"The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants" - Albert Camus

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Deconstruction Of Four Questions Of Passover: Part II - Human Nature, A Doctrine Of Rights, And Civil Society


In order to judge whether our founding fathers were racists as you claim, or whether the rest of what I will call the “American Condition” (a term I use to describe generally our ways of being) is a just and noble cause, we must understand human nature and the importance of natural law in the framework of our founding.

I will then briefly discuss civil society without which our constitutional republic would slide in to darkness and eventually cease to exist.

Understanding basic human nature as well as the importance of natural law and civil society will intellectually allow us to examine our uniqueness (exceptionalism), which in turn will open the discussion to a more in depth examination of our founding documents, rights, and liberties in proper context. I realize that this sounds unduly lengthy but an intellectually sound philosophical case requires no less.

Importance of Human Nature – Two Views:

Societies are made up of individuals; therefore human nature must be understood before any other social concept can be tackled. Understanding human nature is also a fundamental starting point for anyone attempting to build a coherent political philosophy, or discuss it as we are doing here.

In the context of our discussion, understanding of human nature is vital because natural law based framework of our constitution requires belief in the universal qualities of basic human nature. Given these qualities, there exist rules of social behavior and moral conduct that have endured through time because they have been readily ascertained by all societies throughout history.

Generally speaking, there are two schools of thought: Human nature is either fixed (the classical view of Socrates, Aristotle and Plato) or malleable (postmodernist view subscribed to by likes of Nietzsche, Hegel, Marx, and others).

Traditionally, conservatives, libertarians, and classical liberals fall into the camp that believes human nature is fixed but with tendencies toward both good and evil. Progressives, socialists, Marxists, and other postmodernists view human nature as malleable, that is, it can be manipulated. Along the same lines, the first group tends to be moral absolutists where as the latter believes in moral relativism.

Man has a dual nature, capable of both good and bad, and hence he requires social influences such as those from family, religion, and community to provide moral education and guidance within the framework of civil society. Therefore, society, and by extension government, is natural and necessary in the conservative view despite the vilification of the ideology as being wildly anti-government. However, family, religion, and community should be the preferred sources of social influence rather than the coercive power of the state.

Despite the universal features in human nature, there exist important individual differences among humans. Apart from obvious physical and gender differences, people have different talents, skills, motivational levels, and interests. Protecting liberty means respecting these differences, thus allowing their benefits to the individual and society come to the fore. Indeed, equality of outcome is an illusory and dangerous quest, often pursued at the expense of equality before the law. Our recent history (20th century) is a sad testament to that.

We have to naturally ask, is human nature really infinitely malleable and perfectible, as some philosophers have claimed? A deliberate attempt to design and create social order in order to achieve certain desired social outcomes without regard to the limitations in man's nature is futile and even destructive. As proof one need only consider the atrocities committed under communist, socialist, and fascist regimes. The answer is clearly no.

Most relevant to our discussion, full development of each person's capacities and morals do not only require social influence, but most crucially liberty. No person can reach his or her full potential when having to persist under oppressive or tyrannical conditions. This just makes sense and is beyond conjecture as evidenced by all oppressive regimes throughout history. Thus, the purpose of lawful government in a well-functioning society is the protection of individual rights, especially of freedom of conscience, freedom of association, private property, free trade, and equal protection under the law.

This alone is proof that the framers of our constitution rejected the notion of moral relativism (even though the earlier fathers of the postmodern school of thought were still a few decades in the future) and embraced the idea of civil society that is based on absolutist view of the human nature.

Finally, the incompatibility of civil society with moral relativist view of human nature is self evident in its voluntary nature, as I will discuss later.

Natural Law and a Brief Discussion of Rights and Fairness:

All classical liberal arguments that support the ‘conservative’ point of view are based upon natural law.

As the name implies, natural law is the only truly universal law set by nature. The contrast between natural and man made law is stark in that natural law cannot result in an impediment on individuals’ (God given or natural) rights, where as there are no such restrictions on man made laws creating new ‘rights’ that in reality are not rights at all.

This is the point where I must discuss what a right is as it is probably the single most important notion that our discussions inevitably revolve around.

The only legitimate rights that exist are natural (or God given) rights. Here is the compelling reason why other progressive ideals such as medical care, housing, education, and food cannot be considered rights:

Right is something that exists simultaneously among people. It does not confer any obligation on anyone else. For example my rights to free speech or to own a gun do not impose an obligation on you. We share these rights simultaneously.

Right to progressive ideals such as the ones I listed above simply do not (and cannot) exist because they require being earned. To consider them rights, someone else must not have a right to what they did earn. For example, to give someone housing or medical care, someone else’s private property (earnings) must be confiscated as governments do not have their own resources. It really is a simple concept that even progressives should be able to comprehend. To bring it down to a more personal (thus comprehensible) level, if your next door neighbor could not afford to send his son to college and the local authorities knocked on your door (along with other neighbors) and demanded $1,000 to give to your neighbor, wouldn’t you be outraged? Yet, that is what government does routinely by taxing you for constitutionally illegitimate activities that should be left to private charity – an institution Americans excel in compared to anyone else!

We all have a right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness (none of which obligates anyone else in any way). Nothing more and nothing less. Government’s sole constitutional role is to provide the opportunity (equal justice and a free market based economic environment) to make it possible for all individuals to acquire anything else that their desires, abilities, and motivations will allow them to.

‘But that would cause widespread misery and societal problems, not to speak of its inhumanness’ complain the progressives, disclosing their ignorance of history as well as their inability to philosophically (critically) reflect on the human condition.

Did the dirt poor Irish immigrants (or the Poles, Chinese, or Italians) starve and die on the streets at the first few decades of last century when economic conditions were much harsher than modern day America? No. Did hundreds of thousands of poor children starve to death when Bill Clinton signed the welfare reform in 1995? Clearly no, in fact America prospered even more. Why?

The reason is simple: human nature is more resilient and vibrant than lazy and recalcitrant given the motivating circumstances (a free market system supported by a limited constitutional government). In other words, individuals are generally capable of taking care of themselves when they have to. It is this conviction that has set apart Americans from others and allowed them to thrive, out-innovate, and out-produce anyone else despite periodic hardships throughout its history. No, we are not superior to anyone else, but we have a uniquely optimistic can-do attitude that the socialistic nanny states have robbed from other peoples of the world.

The other progressive argument revolves around equality. As the progressive vision sees only unfairness stemming from natural differences in individual circumstances, they continuously push for equality of outcome, whether it is by instituting programs to achieve gender and racial equality or passing laws like CRA (1977) or increasingly progressive taxing schemes aimed at redistributing wealth. In real life, however, people are unique, meaning not all men are created with equal abilities or similar circumstances therefore cannot achieve similar outcomes. Attempts to equalize these differences are invariably ill-fated and only set the society behind by slowing down greater productivity and innovativeness by the capable (which does not equal the rich as I can count countless many, such as SCOTUS Justice Thomas, Bill Gates, or Herman Cain, who have come from abject poverty to attain great success in life).

The progressive narrative of an unjust world in a constitutional free market system like ours, even with its imperfections, fails miserably in the face of logic as well as evidence. Instead, it is their world view of socialistic idealism that fosters a society based on oppressive bureaucratic functionaries and a culture that embraces stifling mediocrity and egalitarianism.

Natural law is not the law of the jungle (everyone for themselves) either. As natural law implies, individual is unique, spiritual, and has a conscience. He/she is free to pursue his interests, guided by prudence (meaning that the individual has the obligation to respect the inalienable rights of everyone) and morality while striving to be virtuous. These qualities are what make civil society possible and strong.

Civil Society:

A solid understanding of the concept of civil society is essential to truly comprehending our Founding Principles in proper context, so we must delve in to this subject briefly as well.

The term implies the totality of “voluntary social relationships, civic and social organizations, and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society, as distinct from the force-backed structures of a state”.

Preservation of civil society is essential to preservation of natural law (our guiding principles) as they are interwoven and inseparable. Civil society allows the furtherance of the human condition in general.

In a civil society, private property and liberty are inseparable as the right to live freely and pursue happiness cannot exclude the right to acquire property, which is the fruit of one’s intellectual as well as physical labor. When confiscated (by taxation in free societies) for unconstitutional purposes (those outside the enumerated ones), one’s liberty is restricted as he/she now inevitably works for a master. A discussion of what is and is not constitutional, usually under the guise of “general welfare clause”, will be in later sections.

As with natural law, civil society is often vilified for its perceived intolerance and selfishness by the progressives. The ‘voluntary’ nature of the overall societal interaction, in the context of a free market based society, is antithetical to progressive impulse to actively manage societal injustices as I discussed in the previous section as well.

In Part III, I will discuss America's uniqueness and venture in to our Founding Documents as a whole (as they can not to be discussed in isolation from each other).

Deconstruction Of Four Questions Of Passover: Part I - Intro

Having read your response to my questions about our founding documents and rights, I remotely sense an underlying libertarian philosophy that has been overtaken by progressive convictions (NOT philosophy since they lack systemic and intellectual approach or logical conclusions).

As my response will be quite long due to the complex nature of the subject matter, I will attempt to break it down in to discussions of the relevance of and inter-connection between civil society, founding documents, and the rights and obligations emanating from them. The totality of my arguments will dispute your views unless you can come up with a more cohesive philosophical and factual counter.

The comprehensive nature of this lengthy (upwards of 25 pages) response (mini-book might be more appropriate) has led me to decide to post it in several parts. In this first part of my response, I will make some needed disclosures and discuss the role of education since all misconceptions like your stem from intentional distortions of not only our history but western culture overall.


