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Total number of comments: 627 (since 2009-12-26 23:23:42)

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  • Just wars-- and civilian casualties
    • @ eee: "Furthermore, 90% of the land in Canada is owned by the Canadian federal and provincial governments meaning that at least 90% of the land of the Native Canadians was taken from them:"

      Actually, eee, to the extent that Natives don't have title to all of canada they signed treaties with the government. In certain jurisdiction where treaties have not been signed (eg. BC), courts interpret their rights broadly (too generously, in my view.) You follow that? There was a negotiation with the parties involved.

      "So how exactly is Canada a role model?"

      You are dodging the question. It is you who feels that a comparison is apt, not me. It is you who continues to bring up the analogy.

      Then I (and others) call you on it and you duck and weave and dodge and duck.

      Stop using treatment of N.A. natives as a smokescreen for Israel's treatment of its "subject peoples." "Our"natives have the vote. They have their land. They receive full rights under Canadian law. Whereas you treat your natives like cattle.

      Own the shame, eee, own the shame. -N49.

    • @ eee: Just as no one expects the US to return the plain states to the Sioux, Crow, Comanche etc., it is unreasonable to expect Israel to return the land Tel-Aviv University is build upon.

      That is just not true. I can only speak for Canada, but here native land was returned to natives. And where no treaties have been signed (BC), the courts interpret native rights very broadly.

      You keep thinking somehow the PA or some other body can trade away a person's property rights. It can't, for these rights are not theirs to trade away. If you want to solve the refugee problem, grab a clipboard and head to the camps. You've got some work to do.

      But please stop the native american - I/P analogies unless you are prepared to accept the remedies N.A. has taken should be likewise applied in Israel. -N49.

    • "International law is increasingly incorporating the principle that humanitarian military intervention is not only a right, but actually a DUTY of those who have the military capabilities, when the facts of the case warrant it.

      There goes your west bank pogroms, eee.

      But seriously, talking about in the finer points of Just War theory in the contect of I/P and American interventionism is a little like discussing the finer points of marriage while doing shots in a whore house. -N49.

    • Speaking of conspiracy theories and getting caught issuing fake but damning communications (a la Zimmerman Telegram), it appears that someone close to the the Huntsman campaign created the racist "Huntsman's Values" video and made it appear as though it came from the Ron Paul campaign.

      link to images.politico.com

      Us craaaazy conspiracy theorists!!! What craaaazy shit will we think up next? -N49.

    • This isn't a bad essay and I am glad to see Slater back. But why does he go and say things like this:

      First, I believe that most of Ron Paul’s domestic positions are indeed simpleminded, and much worse, disastrous on both moral and consequential grounds. That makes him a fool.

      I might be wrong, but my guess that Slater has simply not read any of the supporting material that underpins Paul's domestic positions. Austrian theory may be many things -- and I have said elsewhere that I do not subscribe to the entire program -- but simple it is not, nor are its followers simple minded.

      Why can't Slater be honest and say: "I don't know much about the rationale for Ron Paul domestic positions. I have not read the material. On the surface, however, they strike me as excessively "red in tooth and claw" and that goes against my nature. I have no real interest in exploring these ideas further."

      Instead Slater childishly insults a good many people on this site and a good many people across the land. Uncalled for. -N49.

  • Ron Paul's foreign policy should be embraced
    • >> Some have taken a third view, arguing that Paul’s economic theories aren’t as potentially disastrous as progressives fear.

      The US could not afford to pay the bills for Vietnam with the dollar convertible at 1/35th oz Au. It simply did not have enough gold to do this. So instead of leaving Vietnam, it left the gold standard instead.

      Since then, look at how military expenditures have grown.

      Don't progressives see this lesson? The most effective way to end foriegn adventurism / imperial behaviour is to cut off the money. By scrapping the Fed, you will remove the bottomless cheque book the warmongers now employ to further their goals. It is the shortest path to where you guys want to go. -N49.

  • Ynet: Support for Israel on American campuses is kerplunking
    • @ ProudZiomist re "the Arab Oil Lobby, which is so powerful, that it doesn’t even need a formal lobby group".

      You're right -- oil is its own lobby. No one need petition on its behalf.

      Ok, given that - why isn't this all=powerful "Oil Lobby" flexing its muscle re Iran? Mid-east oil does not want a war with Iran. It is in the Gulf's interest to establish rapport with Iran, manage supplies, have the price go up 8%/yr.. That's good stable money.

      A conflagration in the 'hood threatens the stability of the regimes, to say nothing of disrupting business.

      When are we going to see a rep from the "Oil Lobby" give a "pro-oil" Republican candidate $5m cash to get this message out?

      You might want to revise your ranking system. -N49.

  • Is Paul a precursor of a more presentable candidate in 2016?
    • Just what has the inflation rate been the last three years, Ron? Nevermind, facts do not matter to fundamentalists.

      Inflation is flaring all over the place. Oh, and Krugman is a boob. -N49.

    • >> Although I know [Paul] doesn’t accept the theory of evolution link to youtube.com

      Yeah, if there were one reason I could never vote for him it would be this. Anyone who does not accept the power of Darwin's theory does not understand science nor the scientific method. I don't get how a medical doctor can be of this mindset. Maybe it is that he went to school a long time ago. But I don't trust anyone who does not understand science and doesn't seem to care that he does not understand science. -N49.

    • @ Phil re "are there blacks and hispanics supporting paul?"

      Fwiw: link to ibtimes.com

      Forget those decade-old racist newsletters that he did not write or even read. Black (and Hispanic) America needs to support Ron Paul's 2012 campaign.

  • Ron Paul's antiwar position is simpleminded
    • JSlater said: "[T]hat as a matter of fact the attitudes of the Jewish community are what are decisive."

      Hubris Watch? Or something more sinister?

      :-) N49.

    • @ J Slater re How many American Jews who might be open to reasoned criticism of Israel are likely to be convinced by the hysterical, hate-filled, ignorant, and imbalanced denunciations that now characterize far too many of the regular Mondoweiss participants

      I can only speak for myself, but what what inspired my more intemperate remarks was / is Slater's uncritical acceptence of so much that has harmed the countries over the last 10 years. For example, Slater says, up-thread:

      "Osama bin-Laden frequently explicitly said he was seeking nuclear weapons, and so have other similar groups."

      This is just warmed over prattle. There is not even an attempt to source this or otherwise substantiate this. The Professor may like to know that the comment board suffer from the assertions in certain quarters (ahem Witrty, ahem eee) whose authors, when challenged, fade to black. Slater contended right up front that Paul would have sat on his hands during WW2. He was challenged on this. Never even made the effort (that I saw, certainly to my posts) to back this up.

      Yes, I would say that this board has a short attention span for this kind of thing. There are some smart people here (much smarter than me) and people who know their shit.

      I don't want to see Slater go because he is right -- this place needs to be -- and needs to be seen to be -- a non-threatening place for those with an open mind to come and discuss matters at hand. But if the price for this is leaving our critical thinking at the door, I guess we'll have to go without. -N49.

    • @ BB re Canadian population pre-war:
      11,267,000
      Canadian losses during war:
      45,400
      % pre-war population:
      0.4

      I am not sure what your drift is here, but 0.4% is a pretty big number. Think about it. Only 20% of the population is of the right age to fight and only 50% of the population is of the right sex to fight. So that's a little less than one in twenty who could have died, did die. Put this way, just about every classroom in the country would have been effected. -N49.

    • >> "At one time, gold served a useful function as a medium of exchange between strangers in primitive economies."

      Gold backed the USD up until forty years ago. Even today gold serves as a useful medium of exchange in a variety of financing arrangements. And as for a store of value, all you have to do here is note the growth of the gold ETFs. You don't know what you are talking about. -N49.

    • @ MRW re "the store of value is what the money has bought, or can buy [and not money itself.]

      Then please send me the contents of your bank account. Wire details to follow. -N49.

    • @Slater Osama bin-Laden frequently explicitly said he was seeking nuclear weapons, and so have other similar groups.

      Is this your source, Professor?

