced the better. Enter cheap product made by cheap labor. A consumer society then begins to eat itself like a snake because all the profits are going to large corporations that do not put enough back into the pool.

Image a large pool of water filled with fish(us) covered in golden scales. Around this pool sit the fat cats of industry. Each take our scales more and more without feeding us, so we can regrow the scales they take. When they have taken all the scales, and have starved their fish, what do they do?
War! take other fish.

Posted by C. D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Barack Obama is an Idealist Attorney who argues the hypothetical case in public speech easily but to the watchful world Obama’s a windbag who is full of schmidt.

 

Capitalism leads to three kinds of people:

1. People who become fat cats.

2. People who work for fat cats.

3. People who complain about the system.

Now I like complaining as much as the next mouse. But if you are going to complain, be succinct.

Long winded arguments just make people look like a fruitcake.

Posted by Anon. | Report as abusive
 

World is ever changing place. We are very far away from define social order that will survive for 1000′s yrs. Today Western World goes though another small crises. We are either will be able to fix it with-in exiting social order or face much bigger turmoil.
There are many causes for crises.
1. Wealth drain from West to 3rd world. After WWII West accumulated huge wealth that lead to prosperity. Western business invested mostly at West while saw 3rd world only as resource source. Today Western business invest more to 3rd world (cheap labor) channeling wealth away. For last 20 yrs West spent more than earn cover the difference by borrow money using equity and realestate as collateral. 2 yrs ago we got wake up call. ALL our securities under estimate STRUCTURAL risk.

2. Aging population. Most Western countries has shrinking domestic work force/tax base. While social programs getting bigger.

3. Corporate governance. Current board of directors failed to provide checks on Corp executives. Corps given away to management/unions who plunder wealth at will. They neither serve interest of owners nor society.

Posted by SKV_USA | Report as abusive
 

Why complain about the system?
This is America, if something is wrong we fix it.
Only those who profit the most in this economy based on Debt

Would fight any kind of change.
Or any kind of Regulation.

Andrew Jackson dealt with a problem during his presidency
no different than today- Banks using unregulated speculated credit to buy land. Wiki him.

The great depression was caused by Wall Street types buying stock on credit in an unregulated system.

We put Regulation in place to prevent any type of Depression/recession.
As soon as the previous Administration De- Regulated (At who’s request I ask?)
BAM another recession, almost depression.

Does anyone else see a pattern with the behavior of Banks and Creditors?

Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.

Posted by C. D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

You want a good read, something to make you think

http://chrisdwalker.deviantart.com/

Posted by C. D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

To C. D. Walker
“The great depression was caused by Wall Street types buying stock on credit in an unregulated system.
1. Sound like over simplistic approach. Great Depression was caused by many factors.

“We put Regulation in place to prevent any type of Depression/recession.” LOL

2. Why do we have recession today after great regulations?

FDR anti-recession efforts had only partial success. Great Recession was put behind only by huge WWII spending financed by big part by foreigners.
================
Crises usually cannot be cured by old remedy :).
I don’t see any regulation coming out of US gov. I see unsustainable spending. We saw it in Japan in 1980-90. Japan gov put rates down to 0.5% and… economy was stagnated for all 20 yrs.
Today we don’t have 20yrs. China will more than happy to lend out yuan so other countries will buy even more China goods. Imagine scenario when China one day floats yuan and dumping out 1,000,000,000s US treasury. USD sunk while everybody jumping into new reserve currency that became available… Today US gov refinance under 3-6%. What about 20%-30%…

Posted by SKV_USA | Report as abusive
 

SKV-

Name the factors that caused the depression.

our recession today is caused by De-regulation started by Reagen. Have you been under a rock? You haven’t heard about Credit Default swaps? How they were completely unregulated? AIG for Christ sake?! The “Uptick Rule”, a law imposed right after the depression was taken away, and about a year later, economy crashes.

Let’s list the industries that have LOBBIED for deregulation using the argument of “Free Market” and “Competition”
Airlines- prices never went down until they were desperate after 9/11
Telecoms- mobile phone rates seemed to keep rising there for a while, only NOW coming down, wonder why?
Energy- When has your gas, or electric bill gone down? God forbid you live with old oil heat.
Pharmacuticals- need i say more- only Wal-mart and Generics have brought prices down, Pharma didn’t do it.
Oil- when was the last time you saw a gas price war in your town between “COMPETING” gas stations?
Cable- Im laughing right now
Banking/Financial/Wall St. – Welcome the the global economic meltdown.

Did i miss a time when prices in any of these industries came down because of “Free Market Competition”?

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Why not let government regulate all production, set prices ,etc….oh wait people tried that and it worked so well that you can’t find a communist to laugh at these days. I mean government has done such a great job running itself into the ground, let’s let them run everything into the ground.
Whenever people point out all the horrors of deregulation, which are serious indeed, I just think of what happens when the government gets their grubby mitts on an industry. I guess it’s lesser of two evils, I’m just not sure which is really the lesser yet.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive
 

Deregulation is only a problem when you have a government willing to give bailouts. Recent history has proven neither party really cares about how socialist we make our economy. Whether it be Bush on the Rep side with his Wall Street buddy bailout or Obama on the Dem side with his Acorn buddy bailout.

Let whatever companies in a capitalist system fail, let the good ones swoop in. Pretty elementary stuff, in regards to the banks we’ve got the FDIC so no worries there.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive
 

Hello C.D. Walker,
You sound like from US but missing most simple facts…

CDS didn’t cause current recession. They came very late at the came when big number of defaults on MBS CDO SMO triggered CDS payments. Bad regulations on derivatives didn’t cause recession they just made things worse (unchecked speculation made markets more sensitive to fluctuations).
You don’t look familiar with finance… Crises didn’t start with AIG & CDS… 2 yrs most MBS was seen as good as US GOV bonds (AAA rating were common) and ‘suddenly’ S&P (Biggest rating agency) during 2 mo announced that many MBS CDS were miss rated. That triggered sudden and total halt on bond market. Banks like Bear & Lehman with big reliance on short term refinance were gone.

Here the real question:
Why country with presumably the best economy had to borrow against housing?
Why suddenly in 2001-2005 housing became more attractive investment than manufacturing or technology?

Because there is no manufacturing left in this country!!!
Because technology dragging its feet for last 10 yrs and doomed as much as manufacturing was 30-20 yrs ago.

Regulations/Deregulation LOL
I am in favor of some regulations. But there is US way to do regulations:
Big Farma/Telecom/Air lines/Energy are very very heavy regulated and … they charge us a lot :).
In US companies owning infrastructure (energy/rail roads/pipelines etc) and blackmail public…

In most countries Gov takes over infrastructure (rail roads/pile lines/road/terminals/cell towers). Companies leasing infrastructure from gov charging public for service. Because they don’t have infrastructure as bargain chip.

What are you going to regulate when they kept you hostage? California tried and was left without electricity! Here US system is broken by design. Regulations will fix nothing.
Another type of regulation like
Big Pharma/insurance are also very heavy regulated and prices are going up. Isn’t because of regulations we cannot buy drags directly from Canada/Ireland/Germany/Swiss?

Your country allows mix business and politics (called lobbing ???). As long this continues you will have regulations like Big Pharma/Medical insurance/etc.
Again this is structural problem. Few activists cannot fight huge corporations.

Derivatives…
They need regulations but… What are derivatives? They are just very complex contracts. The unwritten law of this land that “contract signed by two able adults takes precedent over the court of law…”

Why US didn’t charage any of Banks CEOs/CFOs with simple neglect??
Why US didn’t question boards about enormous compensations to highranking officers? I yet to read any evidence that a CEO that earns $20,000,000 better than $2,000,000.

As long as corporations (banks) offer almost complete immunity to high ranking officers they will plunge wealth of entrusted companies. I sees systematic failure of corporate governance as a big reason behind latest recession.

Posted by SKV_USA | Report as abusive
 

http://chrisdwalker.deviantart.com/

SKV_

WOW! looks like to me your just throwing up as many $@# and ()# and LMAO like a smoke screen.

I’ll repeat myself
can you tell me what you stand for very simply
with easy words for all to understand
without talking like a lawyer
banker, financier,
or a hustler/swindler

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Michael Ham,
Deregulation was not a problem. The problem was the regulation that remained or been introduced anew. If not for regulation, a lot of the loans that went sour would not have been extended in the first place.
Ever saw the icon of a house with “=” symbol inside? Look when you walk past your bank doors. That thingie means “Equal Housing Lender”. I’m not going into any further explanations because I don’t want to be branded Racist/Sexist/Whatever-ist, but you’ve got the idea if you have at least half brain.
It’s because the lending institutions were forced to provide mortgages to the creditors who have no snowball chance in hell to pay it back that they had to come up with exotic mortgage products. It’s because they didn’t want to keep risky loans on their books that they started to securitize these and sell them away. That’s how the thing started.
Then, all of a sudden, everyone and their mother in law discovered these “investments” that were conveniently rated AAA, yet paying junk bond-like returns. And then, almost like Greenspan said once about the “new economy” or something like that, “irrational exuberance” took off. But, as we all learned the hard way, irrational exuberance is crash prone. And crash it did.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive
 

http://chrisdwalker.deviantart.com/

Anon or whatever

Was that a veiled comment that people of color are irresponsible and are to blame for AIG’s problems somehow?