Morality and spirituality play vital role in any discussion revolving around our nation’s founding. So, in order to make where I am coming from clear (so that you can put my arguments in proper context), let me disclose that I, like you, am not a religious person, however, I am by no means an atheist either. I adhere to agnostic spirituality. As a practical agnostic I believe that the question of God’s existence is irrelevant to the living of life because so-called judeo Christian values are really human values. Therefore I, regardless of proof (either way) of God’s existence or the validity of various prophets, live my life in a manner consistent with universal values of virtue embedded in me - be it Judeo Christian, Buddhist, etc.

Although I do not adhere to any religion, I have no animosity towards any such institution that advances morality in our society since a moral and just society is the basis for a civil society without which we would descend in to darkness of chaos.

Also, I will be using the terminologies conservatism and classical liberalism interchangeably since the nuance between the two philosophies (primarily emphasis on social conservatism) is somewhat insignificant in the context of the subject matter.

So, here we go:

First, a few words about the shortcomings of our educational system in the context of why some cannot reason (in that it is the most basic of thought processes that is required for developing a philosophy), and why there is even a progressive movement:

Importance of Education in Fostering True Knowledge:

Almost all people are born with the ability to critically analyze issues, but this ability remains dormant unless the mind is unleashed by proper training during formative years.

In the classical sense, education is a three stage process. There is a learning stage (called the grammar stage) when children are thought how to learn. Then, there is the logic stage when we are supposed to learn cause and affect relationships (how things relate in a logical framework). Finally, in the rhetoric stage, we sharpen our eloquence in conveying ideas.

The shortcoming of many modern day school systems is that they do not effectively go past stage one – and how could they when they have more pressing things to teach like ‘Heather has two mommies’ (sarcasm!). Had they done this, we would not be reading about studies that show that substantial portions of college students enter college sorely uninformed and graduate not much better off.

How this plays in to our discussion relates to the widespread misconceptions about America and illogicalities in views held by some.

Our mediocre school system barely touches the all important formative period of our history (mid 1760s through 1789), providing no in-depth understanding of the historical figures, facts, or the founding documents themselves let alone prepare students to undertake a critical analysis of far reaching philosophical concepts that is required.

Case in point: Most Americans think of the U.S. Constitution as a stand alone guide due to lack of an integrated view of the Founding Documents. They have little understanding that it is only a Quick Guide that requires referencing the companion documents in order to form a well rounded understanding of it. The full Owner’s Manual is the collection of all founding documents: The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, Federalist and anti-Federalist Papers, and the 11th through 27th Amendments to the Constitution. Reading and understanding these documents collectively – as they relate to each other - demolishes all pretense that the founding fathers were racists or the U.S. Constitution is a living document that was meant to be interpreted and amended to the point of extinguishing its original intent.

This incomplete approach to fostering an understanding of the framework for our nation stems from half a century of intentional educational mismanagement. Public schools, at every level, put little emphasis on a complete (integrated), classical discussion of the Founding Documents. One reason is time, as such an in-depth approach would require giving less attention to other subject areas, and another (more ominous) reason is the radicalization of the teachers’ unions, which I have written on before on my blog.

Regarding the time constraints, I believe that a complete understanding of our Founding Documents (in a historical context that makes sense) is vital to the preservation of civil society and long term survival of the American way of life. The civil society is what is called organized liberty or the social compact, and there are various elements to it. In a civil society you must have a moral order, which rule of law is based on. This interrelationship between a moral order and the civil society is exactly why the counter-culture movement of late has drawn a bull’s eye on traditional values. This concerted effort between a wide spectrum of progressive institutions from entertainment to media to public education is by no means a pure coincidence.

The school system, therefore, must make time by abbreviating other, more fashionable, subject matter relating to the environment, tolerance towards LGBT or ethnic communities, or any of dozens of other issues that are really up to families to foster.

On the radicalization front, I will next discuss briefly the history of hijacking of public education (at all levels). This is important to establish in that the purposeful radicalization of education, which is traceable to early 1960s, is not a figment of conspiratorial minds but a matter of historical facts. The proof is all over alternative media (as main stream media roots for this kind of subversion of education in the name of “progress”) for those lazy minds who need to be spoon fed the Cliff notes version. More keen minds will simply have to laboriously piece it all together from different main stream sources. I have over the years tried to do both in order to be fair to the subject matter.

Starting in the early 1960s, school systems began taking a sharp turn towards progressivism (some might call that an understatement) as teachers’ unions became increasingly radicalized during the civil rights and Vietnam War era. It was during this time that the academia started paying close attention to cultural Marxism and its variants authored by likes of Lev Vygotsky, Antonio Gramsci, and John Dewey.

As decades progressed, schools became laboratories of behavioral manipulation. Children, at young ages have been routinely subjected to pernicious methods such as deconstruction of reality where western culture has been downplayed and steadily replaced by visions of collectivist utopia.

Here, I shall quote extensively from Chuck Roger who has many vigorously researched, insightful articles on the subjects of radicalization of our education and behavioral manipulation in education:

Members of the political class glommed onto the resulting “social justice,” affirmative action, “diversity,” multiculturalism, political correctness, and other malignancies spawned by cultural Marxism. Progressive politicians came to view society as a hodge-podge of racial, ethnic, gender-based, and now also sexual orientation-based groups locked in zero-sum combat with Western whites.

Generally speaking, cultural Marxism’s indoctrinees have learned to view morality and knowledge as “constructs” and social and economic power as commodities to be transferred from “oppressor” to “oppressed.” Progressives routinely label minorities as oppressed and anything that benefits minorities as moral. Such thinking dominates the Democrat party platform.

In embracing Western middle class deconstruction, universities took a radical left turn. To ruinous effect, the radicalism gradually descended below freshman level. Cultural Marxism entered high school, then middle school, and now infests elementary schools as well as preschools. One illustration of the use of anti-wealth, anti-American fallacies in K-12 classrooms is the showing of the virulently anti-capitalist video, The Story of Stuff. The video presents baseless, hysterical vitriol as fact.”

University of Arkansas researcher Sandra Stotsky found that education schools push “evidence-free theories” to influence curriculum development. One theory, “constructivism,” argues that children learn best by constructing class topics and methods in ways which leverage the children’s personal experiences. The notion “feels” seductive, but contains no factual basis.

Constructivist theory recklessly assumes that racial, ethnic, gender-based, and sexual orientation-based subgroups learn what’s truly important by absorbing teacher-led dissection of Western middle class knowledge and values. Constructivism holds that after such cleansing, the subgroups should be qualified to select study topics of their choosing. The method aligns with the equally baseless views of early progressive education theorist John Dewey, who wanted children to specify “relevant [classroom] material”

Related to constructivism, “reader response theory” teaches students to ignore authors’ actual words and assign preferred meanings to written works. Children are conditioned to believe that truth is relative to individual or tribal experience. Ayn Rand captured the tribalistic aspect of minority exploitation in her essay, “Global Balkanization.”[2] Rand observed that government “manufactures pressure groups,” especially ethnic groups.

The profiteers are those group leaders who discover suddenly that they can exploit the helplessness, the fear, the frustration of their “ethnic” brothers, organize them into a group, present demands to the government-and deliver the vote.

By encouraging minorities to resist socioeconomic assimilation, progressive politicians maintain a nationwide nursery of government-dependent adults from which to draw lifelong votes…and income. Progressive teachers steer students toward a strange-brew mindset of anti-assimilation, collectivism, diversity, and we-are-the-world-ness.

Stotsky points out that the “evidence-free” education school theory of “social justice” alleges that minority children learn best when encouraged to embrace grievances against middle class whites. Social justice-indoctrinated teachers instill resentment in “non-dominant” (minority) children and guilt in “dominant” (white) children. Judging by the abundance of guilt-ridden white Americans, the tactic is working its magic well.

Social justice education deemphasizes knowledge retention and the development of traditionally productive skills. The theory’s fanatical adherents maintain that teaching American history to blacks and Hispanics is oppressive. It’s also oppressive to force blacks to “think like whites.” “Diversity consultant” Glenn Singleton teaches that blacks must be excused from developing “annoying white characteristics, such as being ‘task-oriented’ and ‘intellectual.’” Together, government dependency and social justice education have fashioned a super-progressivism turbo-charged by cultural Marxism. Stunted black academic achievement and disintegration of the black family are but two of the many devastating results.

In truth, disintegration of not only the black family but of wholesome tradition itself begins in preschool, as discussed in my introductory analysis of Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky’s influence on early childhood curricula. A study by Stanford education professor David Labaree frames the scope of disfiguration of America’s education curricula. Education schools fit “solidly in the progressive camp.” Teachers are conditioned to “integrate the disciplines,” use “socially relevant themes,” and push morally relativistic versions of “community, cooperation, tolerance, justice, and democratic equality” in ways that make the concepts appear noble, indeed innocent.

But there is no innocence in the effects of the progressive conditioning of teachers. More K-12 students than ever are now being manipulated through lesson plans warped into platforms for moralizing against capitalism, the white middle class, and America. The deconstruction of American society is proceeding.

It is through the prism of this backdrop of American educational history that we must view the prevailing progressive attitudes and beliefs I aim to deconstruct in my writings.

In part two, I will get in to discussions of human nature, natural law, rights, and civil society.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rogue Government Marches On

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal governments supposed labor mediator staffed by likes of former AFL-CIO and SEIU general counsel Craig Becker, is up to its usual shenanigans. 

