Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 14, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

NEXT UP: LEX LUTHOR vs. THE JOKER....What a nightmare! I just imagined that we had spent the previous week in a puerile debate over who was worse: Augusto Pinochet or Fidel Castro. Thank goodness I woke up before I injured myself thrashing around in my sleep.

Oh, wait....

Kevin Drum 12:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (296)

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To Jonah and his friends, the best of all possible worlds is when the markets are free and the people cower in fear.

But you know he's gonna say "Just kidding, it was Swiftian satire" if you call him on it.

Posted by: Jim 7 on December 14, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

To Jonah and his friends, the best of all possible worlds is when the markets are free and the people cower in fear.

But you know he's gonna say "Just kidding, it was Swiftian satire" if you call him on it.

Posted by: Jim 7 on December 14, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Hah? Why would liberals complain about what Jonah Goldberg said? Liberals have been saying over and over again Iraq was better under Saddam than it is today. If the left loves Saddam so much, why can't they support installing a Pinochet in Iraq? Unlike Saddam, Pinochet was a benevolent ruler. His pro-free-market policies are widely admired by economists. It is because of those free-market policies, Chile is the economic giant it is today. All Latin American countries could only hope to have the strong Pinochet created free market economy. Wouldn't you want Iraq's economy to be someday as strong as Chile's is? If so how could you be against a Pinochet running Iraq?

Posted by: Al on December 14, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Even creepier and less edifying: which Bush twin would you rather have, ahem, relations with? (Death not being an option.)

Posted by: Chocolate Thunder on December 14, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

It would be great if the U.S. could find an Iraqi Augusto Pinochet.

so, let Saddam read Atlas Shrugged a few times, then put him back in charge.

Posted by: cleek on December 14, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Sirhan-Sirhan went to his parole board and testified that he felt Bobby Kennedy would have paroled him.

To which Jay Leno remarked, "What a shame, the one guy that would have paroled him and Sirhan-Sirhan had to go and kill him."

So Jonah is now advocating that we replace one dictator with another more friendly to the US dictator. I am not certain Kirkpatrick died. Perhaps Jonah just ate her.

Posted by: jerry on December 14, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

There's NO place like home!
There's NO place like home!
There's NO place like home!

Posted by: K on December 14, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

How do the idiots like Jonah get such visible jobs that provide them with instant credibility, at least among a certain percentage of the readers?

Posted by: gregor on December 14, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Moderators and/or larry@washingtonmonthly.org:

Some seriously gnarly server problems today. Very hard to connect, and I keep getting a WM error screen that asks us to email larry about the unexpected server error.

My email's balky atm, or elsewise I would ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 14, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure there's an Iraqi Pinochet out there, if not many.

The whole subject does make you wonder just what did the RW have against Saddam anyway? Oh yeah, he was more of the Castro variety. Too bad Saddam modeled himself after Stalin instead of a good ol rightie, say Franco.

Posted by: Horatio Parker on December 14, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Some seriously gnarly server problems today

and yesterday.

Posted by: cleek on December 14, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'd take Jenna. She's not my cup of tea, but no way could I rationalize intimacy with a woman named Barbara Bush.

Posted by: Chocolate Thunder on December 14, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure what is more despicable, Goldberg describing Pinochet's murders poetically as having "dispatched souls" or his assertion that "Pinochet's abuses helped create a civil society."

The LAT prints his filth to their own shame.

Posted by: Disputo on December 14, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

So I guess that previous Bush "goal" of turning Iraq into a shining beacon of democracy and freedom that will serve as a model for the Middle East is a no-go, then?

Posted by: Stefan on December 14, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

'Liberals have been saying over and over again Iraq was better under Saddam than it is today.'

You should take that to mean that life really sucks right now in Iraq not that libs love Saddam. Idiot.

'Unlike Saddam, Pinochet was a benevolent ruler. His pro-free-market policies are widely admired by economists. It is because of those free-market policies, Chile is the economic giant it is today.'

Not true. So much of what the right believes in simply isn't the truth.

Posted by: jg on December 14, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

The characteristic common to all of the recent paeans to Pinochets greatness and excusing his butchery because of the Chilean "economic miracle" he engineered is that they are wrong. There was no Chilean economic "miracle", a term, by the way, coined by Milton Friedman, whose theories Pinochet used to drive the Chilean economy into the ground.

Ideologues like Goldberg, I know, are not so interested in facts as they are in furthering their ideological predilections.

Here are a couple of links to reports by real journalists of the myth of the so called Chilean economic miracle, which ideologues take as a matter of faith.


http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0612/S00188.htm

http://atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/HL06Dj01.html

"Free-market policies subjected the country to two major depressions in one decade, first in 1974-75, when gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 12%, then again in 1982-83, when it dropped by 15%. Contrary to ideological expectations about free markets and robust growth, average GDP growth in the period 1974-89 - the radical Jacobin phase of the Friedman-Pinochet revolution - was only 2.6%. By comparison, with a much greater role of the state in the economy during the period 1951-71, Chile's economy grew 4% a year.

"By the end of the radical free-market period, both poverty and inequality had increased significantly. The proportion of families living below the "line of destitution" had risen from 12% to 15% between 1980 and 1990, and the percentage living below the poverty line, but above the line of destitution, had increased from 24% to 26%. By the end of the Pinochet regime, some 40% of Chile's population, or 5.2 million of a population of 13 million, was poor."

Posted by: Chris Brown on December 14, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

It would be great if the U.S. could find an Iraqi Augusto Pinochet

Umm, wasn't Saddam Hussein the Iraqi Augusto Pinochet? You know, the guy we invaded and overthrew to start this whole mess?

Posted by: Stefan on December 14, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

...yeah, how did the United States' 20-year military occupation of Haiti turn out?

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on December 14, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

once i saw the title, i didn't bother to read the actual article. Iraq needs a Pinochet? Didn't they already have one? Named Hussein?

Posted by: john on December 14, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

There's afeel sitting in a cell right now that could fit the bill. In fact, he was playing the role of ruthless dictator to rave reviews intil the production closed in March of 2003. Perhaps the producers might reconsider a revival.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 14, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

It could have been worse. Jonah could have written that what we need is an Iraqi Nixon.

Posted by: tomeck on December 14, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

WTF? Dunno how I managed that typo. "There is a fellow sitting in a cell right now" that should have read...

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 14, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Or maybe the problem is that many Iraqis see Maliki as an Iraqi Pinochet and that's why they're shooting back at him.

Posted by: tomeck on December 14, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

The WORST thing about this article?

It's bad enough that Jonah insinuates that Pinochet's crimes were an essential part of building a civil society, rather than giving Pinochet some minimal credit for not completely dismantling civil society in the course of slaughtering political opponents, disbanding the legislature, and writing his own personal Constitution.

But the worst thing is his attempt to excuse the brutality of the coup as just part and parcel of a "two-week mini-civil war."

The Chilean military rounded up Allende supporters at gunpoint, marched them into a soccer stadium, and tortured and executed them en masse. It was not a fucking mini-Civil War. It was a bloody atrocity.

Posted by: ajl on December 14, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

DID YOU HAVE TO? That is, did you have to remind me that Jonah Goldberg writes from my hometown newspaper? Christ - this just ruined my whole day.

Posted by: pgl on December 14, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "... a puerile debate over who was worse: Augusto Pinochet or Fidel Castro."

There is no comparison. Pinochet is one of the worst mass murderers of the 20th century. Castro is nothing of the sort.

Chris Brown quotes: "By the end of the radical free-market period, both poverty and inequality had increased significantly."

To "conservatives", that is a success story. A tiny, hereditary, ultra-rich elite ruling over a large population of impoverished cheap labor is their social ideal.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

You know what Jonah? You know what change in your piece and it could still make the exact same point?

Iraq needs a Saddam

Posted by: MNPundit on December 14, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

The idea that evil is permissible as long as it is used to advance the greater good will always be with us. Without it, war, religion, and the nation-state would cease to exist. Most of the philosophy underpinning human civilization would likely cease to exist as well.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on December 14, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Another puerile debate: which candidates to be the Chair of the House intelligence committee are REALLY the most incompetent.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,30809-2502273,00.html

Back to the main topic. In 1965 the U.S. invaded the Dominican Republic in order to prevent a Communist coup. the U.S. also intervened in El Salvador and Nicaragua to prevent Communist/Marxist/Castroists takeovers. In the DomRep case, the Democrats led the charge; in the case of El Salvador and Nicarague, the Democrats rather favored the Communist/Marxist/Castroist insurgents. The Castro governance wasn't just worse than Pinochet, it was worse than the U.S. backed governance in DomRep, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.

The choices are almost alwasy between the lesser of evils and the greater of evils, and the Communist/Marxist/Castroist alternatives are always the worst.

Well, almost always.

Now we have to think about Chavez in Venezuela. I do not favor a U.S.-backed move to remove him from power, but he is leading the economy of Venezuela into greater poverty. While claiming to help the poor, he is in fact making them poorer; he does this in the name of "equity", and he receives some praise from American leftists by making the rich poorer at an even faster rate. Chavez was duly elected, and he has not produced the quantity of death that Pinochet and Castro were responsible for, but if present trends continue he will. Then we will be able to say that he also was worse than Pinochet.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on December 14, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Regular readers will be unsurprised to learn that Marler is completely and utterly full of shit.

I'm no Chavez supporter. I think his Castro-love and authoritarian style are a net negative, especially when compared to the more reasonable center-left leaders in South America (e.g. Lula and Bachelet.) But to claim that he's destroying the economy and making the rich poorer at a faster rate than the poor is a lie. No more, no less.

I'm sorry that objective analysis doesn't match the Chicago-school theories, bub. But then, it usually doesn't.

Posted by: ajl on December 14, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Chavez was duly elected, and he has not produced the quantity of death that Pinochet and Castro were responsible for, but if present trends continue he will.

And no one can hold a candle to Mr. Bush.

Has Chavez been responsible for ANY quantity of death?

Posted by: ckelly on December 14, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps the most appalling thing that Jonah leaves out is also the most ironic.

From reading his article, you might not remember that among Pinochet's alleged crimes was a DC car bombing which was, at the time, the greatest act of terrorism on American soil.

So, now he's saying we need a Pinochet-like leader in Iraq, even one who might every once in a while blow things up in DC to silence his critics.

But thank God we got Saddam out of there, otherwise we might have to worry about terrorism.

Posted by: Alex Parker on December 14, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

gregor: How do the idiots like Jonah get such visible jobs that provide them with instant credibility, at least among a certain percentage of the readers?

Ask his mommy.

Posted by: alex on December 14, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Marler wrote: "The Castro governance wasn't just worse than Pinochet, it was worse than the U.S. backed governance in DomRep, El Salvador, and Nicaragua."

That's a load of crap, a pack of lies, and could only be written by an extremist right-wing ideologue who is either stupendously ignorant of reality, despicably dishonest, or both.

The US backed dictatorship of Pinochet, the US backed right-wing death-squad government of El Salvador, the US-backed Somoza government and later the US-backed "contra" terrorists in Nicaragua were all guilty of mass murder of innocent civilians -- many tens of thousands of people were abducted, tortured and murdered at their hands.

This is absolutely NOT the case regarding the Castro government in Cuba or the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Pinochet's real crime wasn't being a murderous dictator; his real crime was overthrowing a leftist government. How do I know? Just compare how the leftist chattering class treats the "disappearances" (that is, murders) in Argentina vs. Chile.

In Chile, there were around 3000- 4000 "disappearances". In Argentina there were around 30,000 -- almost ten times as many. Jonah Goldberg also pointed out that Castro has killed more people than Pinochet. Furthermore, after Pinochet voluntarily stepped down, Chile has had political freedom and economic success

So, why is Pinochet vilified as the worst of worst dictators? I say it's because leftists control much of the public discourse. Pinochet was not only anti-Leftist, but he was effectively anti-leftist. That makes him the worst of the worst.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 14, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

In other news, the German economy boomed under Hitler. See, he wasn't so bad.

Posted by: Piss On Godwin on December 14, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Honestly this is one of the most vile things - which is saying something - that I have seen in a long time.

Maybe doughboy would like to repeat his remarks to the family members of murdered Chileans, or perhaps to the victims of Pinochet's torture. Only a pajama clad keyboard coward could write something so disgusting.

Perhaps, though, what it even more appalling is that utter crap like this can get printed in a major daily like the Los Angeles Times.

(also, as others have noted here, he has no fucking idea what he is talking about regarding the Chilean economy or civil society. I have a longish post up about that btw)

Posted by: brian on December 14, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Brian - your link doesn't work.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 14, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

The characteristic common to all of the recent paeans to Pinochets greatness and excusing his butchery because of the Chilean "economic miracle" he engineered is that they are wrong. There was no Chilean economic "miracle", a term, by the way, coined by Milton Friedman, whose theories Pinochet used to drive the Chilean economy into the ground.

Ideologues like Goldberg, I know, are not so interested in facts as they are in furthering their ideological predilections.

Here are a couple of links to reports by real journalists of the myth of the so called Chilean economic miracle, which ideologues take as a matter of faith.


http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0612/S00188.htm

http://atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/HL06Dj01.html

"Free-market policies subjected the country to two major depressions in one decade, first in 1974-75, when gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 12%, then again in 1982-83, when it dropped by 15%. Contrary to ideological expectations about free markets and robust growth, average GDP growth in the period 1974-89 - the radical Jacobin phase of the Friedman-Pinochet revolution - was only 2.6%. By comparison, with a much greater role of the state in the economy during the period 1951-71, Chile's economy grew 4% a year.

"By the end of the radical free-market period, both poverty and inequality had increased significantly. The proportion of families living below the "line of destitution" had risen from 12% to 15% between 1980 and 1990, and the percentage living below the poverty line, but above the line of destitution, had increased from 24% to 26%. By the end of the Pinochet regime, some 40% of Chile's population, or 5.2 million of a population of 13 million, was poor."

Posted by: Chris Brown on December 14, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Pinochet's real crime wasn't being a murderous dictator; his real crime was overthrowing a leftist government.

Actually, his real crime was overthrowing the democratically elected government (Remember democracy? The thing that the Bushistas are supposed to, but don't actually, support?) and then raping, torturing and murdering those who supported democracy and opposed his illegal coup.

How do I know? Just compare how the leftist chattering class treats the "disappearances" (that is, murders) in Argentina vs. Chile. In Chile, there were around 3000- 4000 "disappearances". In Argentina there were around 30,000 -- almost ten times as many.

What the fuck are you talking about, you contemptible loon? We members of the leftist chattering class also condemned the Argentine military junta and their dirty war.

Posted by: Stefan on December 14, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Having spent 3 months in Cuba this year (yes legally as an American citizen) and having had first-hand experience with Castro's Cuba, I can comment about life in Cuba.
Positives:
universal healthcare
100% subsidized education through university
subsidized food
no homelessness, unemployment, AIDS
Can vote
Basic freedoms allowed..to an extent
Negatives:
1. university education is free but increasingly harder to be accepted to a university, let alone be accepted in to your major of choice
2. food is completely subsidized but available food choices is weak- Cuba works with a completely organic and self-sustaining agricultural system. They have crop rotation techniques so people can eat what is in season at the time and that's it. When I was there, the same 5 fruits and 5 vegetables were available the entire trip...Though organic tastes amazing, it gets old quick.
3. basic civil/political freedoms (speech, assembly, etc) are allowed to the extent that they don't intervene with the "common good" but what is that and how is that defined? It is subject to the state to decide. There is a fine line of what is allowable to say.
4. Tourism - brings in people and wealth, but Cubans aren't allowed to enter in to tourist territory (hotels, certain beaches). Why? The official response "so tourists can fully enjoy Cuba and not be bothered" unofficially, b/c 1, the government doesn't want tourists to see the poverty, 2, but more importantly they don't want the CUBANS to see the world's WEALTH and question the current system.
5. No AIDS b/c people with HIV/AIDS are quarantined.
6. Can vote, but only on to elect representatives and the reps vote for the national gov't.
A comment on the poverty - it's not how we conceptualize poverty where they don't have sanitation or running water or enough food to eat or basic necessities for survival. They have everything they need to survive. They all have one pair of shoes, but if they want a new pair, they can't have that. They have enough not excess. They have what they need, not what they want. There is running water, sanitation (the place is spotless, no trash on the streets, they clean daily, very beautiful), there is enough food to eat, there is everything you need to survive.

On the other hand, with Pinochet in Chile. After Allende was elected in to office, CIA director Richard Helms and President Nixon met to discuss the coup. They first decided to "make the economy scream" so the US enforced an economic blockade. The US gov't then interfered with the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank and froze Chiles' credit. They funneled money to opponents of Allende and began to destabilize the military which finally ending in a coup and the beginning of Augusto Pinochet (All of this data is in CIA declassified documents).
Immediately after the coup, some 7000 people (according to the Red Cross) were held in the national stadium and killed. Some 250,000 Chileans were tortured, disappeared and suffered some type of human rights abuses in the following 3 months after the coup.
The CIA wrote that the coup was "close to perfect."

I might have to say I think that Pinochet is a bit worse than Fidel.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Secular Animist:

"This is absolutely NOT the case regarding the Castro government in Cuba or the Sandinista government in Nicaragua."

Castro has, in fact, racked up a pretty good body count and governed with no respect whatsoever for human rights for nearly half a century. It doesn't do the progressive cause any good to gloss over these facts. (The Sandinistas are quite a bit easier to defend, especially compared to the Somoza regime that preceded them)

Posted by: ajl on December 14, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

The irony, which I expect to go completely unremarked on by Johan "Doughboy" Goldberg and his supporters, is that for three years they smeared those opposed to the illegal invasion of Iraq as "pro-dictatorship" and anti-democracy. Bush kept talking about a mysterious "some" who "don't think Arabs can have democracy" and how he was going to prove them wrong.

Now, suddenly, they all turn on a dime. Suddenly democracy's not so important, suddenly we need an authoritarian dictator to keep the unruly Iraqis in line. Goldberg's sudden volte face shows that his supposed commitment to "democracy" is as insubstantial as his physical bravery.

Posted by: Stefan on December 14, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Ex-liberal

You're a real piece of work

In Argentina there was no one dictator. There was Massera, and Videla and numerous others. It was what is called a military junta with the leaders of the three branches of the military taking turns as president. Further it was the right wing darling Menem who pardoned the leaders and it is the leftist Krichner who has revoked the immunity and now is going after them. And there is no evidence whatsoever that the 'left' (Whatever that means to you in your little mind) has for one moment attempted to diminish the atrocities of the military dictatorship in Argentina.
For christ sake it was the right wing government of the United States that trained the Argentine military to torture and kill at the school of Americas and Kissinger who gave them verbal support (look it up).

Additionally, thousands upon thousands were brutally tortured and thousands of others had to flee Chile. Finally there are also countless who were simply disappeared.

Pinochet was "effectively" anti-leftist like Hitler was "effectively" anti-Jewish.

Best to keep quiet about things you know absolutely nothing about.

Posted by: brian on December 14, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

thanks global citizen
I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong but I can't seem to get it to work.
well, it's at commonprejudice.com near the top.

Posted by: brian on December 14, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan: We members of the leftist chattering class

Did you ever get your membership card? Mine never arrived.

Posted by: alex on December 14, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

MatthewRMarler,

You really ought to do a bit of research before you blab such utter nonsense how Chavez has "While claiming to help the poor, he is in fact making them poorer". The act is that poverty in Venezuela has declined at the second highest rate in Latin American between 2001 and 2005. Only Argentina's reduction was greater.

And just to show what a humanitarian I am, I'll provide a link to facts to an uninformed blabber mouth liked you.
http://www.eclac.cl/cgi-bin/getProd.asp?xml=/publicaciones/xml/4/27484/P27484.xml&xsl=/dds/tpl-i/p9f.xsl&base=/tpl-i/top-bottom.xslt

Posted by: Chris Brown on December 14, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

The Bush-bootlicking neo-brownshirt mental slave who posts as "ex-liberal" wrote: "Jonah Goldberg also pointed out that Castro has killed more people than Pinochet."

That's a lie. Jonah Goldberg is a liar. And you are also a liar.

ex-liberal wrote: "So, why is Pinochet vilified as the worst of worst dictators? I say it's because leftists control much of the public discourse."

You would say that, of course, because you are a lying asshole.

ajl wrote: "Castro has, in fact, racked up a pretty good body count and governed with no respect whatsoever for human rights for nearly half a century."

Please provide figures for the "body count" allegedly "racked up" by Castro, and cite your sources.

Castro is an authoritarian dictator, which is inexcusable, but he nonetheless has successfully guided Cuba through some extremely difficult challenges, not least of which is the ongoing war -- and it is a war -- by the US government against the Cuban people, and the Castro government has done a lot of good for the well-being of the Cuban people. Castro is not a mass murderer like Pinochet.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Chris Brown to MatthewRMarler: "You really ought to do a bit of research before you blab such utter nonsense ..."

Marler doesn't need to do any research because he has no interest in facts. His only interest is in regurgitating scripted right-wing propaganda. He is just one of many right-wing extremist Republican "trolls" who have a long track record of doing just that, and nothing but that, on this site.

Among right-wingers, facts are of no importance. What counts is how slavishly and obediently you recite the scripted talking points.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

For those interested the National Security Archives lots of USA government documents relative to Pinochet, his coup, his torture, his killings, his car bombing in D.C., and lots of other facts.

You can even read a transcript of a Kissinger/Pinochet meeting wherein Kissinger is licking the old boys nuts.

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB212/index.htm

Posted by: Chris Brown on December 14, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Seminal Minimalist:

Please provide figures for the "body count" allegedly "racked up" by Castro, and cite your sources.

The Cuba Archive, this link takes you to the .pdf file.

Castro is an authoritarian dictator, which is inexcusable, but he nonetheless has successfully guided Cuba through some extremely difficult challenges, not least of which is the ongoing war -- and it is a war -- by the US government against the Cuban people, and the Castro government has done a lot of good for the well-being of the Cuban people. Castro is not a mass murderer like Pinochet.