“If not for regulation, a lot of the loans that went sour would not have been extended in the first place.”

“It’s because the lending institutions were forced to provide mortgages to the creditors who have no snowball chance in hell to pay it back that they had to come up with exotic mortgage products.”

WOW, I am surprised you could walk to the keyboard, let alone type!

Somehow your twisting it all up in your mind that REGULATION, caused banks to make bad loans? AFTER deregulation? I didn’t know anyone could FORCE a bank or creditor to give money, hell, we should do it now for those in need of re-financing.
Thanks for the tip.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Heh.

I agree with the ‘wannabe’ part.

Posted by Devient | Report as abusive
 

C.D. Walker,
You spelled “people of color” out. I didn’t. Yet you got some of the meaning of “equal housing lender” right.
If you wonder what could make lending institutions to extend loans to certain customers who don’t qualify under normal standards of lending – think. What would happen to a lending officer whose stats of approvals don’t match the demographic stats? Even if regulators were not enforcing these stats-based rules, activists like Sharpton would not let them. In fact it was a disservice to these communities because now they are hit by foreclosures at a rate way above the average for their locales.
Now of course you and other Commies like you would brand me Racist or whatever else-ist, but I don’t really care. The 1st Amendment is still on the books. And even though the White House is occupied by BHO, even a leftie like him doesn’t have the audacity to replace the Stars and Stripes flying over it with Hammer and Sickle on the red background. Hopefully never will.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive
 

Those on the wrong side of history are the ones who still believe their democratically elected government runs the show.

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive
 

to C.D. Walker.
“can you tell me what you stand for very simply
with easy words for all to understand”
When you talk about last financial crises you talk about issues that caught even best of the best out of guards. (Same was true for financial crises that lead to Great Depression).

Where I stand:
US Regulations approach to regulations is wrong by design.
1.1 Regulations for monopolistic companies like Telecoms/Pipeline/Railroads/Cable etc.
US let these companies to own infrastructure while attempt to regulate how much their charge clients. As result companies neglect infrastructure while using lack of competition to blackmail government.
1.2 Regulation for finance.
It is very hard to regulate complex financial contracts. It is impossible to regulate greed :(. Instead we need law that let gov go after top executives when corporation does something wrong. When you penalize Bank for mistake you penalize shareholders while CEO collects bonus and walks away. Put CEO/CFO to jail for 2-3yrs and strip off income for last 2 yrs… Trust me there will be not financial crises for next 500 yrs.

2. Crises.
The real cause behind crises that West let Corporation stream investment from West to China & 3rd world. The collective wealth that was accumulated by Baby boomers after WWII went to bring up our competitors instead of finance Baby boomers retirements. West runs low on money and must borrow using different financial instruments to reduce risk. Wrong assumptions about these complex instruments triggered latest financial crises.

“talking like a lawyer, banker, financier,”

I am not a lawyer and see such comparison as insult!
I and was involved in long term financial analytic.

Posted by SKV_USA | Report as abusive
 

LOL, I find the comparison of SKV’s speech to a lawyer’s insulting. What lawyer worth his salt would post such nonsense and use such poor grammar. I find people who post like that to be totally worthless, if you can’t take the time to read what you post and correct the obvious errors why would I expect this person to read what I post. I also imagine them to be so angry and frenzied that they just spew off without care or real thought.
Just because you use some “big” words and feign some type of expertise doesn’t make your posts hard to understand, it’s poor grammar and haste that makes it difficult.
People often forget that the key part of the old saying, a little knowledge is dangerous, the little part. I shouldn’t be surprised anymore by the ignorance on display form those who consider themselves educated on a topic because they read something on the internet somewhere.
Anyways, I am a lawyer and find the comparison of this poster an insult.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive
 

Hello Bernd,

This is very hard to send message to people who may speak the same words but put different meanings.

When Obama ‘Reboot’ relations with Russia. He presented President Medvedev with big red button read in Russia ‘OVERLOAD’ instead ‘RESET’ :).

In Russian slang ‘OVERLOAD’ often substitute ‘RESET’ while in formal language they are never mistaken.

At the end worked very well. The ‘OVERLOAD’ broke ice better than original ‘reset’ would. Xenophobic Russians were full of jokes, some racists, but few with hate.

I read post on Iranian PRESSTV after Obama speech… Their are chilling to say at least. Don’t forget, that ability post messages on internet implies that person comes from more educated and more tolerant part of society.

My point is that single speech does. Nothing we at least 2-3 generations away before we can talk and just 2-5 yrs away from major confrontation…

Posted by Sergey | Report as abusive
 

Dear,Edward M. Blake.
I speak with heave accent and yet to command English grammar in full. Most likely your parents or grand parents had the same problem when their arrived to this country. But I think clear without any accent :).

The big problem of your country that while most of you command perfect English and… lack good education. Especially people in 20′s-40′s. So we, foreigners come and fill high paid jobs on Wall street, Universities, Technology etc. We face no competition because most of you don’t move beyond English grammar :).

You sound like you made through my previous post despite may mistakes. Lets leave my english aside for now.
So what was wrong with my points on regulations and wealth distribution.

Posted by SKV_USA | Report as abusive
 

Anonymous,
I actually post from where I work, a bank, so trust me I know exactly what you mean. I’m agreeing that deregulation isn’t the problem, it only becomes a problem when you’ve got companies who can’t run themselves well that’re deregulating themselves but after they do so are given bank bailouts from the government. Think about it now, no big bank will ever have to worry about running efficiently cuz they know worst case scenario they’ll always have the government to give them whatever they need.

The Community Reinvestment Act has been a complete meltdown, as any good economist should’ve and didn’t, predict. That’s not racist, when you live in a country that doesn’t teach or preach financial know-how these things will always be around. The last thing either party wants is a financially responsible populous.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive
 

http://chrisdwalker.deviantart.com/

“The real cause behind crises that West let Corporation stream investment from West to China & 3rd world.”

How is the West really investing in China and 3rd world when the “Western Corporations” are using the population in China and 3rd world countries as slave labor, hardly paying those people anything with which to live on, let alone save up for a better future with?

the governments of China and 3rd world countries are dictators and totalitarian, the only real infrastructure that is being built are factories, and the roads to those slave shops are painted in the blood of the people, who are being used worse than Americans.

SKV- your so fake, why suddenly the WORSE grammar when typing? In my experience, people do suddenly become worse spellers and users of grammar unless its on purpose, just what kind of slippery person are you?

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

I respect your tenacity CD. I really do.

You still hang on the idea that if everyone has an equal share in GDP that only the lazy will prosper and that it won’t be “fair” to those that don’t “work”.

But is that really what would happen? You make quite a few assumptions I think. You seem to think that people are slothful by nature. Do you think that the average person really has NO DESIRE to be productive in a way that gives them a sense of value and self respect?

I can tell you that right now, we already do give most of the money to those who do the least actual work. Farmers take a beating every day of the year. They get little if any mercy from the elements and economic conditions of the time. And if too many crops fail, times can be far worse than lean.

But corporate executives get billions in bonuses and stock options even to this day. And they are the ones that caused this mess in far greater part than the average consumer. So the people that do the least work and cause the most harm already get more money than the people that do the hardest jobs that do the most good. That’s the system we live in RIGHT NOW.

However, in an open economy where every American citizen shares an equal part of GDP, the money will actually pool where the real talent and innovation lies.

We have thousands of unemployed engineers, doctors, blue collar workers, etc… right now. There is real skill sitting out there idle right as we post. There are inventors just chomping at the bit to produce prototypes of technologies that would defy belief and bring immeasurable good to the community. But none of it can happen because they’re broke.

If they each had a set income based on GDP, you can bet that they would be busy creating and innovating right now. And those in the community that are enthusiastic about bringing these new innovations forward can just work together with these bright young minds. Each contributing a small portion of their share of GDP to the project. Thus funding happens directly through community participation. Get rid of copy right laws and “intellectual property too”. After all if everyone has a steady income then those devices no longer serve a purpose.

This is what I’m talking about CD. Let the money decide for itself where the real value lay.

If a farmer could actually live on their farm and sell the produce during good times while still having the steady income to stock up for rainy days, they’d have a double win. They’d have the cash to buy extra supplies to help during lean times when harvest isn’t so good, and extra money made from selling produce during the good times. So now the farmer would have profit, real goods, and a steady income.

And the people who produce get the most. That is an open economy.

 

Anon-

“You spelled “people of color” out. I didn’t. Yet you got some of the meaning of “equal housing lender” right.”

right out of the Rush “reverse racist” book. You give yourself away when you start in on Sharpton, always a target for bigots and racists, no how you try to twist words to hide your intentions.