According to a news report from the NYT, the NLRB has indicated that they are about to sue two states - Arizona and South Dakota - in an attempt to "invalidate those states’ constitutional amendments that prohibit private sector employees from choosing to unionize through a procedure known as card check".  The apparent basis for the suit is violation of the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution.  This comes at the heels of a suit NLRB has already filed against Boeing for moving part of their operations to right-to-work South Carolina at the expense of their unionized Washington state facilities.

The Arizona and South Dakota amendments were passed in an attempt to preempt possible card check legislation Obama Administration would love to pass (to pay off labor unions that exclusively supported him) but does not have the votes in the congress to.  Card check legislation would do away with secret balloting when unions attempt to infiltrate private companies.  The value of card check to unions is obvious in that it is an intimidating factor for any employee voting against unionization.  Considering the thuggish violence of unions as demonstrated in Wisconsin and elsewhere, intimidation would be a big factor in unions increasing their dwindling membership. 

All this proves once again that neither the NLRB nor this Administration has any regard for states' rights or basic democratic procedures.  They have amply proven their intentions to fundamentally transform this nation by ignoring federal court decisions as well as the will of the people through ignoring congressional actions.

IMF Forecasts China To Overtake The U.S. By 2016

According to the IMF forecasters, in 5 short years China will overtake the U.S. as the single largest economy in the world.  This news is amazing (for those not paying close attention to ascendancy of China) in that the U.S. economy was three times the size of the Chinese economy in absolute terms just a short 10 years ago.

Before you ask "how does this affect me?", let me remind you that we historically owe our overall high standard of living mostly to the fact that the U.S. is (at least for a while longer) the largest and most stable economy in the world.  So, what are the implications of what many thought to be the tortoise passing the hare in the race?  How real is the danger?  And more importantly, what are the lessons to be learned and how can we prevent the catastrophe that likely awaits us?

First, lets relax a little.  Yes, the Chinese economy will eventually overtake ours in absolute GDP terms but in per capita basis, at Purchasing Power Parity, the U.S. is still far ahead - in fact for the Chinese to catch up, their GDP in absolute terms would have to reach $47 trillion - a far cry from its current $7.5 trillion or so.  Also, we must remember that the Chinese miracle has been built on currency manipulation, unfair trade practices, and human right abuses as it relates to worker's rights.

Now that we have relaxed a bit, it is time to examine the more serious side of the issue.

The most obvious implication of the U.S. being dethroned is the cloud over both the U.S. dollar and the huge Treasury market, which have been propped up for decades by their privileged status as the liabilities of the world’s hegemonic power.  This, folks, is at least theoretically a big deal since with $14 trillion current national debt and projected future deficits adding $1 trillion or so per year to that figure, U.S. and the dollar simply cannot lose their footings as global leaders without disastrous consequences.  Already, the S&P has downgraded the U.S. debt to a negative outlook - not a good sign.

Cost of financing our debt, itself, is well on its way to reaching one trillion dollars.  At current interest rates, this is bad enough if we consider that federal income taxes only bring in somewhere around $2 trillion in revenues (or, historically between 16-18% of the GDP).  U.S. debt can be financed at low interest thanks to the status of the dollar and the confidence of the international financiers in the ability of the U.S. to resolve its problems.  The problem is that confidence has been steadily eroding over the past few years.

Now consider what if the already weakening dollar - thanks to disastrous Fed and government policies - was either replaced by another global currency as China and several other countries want, or interest rates hit 10-12% range on long term U.S. Treasuries (a preview offered last week when Greek long term bond yields reached at nearly 15%)?  The result would be unsustainable debt servicing levels, leading inevitably to the U.S. having to default on their obligations.  This is the stark reality we face, as pointed out by the international community as well as the President's debt commission, despite politicians' apparent indifference.

As for how imminent this danger is, most forecasts seem pretty sound, with one caveat.  Many such forecasts assume a constant exchange rate when projecting future GDPs.  The problems with such assumptions lie in the superficial exchange rate for the Yuan, which is the most heavily manipulated (purposefully kept undervalued) major currency in the world, as well as in the presumed strength of the dollar which is looking shakier by the day.  Any variations to these assumptions could easily move the target date up or down, but the end result is likely to be the same absent meaningful action by the U.S. (since we cannot control what China does).

The methodology behind the IMF forecast is different, however - and it is not necessarily a comforting difference from the U.S.'s perspective.  IMF uses the more reliable PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) instead of presumptuously constant exchange rates in their analysis.  It is in these real terms that IMF concludes 2016 as the year the Chinese economy will overtake ours (see above chart).

That brings us to the all important question of 'what are the lessons to be learned and what can we do?'  The U.S. must deal head on with its budgetary deficit problem.  The structural deficits that seven decades of progressive ideals (social security, medicare, medicaid, war on poverty, etc.) have racked up must be confronted as the time to pay the piper has arrived just as it has in european social democracies.  Despite Democrats' demonization of military spending - puzzling since national security has no substitute - it is the entitlement spending that is breaking the camel's back.  Our problems are infinitely greater than the extra $100-$200 billion a year spent on Iraq and Afghanistan. 

It is simply pie-in-the-sky thinking for us to think that there are no consequences to deficit spending.  Despite likes of Paul Krugman and other clownish progressive ideologues that like to pass themselves as economists, the international community at large has already made their disapproval of the U.S. budgetary sideshow known. 

In a microcosm of the greater picture, imagine a neighbor who habitually overspends his salary and has to constantly borrow money.  Despite having good track record of paying some of his debt, his overall debt load is spiralling out of control, and he has no plan to either get his spending under control or to earn a higher income.  Would you lend him money?  Would a bank do the same?  Well, as the ability to repay becomes murkier thanks to ever increasing debt load, risk of default also increases, therefore any potential lender - including you - would want a higher risk premium with the loan.  This is exactly where we are headed.

What must the U.S. do?  First we must reform the political process in order to end rampant corruption and return politics in to a service to the nation once again.  We must reform the complicated tax code to make taxes fairer.  We must reform entitlements and disembark from the disastrous progressive policies of the current Administration - meaning loosening of the strangling regulations that have stunted innovation and entrepreneurship, which are what America has always thrived on. 
Recapturing that state of mind - American exceptionalism - will ensure continued prosperity for all Americans.

The headlights that we see in the tunnel are those of a speeding locomotive headed straight for us.  We must either heed the warnings or get ready to be obliterated.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Uh, Oh..The President To Investigate His Own Administration?

Yesterday, President Obama said that he will ask his DOJ to investigate for possible collusion amongst oil companies or other shenanigans by speculators.

As Ed Lasky from American Thinker points out, he will have to start out with his own energy and transportation secretaries (since they both vociferously long for european level gasoline prices) and then move to himself since he admitted that under his "cap and trade scheme, energy prices will necessarily skyrocket"

While DOJ is at it, they might as well look in to the Administration's policies to block drilling and refining whenever and wherever possible.

Yes Mr President.  There is collusion; but it is not between oil companies - it is between your Administration and environmentalist greenies!

(Mostly) Stupid Quotes of the Week

"I don't think we should make too much out of that [credit rating hit]. What Standard and Poor's is doing is making a political judgment and it is one that we don't agree with." --Austen Goolbee, Barack Obama's "top" economist
The only explanation (for not agreeing with S&P) can be a state of denial -- not a good thing to have at a presidential aide..

"We shouldn't be playing chicken with our economy by linking the raising of the debt ceiling to anything." --White House Press Secretary Jay Carney
...From the Krugman school of economics

"What we have to do in this country is remember who we are and that's the reason why I like to travel and to get out because, look, no matter what people say, when they see you they're excited and they're proud and you know, everybody, everybody has their detractors and that's part of what the political process is all about. I want to embrace the country that I love. The country that I know is positive and fair and there's so much of that out there, that it's very easy to kind of push the other stuff aside and not take it in. It's easier than you'd imagine." --First Lady Michelle Obama
At least she loves her country now; that is a long way from being proud of it for the first time 2 years ago! 

"Virtually every action taken by business to avoid taxation has a negative economic impact, since the greatest economic value is obtained when money goes where it wants to go, and transactions are conducted for the maximum mutual benefit of all parties involved. Dollars sheltered from taxation become pale and sickly, when they desperately want to go outside and play in the sun." --columnist John Hayward
Has this guy studied one days worth of economics in his miserable life?

"I believe that budgets are moral documents. ... And I'm not so sure that this is not anything more than an immoral document where the poor are concerned. [The budget negotiations] effectively locked out the American people, namely, the poor. ... I don't understand why it is in this town that every debate about money always begins and ends with how we can further reward the rich and more punish the poor. I don't get that." --PBS's Tavis Smiley
--Yes, because it is all government's money, right Travis?