      "This is an evil man that we're dealing with. And I wouldn't put it past him to develop evil weapons to try to harm civilization as we know it," Bush said.

      link to articles.latimes.com

      From the same article:

      Given the means, our enemies would be a threat to every nation and, eventually, to civilization itself," the president told the European leaders. "We will not wait for the authors of mass murder to gain the weapons of mass destruction. We act now because we must lift this dark threat from our age and save generations to come."

    • @ MRW: By fiat I mean "money" that can be created at will.

      The purpose of money is two fold: a) as a medium of exchange and b) as a store of value. As to the former purpose, "paper money", (if you prefer this term to "fiat money"), works fine. And yes, it is less effort to send bits of paper over the mountains as compared to sending cows or even gold for that matter. And these days it is less effort yet to make a change in a centralized computer ledger.

      As to the latter purpose -- store of value -- paper money sucks. This is because it is easier to make bits of paper than it is to make cows and therefore, after a while, the ratio of paper bits to cows will grow. People begin to thjink they are richer than they are because they have all these paper bits stuffed into their money chest and they start to behave accordingly, investing in acts of folly, like pets.com and 2nd mortgages on rental property 30km outside of Vegas.

      But of course, you are only as rich as your cows. Western economies -- fiat junkies -- are now learning this lesson the hard way. More bad to come. -N49.

    • @MRW: Yikes!!!! Very misguided. Too late to go into this tonight, and will indulge maybe tomorrow, but for now tuck away the fact that all fiat currencies ever issued always end at zero. -N49.

    • @ MRW: Great catch. Complete schooling. Worth quoting:

      Washington’s stewardship of much of the world after the Second World War as a continuation of the Pax Britannica has been an abysmal failure, largely because of the inability of the U.S. government to rein in and control the military-industrial complex. As a result of 9/11, latent militarism has evolved into a full-blown national security state that has global pretensions but cannot pay its utility bills. That people who call themselves progressives see America’s overseas role as a wonderful success is quite frightening, particularly as one has to suspect that it is also the type of thinking that drives the White House. Those who support an aggressive policy to give the world stability, prosperity, and liberalism should pause and consider what they are advocating. The assumption that the United States is a force for good and must promote its values worldwide is fallacious. It will inevitably lead to bankruptcy, civil disorder, and a loss of fundamental liberties at home as well as creating resentment and devastation overseas.

    • Slater's right here on WWII. It can even be argued Roosevelt had let Pearl Harbour happen. But he still contends without substantiation and against the record that Paul would have sat on his ass.

      Mind experiment: If a progressive had rolled out Ron Paul's foreign policy platform, would the Left have their knickers in a twist as they do now? I think not. Greenwald had it right: Ron Paul puts up a mirror to the Left that reflects its own failings. A lifetime's work, irredeemably buggered. -N49.

    • @ MRW: In addition, N49, those firefighters paid into their retirement accounts–it was their money

      Well, yes & no. Before it was their money it was first the taxpayer's money. Deals were made. And, net-net, here we are. A kid of 23 cannot imagine a life like that of his dad.

      I recommend Michael Lewis' latest article on the municipal bust in Californaii-ay. Snippet:

      Over the past dec­ade the city of San Jose had repeatedly caved to the demands of its public-safety unions. In practice this meant that when the police or fire department of any neighboring city struck a better deal for itself, it became a fresh argument for improving the pay of San Jose police and fire. The effect was to make the sweetest deal cut by public-safety workers with any city in Northern California the starting point for the next round of negotiations for every other city. The departments also used each other to score debating points. For instance, back in 2002, the San Jose police union cut a three-year deal that raised police officers’ pay by 18 percent over the contract. Soon afterward, the San Jose firefighters cut a better deal for themselves, including a pay raise of more than 23 percent. The police felt robbed and complained mightily until the city council crafted a deal that handed them 5 percent more premium pay in exchange for training to fight terrorists. “We got famous for our anti-terrorist-training pay,” explains one city official. Eventually the anti-terrorist-training premium pay stopped; the police just kept the extra pay, with benefits. “Our police and firefighters will earn more in retirement than they did when they were working,” says Reed. “There used to be an argument that you have to give us money or we can’t afford to live in the city. Now the more you pay them the less likely they are to live in the city, because they can afford to leave. It’s staggering. When did we go from giving people sick leave to letting them accumulate it and cash it in for hundreds of thousands of dollars when they are done working? There’s a corruption here. It’s not just a financial corruption. It’s a corruption of the attitude of public service.”

      Great read: link to vanityfair.com

    • Commenters have already covered most points here. Let me pile on. WWII was a defensive war that Paul would have enjoined. As for the Taliban, two things: 1) The Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11 and 2) Even as "bad" as the Taliban is, is Slater seriously suggesting the US invade and occupy every bad regoime in the world? Gulf War #1 was all about Kuwait using directional drilling to steal Iraqi oil -- does Slater think the only way to have solved that was by invading? As Paul says -- the US has thousands and thousands of diplomats -- why not use some of them?

      Somewhat off topic, others have been asking as to why Ron Paul attracts the youth interest he does. Some have derisively cited his opposition to the drug laws -- yeah, dope smokin'' deadbeats like Paul. I think a better explanation that cuts across party lines relates to how the older generation has bagged the younger generation with a mountain of debt and a thin slit of opportunities. The right has done this with war & wall street; the left has done this with unsustainable entitlements and corrupt unions.

      Speaking to the left -- how is a kid supposed to feel when he can't get a job at the fire department because the local council has to support a coterie of firefighters who retired at 52 with full benefits?

      The boomer generation f-cked us. It would be nice to be able to afford Slater's & Ratner's & Pollitt's high ideals. But we can't. They and their ilk bled us dry. So f-ck them right back. -N49.

  • Jewish power + Jewish hubris = 'moral catastrophe of epic proportions'
    • More hubris:

      The background, from what we can tell, is this: Professor Caitlin Zaloom assigned a class to do an ethnographic study of Occupy Wall Street. One student, Sara Ackerman—who objected to being "forced," in her words, to interview "criminals, drug addicts, mentally ill people, and of course, the few competent, mentally stable people"—did not like this. She seems to have complained several times, eventually attempting to confront NYU President John Sexton at Bobst Library; and when he (according to Ackerman) sent her to the "Mental Health exchange," she let fly with the early-morning "open letter."

      link to gawker.com

      This is the Professor: link to sca.as.nyu.edu

      And this is Ackerman (scroll down): link to utzedek.org

      Is this what to expect from The New Elite, Next Generation? Is this how the spawn is being raised? Talk about entitlement! Either that or Ackerman didn't like a hot Arabic female professor telling her what to do. The nerve! Either that, or she is batshit insane.

      But if you are looking for hubris, read the emails. Quite something. -N49.

    • @ Sean: Fair snip. I just went and looked up Slezkine. The theory seems familiar and interesting. I had read somewhere (Russian history?) that minorities were the traders and agents in older civilizations because they were "apart" and independent of any internal politics and intrigue of the majority group they were providing services to. This makes sense.

      So these people are called the Mecurial people, according to Slezkine? Armenians, overseas Chinese and a few others operated similarily? I'll buy that.

      I have no problem generalizing over such group as the group can be defined functionally. "Mecurial people do this, that and so and these activities have typically brought wealth and, subsequently elevated degrees of education and privledge to their communities. Oh, and they usually piss people off along the way."

      I buy all that. Cheers -N49.

    • @ Sean: Do I detect a slight hint of pride in Canadian civilization in this comment of yours? :)

      Go ahead — feel some pride. [...Nice things about Canada....]

      Ha ha. Well played. Ok -- Old Canadian Joke:

      An American and Frenchman and a Canadian were walking through the jungle in central Africa whereupon they happened on a tribe of cannibals. These were civilized cannibals, said the chief, and to prove as much, the westerners would be allowed to address the gathered tribe before being put in a pot, cooked and eaten.

      So says the Frenchman: "I would ask you Monsieur to turn my remains to ash and to please spread my ashes over the Seine." The Chief nodded and turned to the Canadian.