If anything, the Fed and Banks are Racists, Any see any black Federal Reserve Chairmen?
I’ll keep it real simple for you.
Fed raises inflation, which in turn raises the cost or property everywhere in this country.
Cities are usually more expensive to live in.
Deny the innercity black community good education by continually slashing school budgets.
Deny the innercity black community jobs and opportunities.
And at the same time, keep raising the cost of living, taxes, and property so the poor, any color poor, become desperate and fall into the only thing that shows them any kind of kindness, Gangs.
If you think about it, the Fed Plan, the bank plan to own as much private property by pricing property out of the reach of the average American, That plan is communist, since one entity is trying to own everything, just like China owns the land, the Federal Reserve, and the banks that support it, is a private Entity trying to own everything.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Benny-

“I respect your tenacity CD. I really do.”
Thats right, I’m American, I never give up.

“You still hang on the idea that if everyone has an equal share in GDP that only the lazy will prosper and that it won’t be “fair” to those that don’t “work”.”

What don’t you get about “If you don’t work, you don’t get paid, If you work, you deserve an honest wage for honest work.”

It seems to me benny that you have never worked an honest day in your life. I worked with my brother in the home insulation business. I have worked in warehouses. I have worked in construction rebuilding fire damaged homes. My dad is a machinist and a Vietnam vet. My Grandfather was a machinist and a WWII vet. His father was a machinist and a tank commander in Africa during WWII, another Great Grandfather of mine was in WWI in France from 1917 to 1919. I have many items from them all to remind me of the sacrifices and the bleed Americans have left all over this world to protects its freedoms and liberties.

It doesn’t bother me you keep trying to call me a Communist, I know what I am.
You however, not to sure who you are, or what you stand for, but that is OK to. You know why?
Its a free country, one in which you CAN yell and scream and call people names, work how you want for what you want, or not work at all. America is that free.
I plan to keep her that way, how about you?

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Hello Michael Ham,
You point that deregulation isn’t the problem. The problem that companies (banks) cannot run themselves properly. But what is mechanism that would enforce proper corporate governance?

1. We cannot let big banks fail.
2. We cannot effectually regulate derivatives.
3. We penalize companies aka shareholders rather than particular people (executive officers).
4. We have boards that routinely picked by executives and serve executives interest rather than protect shareholders.

I agree that regulations cannot solve all the problems, but what is alternative?

Posted by Sergey (SKV) | Report as abusive
 

“However, in an open economy where every American citizen shares an equal part of GDP….”

A socialist division of income does not encourage innovation, or prosperity.

Nor does it encourage the development of an economy, open or otherwise.

Brush up on your economic theory.

Posted by Anon. | Report as abusive
 

My grandparents certainly had problems with English when they came to this nation with nothing. Yet despite this awful nation they somehow managed to get my parents educated and somehow despite the awful capitalistic system I have a law degree. I don’t see a lot of people like you taking my job, suffice it to say I happen to fall in your age range and know a little more than just grammar.
Do I like the fact that corporations control much of the wealth and infrastructure here? No, but do I want the government having more control, even more emphatically NO!!! As bad as corporate corruption and greed is the only thing worse is over reaching government idiocy and incompetence. I don’t know where you come from or what government you espouse, but I know that more government only means more problems.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive
 

C.D. Walker,
And all of you who disparage lawyers,
Did you think what an alternative would be? Not sure if you would like that.
Humans in any and every society have conflicting interests. In a civilized society these conflicts are resolved within confines of the legal system, and that’s where lawyers are instrumental. Just as somebody who has no clue can’t do even farm work that doesn’t require college education, the same way somebody lacking proper training can’t do legal work. If you believe you can – I’m afraid the legal documents you’d produce will not be worth the paper they’re printed on, and definitely will not serve the purpose of protecting your rights.
The alternative would be something like Russia of 1990s, when the old legal system evaporated, and the new one had not yet materialize. In case of any dispute people had to go to the local bandit for protection of their legal or not-so-legal rights. The “legal fees” collected by the bandits were in fact less outrageous than the ones collected by American lawyers, but there was a catch. Your opponent could turn for protection to another bandit, and that guy could have a gun of larger caliber than yours. When legal issues are decided by the size of guns instead of merit of arguments, all sides lose.
The nature doesn’t tolerate vacuum. When lawyers are missing, bandits take their place.
Not sure about you, but I’d rather pay higher legal fees to a lawyer with a briefcase than pay less to a bandit with a gun. If only for the reason that the gun may shoot, and I don’t want to happen to be the one stopping the bullet. The briefcases don’t shoot.
So, while lawyers may be evil, they are necessary evil. Less evil than taxes and some other properties of every known civilized society.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive
 

What is everyone’s beef?

There is only one solution needed for the economy. Stop poor people from taking loans that they can’t afford.

There is nothing wrong with capitalism. Or economics. The system is working sound. The rules of economics still work.

Yes, the banks overextended their debt. They were cocky because of the boom. As were the people who decided to take out the subprime mortgages in the first place.

But that does not mean capitalism is wrong. The system responded to overextended debt by crashing, just as could be expected.

Recessions happen, and this one was overdue.

Next time around, we just need to make sure the banks don’t give out too many subprime loans. It is no simpler then that.

Let’s leave the socialism and/or ‘evil rich fatcats’ stuff out of it.

Posted by SD | Report as abusive
 

Agreed, fellow Anon.

People who see lawyers as scum misunderstand the profession.

Lawyers uphold legal rights. They act as a trusted agent for their retainer, and are bound by professional standards.

If you don’t like what a Lawyer is doing, then you should look to his or her client.

Posted by Anon. | Report as abusive
 

Anon-

I think some guy named Jesus warned us not to let Lawyers and Bankers run the world.

Lets see, by LAW, all Lobbyists are Lawyers. I think almost all Politicians are Lawyers, or Businessmen.
And who were the ones who got money from Bailouts? BANKERS!

I look at Americas Society and i see a small group of people in Wall St. and Washington (Bankers, Lawyers, and Businessmen) and the culture of greed and selfishness that has been created by these people on the backs of hard working Americans, and i can’t help but wonder at the wisdom of it all. The effect this “Culture” has had on the entirety of America, let alone the world, has been extremely negative. Wall St. and Washington have no one to blame but themselves, and trying to blame the working American, well, just shows what kind of people, these people really are.

Was it worth it, letting lawyers and bankers set laws?

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

By the way, on the law and civilized society-

The old west was tamed, not by lawyers, but by Judges and police, the real LAW of the land.
They did just fine taming the west without lawyers, i bet they could do it again.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

I work every day. But I work for results. I work for the actual benefit it brings. I don’t work FOR money. I need it to live in this place. And that’s as far as I take it. You still think that money is the ultimate reward for work. It’s not. The ultimate reward is increased skill, increased knowledge, respect for your ability to perform with excellence.

That’s what you work for. Money is a tool. You’re just one of those people who don’t want to dare consider anything different because it hurts your head to think too much.

But if you did share in GDP you’d be able to concentrate on your writing skills which are sorely lacking. On the one hand you talk about working to earn money as if it were the holy grail of meaning in life. Yet on the other hand you dream of being a writer. But you can’t be a writer because you haven’t developed your skill to a high enough level. You would need uninterrupted time in order to learn those skills and become proficient with them.

And a steady stream of income would give you the time you need to hone your skills. But since you don’t believe such things are worth the effort, you condemn yourself to a life of misery and hate. And when others get on this board and discuss alternative solutions to the very real problems we face, you don’t even have an intelligible argument to make for your own views.

If you can’t even bring yourself to admit when another poster makes a valid point then you really serve no purpose in these discussion groups other than to stir the pot. If you want to be heard and respected for your views, then perhaps you should learn to articulate them. Go back to your fictional writing. Pray for some wisdom. And work extra hard at your job. Earn some overtime so that you can take a few days off every so often to sharpen your writing skills.

 

Last post was to CD.

 

Benny- lol

“I work every day. But I work for results. I work for the actual benefit it brings. I don’t work FOR money.”

Good for you not to fall for money’s allure and to work for results! But you do agree that you should be compensated for the work you do? and that should be an honest wage for your honest work. With that wage you can spend it on whatever your heart desires. If your a Gamer, you can keep playing, if you like skiing, you can go ski. If you become a good enough gamer, you could start making money at it, get even better, get even more money, all based on skill and ability. That is what makes this Free Capitalist society great, without any need to “distribute wealth”.

If anything we need to become a more Agricultural Economy that is not so dependent upon Consuming cheap products from Slave Labor countries. If we become more Renewable in our energy, how much better for all, even those Bankers, Lawyers, and Businessmen?

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

CD,

“But you do agree that you should be compensated for the work you do?”

Yes I do agree that one should be compensated for the one does. Where we differ is that you believe money is what should be used as compensation.

If I as an acupuncturist, show great skill in relieving the suffering of my patients, then money is a small reward. And no amount of it will suffice.

Money is used to exchange for the service being provided. So that I can turn around and buy what I need and want.

You will always need to eat and sleep. But people won’t always need YOUR particular service. So where does that leave you? It leaves you in a constant struggle to find or create a need for your skill.

If you had a steady stream of GDP coming to you. Then you could focus on your skill which would result in an increase of it. That would bring you more notoriety than any amount of advertising, which would bring you more money in terms of business.

In this sense my logic is no different than the pure capitalistic axiom, “it takes money to make money”.

Equally sharing in GDP is NOT WELFARE. It is an ACTIVE INVESTMENT in our citizenry. Giving the people what they need to be creative and innovative so that we can lead the world again.