"Why do these rich people need another tax cut? I mean, they're already rich. They seem to be doing pretty well as it is now. Why cut their taxes some more? ... I guess the part that I don't quite understand -- and I take your proposal to be a serious one -- but the part I don't understand is if the country is going bankrupt, if the country needs to borrow 40 cents of every dollar that it spends, how do you help that by reducing the amount of taxes that the richest people in the country pay? It would be seem to me that's where you get revenue." --CBS anchorhead Bob Schieffer
If you can visualize Schieffer's usual idiotic (I have no clue) look, it all falls in to place

"In playing to the Tea Party, the potential candidates also will have a challenge. Recent polls show 47% of Americans have an unfavorable view of the movement. So candidates looking for Tea Party votes have to be careful not to alienate moderates." --CBS legal reporter Jan Crawford
...Ehem Jan, that is less than the Presiden't negative image

"Now, you know we just had Tax Day so nobody wants to pay taxes. Let me tell ya, I looked at my Tax Reform and I thought, 'hmm...' Ya know there was a moment there where you look at the figure you're paying and you say, 'Wow, let me think about my position on taxing the wealthy here.' I understand that. Nobody volunteers and says 'Boy, I'm just wild to pay more taxes.' But it's a matter of values and what we prioritize. And I certainly don't think my taxes should be even lower!" --Barack Obama
No comment necessary

"I think I can make that case, and I think that, in the debates that take place over the next 18 months, the American people will feel that I deserve a second term." --Barack Obama
To be filed under the delusional category

"A few short weeks ago I came to the House floor after having purchased an iPad and said that I happened to believe, Mr. Speaker, that at some point in time this new device, which is now probably responsible for eliminating thousands of American jobs. Now Borders is closing stores because, why do you need to go to Borders anymore? Why do you need to go to Barnes & Noble? Buy an iPad and download your newspaper, download your book, download your magazine." --Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL)

"America pays its bills. I hope Majority Leader Cantor and those in Congress seizing upon debt ceiling pressure as a 'leverage opportunity' are listening to the markets today and thinking twice about their risky strategy." --Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) recklessly demanding a new infusion of cash for government overspending by boosting the debt limit

And finally some sanity (from Germany no less!)
"The primary reason for America's political stalemate is Obama's refusal to see that, in an aging society, social spending cannot be as generous as it has been in the past. The great social reformer Obama is at least 20 years too late with his ideas." --The center-left daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Radical-In-Chief Calls Fiscal Sanity Proponents Radical

I know that we could all use a good belly-laughter these days of general insanity coming out of Washington, D.C. 

Perhaps the best source of such comedie noire (perverse comedy) is our  the President.  His latest antics include calling the Ryan plan, as well as anyone else who screams about the unsustainable, insane deficits, radicals.  He did it responding to Rep. Ryan's proposal (which have its own set of problems in that it was not nearly as drastic as what is needed), and did it again and again in different interviews as well as his Facebook farce yesterday.

What the President is doing is clear as a bell.  This is the real life application of Alinsky rule no.10 (If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive for you) by a great student of the original radical.  Call the opposition radicals at every opportunity and, with the help of a complicit media, you will change the minds of independent swing voters.

Where the comedie noire comes in is the 'pot calling the kettle black'. 
A guy who was born of Marxist radicals, raised and mentored by radicals, hung around radicals while in college, associated with radicals (like Ayers, Dohrn, Rev Wright, and others), made multitudinous statements that define the word 'radical', and wants to fundamentally change our society in to his radical post-modern Marxist view is now calling those trying to lead the way back to fiscal sanity radical?

There is your belly laughter for the day.  Wait till tomorrow and you will undoubtedly be treated to a new one.

The Latest On The Union Cronyism Front

Ethical lapses in Obama labor appointees like Hilda Solis, Craig Becker, and Deborah Greenfield are just matter of fact despite the President's own E.O. 13490 and assurances that he is running the most ethical government in years.

Now, in keeping with Chicago style politics, National Right To Work Committee discloses that the fox is now in charge of guarding the chicken coop.  The Administration has appointed John Lund as Office of Labor-Management Standards Director - its chief investigator of financial mismanagement and irregularities (read: union corruption).  Mr. Lund is not only a former SEIU official, but has several serious conflicts of interest as a NRTWC document discloses.  Here is an interesting video by NRTWC on Lund.

Formerly, in the Labor Department, Lund cut the number of labor union investigators, rescinded disclosure of union officer benefits, eliminated financial reporting for unions like the Wisconsin Education Association Council, and eliminated conflict-of-interest reporting for thousands of union officials in an attempt to reward them for their steadfast support of the Marxist-In-Charge.

In related news that can be classified under 'union cronyism bears its latest fruit', National Labor Relations Board (Craig Becker's outfit), issued a complaint against Boeing for 'unlawfully transferring work to a non-union facility'.  Excuse me?  Where exactly do we live anymore? 

The story by Big Government is sordid and worthy of reading.  With each passing day, this Chicago style administration finds a new way to out-do their previous radical actions; and I am left to wonder if private enterprise (or individuals) have any rights left in this country.

Move Over Jeffrey Immelt, Here Is Steve Westly

Is the king of crony capitalism dethroned?  Well, that is a difficult question to answer since it is still a close race between Jeffrey Immelt (G.E. which stands to benefit to the tune of untold billions of dollars from green energy projects as well as medical record digitization) and Eric Schmidt (Google which potentially could out perform G.E.)

But wait just a minute.....here comes Steve Westly, who is not exactly new to the game of crony capitalism.  Steven Westly was a major contributor to the Obama campaign and a promoter of “alternative energy,” and following the election, duly received half-billion dollars in federal aid for his venture capital firm as well as an advisory position to the Energy Secretary.  More interestingly, he stands to make billions more if you consider the $35 billion that the Department of Energy has in their green energy stash.  The story in The Center For Public Integrity site is an interesting read indeed.

I find it amusing that: a) progressives used to point to Halliburton's no bid contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan under GWB Administration as the poster child of cronyism (nevermind the fact that Clinton Administration also had the same practice since Halliburton, which contributes to both political parties per Open Secrets, is one of the few companies diversified and competent enough to get the job done); and b) the dollar amounts involved were nothing compared to what G.E., Google, the Westly Group, et.al. stand to make for steadfastly supporting the President.

More critically, Halliburton, Bechtel, and other big contractors simply do the necessary work and their relationship with the government has no lasting impact on rest of America.  On the other hand, the current crop of cronies are benefitting from the President's declared intention to fundamentally change America - in other words being complicit in destruction of the constitutional free market system.

Crony capitalism is wrong no matter who the president is, and the Obama Administration has taken it to an all new level.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Another Day, Another Liberty Gone

Those of you who are fans of online poker are surely aware by now that the Department of Justice just cracked down on online Poker.  PokerStars.net where I played, along with two other major poker sites were taken over, and for all purposes shut down, by the FBI. 

Of the 50 million or so poker players in the U.S., those sites hosted probably 2-3 million players.  What was the reason?  To save Americans from their own bad habits.....you know, like smoking, drinking, etc. 

Yes, the nanny state has struck again and another simple (symbolic) liberty that a free people should be able to enjoy is gone. 

You know what they say: Do not steal, government hates competition.  In this case, do not gamble, government hates competition.  It is okay for the states to run lotteries (a form of gambling, pure and simple), but if you play online poker..... tsk, tsk...

As long as people do not revolt, we will lose new liberties with each passing day because, regardless of Administration in place, the nanny state reigns supreme.  Now I understand hippies and libertarians better!

So long, online poker.  It was fun while it lasted.

Death By Thousand Cuts Continues

The U.S. Constitution has been going through what can best be described as 'death by thousand cuts' since the turn of the 20th century.  With every unconstitutional act of congress, faulty court decision, regulation, and presidential executive order, we have lost a little bit more of our liberties.  Yesterday, as I was listening to Mark Levin on the radio, I found out the latest in a long line of violations of the spirit of our Constitution.

Obama Administration, that has already unconstitutionally ignored federal judge rulings in cases regarding Obamacare and drilling ban, is now apparently ready to use executive order to implement the DISCLOSE Act. 

As Pajamas Media reports it, the Administration (White House) is circulating a draft of an Executive Order that flies in the face of defeat DISCLOSE Act has suffered in congress, the Supreme Court, and the FEC.

Under the current law, federal contractors are already barred from making contributions to any politician or political party.  This EO takes the existing law a step further and forces employees of contractors to disclose their personal contributions.  Do you see the problem, especially with this - the most vindictive - Administration, of what kind of a chilling effect this EO would have on political free speech?
Here is an excellent article on the subject by Ed Lasky in the American Thinker.

Oh, and by the way, this EO would not apply to public unions and public grant recipients.  How convenient!

With the addition of the EO to implement the DISCLOSE Act, on top of earlier EOs to implement EPA rules on greenhouse gas emissions, and  implementing the DREAM Act - all of which failed to clear the Congress -
this Administration is once again thumbing its nose at the checks and balances provided by the U.S. Constitution.

Such disregard for the constitutionality of their actions by an administration is unparalelled in U.S. history.  Sadly, this latest action is just the latest cut, but not the last in the slow death of the U.S. Constitution.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Trump Card: Opportunist Extraordinaire or a Charlatan?

Donald Trump, the flashy New York City billionaire, has made his intentions known that he plans on running for the presidency in 2012.  He has also given indication that, should he fail to secure the GOP nomination, he may run as an independent.  Apart from all this reviving memories of Ross Perot and the 1992 race, there are serious questions Republicans - establishment and voters alike - must ask themselves; not the least of which should be 'Who really is Donald Trump' and 'Can the country afford a Trump presidency'.

We stand at a critical juncture in our history when the U.S. has to choose one of two diametrically opposed paths.  We must either find sanity and put our fiscal house in order now, which will undoubtedly call for sacrifices, or we will forge full steam ahead on the path of unsustainable debt accumulation which will inevitably give our children an America that is wrought by crippling effects of crushing debt payments and a weak dollar.

The latest warning of what is in store for the U.S. came on Monday when S&P issued a negative outlook on our debt as a result of apparent long term budget impasse between the Democrats and the Republicans.  A week before that, countries including China, Russia, Brazil and South Africa openly called for creation of a new world currency.  And of course, we should not forget the dire warnings of the President's Debt Commission last year.