      "Sir," says the Canadian, "Before you put me in a pot and prepare my body for your peoples' nourishment, I would like, if I may, to enlighten your kinspeople as to The Meaning of the Canadian Identity." The Chief raises an eyebrow, cocks his head and says "Sure, whatever."

      The American says: "My last wish is that I be eaten before having to listen to that damned Canadian." -N49.

    • @ Sean: "Slezkine argues that the Jews were, in effect, among the world’s first free agents. They traditionally belonged to a social and anthropological category known as “service nomads,” an outsider group specializing in the delivery of goods and services. Their role, Slezkine argues, was part of a broader division of human labor between what he calls Mercurians-entrepreneurial minorities–and Apollonians–food-producing majorities."

      Service nomads -- like Ticketmaster? Oh, that's a step forward. -N49.

    • Sean,

      In the cold light of dawn I see my position here as being a little like that of Stephen "I don't see race" Colbert. You can needle as you will on that.

      That said, I don't see how one can have a serious talk about this kind of thing without sounding like certain Ron Paul supporters after a while. Where do you go with it? How do you not end up indulging in gross and unfair generalisations after a while? Like, a short while?

      For example, you say Jews are a "elite, vanguard society" or something to that effect. Ok, if so, why are they so? And are all of them so? Or do we start dividing Jews into sub-Jew categories and "ranking" them respectively? Where do you stop?

      In my view, it is a sterile path of inquiry. -N49.

    • @ MRW: The neighbour of the Black video (above) was this clip:

      link to youtube.com

      It is an interview of The Shah of Iran by Mike Wallace. What are they talking about? "The Jewish Lobby", or, as we would put it, "The Israel Lobby." This was 1974. Wallace is stunned. It's a must-see.

      How far we've come! -N49.

    • @ Sean: Pls read that Hobsbawm reference. You will see "people" differently afterwards. Here it is again: link to amazon.com

      I have been informed by this book as I have few others. -N49.

    • Samuel Untermyer seems to defining “aristocracy” as the ability of Jews to outlive their persecutors and tormenters.

      That is an insightful interpretation that has merit. Still, choice of words, please, choice of words. -N49.

    • @Sean: 1. Can you think of any reasons at all for why it might be interesting to explore the proposition or speculation that Jews are an elite and vanguard people?

      No.

      2. What role do large cultural archetypes and collective forces play in human history, over and above the activities of individuals?

      That is a fair question. I guess insofar as we believe in them, yes, they play a role. "The French are good lovers" evokes a notion about France which in turn impacts the course of history. But does that mean individual Frenchmen are better lovers than anyone else? No.

      3. And are there any significant differences among these civilizations that are worthy of notice? Do you have any personal preferences among these cultures or are they all the same to you?

      I would argue there is a difference between the notion of a civilization and the notion of a "people."

      I don't want to get too anal about this and apologies for responding so strongly. Collectivizing identities is useful shorthand, a habit that I am as uilty of as anyone. All too often, however, it obscures or smears the nature of the individual and that's the danger. And, of course, it cuts both ways: Again, if we can say "Jews are smart", we can also say.... Do we really want to go down that road? I don't.

      Anyway, on a lighter note, (and I think that is the only way one can discuss collectives) I posted a ref to that Newfie joke site, a site I only discovered today) and I wandered over there. There are some good ones. If I may....

      susie tobin fell in love;
      she planned to marry joe
      she was so 'appy 'bout it all
      she told her pappy so.

      pappy told her, susie, maid,
      you'll have to find anudder.
      i'd just as soon your ma don't know,
      but joe is your 'alf brudder.

      so susie put aside her joe
      and planned to marry will,
      but after telling pappy this,
      he said, "dere's trouble still.

      you can't marry will, my dear,
      and please don't tell your mudder,
      but will and joe, and several mo'
      i knows is your 'alf brudder.

      but mudder knew and said, my child,
      just do what makes you 'appy.
      marry will or marry joe.
      you hain't no kin to pappy.

    • @ eee: “I guess that depends on whether or not you are a Palestinian, yes?”

      Or a Native American or an African American or the many Americans who were born dirt poor and died dirt poor after working themselves to death.

      Most Americans think America is a good thing. Maybe Native Americans do not share this view. So?

      Back to your native american defence, are ya? In Canada, "First Nations" (as they are called here):

      1. Get the vote;

      2. Get free univerisity education, including tuition, accomodation and book money;

      3. Are exempt from certain taxes (cigarettes, eg.)

      4. Are afforded many, many other social stipends from government.

      I don't agree with this special treatment -- everyone should be treated equally, in my view -- but it is nauseating to hear you compare our treatment of natives with your treatment of Palestinians. When are you going to start by giving the Palestinians over whom you rule the vote? Put up or shut up. -N49.

    • @ Sean: re Actually one could argue that Jews are an elite people

      Oh bullsh-t. This is racist drivel. "Jews" are no more exceptional than anyone else who bleeds red or craps brown.

      First of all, there is no such thing as "Jews", just as there is no such thing as "French" or "Scots". These collective identities are artificial constructs, typically imposed from above for political purposes. (See Hobsbawn: Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality.) At days-end, we are all individuals. No doubt, some Jews are aristocrats and some Jews are elite. But collectivizing the concept is plain chauvinistic, if not racist.

      There is no logical way around the above assertion. For if there is a such a thing as an "aristocratic" group by birth, then there is such a thing as a "peasant" group by birth. Who are the peasants? If "Jews are smart" (something I hear from time to time around here), then it follows that some other group is dumb. What other group is dumb?

      You say: "If a drive for excellence in all things largely drives Jewish civilization forward..." and that's apparently ok. But if it possible to characterize a "people" in a positive way, then surely it is possible to characterize a "people" in a negative way. What are the negative characteristics of Jews? Any takers on that one?

      I have no problem referring to and characterizing certain "peoples" as "peoples", but only if we don't take ourselves too seriously in doing so. Canadians like to rib those from Newfoundland (Newfies). There are lot's of Newfie jokes out there (see link to newfiejokes.net). But this is all done in a lighthearted way. This is not serious.

      It is quite different when a leading community figure gets on the radio and says “For the Jews are the aristocrats of the world.” How the hell are non-Jews supposed to take that?-N49.

    • @ Bumblebye: re link. Hmm. Here it is again: link to untermyergardens.org

      Worked again for me. If you are still having problems, google [samuel untermyer political writings] or link to google.ca

      It is a very interesting read. I recommend it.

    • @ eee: But in fact, American history is a lot of good combined with some bad, just like the history of Zionism and Israel.

      I guess that depends on whether or not you are a Palestinian, yes? -N49.

    • Somebody mentioned Samuel Untermyer on another thread. I had never heard of the dude so I looked him up to see what the fuss was about. I found the 1933 speech (google for link) wherein he very presciently predicts a course of events for Hitler's Germany and rightly calls for what amounts to a campaign of BDS against German interests.

      At the same time, however, I found this lil' gem in his speech:

      "For the Jews are the aristocrats of the world."

      Then I alt-tab back to MW and I see the headline "Jewish power + Jewish hubris = moral castrophe of epic proportions."

      So, when did this hubris start? -N49.

      ps -- I also found this link to untermyergardens.org, a comprehensive detailing of Untermeyer's political activity in the latter part of his life. The man apparently lead the Palestine Foundation Fund (a Zionist fundraising group) in the 1920's for a while before he was replaced because he warned "about the dangers of alienating the Arab inhabitants of Palestine." He seems like a good guy. But anyone who can say "For Jews are the aristocrats of the world" without choking on his own words suffers from a serious complex.

  • F. W. de Klerk on why apartheid will fail in Israel/Palestine
    • @ eee: No, it is not what Israel is going to do, but it is what Canada and the US did,

      No, it did not. Canada granted its natives full citizenship and all the rights that go with it. When is Israel going to do the same? When is Israel going to grant its natives full rights? That you don't do so immediately is completely indefensible. Put up or shut up. -N49.

    • You didn't answer the question, eee. When are you going to give citizenship to Palestinians. You keep bringing up the example of native americans to ballast your arguments, yet you always stop halfway through the story. Finish, for once? -N49.