The facts speak for themselves. Here's another item from the Cuba Archive for you to consider. Of course, if it isn't directly relatable to hemp and global warming, why bother talking about it, correct?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 14, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist,

Facts are an inconvenience to ideologues of all stripes, no matter where they may reside on the political spectrum.

I think that categorizing folks as "right wing", leftist", "liberal", "conservative", and etc. and then generalizing about what folks placed in a particular category believe, based upon their category, is a practice engaged in by folks to conserve space in their small minds.

Posted by: Chris Brown on December 14, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you Chris for the URL to the NSA site. Kissinger is a piece of s***.

Secular Animist - Castro is more of a benevolent dictator than an authoritarian dictator.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

MatthewRMarler: The choices are almost alwasy between the lesser of evils and the greater of evils, and the Communist/Marxist/Castroist alternatives are always the worst.

Which has what, exactly, to do with the democratically elected Salvador Allende? Oh, right, nothing.

I have a radical theory, that the real problem with "Communist/Marxist/Castroist" regimes is that they're authoritarian rather than democratic.

You might want to review that part of the Declaration of Independence where it talks about governments "deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed".

Now we have to think about Chavez in Venezuela.

I don't waste much time thinking about him, do you?

I do not favor a U.S.-backed move to remove him from power

Wimp.

but he is leading the economy of Venezuela into greater poverty.

Regardless of whether that's true, it's Venezuela's concern.

Chavez was duly elected

Which is the only thing that matters. If Venezualans don't like his economic policies they can un-elect him.

In fact the Venezualan constitution, due largely to Chavez himself, now has a provision for recall elections. He was re-elected in the last one. The US Constitution, unfortunately, has no such provision. Do you think that W will propose such an amendment?

he has not produced the quantity of death that Pinochet and Castro were responsible for

Come to think of it, I haven't heard anything about Venezualan death squads. Maybe because they don't exist?

BTW, Venezuala also has a press that regularly rips into Chavez. In America that would be called "freedom of the press". An essential component for a functioning democracy.

if present trends continue he will. Then we will be able to say that he also was worse than Pinochet.

Well, this democracy stuff is a dangerous business. Sometimes people elect governments that we don't like. Let the Venezualans worry about their government.

Posted by: alex on December 14, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist-

Do you realize that the Board of Directors of CubaArchive is a full list of Cuban exiles who have personal hatred for Castro and their bias overlooks any real objective understanding of the leader?

Of course they would write he is authoritarian. They haven't felt the benefits that his government has brought the nation. Make sure you check where you are getting your facts from before you start spouting it as truth.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

"which Bush twin would you rather have"

Whatever. But I want a big roll of duct tape and a giant size package rubbers with my twin, ok?

Posted by: Gray on December 14, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Are we taking Gene Hackman v. Caesar Romero?

Kevin Spacey v. Jack Nicholson?

Or Michael Rosenbaum v. the voice of Mark Hamill?

Posted by: Roger Ailes on December 14, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Regular readers will be unsurprised to learn that Marler is completely and utterly full of shit.

No, that's never surprising.

Marler's concern about peurile debate would be mollified enormously if he would just quit posting. Hey presto, less peurile debate!

Posted by: Gregory on December 14, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Be afraid, be very afraid all of you insurgents in Iraq - Jonah Goldberg may show up at any moment and show you his WMD - The picture of Linda Tripp and Lucien, with or without makeup, it really doesn't matter -

Watch out, he may try to bean you with his keyboard.

And now I'm off to Loew's to see if a 3/4 ten foot length of copper is still over $22.00, thanks to that canard of a "Miracle in Chile". How are Anaconda and Kennicott doing these days?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 14, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote": Pinochet's real crime wasn't being a murderous dictator; his real crime was overthrowing a leftist government. How do I know?

By listening to the voices in your head, of course.

Talk radio or pure, undistilled neocon dishonesty, it's still bullshit.

What's more, it's obvious bullshit, utterly unconvincing to even a causal observer. "ex-liberal"'s purpose is clearly not to convince, but to post insulting neocon talking points. Why do you bother?

Posted by: Gregory on December 14, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

flagkfjuhhj9789797 or whatever:

Do you realize that the Board of Directors of CubaArchive is a full list of Cuban exiles who have personal hatred for Castro and their bias overlooks any real objective understanding of the leader?

Of course they are biased--Castro has jailed, tortured, executed and oppressed people since the beginning of the revolution.

Fine, you crybaby--here's a link to Amnesty International and their index of stories about human rights abuses in Cuba.

Here is but one article:

In March 2003, the Cuban government carried out the most severe crackdown on the dissident movement since the years following the 1959 revolution. Scores of dissidents were detained, seventy five of whom were subjected to summary trials and quickly sentenced to prison terms ranging from 26 months to 28 years. This crackdown came as a surprise to many observers who believed that Cuba might be moving towards a more open and tolerant approach towards opponents of the regime: the number of prisoners of conscience had declined and had been superseded by short term detentions, interrogations, summonses, threats, intimidation, eviction, loss of employment, restrictions on travel, house searches or physical or verbal acts of aggression. In addition, in April 2000 the Cuban Government began implementing a de facto moratorium on executions, which was broken in April 2003 with the execution of three men convicted of hijacking a tugboat to leave the island, in which no one was harmed.

So if you won't believe Amnesty International, who will you believe?

Outrageous!

Of course they would write he is authoritarian. They haven't felt the benefits that his government has brought the nation. Make sure you check where you are getting your facts from before you start spouting it as truth.

Well, the facts speak for themselves. Of course, this is now a liberal fun time happy go lucky fact free zone full of cookies and rainbows and Tickle me Elmo dolls on speed...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 14, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

brian (not the loathsome faux-moderate troll who uses the same name) wrote: Best to keep quiet about things you know absolutely nothing about.

But then "ex-liberal" couldn't post at all!

Not that I have a problem with that...

Posted by: Gregory on December 14, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Note that Goldberg doesn't limit himself to saying that Pinochet was no worse than Castro -- he defends his actions at length as being actually BENEVOLENT, and it's this for which he deserves to have dead cats thrown at him. Pinochet's actions were "necessary to create a civil society"? A cover-story poll by Chile's leading magazine a week before the coup showed Eduardo Frei beating Allende by 12 points. If Pinochet had really wanted to get rid of Allende while supporting democracy, all he had to do was use his power to call for an entirely fair election ahead of schedule.

But he didn't just want to get rid of Allende. Mark Falcoff (who's done several pieces for the American Spectator, which makes it rather difficult to accuse him of leftism) pointed out in the Sept. 7, 1987 New Republic that Pinochet went far beyond anti-Communism and was explicitly "fascist":

"Like most authoritarian regimes of the right, the Chilean government is anti-political, rather than just anti-Communist. Pinochet himself has argued in his autobiography, 'The Decisive Day', which appeared in 1980, that democracy almost inevitably leads to communism, since moderate and even conservative politicians are so hungry for power that they will strike bargains with anyone who seems to promise a few more votes. Thus 'politics' of any kind is something from which the Chilean people have to be protected. Left to their own devices, the Chileans are bound to stumble into some form of Marxism-Leninism." I gather that he used to lecture Carter's human rights spokemen to the same effect. This explains why Pinochet, unlike most Latin American dictators, made major efforts to design a legally formal structure for a dictatorial Chilean government that would outlast his own death.

For this reason, Falcoff was absolutely certain that Pinochet would either rig the 1988 referendum or refuse to obey any "No" vote from it -- and that the rest of the Chilean military would back him up: "This is a Prussianized, professional, vertically organized military, which will march blindly off the precipice of history and take an entire country with it." Happily, he was wrong; but I have been told by another blog commenter that Pinochet did try to void the referendum's results, only to be blocked by his fellow officers, who were a good deal more fed up with his excesses by then than Falcoff thought. (I've also heard an extraordinary rumor that he and his wife were ardent numeralogists and set the election for a date whose magic numerical properties, they were confident, would hypnotize the Chilean voters into backing him. It's certainly no crazier than the Argentinian junta's attacks on Einstein.) At any rate, the fact that Pinochet did surrender power was no thanks to Pinochet.

As for Goldberg's claim that the massacre accompanying the coup was actually a "two-week civil war": it's already been pointed correctly in this thread that there was very little attempted shooting from the Left. Falcoff thinks it possible that Allende might eventually have at least tried to hold onto power with a coup of his own, turning himself into a cheeseball Marxist dictator -- but (as he agrees in that essay) all Pinochet had to do to prevent that in any case was use the military's power to allow honest democracy (including runoff elections) to continue functioning in Chile. Pinochet was gunning for much bigger game -- namely, democracy itself -- thanks to his harebrained political theories. And -- as Brad DeLong points out in http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2006/11/milton_friedman_1.html -- Hayek, although apparently not Milton Friedman, supported him in that endeavor. Hayek seems to have been much more of a right-wing Leninist than I thought.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on December 14, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

thethirdpaul,

I think if you check you will discover that Allende nationalized the copper industry in Chile, a move Pinochet never reversed. Nor did Pinochet reverse Allende's land reform program.

Today copper and agriculture are Chile's two largest exporting industries and the largest employers in Chile.

Damn those socialists, always ruining national economies.

Posted by: Chris Brown on December 14, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

and it's this for which he deserves to have dead cats thrown at him

And for this you own me a keyboard. The tears of laughter are streaming right now.

But if we threw Live cats, wouldn't they be pissed about being thrown and greet him with a face full of claws, white literally?

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 14, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, Pinochet was worse than Castro, no question about it. Difficult man to do business with. I met him in 1975 and helped facilitate a deal where my father's company sold the Argentinians twelve armored cars that could be fitted with firehoses that could put down demonstrations.

If I recall correctly, Augusto, or 'Gus' as he insisted we call him, wanted flamethrowers but we had to talk him out of that because installing a fireproof shield and fitting the crew in asbestos suits cost a bundle, even in those days.

Pinochet: worse than Castro, but not as bad as Jimmy Carter, of course.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 14, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

See? I'm laughing so hard that I typed 'white' when I meant 'quite.'

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 14, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

"[In Cuba], civil liberties are a sham, freedom of speech and freedom of the press are nonexistent, and dissidents are routinely thrown in prison."

But isn't that the Republican wet-dream utopia, provided the dissidents are anti-Bush liberals of course? So what's the problem.

Posted by: Beeblebrox on December 14, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers,

I think if you'll check you discover that the 73 folks prosecuted by Cuba in 2003 were taking money from the USA Cuban Interest Section in Havana to fund their treasonous acts. The trouble was that a whole lot of the folks to whom the USA Interest Section gave funds were Cuban government agents, so the Cuban government was wise to the whole program. (USA intelligence agencies could learn a lot about effectiveness from the Cuban intelligence agencies.)

And remember that if you were to take funds from a foreign government with which you committed treasonous acts, and were found out, you would be jailed.

You will also discover that the folks executed hijacked a ferry and threatened to kill the passengers before running out of fuel and being captured.

And remember that here, in the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, probably more people were executed during George Bush's tenure as governor of Texas than have been executed since 1960 in Cuba.

Posted by: Chris Brown on December 14, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, that Carter. What an evil, evil man. Always running around making peace, monitoring elections, writing books and building homes for the poor with a truly bootstrap organization.

I read somewhere that Carter dreamed up that effective technique of dissappearing ones political opponents by kidnapping them, drugging them and then dropping them into the sea from military aircraft.

My yes, Pinochet was a Piker. He had quite a ways to go to rise to a Carter level of mendacity.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 14, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers linked to information from the Cuba Archive regarding deaths attributable to the Castro government.

flagrl118 says "the Board of Directors of CubaArchive is a full list of Cuban exiles who have personal hatred for Castro". That may or may not be the case and I don't have time to dig in to the Cuba Archive's credibility or the reliability of its information. It claims to have documented all of its assertions from independent sources; again this may or may not be true.

But considering the Cuba Archive's claims at face value, it states:

"Approximately 15,000 victims [ie. 'disappearances and fatalities'] have been documented to date ... The Archive encompasses events onwards from March 10, 1952, date of General Fulgencio Batista's suspension of democratic constitutional rule in Cuba."

The Cuban revolution led by Castro overthrew the Batista dictatorship in July 1959, so the period of time during which the Cuba Archive's approximately 15,000 "disappearances and fatalities" occurred includes seven years of the Batista dictatorship.

How many of those are attributable to the seven years of the Batista government rather than the forty-seven years of the Castro government? Apparently, about half. The Cuba Archive's latest "Update on Findings" lists a total figure for "Non-Combat Victims of the Castro Regime: January 1, 1959 to Date" of 8,190.

Of these, the majority of "documented cases" (5,775) are described as "firing squad executions". How many of these executions were of ordinary criminals, vs. persons executed for their political beliefs or activities? The Cuba Archive's summary does not say.

The Cuba Archive lists 1,231 "extrajudicial assassinations", 984 "deaths in prisons", and 200 "missing and disappeared" during the forty-seven years of the Castro government.

Contrast this with the Pinochet government (from Wikipedia): "It is not known exactly how many people were killed by government and military forces during the 17 years that he was in power, but estimates give 3,000 deaths (Rettig Report), at least 30,000 tortured (Valech Report) and several thousands exilees."

I stand by my view that Pinochet was far, far worse than Castro -- and I would add that the US-backed Batista dictatorship in Cuba was also far, far worse than Castro's government.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Miss Brown:

I think if you'll check you discover that the 73 folks prosecuted by Cuba in 2003 were taking money from the USA Cuban Interest Section in Havana to fund their treasonous acts.

Really? When I read AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, I don't find much on that topic. I only read that people are being oppressed.

Funny how you libs can have AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL thrown in your face and you STILL fail to recognize that there is a human rights problem in Cuba. I think you should get on the phone with AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL and tell them to stop bein such a biased tool of the establishment, man!

Now, let your uncle Norman wrack his brains for a moment. Who else can he quote who is not an impeachable source? Well, why not the Pope!?!

Last Updated: Friday, November 13, 1998 | 11:05 PM ET

CBC News
The pope went to the birthplace of Cuba's revolution today and delivered the most political message so far of his trip to the island, calling for greater freedoms for the Cuban people.
Even stronger words came from a local archbishop, who openly attacked the Cuban government during the mass.
A crowd of 100,000 applauded when Santiago de Cuba's Archbishop Pedro Meurice made his welcoming remarks.
He said that after Castro's 1959 revolution, the Church was "impoverished" by a "ideological confrontation with Marxist-Leninism intentionally induced by the government."

Now, what else can your uncle Norman do? I know! I'll get a pickaxe and a shovel and dig up the mouldering corpse of Karl Marx himself and ask him what he thinks of Fidel Castro!

"Vell, a bastard, he is,.I must say. He would be a traitor to the theories I once wrote at length about, Jah..."

--the mouldering corpse of Karl Marx

What else? I've done Amnesty International, the Pope, and Karl Marx himself. I'm running out of unimpeachable sources.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 14, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Cuba's human rights situation is based on its Marxist philosophy and socialist system. If you have read any Marx (namely, On the Jewish Question, where he critiques Western ideas of human rights because they are isolating, egotistical and separate man from each other and the community. In the liberal state, the role of the government is to ensure the maximization of individual liberty and freedom but Marx argues that a society based on self-interested individualism only leads men to see in other men, not the realization, but the limitation of his own liberty.) then you will see that Cuba's human rights practice is not at all a departure from Marxism but Marxism fulfilled to the extent to which it can be in this world. Castro stated in his Address to Intellectuals Speech of 1961, "the revolution defends freedomWithin the revolution, everything; against the revolution, nothing. Against the revolution nothing, because the revolution also has rights and the first right of the revolution is the right to exist, and nobody comes before the right of the revolution to be and to exist. Inasmuch as the revolution represents the interests of the people, inasmuch the revolution means the interests of the entire nation, nobody can properly claim any right that goes against it." The rights of the societal good supersede individual rights. Individual rights in Cuba are allowed so long as they don't interfere with the common good. The human rights situation is a not a disregard for human rights but a result of different philosophical understandings of how human rights should be respected and of different views on the role of the state. Precisely because the Cuban perspective opposes Western liberal definitions of rights and the emphasis placed on individualism, Cuba faces criticism from organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. It doesn't help that there is ambiguity in Cuban law about what type of speech is acceptable or unacceptable.
In addition, letters to AI are mostly sent from individuals who want to report a HR violation and for the voices to be heard by a non-governmental organization. That being said, many of the people who send in letters to AI are those of Cuban exile groups outside Cuba or dissidents in Cuba. They themselves have their own agenda.

Finally,former CIA agent Philip Agee wrote:
As I read the hundreds of denunciations that came through my mail, it was easy to see how enemies of the revolution seized on those issues to condemn Cuba for violations of human rightsWith respect to the imprisonment of 75 civil society activists, the main victim has been history, for these people were central to current U.S. government efforts to overthrow the Cuban government and destroy the work of the revolution.

Marx, On the Jewish Question:
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/jewish-question/index.htm

Castro Address to Intellectuals:
http://lanic.utexas.edu/la/cb/cuba/castro/1961/19610630

Agee Article:
http://granmai.cubaweb.com/ingles/2003/julio/juev31/terrorism.html

AI and HRW Reports:
http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/03/17/cuba8126.htm
http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/03/17/cuba8126.htm

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, here's the AI link:
http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR250082003?open&of=ENG-CUB

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

I would add that the US-backed Batista dictatorship in Cuba was also far, far worse than Castro's government.

Cuba is a gulag with one of the lowest per capital incomes in the world. Parents regularly risk their lives and their kids lives to get out of prison.

Chile meanwhile is the most open and prosperous of all of Central and South America. Chile's per capital GDP is 3x's Cuba's reported GDP which is likely inflated by 300%. Fidel is a turd.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

I stand vindicated, of course.

I used information from Amnesty International and a quote from the Pope to make a bunch of liberals shriek and moan and pass out. Look at them panic and backtrack and run into each other, trying to refute my blistering attack on their sensibilities.

I am most definitely back, and I am here to stay. Scream in agony, liberals, for I am here to give you the stern talking to your fathers failed to give to you and to give you the 411 on what's what and who's who and what the skinny is.

And I cannot be moderated, spoofed or challenged. I will win. This is true.

QED.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 14, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: Chile meanwhile is the most open and prosperous of all of Central and South America.

Yes, Chile has done well in the 16 years since they've returned to a representative form of gov't.

Posted by: alex on December 14, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Norman, you have one major drawback.

Your shtick is boring.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, I said "QED" and the debate is now closed.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 14, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: Chile meanwhile is the most open and prosperous of all of Central and South America.

Of course Chile has not been subjected to a war of aggression by the United States for 47 years.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Chile may have a higher income per capita but it what does that mean when Cuba outranks them on:

Food Deprivation (as a percentage of total population):
Cuba: Chile: 4%

Food Consumption:
Cuba: 3190 k/cal/day
Chile: 2850 k/cal/day

Life expectancy:
Cuba: 77 y
Chile: 75 y

Infant Mortality Rate:
Cuba: 6 per/1000 live births
Chile: 8 per/1000 live births

http://www.fao.org/faostat/foodsecurity/Countries/EN/Chile_e.pdf
http://www.fao.org/faostat/foodsecurity/Countries/EN/Cuba_e.pdf

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers: Sorry, I said "QED" and the debate is now closed.

See, that's what I mean. Your shtick is boring. It is kind of funny the first time someone reads one of your comments, but then they "get it", and then it becomes rapidly less funny since it is the same thing over and over again, and then it is boring.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Uncle Norman,

First of all it's Mr. Brown.

Secondly, I did not deny there is a "human rights problem in Cuba", so you lied. What I did do was provide you with technical information relating to two specific matters.

I have visited Cuba three times in recent years and once in 1970s. If I had my way there would be many things I would change in Cuba (i.e. more freedom of travel, more freedom for folks to operate private businesses, and others).

Please refer to my post above for a comment on folks who must resort to those who feel the need of categorizing folks with labels such as "libs" having small minds.

What more could you do to inform yourself of what is really going on in Cuba.

Take a trip there. You could also read the online English version of Granma for a different point of view.

Posted by: Chris Brown on December 14, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

See, that's what I mean. Your shtick is boring. It is kind of funny the first time someone reads one of your comments, but then they "get it", and then it becomes rapidly less funny since it is the same thing over and over again, and then it is boring.

But what that means is, you lost. And I think that that's what is really bothering you. I used Amnesty International and The Pope to turn your mush-headed little arguments into a fine dust that blew away with a warm gentle breeze and that, my friend, is why you think my supposed "schtick" is boring--it is lethal to your worldview.

The blog is moderated and spoofing is extinct. There's nothing that a little Norman Rogers won't cure for you, liberals. Nothing at all...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 14, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Chris - definitely agree entirely.


http//www.granma.cu

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

See, that's what I mean. Your shtick is boring. It is kind of funny the first time someone reads one of your comments, but then they "get it", and then it becomes rapidly less funny since it is the same thing over and over again, and then it is boring.

But what that means is, you lost. And I think that that's what is really bothering you. I used Amnesty International and The Pope to turn your mush-headed little arguments into a fine dust that blew away with a warm gentle breeze and that, my friend, is why you think my supposed "schtick" is boring--it is lethal to your worldview.

The blog is moderated and spoofing is extinct. There's nothing that a little Norman Rogers won't cure for you, liberals. Nothing at all...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 14, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Hey zer Mister big muckity-muck Capitalist Robber Baron, you didn't let me finish. Und so, as I vas saying about that schwein Castro...he...he...."

...you'll pardon me, but who is dat vindbag mit sie three-letter nommen and sie "turd" sprechen and garage mit so many doors? Tell me zat is not what sie pinnakle of what Kapitalisme has produced? I mean, oppression of the laborers by sie kapital klasse is one sing, but zis bozo? Is this sie endenproducten of kapitalisme? Zis clown mit his hatred of learning and love affair mit his expensive kaffe maker und electric pillow from Hammacher Schlemmer und DVD collection?

This is IT?!? THIS is vat I was worried about?

HA hahahahaha hahaha! Fattypants was right. Vee vill bury you after all.

Or rather, you vill bury yourselves under a mountain of your own discarded material goods und ignorance und filth."