With the U.S. fiscal house of cards on or near life-support, America deserves to be able to make a clear choice on the direction it wishes to embark on for the next 4 years.  The Trump candidacy will make this at best a murky choice as no one really knows who Trump ideologically is (although I have a pretty good idea).

Apart from his latest antics, including reviving the Obama birth certificate controversy, Trump is little bit of an enigma.  Lets take a closer look at the apparent, and somewhat conflicting, ideology of Donal Trump. 

Trump, in the past, has said that Democrats are better for the country.  He praised President Obama soon after he was elected.  He has contributed more to Democrat candidates than Republicans in past election cycles, including far left candidates like Charles Rangel, Charles Schumer, and Anthony Weiner.  He was registered as a Republican until 2000 when he apparently switched his party allegiance to the Democrat party.  He holds many progressive stances on taxation (he is for a one time wealth tax), social issues (gay marriage for one), single payer healthcare, as well as what can be considered anti free trade positions alongside more conservative stances.  As a less meaningful anecdote, his daughter Ivanka is married to son of Charles Kushner, the staunchly partisan billionaire Democrat fundraiser (and a felon).  In short, he is at home in the ultra-liberal environment of NYC.

These conflicting stances put Trump in the same category as Mayor Bloomberg and his ilk who have roamed the political spectrum in search of opportunities. One thing is clear: Donald Trump does not have the convictions of his own ideology because he is not about principles; he is clearly only about one thing: his own ego.

The coming elections are about America’s future and the American people deserve unambiguous answers to critical questions in order to make an informed decision.

Is Trump a Democrat at heart who is out to assure that there will be no further conservative ascendancy? No one knows for sure.

Is he an egocentric crony capitalist? By all appearances, yes.

Can America survive a Trump presidency? Considering the critical juncture we find ourselves in, the answer is: 'no more than it can survive the presidency of any other egomaniacal opportunist regardless of party affiliation'.

One thing is for sure. The Republican establishment has to be wary of whom they are getting in to bed with.

Another Obama Lie Exposed

Last January, Obama assured us that jobs would be the top priority of the Administration and regulations would be reviewed for their affect on job creation.  As such, Executive Order 13563, issued by the President in January, requires that all new rules issued by federal agencies take job creation into account.

Fast forward to last week.  This is EPA Administrator Mathy Stanislaus in response to a question by Colorado GOP Rep. Cory Gardner admitting that no consideration to job creation is given when the EPA regulates industry:

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's economic forecasting model, a proposed 70% cut in carbon dioxide emissions will cause gasoline prices to rise 77% over baseline projections, kill more than 3 million jobs and reduce average household income by more than $4,000 every year.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, has rightly noted that Congress deliberately did not regulate so-called greenhouse gases with the Clean Air Act, a bill designed to deal with air quality, not the climate. 

Not surprisingly, this exposes the Obama administration's public posture on jobs and the environment as a fraud.  Congressional intent aside, the Administration is hell bent on transforming the nation in to their Marxist vision.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Unexpected" Rise In Jobless Claims, Again....

As the media lap dogs of the Administration so often report, the first time jobless claims rose "unexpectedly" again in today's report.  So, the implication is that none of this has to do with the President's policies; just blame Bush, whatever.

Tomorrow, undoubtedly, we will hear about the "unexpected" rise in the CPI and that will not be due to Administration policies either.

I long for the day we will hear about the "unexpected" departure of the Obama Administration.  Hopefully it is only 19 long months away!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It Is 2011: Where Are The 50 Million AGW Refugees?

Noel Sheppard points out to a 2005 U.N. prediction that by 2010, there would be 50 million man made global warming refugees around the world, as reported by the Guardian

Where are they?  To the contrary, the shaded areas that were predicted to be deserted are some of the fastest growing regions.  I guess it is kind of like Al Gore's prediction in 2006 that "the world has 10 years or less to turn things around before it is too late."  That would be 4 years and 9 months from now. 

If you still believe in such fantasies, please contact me so that I can buy your worldly belongings at bottom dollars (since you will soon have no need for them).

Economy Humming Along? Think Again!

Bi-partisan establismentarian opinions aside, there seems to be building consensus that all isn't well (enough) both in the U.S. and the world.

Morgan Stanley lowered its tracking estimate for gross domestic product in the first three months of the year to a 1.5 percent annual pace from a 1.9 percent forecast. Barclays Capital in New York lowered it to a range of 1.5 percent to 2 percent, down a half point. GDP climbed at a 3.1 percent pace in the last three months of 2010.

The trade gap shrank 2.6 percent to $45.8 billion from a larger- than-previously-estimated $47 billion in January, according to figures from the Commerce Department today in Washington. Another report showed the cost of imported goods jumped in March by the most in almost two years.

So how much did the cost in imports rise? From the Bureau of Labor and Statistics:

U.S. import prices rose 2.7 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, following a 1.4 percent advance in February.  The March increase was driven by both higher fuel and nonfuel prices. The price index for U.S. exports increased 1.5 percent in March after rising 1.4 percent the previous month.

So how is consumer confidence doing?: At a nine month low!

And here are some lowlights from Mish:
Expect to Hear the "R" Word Soon

The ECB is hiking and that will not do Europe much good.
Japan is obviously hurting.
In the US, state budgets are a wreck and little or no help is coming from Congress.
In the US, mall vacancies are high and rising
Residential housing in the US remains an absolute disaster
China is hiking to stave off property bubbles and inflation
The Australian housing bubble has popped.
The UK is a fiscal disaster.

The overall global economy is much weaker than most think and the global macro picture is awful.

Roubini chimes in: "Portugal may end up as a worse mess than Greece/Ireland. Plan A (bailout) may fail even before you can design Plan B (debt restructuring)"

Spain is also at the doorstep of insolvency with China trying to prop it up.

As to the state of health of U.S. banks:  "I don't like these banks being as big as they are," Mr Volcker told a conference at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire on Sunday night.  But "to break them up to the point where the remaining units would be small enough so you wouldn't worry about their failure seems almost impossible," he said.  Are we to translate that as 'without the implicit backing of the Federal Reserve, these banks would never survive in their current shape and size'?

Is the Fed the main culprit with its expansionist monetary policies of the past decade?  Is Mish right?  Questions abound.  Time will show, however it is hard not to be pessimistic.

Commentary On Various Quotes Of The Week

Out of touch quote of the week:
"What we have here is a flea, wagging a tail, wagging a dog. The flea are [sic] the minority of House Republicans who are hard right, the tail is the House Republican caucus, and the dog is the government. My experience is they lose politically, but much more importantly, they do what is wrong for the country substantively." --Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
News flash for the good senator from the empire state: We are at the door step of insolvency and the American people have spoken on November 2010.


Delusional quote of the week:
"We don't hear anybody saying -- and the president has not been saying what he should have been saying -- which is the country is not broke. We're simply not taxing the big corporations enough. ... We're not taxing the millionaires and billionaires enough." --Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
Rep. Nadler is apparently in need of better aides who will inform him that even confiscating 100% of the net profits of corporations would not make up projected $1 trillion plus annual deficits as far as the eye can see.

Hysterical quote of the week:
"The Republicans are trying to ... destroy the whole, wide world." --Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA)
No comment necessary (other than pointing out why the present day Democrat party is but a shadow of its former self!)


"Desperately seeking attention to boost my non-existing ratings" Marxist quote of the week:
"I just don't see why with top earners doing better than ever, why they can't be a part of this equation [in addressing the budget crisis]. ... [I]f you looked at the New York Times [Sunday], and you saw the top 30 earners, and how much money they are making all over again, including some of the people who drove us into the ditch -- all white men, by the way, just one woman -- and I didn't see any African-Americans -- I think we have a problem that we need to address as a society. ... [W]e need to balance things out [or] you're going to have class warfare on its worst level." --MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski
Mika, you are forgetting hispanics and the LGBT community - you wouldn't want them to be offended them, would you? 


"Government is too small" quote of the week:
"I hope the president decides he has to take a stand, and the sooner the better. Last December he caved in to Republican demands that the Bush tax cuts be extended to wealthier Americans for two more years, at a cost of more than $60 billion. That was only the beginning. ... [Friday] night he gave away more than half the sandwich -- $39 billion less than was budgeted for 2010, $79 billion less than he originally requested. Non-defense discretionary spending -- basically, everything from roads and bridges to schools and innumerable programs for the poor -- has been slashed. The right-wing bullies are emboldened. They will hold the nation hostage again and again." --former Clintonista Robert Reich


"Off the wall" comment of the week:
"If you want to have balance, and you think that the only (entities) who have rights are humans or companies, then how can you reach balance?  But if you recognize that nature too has rights, and (if you provide) legal forms to protect and preserve those rights, then you can achieve balance."  --Pablo Salon, Bolivia's ambassador to the UN on introducing a document that would give "Mother Earth" same rights as humans; and whose 2008 U.N. pamphlet "Ten Commandments" start with the need to "end capitalism".

When are they going to retain Van Jones as a consultant?


Finally a conservative quote:
"Republicans want to 'end Medicare as we know it.' Cue cat shriek! This 'end Medicare as we know it' line -- and many like it ('end Medicaid as we know it,' 'end carbon-based life as we know it,' etc.) -- is the lead-off talking point for the entire Democratic Party in response to Rep. Paul Ryan's just-released budget proposal, 'The Path to Prosperity.' Here's the thing: Of course he wants to end Medicare as we know it. You know why? Because the way we know it right now, the program is barreling toward insolvency. Personally, if I were on a plane that had one engine out and was belching smoke, I would certainly hope somebody with some judgment and competence might calmly remove his oxygen mask long enough to suggest 'ending this flight as we know it.'" --columnist Jonah Goldberg

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Are U.S. Treasuries A Ponzi Scheme?