  • Uniformed corporal's criticism of Iran attack breaks off on CNN mid-sentence
    • Sorry about that Freddy. Just in case, this is the link I just used to acess the page:

      link to dailymail.co.uk

      It is a great clip. -N49.

    • I am with Kathleen here with someone gesturing "Cut! Cut! Cut!" Ha ha. Someone didn't want an American uniformed active duty soldier, an articulate one at that, saying that Israel could take care of itself. Who knows, it might have gone viral on YouTube or something.

      Well, here is the clip of that same soldier speaking at Paul's speech right last night, an event the networks had to cover. link to dailymail.co.uk. (Scroll down to bottom.) It is powerful stuff that should blunt the charge that Ron Paul is a pussy, which is really the subtext of much of the innuendo layered on by his FP critics, most of whom spend their workday in armchairs. Let's hope it goes viral. -N49.

  • Paul's challenge to progressives
    • Sean,

      Nice list. I ditto it. -N49.

    • @ Lizzy: They include (but are hardly limited to) an extremist privatization credo that would shred this country’s already-compromised safety-net, from Medicaid and Medicare, to Food Stamps, Public Assistance, and Social Security; a hatred of ...

      Lizzy, if I may, you and many "paleo progressives" are stuck in a mind rut. Prefacing all this with the rejoinder that I am against many of Paul's positions, you misunderstand and misrepresent much of what Paul stands for. Without picking through the details, his platform does not call for the eradication of a safety net full stop, it calls for the eradication of the safety net at the Federal level.

      Paul's primary emphasis is on a bottom-up political process. Look at Switzerland -- can you name a single president this nation ever had? I can't. In Switzerland, there is very little power at the federal level, it pretty well doesn't matter. Rather, power is vested at a local level -- your neighbourhood votes on your renovation proposal and you apply to your canton for residency. Only a tiny trickle of your tax dollars ever makes it to Basel (or wherever the capital is -- see, I don't even know -- there is no "Washington" in Switzerland.)

      And is Switzerland a place you associate with a depraved social system? Hardly. But all of these provisions are handled locally. What's wrong with that? And where would you rather be poor? Switzerland, with no heavy handed central government? Or the US with all of its boondoggle programs?

      And is Switzerland known for foreign wars & sundry adventures? It's motto could be: No wars since 1291. How did they manage this? They starved the capital of money, that's how.

      One last thought on bottom-up vs top-down: Look at this site. Look at the internet. Look at the blogging revolution. Look at Tahir. These are all bottom-up phenomena. That is what is making change happen, not the top-down "big media" organs of the MSM.

      It is not a left vs right choice. It is a centralized vs local choice. Let's lose the old-fashioned thinking and lose the old-fashioned prejudices. I am as thrilled that Ron Paul is introducing these concepts as much as I am thrilled he is breaking ground on the fori=eign policy front. I would hope others on the site are too. -N49.

  • Arendt: Born in conflict, Israel will degenerate into Sparta, and American Jews will need to back away
    • I think you should ask the Bretons and Venetians and the French [if assimilation is good for them.] ... As for the question at hand, I think that the fact that Jews exist is good and therefore Jews assimilating is bad. Do you think the assimilation of Jews is a good thing?

      I am not so narcissitic as to consider the question only as it applies to "my people." The broader question is more interesting, anyway.

      As for the Bretons and the Venetians, if it were not for their (partial) assimilation, there would be no French and no Italiians. Do I think the existence of the French and the existence of the Italians is a good thing? Of course -- don't you?

      It remains that cultural progress is sustained by the cross-pollination of different "peoples" That's how history rolls. -N49.

    • @ eee: Do you think that the assimilation of Jews is a good thing?

      Do you , eee, think the assimilation of Bretons into French society and in turn French into European society is a good thing? What about Venetians into Italian society and again into European society?

      You should come to Canada, eee, and take a ride on public transit. Almost everyone comes from somewhere else and almost everyone gets along. People are respected for who they are, not where they came from or who their mother was. The world is getting smaller and this is the future. You can't fight entropy. -N49.

  • Kampeas: Jewish neocons are more than 2 degrees removed from Bush's decision to invade Iraq
    • @ Gil: I accept the results of the 9-11 investigation, including the NIST reports on WTC1-2 and WTC7 because they seem plausible and were done by both government structural engineers as well as a team of very distinguished engineering consultants.

      Gil,

      Please take 30 more minutes to review these vids. They relate to a critical analysis of the WTC7 report by NIST and were put together by a high school physics teacher. (You may scoff -- a high school physics teacher! -- but a) this is high school physics and b) he explains the problems very well.) You will see clips of the author (and others) asking the NIST panel questions. It is embarassing. Their body language speaks volumes. Seriously, I am embarassed for these poor guys.

      Please watch these and tell me if you still think the NIST report has a shred of credibility. -N49.

      link to youtube.com
      link to youtube.com

    • @ IrishMoses: In other words, there are reasonable explanations given by trained investigators, structural engineers, etc. for each of the apparent anomalies.

      This is just not true. Pls refer us to a single plausible explanation for WTC7's miraculous collapse by fire alone, penned by a structural engineer or otherwise.

      The NIST report (years late) could not be defended by its own authors.

      The official explanation is absurd on the face of it. Go plant a stool in a fire, a big fire, and wait until the whole thing catches fire. Then load the structure with a weight of your own choosing -- 50 kg, whatever. And wait some more. Repeat this experiment one million times. Report back if you ever -- just once! -- observe all four stool legs failing at the same time such that the seat falls at free-fall speeds and the entire structure is left in a completely disintegrated state.

      (Hint: You would be wasting your time. One leg will always fail before the others and the stool will topple before failing "through itself." Indeed, this latter mode of failure sees the structure failing along the path of greatest resistence.)

      The official explanation is bizarre and outlandish. I hold out WTC7 as a litmus test for one's ability to think critically. -N49.

      ps -- re So, if you want to make the effort to provide your complete theory of how it all came down (pun intended) on 9-11, from start to finish, have at it. I promise to review

      Umm, that's not our burden. The official theory is your theory, not mine. It is for you to defend, not me. It was you who chose to deposit this exceptionally ugly baby in your stroller and parade it around the park for all to see.

      How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?

      Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of Four.

  • More responses to Ron Paul's surge
  • Muslims ban Christmas and rape white women, in latest Latma satire
    • Amazing. This has been posted here before, but deserves a re-post. This skinhead is actually saying "Muslamic rape gangs" but of course it comes out "muslamic ray guns." Nothing better underscores the mentality of ethnic nationalists. You'll piss yourself laughing, too.

  • Ron Paul and the left
    • @ Woody re If a public official is against the law outlawing discrimination, he is sanctioning that discrimination, regardless of whether he has a subjective intent or desire to discriminate.

      That is just logically incorrect. I am against a law outlawing bad manners. This does not mean I am sanctioning bad manners.

      "And if [Paul would only support BDS against a shop that discriminated] then he is only slightly less guilty than the one actually doing the discrimination. Paul’s faith in the “miracle of the market” to correct the problem is stupid. "

      Your faith in the "miracle of government" is no better. I mean, look at where government has got us re I/P? Happy yet?

      Such discrimination is wrong and should be abolished in all cases,

      You see, that is just plain scary. What, your government agents are going go around and impose tests on citizens for "mental purity"? And if they find someone suspect -- then what? Jumper cables on moistened temples? It is my right be a racist old codger if I want to. I am neither old nor racist, but so long as I don't impose my views on you, you or your government agents have no bloody right "abolishing" my thoughts or behaviour.

      it is the abdication of the state’s greater duty and responsibility to uphold individual rights in favor of its lesser duty to uphold property rights.

      So, as an individual, it is my right to let myself into your abode and fix myself a cup of coffee?

      Me: “The creeping police state (a la Greenwald) occludes all of this in importance.”

      Woody: I disagree.

      Yeah, that has become clear enough by now. It is your type that Greenwald warns us about. Man, you are scary. The difference between you & Dick Cheney relate to objectives, but not to means. -N49.