Posted by: the mouldering corpse of Karl Marx on December 14, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

As an earlier commenter noted, one of the best things that Cuba has done is to go into organic agriculture in a big way -- which they did out of necessity. Much of it is small-scale, privately owned, urban and suburban farms and gardens. This provides a secure and sustainable home-grown food supply for the country. It is really a model for the world, not only the rest of the developing world, but the developed world as well, including the USA. Cuba is also a leader in the use of wind and photovoltaic generated electricity.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, I would add that today Cuban are free to worship as they please. There are active churches of a variety of denominations.

Posted by: Chris Brown on December 14, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Miss Brown:

You said:

I did not deny there is a "human rights problem in Cuba", so you lied.

But what I said was:

and you STILL fail to recognize that there is a human rights problem in Cuba.

Young lady, DENYING is not the same thing as FAILING TO REALIZE so let's just get our facts straight today, shall we?

This is what you liberals are reduced to when someone eviscerates your preconceptions and makes your entire worldview fall to the floor like a stage curtain dropped on cue?

Pathetic. Even the mouldering corpse of Karl Marx makes more sense than you do.

[moderator--I doubt very much whether that actually was Mr. Karl Marx--can someone verify pls? I thank you.]

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 14, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

To anyone debating whether Castro or Pinochet was worse: you're playing Jonah's game.

It's not as though the people of either country had a choice between the two, or any choice at all for that matter. Why pose such a silly dichotomy? Worse, why justify it with a response?

In the Jeffersonian tradition: any gov't that does not have the consent of the governed is unjust. Whether it's a right or left wing dictatorship is a distinction without a difference.

Posted by: alex on December 14, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Miss Brown:

By the way, I would add that today Cuban are free to worship as they please. There are active churches of a variety of denominations.

Well, young lady, we know what the Catholics had to say about that, don't we? Do I get any credit at all--of course not. The echo chamber is there to keep you all safe and warm. Well, it's now punctured and a bit of the truth can now get in, thanks to me.

Again, QED.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 14, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

So sorry -

Mr. Brown.

Again.

QED!

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 14, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

alex, do you believe that the majority of the Cubans don't consent to their gov't?

I've met a lot of Cubans, on both opposing and supporting sides of the government and even the most critical Cubans believe in the legitimacy of the government. They all vote, but they vote on a local level for representatives who vote on a state level. The state reps vote for the national reps and the national reps vote for the president. It's not what we consider "democracy" but the people there feel that's what they've got.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Moderators and/or larry@washingtonmonthly.org:

Some seriously gnarly server problems today. Very hard to connect, and I keep getting a WM error screen that asks us to email larry about the unexpected server error.

My email's balky atm, or elsewise I would ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 14, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Chris,

Check your facts. Socialism has always been and always will be a disaster. It's Dumb.

Copper exports are only 25% of total exports and the governments production has been exceeded by private firms. Chile is successful because it has turned completely away from socialism.

This is from Wikipedia

Exports accounted for about 25% of GDP. Chile has traditionally been dependent upon copper exports; the state-owned firm CODELCO is the world's second-largest copper-producing company. Foreign private investment has developed many new mines, and the private sector now produces more copper than CODELCO. Copper output continued to increase in 2000. Non-traditional exports have grown faster than those of copper and other minerals. In 1975, non-mineral exports made up just over 30% of total exports, whereas now they account for about 60%. The most important non-mineral exports are forestry and wood products, fresh fruit and processed food, fishmeal and seafood, and other manufactured products.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Cuba is also a leader in the use of wind and photovoltaic generated electricity.

They are not. The economy is a disaster. Cuba isn't good are anything except keeping 57 Chevy's running.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Socialism has always been and always will be a disaster. It's Dumb.

Well, Schmendrik, you are technically correct. Socialism is dumb, in the sense that it is mute and unable to speak.

Other than that, you are talking out of your hat, and you know it.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 14, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Chris Brown,

Yes, I know that the seizing of the mines was under Allende, as was the land reform.

Both of these have saved Chile - That is what makes the so-called "Miracle" so ironic - Chile was saved economically by socialist measures. The University of Chicago team led by Friedman made a mess of Chile.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 14, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Chile has not been subjected to a war of aggression by the United States for 47 years.

We've been at war with Cuba? There are going to be a lot of people stunned to find that out.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

I visited Cuba for a month in the fall of 1979. Actually, I visited the US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay. At the time I was playing bass guitar in a rock & roll cover band, and one of our booking agents had the deal to book bands to play there, so we went down for a month.

We played a huge auditorium-sized "enlisted men's club" five nights a week, where the bar served tumblers full of straight rum for $1 each to the sailors and Marines, who would get totally trashed. One night when the manager pulled the plug on us when we ran late playing "Jumping Jack Flash" there was a riot and we had to be escorted out the back door in a hurry by armed MPs. Then we would play one night a week at one of several much smaller and much nicer officers's clubs, and then we had one night a week off.

We didn't get to leave the base, of course, but we did get to hang out with the Jamaican workers in their little shanty town village on the base. And we made friends with the crew of a missile frigate called the Dahlgren, who hired us to play at a party at a little rocky beach picnic area one Sunday afternoon. From where we were playing we would look up a hill to the 30-foot razor-wire-topped fence that separated Gitmo from Cuba itself. On the other side, Cuban soldiers with rifles slung over their shoulders watched us through binoculars. I distinctly remember that they were dancing around a little bit while we played David Bowie's song "Heroes". So I guess we were doing a little bit of cultural outreach there, on the front lines of the Cold War.

This happened to be at the time that the Carter administration decided for some reason to manufacture a fake crisis over the "discovery" that there were "twelve thousand Soviet troops" in Cuba. Actually, they were construction brigades, and had been their for years, which the US was well aware of. The folks at Gitmo thought it was a big joke -- like these Russians were going to attack Gitmo? Yeah, right. They were actually much more freaked out that Carter decided to send 2000 Marines to "reinforce" Gitmo -- they were worried that the Marines would trash the town. Fortunately for them, the Marines camped outside the town and no one ever saw them. The US also sent an aircraft carrier, and conducted some "defense exercises" in Guantanamo Bay, during which we were confined to our quarters (an old disused and dilapidated officers' quarters) while they fired off whatever sort of huge guns that actually shook the ground.

None of this has anything to do with Castro or Cuba itself, but it's kind of an interesting story I guess. I feel a little funny thinking of it every time I read about what's going on at Gitmo these days.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

rdw -
where do you get your facts from? Their economy is not a disaster.
"Governments in Latin America and the Caribbean expect a fourth straight year of economic growth in 2006, topped by a jump of 12.5 percent in Cuba , according to a report issued Thursday by the U.N. economic agency for the region."


http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/12/14/business/LA_FIN_ECO_Latam_Economies.php


Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "We've been at war with Cuba? There are going to be a lot of people stunned to find that out."

Perhaps a lot of ignorant morons like you will be.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

"For 47 years this embargo has harmed the interests of both the United States and Cuba.

The rest of the world certainly agrees that the embargo should end. On Nov. 8, the U.N. General Assembly voted to approve, for the 15th year in a row, a resolution censuring the blockade. The vote was 183 to 4.

The United States was joined by Israel, the Marshall Islands and Palau in opposing the resolution."
http://www.qctimes.net/articles/2006/12/12/opinion/letters/doc457dcf6d18e21357481290.txt

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

News travels very slowly to Chester County.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 14, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

flagrl118 wrote: rdw - where do you get your facts from? Their economy is not a disaster. "Governments in Latin America and the Caribbean expect a fourth straight year of economic growth in 2006, topped by a jump of 12.5 percent in Cuba , according to a report issued Thursday by the U.N. economic agency for the region."

You don't know rdw very well, do you? He's a delusional crank who wouldn't know a "fact" if it bit him on the ass (which often happens in these discussions) and is incapable of doing anything but regurgitating right-wing dogma and the propaganda that he gobbles up from Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.

When he's proved to be screamingly wrong about something, as you just did, he simply repeats it.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

I might have to say I think that Pinochet is a bit worse than Fidel.

IN Cuba you descibe a place where people can have enough to survive and no more using shoes as an example. They can have one pair and that's it. (I'm sure that does not apply to the ruling class). In Chile the people can and do have as many as they want.

And you think Fidel was better?

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

And

when

news

arrives

in

Chester

County,

it

is

seldom

understood.

Posted by: stupid git on December 14, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK


From the CIA fact book

The government continues to balance the need for economic loosening against a desire for firm political control. It has rolled back limited reforms undertaken in the 1990s to increase enterprise efficiency and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services. The average Cuban's standard of living remains at a lower level than before the downturn of the 1990s.
*********************************

How is that possible. The 90's thru 2005 were the greatest period of global growth in history?

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

My feelings on Cuba as I experienced them:

The reality is, that even on a professors salary, you dont get much. Only the people that work in the tourism industry have spacious living space and that is not even much. However, every one has a home, everyone has a job, everyone has food. There are no homeless people or people dying of starvation and everyone is healthy. I guess you just have to weigh the good and the bad.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

rdw - check this out for fact on standards of living:

http://www.fao.org/faostat/foodsecurity/Countries/EN/Cuba_e.pdf

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Where would you rather live--Cuba or Chile? Be honest now.....

Posted by: nikkolai on December 14, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "How is that possible. The 90's thru 2005 were the greatest period of global growth in history?"

Hmmm, now what happened at the beginning of the 1990s that might just possibly have disrupted the Cuban economy?

News sure does travel slowly to you.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist -

I've noticed.
Thank you.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

SE: One might wonder--why was Cuba so dependent on $1 biliion per day from USSR in the first place?

Posted by: nikkolai on December 14, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

having never visited Chile, I can't say if I'd want to live there. The only two places outside the US that I've seen myself living are in Cuba and in Thailand...

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

topped by a jump of 12.5 percent in Cuba

Just like all of that fabulous growth in the USSR. Life has to suck for you libs. You have nothing but fantasies. Socialism is a disaster. It's always been a disaster. It will always be a disaster.

What is so cool in Reagans post-Kensian world of low tax rates, low tariffs and low regulation is that ALL of the worlds capitalist economies have boomed and such growth compounds. The USA has passed 25 years of economic boom and continues to grow at fast rates.

Cuba's total GDP is $40B (like the USSR probably about 1/3 that level in reality). The USA will ADD near $500B in GDP in 2006. We are creating in one year 12x's as much wealth as exists in all of Cuba. Next year it will be 14x's, the next 17x's, etc.

The average Cuban cannot conceive of the standard of living so common among their cousins in Florida.

Fidel is a turd.

That is just amazing. GDP of $40B. GE will have revenues of $175B in 2007. GE is more than 4x's the size of Cuba. That's pitiful.

It has to drive you up a wall America is so wealthy and that's not even the worst part. The worst part is were getting richer at a faster pace. America works.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq already had a Pinochet. His name was Saddam Hussein.

Like Pinochet, Saddam was secretly backed by the American government on the basis of Cold War thinking: a better alternative than letting the place go Communist. Both Pinochet and Saddam killed their political enemies in large numbers, yet had good relations with the US (in Saddam's case, until he got greedy and invaded Kuwait).

Posted by: Joe Buck on December 14, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

flagrl118: alex, do you believe that the majority of the Cubans don't consent to their gov't?

I wouldn't know, since they haven't had any serious elections.

Opposition parties, while nominally legal these days, aren't allowed to campaign or promote candidates. That makes them about as useful as stud services from a gelding.

It's not what we consider "democracy"

I wouldn't consider it democracy because it isn't.

Posted by: alex on December 14, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Prior to 1959, Cuban trade with the US was 69.1% (accounting for 38.8% of Cubas Gross National Product, GNP). After the US embargo in 1962, trade dependency transferred to the USSR. This was a structural problem that resulted from colonialism. Cuba's no longer in a state of dependency though. That's more than most post-colonial nations can say.

Leogrande, William M; Thomas, Julie M. Cubas Quest for Economic Independence. Journal of Latin American Studies. 34.2 (2002) p325. Research Library. InfoTrak. University of Washington Libraries, Seattle WA.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Alas, there are no homeless people, people dying of starvation or unhealthy people in woot's realm of consciousness.

Only those with three car garages amount for anything. Utopia for him would be having a five car garage. No conspicuous consumption, he.

Besides any country which does not have a Wal-Mart selling Chinese products of dubious quality has no merit. As he says, Stand Tall, Be American and Buy Chinese.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 14, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

It's not like the Cuban Communist Party gets free reign to campaign and it's illegal for the opposition. No parties are allowed to campaign. Political offices aren't even paid. Every local election gets one public place to display a picture and page with qualifications, etc.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I used to think it might be fun, even glamorous, to be a big-time blogger like yourself. Boy, was I wrong. With the dirtbags and riff-raff that hang around your Comments section, it must be a living hell.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on December 14, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm, now what happened at the beginning of the 1990s that might just possibly have disrupted the Cuban economy?

News sure does travel slowly to you.

Not even a little bit. I just assumed you'd be too embarrased to admit Cuba was nothing more than a welfare state of the USSR.

How about that Gorby? You do know he's supposed to be a hero on the left? It was Time who named him the Man of the Decade. They didn't bave much choice. They couldn't possibly give Reagan credit for destroying socialism. Of course it's classic Time that shortly after his 'honor' he ran for President in a national election and received

I will give Gorby credit. He's not a turd. Fidel is a turd. His only use is as an example of just how pathetic socialism is. But then, we don't have any shortages in that regard do we?

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

the so called Chilean economic miracle

Many have cited the poor quality of life the Chilean economic miracle produced for most of Chilean society, but few have mentioned the fantastic profits large international corporations made during the Pinochet regime. I think that most Democratic Party elites, along with their counterparts in the Republican Party, understand that is why Pinochet was such a great ruler.

Posted by: Hostile on December 14, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Alex,

Oh, that's why I've never seen any git from John Henry.

Sort of a oxymoron - gelding stud service - sort of like wooten economic theories.

Posted by: stupid git on December 14, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Cuba's no longer in a state of dependency though. That's more than most post-colonial nations can say.

Cuba is pitiful. It's wrecked. Every country in the America's is post-colonial you twit.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

flagrl118: It's not like the Cuban Communist Party gets free reign to campaign and it's illegal for the opposition. No parties are allowed to campaign.

Ah, so the nascent parties can't campaign, but the entrenched party can't either. Imagine a law that forbid Baskin-Robbins from listing their flavors, and a country where nobody had had anything but vanilla for 47 years. What flavor do you think would sell best?

Furthermore, Cuba's famed freedom of speech is limited in their constitution by a provision that says "none of the freedoms which are recognized for citizens can be exercised contrary to ... the existence and objectives of the socialist state, or contrary to the decision of the Cuban people to build socialism and communism. Violations of this principle can be punished by law"

So which party's principles can be legally promoted?

Whatever else is good, bad or indifferent about Cuba, it's not a democracy in any meaningful sense.

Posted by: alex on December 14, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

read my comment on freedom of speech and human rights in cuba that's at the top of this page. i have already addressed this issue

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, the liberal Washington Post had an editorial presenting many of the same facts as Goldberg's inflammatory article. Here's an excerpt:

For some he was the epitome of an evil dictator. That was partly because he helped to overthrow, with U.S. support, an elected president considered saintly by the international left: socialist Salvador Allende, whose responsibility for creating the conditions for the 1973 coup is usually overlooked....

It's hard not to notice, however, that the evil dictator leaves behind the most successful country in Latin America. In the past 15 years, Chile's economy has grown at twice the regional average, and its poverty rate has been halved. It's leaving behind the developing world, where all of its neighbors remain mired. It also has a vibrant democracy. Earlier this year it elected another socialist president, Michelle Bachelet, who suffered persecution during the Pinochet years.

Like it or not, Mr. Pinochet had something to do with this success....

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 14, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, the liberal Washington Post had an editorial presenting many of the same facts as Goldberg's inflammatory article....

Idiot. It's not the "liberal" Washington Post -- the Post Op-Ed page is, at best, centrist, and at worst a corporate mouthpiece whose main function is to reinforce the governing elite's conventional wisdom (hence its support for the Iraq War and its wobbliness on Social Security).

And Fred Hiatt, the author of the odious piece, is no one's idea of a "liberal."

Posted by: Stefan on December 14, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "Cuba is pitiful. It's wrecked."

Exactly as I said -- when rdw makes a claim that is shown to be ridiculously, hilariously, idiotically wrong, he just repeats it. Over. And Over. And Louder. And Louder.

He lives in a cartoon comic book world of one-dimensional stereotypes -- "Castro the Turd" and "Ronald Reagan The Great Conservative Hero Who Single-Handedly Defeated The Soviet Empire In Hand-To-Hand Nukular Combat" -- manufactured for weak-minded, gullible, ignorant idiots like him by the right-wing extremist propaganda machine.

There is no use arguing with him. Neither facts nor reason can penetrate his mighty armor of right-wing delusions and dogma.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

LIBERAL Washington Post - Must be in the eye of the beholder.

So some editorial twit pulled up old standard obituary stock which had not been researched in any detail in years. And we are supposed to struck numb in our tracks?

Go back to Tail Start, kiddo.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 14, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

flagrl118: read my comment on freedom of speech and human rights in cuba that's at the top of this page. i have already addressed this issue

Dateline: Cold War Period

Russian: what makes your country so great?

American: in my country I can call the President of the United States an idiot.

Russian: so what? In my country I too can call the President of the United States an idiot.

Freedom to say what's tolerated by the government is not freedom of speech. Therefore they lack an essential condition for a functioning democracy.

Posted by: alex on December 14, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

As he says, Stand Tall, Be American and Buy Chinese

This had to be a bad day for you. The Dow was up 99 points as jobless claims dropped and the brokerage houses are all reporting record profits. Record profits for a brokerage is an especially good sign because it means the capital markets, the lifeblood of every capitalism economy' are humming.

In fact, The IPO market is just starting to heat up with this week the strongest of 2006. Meaning of course new businesses are being created at record rates and this boom has a long time to run.

Last week we announced the creation of 132,000 new jobs. That's more than France and Germany have created this century and housing and autos are in a recession. Since then we've had to stellar jobless claims reports. The US economy is humming.

BTW: Corporate profits are running up 15% for the 4th year and tax payments are surging. Thanks to the Bush tax cuts the percentage of taxes paid by corporations is at the highest level in 40 years. Moreover, with all of this hiring and booming stock markets tax collections are going to continue to surge well into 2009. It's an incredibly story. Cut tax rates and watch tax collections surge. We're all supply-siders now.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

It's hard not to notice, however, that the evil dictator leaves behind the most successful country in Latin America. In the past 15 years, Chile's economy has grown at twice the regional average, and its poverty rate has been halved. It's leaving behind the developing world, where all of its neighbors remain mired. It also has a vibrant democracy. Earlier this year it elected another socialist president, Michelle Bachelet, who suffered persecution during the Pinochet years. Like it or not, Mr. Pinochet had something to do with this success....

Note that this success in "the past 15 years" is all success after Pinochet was no longer in office. As I wrote on another thread, imagine if the following were written 15 years after Hitler was out of power:

It's hard not to notice, however, that the evil dictator leaves behind the most successful country in Central Europe. In the past 15 years, Germany's economy has grown at twice the regional average, and its poverty rate has been halved. It also has a vibrant democracy. Earlier this year it re-elected another Christian Democratic chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, who suffered persecution during the Hitler years. Like it or not, Mr. Hitler had something to do with this success....


Posted by: Stefan on December 14, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal quotes Fred Hiatt, who he falsely identifies as a "liberal" just as he falsely identifies himself as an "ex-liberal": ... Salvador Allende, whose responsibility for creating the conditions for the 1973 coup is usually overlooked ...

ex-liberal and Fred Hiatt are trying to justify the violent overthrow of a legitimately elected government, mass murder, the torture of tens of thousands of people, and a terrorist attack on US soil which murdered an American citizen, by blaming the victim.

As far as I am concerned, this puts "ex-liberal" in the same camp as the supporters of Osama Bin Laden.

But that's not really news. ex-liberal's lust for murder has been frequently displayed here, alongside his pathological dishonesty.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Uncle Paul - Why can't you be faster and a better writer than Stefan? Why can't I look up to you as I do Stefan?

Posted by: stupid git on December 14, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

When rdw has been shown to be completely, utterly wrong, the other thing he does besides repeating his completely, utterly wrong claim as if repeating it will make it true, is to launch into some long, incoherent, raving irrelevancy, full of non sequiturs and smug, vapid sneers at "liberals", his comment at 5:48PM being an example.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Having a problem learning history over at Schaife's Tail Start program, little FAUX boy?

Why don't you try a more liberal Head Start program - Might learn a thing or two.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 14, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

vapid sneers at "liberals", his comment at 5:48PM being an example.


The term liberal was in there? Where?

I was merely celebrating our great fortune as Americans. We're all part of the greatest wealth generating machine in the history of civilization.

Don't you feel good about that? We're the model for the rest of the world. Don't you ever look around at the tremendous wealth we have and then consider how awful it is in Cuba and just hope Fidel would die for the good of the people.

What do you think it would be like for the average Cuban to walk into the average American supermarket?

I would think they would be devastated to see what their lives could have been without Fidel. And the sad thing us we all know this is going to happen.

Cubans can have as many shoes as they want. As long as they have no more than one. They can have any food they want. As long as it's in season. Americans under the age of 40 don't even know foods have seasons.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, our gals and guys have not even been sworn in yet and the market is up, up, up. Must be all that anticipation that the Democrats will be bring more expertise in correcting the wayward drift of the ship of state.