We are NOT going to retain our leadership role in the world by fixing a system that was created to serve us in the previous millennium. We need real innovation. We need real daring. And we need real results. If America is the greatest nation on Earth, then it would be wise for us to invest in ourselves collectively, rather than in just a select few.

 

Benny-

“Yes I do agree that one should be compensated for the one does. Where we differ is that you believe money is what should be used as compensation.”

What else are you going to use? Sticks? Beads?

“If I as an acupuncturist, show great skill in relieving the suffering of my patients, then money is a small reward. And no amount of it will suffice.”

As much as would want the nation to be a nation of Jesus Christs, you have to admit, a society like that would be BORING!
come on Benny, give it up.

Posted by C. D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

“Was it worth it, letting lawyers and bankers set laws?” – posted by C.D. Walker
________________________________________

If we put lawyers in charge of farms like yours there will be food shortages. For one simple reason – lawyers usually have no clue about farming.
If we put farmers like you in charge of legislation, laws will not work. For the same reason.
While my education lets me see that as far as laws are concerned, every single letter matters, I would not claim being qualified to always correctly interpret the law. Much less so to write the law in such a way that it could be interpreted one, and only one, intended way.
You are no more qualified to write the laws than me. That’s unless you graduated from a law school, in which case I apologize.
And by the way, if you want to be back in the wild, wild West where there was no lawyers, beware that anyone liking your farm could claim it. “Meet my gun”, as you posted somewhere earlier? What if it’ll be met by RPG?
I’m not one of anti-gun crowd. Contrary to that, I shot quite a few guns in my life, including AK-47. I still can hit the bull’s eye with it from 50 meters. The picture of me shooting Colt .45 was hanging in my cube until HR told me to remove it as inappropriate. But I believe that legal issues need to be decided by the law, not by guns, and lawyers are instrumental in this process.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive
 

Hmm I wonder what those judges in the old west started out as…lawyers maybe? And who argued before those judges?
It never ceases to amaze me how ignorance portrays itself as knowledge on the internet these days. I guess that’s what happens when anyone who can work a keyboard can get “published”. It also comes from people being the smartest person they know, makes it easy to seem intelligent.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive
 

To C.D. Walker,

“SKV- your so fake, why suddenly the WORSE grammar when typing?”

Hey, take it back. English is not may native language. I don’t do bad grammar on purpose :(.

You provide right facts about China, you just fail to interpreted them!

West invests into China & 3rd World to build factories, roads, mines etc. West invests because “China slave labor” is cheaper than yours. Here is the reason why china labor is so cheap:
1. They don’t ask for medical insurance, retirements benefits etc.
2. Here is the main reason:
China & 3rd world goes through industrialization. Every Western nation including US, Europe, Russia etc went through this process. It cost Russia two revolutions…
Industrialization triggered when new agricultural technologies become economical to use. Few big industrial farms using new agricultural technologies win completion against 10,000′s small farms. It makes redundant 1,000,000′s small farmers and rural workers. They loosing they land and flood sites with dirt cheap labor. They ready to work for food. That the people who settled British colonies in 1700′s, 1800′s. Built US in 1800′s, 1900′s.
Now time for China and 3rd world…

EU/US factories also were built by ‘slave’ labor in 1900′s. But today workers earns $1000′s on these factories and pay taxes to gov. Gov pays pension to people who built factories. When Corporations build factories in China we will see nothing from taxes from these factories. So who is going to pay taxes to fuel my pension?

Posted by Sergey | Report as abusive
 

And this is exactly what I mean about you CD,

“What else are you going to use? Sticks? Beads?”

You post on these boards and expect to be respected. But you haven’t really done anything to earn” it. You want to be recognized for your skill, but you aren’t putting any “work” into it.

You don’t really WANT money. You NEED money. What you WANT, is to be respected. What you want, is to be understood. What you want, is to be appreciated for what you bring to the table.

That is real currency in this world. Because if you work for those things, then should you ever run into hard times, you would have the support of those more fortunate to whom you showed the best of yourself.

It doesn’t matter how hard times ever get. My brother always has a home to come to should he be in need. And not because he’d pay me, but because I love him. That’s what you work for in this world CD. Not money.

“As much as would want the nation to be a nation of Jesus Christs, you have to admit, a society like that would be BORING!
come on Benny, give it up.”

And this from the man that got self righteous when asked about his Christian charity. Now God is boring? You want ME to give up?

And Anon,

look at the open software movement for a better understanding of how open market principles would look. Brush up on your logic skills. It’s your kind of limited “it’ll never work” thinking that has produced all of this wonderful misery the majority of the people are suffering from.

Instead of saying it won’t work give me something to think about. Tell me WHY it won’t work. Telling me to brush up on my theory is a nice cop out. But can you explain why it won’t work? Or are you just trying to sound intelligent?

 

Hey Ed

Judges usually traveled across the West under the Protection of the United States Marshals.

Being a Judge is an Appoinment, meaning no need to be a lawyer.
In those small towns across the west, do you really think each one had a large lawyer community?

The old west court usually happened like this:

the two people who had a beef with each other(Civil law, property law, criminal law, whatever) came before the Judge and told their side of the story. Judge listened, gave his ruling, next case.
Who needed lawyers then?
Have you seen Judge Judy? She rocks it without Lawyers.

Call me ignorant, LMAO.

Posted by C. D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Benny
Again with the illogical arguments?
One post you saying i want everyone to have a piece of the GDP. another your saying that the Accupuncurist does their work for the pleasure of helping, not for money, now your saying i don’t want money, i NEED money.

As for SKV- or Sergey- Or whatever

If your country was so great, why are you here?
Why are you defending the horrid abuses of Human rights that China is responsible for?

Come on people
keep some consistency with your arguments.

As for God, i’ll let my past posts on the subject speak for themselves. Any honest person should be able to see what i feel about the subject.

What are you for again? what do you stand for Benny, you never answered that simple question.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Well I call them as I see them, and the more you post the more ignorant you look. Judge Judy…LOL. Please enlighten us more with your legal acumen. Why back in the day on CHiPs they fought crime without ever using guns, why not elect the president using American Idol style voting? Hell, if you want base your ideas on what you see on TV, well I can’t think of a more perfect example of ignorance. If ignorance is bliss, you my friend must be ecstatic. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive
 

Ed

you want to talk about the idiocy of the “Legal System”?
how about this little tidbit- we all know that “Ignorance of the law is no excuse” right? Have you been to a law library? Do you have ANY idea at the VOLUMES of books filled with points of law? Go into any Judges office, and they will have a small Library of Law Books on the subject that Judge Specializes in like Land law, or Civil law, or Criminal Law, Corporate law, Patent Law, Intellectual law, International Law, do you get the picture or the Idiocy of this “Legal System”.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

CD I do want you to realize that the only reason I keep replying to you is so that more reasonable minds can see the type of thinking that has led us down this path.

Hopefully you will continue to illustrate how not to approach a real problem. I know you can’t be so dull as to miss the meaning of clearly stated ideas.

But you choose to feign ignorance.

For the benefit of others who didn’t see my post regarding the subject, I support our democratically elected republic. In terms of our economic system I advocate for an open system. where the treasury and federal reserve are automated so that they can perform the task of balancing the supply of money/value in the system. An automated system would do this free of political/corporate influence.

Dividing GDP equally amongst all adult citizens would put the money directly in the hands of the real producers, inventors, educators, etc… of this country and allow them to create and innovate.

My other posts explain it more clearly.

 

Hello Edward M. Blake,

My apology for bad words about lawyers…

I came to US with degree in Math & Computer Science. I thankful to many Americans who helped me a lot with my first steps in this complex society. But I also was blown away that my ordinary education gave me ticket to some prosperity while many of my American friends struggle to make their living. At the same time look at any Bank/Technology in NYC. Most jobs pay over $70,000 many over $100,000… Very few Americans, most positions filled by guys from India/China. They don’t take somebody else place because there is nobody around… Most technically savvy Amiricans I saw from ‘Race to Moon’ Generations. I travel a lot across US and saw abandon factories, farms… Small towns sunk in poverty. Tell these people about $70,000. US government didn’t stop corporations from shipping business abroad nor it provided people with flexible education so they can find new jobs.

US is enormously wealthy country. But World is full of countries that used to be wealthy…

I don’t like regulations. Especially I don’t like US way for regulations. But I see that corporate governance fails shareholders and fails society.

You are the guy who knows The Law of this land. What is you opinion?

How US can preserve wealth for our kids and our retirement?

Posted by Sergey | Report as abusive
 

Well, I can see the firm’s law library from from my desk, but demonstrate more of your ignorance, most legal research is done online these days. Lawyers also tend to specialize as well, but who am I to tell such a astute legal scholar anything.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive
 

To C.D. Walker,
“As for SKV- or Sergey- Or whatever”

0. I usually post using my nick SKV_USA. But here everybody is using real name so I do the same.

1. I don’t defend abuses in China.
2. I against Corporations reallocating jobs abroad. It drains jobs away and also drains wealth. We need this wealth because taxes from this wealth fuel education for our kids and our retirement.
3. I like idea of some regulation. But the way how US does regulations usually makes thing worse. Here we come to bunch of technicalities that you don’t like :). Please revisit my previous posts. My main point in n.4.

