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Speaking of Bulverism…

I’m not sure what inspired Professor Dembski to quote C.S. Lewis on Bulverism at this particular point in time but the recent and somewhat unexpected rise of Barack Hussein Obama over Hillary Rodham Clinton in the democratic primaries might have been it. I predict that whatever legitimate criticism is leveled at him the Bulverians will be out in great number rejoining with “You’re only saying that because he’s black.” Mark my words. That is going to become a household phrase before November. My support, of course, will be for John McCain. I preferred McCain over Bush in 2004 and nothing has changed. I hope to see him team up with Mike Huckabee as VP. I don’t envy them the task of dealing with the inevitable Bulverism they’ll encounter if Barack Hussein Obama gets the nod from the democratic party. Hillary Rodham Clinton would be a lot easier to defeat IMO with her sordid past and no race card she can pull in her defense. Heck, her and Bill are already being Bulverized. Quite successfully too.

Flash Update on the level of success: Hillary Clinton effectively conceded according to the Drudge Report. Can I get a “Praise Allah” on that? The next occupant of the whitehouse is either going to be John McCain or Barack Hussein. I heard a rumor on the Bill Maher show last night that McCain might team up with Condoleezza Rice for VP. That’s solid gold genius. I should’ve seen it coming. The cognitive dissonance in the Bulverists will be so thick in the airwaves you’ll be able to cut it with a knife. Anyone know what Condoleeza’s middle name is? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

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47 Responses to Speaking of Bulverism…

  1. 1

    Dear Mr. Dave Scott,

    It looks like you are going out of your way to use Obama’s middle name. Any reason for that?

    Yours,
    Drat! Foiled Again

  2. Drat,

    Of course there’s a reason. I’m using his full name because he’s black. I see using Hillary’s middle name too didn’t fool you any.

    By the way, tard spelled backward isn’t fooling me any either. Hasta la vista, baby!

  3. Isn’t Rodham a maiden name, not a middle name?

  4. Atom

    From Wikipedia

    Maiden name as middle name

    Often a recently-married woman accepts her husband’s last name, but also changes her middle name to her maiden name.

    The answer is no. Hillary’s maiden name was Hillary Diane Rodham. By common convention after marriage she dropped her given middle name and adopted her maiden last name as her new middle name. As wikipedia notes it’s become somewhat of a legal hassle to do that. My wife dropped her maiden surname, replaced it with my surname, and kept her given middle name. There doesn’t appear to be any convoluted legal issues with that. When looking for Hillary’s given middle name I happened across a note that she dropped “Rodham” when she began campaigning for president. I don’t know what she goes by now as I never heard “Diane” before. Maybe her middle name is NMN which is a legal abbreviation for No Middle Name. There’s no law that says you have to have a middle name. Or even a pronouncable name if we’re to believe the singer formerly known as Prince. :lol:

  5. 6

    Has McCain made any public statements regarding ID?

  6. Thanks Dave, I didn’t know the legal issues on her name change…I just thought I’d heard people refer to her as “Hillary Rodham.”

  7. C’Mon, Dave. The cool thing about Barrack Obama is that his middle name is Hussein. The name Hussein has taken a bad rap lately in light of a certain Sadam Hussein — the second greatest villan in American recent history. Further, the name Hussein implies a connection to the Muslim world.

    This is very smart subliminal propoganda on your part — but hardly an analysis of the character, abilities, or political persuasion of the man. Like Mr. Obama or not, it is prejudicing, plain and simple.

  8. Actually, what is taking place at the moment is intramural Bulverism. The press is pushing Obama because the perception among the elitists is that a well-spoken black man has a better chance of beating McCain than a controversial woman with a lot of baggage. So, for the moment, they are Bulverising Hillary and giving Obama a pass.

    During the general election, they will Bulverize McCain and give either Obama or Hillary a reasonably easy time—unless one of them does something so stupid that the story takes on a life of its own. If its Obama, you bet they will accuse his critics of racism. If its Hillary, they will play the sexism card. When it reaches this stage, you will hear nothing about the “Hillary cackle.” Everything will be about McCain’s temperment.

  9. C’Mon, Dave. The cool thing about Barrack Obama is that his middle name is Hussein. The name Hussein has taken a bad rap lately in light of a certain Sadam Hussein — the second greatest villan in American recent history. Further, the name Hussein implies a connection to the Muslim world.

    This is very smart subliminal propoganda on your part — but hardly an analysis of the character, abilities, or political persuasion of the man. Like Mr. Obama or not, it is prejudicing, plain and simple.

    +1

  10. Leo

    I stand corrected re Hillary. She appears to change her name for political expediency. Is there anything she doesn’t do for political expediency? I really, really wish it was her getting the nod instead of Barack Hussein Obama.

  11. —–Atom: “This is very smart subliminal propoganda on your part —(Dave Scot) but hardly an analysis of the character, abilities, or political persuasion of the man. Like Mr. Obama or not, it is prejudicing, plain and simple.”

    My guess is that if he had left the middle name out, you would have accused him of Islamophobia.

  12. My guess is that if he had left the middle name out, you would have accused him of Islamophobia.

    lol. But nah, we probably would just assume he was using his name like everyone else. (I have only heard two people refer to him as “Barak Hussein Obama”, DS being the second.)

  13. spelling…man I wish we could edit…

  14. bFast and Atom

    Don’t shoot the messenger, guys. I didn’t draw any inferences for you. I’m just giving you some information. You make your own inferences.