However, I must get down to the Missions and Soup Kitchens tonight and pass on the great news of the many bonuses being passed around by the brokerage houses. Have to tell friends who have just received a seventy five cent raise after working for over two years. Happy Economic Days are indeed here again. (For the upper 1 per cent, at least)

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 14, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Note that this success in "the past 15 years" is all success after Pinochet was no longer in office. As I wrote on another thread, imagine if the following were written 15 years after Hitler was out of power:

Typically stupid point. The progress in Germany after Hitler was only possible because he was killed and otherwise has zero to do with him. The progress in Chile was due to the reforms Pinochet instituted to reverse the clown before him. Pinochet left office after arranging and enforcing Democratic elections managed by Democratic isntitutions still in place.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

alex:

I rather agree with flagrl118; Cuba simply does not have the same concept of human rights that evolved out of Enlightenment liberalism. We would consider it radical communitarianism -- the Revolution is elevated over the rights of individuals, which makes squelching dissent a state perogative. A good friend, incidentally, visited Cuba in 2000 and confirms the personal experiences of Chris Brown and flagrl118. People there don't have very much -- but they don't go hungry, homeless, uneducated or uncared-for. Also, the criticism of Fidelissimo is everywhere and quite loud in parts, but it's more like griping than organized opposition. These folks don't fear being rounded up in the night unless they oppose the government. Otherwise, this is not Saddam's Republic of Fear, where a deliberate attempt had been made to persecute people for thoughtcrime.

But for those who would howl at the lack of American-style rights, why just listen to rdw:

In Cuba, they have one pair of shoes.
In Chile, they can have as many pairs as they want.

If "freedom" = no restrictions on owning multiple pairs of shoes, you've really gotta stop for a sec and ponder the implications ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 14, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Last week we announced the creation of 132,000 new jobs.

But, as I've explained to rdw many, many times, we need to add at minimum 150,000 new jobs a month just to keep up with population growth. So adding only 132,000 means we're actually in the hole 17,000 jobs.

Since then we've had to stellar jobless claims reports.

Actually, the jobless claims rate has just gone up a tenth of a percent from 4.4% to 4.5%. But keep living in that fantasy.

Posted by: Stefan on December 14, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

flagrl118:

Nice to see you, incidentally, posting with us in discussion and debate.

Those endless BorgenProject promotional driveby posts had me worried for a little while that you might have been some sort of poverty Moonie :)

What *is* the BorgenProject, anyway?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 14, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

I must get down to the Missions and Soup Kitchens tonight and pass on the great news of the many bonuses being passed around by the brokerage houses

Might not want to do that. These guys don't make as much as George Clooney or Michael Moore or Fidel but they make a ton. It is obscene how much these people make but that happens in a free society. George doesn't force us to watch his movies. It's not all bad news there however. The brokerage types all reinvest what they don't spend. It's goes round and round.

There's one other cool aspect. Consider Bill Gates. Obscenely wealthy? Maybe. But his $50B charitable trusts will do more to end diseases in Africa in the next decade than the UN has managed in 60 years. You will be stunned at the number of charitable trusts set up in the next two decades to fund serious causes far, far more efficiently than any UN could do. America is the best.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

The Borgen Project is a non-profit based out of Seattle working to get political attention to the Millennium Goals (the global initiative to eradicate severe hunger and poverty).

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "We're all part of the greatest wealth generating machine in the history of civilization. Don't you feel good about that? "

No, I don't feel good about being "part of a machine". I can't imagine why anyone would.

And I particularly don't feel good about being part of a "machine" that is designed to "generate wealth" for a tiny, hereditary, ultra-rich minority by exploiting the labor of millions and destroying the very capacity of the Earth to sustain life in the process.

The system that you praise isn't really "generating wealth" at all. It is converting real wealth -- the rich, diverse life of the Earth -- into waste, while enabling a very, very, very few people to become hideously and morbidly obese for a while, until the system completely and irreversibly wrecks the planet.

rdw: "We're the model for the rest of the world."

To the extent that is true, it is a tragedy, and it is leading inexorably to the destruction of the Earth's biosphere, not to mention the deepening impoverishment of billions of people for the benefit of a tiny economic elite.

rdw: "I would think they would be devastated to see what their lives could have been without Fidel."

The Cuban people are well aware of what life was like without Fidel, under the US-backed Batista dictatorship.

rdw wrote: "Americans under the age of 40 don't even know foods have seasons."

And that's a tragic ignorance that says a lot about how completely disconnected from reality most Americans are, and it shows very clearly that there are other sorts of poverty besides economic poverty.

You are just proclaiming the glory of your own ignorance, rdw. It is sad and sickening to behold. But arrogant ignorance is the foundation of your entire world view.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

It's not all bad news there however. The brokerage types all reinvest what they don't spend. It's goes round and round.

Er, not quite. Speaking as one of these "brokerage types" the poor and middle-class spend a far, far higher proportion of their income in the marketplace than do the wealthy. While the high net worth individuals' income is reinvested, it is often reinvested in vehicles which do not have as much of a day to day beneficial impact on the economy (and, indeed, is often invested overseas or in non-dollar denominated accounts).

Or, in shorthand, a dollar spent on rent or at the grocery store will circulate more and do more for the economy than a dollar put in, say, a REIT or in a Cayman Islands bank account.

Posted by: Stefan on December 14, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "We're all part of the greatest wealth generating machine in the history of civilization. Don't you feel good about that? "


Sure our nation generates wealth. But who receives and benefits from that wealth? The number is getting smaller and smaller. I don't feel good about that.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

And today's Coughlin-Lindbergh Award for Fascism Apologia goes to rdw and neverwasa-liberal. Give them a hand, and an armband too!

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on December 14, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal (quoting the "liberal" WaPo): Salvador Allende, whose responsibility for creating the conditions for the 1973 coup is usually overlooked

Nonsense. People on this thread have commented repeatedly on his "responsibility for creating the conditions for the 1973 coup" - adopting policies that ITT, Anaconda, Tricky Dick and Henry the K didn't like.

Posted by: alex on December 14, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

we need to add at minimum 150,000 new jobs a month just to keep up with population growth. So adding only 132,000 means we're actually in the hole 17,000 jobs.

No, it doesn't and no economists are still at the 150K level. Most are between 50K and 100k. a change from 4.4% to 4.5% is noise. Anything under 5% is stellar. The greatest fear among employers is skilled talent. The boomers are starting to retire in record numbers and it's going to be near impossible to replace them.

That's one reason why GWBs move to improve relations with India is so shrewd. We need manpower. Mexico is an excellent source of low-skilled talent but America needs high skilled. India is a very, very good match for the USA.

BTW: jobless claims are unrelated to the employment report. Each week those with unemployent insurance who are laid off file claims. Each state reports the data to the Federal govt and it's reported each Thursday. The fact jobless claims have been lower in December than in October and November suggests hiring remains strong.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Pinochet left office after arranging and enforcing Democratic elections managed by Democratic isntitutions still in place.

Pinochet didn't "leave" office -- he was forced out after his generals made it clear that they would not be party to stealing the election. Do some f-ing research you f-ing idiot.

Posted by: Disputo on December 14, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Your forgetting that the growing trend in job creation is the polarization between high skill, high wage jobs and low wage, low skilled jobs.
Job creation happens mostly because of the growing size of our service sector. Though executive level positions have also been increasing, they require at least a Master degree or higher (usually PhD). Since only 27% of US citizens have a BA or BS and only 11% continue to higher ed. after that, less % of the population is benefiting from these high-paying jobs. As a result, the middle-class is being degraded to low-wage jobs.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

But who receives and benefits from that wealth? The number is getting smaller and smaller. I don't feel good about that.

So let me see if I understand the liberal mind. The other day I was in a Best Buys, a Circuit City and a Compuserve. All huge stores filled with big screen TVs, PCs, Camera's Ipods, etc as well as people. Each was backed. Were these the top 1% of the population I hear so much about?

Are you sure it's just 1%.

Two of the stores were in different Malls and parking was a serious issue. I've got to be honest. I've been thinking, when you say the top 1%, you really mean the top 90%.

Tell be the truth here and be honest. How many pair of shoes do you have?

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

The fact jobless claims have been lower in December than in October and November suggests hiring remains strong.

Geez, I wonder why hiring is strong in Dec?

Hint: the jobless claims numbers are NOT seasonally adjusted.

What an utter, complete idiot you are.

Posted by: Disputo on December 14, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

What are you saying? You don't make any sense.
The other day I was in a Best Buys, a Circuit City and a Compuserve. All huge stores filled with big screen TVs, PCs, Camera's Ipods, etc as well as people. Each was backed. Were these the top 1% of the population I hear so much about?

Are you sure it's just 1%.

Two of the stores were in different Malls and parking was a serious issue. I've got to be honest. I've been thinking, when you say the top 1%, you really mean the top 90%.


What was the point now? Because you saw a few hundred people in one space in one time? What percentage of the population did these people represent? A few hundred people in one US city....In a country of 300,000,000 people a few hundred is VERY VERY VERY small percentage.
But even more so, there are over 37,000,000 people living in poverty in the US....I'm sure they weren't at the mall that day. They were probably waiting in line at a soup kitchen, or sleeping in an alleyway. Oh ya, but what was your point???

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: I rather agree with flagrl118; Cuba simply does not have the same concept of human rights that evolved out of Enlightenment liberalism.

While India, Brazil, Venezuela, etc. do? European enlightenment be damned - the Iroquis Confederation had a more representative form of gov't than Cuba.

We would consider it radical communitarianism -- the Revolution is elevated over the rights of individuals, which makes squelching dissent a state perogative.

The standard excuse for a self-appointed "elite" to keep themselves in power - for the common good.

People there don't have very much -- but they don't go hungry, homeless, uneducated or uncared-for.

The same is true in Kerala, but by the people's choice. Democracy is a wonderful thing.

Also, the criticism of Fidelissimo is everywhere and quite loud in parts, but it's more like griping than organized opposition.

I always said Fidel was clever. Allowing a little griping makes it easier to suppress true political opposition.

These folks don't fear being rounded up in the night unless they oppose the government.

They have nothing to fear as long as they don't really do anything.

But for those who would howl at the lack of American-style rights, why just listen to rdw: In Cuba, they have one pair of shoes. In Chile, they can have as many pairs as they want.

That's an economic matter. People with a free and representative gov't should be able to choose whatever economic system they prefer.

Not to otherwise put you two in the same boat, but both you are rdw are arguing about economic systems. That misses my point - no system of government is legitimate without the free and informed consent of the people.

The Cubans didn't choose Castro and the Chileans didn't choose Pinochet. Therefore debating who imposed the better economic system is silly, because the people had no choice.

Posted by: alex on December 14, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

All those plasma-screen teevees and excessive pairs of shoes have a direct correlation to our consumer bankruptcy rates.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 14, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

According to foodfirst.org:

The most recent nationwide survey, completed in 1992, reveals that approximately 30 million Americans are hungry, at least 12 million of whom are under 18. These figures represent a 50% increase since 1985.

With housing costs on the rise around the nation, poor people are likely to spend over half of their monthly income on rent, leaving very little left over to feed themselves, let alone pay for clothes, medical care, transportation or entertainment. In San Francisco, for example, 16,000 people must survive on $345 per month in General Assistance, the city's aid program for those who do not qualify for federal benefits. The least expensive housing available costs $275 per month, leaving just $2.33 per day for all other expenses.(7)

Even when the poor have money to spend on food, what they buy is often overpriced and nutritionally inadequate. The poor typically have extremely limited access to fresh, nutritious food. Since supermarkets and farmer's markets are rare in impoverished areas, and public transportation to and from such areas is often underserviced, the poor have little resort but to buy fast food or other prepared food, or to shop at local convenience stores and corner markets. Food from these sources is of poor quality and extremely expensive relative to supermarket prices.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK


August 6, 2002

The United States has never grown so much food. Scarcity is down, food is cheap, and enough food is produced to provide for every woman, man, and child. Yet, in the world's richest nation, more than 36 million people, including 14 million children, experience hunger.

http://www.foodfirst.org/poorgohungry_factsheet

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo: Pinochet didn't "leave" office -- he was forced out after his generals made it clear that they would not be party to stealing the election.

Hey, that counts a "leaving". Similarly, Hitler left office by committing suicide.

Posted by: alex on December 14, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

alex:

You and I really shouldn't be arguing, since we tend to agree on so much (and I love your pithy slams at neoclassical economix :).

I don't mean to sound like a Castro apologist -- only to underline the point that there *is* a philosophical tradition that, although a product of the Enlightenment as well, is contrary to the "nonsense on stilts" that Bentham, Marx and others have called the natural-rights tradition.

The Iroquois Confederacy is a bad example to make your point, because its values just happened to neatly conincide with the natural rights thinkers who influenced our Framers, and so its principles were easy to incorporate.

But the idea that a government is only legitimate with the consent of the governed is not a universal principle -- applicable on Mars, like the Invisible Hand is supposed to be -- but rather a social construction, like all political conceptualizations. Bush's biggest problem, of course, was to attempt to falsely universalize the individual rights tradition and declare Saddam overthrow-worthy because his rule -- naturally -- did not proceed from the consent of the governed.

It's not at all that you're "wrong," Alex. It's impossible to be wrong in questions like this, and you certainly articulate the view that our culture is most comfortable with.

The problem comes from the inevitable hubris which grows out of deciding for the Cuban people themselves what form of leadership they'd prefer. Maybe with a fair election they'd all reject Fidel and Fidelissimo in droves. Or maybe they wouldn't.

But just like in Iraq -- we are speaking arrogantly to extrapolate from our culture's values and assume for a concrete fact what would be their decision.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 14, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

rdw displayed his formidable idiocy: "So let me see if I understand the liberal mind. The other day I was in a Best Buys, a Circuit City and a Compuserve. All huge stores filled with big screen TVs, PCs, Camera's Ipods, etc as well as people. Each was backed. Were these the top 1% of the population I hear so much about?"

That's the "machine" you were talking about at work.

That's a lot of American wage-earners in those stores, spending money that they don't have and putting themselves ever deeper into debt, to buy consumer electronics manufactured by even cheaper labor than they are in massively polluting factories in third world countries powered by dwindling supplies of cheap fossil fuel energy, with all the profits going to the tiny, hereditary, ultra-rich, neo-fascist corporate feudalists who own and run the giant corporations that sell the stuff.

All so that the purchasers can go home and stare at corporate-sponsored idiotic "entertainment" on their screens, while being hypnotized by highly sophisticated brainwashing techniques into running back to the store to buy more such crap that they can't afford, and zone out into ignorant oblivion where they don't even know where their food comes from or that fruits and vegetables are at their best tasting and most nutritious when they are grown locally, and picked fresh in season.

What you were seeing there was the end of the world, in progress.

I would rather spend my days cultivating an organic garden in Cuba than shopping at Best Buy in the Mall of America.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 14, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Brilliantly said, SecularAnimist, couldn't have articulated it better myself.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Secular, flagrl118:

I tried to say essentially the same thing in two lines above -- but admittedly this concept benefits from Secular's fleshing out.

The signs of progress that Wooten (rdw) loves to crow about (mindless consumer spending beyond anything reasonably related to need) is actually a symptom of our economy's long-term dysfunction in terms of how best to meet human needs.

Of course, die-hard ideologues like rdw don't think the economy is directly related to human needs -- and therein resides the crushing irony.

To free market fundamentalists, dysfunctional human behavior stimulated by rampant consumerism is a feature, not a bug.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 14, 2006 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

As a result, the middle-class is being degraded to low-wage jobs.

Absolutely and obviously false. Our cousins to the south are taking the low-wage jobs. In the last jobs report 43k new jobs were professional. These are high paying jobs and it doesn't include teachers or nurses or many other high paying jobs. The middle class is moving into the affuluent class.

You still don't get it. It's not just that we're so wealthy. It's how quickly the wealth is compounding.

It isn't just that Americans are making more. They're keeping more. The tax cuts have put much more money into the hands of those most skilled at making more of it. They are the people who create jobs. The net result of this is that private money drives everything, unlike in Europe.

BTW: This is a repeat but it's that cool. You will be stunned at the amount of charatible giving via Gates style trusts over the next few decades. There's that much wealth out there.

Just this week the Roberts family (Comcast) announced a $50M contribution to the U of P hospital to build a special hospital facility for a new type of cancer threatment. Of course this type of giving is not uncommon but the amounts given are going to start doubling every couple/few years.

If you've been anywhere near a major private university you know of what I speak. Most have been enjoying major building booms in many cases financed by donations and that's not including general endowlment funds. I believe most of the Ivy League schools have large enough funds they don't need to charge students.

Because these institutions have so much the next wave will move to the next level down. The Catholic community in the Philly region started to implement sophisticated giving programs two decades ago and at the high school level have a large number of permanently funded scholarship programs. The Prep schools have been especially successful having all but assured their survival.

My favorite story this year was of a gent in the brokerage industry in the Chicago region with an estate between $1B and $1.5B and no heirs. He had planned on giving it to Yale but learned thse Ivy league elites are famous for spending the money on their own causes rather than what it was intended for and the fact Yale has so much. So he decided to copy Gates and set of a trust he'll manage to agument his own passions for hunting and fishing. He's going to partner with private and public groups to buy lands for set asides, remove dams, environmental clean-up, monitoring of the air and water quality, etc. A $1.5B trust must spend at least $75M per year. That's a lot of cleanup.

It's mindboggling to consider how much is possible. This is a huge edge the US has over Europe. They have so little private money.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist: ex-liberal quotes Fred Hiatt, who he falsely identifies as a "liberal" just as he falsely identifies himself as an "ex-liberal": ... 'Salvador Allende, whose responsibility for creating the conditions for the 1973 coup is usually overlooked ...'

Typical right-wing blame the victim mentality from ex-liberal and Hiatt. I'm just glad we didn't get a sentence like "the rape victim, whose responsibility for creating the conditions for her rape is usually overlooked...."

Posted by: Stefan on December 14, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

me: we need to add at minimum 150,000 new jobs a month just to keep up with population growth. So adding only 132,000 means we're actually in the hole 17,000 jobs.

rdw: No, it doesn't and no economists are still at the 150K level. Most are between 50K and 100k.

Flatly untrue. Here, for example, from "Jobless Rate Falls to Lowest Level in 4 Years" by Vikas Bajaj, New York Times, Feb. 3, 2006:

"economists estimate that the nation needs to add at least 150,000 a month just to keep up with population growth."

(By the way, in Clinton's eight years of office job growth a month averaged 236,000).

Posted by: Stefan on December 14, 2006 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

This thread has turned into off-Broadway production of Shaw's "Major Barbara," with rdw doing a completely over the top portrayal of Mr. Undershaft.

What you were seeing there was the end of the world, in progress.

Dickens couldn't have said it better.

Posted by: Windhorse on December 14, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: You and I really shouldn't be arguing

What fun would that be? Nothing more boring than a political discussion where everyone agrees.

I love your pithy slams at neoclassical economix

Thanks.

The Iroquois Confederacy is a bad example to make your point, because its values just happened to neatly conincide with the natural rights thinkers who influenced our Framers, and so its principles were easy to incorporate.

My point was simply that there is nothing inherently or uniquely Western about representative gov't.

The spread of democracy around the world (incomplete and uncertain though it sometimes is) is not just a result of Western influence. Japan, for example, adopted democracy before the coup that led to WW2.

India, while undoubtedly influenced by the British, could abandon its democracy. I doubt many Indians would want that anymore than many Americans would.

But the idea that a government is only legitimate with the consent of the governed is not a universal principle ... but rather a social construction, like all political conceptualizations.

Yes, and one on which I take an absolute stand.

I also think that, once people have lived under a functioning democracy, they rarely want anything else. Sometimes they give it up in the case of emergency, but are usually sorry afterwards. Folks like Cincinattus and Washington are all too rare.

Bush's biggest problem, of course, was to attempt to falsely universalize the individual rights tradition and declare Saddam overthrow-worthy because his rule -- naturally -- did not proceed from the consent of the governed.

I think you're being overly philosophical about that. Bush was just looking for an excuse that sounded good. IIRC he originally said something about WMD's.

The problem comes from the inevitable hubris which grows out of deciding for the Cuban people themselves what form of leadership they'd prefer.

I'm not trying to decide anything for the Cuban people. I'm simply pointing out that, under the current circumstances, it's impossible to know what they want. Therefore their gov't is illegitimate.

But just like in Iraq -- we are speaking arrogantly to extrapolate from our culture's values and assume for a concrete fact what would be their decision.

The point isn't whether or not they'd toss Fidel, it's whether they have a free and informed choice to do so.

I also doubt that there's anything about Cuba that would make them less likely to want democracy than Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, etc.

Posted by: alex on December 14, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Response to Bob's comment:
The signs of progress that Wooten (rdw) loves to crow about (mindless consumer spending beyond anything reasonably related to need) is actually a symptom of our economy's long-term dysfunction in terms of how best to meet human needs.

As far as philosophy is concerned: the political philosophy that came from Enlightenment liberalism was that in order to secure and protect individual freedoms, government must be minimized. The main role of the state is to ensure that individual freedom is not inhibited by other individuals. Also, the state must show equal concern for each individual though the individuals themselves may not be equals. The only communal duty of the state is to secure the basic freedoms of liberty, equality, property and security to every human being. There is no guarantee of the right to food, shelter, water, etc because individuals are the owners of themselves and it is the duty of the individual to provide for oneself. The single most important right is the maximized freedom.
Civil and political rights championed economic, cultural and social rights (though differences and definitions of C/P and E/S/C rights didn't exist at the time) due to the fact that C/P rights are seen as negative rights meaning that they can be secured be readily secured and in fairly simple legislation. They are rights to non-interference, meaning that the state must not intervene for the right to be fulfilled. For example, in order to speak freely, the state does not intervene and one can speak. Negative rights enable the state to be minimized.

Along with this political philosophy arises a similar economic philosophy. We see the rise of free market theory where markets are free to operate uninhibited by the state, the theory of comparative advantage rings true. Goods are demanded and supplied at equilibrium, there are no shortages or surpluses. Everyone is happy.The rise of capitalism ensues...

Now if everything were supposed to be perfect, why do we so much inequality and poverty?

1) Markets respond to money, not demand. Hungry people demand food but are not supplied with it, why? Because they have no money to buy it. The commodification of basic necessities for survival has created a skewed demand curve. The demand for food has become an exclusive demand curve that excludes the people who need food the most.

2)According to political philosophy, people are the owners of themselves and it is not the governments role to provide them with food. However, the government and the people entered in to a social-contract where the people gave consent to be governed, do you think they consent to be hungry as a result of this type of governance?