4. I like to see laws that make Corporate executive personally responsible for Corporation actions. Today corporation shield executives from any responsibilities. When court penalize corporation it penalizes shareholders rather than people who actually made decisions.

Posted by Sergey | Report as abusive
 

To Benny Acosta:
Before you continue with your “Equally sharing in GDP”.
Pls Read definition of GDP on wikipedia and tell us what exactly you would like to share and how…
GDP = [Consumption] + [Investment] + [Government spending] + ([Export] − [Import]).
There is no single account called ‘GDP’ that you love to plunder. Pls go back to job and earn money for being interface between chair and monitor. At least you don’t have to put thermal isolation on a middle of summer heat.

Posted by Sergey | Report as abusive
 

How to fix the mess we’ve gotten into..sadly I don’t really know. The things I do know are that neither corporations nor the government alone provide the answer. Personally, I’m for less regulation, but strong penalties for those who violate the rules. Rather than have an inflexible system that forces inefficiencies I would rather more options, but strong sanctions for violators. Then the force of the law is applied to those who deserve it rather than forcing unneeded rules on everyone. I’d like to see white color criminals go to the same jail with all criminals.
As to politicians, the drive for re election and the need to please special interests to stay in power argue to me for one term and out. Maybe make the terms a bit longer, but I would rather lose a few good representatives in order to flush out the many incompetent and corrupt. This might also attract different people than the typical politicians for life we have now who represent no one but their own re election bid and the special interests that support that. Many politicians start with high ideals but feel the need to compromise these to get elected so the can do good, then the need to stay in power to do more good. In order to do that in our system requires more compromise and thus leads to loss of ideals in the chase for elections.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive
 

Thank you, Ed.
I have th
Her is a little bit charged question…
If I cause some harm to somebody even without bad intentions I am usually responsible for damage and may be some penalties.
US government bailed out banks. I honestly believe that was the only option. But. Why US Gov don’t charge execs with neglect? I don’t want witch hunt. But after all, we see 1,000,000 are losing retirements savings and… Nobody to blame.

AFAIK The idea of Corp law is to separate personal responsibility from business responsibility. It looks we went way to far down on this road.

Why the whole power of US legal system failed to stop AIG bonuses and government was forced to begged them: “please give us bonuses back! please…”

Posted by Sergey | Report as abusive
 

Well I’m not in anyway going to defend the bailouts, personally I don’t even think they were needed, witness how fast these banks want to give the money back now that there are strings attached. The whole too big too fail flies in the face of our anti trust laws (regulations that are needed but sadly ignored in many of these cases) I mean there’s a little thing like the Sherman Anti Trust Act that is supposed to stop such nonsense. Somewhere John Sherman is spinning in his grave.
Corporate law is designed exactly as you say to protect ownership from personal liability, which is a double edged sword in many ways. It allows for certain efficiencies and provides legitimate protection in many cases, but it certainly allows officers to act with near impunity, particularly in cases like this.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive
 

Sergey-

“But the way how US does regulations usually makes thing worse.”

How are we doing bad “Regulation” when we have De-Regulated? Twisting words again, trying to make them what you want.

“like to see laws that make Corporate executive personally responsible for Corporation actions. Today corporation shield executives from any responsibilities”

Couldn’t agree more. Limited Liability Corporations can act like Psycopaths without worry of lawsuits targeting the Decision Makers within the company. Nice legal Loophole.

Ed

Well, I can see the firm’s law library from from my desk, but demonstrate more of your ignorance, most legal research is done online these days. Lawyers also tend to specialize as well, but who am I to tell such a astute legal scholar anything.

What does your “Law Firm” specialize in? Litigation? Family Law? Divorce? Real Estate? Tax Law?
All i was saying is, how twisted is the legal system when “Ignorance of the Law is not an Excuse for Breaking the law.” Yet there are so many Laws on Books, NO ONE LAWYER or even a Judge, can know all the laws. Have you seen just the Tax Code?
I’m not a legal scholar, but i’m not an idiot either.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Benny-

Still inconsistent with your illogical attempts at trying to convince people of whatever it is your selling?

you said “Dividing GDP equally amongst all adult citizens would put the money directly in the hands of the real producers, inventors, educators, etc… of this country and allow them to create and innovate.”

Where is the drive to be creative and innovative if you know your going to get a piece of the pie?

AGAIN
I say to you, if you work honestly, you deserve an honest wage. If you don’t work, you don’t deserve to get payed.

It is really simple.
Work = Pay
No Work = No Pay

Six words, don’t get any easier than that.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

CD.

I agree that Benny’s ideas are a little too socialist for my liking.

But at the same time, you seem to have a few anti-elitist ideas of your own.

I doubt you have much to do with business or the legal industry. So trying to speaking about their worth only makes you look bad.

Posted by Anon. | Report as abusive
 

Anon-

want to know what my experiences have been with the legal system?
My family went up against TYCO international when it was run by that crook Dennis Kozlowski, now in jail. In Virginia’s Federal “Rocket Docket” (Google it) under The Honorable Judge Lonnie Brinkema. My family was represented by Niro, Scavone, Haller & Niro out of Chicago. At issue was intellectually property rights, Proprietary rights to technology, Theft, Conspiracy, and Fraud.

An employee of TYCO admitted to lying to my families company on the stand. The jury of peers decided in my families favor. The Judge over-turned the jury decision. Still not too clear why. Cost my family everything to pay for the litigation fees that lasted years. I didn’t get to go to college. The Technology involved coming up with a chemical formula that enable a plastic to be infused with micro sized balls of silver, enabling the plastic to be conductive.

The second part involved the design of a mold that enable the Plastic to be injected and formed into computer chips. That mold was in TYCO possession, but was only a prototype, a single cavity mold. TYCO then shipped that mold to several other engineering companies trying to reverse engineer it. Finally the were successful and copied the mold for their profit, cutting out my families company, breaking an exclusivity clause, STEALING from my dad, a Vietnam Vet.

If you look inside any ADT keyboard panel, you’ll find my families stolen technology.

I still love this country, there is just some people in charge who are ruining the dream our Founding Fathers had of America.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

one of the best articals I have read in internet. thank you. Rational thinking must prevail over wail of hypocrisy.

Posted by JID.jayasubndara | Report as abusive
 

I wish I could comment on your case, CD. But the decision could have been for any number of reasons.

Judges make rulings as to how the law is applied.

Juries only deal with the facts. And sometimes, no matter how they might feel about a case, the application of the law does not agree.

But even if the judge was in error, and the law was applied incorrectly, this does not destroy the credibility of the legal industry as a whole.

Posted by Anon. | Report as abusive
 

While I empathize with you regarding your unfortunate experience with the legal system it doesn’t mean we can do without lawyers.
Do you think it would be better if ignorance of the law was an actual defense? Or that the law can somehow be simplified so that it can be easily understood and interpreted by all? Sadly in a complex society the law must be complex and ignorance can never be a valid defense.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive
 

Why are people talking about taxes and regulations? This is stupid. The article is about foreign policy and democracy-promotion (or lack of). Say something intelligent on the topic, not something random.

Posted by Neil | Report as abusive
 

Blake there is a simple and elegant solution to problem of the law. I could certainly be wrong but it appears to me that courts don’t use the intent of the law as a criteria for making a decision.

It would make things a lot easier for the public if congress passed laws in which the intent of the law itself is clearly stated. And it would help if the court system used that intent as a measure to decide if a real infraction has taken place.

That way laws don’t get broken on technicalities and people can’t “play the system” on technical grounds.

 

Well the road to hell is paved in good intentions. It’s difficult to discuss how people “get off” on technicalities when in some case that “technicality” is the Fourth Amendment for example. Oft times laws get used for very valid purposes and accomplish good when they go beyond the intentions of the drafters. People also forget that in the US system courts of law and equity are combined, and equity courts are concerned with exactly that, equity. Thus judges are free to go beyond the letter of the law in order to do justice.
The law is full of jargon and is in some ways purposely opaque, hell the laws are generally written by lawyers and they don’t want to cut themselves out of work. It may seem there are simple ways to reform the system, but it’s not as easy as many folks think to have a system that can deal effectively with the myriad and complex situations that come before courts everyday.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive
 

But isn’t that the point Blake? The law is too complex. That complexity serves to hide behavior that would otherwise be cause for prosecution.

By making the intent of the law clear. It is easy to determine if an individual went beyond the scope of what is permissible.
Adding more complexity to the law would be like trying to cure our debt problems by adding more debt. As everyone can see. That approach is failing miserably.

Simplicity is the cure for complexity and complex language.

For example our treasury/federal reserve has embarked on a course of “quantitative easing”

Why did they say “quantitative easing”? Because no one would agree to the idea of simply printing more money to get out of debt.

The law is no different. It is enacted by people with interests to protect. And unequal protection under the law requires language that will uphold this unequal structure while at the same time making it sound to the uninitiated that such things are good ideas for society.