    • @ Woody re All you are saying is that both fascism and communism are totallitarian systems, which is an obvious, elementary-school level observation, which is true but so nearly devoid of interesting content, as to be an essentially empty observation.

      You implied (or at least that's the way I read it) that a libertarian would have no cause to associate fascism and communism. Well, they do, for the reasons I mention, namely: "Both communism and fascism are authoritarian, both like big government, both have collectivist tendencies." Yet the former is seen as a "left wing" ideology while the latter a "right wing" ideology. You can't fit libertarianism into that mindset. This isn't a right vs. left discussion, or at least it shouldn't be. -N49.

    • @ Woody: So communists and fascists are both kind of totalitarian systems. Really??? Wow.

      Huh? You are arguing that ... communism is not totalitarian in nature? Or that fascism isn't totalitarian? Name an instance of either persuasion that was/is not totalitarian.

      Waiting.... -N49.

    • Woody,

      whenever I hear or read someone claim that the Nazis were a left wing party ... I really want to suggest that person go to a tattoo shop and get “I am dumb” inked on their forehead.

      You are trapped on a one-dimensional ideological spectrum. A libertarian would see facsism as a big government endeavor, not too too different than communism. There is an element of truth in this. Both communism and fascism are authoritarian, both like big government, both have collectivist tendencies. Yes, there are also a lot of differences. But if you want to involve libertarianism into a political debate, you've got to start thinking oin more than one dimension. Regards -N49.

    • No worries, Dan. I am also sorry for getting chippy. Libertarianism is mostly an unknown entity in modern discourse; it is often lumped in as a "right wing" ideology. It is just not as simple as that. Libertarians cite fascism as often as they cite socialism ("one and the same", they cry: "remember, it was the "National Socialist Party") There are lot's of reasons to criticize the movement. But if we are to have a productive conversation, it makes sense to get the target right.

      I appreciate your response to my "platform." Let's hope these points come up in the course of more dialogue, I regretfully have to get some work done today. Regards & respect --N49.

    • Woody re Because saying that Paul is good on “civil liberties” because he is opposed to Patriot Act, NDAA, etc., is a joke, given his stance on the issues of private-sector discrimination

      That's feeble thinking, Woody. You imply here that RP is for private sector discrimination and that's just incorrect. What he is for is private measures against such discrimination. So, if a shop owner refused to serve Slovaks because for some reason they rubbed him the wrong way, Paul would fully support a private effort to sanction that store. Think BDS.

      To be clear, before you start freaking out (see Dan up-thread) I disagree with Paul on this point. I think Paul's faith in the efficacy of dispute resolution by reference to property rights is just not realistic. But it is another thing altogether to suggest that Paul supports such discrimination or otherwise sanctions it.

      The creeping police state (a la Greenwald) occludes all of this in importance. -N49.

    • @ Henry:

      RP's 60 second spiel on the subject in one of the debates: link to youtube.com.

      Note he says that Israel should "suffer the consequences" should the adventure not go well. That is key, for w/o US backing, Israeli threat projection shrivels.

      It is worth hearing his views on the subject here.

      That said, yes, Ron Paul would not be helpful if it ever came to pogroms in the West Bank. And yes, I find that distasteful. -N49.

    • @ Jeff, Phil: And I would add his opposition to the Federal Reserve, a subject that the Left has raced away from with as much speed and willful ignorance as it has from that of the Israel Lobby.

      Hear , hear. If you want to cut off the wars, the most effective way to do it is to cut off the money. A bottomless cheque book will always be exploited for nefarious purposes. The Fed is that bottomless cheque book.

      I am just trying to be practical. -N49.

    • @ Dan....

      Oh boy..... I get slammed by libertarians (and I do -- trust me!) and I get slammed here.

      First, I concede your point that you never called him a fascist -- my apologies.

      But then you spend the rest of your note trying to paint Ron Paul as having fascistic tendencies. Suck? Blow? Please pick and we can be done with it.

      But in turn:

      “fascists also like a large security apparatus” — Hmm, sort of like everyone and their brother armed to the teeth in public? you seem to think that because there are no swastika’s there aren’t fascists. because paul doesnt support federal security state initiatives is a far cry from being against them in totality. He just “wants states to decide” – hmmm. So, if Texas wants to have its own cheka, they can have at it. Cool.

      By "state security apparatus" I mean a security force sanctioned by law, that is to say, operating with impunity, to effectively act against American citizens (or not) at the whim of the Executive (or not.) Basically, all the shit that Greenwald talks about. Ron Paul would seek to strike that down forthwith. Against the perversions of the constitution seen through W, extended w/o blushing by Obama, the Wyoming militia doesn't mean squat.

      Unless your a cult follower, its hard to argue how “privately controlled organizations” DO NOT have de facto rule in society in a Paul scenario.

      Really? Right now the US Federal Government is a multi-trillion dollar pin cushion. Take "Defense": how many contracts get tendered each year? Dollar value? Shit -- who wouldn't go to war! Cut out the money, you cut out the corporate influence. One can make the same case for the corporate influence in federal drug plans and health insurance. Government and companies are joined at the hip everywhere you look in Washington. Kind of like Krupp and Berlin. Ron Paul would act to stop this.

      Fascists like “war in far away places” – ever look at a fucking map? poland, and czechoslovakia are not “far off” from germany – to say nothing of the “anschluss” in austria – again, very close to home. in fact, most of pre-war hitlers germany was about an obsession with its borders

      Actually, the example that came to mind when writing that was the Italian & German involvement in the Spanish Civil War. This seemed the best analog to the practice of "ideological intervention from a distance" that we see now. But hey, nice language.

      Now on to the purple section of your note:

      "thatcherite" ... "But since you are a cult follower" ... "defender of the faith" ... "Paulbot"

      Wait, I don't see where you called me a "Paulbot", but I'd swear you did.

      Since you seem to want to engage in an exercise of political credentialism, here goes:

      - money should be private;
      - health care should be public;
      - power should be vested as locally as possible;
      - handguns should be banned.

      Pigeon-hole that. _n49.

    • @ Phil re If you are publishing a newsletter with that many racist statements in it and your name is on the top of it, I’m going to call you a racist until you give me a good explanation otherwise. He hasn’t.

      You are calling someone a racist even though a) he has never said anything racist in nature; b) he has never written anything racist in nature and c) those who know him (and have nothing to gain by downplaying his defects) say he is not a racist.

      Does he have racist followers? Most certainly. But insofar as he did not write the objectionable passages (and I don't think anyone argues he did - the style is clearly not his own), you have no grounds to fairly call him a racist.

      Was he guilty of allowing others to run his newsletter business? Obviously.

      But the incendiary accusations you lob in his direction run counter to the spirit of open debate and sober analysis. -N49.

    • @ Dan: So, this seems to be the standard reply of the Zi-Ron-ists, “shut up , you don’t know what you are talking about.”

      Dan,

      This is what you said:

      but I do so knowing that there is a good chance [Ron Paul's] election(which is highly improbable) would solidify and legitimize out and out fascism in the states.

      Sorry, Dan, but this statement betrays an ignorance of either a) fascism or b) RP's agenda. There is no other way to slice it.

      Fascists like big government. From Wiki:

      Fascism's theory of economic corporatism involved management of sectors of the economy by government or privately controlled organizations (corporations). Each trade union or employer corporation would, theoretically, represent its professional concerns, especially by negotiation of labor contracts and the like. This method, it was theorized, could result in harmony amongst social classes.[30] Authors have noted, however, that de facto economic corporatism was also used to reduce opposition and reward political loyalty.[31]

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      Fascists also like a large security apparatus. And they also like to go to war in far away places. And you're suggesting a Ron Paul election would take us down the road to fascism? There is no other way to put it: Dan, you don't know what you are talking about. Again, I wish there were a nicer way of putting it. -N49.