The most important reason for our structural problems (both economic and social) are inherent in the philosophy on which we were created.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

Secular Animist -- I didn't falsely identify Fred Hiatt as liberal; I correctly identified the Washington Post as liberal. It's ironic that you accused me of "pathological dishonesty" based on a false allegation.

Stefan - Chile has been successful under free enterprise for a long time, even though the WaPo article mentions 15 years. Chile's economic growth is particularly noteworthy in comparison to the stagnation typical of Latin America's socialist economies.

Incidentally Stefan, I would agree that from your POV the WaPo is centrist. I wonder what newspaper you would consider liberal? Pravda, maybe? For the rest of us, the fact that WaPo generally supports a Democratic POV on issues and generally supports Democratic candidates means that it is properly classified as "liberal."

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 14, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

To free market fundamentalists, dysfunctional human behavior stimulated by rampant consumerism is a feature, not a bug

You are such an elitist.

It drives you crazy that people are free to spend the money they earn as they see fit doesn't it? Sorry my friend but that's a critical aspect of capitalism. I now you think socialism is so much better, but alas, in the real world socialism is one pair of shoes and only one pair.

Cheap big screens don't create dysfuctional behavior. If someone decides 60" HDTV is their human need then that's what is is. As a conservative I have much more faith in people than you. I can see what is going on and what is to come. Bill Gates is just the tip of the iceberg. There is much, much more money to be trusted in the same fashion.

BTW: Bill has already donated $50B and has given at least $10B away already. I think his current trusts still total over $50B. He's still worth $50B and still creating wealth. Warren Buffett in an incredible act of generosity is joining Gates. Their combined trust shold be at least $150B with $200B very possible. Their trust has to spend AT LEAST $7.5B per year. That is a huge amount of money to spend. Bill and Warren will be spending more than France.

And they're just the start.

One aspect might distrub you is that most of the trusts will be set up for American causes. For example catholic schools have been setting up educational trusts to ensure the continued operations of Catholic colleges, prep schools and elementary schools. These trusts are outside the church and designed to fund scholarships, or professorships or facilities.

An example of how this works is St Joe's Univ in Philly. While they only have a fraction of a Notre Dame Univ, prospects are terrific. Last year they increased endowments by 18% to $97M. 2006 was a much better year for investments and giving has been running up everywhere and will for St Joes. St Joes will probably hit $200M by the end of 2010. $200M is a ton of money yet for the 20th ranked school in annual donations just for 2005 was the Univ Ca Berkley at $198M.

A $200M endowment will generate $10M for scholarships and it'll just grow and grow.

It's mindboggling when you consider how much we have and that we are so unique in this regard.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Now if everything were supposed to be perfect, why do we so much inequality and poverty

No one is perfect.

We don't have much poverty. In America the poor people are fat. There are systems designed to ensure equality. They're called socialist. They make sure everyone is poor. You get one pair of shoes and only one pair of shoes. No one in America has less than 3 pair of shoes.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

in the real world socialism is one pair of shoes and only one pair.

Bullshit. you don't even know what socialism is, Schmendrick.

Socialism (N): 1) a system of government in which the workers control the means of production. 2) A word that most people should look up in an actual fucking dictionary.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 14, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

alex:

Just two points. I'm in fundamental agreement with you about human rights; even if they're socially constructed, it's imporant to make the affirmative moral choice on their behalf, as the world did after WW2 with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I'd never say that something like, say, clitoridectomy, was just a "cultural practice" that we in the West shouldn't trouble ourselves about.

First, I think Fidel is genuinely beloved in Cuba -- with the sort of deep, exasperated and sometimes ambivalent love one can feel for a tyrannical parent. When he finally goes (and his time is pretty much nigh), the outpouring of grief in Cuba is going to be too immense to credit the winger spin that it was stage managed by the Cuban state.

Will Fidelissimo continue? It's an open question. Some say Raul doesn't have the charisma to pull it off. Others say that Cuba is fiercely proud of its hard-won autarkic independence ever since the Soviet Union fell, and won't easily give it up for the gaudy consumer trinkets promised by an IMF development plan. I predict a slow opening of their economy by fits and starts. We'll see.

Secondly, I don't think I'm being very philosophical at all vis a vis Bush's motives to take out Saddam and create an Arab democracy in the Mideast. In fact, I'd say that was Bush's genuine, heartfelt motive and the WMD / Saddam was in cahoots with 9/11 explanation was the true palaver. I think Tony Blair pushed him in that direction much harder than is credited, and so Bush had to bring some kind of credible case to win international approval for an invasion. Since there was all this incomplete WMD intelligence already on the shelf, he decided to go ahead and let Cheney and Rumsfeld push it to the hilt, along with the terrorist connections. And I'd call that supremely cynical.

At the end of the day, Bush is a neocon / Christian right True Believer. He really *does* believe that it's God's plan to bring democracy to the world, and assuredly is committed to the idea that natural rights are a universal human aspiration and *not* a social construction. It's not an affirmative choice for him -- it's an imperative.

And that kind of analysis -- as much as it may overlap with our views of natural rights -- is, by deep contrast, dangerously hubristic.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 14, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Tally ho!

When someone is reduced to talking about the Iroquois Confederacy in a blog thread, that means the Republican/Conservative has WON the debate, excepting of course if that person is the one foolish enough to actually cite the Iroquois Confederacy.

It is a little known law of blog thread commenting that this is true.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 14, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

The shoe example is not something to take verbatim but just to get an idea of the situation. It is to show the difference between wants and needs. In Cuba, everyone has everything they need , but not everyone has everything they want.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Flatly untrue. Here, for example, from "Jobless Rate Falls to Lowest Level in 4 Years" by Vikas Bajaj, New York Times, Feb. 3, 2006:

"economists estimate that the nation needs to add at least 150,000 a month just to keep up with population growth."

Which economists are he quoting? How would he explain the fact job adds averaged under 150K yet the unemployent rate dropped from 5.1% to 4.5%?

The booomers started turning 60 this year and Americans are retiring at progressively younger ages. Moreover the transition that started in the 70's of females entering the workforce has ended. Each year we have many more people retiring who must be replaced and much slower growth in the labor pool. The result is the number of new jobs needed to lower unemployment is much lower and will continue to shrink for at lealst the next decade.

The USA faces a severe labor shortage.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

would rather spend my days cultivating an organic garden in Cuba than shopping at Best Buy in the Mall of America.

If you can only have one pair of shoes what's the point fo living?

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

Socialism (N): 1) a system of government in which the workers control the means of production. 2) A word that most people should look up in an actual fucking dictionary.

You've joined the thread late. We know the dictionary definition. Go back and read yp and you'll understand the reference.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

We don't have much poverty.

Fact: Over 37 million Americans live in poverty, 14 million of which are children.

In America the poor people are fat.

The poor are fat because healthy, nutritious foods are more expensive than fast food.

In urban areas, when the number of supermarkets are reduced in a given city,they are removed from poor communities first.

In rural areas, it is more likely you will find a McDonald's than a supermarket.

People in the US suffer from malnutrition.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

flagrl118:

Really nice essay. Nothing to add. The difference is between negative rights (freedom from) vs positive rights (freedom to). States that guarantee positive rights are seen as socialistic and are incessantly demonized by free market fundamentalists. If you've ever seen Wooten go off on Western Europe, you'll see exactly what I mean.

Gods forbid everybody in a developed society doesn't spend every waking hour worrying about how to make more money, eh? :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 14, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

In Cuba, everyone has everything they need

In Cuba everyone has everything Fidel says they need. Which is less and less every year.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

me, quoting New York Times article: "economists estimate that the nation needs to add at least 150,000 a month just to keep up with population growth."

rdw: Which economists are [sic] he quoting?

Which economists was rdw quoting when he said above

No, it doesn't and no economists are still at the 150K level. Most are between 50K and 100k.

I'd like to see a source for the claim that no (in other words, zero) economists are still at the 150K level and that most (that is, more than 50%) are between 50Kand 100K.

Posted by: Stefan on December 14, 2006 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

Will Fidelissimo continue? It's an open question.

Bob, you are such a putz. Cuba is a friggin disaster and you know it's a disaster. Fidel is a murderous tyrant who keeps power with a gun and his gulags. He oppresses his people and keeps them as clueless about the real word as possible.
They love their Dear Leader in North Korea as well. Still they starve.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:


Your comments have no factual basis. I mean they are so ridiculous and far from the truth...I can't understand the rationale.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

My best friend was in Cuba in 2000. My stepmom (an art professor) was recently as well.

It's a lot more complex a situation than your Komic Book Kommie treatment there, brutha.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 14, 2006 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

States that guarantee positive rights are seen as socialistic and are incessantly demonized by free market fundamentalists.

Not at all true. States that try to guarrantee equal outcomes are seens as socialistic.

Western Europes problems have nothing to do with positive rights. W.E. attempts to guarrantee equal outcomes via huge wealth tranfers from the wealthy to the poor. The problem is such transfers destroy risk-taking and innovation and thus wealth creation and progress. There's a reason W. Europe has lost it's edge and it's share of global GDP is rapidly shrinking.

Those assuming the USA is losing influence as the Asian economies rise don't have a clue. Our share of GDP has been remarkably steady. As China and India get larger shares of global growth it's coming from Western Europe. There actually was a time they were on the cutting edge of drug development and technology developments. They still have a few significant research facilities but are begin quickly passed by Japan, China and India.

Even the Germans have been transferring R&D outside Europe.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

It's a lot more complex a situation than your Komic Book Kommie treatment there, brutha.

Bob, it's a friggin gulag. It's a prison. They're not allowed to see how we live. They're not allow to travel freely. If one of their athletes gets a chance to travel they're guarded so they can't defect.

Fidel is a warden. How can you possibly defend this turd?

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

The poor are fat because healthy, nutritious foods are more expensive than fast food.

That's just stupid. 1st off most fast food outlets sell salads and other healthy meals. A supermarket meal is almost always cheaper than a fast food meal. A family of four will spend at least $20 at Mcdonalds for value meals. There are dozens and dozens of healthy meals that can be made for dinner for a family of 4 for $10 -$15 and then lunch is even cheaper.

BTW: Obesity IS the biggest health problem among the poor.

BTW: Obesity IS most often due to a lack of exercise rather than poor diet.

BTW: When Obesity is due to diet it's not the quality of the food but the quantity of the food. Fat people eat too much.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, during a Republican administration the New York Times is not a reliable source of economic news and analysis. They start with the premise that the Bush economy must be bad, then find facts or theories to support their premise. During the last 6 years invdestors have made fortunes by investing the opposite of what the Times's economic analysis says.

The question of how many jobs are needed to keep up with economic growth has been a Times hobbyhorse. For years, Paul Krugman maintained that 300,000 new jobs per year were needed to keep up with population growth. There were 2 problems with that number (which Krugman didn't tell his readers about)

1. The job count he used excluded the growth in the number of self-employed.

2. Due to growing prosperity, fewer people want or need to work. More mothers are choosing to stay home with their children. People are retiring earlier.

Anyhow, we don't have to guess how many jobs are needed to keep up with population growth and various trends. The unemployment rate tells us. The current low unemployment rate proves that the number of jobs created has been enough for those who want to work. Anything under 5% is pretty much frictional unemployment.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 14, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

People in the US suffer from malnutrition

People in the US do NOT suffer from malnutrition. The number one health issue amon hte poor is OBESITY.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: I think Fidel is genuinely beloved in Cuba -- with the sort of deep, exasperated and sometimes ambivalent love one can feel for a tyrannical parent.

If so, then he could have been elected in a truly open and contested election. But he didn't have the guts to try that, did he?

Others say that Cuba is fiercely proud of its hard-won autarkic independence ever since the Soviet Union fell, and won't easily give it up for the gaudy consumer trinkets promised by an IMF development plan.

Again, that's an economic question. A democratic Cuba would be free to maintain (near) autarky and/or socialism.

Any country that rejects an IMF plan understands recent history. IMF plans to improve economies are at least as hubristic as those to impose democracy.

He [Bush] really *does* believe that it's God's plan to bring democracy to the world, and assuredly is committed to the idea that natural rights are a universal human aspiration and *not* a social construction.

I can't claim to know what Bush really thinks, only what he does. However, if he does think that way, I've no problem with it. I lean that way a bit myself.

The dangerous hubris is in thinking that the US has the right, the privilege, or the ability to impose such aspirations on other people.

I've no use for the notion of the "Red Man's Burden" (the original Iroqois plan to spread democracy around the world).

Posted by: alex on December 14, 2006 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: "ignorance is bliss"

How much research have you done on this subject? Obviously you haven't spent the last 10 weeks sitting in a university classroom learning about U.S. and world hunger. I might have otherwise agreed with those myths you just used for your argument. Stop listening to what corporate media feeds you and read!

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: Even the Germans have been transferring R&D outside Europe.

And the Americans have been transferring R&D outside the US. But we do export more debt than any other country in the world!

Posted by: alex on December 14, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Malnutrition is obesity. You think people that are obese have proper nutrition?

Here's a definition:
Impaired health caused by a dietary deficiency, excess,i or imbalance. To support human life, energy (from fat, carbohydrate, and protein), water, and more than 40 different food substances must be obtained from the diet in appropriate amounts.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

Why is it that a Cuba, a considerably much poorer country than the US, has completely eliminated malnutrition, undernourishment and micro nutrient deficiencies and the US still has all of these problems? Cuba must be horrible b/c their citizens suffer from good health.

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist: I would rather spend my days cultivating an organic garden in Cuba than shopping at Best Buy in the Mall of America.

You have the freedom to exercise your choice. People in Cuba are more constrained.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on December 14, 2006 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously you haven't spent the last 10 weeks sitting in a university classroom learning about U.S. and world hunger

If I wanted to learn about world hunger the last place I'd go is a University classroom. I don't know of any corporation that talks about world hunger.

I do know about the USA and anyone saying hunger is an issue in the USA is a liar. I'd say a liar or a fool but there's not that much stupid.

We have welfare, food stamps, school lunch and a raft of other programs designed to ensure everyone gets fed. It's very successful. There are those who sell their food stamps for drugs but that's not a food problem that's a drug problem.

We have a 4.5% unemployment rate. Anyone who can pass a drug test can get a job for more than the minimm wage. Virtually every supermarket or store I walk into, Home Depot, Lowes, etc., has a help wanted sign for full time or part time with benefits. WaWa is a regional convenience store chain looking for mgt help starting in the 30's with benefits. That's in addition to retail staffing which is for all shifts, full or part time.

If you are poor in America you either:

- just graduated

- are disabled

- are a drug addict

- not capable of holding a job for behavioral issues, i.e. showing up on time.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

I will second the motion offered by Ashley. Obesity is malnutrition. Look at the food being bought by the poor. They can't affort the leanest cuts of meat or grades of ground.

The poor are getting too many of the wrong kinds of calories and not enough from the right sources. Calories from protein and carbohydrate are worth 4 kCal per gram and calories from lipids are 9 kCal per gram.

This is leading to obesity which is fueling an epidemic of diabetes which is compounded by cholesterol and hypertension which lead to organ failure and dialysis and the spiral goes down from there. And the epidemic breaks along class lines.

I have sounded off on this before and been called a fascist for what I would like to do to the food assistance programs. I would like to limit the hell out of the choices and bring the amount dispersed in line to allow for healthier choices. Grown ups never eat hot-dogs three nights a week because they want to.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 14, 2006 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Or female. You forgot female.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 14, 2006 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

Malnutrition is obesity. You think people that are obese have proper nutrition

malnutrition has typically been defined in the common usage as a lack of nutrition due to a lack of food. My disagreement regards the lack of food. The poor in America do not suffer from a lack of food.

Under this definition you seem to be suggesting the govt needs to control our diets. I don't think you'll get far. I know and every person in America knows if you eat too many cheesesteaks you'll get fat and fat isn't good. The fact we might make poor choices is on us, not the govt. The fact cubans don't have cheesesteaks is the result of their incompetence not their superiority.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan: Actually, his real crime was overthrowing the democratically elected government (Remember democracy?

The "his" in this case being Pinochet, I agree that was his crime, and I wrote that the other day. Where he showed his superiority to Castro was in resigning his position and permitting free, fair, and contested elections to follow.

I apologize for not following the link to Goldberg's article. The idea that Iraq needs a Pinochet is absurd; it'w worse than merely absurd, it's truly terrible. It's thinking like that which produces Saddam Hussein, as others above have correctly pointed out. Iraq needs a Washington: that is, a general who perseveres in winning the war (over a long time span, despite losing most significant battles) while leaving the politics to the elected representatives.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on December 14, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

They can't afford the leanest cuts of meat or grades of ground.

That's absolute nonsense. Chicken, Turkey and Fish are inexpensive as are many other lean products. Lean ground beef isn't that much more than regular ground beef nor are the lean substitutes for ground beef. The poor can just as easily reduce the fat in their diets as anyone else.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

If only there was a way to turn the tons of utter bullshit from The Dunce of Drexel Hill into compost for the many fine P-Patches and community gardens of the Pacific Northwest.

New Seasons Markets in Portland is a leader in selling sustainable growth from local growers from Marin County to the Canadian border. In addition, is there any other area which has as many local Farmer's Markets throughout the year?

Geez, Woot the Witless, you too could turn your 2 acres into a thriving community garden in order to feed the poor in Philadelphia. With all of your bullshit, you could start your own compost pile.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 14, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

food assistance programs, though we have them, often stave off people because of their long and shameful application process. many people don't take advantage of welfare, food stamps, etc because of the tremendous amount of time it takes to fill out the form, they feel humiliated and they can't get the time off of work (b/c of their low paying jobs)

Posted by: flagrl118 on December 14, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: I think Fidel is genuinely beloved in Cuba -- with the sort of deep, exasperated and sometimes ambivalent love one can feel for a tyrannical parent.

Had he permitted a free press, free and contested elections, and a more liberal economy, he'd have run a better government. And, the Cubans might have re-elected him as often as Americans re-elected FDR.

As for the love, a few thousand Cubans per year risk life and limb trying to excape to the U.S. We'll probably never know whether there was a time that even a majority of Cubans wanted him as president. For most of his rule, Cubans couldn't criticise anything he did without risking jail. What Cubans have isn't love, it's "Stockholm Syndrome".

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on December 14, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Back to the subject at hand, The Economist has it right.

http://economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8413038

Posted by: Chris Brown on December 14, 2006 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

In addition, is there any other area which has as many local Farmer's Markets throughout the year?

You need to get around. There are farmers markets all over. Organic is the biggest scam in the world. It can mean anything you want it to mean.

Posted by: rdw on December 14, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Look, liberals--

I will now tell you something for nothing.

Sadly, the clumsy and ineloquent "rdw" has failed once again to snatch certain victory away from you and has instead managed to pluck defeat from the jaws of victory. A mess, to be certain. This is what happens when a common man tries to explain greatness--it all ends up looking like pea soup in a blender full of lemons.

In 1980, this country was a mess.
In 1989, this country was a jewel.

You can cite endless studies and endless reams of meaningless statistics, but for those of us who lived through those times and watched America become the nation that it is today, you simply cannot explain away the transformation, which was made possible by the leadership of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the greatest President since Lincoln and the true emancipator of the American venture capitalist.

God Bless You, Ronny, wherever you are.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 14, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

Jonah's column should be used in all rhetoric classes, especially for straw man analysis. Maybe I'm out of touch, or did anyone really suggest we'd should use a "Castro" solution in Iraq?

Jonah's column is the most ridiculous thing I've ever read in a major newspaper, and I've read a lot of ridiculous shit.

Posted by: Jimm on December 15, 2006 at 6:51 AM | PERMALINK

As for the love, a few thousand Cubans per year risk life and limb trying to excape to the U.S.

And more than a few thousand Mexicans (Salvadoreans, Guatemalans, etc.) do the same, Marler. So it would seem Cuba doesn't have the monopoly on perceived economic inferiority to the US.

It's astonsihing you have so little shame as to hang your hat on such a lame point.

Posted by: Gregory on December 15, 2006 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

...although it isn't nearly as shameful or lame as "ex-liberal"'s hoary "liberal media" claims.

Posted by: Gregory on December 15, 2006 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

Norman,

I gladly defer to you.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Gregory,

EVERYONE comes to the USA. Cubans escape.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Stellar inflation report this morn.

CPI up ZERO. The markets are loving it. Bonds are rallying driving interest rates lower and helping the housing market while stocks are moving higher.

The rich are getting richer.

America wins. America always wins.

You've got to hand it to the brokerage boys. This is the biggest week for IPOs in a year. They've timed it perfectly. As you know IPOs are how new companies go public to raise a lot of moeny to expand the business. It's a fantastic signal for future hiring and future economic growth. The fact these IPOs did so well will just incent more IPOs.

It's a beautiful thing. The new companies managers make a ton of money. The brokerages make a ton of money. Investors get in on the 'ground floor' on a great investment. Everyone wins.

BTW: Yesterdays WSJ had a fabulous report on India. You probably don't know but this country has a great many Indians who've come for education and work and have been quite successful. Many are going home and taking their business skills with them. India, much moreso than China, will be a capitalist country following the anglo-saxon model (USA, Australia) versus the Western European model. This is outstanding for America. We are a wealthy nation in need of ivestment opportunities and there is great wealth to be made in India. They will also require American expertise and products and thanks to these close relationships trade will most certainly boom.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

I hate the, "Libs think that the people were better off under Saddam..." argument. We all knew that Saddam was a terrible person. A ruthless dictator and deserved to be removed from power. It is idiotic to ague against that.

What is so disingenuous, and probably typical for an armchair warrior is the belief that the Iraqis are better of dying free men than continuing to live with their loved ones under Saddam.

Now, we do have a tradition in America of, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" A rather inspiring motto and one, I believe, that has endured and helped America stay free... mostly from internal attempts to restrict the freedom of Americans.

Where a Lib might disagree is when that choice, or lack of choice, is fostered on a person who is not given the opportunity to make the decision for himself.

The armchair warrior views the world as a very large game of RISK and murmurs platitudes such as, "COLLATERAL DAMAGE", "ACCEPTABLE LOSSES", and "AT LEAST THEY DIED FREE" or some trash about "Breaking a few eggs..." All from the comfort of their own home. Safe and secure.

Saying that it is morally wrong to make the decision for another nation is not saying that Saddam didn't deserve everything that happened to him... what we are saying, is that maybe the people of Iraq don't deserve everything that was done to them!

So, please, in the future, before platitudes are spouted out as a way to attack us "freedom hating" libs... take a moment and think.

Just get off the stupid "Libs" crap... it is demeaning to intelligent people, shows an incredibly lack of depth of knowledge and nuanced thinking and the willingness to use disengenious arguments in the hopes of finding others as intellectually lazy.

Posted by: Darren7160 on December 15, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

maybe the people of Iraq don't deserve everything that was done to them!

The killing of Iraqi's is being done by Iraqi's. They're doing it to themselves.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

You've got to hand it to the brokerage boys. This is the biggest week for IPOs in a year. They've timed it perfectly. As you know IPOs are how new companies go public to raise a lot of moeny to expand the business. It's a fantastic signal for future hiring and future economic growth.

No, not really. In fact IPOs at individual companies may often have an adverse impact on hiring as companies shed staff in order to cut costs and thereby increase profits in the short run in order to make themselves more attractive to investors.

The fact these IPOs did so well will just incent more IPOs. It's a beautiful thing. The new companies managers make a ton of money. The brokerages make a ton of money. Investors get in on the 'ground floor' on a great investment. Everyone wins.

Er, not quite. We make a lot of money. The rest of you, not so much.

To put this in extremely simplified terms, the company officers and key people with stock make, say, $1,000. The investment banks make $100. The investors make $1. Yes, under that scenario "everyone wins" but some obviously win much, much more than the others.

Posted by: Stefan on December 15, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

On top of everything else about Pinochet, we might also recall that the worst act of state-sponsored terrorism on US soil remains the 1974 car bombing that killed former Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier, which was almost certainly ordered by the Pinochet government. But what's a little international terrorism between free-market loving friends, eh?

Oh, and as for using Castro as your ne plus ultra of despotism, if your average Guatemalan fell asleep during the period of the Rios Montt genocide and woke up in Cuba, he'd think he'd gone to heaven.

Posted by: Potato Head on December 15, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

In fact IPOs at individual companies may often have an adverse impact on hiring as companies shed staff in order to cut costs and thereby increase profits in the short run in order to
make themselves more attractive to investors

You are cluesless my friend. IPOs are always to fund large expansions. Intel and Microsoft are just two examples of fabulous IPOs that made millionairs out of all of their original workers AND investors.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Norman,
I gladly defer to you.

Finally! A little respect around here...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 15, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, under that scenario "everyone wins" but some obviously win much, much more than the others.

You are a fool. Investors don't invest to make $1. Quite true the owners and creaters of the business make a fortune but that's the entire point isn't it? Why should George Clooney have all the fun?

It's why America innovates and France doesn't. It's why Intel and Microsoft and Google are American companies. It's why the richest man in the world current solving Africa's problems is American and not French.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

stefan,

Dow Jones at new highs on the zero inflation report. The 10-yr bond is also at a 12 month low and industrial production recorded a rise.

Wow! That's hitting it on all cyliners.

Check this out, for the last 9 quarters the govt has under-estimated the amount of taxes collected and thus the deficit is always less than expected. We've got record corporate profits, strong job creation and record stock market profits. Thus tax collections from each of these sources is going to be up sharply and well above expectations.

Moreover, Corporations remain amazingly strong as 13.5% export growth compensated for weak autos and housing. With 15% profit growth expected in 2007 and even stronger stok prices we're going to have surging corporate tax collections and capital gains collections. with hiring remaining strong an incomes up well above inflation personal tax collections will also surge.

We're all supply-siders now. Among the many cool things here is that corporate tax collections as a percent to total tax collections is at record highs, well above the Clinton years.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

I have to remind you that the Dow dropped as soon as Bush took office and did not return to pre-2001 levels until about a month ago, so we are really quite incredulous that suddenly "The Dow is at an all time high, you stupid liberals." You guys will desperately cling to any thread of spin, no matter how sad, pathetic or, well, lame.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 15, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

I have to remind you that the Dow dropped as soon as Bush took office

I have to remind you the DOW, NASD and S&P all peaked well BEFORE GWB took office expecting the Clinton recession that came 6 weeks after GWB took office as well as the collapse of the Asset Bubble which occured under Slick Willie as well as the many accounting scandals ALL of which occured under Slick Willie.

This economy is BOOMING and the Corpoate sector is stronger than ever. GE is up about 8% in the last two days in anticipation of the Global economic surge GE is perfectly positioned for.

Did you know AAA rated GE just raised their cash dividend 12% after raising it 13% last year and they already bought back $7.1B back of their own stock and STILL have excess cash.

Next year GE will raise revenues 10% to $175B. GE is more than 4x's the size of Cuba! How does that happen?

My favorite is Comcast. This Philly based cable giant will move into a new 60 story Tower in downtown produces about $3.5B a year AFTER reinvesting in it's businesses. The founding Roberts family just contributed $50M to the U of P Hospital to build a new wing for a new cancer treatment. Papa is worth about $2B and as you can see is a very generous man. The Son is worth over $1B and also generous. That was BEFORE the stock went up 60%. That $3B in total wealth is now about $5B.

I know this rich getting richer thing is a knife thru your heart but it's what Ameria is all about. It's our good fortune Americans are incredibly generous and the Roberts family especially so.

BTW: GEs announcment of the sale of $900M of gas turbines to the Saud's is interesting isn't it. They typically burn off their gas to get to the oil. They will now capture the gas for domestic use and increase their export potential. Good for GE, good for the Sauds, good for the environment and good for oil markets.

You've got to love capitalism.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

You know what, folks? The delusional crank rdw will spew his inane, contrafactual drivel for hours. And days. He is impervious to facts and reason. When his assertions are shown to be false and his conclusions baseless, he simply repeats them with ever-increasing excitement, throwing in more and more right-wing sloganizing as if that reinforces his idiotic and false claims.

All he cares about is wallowing in ignorant oblivion, slavishly worshipping the ultra-ultra-rich, cheering on the triumph of anti-human corporate feudalism, and regurgitating the scripted propaganda that is spoon-fed to him and other weak-minded, gullible, ignorant dittoheads by Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, etc.

Arguing with him is a waste of time. Don't you have anything better to do? Yesterday, after wasting a lot of my own precious time exchanging comments with this moron on this thread, I realized that I do.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 15, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

no matter how sad, pathetic or, well, lame.


There's nothing sad about surging tax collections. Since 1981 supply-side economics have ruled and nothing has changed. We're all supply-siders.

Historians will look back at Chirac and Schroeder and just shudder at how pathetic they were. Three years ago they were berating the USA for high budget deficits. The simple bastards were running countries with higher budget deficits that were moving HIGHER and the American deficit was moving LOWER. Today their deficits are double ours.

Now that's pathetic.

We're growing more than 2x's as fast with less than 1/2 as much unemployment. We are doing the same thing to Western Europe that we did to the Russians. They simply cannot compete.

Current rates of growth suggest in 20 years the USA of global GDP will be in the same 23% - 25% range. Europe however will drop dramatically. As Asia, led by China and India, take a larger piece of the expanding global pie, Western Europe will get the smaller piece. Actually Eastern Europe and South America will also be taking a chunk from Western Europe.

America is a wealth creating machine.

BTW: The new hospital wing donated by the Roberts family will house the most advanced cancer treatment equipmemt in the world serving the entire region. This is why Wealth creation is so important. The wealth comes from innovation and wealth is also reinvested to create more innovation.

America works!!!!

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen: I have to remind you that the Dow dropped as soon as Bush took office and did not return to pre-2001 levels until about a month ago, so we are really quite incredulous that suddenly "The Dow is at an all time high, you stupid liberals." You guys will desperately cling to any thread of spin, no matter how sad, pathetic or, well, lame.

Actually the Dow reached a high at the end of 1999 and began dropping in 2000, while Clinton was in office. It reached a low in 2003 and has been rising since. http://finance.yahoo.com/charts#chart6:symbol=^dji;range=19981002,20031006;indicator=volume;charttype=line;crosshair=on;logscale=on;source=undefined

It wasn't Bush's election that turned the stock market around; it was his policies -- lower tax rates, effort to restrain runaway, litigation, efforts to restrain regulation growth. These policies became effective about the time the Dow began rising. The timing of the recovery well matched the timing of Bush's economic policies.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 15, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist,

Ejoy the times!

We're in a boom.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

You are cluesless my friend. IPOs are always to fund large expansions. Intel and Microsoft are just two examples of fabulous IPOs that made millionairs out of all of their original workers AND investors.

Yes, what do I know. I only work in M&A on Wall Street....

Posted by: Stefan on December 15, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

alex:

>> I think Fidel is genuinely beloved in Cuba -- with the sort
>> of deep, exasperated and sometimes ambivalent love one can
>> feel for a tyrannical parent.

> If so, then he could have been elected in a truly
> open and contested election. But he didn't have
> the guts to try that, did he?

No, there's no necessary connection between the two. We're an
Anglo-Saxon, Protestant culture born in the crucible of rebellion.
Other cultures (e.g. Catholic, Medeterranean) have different
orientations to authority. Hitler and Mussolini went down, but
Franco ruled Spain until he died. I'm not arguing whether this is
wrong or right; it simply is. That Fidel never faced a genuine
election will have exactly zero connection to the outpouring of
grief you'll see at the funeral. Speaking of which, did you ever
see clips of the psychotic grief at Ayatollah Khomenei's funeral?

As for this being evidence of a lack of guts on Fidel's part -- I
don't think so. Fidel spent most of his leadership tenure under
serious threat of assassination. Fidel's not standing in a genuine
election is out of Marxist/Leninist doctrine -- he most assuredly did
not want a class of bourgeoisie arising in Cuba that the West could
point to as evidence of "prosperity" while the rest of his country
starved. So he smacked down any attempt at liberal political progress
in the name of full equality for all Cubans. You can call that wrong,
immoral, anti-progress or whatever -- but it was done in the name of
Revolution or nothing, not merely of the grandiose ego of a dictator.

Fidel assuredly repressed dissidents and I don't question anything
out of Amnesty or HRW about the conditions in Cuba. But he wasn't a
malignant dictator, either, who arbitrarily slaughtered his citizens.

>> Others say that Cuba is fiercely proud of its hard-won
>> autarkic independence ever since the Soviet Union fell,
>> and won't easily give it up for the gaudy consumer
>> trinkets promised by an IMF development plan.

> Again, that's an economic question. A democratic Cuba
> would be free to maintain (near) autarky and/or socialism.

Well, but that's seriously overestimating the amount of freedom in
any given democratic system. Do Americans really have a choice to
reject globalism if the economic elite benefit from it and their noise
machine boosts "free trade" as if it were a principle of the universe?

What we in the West miss is that the drive for prosperity unleashed
by democracy and "liberalized" economics masks a drive for inequality
founded on some hardcore assumptions about human nature. Some people
are just, you know, lazy. They don't want unlimited pairs of shoes and
plasma screen TVs -- thus, they're on the wrong side of history. All
you need to do is look at Eastern Europe after the Fall to see how the
demagoguing of democracy led straight to an ossified "entreprenurial"
class just as corrupt and Mafia-like as the Communist nomenklatura.

> Any country that rejects an IMF plan understands recent
> history. IMF plans to improve economies are at least
> as hubristic as those to impose democracy.

Well exactly. And thus goes Fidel, Chavez, Ortega and Moralez, but
also to important extents Lula and Bachelet. You don't have to resist
this with a closed political system like Cuba's; Chavez' landslide
victory was deemed clean by election observers. But make no mistake
that America's idea of "democracy in Latin America" is much more about
neoliberal "market reforms" than it is about open politics. And thus
the anti-American backlash, which conflates Washington with the IMF.

A really good book on the underlying dynamics
of globalization and the inevitable backlash it
produces remains Benjamin Barber's Jihad vs McWorld.

>> He [Bush] really *does* believe that it's God's plan to bring
>> democracy to the world, and assuredly is committed to the idea
>> that natural rights are a universal human aspiration and *not*
>> a social construction.

> I can't claim to know what Bush really thinks, only what
> he does. However, if he does think that way, I've no
> problem with it. I lean that way a bit myself.

Darwinism posited the sole telos in the natural world to be
the survival of the species -- which, if you anthropomorphize
it, is a rather ignoble end state for all life on the planet,
equatable to nihilism. Thus the inability of fundamentalist
Christians to ever cut Darwin a break. But what's true in the
natural world is also true, I think, in human history. And any
orthodoxy which has posited a glorious end state to which all
of humanity is striving -- whether Hegelian, Marxist/Leninist,
Christianist, Islamist, scientific determinist or (neo)liberal
democratic -- indulges in an egregious level of hubris.

Progress is as progress does. End of story.

> The dangerous hubris is in thinking that the
> US has the right, the privilege, or the ability
> to impose such aspirations on other people.

Sure. But this certainly doesn't mean that we reject the claims
of oppression from people in other countries, simply because we have
no right to judge other cultural practices. I'm strongly in favor
of liberalizing asylum rights for a whole class of intolerable
abuses which count in those countries as "the way things are done."

> I've no use for the notion of the "Red Man's Burden" (the
> original Iroqois plan to spread democracy around the world).

That's a new one on me :) Was that a
snark, or was there really such a thing?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 15, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, I'm sorry but actual knowledge counts for nothing. Of course Wooten, who by his own admission bloviates about places he's never been and things he's never done, knows more than an actual attorney working in actual acquisitions.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 15, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Globe:

Hey ... i bloviate about places that I've never been and things I've never done, too, and furthermore I rarely support my arguments with links -- but somehow my opinions don't get soundly thwacked in a roundhouse fashion everytime I tap dance across the keyboard.

Gee, I wonder why that is :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 15, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "Ejoy the times! We're in a boom."

It's good times for the hereditary, ultra-rich, corporate-feudalist ruling class that you worship, bootlicker.

For the rest of us, not so much.

More Americans Hungry, Homeless in 2006: Mayors
By Lisa Lambert
Reuters

14 December 2006

More Americans went homeless and hungry in 2006 than the year before and children made up almost a quarter of those in emergency shelters, said a report released on Thursday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

"The face of hunger and homelessness right now ... is young children, young families," said the conference's president, Douglas Palmer, the mayor of Trenton, New Jersey.

The survey of 23 cities found civic and government groups received, on average, 7 percent more requests for food aid in 2006 than in 2005, following a 12 percent jump in 2005.

Requests for shelter rose by an average of 9 percent in 2006, with requests from families with children rising by 5 percent. More than half the cities said family members often had to split up to stay in different shelters.

As the numbers who could not buy their own food grew, more than half the cities, including Los Angeles and Boston, said groups spread resources farther by giving less food to individuals or cutting the number of times people could receive help. The group estimated 23 percent of requests for emergency food assistance simply went unmet.

Franklin Cownie, the mayor of Des Moines, Iowa, who worked on the study, said he was troubled that more than a third of the adults asking for food aid were employed.

"If you look at the data, you'll find folks that have jobs that don't have enough money to feed themselves," he told reporters.

People remained homeless for an average of eight months in 2006, the report said. Trenton had the longest span, with those in poverty spending an average of 22 months in cars and shelters or on the street.

The survey relied on census statistics along with data that city officials collected from local agencies.

And a clear majority of Americans, including a majority of self-identified Republicans, realize that the "we" who are "in a boom" does not include them, and unlike the bootlicking mental slave rdw, are not delighted with their allotted role in life as the audience for "Lifestyles of the Rich and Gluttonous".

Americans See Widening Rich-Poor Income Gap as Cause for Alarm
By Matthew Benjamin
Bloomberg
13 December 2006

Americans overwhelmingly say the growing gap between rich and poor has become a serious national concern, a sentiment that may bolster Democrats' plans to narrow the income divide when they take control of Congress.

Almost three-quarters of Americans believe inequality is a major issue, versus 24 percent who don't think so, according to a new Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll. Most of the concern is among Democrats and independent voters, though a majority of Republicans - 55 percent - also called the situation serious.

"Income inequality is widening quite rapidly," said Alice Rivlin, a former vice chairwoman of the Federal Reserve who's now a public policy professor at Georgetown University in Washington. "It does matter to people that there are such unequal chances to get ahead."

[...]

Still, anxiety about the growing rich-poor divide unites Americans, crossing income and political divisions. Among those earning less than $40,000 a year, 84 percent called the gap a serious problem, with more than half saying it's "very serious." Among those earning more than $100,000, more than three in five said it's a serious concern. Those in the middle- income group making between $40,000 and $60,000 were almost as concerned as the least wealthy.

"The ultra rich and the rich continue to have mechanisms to make money like the stock market and executive salaries," Kevin Godsea, an employee with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, said in a follow-up interview. "And the wages of middle class workers are stagnant," said Godsea, 30, a registered Republican in Fort Myers, Florida, who considers himself middle class.

[...]

Income growth has begun to pick up, with average hourly wages gaining 4.1 percent over the last 12 months, the biggest increase since February 2001. Still, Census Bureau data point to a long-term trend of the rich taking home a larger slice of U.S. income every year.

The portion of national income earned by the top 20 percent of households grew to 50.4 percent last year, up from 45.6 percent 20 years ago; the bottom 60 percent of U.S. households received 26.6 percent, down from 29.9 percent in 1985, according to the Census Bureau. Meanwhile, average pay for corporate chief executive officers rose to 369 times that of the average worker last year, according to finance professor Kevin Murphy of the University of Southern California; that compares with 131 times in 1993 and 36 times in 1976.

"We are creating have and have-not classes in this country," said Jane Huntley, 77, a retired elementary school teacher from Brunswick, New York.

And that's exactly the way the bootlicking idolators of the ultra-rich, like rdw, like it.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 15, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

And I will add to my previous comment, because it must not ever be forgotten even for a moment, that the "wealth-generating machine" that rdw praises, which is (as designed) channeling ever more income and wealth and power to the already wealthy and powerful while everyone else's income stagnates and they go further and further into debt and become ever more disempowered, is steadily, relentlessly and systematically poisoning and degrading the Earth's biosphere and destroying the very capacity of the Earth to support life.

That's what's happening, folks. A huge machine is devouring the Earth, impoverishing billions, and spitting out wealth and power for the already wealthy and powerful.

Remember that the phrase "the top one percent" (a.k.a. "Bush's base") refers to the wealthiest one percent of the US population. That means that it is really the top one percent of the top five percent who are reaping almost all the benefits from this engine of planetary destruction that we call "the economy".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 15, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

A huge machine is devouring the Earth, impoverishing billions, and spitting out wealth and power for the already wealthy and powerful

Wow! How miserable are you?

You should be happy for the turn of events. The China and India growing at a sustainable 10% rate their middle classes are increasing by tens of millions each year.

This is the best it's ever been

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, I've never really read a lot in the comments here. Is this Norman Rogers horse's ass a regular commenter? I almost choked when I saw that Fidel is considered a "benevolent dictator." He's a criminal. According to a Cuban friend of mine who was raised in this benevolent dictatorship detailed how Fidel and Raul looted the country. I honestly don't know where he stands as far as murder, but saying he's benevolent or even benign (which is what I assume was meant) is laughable.

Posted by: Gus on December 15, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, I wonder why that is :)

You speak to the choir.

I put a mirror in their faces.

Doesn't it strike you as amusing many are upset America is doing so well? Especially in regards to backwaters such as Cuba and France? I suspect a majority of liberal are furious Americans are so wealthy and it bothers them even more to consider we're creating wealth as such a fast pace.

These are the same people who want to follow the European model because they think it's fairer and this is even after watching the Tsumami relief efforts and seeing ONLY USA ships and soldiers providing rescue efforts. The UN and EU were null and void. They saw it. You saw it. Still you cannot deal with that reality.

We are the greatest nation in the history of civilization and the best thing the rest of the planet has going for it. You should be celebrating our great wealth knowing mankind will be the better off for it.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, I've never really read a lot in the comments here. Is this Norman Rogers horse's ass a regular commenter? I almost choked when I saw that Fidel is considered a "benevolent dictator." He's a criminal. According to a Cuban friend of mine who was raised in this benevolent dictatorship detailed how Fidel and Raul looted the country. I honestly don't know where he stands as far as murder, but saying he's benevolent or even benign (which is what I assume was meant) is laughable.

Where did you see that I called Fidel a "benevolent dictator?" That was ME explaining to the kewl kidz that Fidel is a tyrant and a murderer and I used Amnesty Internation to prove it!

Read the thread, sir; otherwise, hush.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 15, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

but somehow my opinions don't get soundly thwacked in a roundhouse fashion everytime I tap dance across the keyboard.

What planet are you living on? I've thwacked you badly in the course of a few days.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 15, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

BTW: I always use facts from reputable sources and if I am wrong I correct myself. I was wrong on the Roberts donation. It wasn't $50M it was $15M.

The headlines.

$15 Million from Ralph J. Roberts and Brian L. Roberts for Largest and Most Comprehensive Proton Therapy Center

the new Proton Therapy Center will occupy 75,000 square feet of space adjacent to The Raymond and Ruth Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine that is now being built to house Penns outpatient cancer, cardiovascular, diagnostic, and surgical services. The Roberts Proton Therapy Center will cost approximately $140 million and take about three years to complete. The first patient is expected to be treated in 2009.

$15M is not $50M but still quite generous and consistent with other giving by the Roberts family.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "$15 Million from Ralph J. Roberts and Brian L. Roberts for Largest and Most Comprehensive Proton Therapy Center"

Funny thing, how right wingers think it is an atrocity for people to be "dependent" on "handouts" from the government for things like medical care, but it's a wonderful thing for them to be dependent on "handouts" from the ultra-rich.

In feudal Europe, the peasants were of course always happier if they happened to be ruled over by a benevolent king rather than a cruel one. That's rdw's idea of how the world should work: all of us peasants should just shut up and be glad when a benevolent king throws some crumbs our way.

rdw: "You should be happy for the turn of events. The China and India growing at a sustainable 10% rate their middle classes are increasing by tens of millions each year."

And in both countries, wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a tiny ultra-rich minority while many more millions are being driven from their land into complete abject poverty, tens of thousands of farmers in India are committing suicide because they can't survive in a world dominated by corporate agriculture, and the environments of both countries are being rapidly destroyed.

You worship evil.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 15, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

You worship evil.

Seasons Greetings!

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 15, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: We're an Anglo-Saxon, Protestant culture born in the crucible of rebellion. Other cultures (e.g. Catholic, Medeterranean) have different orientations to authority.

I don't buy that the cultural differences are an impediment to democracy, especially in this century. That's why I listed Latin American countries that have functioning democracies.

Hitler and Mussolini went down, but Franco ruled Spain until he died.

And all are now democratic. Look at how many Spaniards opposed Franco in their civil war.

That Fidel never faced a genuine election will have exactly zero connection to the outpouring of grief you'll see at the funeral.

I didn't say that it did, merely that a genuinely popular leader would be chosen in a real election.

Fidel's not standing in a genuine election is out of Marxist/Leninist doctrine ... So he smacked down any attempt at liberal political progress
in the name of full equality for all Cubans. You can call that wrong, immoral, anti-progress or whatever -- but it was done in the name of Revolution or nothing, not merely of the grandiose ego of a dictator.

Yes, it was done in the name of revolution, and maybe even with sincere intentions on Fidel's part. So what? A dictator is still a dictator.

he wasn't a malignant dictator, either, who arbitrarily slaughtered his citizens

Yup, definitely better than Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, et al. But it's not real hard to best a group like that.

Do Americans really have a choice to reject globalism if the economic elite benefit from it and their noise machine boosts "free trade" as if it were a principle of the universe?

Yes. They've done it before and they can do it again if they so choose. However, I don't think that most Americans want to eliminate foreign trade entirely. The devil is in the details. Unfortunately bumper sticker slogans like "globalism" and "free trade" mask that.

What we in the West miss is that the drive for prosperity unleashed by democracy and "liberalized" economics masks a drive for inequality founded on some hardcore assumptions about human nature.

Democracy does not have to go hand-in-hand with "liberalized" economics. That's just the way we've done it. Kerala and the Iroquois are two counter-examples.

All you need to do is look at Eastern Europe after the Fall to see how the demagoguing of democracy led straight to an ossified "entreprenurial" class just as corrupt and Mafia-like as the Communist nomenklatura.

That's true of Russia, but not all of Eastern Europe. Most Russians were better off under the Communists, which says something about the crooks running the place now (aided and abetted by IMF prescriptions).

You don't have to resist this [the IMF] with a closed political system like Cuba's

My point exactly.

Chavez' landslide victory was deemed clean by election observers.

Which is why I've always critcized anyone who conflates Castro and Chavez. Let the Venezualans decide what they want (and the Cubans too).

But make no mistake that America's idea of "democracy in Latin America" is much more about neoliberal "market reforms" than it is about open politics.

And that's the kinder, gentler, version of US involvement in Latin America. In France and Italy the worst thing we ever did against self-professed Communists was fund opposition authors. OTOH when Guatemala got a few Communists in their cabinet, we helped stage a coup.

any orthodoxy which has posited a glorious end state to which all of humanity is striving -- whether Hegelian, Marxist/Leninist,
Christianist, Islamist, scientific determinist or (neo)liberal democratic -- indulges in an egregious level of hubris

First, "democratic" needn't be prefaced by "(neo)liberal". One's a political system, and the other an economic one. With certain caveats, you can mix and match them.

Second, I don't consider democracy a glorious end state, just the best way we've found of doing things so far. Similarly, the replacement of stone tools with steel ones has become pretty popular around the world.

Progress is as progress does. End of story.

No. Change is as change does. Whether it constitutes progress is a judgement call (albeit one that I'm not shy about making).

> I've no use for the notion of the "Red Man's
> Burden" (the original Iroqois plan to spread
> democracy around the world).

That's a new one on me :) Was that a
snark, or was there really such a thing?

It's a joke (AFAIK), but not really a snark. I was just imagining an alternate history in which democracy isn't conflated with Western culture.

Posted by: alex on December 15, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

but it's a wonderful thing for them to be dependent on "handouts" from the ultra-rich.


A $140M state of the art cancer center is a handout from the rich? No kidding. I don't see it that way but it still makes my point how fortunate we are to have such a generous 1%.

How many of these cancer centers are there in Europe? Asia? South America? Cuba?

NONE!!!!!!!!


Here's more on the story:

The center will give "tens of thousands of patients along the East Coast" access to the potentially life-saving proton treatments, he estimated.

The center will be the "jewel in the crown" of Penn Medicine's cancer-treatment facilities, university president Amy Gutmann said. She estimated that 1 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year.

Also noted is a special partnetship with the Walter Reed Military hospital. The military will be covered as well.

Merry Xmas!

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Merry Xmas!

Sir, the term is "Merry Christmas."

Please remember to use it correctly--there is no liberal ban on celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior yet, despite what the liberals want you to believe.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 15, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Do Americans really have a choice to reject globalism if the economic elite benefit from it and their noise machine boosts "free trade" as if it were a principle of the universe?

?Yes. They've done it before and they can do it again if they so choose. However, I don't think that most Americans want to eliminate foreign trade entirely. The devil is in the details. Unfortunately bumper sticker slogans like "globalism" and "free trade" mask that.

NO, globalism is past tense. It's here and it's not leaving. The last trade report boasted of exports running a stunning 13.5% and this doesn't capture fact such as Intel getting over 80% of it sales overseas using plants overseas to produce their chips. Intel's Chip production in China is recorded as Chinese GDP.

GWB has signed a long series of important trade deals that have just begun to impact our respective markets. He's set into process what will be a decade long acceleration in trade. GE, IBM, HP, Catepilar, Dell, etc. a majority of our large corporations do substantial business outside the USA.

There is absolutely no way to reverse or even slow down this trend. Even if the Democratic Senate had the will, and they don't, they would not have the means. There are 49 GOP Senators on hand to filibuster. While you are babbling inanities about bumper stickers companies like GE are selling $900M in gas turbines to the Sauds.

You people are such twits. You must be academics. Trade brings us amazingle cheap products enabling the middle class abd poor to lots mor than they could otherwise. It's the liberals bitching about Walmart hurting the poor while their stores are filled with those same people buying there. So that's why Walmart produces $340B in sales each year and is expanding globally.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: NO, globalism is past tense. It's here and it's not leaving.

Ah, the End of History. And here I thought you didn't agree with Marx.

Of course they said the same thing about "globalism" in 1913. Then came the War to End All Wars. But I'm sure that this time they've got it right.

The last trade report boasted of exports running a stunning 13.5%

Good news indeed. Why, for the first time in years we've actually had a quarter when the trade deficit didn't increase (not that it actually decreased either).

and this doesn't capture fact such as Intel getting over 80% of it sales overseas using plants overseas to produce their chips. Intel's Chip production in China is recorded as Chinese GDP.

It's probably recorded as Chinese GDP because it is Chinese GDP. It certainly doesn't reflect anything good about US GDP. The fact that Intel has US headquarters is irrelevant. If a Chinese company was producing in China you could buy stock in them too.

There is absolutely no way to reverse or even slow down this trend.

That's what they told Gavrilo Princip.

Even if the Democratic Senate had the will, and they don't, they would not have the means. There are 49 GOP Senators on hand to filibuster.

Ah yes, the free trading GOP. Like Lindsey Graham? Or maybe you're talking about free trader GWB (steel and lumber excepted, oh yeah, and sugar, orange juice, ethanol, etc. etc. etc.).

While you are babbling inanities about bumper stickers companies like GE are selling $900M in gas turbines to the Sauds.

You do the math - how many times over do they have to do that to balance our deficit with them?

Trade brings us amazingle cheap products enabling the middle class abd poor to lots mor than they could otherwise.

Like spell checking software?

Of course the US buys a lot more of these amazingly cheap products than we can pay for, but hey, "no such thing as a free lunch" is just liberal thinking.

Posted by: alex on December 15, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

the US buys a lot more of these amazingly cheap products than we can pay for,

We can and we do. The US consumer like the US Corporation is in amazingly good health. It just gets better every day.

Not only can we easily afford our purchases, this being America, ww get more for our money all the time. It's how capitalism works.

Know that digital camera you bought two years ago? Today it comes with 2x's the capacity and is cheaper. TV? IPod? All the same.

That new $140M cancer center supported by the Roberts family largess will save substantially more cancer patients while doing less harm in the process. It will be the best in the world. Nothing unusual there. We have the best of everything.


Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

It's probably recorded as Chinese GDP because it is Chinese GDP. It certainly doesn't reflect anything good about US GDP

You know so little of business and trade. Intel maintains lower cost manufacturing facilities in Ireland, Israel, China and India to be in the markets they sell and to minimize costs. They meet European sales from Ireland obviously to take advantage of low taxes.

While the sales are not recorded as US GDP the profit earned is recorded as Intels profits and these do show up as part of GDP.

Intel and the rest have other obvious reasons for building plants in Asia. They have 3B consumers and soaring growth. Intel is part of that. Helping these nations grow means more sales for Intel. It's win/win/win all around. It's capitalism at it's best.

Keep your eye on India. We are going to be best friends. We speak the same language and have the same enemies. We need labor. They have labor. They have large and growing markets. We have large and growing markets. They need what we have and we need what they have. Trade is exploding and will grow at an ever faster pace.

American Corps are a solid two decades ahead of liberals. They started focusing on Asia vs Europe long ago. Jack Welsh of GE has been preaching about Asia since the 80's and putting his money where gis mouth is. Intel gets 60% of their sales from Asia. It's one of the reasons GWB has been walking away from Europe. All troops out and big reductions in State Dept personnel.

It's about wealth creation my friend. And that's not Europe.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

You do the math - how many times over do they have to do that to balance our deficit with them?

There is no reason in the world we need trade balanced with Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Ah yes, the free trading GOP. Like Lindsey Graham

It only takes 40 GOP Senators to block anything and its doubtful they could pass anything effective anyway. Businessmen always outsmart politicians. Remember the mileage standards?

They need more than 2/3s to pass over a veto. There will not be any anti-trade legislation.

It will be interesting when a trade bill comes up for Ecuador. It would be a great boost for this small, poor, pro-US nation to get better access to US markets and they're hardly large enough to threaten the unions. Most interesting will be those senators running for President. Beating up on Ecuador would be seen as racist.

GWB has already passed his major bills. Globalization is here.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

When Wooten gets going on how America is just the best thing ever!!!, does anyone else hear Eddie Albert as Oliver Wendell Douglas waxing poetic about the seeds shooting up through the soil while the fife and drup begin to play in the background. My God man! You are such a good American Patriot I am unworthy to have made your acquaintance.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 15, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

GC,

Be honest, don't you think it's cool that we have such a strong culture of Philanthropy? Here's a typical Americam story and it's just one of millions that happen every year. Note the adroit use of tax incentives.


Rush to Preserve

Prompted by a temporary tax incentive that took effect this summer, landowners are moving to donate easements designed to protect environmentally valuable property from development. Rick Berg says the tax break gives him the financial security he needs to preserve his Montana cattle ranch.

This is from http://www.philanthropy.com/.

I happen to live in a region where each township has programs in place in cooperation with the state to incent landowners to transfer their properties to a conservatory and/or make actual purchases. It's a beautiful area that will remain very open.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

the US buys a lot more of these amazingly cheap products than we can pay for

rdw: We can and we do. The US consumer like the US Corporation is in amazingly good health.

Ah, so you do believe that there's such a thing as a free lunch. I guess that in contemporary America that's what passes for conservative thinking.

Here's an idea: put lots of things on your credit cards. Don't pay off the balance. Keep it growing faster than your income. Continue for years. Let me know how this experiment in "conservative" economics works out.

Not only can we easily afford our purchases

Then how do you explain the current account deficit?

Intel maintains lower cost manufacturing facilities in Ireland, Israel, China and India to be in the markets they sell and to minimize costs.

Israel is a cheap labor country? Wow, who knew.

I also didn't know that semis are expensive to ship, or that fabs are labor intensive. Here I thought those few $B a piece prices made them capital intensive. So by your logic there should be nothing made in the US (except ethanol of course). I wonder how long those dumb foreigners will keep giving us stuff without getting anyhting in return.

While the sales are not recorded as US GDP the profit earned is recorded as Intels profits and these do show up as part of GDP.

I'd think that a guy who knows so much about business and trade would know that those specifically are not counted towards GDP. Why don't you look up the difference between GDP and GNI.

There is no reason in the world we need trade balanced with Saudi Arabia.'

No, we need overall trade balance. But we'll probably be ok as long as we don't buy any of that Evil Brazilian Ethanol.

Posted by: alex on December 15, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Then how do you explain the current account deficit?

I don't. It's meaningless. Americans pay for their toys. The CAD is an artificial construct with too much noise to be useful.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

the US buys a lot more of these amazingly cheap products than we can pay for

rdw: We can and we do. The US consumer like the US Corporation is in amazingly good health.

We can pay for them and we do pay for them. The american consumer is in fine shape.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Israel is a cheap labor country? Wow, who knew.

I also didn't know that semis are expensive to ship, or that fabs are labor intensive.

No one said Israel is a cheap labor country. Intel actually has a larger investment in R&D facilities in Irsael. But chip fabrication isn't labor intensive nor is it low skilled labor.

Semis are expensive to ship because of the security and insurance but that's not the driving factor. Intel wants to be visible in regions where it sells product.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

But we'll probably be ok as long as we don't buy any of that Evil Brazilian Ethanol.


I'm all for it but you never did address if expanding demand for Brazlian ethanol will cause more ecological problems than are solved.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "How many of these cancer centers are there in Europe? Asia? South America? Cuba? NONE!!!!!!!!"

It is certainly impressive how many exclamation marks you append to your stupendoulsy ignorant pronouncements.

The reality is that Cuba is a world leader in biotechnology and particularly in cancer research.

Cuba Winning Cancer Race: Economic isolation and a passion for healthcare yield a world lead
by Julian Borger
Manchester Guardian
July 27, 2000

Clinical trials of a cancer therapy genetically engineered by the Cuban biotechnology industry are due to begin in London next month. It may prove to be a landmark both for medicine's struggle with the disease and Fidel Castro's attempts to break out of Cuba's US-imposed isolation.

Despite a stark lack of resources, laboratories in the impoverished suburbs of the capital Havana have made startling strides in developing revolutionary vaccines and antibodies against meningitis, hepatitis, and lung, breast, head and neck cancers.

But their use in other parts of the world has been hindered up to now by the Helms-Burton Act, the US measure which penalising foreign companies for dealing with Cuba.

That hitherto impenetrable wall is now beginning to crumble in the more general thaw in US-Cuban relations, and western investors have found that Cuban scientists, subsisting on scarcely 10 a month, are ahead in some fields of their colleagues in the US and western Europe in the race to produce genetically engineered medicines.

After months of intensive lobbying, the British pharmaceutical company Smith Kline Beecham succeeded a year ago in persuading Washington to give it an exemption from the act, allowing it to develop and market a Cuban vaccine against the child-killing disease, meningitis B. It is the only such vaccine in the world, and is undergoing trials prior to being launched in Europe.

In the past few weeks, as international investors have grown less afraid of US retaliation, a Canadian venture capital firm, York Medical, has secured funds for clinical trials of Cuban cancer vaccines and antibodies.


U.S. Permits 3 Cancer Drugs From Cuba
By ANDREW POLLACK
The New York Times
July 15, 2004

The federal government is permitting a California biotechnology company to license three experimental cancer drugs from Cuba, making an exception to the policy of tightly restricting trade with that country.

The company, CancerVax, had said late last year that it was trying to license the drugs and had been awaiting needed permission from the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. That permission has been granted, and CancerVax is expected to announce it today.

CancerVax executives said that it was the first time an American biotechnology company had obtained permission to license a drug from Cuba, a country that some industry executives and scientists say is surprisingly strong in biotechnology for a developing nation. In 1999, SmithKline Beecham, a large conventional pharmaceutical company now known as GlaxoSmithKline, licensed a Cuban vaccine for meningitis B that it is testing in clinical trials.

"I think there are other product candidates and technology in Cuba that could be helpful to the American people, not just the American people but people around the world," said David F. Hale, chief executive of CancerVax, a newly public company that does not yet have any drugs on the market. Mr. Hale said that he had been pursuing the Cuban drugs since he first saw a poster about the work at an American cancer conference three years ago.

A spokesman for the State Department, which helps rule on such licenses, said that the exception had been made because of the life-saving potential of the experimental Cuban drugs and that the license approval did not represent a relaxation of the trade policy.


Cuba Patents New Anti-Cancer Drug
World News Connection
November 16, 2006

A new synthetic product with anti-tumor properties has been patented by a team of scientists from Cuba's Center of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB). The first phase of the clinical trials was completed with 31 patients with cervical cancer.

Silvio E. Perea Rodriguez, a doctor in Biological Sciences, presented the test results during the Biotechnology Havana 2006 convention. He explained to the audience that the product is a peptide that inhibits and kills the kinase CK2 enzyme, found in high levels in malignant tumors.

[...]

The Biotechnology Havana 2006 convention is being attended by biotech specialists from more than 40 countries including Dr. Harold Jennings, pioneer in the research with vaccines based upon capsular bacterial polysaccharides.

A group of twelve researchers from the United States could not attend this scientific exchange because they were denied a license to travel to Cuba from the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, due to the restrictions that the US blockade imposes on trips to the island.

The fact is that the idiotic blockade of Cuba that is fervently supported by ignorant morons like you is not only hurting the Cuban people, but is preventing Americans and the rest of the world from benefiting from the scientific genius of Cuban medical research.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 15, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

rdw (re the current account deficit): It's meaningless ... The CAD is an artificial construct with too much noise to be useful.

I'm speechless. I count myself honored to have been amongst the first to see this pearl of economic wisdom.

Posted by: alex on December 15, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Facts don't exist in rdw's world. Only right-wing talking points.

Not only is Cuba a leader in biotechnology and cancer research, but it excels in medical education and is sending doctors throughout the developing world to provide health care to the poor.

Cuban Doctors in Venezuela Operate Free Neighborhood Clinics
By Argiris Malapanis and Camilo Cataln
The Militant
Oct 23, 2003

About 250 Cuban doctors, nurses, and technicians had served in Venezuela in recent years, arriving soon after Hugo Chvez was elected president in 1998. But their presence has increased exponentially this year under the Barrio Adentro (Inside the Neighborhood) program. Cuban doctors now provide basic health care to millions of Venezuelans in areas where the toilers had little or no access to medical services. Barrio Adentro was launched in the Libertador municipality of Caracas this spring. By early June, more than 1,000 Cuban doctors were serving in working-class neighborhoods, primarily in and around Caracas. Four months later, their number has more than doubled and their services have reached as far as the industrial city of Puerto Cabello in the state of Carabobo, and peasant communities in the mountainous areas of the state of Lara in northwestern Venezuela.

And not only does Cuba send doctors to help poor working people in the developing world, but ...

Cuba Trains Physicians for Wealthy United States
Fitzhugh Mullan, M.D
New England Journal of Medicine Volume
December 23, 2004

What an irony that poor Cuba is training doctors for rich America, engaging in affirmative action on our behalf, and - while blockaded by U.S. ships and sanctions - spending its meager treasure to improve the health of U.S. citizens.

"I feel as if I'm standing on the backs of all my ancestors. This is a huge opportunity for me," Teresa Glover, a 27-year-old medical student, told me during a recent visit to her medical school. "Nobody in my family has ever had the chance to be a doctor." Glover's mother is a teacher, and her father a dispatcher for the New York subway system. Her background is a mix of African American, Barbadian, and Cherokee. She graduated from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. "I wanted to be a doctor, but I wasn't sure how to get into medicine. I had decent grades, but I didn't have any money, and even applying to medical school cost a lot."

[...]

In her third year, Glover is negotiating the classic passage from the laboratory to the clinic. But her school isn't in the United States. She is enrolled at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM, which is its Spanish acronym) in Havana - a school sponsored by the Cuban government and dedicated to training doctors to treat the poor of the Western hemisphere and Africa. Twenty-seven countries and 60 ethnic groups are represented among ELAM's 8000 students.

[...]

The genesis of Glover's opportunity dates to June 2000, when a group from the Congressional Black Caucus visited Cuban president Fidel Castro. Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) described huge areas in his district where there were no doctors, and Castro responded with an offer of full scholarships for U.S. citizens to study at ELAM. Later that year, Castro spoke at the Riverside Church in New York, reiterating the offer and committing 500 slots to U.S. students who would pledge to practice in poor U.S. communities.

You are an arrogant, ignorant, weakminded dumbass.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 15, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't you look up the difference between GDP and GNI.


Profits are part of each.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

SA,

You have to be an intellectual to believe this. Here's two sentences close to each other, not taken out of context.


Not only is Cuba a leader in biotechnology and cancer research, but it excels in medical education and is sending doctors throughout the developing world to provide health care to the poor.

Despite a stark lack of resources, laboratories in the impoverished suburbs of the capital Havana have made startling strides in developing revolutionary vaccines and antibodies against meningitis, hepatitis, and lung, breast, head and neck cancers.

Cuba's GDP is $40B Europes is $12,500B the USA is $13,500B. Cuba has a stark lack of resources yet they lead the world in medical research.They can't do another friggin thing even decently but they lead the world in medical research.

You've got to be an Ivy League professor.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

I'm speechless. I count myself honored to have been amongst the first to see this pearl of economic wisdom.

I've never see it used as part of a serious, successful economic analysis. The only time it's ever cited is by a doom and gloomer and we all know whenever, wherever, they speak of doom and gloom regarding the American economy they're comically wrong.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

The fact is that the idiotic blockade of Cuba that is fervently supported by ignorant morons like you

What are you babbling about?

The only blockaide on Cuba is managd by Fidels thugs to keep the people on the gulag.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "We can pay for them and we do pay for them. The american consumer is in fine shape."

You are full of shit.

Spend Cycle
By Jessica Bennett
Newsweek
Aug. 9, 2006

For the first time ever recorded, Americans owe more money than they make. Household debt levels have now surpassed household income by more than eight percent, reaching 108.4 percent in 2005, according to a May 2006 study by the Center for American Progress. Consumer debt is now at a record $2.17 trillion, reports the Federal Reserve Board and consumers cashed out a whopping $431 billion in home equity last year.

Christian E. Weller, the author of a recent Center for American Progress (CAP) report, 'Drowning in Debt,' says the middle class, specifically, is struggling. Wages have been stagnant and they're losing the battle to keep up with the cost of living. "The data shows that people are borrowing more money not because of over-consumption, but because they're caught in a bind," says Weller, a senior economist at the CAP. "In that bind, the only escape valve for middle class families is to borrow more money."


Consumer Debt: A Christmas Story
By Christian E. Weller, Derek Douglas
December 1, 2006
Center for American Progress

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the countrys largest retailer and a bellwether for retail spending across the nation, announced after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend that same store sales declined by 0.1 percent in November. This comes after retail sales outside of services had declined for three months in a row by October, according to the Census Bureau. This decline is even more surprising given that consumers spending power grew because of declining oil prices over the same period.

This slowdown in retail spending comes on the heels of a weakening job market, which could lead to slower income growth in the months ahead. Average monthly job creation so far in 2006 stands at 147,000 a 16 percent decline from 2004 levels, the strongest calendar year in terms of job creation in this business cycle, which started in March 2001. In 2004 new jobs per month averaged 175,000; in 2005 they averaged 165,000 per month. Even more worrisome: October marked the second month in a row of declining employment growth. Job growth in October 2006 was less than half of that in August of this year.

Over the past several holiday seasons, retail sales were buoyed by record consumer borrowing even as job growth slowed and housing, energy, and health care costs jumped sharply. By the end of June 2006, the last quarter for which data is available, total consumer debt stood at a record 129.3 percent of disposable income. But will the trend continue this holiday season?

Over the course of the current business cycle, consumer credit relative to disposable income grew more than four times faster than during the 1990s. The rise in debt levels has contributed to higher debt payments, which averaged 14.4 percent of disposable income in the second quarter of 2006, the highest level since the Federal Reserve started collecting these data.


Basics, Not Luxuries, Blamed for High Debt
By Kirstin Downey
Washington Post
May 12, 2006

The debt of the typical American family earning about $45,000 a year rose 33.1 percent from 2001 to 2004, after adjusting for inflation, according to a study based on data compiled from the Federal Reserve Board's most recent Survey of Consumer Finances.

[...]

Real wages, after adjusting for inflation, have been flat since 2001, according to the study, while the cost of big-ticket items for which families pay the most rose. In the past five years, the costs of medical care, housing, food, cars and household operations rose 11.2 percent, the study said. Many families are trying to make up the difference by borrowing ...

Housing debt has climbed notably because home prices have risen and people have borrowed against the equity in their homes. From 1989 to 2004, for example, the median mortgage debt more than doubled, from $46,900 to $96,000.

Education debt, meanwhile, rose 127 percent between 1992 and 2004, from $3,427 to $7,800. Health-care costs rose, too, because insurance has become more costly and employers are shifting more of the expense to workers.

You are, as always, at your most bombastic when you are at your most ignorant.

All you really care about is worshipping the ultra rich.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 15, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

In the past few weeks, as international investors have grown less afraid of US retaliation, a Canadian venture capital firm, York Medical, has secured funds for clinical trials of Cuban cancer vaccines and antibodies.

There is absolutely nothing stopping anyone from Canada or anywhere else from investing in Cuba. The Cuban economy is 0.2% the size of the USA economy. No one in the US cares about Cuba except for ex-cubans.

What socialist nation attracts outside investment?

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "Cuba has a stark lack of resources yet they lead the world in medical research."

Yes, that's exactly right. Cuba is a world leader in biotechnology and cancer research. That's why the US State Department has granted exemptions to the US embargo of Cuba to American and foreign companies, to permit them to license cancer drugs from Cuba.

rdw wrote: "They can't do another friggin thing even decently but they lead the world in medical research."

Thanks for providing a perfect example of your refusal to face facts that show your right-wing extremist propaganda to be a load of ignorant crap.

rdw wrote: "The only blockaide on Cuba is managd by Fidels thugs to keep the people on the gulag."

Do you even know what the Helms-Burton Act is, you ignorant moron?

rdw wrote: "You've got to be an Ivy League professor."

You've got to be the stupidest, most ignorant asshole to ever post a comment on this site.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 15, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "There is absolutely nothing stopping anyone from Canada or anywhere else from investing in Cuba."

Do you even know what the Helms-Burton Act is, you ignorant moron?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 15, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: I've never see it [the current account deficit] used as part of a serious, successful economic analysis.

Well, some folks blame it for a few things:

Mexico 1994
Thailand, S. Korea, Indonesia, etc. 1997
Russia 1998
Brazil 1999
Argentina 2002

But if only you had spouted your pearl of economic wisdom that the current account deficit is "meaningless" back then, so much pain could have been avoided.

Posted by: alex on December 15, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "What socialist nation attracts outside investment?"

Do you even know what China is, you ignorant moron?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 15, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

When rdw raves in one comment about the rapid economic growth in China, and then two comments later asks "What socialist nation attracts outside investment?", I realize I am dealing with someone who is mentally ill and babbling incoherently.

Good night, folks.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 15, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

SA,

The CAP is pitiful. Believe it all you want. The fact is Capitalism is like water. If you know any roofers or anyone who works with stopping water from where it wants to go you've heard the wise adge, "water always wins".

That's how it is with capitalism. We are incredibly wealthy. The roberts family isn't in the top 100 of americans yet only Fidel can approach him among cubans. Roberts is a capitalist who created wealth. Fidel is a socialist meaning his only skill is stealing it. This Cuba has no wealth.

I think what bugs libs is The Roberts family is going to pick and choose who they give their great wealth too and they won't be consulting the libs.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Are you an employee of the Roberts Foundation by chance?

If not, what do you think of the Stowers Family and their attendant charities?

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 15, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist: When rdw raves in one comment about the rapid economic growth in China, and then two comments later asks "What socialist nation attracts outside investment?", I realize I am dealing with someone who is mentally ill and babbling incoherently.

I'm sure you realized it a long time ago, but it's fun!

Tonight though, between his "who invests in socialist nations (like China)" and his "the CAD is meaningless", he's really outdone himself.

Posted by: alex on December 15, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Do you even know what China is, you ignorant moron?

A former socialist govt who started the transition to capitalism in 1989. Investors in China are not investing in socialism. They own their means of production. They own the plants and equipment and prodicts. They are investing because it ISN'T socialism.


Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

The reason I ask about the Stowers family is because they have endowed the Stowers Institute for Biomedical Research with two billion dollars of their personal wealth. Jim and Virginia Stowers support all manner of liberal causes.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 15, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Well, some folks blame it for a few things:

Mexico 1994
Thailand, S. Korea, Indonesia, etc. 1997
Russia 1998
Brazil 1999
Argentina 2002


grossly mis-managed, highly regulated, highly corrupt ecomomies all. No comparison to an open, capitalist economy.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: Investors in China are not investing in socialism. They own their means of production.

Well, them, the People's Liberation Army and the Chinese Communist Party. After all, the CCP has got to do something with all those profits they get from kicking peasants off their land and selling it to foreign investors.

Posted by: alex on December 15, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: grossly mis-managed, highly regulated, highly corrupt ecomomies all

Is that the way you describe the wonder countries of the Asian Economic Miracle, whose economies had been growing at 8-12%/year?

Posted by: alex on December 15, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

After all, the CCP has got to do something with all those profits they get from kicking peasants off their land and selling it to foreign investors.


That's what you get with socialsim isn't it? Could be worse. Mao could still be alive. Rather than butcheringk 30M of his own people He could be up to 300M. That's what socialist regimes do.

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

Is that the way you describe the wonder countries of the Asian Economic Miracle, whose economies had been growing at 8-12%/year?

Mexico, Russia, Brazil, Argentina?

Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK


Friday, December 15, 2006

Rich, [Andy McCarthy]

Respectfully, you are not dealing with what I am saying, or even with the logical consequences of what you are conceding.

You say, "It's always a balancing act, though, and maybe we've been too deferential to the Maliki government[.]" My precise (and explicit) point is: We've been too deferential to the Maliki government.

You then continue: "... but it won't do to wish away the balancing act altogether." I don't know where you find me saying, "Let's do away with the balancing act altogether." I explicitly said, " I am not arguing that we should intentionally sabotage the new Iraqi government, but I really don't think we should worry about it so much." That is, we should balance where we can, but not worry about it where we have more important interests. I would probably balance differently than you would; that hardly means I am doing away with the need to balance.

Here's the difference between us: I am saying outright: We've been too deferential to the Maliki government and we should do what we have to do regardless; you are acknowledging it's possible that we've been too deferential to the Maliki government, which logically means you think there may be things we should do whether the Maliki government is in agreement or not. I'm not sensing a lot of daylight between those two positions.

When you say, "Maybe we have been too deferential to the Maliki government," doesn't that mean perhaps we've been resisting doing things we should be doing out of excessive respect/concern for the Maliki government? And if you think the things we'd otherwise be doing are along the lines of what I've argued we should be doing, how much difference is there between what I am saying and what you are not quite saying?

I fully admit, I am a lot less hopeful about Maliki than most folks around here seem to be, and therefore much less inclined to cut the new Iraqi government slack. But I'm not saying we should overthrow the Maliki government just that we should ignore/pressure it when it's in our interest to do so.

I am also admittedly aggressive about what our interests are. But that's because I've always thought the reason we sent our military to Iraq was a natural extension of the war on terror i.e., as part of the campaign to defeat militant Islam. Propping up popularly elected new regimes is not unrelated to that goal, but it is decidedly subordinate. (Not to be a broken record, but the president has not made the case that popularly elected governments much less democracies in the Middle East will root out militant Islam.) I am not interested in scaling down expectations to something that can be achieved so we can declare a political victory. I want real victory, which is what I thought we got in this for. If militant Islam gets a net gain i.e., if we leave Iraq (a) without defeating al Qaeda and (b) having shown Iran and Syria that terror promotion has no consequences then Iraq is a loss for us, regardless of whether we leave it with a stable government.

As a result, in the balancing of priorities that has to be done, I'm less interested in the new Iraqi government than I am with victory in the war on terror over militant Islam. That doesn't mean I'm uninterested in the new Iraqi government. I just don't think it's as important as destroying al Qaeda and deposing its state sponsors. That I draw the line in a different place doesn't mean I fail to see there is a line.

Posted at 8:13 PM

Timely Reminder [Michael Ledeen]

Just wanted to thank Andrew Stuttaford for his thoughtful words about the Macabees. Great to have friends, etc. etc. I had forgotten that when we celebrate Hannukah we run around with our Bowie knives circumcising the infidels, glad to be reminded. I knew it wasnt really about freedom, but had totally forgotten the details
Posted at 7:40 PM


Kaza: Expansion, Year Six

Editors: Window on The Week -- 12/15/06

Cusey: Worth a Pilgrimage

Hanson: Israel Did it!

Interview: The Barnyard Version of Its a Wonderful Life

Krauthammer: Be Grateful for the ISG

Lowry: The Apocalyptic Centrism of Lou Dobbs

Goldberg: Iraq Needs a Pinochet

Charen: Brave Jimmy Carter?

May: A Plan for Iraq

York: Did the Clinton Administration Spy On Princess Diana? No.

Interview: The French, Fried



Allende, Before the Fall [Jonah Goldberg]

I meant to post this earlier in the week. It's fascinating reading from Time magazine in 1972 from before the Pinochet coup. The e-friend who sent says the (then more liberal) Economist had a piece from a week before the coup saying such a coup would be necessary. But it ain't online. Anyway, an excerpt:

At the same time Chileans have been hit by an inflation of violence. A carabinero (national policeman) was killed in a clash between pro-and anti-Allende forces in Conception in August, and a 17-year-old student died when a tear-gas grenade exploded in his face during a Santiago street brawl last month. As the violence increases, political parties have begun to organize for street warfare. The Communist Party has set up "self-defense committees" throughout Santiago. The Socialists talk of establishing "antifascist brigades." On the other side, a youthful group of extreme rightists called Patria y Libertad talks vaguely of an organization of "shock troops" to combat leftists.

Patria y Libertad has joined the right-wing National Party in something called Proteco (community protection). Their handbook reads like a guide, if not an outright incitement, to civil war. It provides for block chiefs, first aid and surgical facilities, alarm systems and arms caches. "Neither waste nor unduly save your ammunition," the handbook advises. "Concentrate your fire on whoever seems in command or carries the most dangerous weapons. Try to surround your enemies, firing without pity."

Allende has ignored the advice given him by visiting Cuban Premier Fidel Castro last fall that he ought to "eliminate" his opposition. As Allende has publicly warned, civil war would mean "the destruction of our tranquillity for several generations." Even so, there are daily rumors of uprisings. Allende last month announced that he had discovered a plot to overthrow the government. The rebels, he said on television, planned to split the country into eight isolated zones, paralyzing movement in Chile through a transport strike, which would also prevent food supplies from reaching major cities.




Posted by: rdw on December 15, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Someone please throw Johna Goldberg out of a helicopter.

Posted by: SqueakyRat on December 16, 2006 at 7:00 AM | PERMALINK

SqueakyRat.

Search engines are a bitch aren't they? It's amazing how often the NYTs will write an editorial taking a position against Bush only to find out they took the exact opposite position when clinton was President. The more amazing aspect is online fact checkers usually discover the fraud before the papers are even delivered.

My favorite recent stories on Time and Newsweek were on global climatic change in the 70's. The coming ice age. They may not be very accutate but they know which way the wind blows.

Posted by: rdw on December 16, 2006 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

my post of 9.45 was in error. I only intended to post the goldberg section. How I copied the entire group I don't know. But the list of articles caught my attention, especially the article on Frace.

The French, Fried
Surrendering revolutionary values.

An NRO Q&A

National Review Senior Editor (and National Review Online blogger ) David Pryce-Jones is author of a new book called Betrayal: France, the Arabs, and the Jews, published by Encounter . In it he takes us to a France that is a very far cry from libert, galit, fraternit.

Based in large part on research he did digging through the archives of the French foreign ministry (the Quai dOrsay), Pryce-Jones paints a dismal picture of modern-day France and how it got to where it is today. He recently discussed the book and the problem that is France with NRO Editor Kathryn Lopez.

Lopez: Can the U.S. do anything to gently and affectively guide France toward the light? Are there any up-and-coming French politicians who know the problems you outline and would present a real challenge to the establishment there?

Pryce-Jones: Immigration, radical Islam, economic stagnation, and unemployment, the European Union with its disastrous one-size-fits-all monetary and social policies France urgently needs a great man to explain to the nation these different components making for an ever-uglier mess, and it has to be someone strong enough to carry through the necessary reforms. But no such person is on the horizon.

rdw - This is why GWB has walked away from Western Europe, engages Eastern Europe and uses the EU to bring new members up to western legal standards and business practices. France isn't hopeless yet but the further away we are the better.

Lopez: A few years back you wrote the fascinatingly quirky book You Cant Be Too Careful: Cautionary Tales for the Impetuous, the Curious and the Blithely Obvious about bizarre ways people have died. Fans of the book wonder if there is any chance youll write a sequel focusing on Frenchmen?

Pryce-Jones: You Cant Be Too Careful is advice I apply to myself.

Liberals really have no clue as to the deep level of scorn and widespread distrust within the USA for Western Europe. It's a shallow illusion to think this is about GWB. It's impossible Congress would re-authorize the transfer of any troops or the re-opening of any bases in Western Europe. We'll have smalll detachments in places like Romania but NATO exists today only as a shell organization for use by the USA for coalitions of the willing led by the USA. It has no other fuction or use independent of the USA.

Liberals 'seem' to think once GWB is gone Europe will return as a 'natural' ally. We'll be popular again. Conservatives don't seek popularity. We seek serious allies and Western Europe hasn't been a serious ally in decades. The difference between 2006 and 1996 is most Americans understand this.

If you have any doubts about America's future look in any large companies annual report for the last 15 years. It's all about Asia. It's never about Western Europe. You know the old sauing about following the money.


Posted by: rdw on December 16, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Another article caught my attention from VDH:

Israel Did it!
When in doubt, shout about Israel.

By Victor Davis Hanson

These are strange times.

Perennially beleaguered Israel, for instance, was hit all summer long with rockets from Lebanon and Gaza, as the world watched and kept score in an absurd new game of proportionality: Israel was to be blamed because its hundreds of air strikes against combatants were lethal, while Hezbollah was to be excused for shooting off thousands of rockets aimed at civilians because of its relative incompetence.

......

They might examine, for instance, an excerpt from the recent statements of the Palestinian-born Al-Jazeera editor-in-chief, Ahmed Sheikh, who granted an interview this month with Pierre Heumann, the Middle East correspondent of the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche. He is not a mere propagandist, but a keen and influential observer of the current Arab temperament.


Sheikh: In many Arab states, the middle class is disappearing. The rich get richer and the poor get still poorer. Look at the schools in Jordan, Egypt or Morocco: You have up to 70 youngsters crammed together in a single classroom. How can a teacher do his job in such circumstances? The public hospitals are also in a hopeless condition. These are just examples. They show how hopeless the situation is for us in the Middle East.

Heumann: Who is responsible for the situation?

Sheikh: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most important reasons why these crises and problems continue to simmer. The day when Israel was founded created the basis for our problems. The West should finally come to understand this. Everything would be much calmer if the Palestinians were given their rights.

Heumann: Do you mean to say that if Israel did not exist, there would suddenly be democracy in Egypt, that the schools in Morocco would be better, that the public clinics in Jordan would function better?

Sheikh: I think so.

Heumann: Can you please explain to me what the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has to do with these problems?

Sheikh: The Palestinian cause is central for Arab thinking.

Heumann: In the end, is it a matter of feelings of self-esteem?

Sheikh: Exactly. Its because we always lose to Israel. It gnaws at the people in the Middle East that such a small country as Israel, with only about 7 million inhabitants, can defeat the Arab nation with its 350 million. That hurts our collective ego. The Palestinian problem is in the genes of every Arab. The Wests problem is that it does not understand this.

How strange that Mr. Sheikh, if for the wrong reasons, has inadvertently echoed the neoconservative thesis that only with fundamental reform will come Arab prosperity a progress that in turn will bolster the collective ego enough for Arabs to forget an Israel that seems to gnaw at the Middle East.

.........
Finally, there is yet another irony to Mr. Sheikhs lamentations (which we will apparently soon be privileged to hear, when al Jazeera goes live in English throughout the West): Where alone in the Middle East is there his dream of an Arab middle class of sorts? Where do Arabs have good schools? And where is there adequate medical care?

Ask the over one million Palestinians who live in a democratic Israel.


Posted by: rdw on December 16, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

global citizen, snicker-snack, SA, Etc.

The above is but a tiny snippet of the change in Media in the last 20 years that has mandated the death-knell for European style liberalism.

Never in a million years would brilliant writers such as Victor David Hanson or Mark Steyn or Charles Krauthammer have been given access by the MSM. Today it doesn't matter. With talk radio and the internet these scholars are more widely read than any of the columnists of the NYTs or WashPost and far more influencial. The conservative book and speakers tour is very lucrative.

The 1M readers of the New York Times will never read of Sterns book 'America Alone' in a NYTs book review because they'll never mention it. Yet it's a NYTs best seller just the same. The 2M readers of the WSJ did see a nice review. Steyn has been all over talk tadio, even a rare Limbaugh interview, was well as all over Fox as well as the blogs as well as the standard book signing/speaking tour as well as amazon.com and his own websites sales.

I've been on a wait list at the area library for a month. I used to be shocked the libraries would even carry these books but conservatives have been requesting and getting them.

The reason polls for Western Europe, and more specifically France, are in the toilet is because we know so much more about Western Europe. ABC considers the relationship critical with France the model for American policy. Thus their coverage is so sanitized it's little more than propaganda. Fortunately the new media allows us to find out the real story.

For example the Food for Palace scandal would never have broken in 1985. The grand theft would not have been uncovered and even if it were, not reported. In 2005 it was big time news educating Americans about the UN, Kofi Annan, France, Germany, Russia, etc. Polls reflect the effects.

It's so over for the old NATO alliance and it's over on both sides of the Atlantic. Nations change and their interests change as well. We have very different interests.

Posted by: rdw on December 16, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Web Surpasses Newspapers
12/15 01:56 PM - Media Culture

More people go online than read newspapers, according to a new government survey:

WASHINGTON Americans spend more time watching TV, listening to the radio, surfing the Internet and reading newspapers, it seems, than anything else except breathing.

In fact, media use has risen every year since the start of the decade, helped by faster and easier ways to get information and entertainment, according to statistics in a new government report. [...]

Americans spend an average of 4 1/2 hours a day watching TV, far more time than they spend on any other medium. Next come the radio and the Internet. Reading newspapers is fourth, passed this year by Internet use.

*********************

IN the post above my reference to the death-knell for European style liberalism I meant to specify inside the USA and not suggest inside Europe. In fact one of the reasons Conservatives don't give Western Europe any respect is their bleak economic future which is due to their liberalism and which they have no intention of abandoning. Thus the Western European habit very low economic growth will continue well into the future.

The above reinforces my point the MSM isn't near what it used to be and the trajectory of a freer press led by talk radio and the internet and the related trajectory of ever worsening relations with Western Europe and the UN is actually just beginning.

The fact talk radio and the internet are ranked #2 and #3 is very bad news for liberalism. Neither existed in 1985.

Posted by: rdw on December 16, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

BESTSELLERS

(Dec 16, 2006)

Compiled from sales by more than 250 Canadian independent booksellers for the week ending Dec. 9. Bracketed figures indicate number of weeks on list.

HARDCOVER NON-FICTION

1 (1) America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It Mark Steyn

Posted by: rdw on December 16, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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