 

Hello C.D.
“But the way how US does regulations usually makes thing worse.”
1. Finance was/is heavy regulated. Every major bank must be member of FDIC. Most trading is done through exchanges and ESNs. Banks required to meet big number of requirements on risk/capital blah…blah…blah… Only Derivatives were explicitly unregulated. They played bad role in Sep/Oct 2008. But crises began in Apr/May 2008 with collapse of mortgages. Mortgages one of the most regulated markets.

Despite tons of regulations we all saw ads on TV/Web/News like ‘Mortgage doctor’. Companies that officially helped clients fool regulations and ruin their lives. Fraud was so wide spread that even major banks run own appraisal/financial companies to ‘help’ people get Mortgage that they deserve.
What is good about regulation that impossible to enforce?

When gov go after very few companies they punish business with big BIG penalties while crooks walk away! I know only one case when mortgage broker was prosecuted. He lost his license and now his wife runs the same business.

My point was/is the same. Enforce existing regulations and make actual decision makers accountable for mistakes. Accountable means penalties/jail etc. Something more serous than losing license. Even the best regulations means nothing without enforcement.

Posted by Sergey | Report as abusive
 

Anon,

I do not advocate socialism. I advocate our democratically elected republic for government.

In financial terms I advocate for an “open” market place.
Look to the open software movement for a better idea of what I mean.

In open software, code is the building block of production. That building block (the code), is distributed freely. Anyone may modify, reverse engineer, redistribute,or sell open software as they choose. All that is asked is that the original source code be included in the program so that the originators get credit. This is a very basic explanation.

But suffice it to say that all of this work was done not for money but out of a spirit of innovation and creativity.

Linux and open software have come such a long way that it now competes in the market place with Microsoft, Apple, Sun, etc… and it cannot be discounted by any of them.

In an economy currency is the building block of production. An open economy gives equal access to that building block so that people can produce. And with everyone having equal access to the means of production, people can work together without having to seek an outside source of funding. So the producers are the only ones in financial control of their product.

 

In socialism the government controls the money and doles it out according to who they think is qualified to have it.

 

(In reply to scattered posts above, none in particular)

Amazing that anyone could accept such a lame (and pessimistic) argument as there being nothing that motivates creation and work except cash. And it should be noted the “innovative” rich don’t work at all and spend their time sucking resources while the “stupid” “un-entrepreneurial” majority slave loads of hours in the USA and everywhere else; to say otherwise is a conceited lie. But in any case, if you want fool around in a Anti-Communist area of analysis you could say:

(It inevitably ends up here for the brave defenders of inequality and the profit system:)

The Soviet Union, despite its backwardness, maintained GDP growth rates usually greater than the USA for 50-60 years, industrialized from rural poverty, maintained a huge economy in isolation from the world… etc. Even the counter-revolutionary backwardness that was Stalinism proves that no mythical profit motive stands in the way of basic economic production (scratch that, mammoth economic production).

It doesn’t seem like anyone can make an absolutist argument based on relative statistics between non-capitalist Russia and the capitalist United States with its dominance of the world market and superior development. Its hard to see how even a relative argument is valid given the distinct circumstances and the reactionary nature of the Stalinist state.

The Non-capitalist economy in the USSR was not even close to a Socialist economy, either, and yet in many aspects and in its general functioning it still makes Capitalism by implication look useless and in quite a few areas cruel.

That isn’t a praise of Stalinism, that just shows how historically exhausted and limited the Capitalist scheme is. A non-capitalist world economy would free vast potential for production and quality of life, not to mention rid us of the parasitic and exploitative practices of the corporate caste and profit motivated destruction of all kinds.

Posted by Roy Fairbank | Report as abusive
 

When I say socialist, I mean in the economic sense. Not a ‘rotten-red-under-the-bed’ sense.

An open economy is one where a person is free to produce and trade without interference. In other words, free trade. It has nothing to do with the division of GDP.

The ability of a person to produce depends on the four economic factors. Land, Labour, Capital and Enterprise.

A person with access to those factors can produce and profit. The more access to those factors you have, the more profit you make.

If you can not access to the factors, then by the rules of an open economy, you should not produce.

Profit is the driving force behind any economy. People strive to use the factors of production in order to profit, and this profit allows them to gain more resources.

You define socialism as being when the government artificially controls the resources, and doles them out to whoever they choose.

Yet when you propose to divide GDP evenly through the population to control production, you propose that very thing.

Such an approach will not encourage an economy to grow, because it does not allow profit. And by interfering with the division of the factors of production, it will not encourage an open or efficient market.

Posted by Anon. | Report as abusive
 

Anon-

“The ability of a person to produce depends on the four economic factors. Land, Labour, Capital and Enterprise.”

Those are the factors for a whole country to produce. A person just needs to have a strong work ethic to be productive, and a job with which to be productive at.

Anon wrote-
“Profit is the driving force behind any economy.”

Not so, Profit is the driving force behind any corporation or company, the driving for behind any GOOD economy should be stability, the ability to provide steady reliable growth. When PROFIT is the main motivator for a whole economy, well, look at the world economy right now.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Anon-

“I wish I could comment on your case, CD. But the decision could have been for any number of reasons.
Judges make rulings as to how the law is applied.”

The Judge is like a ref in the court of law. The judge makes sure both sides play fair during the trial process.
THE JURY makes the ruling based on evidence provided and the arguments between the two sides.

If the Judge is to rule on law, what need for a JURY then? Why even have a JURY of your PEERS if a Judge has the power to decide a case at their whim?

Ed-

“While I empathize with you regarding your unfortunate experience with the legal system it doesn’t mean we can do without lawyers.
Do you think it would be better if ignorance of the law was an actual defense? Or that the law can somehow be simplified so that it can be easily understood and interpreted by all? Sadly in a complex society the law must be complex and ignorance can never be a valid defense.”

There is a technology called MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) with which doctors can scan the human mind.
Imagine if such a machine was employed in courtrooms with a certified doctor intent to detect the lies of defendants! When one lies, the part of the brain associated with imagination lights up. When one tells the truth, the part of the brain associated with memory lights up.

What need for a lawyer when a Judge can ask a question, like “Did you kill this person.” in front of a Jury of Peers. If the person lies, the scan will know, and show the truth for all to see.

Imagine how easy it would be to end corruption. Bring those suspected of Corruption before a judge and jury, ask the questions, and discover the truth!
What need for lawyers when the truth can be know with science?
We know all about the HONEST reputation of Lawyers.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Anon,
“The ability of a person to produce depends on the four economic factors. Land, Labour, Capital and Enterprise.”

That is correct. but capital is what provides access to the other three. On an individual level this amounts to you as a citizen, having access to the capital you need in order to develop the skills you want to use to provide a product or service.

Say you always wanted to be a doctor. But because you were in the majority of those that could not beat the financial odds, you had to take a different direction career wise.

If you had had access to a steady stream of income. You would have been able to pursue your dream while still young and enthusiastic enough to really produce results in your field.

I’m talking about a capital investment of a higher order. Paper is worthless. Our money is backed by the “good faith and credit of the United States government”. Good luck cashing it in for it’s real value. Instead, the capital of truest value is that of human capital. Money doesn’t cure disease or better the quality of life. People do that. Money is just a tool that allows them to get the resources they need in order to learn how to do these things. Currency is an exchange medium, not an end to itself.

The value being sought through money is found in people.
That’s why businesses can’t prosper without people. It’s people who produce. It’s people who consume. Without human interaction money is worthless. Understanding this relationship is important because it illustrates the dependence on human activity that money has.

So if money is dependent on us then whey do we serve it?

“You define socialism as being when the government artificially controls the resources, and doles them out to whoever they choose.
Yet when you propose to divide GDP evenly through the population to control production, you propose that very thing.”

Can you please explain to me how you come to that conclusion? I don’t see the connection you’re trying to make.

 

Anon-
“In open software, code is the building block of production.”

Not so, obviously you have never written code. WORK is the building block of production, ESPECIALLY in writing code since it is a tedious labor of love.

Code is like a pile of bricks laying in your yard. If you work, you can build something. The harder you work with your code(blocks of information, or bricks) the more you produce.

its that simple

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Well, first off I certainly don’t have as much trust in technology as you. Second, there’s another little “technicality” that would get around your scheme, it’s that minor bit of constitutional law know popularly as the 5th amendment. I imagine that this piece of legislation might be familiar.
If you can’t get past your own bad experiences with lawyers, it’s pointless to discuss.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive
 

Benny- still at it I see? why?

Benny said
“If you had had access to a steady stream of income. You would have been able to pursue your dream while still young and enthusiastic enough to really produce results in your field.”

You must not know kids. Most kids i know who have access to a steady stream of income, without working hard for it, usually wind up spending it on activities they see as fun. Drinking, partying, playing, buying clothes, going on trips.

The only people who produce results in their fields are HARD WORKERS because they know their success depends DIRECTLY with HARD WORK. The HARDER they WORK the more successful they become. It is what makes America beautiful. It is the promise of America that with hard work and dedication, you can do anything.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Ed-

If you could pay attention, focus, you would see that my problem is with the Judge. Do you really think id be mad at Niro, Scavone, Haller & Niro, the lawyers who won the case for my family? WOW, i don’t want to point out how flawed your thinking is, but its soo obvious.