    You have my motives wrong in any case. What worries me is how it would be perceived by Muslim terrorists if the next president of the United States has a common Muslim name. The naive left probably thinks it will encourage them into thinking the U.S. has changed for the better. No chance of that. It’ll be interpreted as a sign of weakness. A knuckling under. Capitulation. That only makes them think they’re on the right track towards winning and they’ll pour on heat. They don’t want capitulation. They want unconditional surrender and nothing short of it. Global rule under shariah law. The only response they respect is the sword, not an olive branch. We need to make them believe that taking over Afghanistan and Iraq was just a love tap compared to what we’ll do if they terrorize our shores again. We need to make them believe we have the will and the means to crush them like a grape if further provoked. Adding Barack Hussein Obama to the distinguished list of names of U.S. presidents is not sending the message I want sent. It would be helpful if Barack Hussein Obama changed his name to something like Barack Matthew Obama, Barack David Obama, Barack Jacob Obama, Barack Christopher Obama, or something like that to assure Americans and militant Muslims alike he’s no he’s no appeaser. Given his background of attending a Muslim school in the middle east this is no joking matter. I’m not accusing the guy of being part of a sleeper cell or anything but it’s still an issue. I couldn’t possibly care less what color he is. He’s actually half white so I think the whole black thing is both innaccurate and nothing more than a deliberate ploy to get the black vote.

  15. Dave,

    you might be interested in an editorial that appeared in the local paper today by a rabbi about Obama.

    “http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080208/OPINION/802080340/1076/OPINION01″

    One issue is that he is the son of a heretic and it is not sure how such a person would be received by the Muslim world.

  16. Leo

    Only the weak-kneed spend any time pondering what the terrorists think.

    Pfft. What kind of moron would ignore what the killers of 3,000 innocent Americans are planning next or what would embolden them to try it again? I’m a former U.S. Marine Sergeant. Rest assured that someone has to think about these things and it has to do with protecting your dumb civilian ass not being “weak-kneed”. Even Hillary, for all her faults, knows that much and I suspect she’d be just as willing to wield, with the same bold president/commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful military machine, power that George W. Bush employs as he and he alone sees fit. Actually the least appealing thing about McCain is I think he’s too willing to pull punches and Hillary would make the best military leader. She’s cold, ruthless, conniving, and loves power. Perfect attributes for a commander-in-chief. McCain is more of a woman than Hillary. Ann Coulter agrees with that too and even said she’d campaign for Hillary before voting for McCain. It’s one of the rare times I can’t quite agree with Coulter but I see her point.

  17. My major concern about Obama is his inexperience. He’s a young man serving his first term as a U.S. senator. Hillary and McCain are both about as seasoned as seasoned gets. Granted he’s a brilliant young man. He couldn’t be anything less than brilliant just for being able to snag the rug out from under the Clintons. Undoubtedly he has a brilliant political future. He just needs to spend more time in the trenches before being ready to assume command. The 2016 or 2020 election perhaps. It’ll be a helluva note if Bulverism turns the tide in his favor by marginalizing critics as racists. It’s beneath Obama and I’d prefer to not believe he’d even silently endorse Bulverism but I don’t think it’s at all beneath the democratic machine and loosely attached organizations like The Huffington Post, MoveOn.org, and other left-wing political smear sites.

  18. Leo

    Congress holds the purse strings. Didn’t you take Political Science 101 in college? It was a required course for me. Who has controlled both houses of congress for the last 2 years? What have they delivered other than the lowest congressional approval rating in recent history? Bush took over one hell of an economic mess and he brought control of both houses of congress along on his coat tails. What folllowed was six great years of economic recovery and sustainable GDP growth, the lowest inflation and unemployment rates in recent history, and the highest home ownership rates ever. What’s happened since the Democrats took over congress in 2006? The stock market crashed. The housing market is a shambles. Unemployment is up. The U.S. dollar plummeted. A major recession is on the horizon. When it comes to the economy the Republican party delivers the goods by growing the economy. The Democratic party tries redistributing the goods by taking from the rich and giving to the poor. This always ends up causing economic decline and this time is no exception. Whether you admire the wealthy or not, you don’t grow the economy by giving money to people who spend it on cigarettes and manufactured homes unless those are the industries you want to grow. You don’t grow the economy by giving money to people who don’t turn it around to drive productivity increases in their businesses. No poor person ever signed a paycheck of mine. The way the economy grows sustainably is by increasing productivity through capital investment. It’s a pretty solid rule that the wealthy are the biggest employers of capital. Reagonmics 101 – also called supply side economics. It works. Government investment, usually associated with demand side economics, is the most inefficient way of employing capital ever invented. Private investment is gold, dude. Republicans are supply siders, democrats demand siders.

    This is readily exemplified by whether you love or hate Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is productivity gains on steroids. I love it. The money I save by shopping there is enough to own a nice boat. There’s chain of consequences following that. Someone was employed to build that boat and I have money in my pocket to pay a mechanic $75/hr. to repair and maintain it. Even Wal-Mart employees who don’t make anywhere near $75/hr. can afford to shop at Wal-Mart. $4 generic prescriptions at Wal-Mart? Wow. That’s the best thing since buttered bread. Who needs overpriced prescription drug coverage with Wal-Mart around? That’s a supply side view. Money saved through increased productivity is money that gets spent somewhere else. Demand siders only see that Wal-Mart employees are underpaid and overworked and don’t see the downstream benefits of freeing up capital for private investment.

  19. I don’t have much confidence in either Democratic candidate as a commander in chief. For my part, her pro-war posture is misleading. Hillary was planning on running for president when she cast her vote in favor of the war. To me, it seemed like a calculated attempt to appear moderate, a way of offsetting her liberal reputation. When she was “first lady” she was contemptuous of the military and played co-president while her husband stripped it down to about 60% of its former size.