According to a former advisor to the Central Bank of China, the answer is yes. Despite the myopic view among likes of Paul Krugman and George Soros, the sovereign debt of the U.S. is not such a great bargain because Fed buying of Treasuries has kept bond prices artificially high and unsustainable over time. Like water finding its level, bond prices, too, "will eventually fall to reflect the fundamentals of the U.S. economy".

The mantra of the left, that debt does not matter, is counter intuitive to all common sense, logical economic thought. Flooding the monetary system with worthless money that has no corresponding economic output, eventually results in CPI inflation given sufficient economic activity. An inevitable byproduct, debased currency, bodes poorly on bond prices and confidence of foreigners in that economy. Reduced confidence by foreign investors lead to difficulty in raising debt without increasing interest rates to sky high levels.
The eventual victims? Every single U.S. resident.

Yes, U.S. Treasuries have become a ponzi scheme because they are there to finance other ponzi schemes - namely entitlements like social security.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Blog War: Response to Factoseintolerant's April 6th Comment

I have to respond to your comment countering my response to Persuit of Happyness on my blog as the post drags on a bit. It is probably a good idea to respond to each other as blog posts on our own blogs rather than as comments to the post since they tend to be long. Just leave a comment that you posted a response on your blog.

factoseintolerant responded to:

“but you may as well show North Korea and Cuba as examples (where everyone is dirt poor, so there is almost perfect income equality)”

I think that North Korea and Cuba are not at all examples of income equality. Yes, the majority of people make the same, very low, wage, but income equality is the relation between those at the 20th percentile and the 80th percentile, which would show income inequality in the countries you named.I disagree with your first paragraph because you say "income equality is the relation between those at the 20th percentile and the 80th percentile, which would show income inequality in the countries you named".

My response:

I defy you to show that 20% of the populations in N. Korea or Cuba are wealthy. Only the leaders are, with a handful of political ruling class being 'comfortable' by those countries' standards. Your assertion of top so many percentage being wealthy applies to the U.S., western Europe, or developing countries, not collectivist regimes or dirt poor countries where the 'wealthy' constitute a tiny, tiny fraction of 1% (few people out of millions). Now that is income equality (as close as one can get to it) since you will never find a dictatorship or a collectivist regime without even single 'well off' leader/politico.


factoseintolerant responded to:

“by U.S. standards, it (Denmark) is inferior without question”

I think you’re confused about what it is that I would like. You cite their standard of living, yet I hate our standard of living here, I don’t understand why we need 5,000 square foot homes, etc. I would rather everyone’s standard of living was at a level where everyone can live, rather than many living in poverty and the rest living in luxury. The reason their corruption is so low is probably because there are zero billionaires.
My response:

As to your second paragraph, are you lamenting the fact that if one chose to, he/she can live in a 5,000 or even 25,000 sq.ft. home, or become a billionaire? What does that ability to accumulate wealth have to do with "many living in poverty and the rest living in luxury"?

Let me answer my own question: It is because progressives see the economic pie as a finite one. They think if one has accumulated great wealth, that means others have had to be impoverished - a zero-sum game. They are incapable of seeing that wealth creation pulls others out of poverty. Here are some interesting questions for you to answer:

When was the last time you saw a poor person, or a middle class person for that matter, create a single job for the poor? Do you honestly think that total wealth in early or mid 1900s and today are the same in the U.S.? And for that matter, how do you explain expansion in wealth throughout decades for all income levels?  In order to create wealth, isn't an economic activity that generally speaking requires expanding the labor force necessary? Why did the 1983-2008 era create 49 million jobs (a 55% increase in total non-farm payrolls) - more jobs created than in the entire euro-zone? What are the dynamics of wealth creation?

Ooops, I said another dirty word: dynamics. Dynamic anything is a taboo for progressives; such as dynamic analysis. Everything, including wealth creation, is a static process in the progressive book.

Most billionaires, like Gates, Buffet, etc. (regardless of their politics) are interested in furthering the human condition. If it wasn't, why would they give so much to charity (over $40 billion of his wealth in the case of Gates)? Where is the supposed greed if they donate millions and billions to charities? That is more than just shielding your income from taxes. Enough with pointless class warfare.

Talking about charity, isn't it funny that the Americans are far more charitable than any other nationality? Do you believe in private charity or does it only count for you when a central government confiscates wealth (thus killing jobs ad opportunity) and doling out welfare?

Lots of questions to reflect on, provided some critical thinking goes in to the process to tie all the answers together in a logical manner.

factoseintolerant responded to:
“They are not ranked first but rather 17th”

The last article I could find, from Forbes in 2009, found the best business climate to be Denmark. Who decided it was 17th? I Added a link on my original post (Forbes even CITES it’s environmental policies).

My response:

I am sorry, my mistake (looked up the wrong number). Overall 2010/2011 ranking by the World Bank was 6th, however they ranked quite a bit lower in critical categories of starting a business (27th), enforcing contracts (30th), etc. See the link for info.

Here are relevant taxation related stats for Denmark:

Corporate rate: 25% (10% lower than U.S. - as we have the highest rate in the developped world: this is the only plus other than lack of corruption)

Individual rates: 37-59%

Payroll tax: 8%

VAT: 25% (on top of other taxes - non-deductible from state taxes)

Regional healthcare tax: 8%

Max cannot exceed: 51.5% (excluding VAT)

Sounds like a business haven, right, huh? Based onreasonable corporate tax rate and non-corruption - yes. Well, lets just see. Here is a very recent study by Danish scholars on job creation in Denmark based on data between 1980 and 2007.

Well, lookie lookie here. Some highlights include factoids like many younger firms do not have much longevity in Denmark. Only 20% of the firms are younger than 15 years old whereas the figure in the U.S. is 35%. Authors of the study therefore conclude that job destruction occurs mainly within the younger companies. "The small number of young firms surviving long enough to create employment seems to be the real weak point in Denmark" (page 21).

Net growth of jobs during that period: 19% - pretty anemic.

Before you jump all over it, yes, historically they've had relatively low unemployment rates, but consider the size of the economy (small)

Why I wonder, as the authors of the study avoid speculation on the reasons behind the phenomena? Could that be because of lack of consumer purchasing power? Id say bingo! Larger, more export oriented firms seem to fare better. So, exactly who does a policy of high taxation to support the welfare state benefit? Mainly those who are recieving generous welfare benefits. On the other hand, if you want to start a new small business, the odds are stacked against you. How uplifting!

Things aren't so bright in your favorite social democracy afterall, are they? Hmm, "something is rotten in Denmark" (just had to say that, disregard it).

While you may still prefer Denmark (one of the relative success stories in Europe), I'll take the U.S. with its usually dynamic (that is if progressive policies do not kill the goose that used to lay the golden egg) economy any day.


factoseintolerant responded to:

“Sweden (another highly progressive/socialistic state), they have some of the world’s worst stats for mental depression”

The majority of people in Sweden are happy, a prevalence of mental illness is a weak argument at best (especially with someone so willing to point to genetics for just unhappiness). In fact they are the fourth happiest country. Once again, I added a link on my post to the Gallup Poll results.

My response:

I am not going to insist much on this one. The clinical depression that is prevelant in Nordic countries has to do with their climates (long winters) more than anything else.

The Gallup Poll reflected on respondent's a) overall satisfaction with their lives, and b) how each subject had felt the previous day. However, it is not necesarily an indication of their great life style either (Panama and Turkmenistan were in top 20). Human beings get used to their life styles. True, life is not such a rat race in places like Nordic countries compared to the U.S., but they lack one critical ingredient for true happiness (a subjective thing, obviously) that can occur only when a person is free to express oneself in a manner of one's own choosing and has the power to do as he pleases. When your economic conditions don't permit it or your private property rights are violated as a matter of course due to welfare state policies, your liberties have been compromised, and that (at least to us) is unthinkable.  People have a god given right to pursue whatever makes them happy without trampling on others' rights.

I admit I made a poor point on that one.  I gotta take my time with these posts,

P.S. I could have left his last response out but if I did not admit to a poor point, what would be the use of this exercise we have undertaken.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Blog War: Response To Persuit of Happyness

You replied to my one section of my response Part I (where I played psychiatrist, explaining the reasons for progressive misery).  In the future, please leave a comment with my post to inform me.  I know we cant respond in the comments section since we have long answers.

As far as income equality, Denmark is a nice example, but you may as well show North Korea and Cuba as examples (where everyone is dirt poor, so there is almost perfect income equality). 

What is income equality, if not communism?  Isn't every individual unique?  Don't they all have unique abilities and circumstances?  Yes, and yes.  So, how do you expect income equality in a competitive, free market economy?  The answer lies in the dirty secret of almost all progressives:  It is because they have no interest in individual liberties, only about a demented sense of social justice.  It is the feeling of guilt stemming from their inability to change things. 

Furthermore, how many times have you been to Denmark?  I visited it twice.  Progressives may be able to fake out people who have never been there, but I will tell you that, by U.S. standards, it is inferior without question.  As you say, with the highest tax rate and sky high consumer prices, how can anyone have the disposable income to do anything?  What kind of freedom is that? 
Do you know how far their average net salary of 2,400 euros get you in Denmark?  Not far at all.  Yes they do have income equality but they have few opportunities to really get anywhere by their own initiatives / entrepreneurship.  Did you know that Denmark has no (as in zip, zilch, nada) billionaires and extremely few millionaires?  Do you really think that they have the entrepreneurial opportunities that we have here?  Why do you think, other than exploration in pre 20th century, Danes have not invented whole heck of a lot of things lately?  The answer is because they have no incentive to.  This is the same outcome in every welfare society like Denmark and U.K..  This escapes you progressives completely.  Denmark has no business climate for corporations to long for.  They are not ranked first but rather 17th (and only because they are the least corrupt country with a stable government and educated workforce)

Happiness wise, yes they are happy.  But, so are the patients in an insane asylum.  It is a subjective measure, once again.  By the same token, in Sweden (another highly progressive/socialistic state), they have some of the world's worst stats for mental depression.  Why aren't they so happy?  It (happiness index) is a useless indicator. 

So-called better systems are not better at all.  Do people with money go to Denmark for your medical care or to the U.S.?  I am sure, this too, we shall discuss later.

I think first you need to define two things: Right, and Fairness. Your POV has major conflicts unless you are an outright Marxist communist. Are you?

Blog War: Response To Broletariat (Part II)

Lets see if I can pick up where I left off.

You think that I am saying lets discount environmentalism; I certainly am not. I am discounting the green movement as it has evolved, especially over the past two decades. No one in their right mind promotes wanton destruction of the environment. However, when a movement takes on terroristic tactics to stop activities like responsible logging (where more trees are planted than cut down) in the Pacific Northwest based on falsely creating appearances of turn of the 20th century lumber barons raping the forests, that goes way beyond responsible environmentalism. Same tactics goes for oil and minerals exploration and nuclear power.

Moreover, destruction of rain forests has nothing to do with free markets or capitalism. If it did, totalitarian countries (like the former USSR, PRC, North Korea, etc.) would have the best environments – yet they are/were the most polluted hell holes you could imagine.
What you do not see is that in a free market environment, the incentive (and regulations) is there to leave the environment pristine so that you can continue to profit from it.
Even the EPA says we are environmentally cleaner than 40 years ago. And in comparison to ‘green’ Europe? Guess who is doing a better job? The U.S.!

Your apparent indirect assertion that clean environment is a socialist thing misses the point as you can see. Your explanation of why the green movement is dominated by Marxists today is “they are Marxists because they also realize how corporations are exploiting resources under the guise of “free markets”.” My assertion on the other hand is that environmentalism must be common sense and as clean environment would maximize profits over the long run, free markets are the best solution. That is why we out-perform the more progressive countries in most of Europe and elsewhere when it comes to cleanliness.
By the way, I have nothing against James Lovelock. He is considered the father of the movement, but as I said, his movement got hijacked by today’s greens for their insidious agenda.
Enough said on this subject for now.

You say that rationing (energy, etc.) can be an enabler of democracy and point out that I said it was a great way to bring about social change. I said that in a critical way. Government policy should not be for bringing about social change in a free society.

In the same paragraph, you wonder why we do not have democracy instead of a republican form of government since internet is so available to the masses. If we had pure democracy in the 1960s, there would probably be no civil rights legislation. How do you feel about that? Direct democracy is wide open to mob rule and political instability and the only instance where it has worked relatively well is Switzerland (with its small and relatively homogenous population). In a republic, we have representative government that curbs such potential abuses of power. The founding fathers established a form of republican Democracy as the framework because (as explained- I believe- in The Federalist #10) a direct democracy creates, among many other things, tyranny of the majority. Benjamin Franklin even questioned future generations’ ability to “keep it” – he was right! He prophetically said: “Once the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” Our republican form of government is now as corrupted as the doomed republican government of ancient Rome.

Due to human nature, money in politics has corrupted our political process. A congressman has to practically start raising money for his next race the day he is elected. Lobbyists run amok with wads of cash, ready to oblige.
Politics must be made to be a service to the nation once again. Not a place to enrich one’s self or get entrenched for the next 30-40 years. Here are my drastic proposals to reform the system:

Take all money out of politics. All cash and equivalents are forbidden. Lobbyists can still lobby based on the merits of the causes they represent.
All elections are publicly funded. No private money of any kind.
Congressmen can only serve limited terms (no more than 2 terms)
Strip all outrageous benefits that congressmen have (immediate retirement benefits, cheap healthcare, etc.)

Regarding how green policies would eventually destroy the free market system, you reply: “I understand the concept, but I’m not sure there is any impact to the dissemblance of free markets. The markets are already established? Would they just disappear? The government would come in and shut down all of the businesses? I don’t understand why you think government regulation of the economy is such a terrible idea. Moreover, even in our “free market” system, there is government intervention when it fails. Look at the bailouts. I’d love to hear your opinion on the bailouts of investment banks and the auto industry.”

Let me explain this way. Transition to complete dependence on the central government takes place one step at a time, over a long period of time (unless you are talking about a sudden, overnight coup). As more and more onerous regulations are piled up, cost of doing business goes way up. Case in point, in 2008, regulations were estimated to cost $1.75 trillion to the U.S. economy, or 12.5% of the G.D.P. Some of that cost was obviously warranted but there is also a good portion that is useless, or at times redundant.
As the costs are passed on to consumers, they have the effect of impoverishing people (other than the absolutely necessary ones). At the same time, these regulations (ones designed to change our habits and condition us to live by the ‘prescribed’ way) accomplish the social change necessary for transitioning in to a collectivist system. As more and more people are impoverished, reliance on government increases proportionally. Once you render a critical mass of people helpless to take care of themselves by welfare policies that are akin to giving people a fish (as opposed to teaching them to fish), you can democratically transition in to a centralized collectivist system.

Do you remember when I talked about the spectrum between laissez faire system and communism? Everything else on that spectrum is a slippery slope on the way to collectivism. Dependence begets dependence. It is a self perpetuating vicious cycle (and that is why poor inner city dwellers rarely escape the cycle). See how people in Greece react to austerity measures? They do not care that they are insolvent. All they want is their government assistance (at whatever the cost)!

My opinion about the bailouts is not favorable (especially untenable ones like the auto manufacturers). For the system to recover healthily, it must be allowed to crash. If you prop it up, it will take much longer to recover (like housing market). Again: free market principles. One caveat however. Almost all these crisis/recessions occur thanks to government screwing around with stuff like housing policy, burdensome regulations designed for social policy, etc. Another reason to dislike big government. I am sure this will be discussed further, later.

Your assertion that poverty in the U.K. is “attributed to a widening gap between the rich and the poor from a reliance on capitalistic ideals” does not make any sense when you look elsewhere. By that account, we should be even poorer here, instead of having the highest standard of living in the G20. Also, how about Switzerland, etc.? Makes no sense and you cannot explain such a sophomoric statement by citing any evidence.

I’ll tell you why the U.K. standard for most people is lower than you would expect. With the exception of a relatively short Thatcher rule, U.K. has had the most socialistic governments of any in Western Europe (not including Nordic countries). That is why. It is an outright welfare society, practicing welfare capitalism. Again, what impoverishes Brits isn’t the amount of money they make. It is the cost of living thanks to high fees and taxes to support the welfare society.

Regarding gasoline, it is expensive all over Europe. They buy it at the same price (whatever the spot market price happens to be) that we do and ship it a shorter distance to boot, despite your attempt to tie their supply and prices they pay. It is, once again, all sky high taxes – gasoline, food, or whatever. Taxes in the U.S., despite being high, are no where near the VAT Europeans pay (upwards of 25% by itself, before any other taxes and fees)

You bet I am mad at our energy policies. Past few presidents have all slept at the wheel. We have plenty of resources when you include the proven undiscovered reserves, but again, the environmentalists and progressives who are bought off by them (and otherwise spineless Republican politicians) will not let that happen. I have a couple of articles that I wrote on that on my blog, if you care.

Part three will be discussing your and my views of constitutional republic. Till then, have a nice day.

Fannie Freddie Debacle Continues (Video)

Pigs at the troth.....

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blog War: Response To Broletariat (Part I)

Since many of Bro.'s responses rambled on for paragraphs (kind of like mine), I will not cut and paste all of his comments as doing that, along with my verbose style, may mean putting together posts that could rival 'War and Peace' in length!

In order to keep things in context, I quoted in part Bro.'s come back (in red text) before responding.  You can click on the link below to see his post in its entirety.

I am not sure how this will work out as I fear I may come across some organizational problems trying to respond to objections in order.  And now, my responses to broletariat's relevant points in "It Has Begun. Boom":

- "You’ve been a student in a capitalist society, and told your whole life that you would be as important as the few people that were successful coming out of the same schools as you (even Charles Taylor went to Bentley U, rep that one). I’m guessing it didn’t turn out that way, considering your busiest blog day was probably over the last 24 hours. Therefore, your whole life you’ve been told that capitalism is easily the best system, because it allowed so many people to become so successful, and you use the failures of extreme examples of progressive thought, at it’s most immature and vulnerable times, to reaffirm that belief."

The first couple of sentences did not make sense to me. I have no idea what you were trying to insinuate with Charles Taylor attending my alma matter (no I did not know him, he graduated the year I started) or my blog traffic.....maybe you were trying to say I was unsuccessful (? - if so, I do not consider Charles Taylor a success, especially next to so many of my friends) which, if it was what you meant, you need to define success (an impossible task because it is a relative term, a subjective definition - for example a beach bum could be just as successful by his own standards as a multi-million dollar salaried executive of a big corporation).....so I took it to be irrelevant.

(In fact, let me digress and play psychiatrist here for a moment: I sense deep seeded, misplaced anger from the above paragraph.  It is not atypical for the progressive mind to be ravaged with feelings of inadequacy and anger for perceived injustices.  The eventual realization that they are incapable of righting these self perceived injustices makes many of them chronically miserable.  This condition, however, is apparently not their fault.  In reality, they simply are unfortunate enough to have a specific variant of the DRD4 (dopamine receptor) gene which has been found by scientists at UCSD and Harvard to be responsible for progressivism (which they call liberalism - talk about misnomers! - I'll write about this in a separate post soon) provided proper socialization has taken place.  You should read up on it.  I am hoping that a cure is not far behind!)

As I had mentioned in an earlier reply to you, I had my pre-college schooling in Europe.  As such, I was surrounded by more progressives (yes, even in Turkey and Switzerland) than not.  The benefit of classical education is that we actually had to learn not only heavy duty world history, geography, civics, math, etc. but logic and critical thinking which had to be actually used if you hoped to do well in school.  This is hard to comprehend and appreciate for those who have not had the benefits of a classical education.  Thus, it is no wonder that a recent study by NYU and University of Virginia professors found that many college students enter college knowing little and 4 years later, they still are not much better off.  Heck, I still remember being astonished when I found out that many colleges offered pre-algebra in the U.S.

Why am I writing this?  Because I want you to understand that I've experienced, seen, and heard all sides of this issue; and that my education has prepared me to soak it all in and process it.  I did not go to schools where I was told capitalism was good and communism is bad.  I was thought about both and experienced both throughout my travels.

Also, this is a good place to make some distinctions: progressivism (an ideology) is not an economic system like capitalism.  Most progressives are capitalists - not free market capitalists but capitalists nevertheless.  Unless you live under total totalitarianism (like it was under the USSR or the pre 1970s PRC), you will likely be living in a capitalist society of some type.  So when you say:
"you’ve been told that capitalism is easily the best system, because it allowed so many people to become so successful, and you use the failures of extreme examples of progressive thought, at it’s most immature and vulnerable times, to reaffirm that belief."
you seem to be mixing economic systems with political ideologies (since you use capitalism and progressive thought in the same sentence). 

You are right, capitalism has enriched people - some more than others since we are all unique in our abilities, circumstances, etc..  Also capitalism has done the same in the social democracies of Europe (but to a significantly lesser degree -- which BTW will be the dagger in the heart of your arguments later in our correspondences)  Progressive thought and capitalism, therefore, have always co-existed.  It is the nuances that makes the whole difference. 

You can view the spectrum as such: At one end you have pure laissez faire capitalism (a rather idealistic state, also coined as anarcho-capitalism, where there is practically no government) and at the other communism.  Everything else in between  is state capitalism or socialism.  We are at different places on that spectrum.  I am a proponent of liberal capitalism (closest to a pure laissez faire system but with more defined government involvement).  You, on the other hand (and correct me if I am wrong) sound like may be classified as a social capitalist or maybe a neo capitalist (which would be a lot closer to a strict command and control, centralized economy)

I am not pointing to extreme and immature progressive thought to reaffirm my beliefs.  My points will be made when I show that it is the lesser progressive thought/policies that have made the difference between the level of success you can attain in different capitalist societies.  I plan on doing that by comparing and contrasting the EU economies (that you claim are working fine) with that of the U.S.  That, however will be forthcoming on a seperate post (I'll title it "Comparative Capitalist Systems" since you are not defending Communism) as well since it will require substantial time and space.

Lets move on, Bro., another reason you've got this capitalism thing all wrong:  You see, all systems can get corrupted.  Capitalism is not immune and ours has been corrupted by a faulty political system that allows crony capitalists to buy the politicians who depend on their money for their political lives.  Having money as the centerpiece of politics along with having no term limits is insanity (and thus the inmates are running the asylum).  It requires only 'perfectly honest and principled' people to run for office, and, we all know that is unrealistic as well as naively idealistic. 

There are remedies for this but they require for the same politicians to cut their noses despite their faces (or figuratively commit suicide).  That is a whole different subject we can discuss some other time in a different post.

Regarding my words:
"Ever since collectivist policy failures starting with the collapse of the Soviet empire, continuing with free market success stories in China and the U.S. of 1980s and 1990s, and culminating with the failure of european welfare states (PIIGS) as well as our pending financial collapse due to 53 trillion in unfunded obligations due to three progressive ideals - namely social security, medicare, and medicaid, the former Fabian socialists who pass themselves as progressives have been in search of a new strategy”,
you say  "this thought lacks real merit" yet do not clarify your point sufficiently.  Are these failures in former USSR and other social democracies, and comparative successes in China and the U.S. not historical facts?  As I said earlier, I'll present the facts on these in a seperate post. 
However, in the same section, you mention:
"it is not fair to judge their failure and attribute it to any sort of economic regulation (I assume you mean system). It is an extreme example where a small percentage of the population had almost complete control of the country’s wealth (much like the current US)."

I take serious issue with this statement (talking about the USSR).  True, wealth is always concentrated in the hands of top few percentage of the population in open economies like the U.S., but in totalitarian regimes this is never because of capitalism but rather totalitarian corruption and the wealthy are amongst the political class only.

I know exactly where your views coming from: a hopeless affliction of social liberalism.  You have difficulty accepting the differences in individual ability, drive, and circumstances.  You rebel that there is not enough equality of outcome, and that it is unfair that the advantaged have a leg up.  Reality is your no. 1 enemy.  Yet, when you examine history with a degree of intellectual honesty, you will see that under every system there are the advantaged few and then the masses.  That is as true with humans as it is with the animal kingdom.  So, isn't the fairest solution to make it as easy to succeed for the masses so that there can be more success stories?  That is what the U.S. has done by minimizing central planning/command type government for most of its history.  Yes, I think they can loosen up a lot more but comparatively speaking, the U.S. has been a lot more politically liberalized than the E.U.  As a result we enjoy a standard of living that overwhelming majority of European families living in their 1,000 sq.ft. apartments and driving their Fiat Doblos could only dream about.
Have you been to London, Paris, Rome, or any other western european capital and buy a Big Mac ($7 last time I did in London) or fille a 20 gallon tank with gas ($200 in London and pretty damn near that elsewhere compared to $70 here)

Why? Is labor much more expensive in the EU?  Not really.  Try the host of other problems plaguing all of them: low productivity, low innovativeness, chronic unemployment, and high taxes.  THAT, my friend, is the price you pay for living in a social democracy under a social welfare capitalist system.  Yet, the visible relative economic deprevation is not the worst of it.  Worse yet, for their future prospects, the entrepreneurial spirit of their citizens have been seriously stunted if not outright killed off.  When you limit the reward for risk, then fewer and fewer people take risks.  This is a truism and denying it would be illogical.  This, again, by itself requires several pages of dissertation, so I will wait for you to comment.

You say:
"In China, the government already owns all the wealth, not huge corporations that put almost no money back into the economy or government, so when they get wealthy the government prospers, not the people."

Wrong again.  I'll give you this: It is true that the rich (millionaires and up) in China are such a small percentage of the society that it is laughable (tiny fraction of one percent at best - I'll get some numbers) but for a country that has opened up its economy for less than four decades, they are doing fantastic.  Where you are wrong is the wealth being owned by the government.  Yes a lot is, but also take a look at the statistic of billionaires.  China is second in the world with 115 billionaires - that is more than the top 5 EU countries (which have always had open economies in modern era) combined.
Give China time.  The way they are cornering raw materials and minerals/ores around the globe, in another 20-30 years they may be the only super power in the world unless they roll back capitalism.  However, I am not counting on them harming themselves.  Only western countries are great at killing the goose that lays the golden egg.  The Chinese are too wise for that.

This is getting really long and I have to take too many breaks to do other stuff, so I am afraid it will read like a jumbled mess.  It is my first experience in online debating so we will have to refine the process.  Before I go, let me briefly comment on a few other statements you made:

"Your ignorance never ceases to amaze me. Our 53 trillion dollars in “unfunded obligations” come from capitalism (Reagonomics) and capitalist imperialism (Oil Wars,most recently in Iraq). Those are the two main factors behind our nation’s debt. The progressive ideals that you are naming – social security, medicare, and medicaid – are in fact funded.  They’re just failing because the American public’s tax dollars can’t afford it any longer, and Corporations that have all the money aren’t funding them with their taxes."

This one takes the cake.  What does unfunded liabilities in entitlements have to do with the national debt of $14 trillion?  Nothing.  The unfunded liabilities are debts down the road as they represent what we have promised in services but lack the resources to provide for.  Soc. Sec. would have been actuarily just fine if politicians did not spend the money elsewhere already.  You are spewing the progressive line that they are funded.  They are funded if you shuffle paper around or consider IOUs as assets.  Soc. Sec. is only funded if the government fulfills their obligations, which means borrowing the trillions since there is no huge vault with cash sitting in it - just IOUs.  The CBO, OMB, Obama's own debt commission and the actuaries of the entitlements all know this and have testified dozens of times.

I need you to explain how Reaganomics, which is responsible for the longest wealth expansion in modern times (including creation of 50 million jobs in 25 years - between 1983-2008) has caused the $14 trillion in debt?  Spending causes debts, nothing else.  Can you blame your boss (for not paying you enough) for your personal debt if you over spend?  This is exactly your point and it is ridiculous to be honest.

I will discuss the technical environmental issues as well as others that I have not yet touched upon later.