    • @ Donald: I would never vote for Paul because of his views on economics and domestic issues in general and I don’t like his homophobia and there are aspects of his foreign policy which are too isolationist for me ...but at the moment I’m convinced by what Dondero says [that RP is not a racist] –that the mainstream pseudo-liberal press has got the story twisted up and inside-out. And I think some of this is deliberate

      Now this is fair criticism! I have my own criticisms of RP and libertarianism in general, parts of which I have detailed elsewhere. But calling RP a racist (or a fascist(!)) is beneath the belt and, given the opprobrium poured by this site on those who recklessly and falsely use "antisemitic" as a blunt instrument to stop debate, also hypocritical. In particular, the photo at the top amounts to the worst form of yellow journalism.

    • Nelson Linder, head of NAACP, Austin chapter, known Ron Paul for 20 years, says (paraphrasing): "Ron Paul is not a racist." link to youtube.com

      Eric Dondero, aide to Ron Paul for 15 years, now apparently with chip on shoulder towards old boss, nonetheless says (paraphrasing): "Ron Paul is not a racist." link to theatlantic.com

      Phil Weiss, who has never worked with Ron Paul, who presumably has never even met Ron Paul, says: "i think [Ron Paul is a] racist or certainly has a racist background." (see Phil's comment above.)

      Projection, innuendo, smear by association. It saddens me to see this great site stoop to this level. -N49.

    • As I have said, I dont “support” Paul at all, but at this point, would entertain the idea of voting for him – but I do so knowing that there is a good chance his election(which is highly improbable) would solidify and legitimize out and out fascism in the states.

      What frustrates me is that folks spout off from a starting point of utter ignorance. Paul? A fascist? Dan, you don't know what you are talking about.

      If anything, it is the plain vanilla Republicans -- the Newt Romney Republicans - that are steering us towards fascism. Large domestic security apparatus, erosion of civil liberty protections, collusion between large corporations and large government -- sound familiar? This is precisely what Paul wants to stop.

      As I see it, the dangers of Paul presidency is that he would try to liquidate the debt. This is unwise and would cause a very deep depression over an extended period of time. Austrians get too doctrinaire and self-righteous about some things and debt liquidation is one of them.

      But fascism? C'mon, Dan -- get your ideologies right. -N49.

      ps -- I asked Phil whose idea it was to include the picture at the top. Was that Phil's idea or Lizzy's idea? Anyone know? Or is it none of my business?

    • @ Phil: Lizzy Ratner applauded Paul’s foreign policy statements

      Yeah, that got lost along the way. Was the photo your idea? -N49.

  • The Ron Paul moment-- bad and good
    • @ MRW re 11:08 -- Not true!

    • I haven't seen these. I will take a look. Thanks. -N49.

    • @ MRWre N49, we’re on a floating exchange. The currency markets control it.

      In finance lingo, the price of money refers to interest rates. The Fed has always controlled the short end of the curve. Now it also, post Lehman, controls the long end of the curve as well. -N49.

    • @ MRW: I read your link to CNBC. Yeah, that's alright, but he thinks his school of thought resembles the Austrian school too much by half. It really doesn't. For example: "In short, the MMTers agree with Rothbard on the purpose and effect of government control of money..." just isn't true.

      And he says: "The MMTers aren’t engaged with arguing about the Austrian-optimum financial system. They are engaged in describing the actual financial system we have—which tends toward crisis. "

      And he just misses it. At least some of you here believe that free markets work sometimes, in some areas. Like, say, the gasoline market. If the price of gas goes up, you drive less, so there is less demand and that has the effect of easing prices. In this sense, markets are inherently self-regulating.

      The one market over which the government has total control is the market for money. Governments (or their agents) control the price of money, and they almost always price it too low. Like the gas price in Venzuala. And, like gasoline in Venzuala, money in this way gets wasted and mismanaged. (Like, for example, invading foreign countries and building empires. ) But because there is no feedback mechanism (higher prices, -> drive less), the symptoms of a mis-priced money market remain undetected for years. Then boom! Sh1t hits the fan. That's where we are now.

      I am not for no government; indeed, I think government does many things better than the private sector (this sets me apart from the RP camp.) But if there is one thing governments should not control the price of, it is money. They screw it up every time.

      It is not about theorizing about an ideal system (as per CNBC link), but rather about adopting a system that isn't inherently unstable. Until the "MMTer" get this, they share nothing with Austrians. -N49.

    • @ Tree: He of course recognizes that under the wrong circumstances an increase in money relative to goods produced can lead to inflation, and if wildly unchecked, to hyperinflation

      Guys, you are missing my point (time after time after time.) I know that governments can print money (and yes that is still the correct term). My point -- and Ron Paul's point, a point you continually dodge -- is that governments should not be able to print money.

      1. Governments get hooked on this and destroy the currency. It always ends up this way. Always always always.

      2. Printing money distorts the true cost of capital and thus results in malinvestment which in turn results in bubble & busts.

      -N49.

    • The hyperinflation in Weimar Germany, which lasted only from mid 1922 to the end of 1923, was caused in part by the heavy reparations required of Germany

      Yes, the hyperinflation became the most acute manifestation of the reparation scheme -- that's how people felt it. And boy, did they feel it. Middle class homes had to sell their pianos and send their daughters out to "work." The rise of the far right started soon after the hyperinflation subsided. Look it up. -N49.

    • @ tree [Mosler] of course recognizes that under the wrong circumstances an increase in money relative to goods produced can lead to inflation, and if wildly unchecked, to hyperinflation, but it does not, and can not, lead to bankruptcy by a government that produces and controls its own currency.

      Mosler right up to a point. A nation can avoid bankruptcy but only as long as a counterparty accepts said nation's fiat currency as good payment. If you inflate enough, a currency will not be accepted as good payment. For example, Ecuador found that counterparties would not accept the sucre as good payment. It then went broke, even as it could still print sucres.

      The US lives in a bubble. This won't last forever. -N49.

    • @ MRW The people connected with this line of thought are Wynne Godley, Abba Lerner, Hyman Minsky, Warren Mosler, Stephanie Kelton, Randall Wray, Dr. William K Black (whose video I indicated to you), Marshall Auerback, James Galbraith, Scott Fullwiler. Mosler did not make this up out of thin air.

      I know at least one of these persons personally (and he knows me.) We've worked together in a financial capacity. I can guarentee you that he does not believe in the tonics you or Mosler prescribe. -N49.

    • @ Tree Greece’s money is no longer the drachma.

      Yes, I know. I was being ironic. My point being that if Greek could print drachmas, it would -- and what would that do to the value of the drachma?

      Meanwhile, to compensate, Germany has agreed to print Euros.

      As for the solution to the problem, hey: was Argentina helped by printing pesos? Was Ecuador helped by printing sucres? Was Peru helped by Soles?

      Was Germany helped by printing Reichmarks back in Weimar days?

      Many would argue that printing money was the prime cause of Hitler's rise to power. Just sayin'... -N49.

    • @ MRW:N49, you can call him a whack job all you want, but it’s how the monetary system works right here, right now.

      Yes --I agreed with you on this point: the Fed can print money. And that is the problem!

      Any monetary authoruty can print money in a pure fiat system. And they do print money.

      Folks in the non western world know all about this, for local currencies diappear on a fairly regualr basis, wiping out the savings of the "average" person. (The rich typically get away scot-free.)

      If this dude Mosler were to ride into in town talking like that, he would strung up by nightfall. -N49.

    • @ Citizen, MRW: I am reading the Mosler link now. Technically he is correct -- the govt does not need to tax to first spend -- but that does not mean the guys isn't a lunatic nonetheless.

      Look, everything he says about the US Treasury and the Fed can also be said about Argentina or Peru or Ecuador or so many other nations or national monetary authorities. Look at Greece now -- they should not have to cut bedgets or increase taxes or clamp down on public sector pension plans? No, they should just print drachmas! MRW, don`t you see the flaw in this guy's thinking? -N49.

    • @ Dan: There were no bubbles or crises in pre-Fed or centralized banking capitalism?

      Yes, but they tended to be sharper and shorter and the damage was corresponding quite limited. For example, TulipMania lasted about six months. Yes, a lot of (dumb) people got hurt, but it did not disrupt the farmers in england, for example. Nowadays, in a pure fiat system, the bubbles are like a set of rollong tsunamis that take a decade to get going but turn into monsters that can take out a continent or two.

      -N49.

    • @ MRW: Paul still thinks (like any gold standard thinker would…which is dead…we are not on the gold standard) that the US has to take in taxes before it can spend. This is patently false, ... The US Federal Government is a currency issuer. ... Paul does not know how our federal monetary system works. Period. ...

      Oh God, here we go again. MRW, RP knows how the monetary system works far more than you do, as is clearly evidenced by your comments above. In particular: that the 'US can spend without taking in taxes because it is a currency issuer ' is the whole bloody problem!!! Creating money out of thin air articifically lowers the cost of capital which lieads to malinvestment which leads to bubbles which leads to collapses. That's the problem. And ultimately it leads to hyperinflation and the destruction of the currency. Every. Single. Time.

      So yes, RP knows "how our federal monetary system works." Moreover, he is one step ahead of you.

      Indeed, the lack of informed commentary on the subject takes one aback. -N49.

    • @ Dan: but wow, this is some pretty harsh sentiment,

      Yeah, sorry. But RP is a good, honest guy and so it is tough to see him get slagged "unfairly".

      No doubt certain aspects of his program are a little spacey. Many libertarians live in a fantasy world, or at least a highly idealized world. A lot of these ideas just won't work on Planet Earth. I tell them if they want to live in libertarian paradise, move to Lagos.

      But can you imagine if Paul hadn't been in the hunt? America is far richer that Paul has broadened the debate as he has. He should be supported for this reason alone. -N49.

    • @ Dan: Regarding the austrian school – I mean, what can I say? It’s really just part of a political ideology, The West did the exact opposite of what the austrian school economists would have done in the 30′s and post war

      If Austrians had been driving the bus, the bubble in he 1920's -- the bubble that lead directly to the post-bubble crunch -- never would have happened. It was the Fed that drove policy in the 20's. It was the Fed that caused the depression. We learned nothing and are now repeating the mistakes -- again.

      When will we learn? -N49.

    • @ Dan: you know, if its true in the environmental example, why is it not true elsewhere?

      Huh? Logic much?

      I am drawn to the Austrian school primarily for its monetary policies. If you really have read Hayek & Rothbard you'll understand that Austrians make sense whereas Keynsians and Chicago-types don't. And practice bears this out. Again -- Austrians nailed the housing bubble, the internet bubble and now clearly see the bubble in bonds that has emerged. The anti-Paul types on the board seem completely oblivious to the economic mess that western economies are in. It is shocking, really. Shiocking and irresponsible. You can bury your head but it won't go away.

      You characterize this as a rich vs poor thing but again that misses the point. It is a corrupt vs integrity thing. The Fed, and Washington in general, serves Wall Street alchemists and merry fellow travellers -- the proverbial 1% -- who use the system to enrich themselves. RP wants to get rid of that system and so do I.

      You want to keep it? You want to keep a system that amounts to a kleptocracy? Crony capitalism? It is terrible what is going on. And now you shit on Paul for trying to put an end to it.

      I think we can all do better. -N49.

    • Woody: “economics in the US is nearly synonymous with politics.”

      You're disembling. Have you read any Austrian economics? -N49.

    • Dan,

      I have issues with RP as well. I think some libertarian ideas are just a pipe dream (eg. solving environmental issues though property rights --- may work in principle but in reality you'd just enrich lawyers) but I object to these ideas only after first learning about them. I also think a lot of libertarians are self-absorbed wankers (I know a lot of them through work.)

      But you are going off half-cocked here. Eg. you ridicule Austrian economics without having a clue what the body of work is

      C'mon -- this board deserves better than that. -N49.

    • @Dan re here is my thing…..yes, defense spending can be cut, by a whole lot – but half a trillion means downsizing the ranks, which means adding to the people in the labor market, which means adding to the unemployed, which means adding to poverty and so on.

      Let me get this right: Dan -- you support foriegn interventions on the taxpayers bill as an employment exercise? Wars & make-work?

      That is sick, mate. -N49.

    • @Dan re Of course his rhetoric is about the “whole thing” – its the same with all the republicans ...

      Look, man, you're being a Witty on this issue. Grow up and address my points. -N49.

    • @ Dan Re abolishing "half the Fed" -- RP is a committed to the Austrian school. The Austrian school holds that government control (ie Fed control) over the price of money (ie interest rates) induces gross distortions into the efficient allocation of capital. In particular, it holds that the Fed keeps artificially rates low and this causes capital to be squandered in any number of ways. (Think pets.com, think $1mm homes for Vegas strippers, etc.)

      And you know what? The Austrian school is RIGHT. This whole economic mess was foretold by the Austrian school.

      RP wants to fix the root cause of the problem and that is the Fed. So no, he does not want to keep half the Fed. He wants to get rid of the whole thing. So when you say he wants to keep half of it, sorry and respectfully -- no, you do not know what you are talking about. I wish I could find a nicer way to say that. -N49.

    • And again, he will cut 1 trillion from the budget year one. That will kill people, but who cares, right?

      Dan -- RP is going to get the money from cuts in the military! And that will kill people? Man, ..., get a grip. -N49.

    • Lets make one thing clear – He aint abolishing shit. hes just gonna take away the “dual mandate” of the Fed. Lower inflation ( ron paul disciples clap) and lowering unemployment ( ron paul disciples groan)

      Dan, you don't know what you are talking about here. You are just making stuff up. Scare mongering. Pls stop it. -N49.

    • @ Dan re von Misses Institute. -- von Misses is about economics, Austrian economics. Nothing to with politics, at least in the sense you seem to think. There is nothing sinister about von Mises. If you want to know more, I'd be happy to oblige. -N49.

  • We will not be silent releases new t-shirt designs
  • Israeli university bids (w/ Cornell and $350 million) to set up on Roosevelt Island in NY
    • eee,

      The link you provide belies your argument. It shows Israeli institutions ringing in at 121st, 166th and somewhere between 201-250th. In terms of technical schools, Switzerland (about the same pop as Israel) had two schools in the top 50; Israel had none. Israel: Academic powerhouse indeed!!

      Cornell was ranked 15th on the technical list. Technion didn't even show in the top 50. So why did Cornell team with Technion? Clearly they could have done much better and clearly the choice did not have anything to do with academic prowess.

      Are you willing to agree with Phil and concede that maybe -- just maybe -- the choice rather had something to do with money?

      I await your answer. -N49.

  • Defense lawyer Lichtman says Palestinians have a 'culture of death'
    • >> i’m angry too avi but no matter how angry i get i don’t lapse into generalizations that tar all jews.

      Annie, I am sympathetic to your views here. At the same time, as judging by the MW comment policy, there does not appear to be anything deemed to be distasteful re generalizing about Jews in a positive fashion. For example, it is ok to say that Jews had a disproportionate role in civil rights movement. It is ok to say that "Jews are smart." Etc.

      Logically, this does not follow. If "Jews are smart", then some other group must be "not so smart." What group might that be?

      And why is it ok to say that "Jews are smart" but not ok to say that "Jews tend to employ sharp business tactics"?

      Sucking and blowing at the same time is a little rich. It is not a huge deal, I am not offended, but at the margin, it does grate a little. Like, get over it already.

      I, for myself, I am happy to generalize, so long as we can all smile at the end of the day. My favourite characerization was uttered by an English friend of mine. We were speaking of another, mutual friend, when he quipped: "You know Scotsmen: Deep pockets, short arms."

      Cheers -N49.

  • Obama's rabbi sidekick is opposed to 'too many Arabs' in Israel
  • 'Christopher Hitchens's loathing for Israel...' --John Podhoretz
    • I am surprised no one has quoted Alexander Cockburn's take on Hitchen's passing. It is devastating. And, I presume, few would have known Hitchen's like Cockburn. Phil would know more. Why no inside baseball here?

      Anyway, money quote:

      He courted the label “contrarian”, but if the word is to have any muscle, it surely must imply the expression of dangerous opinions. Hitchens never wrote anything truly discommoding to respectable opinion and if he had he would never have enjoyed so long a billet at Vanity Fair. Attacking God? The big battles on that issue were fought one, two, even five hundred years ago when they burned Giordano Bruno at the stake in the Campo de’ Fiore. A contrarian these days would be someone who staunchly argued for the existence of a Supreme Being. He was for America’s wars. I thought he was relatively solid on Israel/Palestine, but there too he trimmed. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency put out a friendly obit, noting that “despite his rejection of religious precepts, Hitchens would make a point of telling interviewers that according to halacha, he was Jewish” and noting his suggestion that Walt and Mearsheimer might be anti-Semitic, also his sliming of a boatload of pro-Palestinian activists aiming to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. (His brother Peter and other researchers used to say that in terms of blood lineage, the Hitchens boys’ Jewishness was pretty slim and fell far outside the definitions of the Nuremberg laws. I always liked Noam Chomsky’s crack to me when Christopher announced in Grand Street that he was a Jew: “From anti-Semite to self-hating Jew, all in one day.”)

      link to counterpunch.org

  • Ron Paul's stunning antiwar performance: Iran threat recalls Iraq, 'a useless war that killed 1 million Iraqis' and 8000 Americans
    • I am with you, Citizen. That said, it would not be surprising if it had been Rockwell who did slip these nasties in. I know that crowd. They ain't all peaches n cream.

      But by comparison, the Neocons are truly a vile & racist bunch and for Commentary to get on its high horseon this issue -- and they are -- is hypocrisy in the extreme.

      That was my point. -N49.

    • Commentary Mag's racism vs. Ron Paul's racism:

      Kind of off topic (but this is the only RP thread running), but Commentary is back harping on the racist overtones of the libertarian movement. I will admit that a few libertarians I know -- umm, how do I put this kindly? -- do not have the highest regard for African Americans. Back in the 90's, a Ron Paul newsletter had some awful things to say about same. The Neocons worked this angle to the max and they are now back at it. See here: link to commentarymagazine.com

      That is a fair point, but how difficult would it be to make the case that this is a charred-black pot calling the kettle slightly tinged? The hypocrisy and disengenuous nature of the attack grates. If any MW staffers have some time on their hands it would be great to see a tale of the tape. I thow it out there. -N49.

    • MRW:

      >> As Bernanke said the other day, the Fed does not have the authority to rescue European banks or bail out countries.

      See ZeroHedge (best source of financial commentary on the web):

      As first reported here, two weeks ago European banks saw the amount of USD-loans from the Fed, via the ECB's revised swap line, surge to over $50 billion - a total first hit in the aftermath of the Bear Stearns failure prompting us to ask "When is Lehman coming?" However, according to little noted prepared remarks by Anthony Sanders in his Friday testimony to the Congress Oversight Committee, "What the Euro Crisis Means for Taxpayers and the U.S. Economy, Pt. 1", we may have been optimistic, because the end result will be not when is Lehman coming, but when are the next two Lehmans coming, as according to Sanders, the relaunch of the Fed's swaps program may "get to the $1 trillion level, or perhaps even higher." As a reference, FX swap line usage peaked at $583 billion in the Lehman aftermath (see chart). Needless to say, this estimate is rather ironic because as Bloomberg's Bradely Keoun reports, "Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke yesterday told a closed-door gathering of Republican senators that the Fed won’t provide more aid to European banks beyond the swap lines and the discount window -- another Fed program that provides emergency funds to U.S. banks, including U.S. branches of foreign banks." Well, between a trillion plus in FX swap lines, and a surge in discount window usage which only Zero Hedge has noted so far, there really is nothing else that the Fed can possibly do, as these actions along amount to a QE equivalent liquidity injection, only denominated in US Dollars. Aside of course to shower Europe with dollars from the ChairsatanCopter. Then again, before this is all over, we are certain that paradollardop will be part of the vernacular. ....

      link to zerohedge.com

    • @ MRW:

      >> The private sector right now is sitting on $14 trillion in cash in the bank,

      I agree corporate cash-on-hand is high right now and I agree that the "incentive to lend" is limited. And I agree this smells a little like a liquidity trap. To help you with your point, I would also point out yields on the long treasuries. Insane.

      But -- where did you get the $14 trillion number? Source?

      The critical number, at any rate, is the economy's ability to service the debt. The only way we can meet ends these days -- any by "we" I mean individuals, municaplities, states and the Federal government -- along with half of europe, is by printing more money. And that's at ultra low interest rates!!! Stop the money printing and the western economy collapses onto itself and turns into a smouldering piece of spent charcol.

      >> The concept of ‘printing money’ is from the gold standard days when more dollars were printed than there was gold to back them up. It’s been a meaningless term since we dropped gold in 1972.

      I am sorry, but this is just incorrect. "Printing money" still applies in a post gold standard world and can be defined as the expansion of the Fed's balance sheet. When the Fed buys bonds (or pumps cash through a credit line into Europe (as it now is!!)) without an offsetting transaction, money is created out of thin air. It is printed effectively the same way as it was printed in Weimar or Yogoslavia in the end-days.

      >> There is no way we’re going back on the gold standard. Not a chance. It would require massive taxing before the government could spend anything.

      Again -- incorrect. Why would it require massive taxation? (You don't say.) All the Fed has to do is instruct the NY Fed (the member that deals with open market operations) is to bid for gold at $10,000 and offer it at $10,050. Voila -- the dollar would be pegged to gold.

      >> And we don’t need to do it. The US govt is a currency issuer!

      Ah, yes! We don't need gold because we can print money! Weimar here we come!!

      Lastly, as for Mr. Williams not know much about reserve accounting -- huh? Reserve accounting is besides the point of Mr. Williams work, which is primarily concerned with the various ways in which the gov't has fudged statistics. For example, he goes and calculates what the CPI would be today if the government used its own methods before they started to massage them to their favour.

      Regards -N49.

    • MRW & Inanna,

      Shingo is right. I won't be able to catch up with all your points, but Shingo is right.

      I saw reference to official inflation rates. Innana -- do you know how they caluclate this? There are so many fudge factors in these numbers they have lost all meaning. I will give you one example: about 22% of this rate -- the largest component -- is comprised of housing costs. How do they calculate housing costs? They use this thing called "rental equivalent costs." That is, they don't calculate what it costs to own a house, but rather, what it would cost to rent the house you own. What determines rents? Rents are tightly tied to the carrying cost of a house -- your monthlies. What are monthlies tied to? Interest rates. So, the lower rates are, the low the CPI is, generally speaking. Now, should the formal CPI start to rise, and should the Fed respond with higher rates, what happens to CPI? Fuel on fire.

      The fact is we are so in debt right now -- the entire western world, that is -- that *the* major cost of living amounts to servicing the debt. This goes for government as well as individuals. And rates are at effectively zero.

      Until they are not anymore. (See Greece. See Iceland.)

      There is no way out of this save for massive inflation. That is what the gold price is telling us.

      As for Yves Smith -- I have chatted with Yves online. She doesn't get it. She cites Japan and other deflationary scenarios. There is not time for all of this, but again, for example, Japan is not a net borrower. The high personal savings rate offsets government prolifigacy. In the US, the savings rate is about zero (was negative) and the governments at all levels hemorage money. The US ain't Japan.

      Yves though oil was going back to $40 in 2008. She just could not fathom the massive printing that has taken place since.

      I could go on for miles, but suffice it to say that they always print. They always print.

      An inflationary depression is a coming. Ron Paul wants to take us back to a gold standard,. Probably a good thing. But the peg wont be at $1700. No, the peg will be closer to $10,000. Inflation is the only way out of the debt burden.

      Shingo is right. -N49.

      ps - Foir a thorough debunking of official stats, see John Williams site here:
      link to shadowstats.com

  • David Remnick erases Norman Finkelstein
    • Thanks, Annie. I know and see how busy you are. My only interest here was not giving Witty cover to not to respond to legit points of contention! Thanks again for your effort in getting back. Best -N49.

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