  20. In all fairness to the Clintons they held the reigns right after we won the cold war. Everyone was expecting the so-called “peace dividend” that would come from winding down a huge military industrial complex whose purpose was bankrupting communist countries who didn’t have the money to compete for long in the amped up arms race that Reagan favored. It made some sense in the 1990′s but it did leave us with our pants down around our ankles when a new threat emerged in 2001. I think Hillary understands the new threat. She might be contemptuous of the military as a remnant of her younger idealistic self, but I think s older and wiser Hillary has learned the value, and learned the hard way, of having it now.

    Obama seems to be more like old “why can’t we all just get along in a big global village if I learn your language and respect your culture no matter how diseased brutal it appears to be” Hillary. That just doesn’t work. I’ll never respect any culture that treats women as chattel and stones them to death for adultery. Or sends children out as human suicide bombs to indiscriminantly kill non-combatant men, women, and children. That’s barbaric. There’s no place for it and absolutely no need to tolerate it when you have the power to stop it. The U.S. has that power, no one else does, and it would be immoral to not use it.

    McCain I fear is too influenced in the way he’d wield military power by spending most of his time in the service as a prisoner of the victors. He’s afraid of losing and not gaining anything by spending American blood & treasure trying to make the world a better place. He’s too afraid of another Vietnam. I think one of the key differences that must be acknowledged is the military is 100% volunteer and has been since I entered it in 1974. Hardly anyone still in the military has any memory of the Vietnam draft days. All those guys put in their 20 or 30 years and retired. The all volunteer military is different. They volunteer to go into harm’s way for a cause they believe in. Still we have to do everything humanly possible to limit human loss but not at the cost of avoiding justifiable conflicts. Historically, the record is that when you avoid conflict today it only makes for a worse conflict you can’t avoid in the future. Nipping problems in the bud is preferable to waiting until it’s a full blown threat. Vietnam made us gunshy. We waited too long as a result and now we’re paying the price for waiting. We should have stomped on terrorist countries hard and fast during Clinton’s term but the American public just wasn’t up to it. It took the shock of 9/11 to turn the kitten back into a tiger again. Admiral Yamamoto of Japan was famous for saying he feared that all attacking Pearl Harbor would accomplish was the waking of a sleeping tiger. Boy was he ever right. It’s the same thing now. Attacking the U.S. is attacking a sleeping tiger that won’t stop until the attacker stands in utter non-negotiable surrender.

  21. 22

    Obama seems to be more like old “why can’t we all just get along in a big global village if I learn your language and respect your culture no matter diseased it appears to be.

    This type of thinking is sorta world governmentish. I think we should have a world of nations, and not a world civilization.

  22. —–Dave Scot: “I’ll never respect any culture that treats women as chattel and stones them to death for adultery. Or sends children out as human suicide bombs to indiscriminantly kill non-combatant men, women, and children. That’s barbaric. There’s no place for it and absolutely no need to tolerate it when you have the power to stop it. The U.S. has that power, no one else does, and it would be immoral to not use it.”

    Are you suggesting that our mission as a nation should be to go beyond protecting our own national interests and protect the civil rights of all people in all nations?

  23. Stephen

    Yes, as much as humanly possible. Standing aside watching an injustice when you have the power to stop it is almost as bad as being the perpetrator. Our power to stop it isn’t unlimited and we have to choose our battles of course. Stopping Saddam who had, through no democratic process, seized brutal control of a nation with trillions of dollars in mineral wealth is far more strategic than stopping the brutality in say, Sudan, where the petty dictators don’t have trillions of dollars to expand their reign of terror very far. That’s why Afghanistan was no real focal point. It’s dirt poor. Whoever owns it doesn’t own much. Whoever owns Iraq or Iran has the potential to go global.

  24. This is very smart subliminal [propaganda] on your part — but hardly an analysis of the character, abilities, or political persuasion of the man. Like Mr. Obama or not, it is prejudicing, plain and simple.

    You act as though DaveScot named Mr. Obama.

  25. I find it curious that Republicans don’t seem to have middle names. :-)

    Bob

  26. Leo

    You missed the point about choosing battles. The U.S. alone has large but not unlimited resources. The largest purveyors of human misery get to be first in line. Poor countries can’t go global so tragically they’re the last in line. Look, since World War II we successfully kept South Korea free and we liberated eastern Europe from Soviet oppression including East Germany. We kept a lot of the trash out of South America. In the meantime Europe and the rest of the free world stayed that way under the umbrella of our protection. North Korea remains a problem but it’s collapsing all by itself. China has many human rights issues but they’re reforming – getting better instead of worse, and we keep hoping they’ll clean up their own back yard with regard to North Korea. We kept Taiwan free and independent of the mainland. The middle east and Africa are the biggest problems left that we can address without any outside help. And speaking of outside help where’s the U.N. in all this? Can’t the rest of the world at least deal with the human rights problems in Africa for Pete’s sake? Do we have to do it ALL ourselves? Evidently so. The U.N. was supposed to be doing this stuff with international peace keeping forces. Where the f are they? What a joke that was. The U.N. was about as effective at world peace keeping as a bunch of old ladies in a knitting circle shaking their fingers at the problems. Since the U.S. told the U.N. to go fly a kite I don’t think it even pretends to be doing anything about it anymore. And of all our allies in Western Europe who we liberated not once but twice in the 20th century at very dear cost in American blood & treasure only the magnificent United Kingdom is still there fighting the good fight with us and even they might be slipping away. That leaves Australia to fight alongside us, bless their down under freedom loving ways. Many former soviet bloc countries are new allies anxious to join NATO but they’re still recovering from Soviet oppression and while their hearts are in the right place their resources are severely limited.