Ed said
“Second, there’s another little “technicality” that would get around your scheme, it’s that minor bit of constitutional law know popularly as the 5th amendment.”
If a judge asks a person “Did you kill so-and-so”
why would a person plead the 5th if they didn’t kill them? Same with fraud and corruption. If they are innocent, what need for them to plead the 5th?

again, i see your thinking as flawed. Or not if your trying to defend the flawed legal system we have. BUT HEY, its your right to defend that flawed dinosaur i hope gets reworked, redone for the betterment of America, and Justice.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

So you can’t get past your personal issues, unfortunate but not uncommon. I ask what need does an innocent person have to use the 5th amendment now? Just because you don’t understand the system doesn’t make it illogical. Your ideas that ignorance of the law should be a defense is illogical, expecting a legal system that needs to deal with the real world could be easily grasped by everyone is illogical. Thinking the the “dinosaur” system is going to change anytime soon is illogical. Good luck getting that MRI tech in a courtroom, I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you waiting for any major changes.
I guess the ability to post on the internet doesn’t correlate with logic or common sense. You’d think I’d have learned that already, but I try to hope.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive
 

Ed! you make it too easy for me

ed said
“Your ideas that ignorance of the law should be a defense is illogical,”

One, if you READ, you will realize I never said that ignorance of the law should be used as a defense.
I said the system is idiotic saying that “Ignorance of the law is not excuse for breaking the law”, and yet, their are so many laws on books, no ONE PERSON, Judge or Lawyer, knows all the laws. The Tax code alone is so complex people have to specialize in it, and it alone.
Imagine how easy it could all be if you could just ask someone if they cheated on their taxes and discover the truth with the MRI?

Ed said
“expecting a legal system that needs to deal with the real world could be easily grasped by everyone is illogical.”

You know, I really want a legal system that deals Wonderland, or Never-Never land, and most certainly not a legal system that deals with the “REAL WORLD” that everyone can understand. That would be asking too much wouldn’t it?

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Benny,

what do you mean? I mean its not a very in depth analysis.
What “Socialism?” and Why?

If I used the exact same approach to capitalism I could similarly say:

Under capitalism the bourgeoisie controls production and appropriates society’s wealth for itself.

Except my sentence is more specific and less hazy in general. Even so, it means nothing. Talking like this is throwing out conclusions without arguments.

I could ask; what “Socialism,” how does it control the money, why does dole it out and what people does it consider qualified and why?

Unfortunately, shallow generalizations will get stuck at this point.

There is no such thing as a shallow, general Socialism. If you are discussing the USSR, then cover the historical and economic conditions of the USSR.

If you are talking Marx’s conception, analyze the historical content of Marx’s writings,

If you are talking about the ravings of televangelists and businessmen then explain the historical impressions and pressures around them that are underneath this idea of a shallow, general “Socialism”

I’ve defined for you here what being a Socialist is i.e. a historical materialist, and that is how a Socialist would begin to approach Socialism, not through shadowy impressions and abstract generalizations or regurgitation of “analysts” who employ the same means.

Posted by Roy Fairbank | Report as abusive
 

Hello Edward, C.D.

Here are couple questions that I guess you didn’t have to answer for long time.
How do you see the purpose of Law and Legal system?
How do you measure effectiveness of legal system?

Posted by Sergey | Report as abusive
 

Roy,

Thank you. You’ve given me something to consider.

I’m attempting to be broad because I’m trying to speak to a wide variety of individual experience. The more specific one becomes, the easier it is to point to specific examples and generalize the implications across a wide variety of individual lives.

That is to say, that if I speak of autoworkers as a specific group and give my perception of the general trend that that group is following, it’s quite easy for some one else to say that this or that particular person in a similar circumstance had a different outcome, and therefore the whole original assertion is invalid.

You can see examples of this throughout these posts. It’s the nature of debate.

I’m getting (or at least feebly trying), to get to the root cause of the general economic problem.

I have identified this problem as being an over valuation of currency against the undervaluation of human capitol. I really don’t care what label anyone wants to put on it. The problem is still there just the same.

Currency is the means to exchange things that have real value for us. As a means of exchange the federal reserve/treasury operate on the principle of limiting the amount of currency in the system and setting its value according to its own criteria.

Profit is the accumulation of this limited resource which results in a debt somewhere else in the system. Look around you if you need proof. Now we go to “quantitative easing”. Just printing money. The whole time all of this is going on, people are loosing their homes. Others die because of lack of insurance. This list of human suffering is long.

And some how we are supposed to accept the idea, that a failure in a system revolving around fake wealth is supposed to translate into human suffering. This idea is absurd when viewed from this perspective.

I don’t care about the details of socialism vs any ism. The ism is not the problem at all. The problem is in the idea of holding a resource which is dependent upon us for its value, as being superior to its human creators.

This principle underlies every current attempt at remedy we’ve so far seen. The idea of putting the citizen first is only lip service. The results speak for themselves. This economy will get much worse. The United States is becoming weak, and the Chinese are becoming hungry to assert their presence.

 

Here’s an article on this site that speaks to the root cause of suffering I’ve identified in these forums. All I did was go to the main page.

http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticN ews/idUSN2754905920090528

 

Benny-

“That is to say, that if I speak of autoworkers as a specific group and give my perception of the general trend that that group is following, it’s quite easy for some one else to say that this or that particular person in a similar circumstance had a different outcome, and therefore the whole original assertion is invalid”

That is an awful lot of words that don’t say much.

Kinda like some people who i have worked with- They move around a lot, but don’t do much, BUT, expect to get paid as much as someone who works their ass off.

You put a lot of words out there, without saying much.

Now instead of speaking your points clearly, you reference another Web page.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Sergey-

“How do you see the purpose of Law and Legal system?
How do you measure effectiveness of legal system?”

Fantastic questions. The purpose of any Code of Laws is to ensure Justice is meted out with fairness to every sect of society.

The effectiveness of a legal system is extremely tricky to gauge. If a Code of Laws is unfairly biased towards a section of society (like business), that section of society believes that the Code of Laws is very effective (for them of course), while everyone else within the Code of Laws believes it is very ineffective.
The effectiveness of a Legal System is a purely a point of view. O.J. Simpson I’m sure LOVED the legal system when he got off. Of course now, I’m sure he believes it is unfair.

Business always hails the Justice of the Legal system when the win, and denounces it when they lose. Go figure.
Of course Business has the Deep Pockets with which to pay Lawyers to constantly file motions, and other legal terms to push court dates back and back. Look at Chevron and their 15 year court case in South America.

Chevron, I’m sure, Loves the legal system since they have pushed court dates into the future. While those pursuing Chevron denounce the system.
I ask you, in whose favor does this system benefit more?
Those with money enough to pay for YEARS of litigation, or the poor, who without money, cannot PAY FOR JUSTICE.

you decide.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

True justice is when the law of the day is applied to the facts. No more, no less.

The legal system is designed to be fair, to the point of brutality. Fair does not mean the parties have a 50-50 chance of victory. It means both parties are treated the same, even if they enter on an unequal footing.

Subjective justice is what people think they deserve from the court. And what people may think they deserve has no bearing on how the law is applied.

Posted by Anon. | Report as abusive
 

anon, love all the anon

“The legal system is designed to be fair, to the point of brutality. Fair does not mean the parties have a 50-50 chance of victory. It means both parties are treated the same, even if they enter on an unequal footing”

When can an individual ever enter a courtroom on equal footing with a “MULTINATIONAL”?
How much to the Good Lawyers cost? Hmmmmmm
Who can pay those rates? hmmmmmm

Nope, the system is in no way slanted towards those who have money.
nope.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Anon

AND when two “Multinationals” go at it, for how many YEARS do those things go on?

Lawyers i bet drool with anticipation, and about kill each other to get their hands on a TEN year fight like that, MY GOD how much an hour? For ten years!?!?!?!

Posted by C. D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

As I said before, the four factors of production determine productivity. Not just for the economy itself, but for the individual.

Take the humble farmer. He posesses a farm (Land). He works that farm (Labour). He purchases grain, machinery or animals as an investment(Capital). And he uses those three resources in order to profit (Enterprise).

Money is not a resource in itself. It is a currency used for the exchange of resources.

If people have resources to sell, then they get money.

To believe that you can simply take profit and GDP and scatter it around is error. It is artificial and has nothing to do with the economic system.

Regardless of what anyone may say, profit is what drives the economy. Even if some regulation in the right areas may help keep it on an even keel.

If you disagree, that is fine. As long as your disagreement is based on at least a high school level understanding of economics.

Posted by Anon. | Report as abusive
 

How many times has a farmer ripped you off?

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Whatever.

The fact that you can’t even understand the true duties of a judge and jury speaks volumes.

It is obvious that you have bitter preconceived notions about lawyers(and politicians, businessmen, investors and anyone richer or more powerful then you). It is not my business to try and change your mind. From your posts, I doubt you ever will.

When people get on the soapbox and preach anti-elitist ideas, they show their own ignorance more then anything else. And while they may not care, others can see it quite clearly.

Aside from that, there is little more to be said.