    So Leo, it’s not that we don’t care about poor countries it’s that we can’t be everywhere in the world at once and need to take out the biggest threats to the free world before the smaller ones. It’s been a mere 15 years since we won the cold war. Rome wasn’t built in a day. After what 8 years of Bill and Hillary “Global Village” Clinton did to the military that had to be rebuilt before we could effectively start using it for anything more than maintaining the status quo. That takes time and money too. By the end of the Clinton decade it’d been 30 years since any large scale positioning of U.S. troops in a protracted shooting war. That’s long enough to lose every last one of the seasoned combat veterans including all the top brass. It’s restored now and all the high tech gadgetry like precision smart bombs and stealth aircraft is making shooting wars far more deadly for enemy combatants, far safer for our own troops, and far safer for non-combatants in the combat arena. Look at how World War II had to be fought. We had unmercilessly carpet bomb entire cities with indiscriminate weapons. We got a little better at it but not a whole lot in Vietnam and we lost that one. The difference between Vietnam and Iraq in human lives lost, our own troops and non-combatants included, is like night & day. And even then the vast majority of non-combatant lives lost in Iraq isn’t our doing, it’s Iraqi insurgents killing other Iraqis.

  27. Dave Scot–”Given his background of attending a Muslim school in the middle east this is no joking matter.”

    Dave, I have too much respect for you to expect such sloppy research, Obama did not attend a muslim school, the school in question was a public school attended by students of many religious denominations, and Jakarta, Indonesia is not in the Middle East.

    Ever your faithful steward,
    d. grey

  28. Bob

    Ronald Wilson Reagan, George Walker Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush, Richard Milhous Nixon, Dwight David Eisenhower. Those I all knew. I had to look up John Sidney McCain.

    Happy now?

    Lots of U.S. presidents have had their middle names commonly used and I know most of them. McCain, if elected, would be an exception to the rule. Almost no democrat presidents I have to look up. William Jefferson Clinton, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and Lyndon Baines Johnson.

    I had to look up James Earl Carter (shoulda known that one!) and Gerald Rudolph Ford. That covers all the U.S. presidents during my 51 year tenure on this planet.

    I hope I don’t have to add Barack Hussein Obama to that list. Ugh. Not a good moniker for a U.S. president at any time but particularly bad at this juncture. You know, since Hillary has changed her middle and her last name three or four times during her or Bill’s time in office for perceived political gain why doesn’t Barack Hussein Obama do likewise? Is he proud to bear the middle name of a terrorist dictator who was an avowed and very recent enemy of the United States? Trivial as it may seem to some it’ll cost him enough votes to lose the race. Consciously or unconsciously it’s a big turnoff for many people. I’m shocked a guy with a name like that could’ve pulled the rug out from under Hillary. I had to see it to believe it. I’m still not sure I believe it.

  29. Dave I would also like to ask you why being black means one uses a full three word name? Jesse Jackson and Charlie Wrangel are prominent black politicians and neither one uses a middle name. Except for the fact that I can’t drum one up out of my old brain right this second, I am sure there are a lot of white people who go by a three word name. Ah, I have one now, John Fitzerald Kennedy, was rarely know as simply John Kennedy, the middle name or its initial has always been a part of his nomenclature.

    sincerly,
    d. grey

  30. Please forgive the 17 minute tardy post, evidently you and I were typing at the same time, my old hands don’t go very fast anymore.

    For the record I happen to support Barack Obama and not the opportunist Clinton. I readily admit that Obama is a standard politician and all politicians are opportunists to some degree, but Clinton is, to me, just about the scummiest, along with her husband, at being nothing but a political animal. There is nothing genuine about her.

    sincerely,
    d. grey

  31. Dennis

    I stand corrected on the school being in the “Middle East”. I knew only that it was in a Muslim country and incorrectly presumed that meant somewhere in the Middle East.

    However, he DID attend a Muslim school. Barack Hussein Obama even describes it that way himself in his 2006 book “The Audacity of Hope” saying he attended both Catholic and Muslim schools in Jakarta.

    And Barack Hussein Obama did indeed fail to obey the law of the land by not putting his hand over his heart as the United States National Anthem was being played.

    Check it out. There’s a nice picture of it with Hillary standing there too with her hand over heart on Snopes.com. Hillary at least knows the law. Is Barack ignorant of the law or just doesn’t respect the United States enough to salute it when required? That’s forgivable in many case but not for someone seeking the highest office in the land.

    Barack Hussein Obama breaking the law by not saluting when the U.S. flag code required it

    Barack Hussein Obama

    The law (in case anyone is wondering).

    TITLE 36 > Subtitle I > Part A > CHAPTER 3

    § 301. National anthem

    (a) Designation.— The composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem.
    (b) Conduct During Playing.— During a rendition of the national anthem—
    (1) when the flag is displayed—
    (A) all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart;
    (B) men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and
    (C) individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note; and
    (2) when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

  32. “Wal-Mart is productivity gains on steroids. I love it.” – Dave Scot

    Apparently you’re unaware of the dehumanizing effects of large corporations. Independent small-business people care about their customers, their employees, and their products; huge corporations, by definition, care only for profits. You cannot serve God (or your fellow man) and mammon, Matthew 6:24.

  33. Gerry

    If you want to socialize and be charitable go to church and give generously. If you want more time and money for your church then you can quickly get the best price on groceries, a prescription refill, paint, car parts, sheets, an iPod, and things of nature in one stop at a Wal-Mart superstore. DaveScot 3:9:08

    Capitalism and Christianity go hand in hand. See The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism -ibidem

    A snip from another good essay on Christianity and capitalism (and science too for that matter):

    How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and the Success of the West
    December 2, 2005
    Rodney Stark
    The Chronicle of Higher Education

    Supposing that capitalism did produce Europe’s own “great leap forward,” it remains to be explained why capitalism developed only in Europe. Some writers have found the roots of capitalism in the Protestant Reformation; others have traced it back to various political circumstances. But, if one digs deeper, it becomes clear that the truly fundamental basis not only for capitalism, but for the rise of the West, was an extraordinary faith in reason.

    A series of developments, in which reason won the day, gave unique shape to Western culture and institutions. And the most important of those victories occurred within Christianity. While the other world religions emphasized mystery and intuition, Christianity alone embraced reason and logic as the primary guides to religious truth. Christian faith in reason was influenced by Greek philosophy. But the more important fact is that Greek philosophy had little impact on Greek religions. Those remained typical mystery cults, in which ambiguity and logical contradictions were taken as hallmarks of sacred origins. Similar assumptions concerning the fundamental inexplicability of the gods and the intellectual superiority of introspection dominated all of the other major world religions.

    But, from early days, the church fathers taught that reason was the supreme gift from God and the means to progressively increase understanding of Scripture and revelation. Consequently Christianity was oriented to the future, while the other major religions asserted the superiority of the past. At least in principle, if not always in fact, Christian doctrines could always be modified in the name of progress, as demonstrated by reason. Encouraged by the scholastics and embodied in the great medieval universities founded by the church, faith in the power of reason infused Western culture, stimulating the pursuit of science and the evolution of democratic theory and practice. The rise of capitalism also was a victory for church-inspired reason, since capitalism is, in essence, the systematic and sustained application of reason to commerce—something that first took place within the great monastic estates.

    Perhaps needless to say but I will nonetheless: I have a Protestant background and while my faith in the supernatural aspects of it is lacking my faith in the great benefits to a society that embraces the Protestant ethic is quite strong.

  34. Generally speaking Republicans borrow and spend while Democrats tax and spend. True they both have spending in common. But let’s look at it from a capitalist POV. Borrowing is not a bad thing for a capitalist. It all depends on the cost of capital (the borrowing cost) and the return on capital (how much you earn by investing the borrowed money). The cost of capital during the Bush administration was rather low. It was a good time to borrow. We do most of our borrowing by printing treasury notes (which don’t cost more than the paper they’re printed on) and selling them to foreign trade partners who are more or less forced to hold them in reserve as the dollar is the primary instrument of international commerce. They were sold during Bush’s terms with very low interest rates attached so our future obligations were minimal. Conversely the cost of capital was exceedingly high during Jimmy Carter’s term in office so that was a bad time to borrow. The other side of the capitalist borrowing coin (so to speak) is how the borrowed capital is spent. The Republicans tend to inject the borrowed money back into the economy in the form of business incentives which in turn grow the economy through the aforementioned productivity gains. Even military spending accomplishes this as there’s a huge capitalist business machine that makes the military hardware. Democrats on the other hand tend to not borrow and help businesses thrive with capital injection but instead tax those businesses and invest tax revenues into social equity programs that don’t grow anything other than the lower income class’ dependence on gov’t handouts. A great way to entrench and grow the government but counter-productive in growing the underlying economy from which your tax revenues come from. The Democrats kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. No one benefits from that in the long run except a government which seeks more power and control over the masses. Economic policy alone is sufficient to make ME vote a straight Republican ticket.

    A ruinous danger to any democracy is when the voters discover they can vote for themselves all the money out of the public treasury. This is one of the reasons we have a representative democracy wherein our elected representatives are supposed to be smart enough to know better than to drain the national treasury dry to satisfy the short term greed of an economically illiterate electorate. Another danger in a capitalist economy is the unfettered accumulation of wealth handed down in familial lines from generation to generation. Concentration of wealth in too few hands is not a good thing. For that reason I’m all for very high marginal rates on estate taxes so long as the tax revenues are directed towards productivity enhancement (GDP growth) instead of social equity programs. Republicans do tend to eschew estate taxes and I don’t agree with that.

  35. 36

    DaveScot, I know you’re having fun Muslim-baiting, whining about a minor break of an unenforceable law, and conflating one kind of Christianity with Christianity as such. I understand the need to lash out; it must be tough seeing your party circling the drain. Still, could you have the decency to refer to people using the names they use for themselves?

  36. Clinton’s economic policies had nothing to do with the balanced budgets in his last couple years. He happened to be standing on the platform when the train came rumbling by. The train was the internet bubble.

    Maybe some of you remember the Gary Trudeau comics about how some of the dot com companies had stock values higher than GDP of some countries. By the end of the bubble some the countries used for comparisons were Western European countries.

    When the owners of the stocks in these dot com companies cashed in their stocks it generated 100′s of billions in tax revenues. Most waited till the capital gains taxes applied but many did it before the necessary time and were quite willing to pay regular income taxes because the numbers were so staggering. So this huge tax windfall generated the budget surpluses along with the increased business activity that the dot com bubble generated. Nothing Clinton did had much to do with it. He was a spectator.

    When the stock market crashed as it always does when speculation builds it up, the losses in the stock market generated credits against taxes and thus reduced tax revenues and thus added to the quick turnaround in tax revenues. And these losses were also staggering as NASDAQ went from over 5000 to around 1200. Then came 9/11 and everyone sat on their money for awhile which contracted the economy and reduced tax revenues even more.

    Luckily Bush pushed for tax relief early to help counteract these problems and then the Fed reduced interest rates and flooded the economy with money to stimulate home purchases and home improvement.

    Unfortunately as in any economic expansion people get greedy and the banks were giving money away to people to buy houses which has now led to mortgage foreclosure problems now. Anything that contracts the economy such as tax increases will exacerbate the problem.

  37. Dave:

    It seems to me that there are limits to what one nation can do in the name of altruism. Indeed, I often wonder why our leaders feel the need to establish democracies in other parts of the world even as we are having one bear of a time maintaining our own. To me George Bush’s messianic mission, while inspired by compassion, compromises our long term interests. Clearly, we must go after those who have militated against us, but we must be circumspect about when and how we do it. Wars cost money and lives and in each case real people are asked to pay the price. That too, is a moral consideration. In our Declaration of Independence and in our constitution, we have already established a well-crafted sense of mission that is supposed to inform our strategic priorities. It is our government’s job to “promote the general welfare” and “provide for the common defense.” Nowhere does it say that we should establish freedom throughout the world, although it is certainly something that could be made a part of our mission.

    Compassion is wonderful, but it needs wisdom to inform it. We have many enemies, foreign and domestic, that are trying to take us down. Russia is not our friend, Iran is a sworn enemy, and Saudi Arabia is funding terrorists all over the place. Most importantly, China is licking its chops waiting for the day that we spend our financial, military, and, yes, our moral resources to the point where we can no longer defend ourselves. We should not underestimate the importance of moral resources. Don’t forget that a morally- challenged Bill Clinton provided China with nuclear technology that they may someday use against us. He did this to advance his own self interests and for no other reason. We have a culture war going on in our country right now that is just as dangerous as the war on terror, because it eats away at our willingness to fight our enemies, both foreign and domestic. If we think we can fight the war on terror without winning this culture war, we delude ourselves.

    Consider our confused moral priorities and our skewed sense of justice: We uproot displays of the Ten Commandments while installing foot baths for Muslims. We treat captured enemy combatants better than our own soldiers accused of war crimes. We grant privileges to illegal aliens while withholding those same privileges from prospective immigrants who wait their turn line. We are still the greatest country in the world, but we are ruled by political correctness. It may be imprudent to say so, but the ACLU is just as dangerous to our way of life as AlQaeda. Until we acknowledge that inconvenient fact, we will make no progress in the war on terror. Good grief, we have unchallenged terrorist cells operating in our own country, but we are afraid to comb out the mosques to get them. Meanwhile, the FBI is indicting Italians for 30 year-old mafia crimes.

    In my judgment, we are in no position to save the world until we restore order in our own house, and that includes gaining control of our pornography culture and our proclivity to spread it around the world. We cannot give to others that which we ourselves have lost. True freedom, which is the right to “follow the dictates of our conscience,” has been redefined to mean the right to “follow the cravings of our appetites.” You can build a well-ordered society around the first concept, not the second. If we are going to spread freedom around the world, we need to reacquaint ourselves with what it is. Then and only then can we take up our global rescue mission, provided, of course, we amend the constitution in order to make it lawful. Meanwhile, let’s get busy restoring our own culture and saving our own representative democracy.

  38. Jerry

    Absolutely right. We felt the dot.bomb collapse coming at Dell in the middle of 1999 when our sales to Europe started going soft.

    leo

    Bush also inherited a balanced budget from his predecessor. Of course, there was a GOP congress prior to 2000. So ask yourself what changed? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

    September 11th, 2001 is what changed. Trillions of dollars of paper wealth in the stock market disappeared in the blink of an eye. The stock market at that point had already taken a battering from the dot.bomb implosion but it was mostly confined to Nasdaq which is heavily weighted in high tech companies. The Dow was relatively unscathed until then. This was followed by a rather costly war. We were already in a mild recession when the crap hit the fan on 9/11. Bush had been in office less than a year at that point and hadn’t even presented his first budget to congress yet. Economic stimulus was badly needed to keep the mild recession from becoming a full blown recession. The economic stimulus and cost of prosecuting a serious war against terrorism negated any possibility of a balanced budget.

    While I certainly don’t blame Clinton for the economic collapse I do blame him for handling terrorism as a criminal problem instead of a military problem. On Clinton’s watch as commander-in-chief we were attacked by Bin Laden’s terrorist organization in 1993 at the World Trade Center (6 Americans dead, 1000 injured), in 1995 in Saudi Arabia (5 dead), in 1996 in Saudi Arabia (19 dead, 200 injured), 1998 at U.S. embassies in Africa (224 dead, 5000 injured), and in 2000 the USS Cole (17 dead, 39 injured). Clintons most aggressive response to this was sending a few cruise missiles at a suspected Bin Laden location which blew up an empty aspirin factory. In the meantime he let Saddam Hussein go unpunished for an assassination attempt on former president George H.W. Bush in Kuwait which in and of itself is an act of war. He allowed Saddam to violate the conditions of the 1991 cease-fire agreement with impunity and defy the many U.N. resolutions leveled at Saddam. Meanwhile the head of the U.N. and his son were getting rich from kickbacks in a corrupt oil-for-food program where Saddam was selling oil to France and it wasn’t for food. If that isn’t enough he inked a warm fuzzy deal with North Korea where they agreed to halt nuclear weapons research in exchange for light-water nuclear reactor technology. The North Koreans continued with the weapons grade fissionalbe program without missing a single beat. And if that still isn’t enough Clinton got us involved in a civil war and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia where the U.S. had no national interest whatsoever (which isn’t bad in and of itself as things like ethnic cleansings should be stopped) but there were bigger fish to fry (like Iraq, North Korea, and Al Qaida) and to add insult to injury Clinton shirked his responsibilities as commander-in-chief and subordinated U.S. forces in Bosnia to direct U.N. command. Clinton’s domestic policies weren’t that bad (his wife and her failed attempt to take government control of 14% of the U.S. economy through nationalized health care notwithstanding) but he was an utter disaster as commander-in-chief.

    Balancing the budget was an easy thing to do in the late 1990′s as tax revenues soared from millions of freshly minted millionaires cashing in high tech stock options and millions of others paying short term capital gains tax on stock market riches. In 1998, 1999, and 2000 I handed over a cool million in federal income tax and capital gains tax. That tax bill was more money than I’d earned in my entire prior working life. And I was one of the little guys. I knew many people who made tens and even hundreds of millions in those years and gave turned over half of it to the federal government. On top of that tax windfall that Clinton got through no act of his own he was simultaneously gutting the military under the rubric the peace dividend (end of the cold war) a war which he played no role winning. So as far as a balanced budget Clinton just happened to be in the right place at the right time and had a Republican congress to work with which had no problem not raising spending in response to the tax windfall. They would never have approved the things Clinton would have requested in any case, Clinton would veto anything they wanted to raise spending on, so the result was a balanced budget by way of a Mexican stand-off.

    Jerry is also quite right about the losses that were carried forward from the stock market crash. In 2001 I claimed $140,000 in short and long term capital losses. At the rate of $3,000 per year (for a couple) I’m allowed to deduct capital losses against earned income that’s an annual deduction that I will have for the rest of my natural life and then some. I hadn’t even thought about that as factor in reducing current tax revenues. Thanks Jerry. Great point.

  39. StephenB,

    I think Bush’s objectives are more limited than the rhetoric he uses. Though democracy is an ideal in all the world it is best to limit your efforts to where it might make a difference.

    I grew up in Pennsylvania which is called the keystone state because at it founding it touched much of what was important in the early colonies and states. Look at Iraq, geographically. It touches most of what is important in the Middle East and was once the seat of the Caliph, so if you are going to begin your efforts to bring democracy to the Arab world it is the best place by far to start. We did it with Japan and Germany and have been there with troops for 60 years and in Korea for 50 years.

    What choices do these Arab countries have? Either a thug dictator like Saddam Hussein, a religious dictator of the fundamentalist Islam variety or a representative government. Where would you invest your jewels for your own future safety? That is what Bush has been trying to do but he has met resistance at every turn here in the US by liberals and by our enlighten brethren in Western Europe who all of sudden abandoned their quests for human rights when it is being led by a religious anti socialist US president.

    Bush’s success economically has been his undoing politically. Thucydides said that there are three reasons why people go to war. They are fear, honor and greed. After 9/11 the country was in fear but for a large number of people Bush took that fear away by first dealing with the sources of terror and then along with the Fed corrected the economy so that no one thought there was a problem.

    So why are we fighting. For many of us it is honor or the right thing to do to bring freedom to a lot of people and many of us are still aware that there is a dangerous enemy so fear still operates for many of us. The one thing for certain is that it is not greed why we fight though there are still some nut cases who will say it is all for oil.

  40. Stephen

    While I agree to some extent with most of you said re the mess at home I don’t agree it’s anywhere near as bad as you make it out to be. I would certainly agree that if the loony left as exemplified by the whackjobs that cluster at MoveOn.org and The Huffington Post ever became a significant force it would lead to the quick collapse of the United States. Fortunately, as the underwhelming response to “Air America” proved, the vast majority of Americans don’t want any part of that lunacy. On the other hand Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly are still top performers in radio and television ratings respectively.

  41. “…you can quickly get the best price on groceries [etc] in one stop at a Wal-Mart superstore.” – Dave Scot

    A couple of years ago we bought new appliances from a local, independent shop owner. A year later I went into the shop and the owner greeted me by name. I told him I needed a new filter for the fridge and he said, “You’ve got the such-and-such model, right? Here’s what you want” and pulled it off the shelf. And when I told him I forgot my wallet, he said, “Don’t worry about it; pay me next time you’re in town.”

    How many dollars is that kind of human relationship worth, Dave?

    But now Lowes has come to town, and this honest and caring man will probably be out of business within the year. And his employees, who have served him for years, will have to go to work for an out-of-state corporation, at a lower wage. Did anything important get lost here, Dave?

    And it used to be we that didn’t have to lock our doors when we went out around here, since everybody knew everybody else and everybody looked out for the other guy. That’s changing now too. Is this a good thing or a bad thing, Dave?

  42. 43

    Dennis, if you want to get technical, everyone in your picture is breaking the law because they are not facing the flag. Nice try though. If you’re going to try and enforce a law it has to be effective against all parties.
    I think it shows that Barack is more of a patriot than Hilary, the fact he doesn’t have to use such trivial symbolic gestures to try and “look better” to people like you.
    I think you, Dennis, are the unpatriotic one here. Anyone running for the office of President deserves every true American’s support. They are trying to do something huge for us, no matter their party affiliations or policies. Why would you not support someone who’s trying to improve our way of life? I’ll never understand the resistance.

  43. Gerry

    First of all, if everyone was like you then Lowes would go out of business instead of the small store you prefer to shop at. How much is the freedom of everyone to shop where they please worth in dollars? How much is the right of businesses to grow and accomodate their customers as they please worth in dollars?

    I save an inordinate amount of time and money shopping at Lowes and Home Depot. I’d be driving the tires off my truck going from small store to small store for all the stuff I can buy at one Home Depot. The time and fuel savings alone are worth thousands of dollars every year. I have no problem at all with the staff at Home Depot not being helpful or knowledgeable. If a week goes by that I didn’t stop at HD two or three times it’s a rare week as that’s pretty much all I do is construction and landscaping. Moreover, at Lowes or Home Depot I can buy materials (or anything really) in excess of what I need to complete a job, then in one stop return the unused materials for a full refund, no questions asked. You’d want to use the force of law to make my life much more difficult for me and at the same time take away both my liberty to shop where I please and business owners to grow their businesses as large as they please and accomodate their customers as they please? Thanks but no thanks. Maybe you should move to a communist country or something where freedom means less.

    Aside from all that Gerry, the main point I made flew right over your head. If I didn’t save a lot of time and money shopping at big stores I’d have to cut back somewhere on non-essentials. For instance I wouldn’t have as much time or money to spend in my favorite little eateries so they’d go out of business instead of the hardware store owner. People never stop to think about the downstream consequences. You stop thinking as soon as you see someone YOU know being harmed and in the effort to help them don’t consider that someone else will be harmed instead. The only way to help more than are harmed is through productivity gains. Lowes and Home Depot and Wal-Mart operate more efficiently than small stores. The savings from higher efficiency go to everyone. It’s true that a few people are harmed in the process but in the big picture more people are helped than harmed by productivity increases.

    Brick and mortar stores of all kinds have their own problems to deal with at any rate. With the price of diesel and local taxes figured in there’s a lot of things I can buy in online stores at lower cost than getting them locally. I can comparison shop on the internet in seconds or minutes without driving anywhere, pay no local sales tax, not spend any time driving, not put wear and tear on my vehicle or burn fuel, and in 3 days or less the thing I bought is sitting on my doorstep. Again these are due to productivity gains. UPS is more efficient at pickup and delivery than I am. Online sales are more efficient than over the counter sales. Inventory management is far more efficient for online stores. Mail order stores can stock their inventory many miles from civilization where land is less expensive and isn’t getting in anyone’s way. They don’t have to provide heating and air-conditioning in showrooms. These are all good things. Sure there are always a few that will be harmed when businesses change to become more efficient but there’s a greater good to more people through gains in efficiency.

    CaliKevin

    There were presumably flags other than the one in the background flying at the event. If you’ve ever been to one of those events you’d know there are flags everywhere. Even if that wasn’t the case then Obama was breaking two laws while the others were breaking only one. Any way you look at the situation Obama comes out looking bad.

  44. “Bad” is purely opinion. Maybe he is so moved every time he hears the national anthem he is physically unable to raise hand-to-heart. I don’t see why that should be perceived as bad.

  45. Dave, well said; and a nice defense of capitalism and free markets.

    I’m sure that romantic notions of the fading little shop owner paradigm would not compare to romantic notions of the fading availability and abundance of affordable merchandise, not to mention food and services, even jobs.

    If what the little shop owner provides is more valuable, convenient, and affordable, he will do just fine. He may do even better to apply his entrepreneurial spirit and efforts to diversifying his interests into other ventures as well.

    Replacing sound reasoning with sentimental and emotional appeals to…whatever it may be…will mean less freedom and less abundance in the long run. This happens to be the opposite of provision and compassion. It’s pure demagoguery.

    It’s interesting that Wal-mart happens to provide more affordable products to lower income families; and its presence in the free market creates more competition — which means lower prices overall and more consumer choice, yet it’s regularly opposed by those claiming to be looking out for the little guy.

  46. Apollos

    Yeah, it’s the same story with the family farm. There’s a romantic attachment to a single family successfully working their few acres of land, the farm passing down from generation to generation, and the way of life associated with it. Unfortunately for that way of life it’s far less efficient than huge farms where the capital investment required is beyond the reach of the family farm. But fortunately big farms are so much more efficient that through them we’re able to make the same amount of land feed a far greater number of people. If it weren’t for “big agriculture” billions would either starve or have never been born in the first place. Productivity gains always involve reorganization of the labor force where in the short run there are winners and losers. Unless one realizes that productivity gains in the long run produce more winners than losers then the reorganization of labor is always seen as an evil. Capital flows to where it is most productively employed. Romanticism is a roadblock to progress and without progress we’d all still be living short brutal lives in caves, mud shacks, and grass huts.

    The same lack of understanding of productivity gains is what liberals appeal to when they propose more Draconian forms of redistribution of income. They’re fixated on the notion that total income (or Gross Domestic Product) is fixed in size. They view GDP as a pie where if someone gets a bigger slice it means someone else must get a smaller slice. That may be true in the short term but in the long term the pie, through productivity gains, can grow in size so everyone gets a bigger slice. To enable productivity growth requires funneling excess capital to where it is most efficiently employed. Generally speaking those with lower incomes aren’t the ones who will best employ excess capital. That said there is definitely a huge danger associated with unrestrained capitalism. That danger is the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. Thus in our (America’s) capitalist system we do employ some redistribution of wealth through progressive taxation and high inheritance taxes. If that’s taken to an extreme where everyone is equal then it squashes ambition like a bug. If everyone is artificially made equally successful and there’s no path to greater success or possibility of lesser success then why work harder than the next guy? We structure our system around equality of opportunity not equality of outcome. As a general rule of thumb modern “conservatives” promote equality of opportunity while modern “liberals” promote equality of outcome. There is a healthy middle ground which limits individual success to less than being so successful that a relative few can dominate the entire economy while limiting failure to not being put out on the street starving, cold, and helpless. Unrestrained greed is bad but so is unrestrained complacency. A balance between the two must be maintained so that ambition and hope for a better future don’t die because without ambition and hope there is no progress.

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