Posted by Anon. | Report as abusive
 

“Money is not a resource in itself. It is a currency used for the exchange of resources. ”

What does it say then, about “Business” and “Banks” in general when they know this “Currency” needs to flow, and they purposely create the economic, social, political, and judicial situation where the “Credit” wont flow?

If i wanted to grab as much land as I could, i would try to get as many people in “Homes” that were “WAY TO EXPENSIVE” for them, on purpose,ON CREDIT, “KNOWING” they couldn’t pay eventually, (Especially if i got my OIL buddies AT THE SAME TIME to inflate the value of OIL, CUTTING INTO THE POCKETS OF AMERICANS)and it would be only a matter of time before they would default, foreclose, and who then holds the DEEDs? Communist banks supported by the FEDERAL RESERVE (who sets inflation, making property more and more expensive) get to take as much “PRIVATE PROPERTY” as the could scam out of the Public, and the OIL DICKS got to rake in “Record Breaking Profits”, Now the bailouts go to WHOM!!!

How is that for High School
ass.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Come gather round, listen to my story
about our flag nicknamed “Old Glory”
What is a flag but canvas and thread?
She means more to my heart and head.
Blue of Royalty, now stands for Nobility
a certainty white stands for OUR Purity
We Free the world with the Red blood we bleed
For honor she stands, the red white and blue
she stands for the common man, me and you
The foundation of the worlds Justice
She no longer stands for Just US
Tyrants tremble at the mention of her name
To them she forever brings great shame
I tremble at her sight, thinking of all those who’ve died
Protecting what’s right, for her sons, America has cried
I dream a dream of better things
of places and deeds of greater needs
We fight for the right
by GODS sight
See how evil has been diminished?
We won’t stop until it is finished.
I am proud to walk Americas free land
I pledge the flag with heart under hand
I promise soldiers long past
OUR FREEDOM WILL LAST
They died holding on to duty and honor
I HONOR them every time my eyes fall on her
OLD GLORY!
OUR flag of canvas and thread
Don’t you dare on her tread
Time grows short, this my story soon ends
Look at OLD GLORY, see how in the wind she bends?
Only by some sorry twist of fate
Our flag of FREEDOM will never Break!

By

C. D. Walker

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

Self proclaimed prophet,
Wishes to preach so badly,
He fails to listen.

Posted by YouKnowWho | Report as abusive
 

Interesting, ignorance is still on parade, now joined by jealousy, bitterness and paranoia. I guess bad poetry and typing in ALL CAPS passes for intelligent debate on the internet.
The great thing about that is you don’t even need to say anything to make someone like that look foolish, they do it for you. There’s a bit of advice I often give to these people, it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt. Thanks for removing the doubt.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive
 

We yet to collect Ed’s opinion on purpose of Law and Justice.
But so far C.D. & Anon opinion/observation that Law & Justice is all about “Sniff out crime and brush it away”. That what we see in US.
US/Russia go head to head in % population in prison US ~0.7% Russia ~0.6% (China ~0.1%).

While number of lawyers more than in the rest of the world combined.

“Sniff out crime and brush it away” – that was the order that Tzar Ivan ‘the Terrible’ gave his guards in XV century.

Most of civilize world use Law & Justice system the identify troublemakers and steer them back to society while US/China/Russia see Law & Justice in light of XV century.

I am not a big prison advocate. But numbers speak for themselves.
System also fails in big business Cases when Judge & lawyers end up in bazaar bargains while crooks ALWAYS walk away.

I was in Small Courts at least 10 times all over NY/NJ/PA fighting speeding tickets :)). I was paying my ‘speed taxes’ and had my chance to see justice at work.

I was really surprise always to see Prosecutors & Judges go really long way to help people AVOID heavy penalties. In most cases even moderate penalties would ruin someone live beyond repair. Prosecutors & Judges always look like really moral persons, but it was dead clear that they can strike at will.

Here is one of my favorite quotes:
Prosecutor:
“We and State police troopers realize that traffic law is quite unreasonable, so if somebody would like plea guilty and trade 2 points for $xxx please see me…”.

Posted by Sergey | Report as abusive
 

To C.D.,
I respect your feeling and glad that there are some people around who type in CAPS when it comes to the Flag and History of their country. That what make the backbone of the Nation. Countries without nation quickly sink into bloody bath of civil wars just look around the globe.

But when you are wrong when you talk about greedy bankers vs. ‘old good days’.
Because there were very few ‘old good days’. Life always was tough here in US and more tough abroad. This is human nature that when we write stories about everyday tough life we mentions only bright spots. Even with greedy bankers and faulty law US moves forward getting more and more prosperous.America seams to be able reinvent herself in times of crises. But we all afraid of fine print ‘Past performance doesn’t guarantee future results’.

Posted by Serey | Report as abusive
 

Sergey-

“Sniff out crime and brush it away” That might have been for a Tzar,

But here in America, when we “Sniff out Crime”, we make the criminal pay a penance, we don’t “Brush it Away”

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive
 

It’s funny I can’t remember the last time I thought about the purpose of the Law. I think I would summarize the purpose of the law is to order society in a just manner, to protect the innocent, punish the guilty and provide means other than brute force to decide disputes.
How do I rate a system, well I would see how it treats the weak against the strong. Certainly, our system fails on that basis for many reasons. Money certainly provides an unfair advantage, but as long as their are differences in people’s wealth, that will sadly be the case. Can our system be improved, certainly, does that mean we need brain scans or to eliminate lawyers, no.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive
 

Thank you Ed,

I certainly don’t want see the Law without lawyers.
I also don’t like to see someone case being decided by MRI based lie-detector. I used to design medical imaging equipment before I sold my sole to finance :).

We all seam to agree that Law is hostage to people who supposed to serve the Law (Judges and lawyers). The lawyer’s service is prohibiting expensive that give rich and corporates unfair advantage. Judges and lawyers also make most people who write the Law of this land. It It means that all changes to legal system come from inside and all system have really hard time to evolve from inside.

Ed, what do you think about codified law like in most European countries?
AFAIK US common Law relies on endless precedents. They tend to stay the same while World around changes ever faster :).

Posted by Sergey | Report as abusive
 

Anon

“To believe that you can simply take profit and GDP and scatter it around is error. It is artificial and has nothing to do with the economic system.

Regardless of what anyone may say, profit is what drives the economy. Even if some regulation in the right areas may help keep it on an even keel.

If you disagree, that is fine. As long as your disagreement is based on at least a high school level understanding of economics.”

I can point to the free open software movement and the principles that drive the innovation found there. I can point to its success, and come to the logical conclusion that if the principle applies to code, then it applies to currency because currency occupies a similar place.

Equal distribution of GDP does not represent some two dimensional idea of the government simply pumping money into undeserving hands.

The government is responsible for protecting the boarders, establishing and enforcing our system of law, and providing for the general defense, (please forgive me if I missed anything).

The government regularly takes in more money than it needs to fulfill these goals. The rest should be equally divided across the population. This provides a much better safety net than any of the programs currently available for that very purpose.

Get rid of funding for medicaid, medicare, education, etc… and instead keep the government agencies that oversee these programs in place as sector regulators.

For example. Stop using the us department of education to finance public schools. Instead, divert the money used (inefficiently)by the board of education directly into the pockets of citizens. This way people can choose their own schools.

The same principle can be applied to government health programs, and all other non-essential programs.

Aside from that it would still be business as usual. The steady stream of GDP returning to the pockets of the average citizen means that people aren’t trapped in jobs they hate, and businesses aren’t held at the mercy of unions because each individual already has their own safety net to fall back on.

This allows people to take more risks and be more creative, which in turn leads to innovation and increased productivity.
And with new industries come new tax revenues, which in turn strengthen the safety net and we have sustainable growth.

Please explain to me where you find cause to object, and by what argument you justify your claim that “To believe that you can simply take profit and GDP and scatter it around is error. It is artificial and has nothing to do with the economic system.”

 

Benny Acosta:

“I can point to the free open software movement and the principles that drive the innovation found there. I can point to its success, and come to the logical conclusion that if the principle applies to code, then it applies to currency because currency occupies a similar place.”

Do you know what are you talking about?

1. Most people in open source community don’t make living from open source. They collect salaries at main job while doing open source for fun.

2. From people who contribute to open source full time most people paid by IBM, Sun and universities.

3. Most major projects in open source are ‘leftovers’ from failed companies and their ideas. Starting with linux that has build on unix ideas rather that being reinvented from scratch. Open source was just way around licensing. Even you should understand that real challenge are research and ideas. Implementation (coding) done by code monkeys.

4. Very few companies do business by providing services around open source. This is only possible because huge implicit ‘investment’ from n.1 n.2. n.3

=====================================

Open source concept is close to original ideas of utopia communism. The only time it was somewhat successfully implemented in Israel kibbutzes movement. That today fail competition with real farms. Needless to say that kibbutzes fall short from anything but self sustain communities.

Posted by Serey | Report as abusive
 

Well, here the thing that makes your idea problematic, it’s this thing that many theorists and thinkers forget, it’s called reality. I don’t disagree with your theory, but please explain to me how it’s going to be implemented. I mean the nuts and bolts of the system and more importantly how you are going to convince people to go along with what is, no matter how you want to couch it communism.

Posted by Edwaed M. Blake | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •