Energy and science in America are in big, big trouble

By Phil Plait | November 10, 2010 7:18 am

With the elections last week, the Republicans took over the House once again. The list of things this means is long and troubling, but the most troubling to me come in the forms of two Texas far-right Republicans: Congressmen Ralph Hall and Joe Barton.

TXRepRalphHallThe former, you may remember, tried to scuttle a science innovation and education bill by adding a rider to it making it illegal to pay the salaries of government employees who watch porn on work computers. When the bill finally passed, he then made incredibly hypocritical statements about the Democrats in order to scapegoat them.

Yeah, so that guy? He’s set to take over the House Committee on Science and Technology. Terrific.

joe_bartonThe latter, Joe Barton, is quite simply an embarrassment. He is most famous for apologizing to then BP President Tony Hayward for the government being mean to the oil company, after BP dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The havoc that leak unleashed is only just now coming to light. Congressman Barton also is a climate change denier, and went so far as to write a very misleading editorial in the Washington Post about it.

So yeah, of course he’s angling to be head of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Did I mention that Representative Barton has also received more money from the oil and gas industry than any other member of Congress? I’m sure that won’t interfere at all with any decisions he’ll have to make about the industry. It’s not like he would ever have to apologize again now is it?

It’s possible Barton won’t get the seat, since he’s been the Republican leader of the Committee for six years, the limit. The party will have to grant him a waiver for the seat, and even they are embarrassed by his apology to Hayward (note the source of that link). So we’ll see. But the others trying to get the seat are no better; all of them are climate change deniers.

And if you think I’m exaggerating — and oh, how I wish I were– there has already been talk on the Republican side of holding hearing to investigate "scientific fraud" of climate change. Mind you, these are people who still talk about Climategate as if it held any water, and wasn’t simply a hugely trumped-up attack with no real meat behind it.

I am not looking forward to the next two years. Maybe I’ll invest in an antacid company. I’m sure their stock’s about to rise.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Piece of mind, Politics

Comments (213)

  1. Is it too late to give Texas back to Mexico?

  2. Dunc

    Is it too late to give Texas back to Mexico?

    Oh, sure, you break it and then you give it back. I’m pretty sure they don’t want it any more – it’s got drool all over it.

  3. Terry

    If government didn’t have as huge of a control over science and technology budgets…

    If you ask someone to pay for something, you have to be ready for them to own it. You can’t expect that the people you give power to today will be the same people to have that power tomorrow.

    As far as Joe Barton, that is a problem. I don’t care how buddy-buddy he is with BP. I would expect a certain degree of civility in our public discourses, but it is hypocritical when Barton bashes other people. Again who cares. The guy could yell at everyone and watch porn on his computers all day and as long as he gets the job done, fine. The problem is that the job he will do is bad because he actively denies one argument. The problem would be just as bad if an environmentalist set energy policy. You need to be able to rationally listen to all arguments, environmental, economic, and geopolitical, and make a decision from there.

  4. Brasidas

    Yay climate change deniers in power in US.

    Really guys putting your fingers in your ears and singing lalalalalala will absolutely prepare the US for the consequences of runaway industrialisation. Honest, us Europeans are just wasting our money preparing – it won’t give us any advantages over your lalalalalala-ing because AGW is a myth. Really. Honest.

    Also the Co2 fairies (don’t ask don’t tell) will whisk the nasty stuff away and leave all Republicans a shiny nickel under their pillows.

  5. Geremy

    It’s guys like this that give the state I love a bad name.

  6. jfb

    I tried, but unfortunately neither of those chuckleheads are in my district (TX-10). Every other year we get a token Democrat to run against Michael McCaul, but the way our district is drawn there are 10 committed Republican votes for every Democratic vote.

    And it’s going to get worse; it’s a redistricting year and the GOP owns the Lege. By the next election, the Democratic vote will be almost completely diluted. Austin’s already split between four districts; I wouldn’t be surpised if it gets split up even further.

    I’m a fifth-generation Texan, and there’s a lot of things I do love about Texas, but for the first time in my life I’m seriously considering moving somewhere else.

  7. Terry

    @Brasidas: Nice smugness. Runaway industrialization and enlightened Europeans. Way to add to a debate. So the climate is a simple system that only an idiot would fail to understand, right?

    Strange that the same people who are concerned about runaway industrialization are also the ones that support big government, since that naturally leads to runaway industrialization. You can’t have a huge industrial infrastructure without a big government to make it possible. Not saying I don’t want a little bit of industrialization, I like being able to read Bad Astronomy on the internet which was created because we had extremely cheap energy and high industrialization, but the two are definitely connected.

  8. Peptron

    The only rational explanation I have is that those people are spies sent by the Chinese communist party to bring down the US so that China can rise as 1st power.

  9. Keith (the first one)

    I wonder if it’s stuff like this that’s seeing American science based companies (at least in my field – aerospace) like Lockheed Martin and Boeing increasing their work in the UK. What if the USA soon enters a sort of dark age through having a general anti-science public and a lack of competent science graudates.

  10. Hasn’t science been broken in the US for years? And, of course, you’ve got your own oil, just like we do in the UK (even though ours is the wrong sort), so it’s not surprising that as long as that oil flows into the pockets of the people with money (scientists aren’t exactly known for being wealthy), then those people are going to continue to ensure that it keeps flowing that way.

    Why should they give money to scientists for research? Oh yeah, I forgot, they should pay for research in order to find out how to make more money, or failing that, how to keep hold of the money that they’ve already got. Why waste it on finding out about ‘that dark mutter stuff or whatever it’s called? Is it oil? Will it make me rich?’ and ‘Why should I care about the climate? I’ll be long dead before it starts to hurt. Anyway, everybody loves sunshine, don’t they?’

    SNAFU.

  11. Daffy

    Given U.S. history since 1994, how can ANYONE who is not a completely lunatic support the Republican party? And don’t give me that “lesser of two evils” crap. Evil is still evil.

  12. @8 – Cool! Come over here! The water’s lovely (apart from the chlorine, flouride, aluminium, ‘organic particulates’ and other rubbish that seems to seep in)! Mebbe we can get high tech industry to base their HQs here as well! Add their effluent to our rich and diverse water table!

  13. Minos

    @jfb: Texas gerrymandering is practically a wonder of modern cartography.

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/findyourreps.xpd?state=TX

  14. Daniel J. Andrews

    Nonsense Peptron–they’re spies sent by the Canadian socialist government to bring down the US so that Canada can rise as a 1st power. We’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of the US who will come begging to our border for fresh water and affordable energy. We’ll sell our green technology at ‘bargain’ prices for our short-sighted neighbours who actively undermined themselves, and we’ll…..

    ….oh damn. Forgot the Harper gov’t (aka GWB, Jr) is running the show. Scratch that. We’re just as screwed.

    desmogblog.com/stephen-harper-war-climate-science

  15. @ Daffy:

    1994?! Puh-leeze! You can shoot back a couple more decades, easily. And trust me, I wish you could shoot back a couple more decades.

    No, I kid. Honest Mr. Homeland Security man, I jest. Really! Whuh…? Stop that. I didn’t…. B-but it was all a…. aaaaaieeeeeeeeeee!

  16. Owen

    Would you Americans please get your act together and elect some intelligent politicians (if you have any that is)

  17. Derek

    It really is time for American scientists to become much more politically active.

    I can tell you, as a non-American with the option of opening an office in America, I’m leaning towards India. And that is partly for economic reasons and partly because of America returning to the dark ages, and Asia rising from them.

  18. Martin Hajovsky

    It’s like the whole country took out the first team and instead installed a bunch of drunk fans from the upper deck.

    And @jfb, I’m like you, a sixth generation Texan and most of the time these days I just walk around shaking my head at the travesty my state has become.

  19. PJ

    I keep thinking that maybe if I stay in Texas, I can help make a difference. I’m starting to lose hope.

  20. David P

    You may be fiscally conservative and that is a valid view point however when you vote republican you buy into their social conservatism and are left with values that will ruin America.

    On a side note, not being an American myself, I do not have a clue how industry giving politicians money to push their agenda is not just called a bribe. I think it would be just about anywhere else in the world.

  21. Owen

    America
    “The Greatest Democracy Money can buy”

  22. @Dunc,

    Well, to be fair, that’s not our drool. I think it got there when the Texas school board members frothed at the mouth over religion and school being mixed… both against it (“pro-Islam statements in textbooks”) and for it (“teach the ‘controversy’ of Evolution vs. Creationism… I mean Intelligent Design.”)

  23. @David P,

    I think one of the big problems here is that corporations are considered “persons” by the courts. Once this was established, it was a short hop to make sure we protect these “people’s” First Amendment right of Freedom of Speech. (In this case, “speech” being giving tons of money to politicians.) Of course, corporations only get the upsides of person-status. If they cause someone to get hurt or die, they don’t get sent to jail. The worst that will happen is some high-level executive will get the boot (with a nice severence package) and the company will get a slap-on-the-wrist fine or a firm finger wagging. (“Shame on you naughty corporation! Go sit in the corner for a minute and you THINK about what you did! There. That’ll fix ‘em.”)

  24. PaulKrugmansCat

    Honest, us Europeans blah blah whatever kthx

    *snore*

    The Copenhagen summit was fun. Where’s the next one? Mexico I think? That should save you a few euros to pour into Greece or repair damages from the next retirement age riots. ;-)

    Walter Russell Mead had the best summary: “Climate change is the issue that Europe has tried to make its own. Europe wasn’t in the room when the Big Five cut the Copenhagen deal, and the deal didn’t give Europe very much. I’ve written before that much of Europe looks at America the way Wile E. Coyote looks at the Road Runner. The coyote is smart, sophisticated and technically savvy. The roadrunner is an ignorant buffoon. Yet, somehow, the coyote never catches the roadrunner. This week, the coyote fell off yet another cliff while the roadrunner sped off. Beep! Beep!

    I don’t understand how adding a rider to punish people watching porn on the taxpayers dime *kills* a bill. Why would someone not vote for that? In the private sector watching porn at work gets you fired. Period. Well, unless you’re an editor at a porn company, of course.

    What is with this idea that public sector employees need to be protected from ever being let go ever under any circumstances? It’s like teachers here in California. You practically have to video tape a teacher committing mass murder before you can get them fired, and even then they’ll probbaly just be put on full pay leave for years while the department “investigates” the matter.

  25. Terry

    @Daffy: I don’t understand how any rational thinker can think that the Republicans and the Democrats are significantly different.

    The Republicans support welfare programs now. They argue about too much welfare, but not about getting rid of it. They are arguing over fine-tuning.

    The Democrats support greater policing of crime. They think that jails should have more social programs, but they don’t try to shut down jails anymore.

    The Republicans, except some outliers, support the concept of the Fed these days, an inherently Keynesian concept, an economic theory that has been castigated in literature for the last 30 years but still governs government, including Bush and Obama.

    The Democrats haven’t pulled out of Iraq or Afghanistan and still have Guantanamo open.

    The Republicans want to ban free speech. The Democrats want to ban free speech. The Republicans want to remove personal liberties. The Democrats want to remove personal liberties. They’re both the same side of the same coin, just looked at through different colored filters. I see just as much wrong with banning small toys from happy meals and banning cigarettes as I do with eliminating sexual education in schools.

    I have no respect for anyone who identifies as a Democrat or a Republican or who villainizes one party to the benefit of the other. Democrat and Republican aren’t political philosophies, they are political compromises done up wholesale to make it easier for the unthinking to align themselves.

    I have more respect for a person that tells me they are a full-bearded Marxist, even though I think they adhere to an idiotic theory, than someone who tells me they are a Democrat or a Republican, because they usually have thought about it and have a reason WHY. I have more respect for an independent than either party because they are the ones who decide elections and usually decide for themselves.

  26. Terry

    Technydad: “I think one of the big problems here is that corporations are considered “persons” by the courts. Once this was established, it was a short hop to make sure we protect these “people’s” First Amendment right of Freedom of Speech. (In this case, “speech” being giving tons of money to politicians.) Of course, corporations only get the upsides of person-status. If they cause someone to get hurt or die, they don’t get sent to jail. The worst that will happen is some high-level executive will get the boot (with a nice severence package) and the company will get a slap-on-the-wrist fine or a firm finger wagging.”

    THIS!

    Of course, the consistency principle also means that Unions would have no right to protection and free speech either, but meh. We do that with government agencies. You can’t sue the Department of Defence, but you can sue Robert Gates, that kinda thing. Why don’t we do that with corporations and Unions?

  27. “I think one of the big problems here is that corporations are considered “persons” by the courts.

    THIS THIS.

    This country was founded on principles of human rights. When business, i.e. money, became more important than people, our descent to second-rate banana republic was set.

  28. Maria A.

    This is making me sick. Perhaps, at 87 years old, Hall wont make it through the next two years? Not being evil, just saying.

  29. Jake

    Militant atheists have only themselves to blame for this state of affairs. They declare that Science and Reason are the enemies of Faith, and don’t expect anti-science backlash from people of faith? Sadly and to his discredit, Phil contributes to the current toxic atmosphere with his mocking brand of “skepticism.”

    There should be no conflict. To the enlightened person of faith, Science is another path to discovering the glory of God. In ages past, Science and Faith happily coexisted. Many of the great discoveries were made by men of faith: Mendel, Priestly, Darwin, Einstein.

    But militant atheists have declared that Science is the antithesis of Faith, and that it will eventually bring down religion. Why should they be surprised when religious conservatives take them at their word, and therefore turn their own “skeptical” eyes on science?

  30. Dante The Canadian

    I hate to see what’s happening with my neighbours to the south. The ultra-conservative Right seem to be taking hold more and more and these last elections seem to prove that. The economy is still in trouble, social programs are failing, the debt has risen to unprecedented levels, 2 wars are STILL being fought, the government (regardless of which party is running it) seem to be in the pockets of lobbyists and big business, and the people have been misguided.

    Hence why the turn to more conservative idealisms. Science is in trouble in America, especially if the continued trend towards neo-conservatism continues. How can school districts and whole states even CONSIDER teaching creationism still dumbfounds me. That alone tells me that the US is regressing into a backwards thinking society. As for Canada, even with Harper and the PC leading our country, they are liberal thinkers when compared to the Republicans south of the boarder. Canada will be fine and, believe it or not, is poised to become a leading economic power this century.

  31. Flashdance

    Is that the same energy committee that chose to ignore the advice allegedly offered by the Oceanography Department of Southampton University (UK), which suggested that the technology was not sufficiently advanced to support safe drilling at the depths proposed by BP and their consortium in the Gulf of Mexico, prior to the licence being granted?

  32. Daffy

    “This country was founded on principles of human rights. When business, i.e. money, became more important than people, our descent to second-rate banana republic was set.”

    Well said.

  33. Flashdance

    Was Joe Barton the guy who opposing the teaching of modern languages in Texan schools allegedly said that if English was good enough for Jesus Christ it was good enough for Texan school children> Presumably then, they are all now being taught in Aramaic.

  34. Zetetic

    It’s just the Republican politicians following what is now the official Republican party motto…

    “If the facts don’t conform to dogma, then bury the truth. Let someone else worry about fixing the mess.”

    Here’s an example….
    Rachel Maddow explores the Right Wing Echo Chamber

    Unfortunately the Republican party seems to think that the inmates should be running the asylum, as long as it keeps them in power.

  35. kkozoriz

    Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), who will seek the Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship maintains that we do not have to worry about climate change because God promised in the Bible not to destroy the world again after Noah’s flood.

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/11/10/919187/-House-energy-chair-hopeful-Shimkus-cites-Gods-promise-to-Noah-to-debunk-global-warming

  36. Terry

    @26 Dante: This isn’t Neo-conservatism. Neo-conservatism isn’t fundamentalist. They two concepts dont’ sit well with each other actually. Just like banning happy meals is not IN ANY WAY a liberal concept. It’s progressive, but not liberal. Neo-conservatives want to interfere in other countries in order to bring about democracy and political liberalism (not to be confused with the American ideal of the same name). Very specifically, Neo-conservatives differentiate themselves as being secular. Neo-cons are most defined because they believe in the Democratic Peace theory of International Relations, meaning that they want to seek greater engagement with other countries and not less, like many of the current electees to congress. They support the welfare-state in a limited way.

    Neo-cons are essentially the most MODERATE of Republicans, because they share many beliefs with the Democrats.

  37. Cheyenne

    It’s utterly amazing how so many people utterly lose their minds after every election….some of these comments are a bit, um, over the top.

    And Phil – COMPETES needs Senate auth now still right? Remember your original ire (what you link to above) was over the misunderstanding that sending a bill back “with instruction” would kill it. In your Mea Culpa post you corrected that notion. Bill went back, had some provisions that were more friendly to the conservative side inserted, came back out, and was passed something like 5 days later. Senate now is more Republican than earlier right? At the end of the day, Hall’s actions may have actually helped this bill. And the porn thing come on – I think you still don’t get what happened there.

  38. Michel

    So, death, after all will not come from the skies…

  39. They should have let Texas be its own wacky wild west sideshow country 150 years ago and we wouldn’t have to be dealing with these yahoos today. Just one displaced Yankee’s opinion.

  40. Sometimes I wonder if, in the next century, rather than being a general human enterprise, science will become a secret society, advancing humanity in secret with its practitioners getting burned at the stake when discovered by the general population.

    Actually I think that the next two years won’t be so bad. If fact, I think the Democrats may actually be happy with the outcome of the election. The well publicized victory of the Republicans puts them on the hook. But, what will happen is that between the President’s veto power and the still Democrat controlled Senate, everything the House Republicans try will get blocked. When nothing changes over the next two years, the voters will ask the Republicans, “What did you do?” The Republicans will have no answer.

  41. Terry

    @34 Daniel: Better than having to talk around “I bankrupted your grandchildren’s kids.” The government that governs least governs best.

  42. Oh, that’s . . . that’s just great.

    People like my dad read about this and see it as proof that global warming is a hoax. After all, there sure does seem to be a lot of people in high places that disagree with it.

    This morning, driving to work, I heard the following advertisement on the radio (Paraphrased, because I don’t have a perfect memory):

    “Have you noticed your power bills going up? Wind power may be the reason. As Oklahoma power companies begin using wind power, YOU will end up picking up the tab. Just how secure of an investment IS wind power? Find out, and discover just what you stand to lose, this Thursday on Channel 25 News.”

    I . . .

    I’m sad now.

  43. Orlando
  44. flibbertigibbet

    This sucks. What short memories you American folks have… these Republicans screw you over, so you bring in Democrats, and when they fail to magically fix every problem left by the Republicans, you re-elect Republicans? What the What?

    I’m also frustrated about this, because I don’t know if you realize this or not (which being readers of Phil, you probably do), but your political situation and take on science and climate change directly affects my government’s take on it, because, they don’t want to piss off your government. Sigh. I’m sure Mexico is in a similar situation.

    I’m kind of left with the feeling that North America needs to have its media and political systems overhauled in a drastic way so the interests of the PEOPLE, not organizations are actually represented.

  45. Paul

    Isn’t a system that allows completely unrelated riders to be attached to bills broken from the the word go?

    Oh right, without all the pork encouraging riders, nothing would ever get passed.

  46. JohnW

    @Techydad – the First Amendment applies to no one except Congress.

  47. Paul

    @29 Terry: Neocon has a different meaning in some Canadian circles, used in the derogatory sense
    – to dismiss anyone “I” disagree with
    – against anyone with any religious belief (Christian only)
    – anyone who thinks “profit” is acceptable
    – to dismiss anyone to the right on Ralph Nader
    It has no connection to actual Neo-conservatism, and can replace the other n-word in Godwin’s law.

  48. Chris

    And Phil you keep saying the world won’t end in 2012. All that is left is for the Four Horsemen to come riding in. The end times are here! Ah Earth, it was nice knowing you.

  49. frustrating….

    (my maxim… teach yer kids, don’t trust others)

  50. 24601

    Does Canada still have jobs available? Or maybe Scotland? I’d like to go to Scotland if I can. :-)

  51. Ron1

    @ 34. Terry Says: ” The government that governs least governs best.”

    Hmm, Afghanistan and Somalia sure don’t demonstate that point.

    If anything, the last 20 years have clearly demonstated that rigid communism (central government control) and capitalism (massively de-regulated markets) are both abject failures and those countries with mixed economies (ie. Canada and the northern European nations) are the most successful and their citizens have the highest quality of life.

    The government that governs in the best interest of all its citizens (not just the wealthy or corporate) governs best.

  52. Terry

    Ahem… THE SYSTEM WAS BUILT TO BE BROKEN. Bicameralism and division of powers was to prevent the system from being hijacked by any one group of thinkers. These people taking over in the House, sucks for the house, but its good for the country because it slows it down.

    For the media, which now includes the blogosphere, its also good because building emotional responses and getting a fan base worked up works better than informing everyone, “Hey guys, we got some real idiots here. Thank god they aren’t going to be able to get anything done for a few more years since no one up there can agree. At least the system is working the way it is supposed to.” Fear sells, however so, “Dread these two from the House of Representatives, for it will rain down horror upon us.”

    And as far as investigating “Science Fraud” of GW, maybe that will backfire, maybe it will be a kangaroo court. Just remember that economics trumps government regulation. People will find a way to make get things and to get rid of things. If you regulate it, they will make it more complex tangles to do so, but you won’t stop it.

  53. khan

    —18. David P Says
    You may be fiscally conservative and that is a valid view point however when you vote republican you buy into their social conservatism and are left with values that will ruin America.—

    When have the Republicans been fiscally conservative?

  54. MaDeR

    I think future historians will agree that fall of USA started in our times, ironically beginning just after fall of other world superpower.

    This fall will not be finished tomorrow, not in year nor decade. Every great empire in history falls for hundred years and USA is not exception.

    Teach your kids Chinese. This will be useful for second half of their life.

    And for me… I hope to die relatively peacefully in my little nation inside bureaucratic hellhole called EU, long before any “interesting” consequences of USA retarded insanity hits fan. Take that, Reality!

  55. Todd Boughn

    Isn’t this the same guy who said we’re going to be OK because god promised not to destroy the world again after the flood? Yeah, we’re screwed.

  56. Robert B.

    “Global warming is a left wing conspiracy, evolution is a myth, the world is flat and only 6000 years old because the Bible tells me so.” FOX Tea Party/Republican Science Division.

  57. Scott B

    You continue to confuse science with policy. Science is only one input into policy decisions. There are policies that make sense to even a “denier” that would reduce CO2 emissions. I’m thankful that we don’t have to worry about the damage to the economy that would be caused by the typical liberal “fixes” that wouldn’t fix anything about global warming. I’m far less happy about the other problems having Republicans back will cause but, being financially conservative and socially liberal, I’m used to having to flop back and forth between our two parties.

  58. Beth

    Why is it that creationism does not require the same rigorous ‘scrutiny’ that the far right uses to dismiss climate change?

  59. Daffy

    Somebody please provide evidence—ANY EVIDENCE—that Republicans are in any way “fiscally conservative.” Honestly, did people sleep through the Bush years? With Republicans in control of everything, the federal government went on a MASSIVE, giddy spending spree that we will be paying for—well, forever.

    And yes, the Democrats have done nothing to reign it in since they took over…and no one is claiming they are fiscally conservative. But to call the Republican party fiscally conservative requires a set of blinders that would cover King Kong’s eyes.

  60. Terry

    @ 44: You think that Afghanistan and Somalia are examples of governments governing least? They were both governed by intrusive governments or religious groups that declared themselves governments. The argument can be made that Somalia was and continues to be almost completely UNgoverned (pun not intended but funny when it was noticed).

    If you look at the last 20 years, you are looking at too narrow a scope. If you looked at the last 20 years for global warming, would that be far enough? The last twenty years have been some heady days due to nearly free energy, industrial versatility and tremendous changes in technology and society.

    I say government should govern least, not that it should govern not at all. Anarchy is not an ideal. My philosophy is the philosophy of liberty and that means that political, religious, or economic imposition on others is morally wrong. I also happen to believe that it is unsustainable.

    What is the most influential medical technology or innovation in use today? The second? The third? If we look at the long list, how many of those do you think are going to have been made in countries with mixed economies and how many are going to be in free market economies?

    On your last point, I will agree with you completely. Government that governs in the best interests of all people, not just the wealthy, OR THE POOR OR THE MINORITY OR THE CORPORATIONS OR THE UNIONS OR THE well, you get the idea…

  61. Scott B

    @60. Daffy:

    The Republicans aren’t in charge of everything though. There’s a good chance with a Dem President that the Republicans will block most additional spending (unless it’s for the military, sigh…).

  62. Terry

    @55 Robert B.: “Free Market Economies are inherently exploitative, people who hate welfare are racist, everyone should DO THEIR PART to help, Printing money to boost the economy is helpful”. MSNBC Economics/Politics Division.

    Still, your point is taken. Anti-science is just as bad and dangerous as other forms of unthinking debate.

  63. Mark Schaffer

    Terry,
    Care to explain how decreasing government will not lead to an increase in short sighted destructive behavior that ends up killing liberty loving nuts like you?

  64. textguzzler

    flibbertigibbet said @ 36
    I’m sure Mexico is in a similar situation.

    Not really. Mexico is fully aware of global warming, and is right now pushing harder than the US for CO2 emissions reduction, within our limitations.
    But anyway, we really aren’t much concerned with your shooting your own feet… it’s your right as a people to do so if you wish – as expressed in the ballots.

    We are more concerned at the moment about the illegal flow of arms from the US to the drug cartels, which we suspect a Republican congress won’t do much to hinder.
    My $ 0.02.

  65. Daffy

    Scott B, actually I think that is exactly why the budget was—sort of–balanced with a surplus by the end of Clinton’s term. The two parties canceled each other out. But that’s too complicated: the average American voter wants simple, bumper sticker solutions. Even if they make no sense (Reagan proved that).

  66. RMcbride

    Republicans can be counted on to:
    1 deregulate to the point that companies can pollute with impunity
    2 make it impossible or at least as difficult as possible to sue industry (say for dumping sludge in your back yard)
    3 lower taxes. Especially for the upper brackets.

    Folks taxes are the cost of civilization.

  67. Ron1

    Terry …

    My point is one of balance. As civil societies, the western countries already have massive civil liberties and, aside from the restrictions enacted as a result of the attacks of September 2001, those liberties are not at risk. Notwithstanding the 911 restrictions (and putting aside the complaints of haters in all our societies), we are probably the most free societies in history and have the most liberty to say and do what we please.

    When you think about it, these liberties are directly the result of our governments who moderately level the playing field by funding education, medical care, science research, industry regulators, police, the military and all those other social expenses that make our societies modern and civil. Prior to the modern age, with its more level playing field, the wealthy and powerful had far more liberties than their less wealthy and powerful peers.

    Unfortunately, as Dr Plait’s post makes clear, we are dumbing down our societies and returning them to the days when the wealthy and powerful preyed on their less powerful and aware peers – and we’re doing it to ourselves.

    Cheers

  68. I am sure as hell glad the Obama has kept science unpolitical and stuff… oh wait the moratorium on drilling was ideologically driven and not scientifically? Then the report was edited by the White House.

    The only thing that stinks more than Phil’s political blogging… I kid, I kid. Nothing stinks more than that.

    Phil, promote science via its merits, not comparing it to the (very often) bad behavior of others. You demean yourself and science.

  69. Daffy

    The Arquette Sisters—if you object to political blogging, why did you feel the need to poke at Obama? Oh, right, only Democrats can be criticized.

    When are conservatives going to realize that by excusing their own party’s malfeasance, they are actually part of the problem. One thing you can say for Democratic voters—they will generally switch parties if their candidate is not what they want. Republicans for the most part have convinced themselves that Democrats are the work of the devil, and ANYTHING is better. Ridiculous, of course, but there it is.

  70. Terry

    Um… first, I take offense to being called a nut. You’ll notice that I haven’t called anyone a tree-hugging nut or socialist yet. I believe in discourse and that means relative politeness. I will attack peoples arguments, but I avoid attacking them. That said, I am nuts about liberty and I don’t mind explaining.

    Most of the destructive behavior we see nowadays is a function of government involvement, not something that comes about without it. We had complex financial products that hid bad lending practices and sold those and guaranteed investment returns. The reason that this happened is that complex laws make an incentive for financial institutions to build complex products to avoid regulatory oversight. They will make the economy move because people want things. You get in the way of the flow, and it will move around you. It WILL NOT STOP. Thats like trying to dam a river. You can stop the flow of the water, but the water has to go somewhere (relief channels, evaporation pools, new water flows) but all of it is more complex than if you just let the water flow.

    That said, you still might want to dam that river, and you still might HAVE to dam that river. Exploitative practices will happen, but they are increased when the people who exploit are not held accoutable for their actions (were back to talking about economics). Should BP be investigated for their hand in the Gulf oil spill, hell yes! So should the EPA and the regulators. The problem is that most of these exploitative practices are made possible by the government. Some are not, and the government has a purpose in mitigating those, but some are.

    For example, the formation of monopolies. The heyday of this was the late-1800s during the industrialization of America. The government was not the savior from these monopolies… they ENCOURAGED them. They made them possible and gave incentive to make them happen. The same is true for the monopolization of the airwaves. By regulating the airwaves, they made it possible for a few rich donors to get richer. Look at what happened when RCA went up against Armstrong.

    Short-sited, destructive behavior is actually caused by too much government, not too little. When people and companies don’t have to worry about failure, they don’t have to worry too much about success either. People are encouraged not to take chances and not to try hard. You are encouraged to keep your head down, not to strive harder. Shortsighted outlooks for companies are created by an economic policy that rewards short term growth but penalizes longterm development. A company or individual that looks to its own survival will instead work longterm to shore up its reserves, but it doesn’t have to do so as long as it can just declare bankruptcy and ignore its debts and obligations or get a bailout from the deep pockets.

    The government needs to be there for some specific reasons. It needs to be there to prevent the exploitation of the workers, such as in sweatshops. It needs to be able to be able to accurately punish and probe businesses for criminal practices. It needs to prevent the theft of life, liberty, or property.

    The simple calculus is this. How many people have businesses killed in the history of mankind? And how many people have governments? Our (U.S.) government is founded on the principle that government can be exploitive if left unchecked. It has become exploitative in America. It has spent Trillions of dollars to keep itself in business. Trillions. More dollars than there are stars in the galaxy. Possibly more starts than their are planets. Since the government is our public, each of us owes about fifty thousand dollars. I can’t afford to pay that without hurting my family significantly. I know that my sister, who is getting food stamps, can’t pay it back.

    My problem is not that the short-sighted, destructive behavior will hurt us if government gets out of the way. My problem is that government is engaging in short-sighted destructive behavior that is killing liberty loving nuts like me and turning them into liberty-hating nuts like… well, other people.

  71. Mike Burkhart

    Hey the people spoke and idoits were elected . It happens in every election . Thats why I hate politics .

  72. How many people have businesses killed in the history of mankind? And how many people have governments?

    You might want to look up William Randolph Hearst. Think Spanish-American War. The current crop of private “security” outfits might prove interesting, too. And a quick lesson in the business of “defense” would be an eye-opener. Probably wouldn’t hurt to take a peek into the oil industry either. I’m sure Mr. Cheney could educate you a bit on that subject.

    The key fault with your logic lies in the belief there is some magic demarkation between business and government. This is nonsense, in the U.S., anyway. Many if not most large corporations rely to some degree, and frequently a very large degree, on government funding or aid of one sort or another. You can’t throw a spitwad anywhere near the aerospace/military hardware industries without hitting a government-funded project. To say the problem is all the big, bad government is hopelessly naive.

  73. BJN

    Terry,

    How many wars have we engaged to serve corporate interests? With a voting population so ignorant and easily manipulated, “liberty” is whatever the corporate money tells us it is. From the old East India Company to Apple’s Foxconn, businesses often thrive on human suffering and practical enslavement.

    I fail to see how your anti-government ranting excuses anti-science politicians. In fact, denial of reality is one of the powerful tools used to manipulate the population into voting against their own (and their progeny’s) best interest.

  74. Grand Lunar

    You can imagine the colorful metaphor(s) that come to mind with this news, Phil.

    @71. Mike Burkhart,

    I hear you on that one!

  75. Terry

    @67 Ron1: I think I’ve tried to demonstrate that I’m a moderate. I love liberty, but I also love safety. The perfect libertarian society would probably be at a 1940s technology level right now because we would have gone for slow and sustained development (which is in the best interests of businesses) rather than riotous development. America would not be the dominant world power, that would probably be Germany or Russia, or someone else, who knows, this isn’t a science fiction story.

    My point is that I’m also for balance, but I think that European style planned economy goes too far. I think that the freer the economy, the freer the people, but none of us want a completely free society.

    People talk about rights as if they are something that you get from governments. Governments restrict rights. In Hobbes’s “Nature” man has the right to kill their neighbor. They have the right to take what they want. A government is needed to prevent that and Hobbes makes a convincing argument of why, which Locke continues and Adams and Jefferson nicely argue into place here, along with dozens of others.

    Unfortunately, government is never going to level the playing field. There will always be haves. There will always be have nots. The government can move stuff around, but they just make different haves and different have nots.

    The fact that our current economic woes are created by planned economies is not an indictment of some planning, it is a reminder that our current problems don’t come from the right or the left. They come from the tug of war itself and the nature of government to steal rights.

    As far as the more modern age having its more level playing field, that is certainly true. Better education, greater health care, more even policing, all of these things are a function of modern government. That all exists in the United States as well. Much of our modern era was invented in the U.S., actually. When it was freer to do so. How would modern California have reacted if the barnstormer era was happening now, with hundreds of people taking to the air without someone telling them what to do. They’d regulate it away and make it as illegal as smoking and driving without a seat belt.

    We are not returning to an era when the wealthy preyed upon the poor. No one is calling for that. That is just hyperbole. No one is calling for removing laws that protect the weak. I’m not talking about eliminating education, social welfare (although I think it is hurting our society, it is now pretty much required because of the riots we’d have if we tried to reduce it), or science research. I’m talking about removing regulations that hurt them. Our regulations should be based on preventing harm of others against their will, but we have to respect that people can decide for themselves. If they fail to, we have to let them fail and rely on charity to help them, not prevent the ability to fail.

    Here is what I mean. If we did in schools what we are doing in the economy, homework wouldn’t matter, because it wouldn’t be graded. As long as half of the class does the homework, that’s good enough. Failing grades on tests would immediate recieve additional points in order to cover the deficit, so that everyone can pass. If someone does really well on the test, they should have some of their points taken away to give to everyone else. What matters is that the most people benefit from the efforts of that one person, not that the kids learn.

    Of course, that’s practically what we do, which probably explains how the two gentlemen above could get elected.

  76. Terry

    @72 Kuhnigget: Granted. Hearst and others have killed people. How many people has the U.S. government killed? We were the most non-intrusive government in the world for most of our history and we amassed quite a record. How many did European governments kill? China, how many died in Mao’s Great Leap Forward? Compared to governments, businesses are light weights in the killing department.

  77. ASFalcon13

    @ Ken B

    “Is it too late to give Texas back to Mexico?”

    Yup, you’re right. Us backwater Texans will get right on that.

    Of course, since the International Space Station is run out of Johnson Space Center in Houston, we’ll naturally be taking that with us. Also, all software and documentation for products from Texas Instruments, National Instruments, and Dell will now be set to “Spanish” as default.

    You’re welcome!

    @ J. Major

    “They should have let Texas be its own wacky wild west sideshow country 150 years ago and we wouldn’t have to be dealing with these yahoos today. Just one displaced Yankee’s opinion.”

    You don’t like it here? I-10 and I-20 go east and west, and I-35 goes north and south. Pick one. You’re free to go back to your combatative drivers and bland clam chowder whenever you’re ready.

  78. KC

    >Militant atheists have only themselves to blame for this state of affairs.

    Ah-ha – yes because the country is just filthy with *them*. Shame on them for using their massive power to force the poor religious conservatives (who are so accepting of the beliefs of others) into a corner!

  79. Mike

    Well, at the least we had one political posting from Phil that was party neutral. To each his own, I guess.
    :)

    Mike

  80. Ron1

    @78 KC

    Please don’t feed the troll.

  81. Terry

    @73 BJN: Show me one U.S. war to promote corporate interests. Show me one. Businesses do not have a great record when it comes to human rights. I am not a corporatist. Businesses should be punished and individuals within the businesses should be punished for their human rights abuses. Businesses are only slightly worse in human rights abuse than individuals. The only people that have a worse record than businesses on human rights are governments. Governments have the unenviable position as the worst abusers of human rights and the number 1 defenders of human rights.

    How to balance these? Make sure that government can’t take more power away from the people than is absolutely necessary to prevent the abuse of human rights (as I’m an adherent of liberalism, my three human rights are Life, Liberty, and Property) by others. You give your rights to the government today. Tomorrow, that government changes hands and now the people you DON’T want to have your money are making decisions about energy and science policy. If you hadn’t given it up in the first place, you’d be better off today.

    Why should the government be able to decide what research gets done and what doesn’t? Liberty means that my non-damaging actions are free to be performed. If I do something that hurts someone else, I should be responsible for that. Where this gets muddy is second order or third order effects because it is hard to prove responsibility. If I get into a car accident because I ran a red light, I should be at fault. If someone else gets into a car accident because my car was in the middle of the intersection rammed into another car, is that my fault? If they had been going the speed limit, would they have been able to avoid the accident? That is muddy.

  82. AJ in CA

    @#36 Terry: THANK YOU!
    As if political definitions weren’t muddy enough already, I’m amazed how many people can’t tell the Christian right from neoconservatism. A Neo-con is basically a moderate with the exception of a hawkish, interventionist military and foreign economic policy. If you’re very religious, you’re not a neo-con. Not that I’m on board with neoconservatism, but if we’re going to promote science, we need to identify all possible allies. Hell, a few years ago I could probably be considered a neo-con by the “correct” definition.

  83. @ Terry:

    Compared to governments, businesses are light weights in the killing department.

    Give businesses the scale and resources of government, and you would not see any difference.

    You seem to believe that “business,” as well as government, is some sort of non-human enterprise with a mind of its own, or, worse, an altruistic mind of its own. It’s not. Businesses are run by people. People make good decisions or bad decisions. If left unregulated they inevitably step on someone. The bigger they are, the bigger tread on their boot.

    You give your rights to the government today. Tomorrow, that government changes hands and now the people you DON’T want to have your money are making decisions about energy and science policy. If you hadn’t given it up in the first place, you’d be better off today.

    Again, you seem to believe there is some hard and fast line between the two. But our government simply doesn’t run that way. Where do you think all that big government spending goes to? It’s not all social security checks to little old ladies in Poughkeepsie.

    And do you honestly think Exxon or BP gives a flying frak about stepping on your toes? If so, I have this bridge in Brooklyn that’s up for sale. You might be interested.

    Why should the government be able to decide what research gets done and what doesn’t?

    Apart from hot button issues such as fetal stem cells, could you please give some examples of government limiting research? Or maybe it’s government-funded research you’re talking about?

  84. Ray

    With all due respect to the leftward-leaning denizens of this blog, the Dims beat themselves when they failed to listen to what the people wanted. The Republicans, who somehow managed to get two brain cells working, saw an opportunity and took it.

    Rather than whine about it, fix the problem. Ask yourself *why* the Dims lost the election.

  85. Daffy

    AJ, tell that to Pat Robertson, William Kristol, and Gary Bauer.

  86. @77. ASF13: The whole country – the world, even – can do without those two fellas way up there in the article. Not just me. But you are so right…I do think the 20 east is calling! (And it’s pronounced chowDAH, thank you.)

  87. Ad Hominid

    #83 AJ in CA

    You make a good point. There is a growing isolationist and anti-war movement on the right. This is largely associated with the libertarian Paul wing but many of the religious types are getting on board as well. For these people, “non-intervention,” isolationism, is a fundamental tenet of their philosophy. It is that much easier now that they can blame Obama for it.
    I predict that this will lead to a major split in the tea party movement and the GOP itself.

  88. Terry

    @85 Kuhnigget:
    Give businesses the scale and resources of government, and you would not see any difference.
    Agreed. You seem to be thinking that less regulation of the economy would led to less prevention of exploitation. Business interests can be exploitive and harmful and the purpose of government is to prevent it from being so. They do that by regulating. There is a tension between some and a lot. I favor some. You favor a lot.

    You seem to believe that “business,” as well as government, is some sort of non-human enterprise with a mind of its own, or, worse, an altruistic mind of its own. It’s not.

    I absolutely do not believe that business and government are separate from people. The philosophy of liberty is built from the ground up and I adhere to that. As it the concept of liberalism (very similar) and I adhere to that. I don’t want to give my neighbor the right to kill me, why would I want to give government or business that right.

    Again, you seem to believe there is some hard and fast line between the two.

    What two? Democrats and Republicans? I’m not sure what you mean here.

    But our government simply doesn’t run that way. Where do you think all that big government spending goes to? It’s not all social security checks to little old ladies in Poughkeepsie.

    Most of the big government spending goes to Social Security, Welfare programs and the Military. All three program should be cut down. Again, I’m not understaind what you are getting at with this point.

    And do you honestly think Exxon or BP gives a flying frak about stepping on your toes? If so, I have this bridge in Brooklyn that’s up for sale. You might be interested.

    No. I mean I’m not interested and I don’t believe that businesses, which are not thinking entities as you pointed out earlier, give a flying frak about anything. They are businesses. They care acout nothing because they can’t care. Their stock holders care about profits. Expensive government investigations cost money, but they can be bought off if you have a PAC that has gotten your politicians (Democrat or Republican) in power. What can’t be bought off is the public opinion, at least not cheaply. So, do you think that BP has suffered more from the government punishments or from poor public opinion causing investors to leave and customers to turn to other choices?

    Edit: Forgot to address this one.
    Apart from hot button issues such as fetal stem cells, could you please give some examples of government limiting research? Or maybe it’s government-funded research you’re talking about?

    Government funded research is all I’m talking about, yes. That said, the government has made some research illegal, such as research in human genetic engineering, cloning, etc. I kinda lean toward supporting that since testing would require potentially killing humans. If no humans will be harmed, why ban it? I guess that’s a hot-button issue, but I’m not sure why someone would try to ban research on male bonobo mating habits… wait…

  89. Mike

    Let’s compare the carbon footprints of the incoming and outgoing speakers.

  90. Michel

    Oh dear. What I just stumbled upon:
    salon.com/news/global_warming/index.html?story=/tech/htww/2010/11/09/john_shimkus_god_and_noah

    That´s scary.

  91. jfb

    @Terry:

    Compared to governments, businesses are light weights in the killing department.

    Only because businesses don’t typically have standing armies. And given things like the Bhopal disaster, some corporations definitely have the capability for inflicting massive amounts of death.

  92. Terry

    @jfb 93:
    Again, granted. We don’t want businesses getting bigger, so we should prevent governments from continuing to protect them. Businesses should fend for themselves.

  93. AJ in CA

    @#89: Agreed. All in all, I think political splits (new ones) are a good thing – they indicate evolution of thought and an expansion of the “marketplace of ideas”.

    All of this kind of brings up a question that’s been bugging me – why the heck is it that the political left in the US, which has historically been quick to criticize the government when it does something incompetent, seems eager to expand it and give it more control of our lives?

    And by the very same token, why is the political right in the US – which is typically perceived as very patriotic, very on-board with “American Exceptionalism”, etc – so leery about giving the government of that great nation more power, and so eager to fork over said power to unelected corporate folks in the private sector?

  94. Juice

    The former, you may remember, tried to scuttle a science innovation and education bill by adding a rider to it making it illegal to pay the salaries of government employees who watch porn on work computers.

    How is that “trying to scuttle” the bill? And are you saying that government employees should be able to watch porn on office computers?

  95. amphiox

    We’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of the US who will come begging to our border for fresh water and affordable energy.

    Oh, they won’t come begging. They’ll come swaggering and blustering and demanding with M1s, B2s, and F22s. We’d do best to keep our heads down until after they exhaust their reserves before making our move (them military hardware does guzzle the gas, after all).

    the Dims beat themselves when they failed to listen to what the people wanted

    No, they beat themselves when they failed to grow a spine and defend the things they did, ALL of which greatly benefited the people, a fact about which the other side shamelessly lied and lied and lied and lied again about, when they failed to take a stand and engage in the public discourse that determines what it is the people think they want.

    Honest, us Europeans are just wasting our money preparing…

    In a way you will be. If the US doesn’t play ball your own efforts will be far less effective, seeing as this is a global problem. But the American system is going to be what it is – one party is outright evil and unashamedly so and the other is a collection of spineless cowards who probably won’t have gumption to dare touch the climate issue even with a 100% majority in both houses, the presidency, and all 51 governorships. So the question for Europe (and others) is going to be, what are you going to do about it? If America refuses to cooperate and this refusal harms you what are you going to do to protect yourselves? Perhaps it is time the rest of the world also grows a spine and start slapping the US with economic sanctions.

  96. Ema Nymton

    Terry, you’ve got to be one of the biggest morons I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading.

  97. AJ in CA

    @#97 Ema: Don’t hide behind big words, Ema. I know you’re trying to be polite, but tell us how you really feel.

  98. kirk

    If I can’t stand that a science funding bill has a provision to fine people who spit on the sidewalk or re-re-re-re criminalize pedophilia I am not right – I am not even wrong.

  99. Chief

    I finally realized what Phil has been talking about all the time. Texas is dumbing down the text books to be on level with the powers that be. Leveling the field so to speak.

  100. Jesso

    Guys, as a resident of Texas (but I’m not a Texan- I only live here, I don’t belong here) I would like to apologize for these two. I promise *I* didn’t vote for them.

  101. Old Muley

    Dr. Farnsworth sums up my feelings nicely.

  102. @ Terry:

    What two? Democrats and Republicans? I’m not sure what you mean here.

    No, I mean between government and business. Big business, or more accurately, big business’ money runs our government and as a consequence of that is very well fed by the same. I get the impression you either don’t buy that, or you aren’t aware of it.

    As to dems and repubs, two sides of the same coin as far as I’m concerned. One lies (pun intended) to the left, one to the right.

    Most of the big government spending goes to Social Security, Welfare programs and the Military. All three program should be cut down. Again, I’m not understaind what you are getting at with this point.

    You’re conveniently ignoring all the businesses that get many of those dollars. From health care to jet fighters, corporate welfare is a huge chunk of our budget. To ignore that and go on about business being somehow apart from government is just silly.

    As to the rest, why stop there? Why pay taxes for public roads? Electrical grids? Dams? Sewage treatment plants? Maybe because a stable society needs those things? Just as a stable society, one that adheres to western morals, anyway, needs to take care of its own? Doesn’t mean you should give slouchers a free ride, but it sure as heck means you need to look after your fellow citizens when they need help. At least in the society I want to live in.

    So, do you think that BP has suffered more from the government punishments or from poor public opinion causing investors to leave and customers to turn to other choices?

    Compared to the damage they’ve done, which will be showing up for decades to come, I don’t think they’ve suffered one bit.

    Government funded research is all I’m talking about, yes.

    Then I don’t see what your issue is. Why shouldn’t publicly funded researchers be accountable to the public? I don’t get your original point. You implied government is somehow limiting what can be researched. Can you give an example of that?

  103. Mike G

    I find it ironic that the Republicans, who are so paranoid about czars and communists/socialists/fascists, are employing a lot of the same tactics that caused the decline of science under Stalin.

    The government sowed distrust in the minds of the public by painting mainstream scientists as elitists who were pushing a fascist agenda to overturn the government. This distrust of the mainstream opened the door to the widespread acceptance of contrarian ideas like Lysenkoism, which told the people what they wanted to hear, but had already been debunked by the mainstream. Eventually, promoting the mainstream science, like Mendelian genetics, was grounds for government investigation and prosecution.

    Needless to say, Soviet science fell far behind the rest of the world and the decline (among many other factors) caused economic and personal suffering for decades.

  104. Keith Bowden

    Someone needs to introduce a bill to require everyone to wear velcro shoes and attach safety lines to the ground along all public walkways. Why? Because of all the uncertainties in the law of gravity! (OMFSM, what do we do about cars!!!)

    If these twits don’t understand science enough to blow climate change uncertainties out of all proportion, then I’m sure they’ll be happy to panic over things like that.

  105. Rick

    This is pretty bad news.
    The one thing that will let me sleep at night is the fact that government is notorious at not getting anything done.
    Unless it involves what people do with their clothes off.
    Other than that though, they can’t even decide on school lunch menus. So I’m quite grateful that our politicians are inept.

  106. Terry

    @ Kuhnigget 108:

    No, I mean between government and business. Big business, or more accurately, big business’ money runs our government and as a consequence of that is very well fed by the same. I get the impression you either don’t buy that, or you aren’t aware of it.

    I absolutely understand that. We’ve allowed our government to become huge and so the business comes to get its money. It primes the pump of public financing by putting money ito the planners that get to shape the economy and put money into businesses.

    We can’t fix that with campaign finance reform because of all my argument above. If someone wants to move value, they will move that value. It will get ever more complex and hidden, but it will move. So how do we limit this practice? Make it not cost effect for businesses to do so. As long as the governments spending is HUGE it will be cost effective to figure out some way to do so. Eventually it may get to every time they buy a vote, they get an executive sent to jail, and they will still buy votes because the value is there.

    As to dems and repubs, two sides of the same coin as far as I’m concerned. One lies (pun intended) to the left, one to the right.

    Agreed! Unfortunately, the political spectrum is more than 2 dimensional, but that much is true.

    You’re conveniently ignoring all the businesses that get many of those dollars. From health care to jet fighters, corporate welfare is a huge chunk of our budget. To ignore that and go on about business being somehow apart from government is just silly.

    Business is part of government because government makes it be part of business. Buying jet fighters for national defense. Good idea. Buying brand new jets (F35) that aren’t really an improvement over what they are replacing (F15) that is not a good idea. That is spurred by business and military lobbying. Government mandates on the purchase of health care insurance is not motivated out of scientific study or care for the quality of medical care, it is based on the concept that EVERYONE must be protected from the harshness of the world and by doing so, we will make the world a better place. It is absurd except in Camus version of the term.

    As to the rest, why stop there? Why pay taxes for public roads? Electrical grids? Dams? Sewage treatment plants? Maybe because a stable society needs those things? Just as a stable society, one that adheres to western morals, anyway, needs to take care of its own? Doesn’t mean you should give slouchers a free ride, but it sure as heck means you need to look after your fellow citizens when they need help. At least in the society I want to live in.

    I am not a utopianist. Of course our nation needs to build roads, sanitation systems, etc. I would like to point out that our nation doesn’t build the electrical grid, it has government funded monopolies that do that. The perfect libertarian society can not exist, not can the perfect social democratic soceity, nor the perfect capitalist society, nor the perfect communist society. Aiming toward a society that protects civil liberties consistently is what I am after.

    As far as a social safety net, great. We need something to protect people when things have gone wrong for them, and they need to have a chance to make something of themselves from the beginning, which they can’t do as long as outcomes are tied to socioeconomic status. That is called charity. Charity when it is forced is not charity.

    There is no perfect system. One person wants a system that protects economic status, another wants a system that protects virtue. A hundred people want something different from the government each. There is no way to accomodate everyone. It is far fairer in my opinion, to make sure that each of those two people have no power over the other to force their rights on the other.

    Compared to the damage they’ve done, which will be showing up for decades to come, I don’t think they’ve suffered one bit.

    That is hyperbole. They have suffered. As you say, the damage they have caused will be showing up for decades. In terms of the immediate damage, they have tried to mitigate the worst of the economic costs to people. The environmental costs are going to be much harder to repair and quantify. They should definitely be held accountable for that. They shouldn’t be held accountable for being an oil company, which is where much of the anger at them seems to come. The automatic assumption with them is that they are doing things for evil pursuits, especially around here. That isn’t the case. People want oil for energy. They supply oil. If they can do so more cheaply by cutting corners, they will cut corners. If cutting corners gets them hurt economically, they will avoid it in the future. Regulation NEEDS to be enforced to make sure that cutting corners doesn’t happen.

    My overall theme here is that regulation is harmful, but sometimes a necessary evil. You have to dam up the river sometimes, even if it won’t stop the water fully.

    Then I don’t see what your issue is. Why shouldn’t publicly funded researchers be accountable to the public? I don’t get your original point.

    Yes, and then publicly-funded scientists shouldn’t get upset when the ‘public’ turns out to be scientists elected who happen to believe that the dinosaurs were a red herring planted to throw us off.

  107. Business is part of government because government makes it be part of business.

    So, government is forcing businesses to make money off of it? See, this is where I just can’t buy into your point of view. It just seems to me you pseudo-libertarian guys have that backwards. If rich people running rich corporations weren’t bribing corrupt government officials, there wouldn’t be contracts for new fighter jets that the military doesn’t want, or bloated health care costs run up by insurance companies feeding off Medicare and other publically funded teats.

    The serious bloat of our government is every bit the responsibility of greedy business as it is do-gooding liberal “great societyists.”

    Yes, and then publicly-funded scientists shouldn’t get upset when the ‘public’ turns out to be scientists elected who happen to believe that the dinosaurs were a red herring planted to throw us off.

    But you still haven’t clarified your original statement. What research is being held up by the government?

  108. Jeff

    These issues are complex, but things aren’t as they should be. I agree most with Kuhnigget’s opinion , he seems to have it down the best.

  109. Chris Winter

    Terry,

    With regard to Brasidas’ post #4, you should check your sarcasm detector.

  110. Doug Little

    Ray sez

    With all due respect to the leftward-leaning denizens of this blog, the Dims beat themselves when they failed to listen to what the people wanted. The Republicans, who somehow managed to get two brain cells working, saw an opportunity and took it.

    With all due respect to you Ray you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.
    The reason presidents tend to do badly in midterms is that they have maximum political capital immediately after election and try to do the tough stuff in their first two years. They then pay the price for it in the next election, as marginal seats are lost. In a successful presidency, they often regain those seats two years later when they run, once again, at the top of the ticket. Couple that with the poor economic climate at the moment and you have what we saw. Completely predictable result. It has nothing to do with listening to the people, seems you have been watching too much FAUX news.

    Also most of the seats lost were the so called blue dog Democrats which which were dragging the party to far to the right anyway watering down legislation so good riddance to them. At least now maybe if the Democrats would show a little backbone and stick to their core ideology and not try and compromise with the uncompromisable we might actually get some sensible ideas off the table and into practice.

  111. @ Jeff:

    Your check is in the mail. ;)

  112. Chris Winter

    Daniel wrote (#41): “Sometimes I wonder if, in the next century, rather than being a general human enterprise, science will become a secret society, advancing humanity in secret with its practitioners getting burned at the stake when discovered by the general population.”

    You might enjoy reading A Canticle for Leibowitz.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Canticle_for_Leibowitz

  113. Rick

    Since a lot of talk about Republicans and Democrats…

  114. AJ in CA

    Lewis Black for speaker of the house! :D

  115. Terry

    So, government is forcing businesses to make money off of it? See, this is where I just can’t buy into your point of view. It just seems to me you pseudo-libertarian guys have that backwards. If rich people running rich corporations weren’t bribing corrupt government officials, there wouldn’t be contracts for new fighter jets that the military doesn’t want, or bloated health care costs run up by insurance companies feeding off Medicare and other publically funded teats.

    I respect that you feel I have it backwards. I don’t know what your political philosophy is, so I can’t say what I think about it. What I can say is that the richest people running the richest corporations all came from government intervention. Many of the most powerful corporations did not show up in unregulated environments. For example, RCA did not become a powerhouse in radio in an unregulated environment, it did so by manipulating regulation to drive competitors out of business and by innovating better. If the regulation angle was diminished, they would had to have relied on their innovation, which they did not have to do.

    My point is that the root of the problem is exploitation of public finances, just like your point is, but those public finances will be exploited NO MATTER WHAT you do to prevent it, so the best thing to do is to limit the public finances available to what is mutually beneficial to companies and the public.

    The serious bloat of our government is every bit the responsibility of greedy business as it is do-gooding liberal “great societyists.”

    Agreed. Don’t mistake me for some corporation loving shill. First, the decision makers in corporations should be held accountable to the decisions that they made in those corporations. Make big corporations painful, you will have incentive to be smaller.

    But you still haven’t clarified your original statement. What research is being held up by the government?

    I can’t say. My point was that Phil is upset with Ralph Hall above being in charge of a science committee because that committee will have control over what research is done and what is not. That research should be non-political, but when you put politicians in charge of anything (via financial control) that thing by nature becomes political.

    Even policing in America is political. The Federal government decides whether or not to prosecute certain offenses because of politics. I almost added the word “now” onto this, but I’m willing to bet that it has ALWAYS been that way.

  116. Terry

    @115. Chris Winter:

    Might be. I just had that thing checked though.

  117. Terry

    A non sequitur: I’ll add one of my other theories. I believe that the Spanish Inquisition and the Political Correctness movement are both a symptom of the same human tendency to try to shut up voices of dissent. Amazon is facing a huge controversy about selling a book on how to do pedophilia right now. The voices calling out for them to be silenced are loud. I’m not condoning or attacking their choice, merely calling it for what it is. Humankind needs to make people it disagrees with shut up.

    I think that most evil humankind has ever perpetrated comes down to that tendency. The Chinese “Cultural Revolution”. The Inquisition. The Red Scare. The policy of Containment and its side-effects of Vietnam, Loas, Cambodia and Burma. Korea is not included because we defended and continue to defend an ally from invasion.

    The PC movement is the same tendency. Because I can’t say what I believe if it offends someone else, I am at fault. It won’t lead to the death of thousands, hopefully, but it does lead to people being incarcerated for their beliefs. Someone above highlighted the use of the term elitist to refer to scientists being a detriment to America. So is the inability to speak your mind without being labeled and expected to self-sensor. Science-based skeptics like Phil do a service in getting the word out about frauds. Banning people from speaking dissent is not a service, but a disservice to America.

  118. @ Terry:

    This, then, will be our final disagreement:

    For example, RCA did not become a powerhouse in radio in an unregulated environment, it did so by manipulating regulation to drive competitors out of business and by innovating better. If the regulation angle was diminished, they would had to have relied on their innovation, which they did not have to do.

    You assume that RCA would by default have done the right thing and relied on innovation had they not manipulated regulation to give themselves a monopoly. (I’ll have to take your word for that history, as I’m not familiar with that particular subject.) Yet I see this as a very obvious contradiction. The corporation that essentially bribed its way into power would have achieved that power less ruthlessly if the government had left it alone? Sorry, but I just don’t think the history of corporate America lends much credence to that position.

    I almost added the word “now” onto this, but I’m willing to bet that it has ALWAYS been that way.

    Pretty much, though as someone mentioned above, things were made exponentially worse when the courts gave corporations the same basic rights, but fewer responsibilities, than individual citizens. That was the moment we headed down the road to banana republicville.

    Banning people from speaking dissent is not a service, but a disservice to America.

    But this is not limited to the “PC” crowd. (Whatever that is.) Note the strategy by the Bush administration to imply, directly or indirectly, that anyone who questioned their policies was “for the terrorists.”

  119. Brian Too

    My theory is that right wing governments (and parties) have been the ones that, generally speaking, did a good thing by identifying debt and deficits as a problem and a matter worthy of political debate.

    This is a multinational effect and happened starting back in the 1980′s. Thatcher, Mulroney, Reagan, they all did it. Now they utterly failed to correct the debt/deficit problem you understand, but at least they identified the problem.

    It went to the left wing governments to correct these problems. And they did so, generally speaking. So it was the left that acted effectively in this instance.

    You see while the right talks a good game, they fall in love with expensive causes. Huge weapons programs. Giant projects often (but not always) associated with the military. And wars. Certainly the wars have been expensive.

    Prior to the 1980′s, I’ve not thought much about.

  120. Terry

    @ Kuhnigget:
    You assume that RCA would by default have done the right thing and relied on innovation had they not manipulated regulation to give themselves a monopoly. (I’ll have to take your word for that history, as I’m not familiar with that particular subject.)

    I don’t assume that RCA would have done the right thing. I assume that they would have had no choice but to do the right thing if the federal government hadn’t stepped in to define what radio frequencies were allowed for what. The people were self-regulating radio frequencies. Badly, but they were self-regulating. Regulation didn’t help there, it hurt. The inventor of the regenerative circuit, Edwin Armstrong, which made RCA rich invented the technology behind FM and started selling radios to compete with AM. He made a company to do so. RCA lobbied congress to change the regulated frequency. All the radios that Armstrong sold became obsolete with that decision.

    If the self-regulation had been strengthened rather than overruled, RCA could not have done that. I don’t think RCA would have decided to be altruistic. They are a company, they want a profit. I think they wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of government regulation to drive the Father of Radio out of business.

    Pretty much, though as someone mentioned above, things were made exponentially worse when the courts gave corporations the same basic rights, but fewer responsibilities, than individual citizens. That was the moment we headed down the road to banana republicville.

    Agreed.

    But this is not limited to the “PC” crowd. (Whatever that is.) Note the strategy by the Bush administration to imply, directly or indirectly, that anyone who questioned their policies was “for the terrorists.

    Agreed. My whole point was that the same tendency is universal and not limited to one group or another. I think the evil that must be fought is the effort to shut up opposition.

  121. If the self-regulation had been strengthened rather than overruled, RCA could not have done that.

    Heh heh…!

    And how does one strengthen self-regulation?

  122. Steve Morrison

    @33: No, that’s an urban legend, and is usually told about a much earlier Texan politician.

  123. If it’s the left that’s going to have stomach problems, you’re better off putting your money in energy-focusing crystals or homeopathic remedies.

  124. PeteC

    Terry, Kuhnigget,

    Watching your debate with great interest, I see two obvious things.

    One, it’s really good to see a polite, reasoned debate on the internet :) . Neither of you has called the other by a string of daft labels (“nazi”, “terrorist-lover”, “commie”, etc etc etc) yet. Good FSM, reason and debate – whatever next? You two would never make it in media or politics.

    Two, your positions aren’t actually that far apart – it’s more a matter of degree than fundamental belief.

    Adding a sideways comment though…

    Government, particularly in the USA, has become ridiculously, stupidly bureaucratic. Your forms are immense, the complexity of regulations silly and some of it totaly unnecessary (has anyone, anywhere, ever, ever been caught by the border entry form box where it asks if you’re a foreigner coming to perform espionage in the USA? Has any spy ever said “duh, yeah!”?).

    That said, some of the principles of governement regulation are, in my opinion, valid. I’m not sure the example of radio necessarily works – people were self-regulating it as geeks of their time, hobbyists, but things would have gone wrong quite quickly once extremely large amounts of profit or political and commercial opinion-making through advertising had happened. Some systems, particularly new technological ones, inherently push towards monopolies. Some government setting of standards isn’t a bad idea. I don’t think things would be better with eight hundred and fifty different commercially competing mininets world-wide, all using different protocols, technologies and so on – the IP standards that came out of the original *government*-funded and run project have made the internet possible. It would either have withered away as a geek toy (what company would get fifty different connections and run fifty different types of online presence if that was the only way to go nationwide?) or, as likely, a company with luck, a good-enough product, financial clout and a little aggression would have made itself the de-facto standard and a virtual monopoly. Microsoft would be an example there.

    As with almost everything in life, it’s finding the balance, and that can be hard to do. As an interested observer of the USA, my opinion is that it’s gone too far in both ways at once. Lots of stuff that should have some basic regulations and guidelines on hasn’t, but the regulations that do exist seem to be a ridiculous mess.

  125. @ PeteC:

    One, it’s really good to see a polite, reasoned debate on the internet .

    Oh, heck, I don’t start in with the vitriol until the UFO nutters show up.

  126. HMS

    Terry,

    Happy meals are NOT banned in San Francisco. McDonald’s and other outlets can still serve meals with toys as long as the total calorie count is below 600 calories. There’s even an obvious loophole for that calorie limit, just buy something in addition to the meal. It’s no skin off Ronald McDonald’s nose.

    If anything you should be angry at how conservative media lied straight to your face. Something to remember next time something rolls of the assembly line in their Outrage factory.

  127. Zetetic

    Jake @ #29:

    But militant atheists have declared that Science is the antithesis of Faith, and that it will eventually bring down religion.

    Could you be any more asinine?
    Even ignoring how “militant atheists” are nothing of the sort…Who specifically said that?

    The only reason there is any conflict between science and faith is because of religious extremists that refuse to reconsider their dogma in the face of contrary evidence.

    But maybe you think that it was atheists that were responsible for the Flat Earth movement in the late 1800′s?
    Or maybe it was atheists that caused the initial public rejection of Darwin’s works.
    Or maybe it was atheists that are responsible for the Catholic Church, and other religious groups taking their stand again condom use to prevent AIDS?
    After all it can’t possibly be that religious extremists came up with such positions on their own, right?

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

    Terry @ #39:
    Thanks for the link, but I’m not to sure what a party that has allowed itself to be largely taken over by it’s more extremist elements, and increasingly divorcing itself from any introspection, has to do with debates about R&D projects.

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

    Terry @ #42:

    Better than having to talk around “I bankrupted your grandchildren’s kids.”

    The problem is that these Republicans are trying to do precisely that, by ignoring the science and trying to steer this country into economic disaster all for the sake of corporate welfare.
    Don’t believe in global warming? That’s not very conservative.

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    Terry @ #53:

    People will find a way to make get things and to get rid of things. If you regulate it, they will make it more complex tangles to do so, but you won’t stop it.

    Respectfully, that’s not going to happen also long as this country continues to engage in corporate subsides and welfare in the form of attacking other countries to keep oil cheap.

    $312 Billion: Governments Gave Six Times More to Fossil Fuels Than Renewable Energy in 2009, IEA Report Says

  128. Zetetic

    Todd Boughn @ #56:

    Isn’t this the same guy who said we’re going to be OK because god promised not to destroy the world again after the flood? Yeah, we’re screwed.

    I think that you are thinking of Rep. John Shimkus (R – IL).

    Here is a video of Rep. John Shimkus saying that Global Warming can’t be a problem because god won’t let it happen.
    Rep. John Shimkus: God decides when the “earth will end”

    He is currently trying become the next chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    The Arquette Sisters @ #69:

    oh wait the moratorium on drilling was ideologically driven and not scientifically?

    If by “ideologically driven” you mean trying to prevent any further disasters until a further safety accounting can be made after one of the biggest ecological disasters in history, a moratorium that was recently removed before the recent republican wins. Then yeah, I guess you could say that.

    Then the report was edited by the White House.

    You mean the report that was misrepresented in a way that made both Obama and BP look better?

    Phil, promote science via its merits, not comparing it to the (very often) bad behavior of others. You demean yourself and science.

    Yeah, funny how your suggestion entails not criticizing those that are deliberately trying to attack science, and by extension society, for the sake of dogma and corporate money.

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

    Terry @ #72

    Short-sited, destructive behavior is actually caused by too much government, not too little.

    Funny though how that’s exactly what the current “small government” Republican are doing… building a bigger government, just with different goals than the Democrats.

    The government needs to be there for some specific reasons. It needs to be there to prevent the exploitation of the workers, such as in sweatshops. It needs to be able to be able to accurately punish and probe businesses for criminal practices. It needs to prevent the theft of life, liberty, or property.

    I agree with this, but preventing harm to the public due to environment negligence/shortsightedness would also fall under this purview.

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————

    Terry @ #84:

    Show me one U.S. war to promote corporate interests.

    The “Indian” wars.
    The “war” on drugs.
    Operation Desert Storm.
    Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    I’m sure I could come up with more if I tried.

  129. Zetetic

    Juice @ #99:

    How is that “trying to scuttle” the bill? And are you saying that government employees should be able to watch porn on office computers?

    Here is a better explanation about what Phil was talking about…
    GOP Kills Science Jobs Bill By Forcing Dems To Vote For Porn

  130. Nigel Depledge

    Hmph. Looks like I’m late to the party again.

    Terry (7) said:

    So the climate is a simple system that only an idiot would fail to understand, right?

    No. Obviously.

    But only an idiot would ignore the expert climatologists who have spent decades trying to understand the Earth’s climate.

    In Europe, we are paying attention to what the scientists are telling us. The UK and others are investing in wind power, Germany has a scheme whereby anyone with solar panels on their roof has the right to sell surplus power back to the grid, and so on.

    On the other side of the pond, the debate has become so politicised and muddied by the deniers that, to the average Joe Public, it looks like you have two sets of people saying diametrically opposite things with no clear evidence available to resolve the issue. However, that is exactly the situation that the deniers wanted to engineer. The pblic does not know whom to trust, and the evidence – that would actually speak for itself if given half a chance – is stifled and obscured by mud-slinging.

    Strange that the same people who are concerned about runaway industrialization are also the ones that support big government

    Just what exactly do you mean by “big government”?

    , since that naturally leads to runaway industrialization.

    Says who? And why? And on what evidentiary basis?

    You can’t have a huge industrial infrastructure without a big government to make it possible.

    How so?

    Not saying I don’t want a little bit of industrialization, I like being able to read Bad Astronomy on the internet which was created because we had extremely cheap energy and high industrialization, but the two are definitely connected.

    Evidence?

  131. alex n.

    From the Washington Post:
    “The oil spill that damaged the Gulf of Mexico’s reefs and wetlands is also threatening to stain the Obama administration’s reputation for relying on science to guide policy.

    Academics, environmentalists and federal investigators have accused the administration since the April spill of downplaying scientific findings, misrepresenting data and, most recently, misconstruing the opinions of experts it solicited.

    The latest complaint comes in a report by the Interior Department’s inspector general, which concluded that the White House edited a drilling safety report in a way that made it falsely appear that scientists and experts backed the administration’s six-month moratorium on new deep-water drilling. The Associated Press obtained the report Wednesday.

    The inspector general said the editing changes by the White House resulted “in the implication that the moratorium recommendation had been peer reviewed.” But it hadn’t been.”
    Ver link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/10/AR2010111007577.html

    WHAT DO YOU THINK MRS. PLATT AND ZETETIC????

    i think that mrs. barton et. al are more sincere!!!!

  132. Nigel Depledge

    Owen (16) said:

    Would you Americans please get your act together and elect some intelligent politicians (if you have any that is)

    There are plenty of intelligent politicians. They know exactly what they need to say to get votes, and many of them are expert at manipulating the media.

    What’s needed is an educated populace that is capable of making rational judgements. Then, the politicians would not only say more sensible things, they’d be more likely to be called to account for undelivered promises.

    Oh well, a man can dream.

  133. Nigel Depledge

    Jake (29) said:

    Militant atheists have only themselves to blame for this state of affairs. They declare that Science and Reason are the enemies of Faith,

    Who does this?

    I’ve certainly read (or read excerpts of) some scathing and rational critiques of organised religion that were written by atheists.

    I have not ever seen any group of atheists make such a wild declaration, though.

    In my experience, it is people who claim to be Christian (mostly) who have declared science and reason to be the enemies of faith.

    and don’t expect anti-science backlash from people of faith?

    The anti-science backlash came first.

    So, following the normal temporal sequence of “effect-follows-cause”, I conclude that militant atheism has arisen mainly as a response to anti-science and anti-reason policies adopted by those who claim to be religious.

    Sadly and to his discredit, Phil contributes to the current toxic atmosphere with his mocking brand of “skepticism.”

    Citations?

    Where and when has Phil done this, and why have his comments contributed to a “toxic atmosphere”?

    There should be no conflict. To the enlightened person of faith,

    Sorry to correct you here, but enlightened people know that faith of any kind is irrational.

    I think what you meant was “normal”.

    Science is another path to discovering the glory of God. In ages past, Science and Faith happily coexisted. Many of the great discoveries were made by men of faith: Mendel, Priestly, Darwin, Einstein.

    Well, yes and no. Einstien’s version of god is certainly not one that a Christian preacher would recognise. And you missed Darwin off that list.

    But militant atheists have declared that Science is the antithesis of Faith,

    No. Don’t merely blather. Who has said this, when and where.

    Let’s have a direct citation here, otherwise your rant is no more than substanceless rhetoric.

    and that it will eventually bring down religion. Why should they be surprised when religious conservatives take them at their word, and therefore turn their own “skeptical” eyes on science?

    Well, first off, you have yet to demonstrate that any atheist (let alone many of them) has ever said the things that you assign to a group of atheists.

    Second, you have failed to acknowledge that militant atheism (as opposed to live-and-let-live atheism) has arisen as a response to anti-science campaigns initiated and orchestrated by creationists in the US (and elsewhere, but AFAICT it started in the US and is most widespread there still).

  134. Jeffersonian

    You don’t have real power in congress until you have a 2/3 majority.
    The media likes to frame it as Obama losing 29 million votes, which is ridiculous; or that the GOP now governs the feds as the party in power. It’s just neo-traditional framing. The GOP doesn’t have THAT big of an edge, particularly with Presidential veto – the real problem is that the DEMS went spineless. The GOP does control a majority of the states at the state level and that’s probably more important to the topic of this post. But the whole “party in power” thing is an oversimplification for mass consumption of media. (With 2/3 majority, you can repeal anything without a White House veto. With a slight edge in the House, you still have to get the opposing party on your side, work with then in committee, etc. Plus, the House is only a two-year term and now involves 24-7 campaigning).

    @45
    Plus, the people claiming they want smaller government, voted in the party that they argue will enlarge government control over the economy.

    @Terry:
    Three guys are alone on a desert island: an engineer, a biologist and a Political Theorist. They’re starving until they find a can of beans on the shore. They have to eat soon but they have to solve the problem: opening the can.
    The engineer says: “we can fashion a sharp rock and then hit the can with the rock until it opens”.
    The biologist thinks and then suggests:
    “If we can just wait for awhile lobger, rust and erosion will do the job for us.”
    Finally, the theorist says:
    “I’ve got the answer! OK, in a perfect system, we’d have a can opener”.

    @86
    Not always. See LDS

  135. Stargazer

    So if you’re completely unsuitable for the job, how on Earth do you still get the job?

  136. @ Stargazer:

    See pretty much every one of my posts above yours.

    Short answer: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Longer answer: a electorate that is too lazy to educate themselves and would rather vote blindly along party lines established by empty and endlessly repeated rhetoric.

  137. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ kuhnigget : Add to that politicians being, well, politicians and playing politics for political gain over things that require much better and saner respones than that. :-(

    Have Americans ever considered changing their political system?

    Could that be on the cards now – because, frankly, I think your current one isn’t quite working so well .. :-(

    Questionis where do we go from here and what, if anything, can be done to make things better?

    Certainly the Tea Party Republicans guarantee there won’t be *any* significant action on climate change for a few years. Not from the US and influenced by that probably also a lot of other places incl. my nation and likely the US climatologist scientists are clearly in for an even rougher time.

    Science doesn’t rate as a political issue and they aren’t good at playing the very dirty game that is politics – and that’s hurting everyone in the long run.

    Worse, when a scientific issue (eg,. AGW) gets politicised* it gets sucked into a morass of partisan illogic and political game-playing where the actual science inevitably loses out. :-(

    On the bright side politicians and their impact on things are probably over-rated – most (nearly all in fact) of them promise an awful lot and are big on rhetoric but ineffective and do NOT (often cannot) deliver what they claim to want or promise.

    Which can sometimes be a good thing! ;-)

    —–

    * And for all the justified railing at Inhofe and co here, you have to wonder how much less denilaism there’d be if Gore laid his claim to being lead spokescritter on AGW. Science should be explained and related by scientist in my opinion not fiale dpresdiential candidates who automaticallymake things partisna politucal. :-(

  138. Messier Tidy Upper

    ^ Gyaargh! The Typos! The Typos![/endline of Apoclapyse Now voice off.] :-(

    Take II correction that’s :

    * And for all the justified railing at Inhofe and co here, you have to wonder how much less climate contrarian-ism & AGW politics playing there’d be if Al Gore had NOT laid his claim to being lead spokescritter on AGW. Science should be explained and related by *scientists* in my opinion not failed presdiential candidates who automatically make things partisan political by their mere presence on stage.

    Scientist like Jim Hansen too are better advised, in my view, to stay well off the political stage – and NOT go getting arrested at anti-coal political protests because they will then automatically lose their scientific credibility and just be seen as extreme political activists. :-(

    Science should involve as little politics as reasonably possible, methinks.

    Otherwise, it *will* get dragged into political debates and get seen as a political lobby group.

    Climatologists may find they do much better by *only* presenting the scientific facts which show thereality of Anthropogenic Global Warming as objectively as possible and NOT making any politically sensitive or policy recommendations.

    Because being (or even just being widely perceived as) too closely aligned with one political camp will *always* mean a lot of trouble for them when the other political party takes over as inevitably and cyclically occurs.

  139. Messier Tidy Upper

    PS. Yes I know very well that Al Gore did NOT invent global warming.

    It was already a well-supported & well-established scientific theory established long before the Inconvenient Truth came out with its inconvenient, flawed, divisive and hyper-partisan presenter. :-(

    See : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdALFnlwV_o&feature=related

    for instance from 1956.

    Or this from 1958 :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-AXBbuDxRY&feature=related

    Plus we can see from this :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XB3S0fnOr0M&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

    How during the 1970′s – despite claims to contrary – scientists were increasingly becoming certain of dangerous Global Over-Heating caused by human Co2 emissions.

    Having Al Gore has a spokescritter for AGW has done the cause a lot more harm than good I suspect.he makes an easy partisan target and is a big political distraction from the real underlying science. :-(

    If Gore was less associated with Climate chaneg I have a strong feeling that the Republican side would be a lot more open to accepting the reality of the science.

  140. Zetetic

    alex n. # @139:

    WHAT DO YOU THINK MRS. PLATT AND ZETETIC????

    i think that mrs. barton et. al are more sincere!!!!

    Well first of all… I think that you need to learn to distinguish between your genders and then remove the Caps-Lock key from your keyboard.

    Next I think that you need to remind yourself that Tu Quoque is a logical fallacy, and claiming “But MOM! They’re doing it too!” doesn’t actually justify anything.

    Then I would suggest talking a deep breath and go back and read what Phil and I actually typed, not what your ideological blinders have caused you to think that we had typed.

    Here is what I had just posted @ #135:
    “You mean the report that was misrepresented in a way that made both Obama and BP look better?”

    Now does that sound like I was putting Obama on any sort of pedestal? Can you cite anything I’ve typed that came even close to putting Obama on a pedestal? How about in what Phil just posted above?

    If you had actually bothered to read what I had typed (not what you were imagining I was saying) then you would have realized that report you were referring to was the exact same report I had already mentioned at my post #135.

    Regardless, that does nothing to change what the Republicans are attempting to do and how immoral and destructive it is. Not to mention that trying to spin a political mess (as Obama apparently did) hardly compares to trying to undercut much of science and to harm the USA’s long term national interests in the name of dogma and fossil fuel money.

    There’s “Bad” and there’s “Worse”, perhaps you should learn to tell the difference.

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

    @ Messier Tidy Upper:
    Respectfully there is absolutely no way that a subject like AGW won’t get politicized short of a sudden increase in both logic and long-term vision on the part most of the human race. Not with the ideologies, money, and power at stake.

    As for Al Gore, that’s irrelevant, denialists always look for one or two people to hold up as representative of the “other side” in order to scapegoat. It’s the same with anti-vaxers and Paul Offit for example. Al Gore makes a convenient target since he’s not a scientist. Of course when a scientist does speak up the anti-AGW side then says that scientists should “stay out of politics”, but that’s backwards. We need politics to stay out of science, but we need science to be involved with informing politics so that the correct decision might actually be made.

    Do you really think that if Al Gore, or the scientific community stayed out of the debate that there would be less opposition to trying to prevent/reduce the effects AGW? That the oil companies, and their paid think-tanks, would just be quite and let everyone calmly revue the scientific literature that everyone would somehow just happen to be more aware of? How does that make any sense? It’s another version of Jake’s claim earlier that if it wasn’t for “militant atheists” that there wouldn’t be such opposition to science in the USA. There would be opposition regardless, trying to silence the side of those speaking up for the science does nothing but encourage those that have decided to oppose/ignore the science. In sort the problem isn’t one of speaking up…it’s one of not being loud enough to cut through the lies being shouted from the anti-AGW side for many people.

    Ultimately, the only way to avoid politicization of science for such issues is to either better inform the public as to the science to an unprecedented level, or create some kind of technocracy (an idea I don’t find too appealing).

    If Gore was less associated with Climate chaneg I have a strong feeling that the Republican side would be a lot more open to accepting the reality of the science.

    Not likely since so many of them get their money from fossil fuel interests, stay devoted to corporate welfare, and/or think that God won’t let anything bad happen.

  141. QuietDesperation

    What short memories you American folks have… these Republicans screw you over, so you bring in Democrats, and when they fail to magically fix every problem left by the Republicans, you re-elect Republicans? What the What?

    You realize it’s not generally the same people voting for different parties, right? You realize we’re a nation of 300 million diverse people, right? You realize that it’s not even so much independent voters swinging back and forth but who is most motivated to get out and vote, right?

    ‘Cuz, you know, that’s the sort of basic realities any intelligent person knows. They tend not to view a country as a single entity.

    The “young folks” stayed home in the last election for the most part, so the old f@rts put the GOP back in.

  142. QuietDesperation

    Wow. Paul Krugman’s Cat (#24) reads this blog.

  143. alex n.

    wowwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Mr.Platt and Mr. Zetetic, my bad!!! i beg you perdom. i forgot the plural o “Mr.” wowww!!!!!!! sorry again.
    you said: “There’s “Bad” and there’s “Worse”, perhaps you should learn to tell the difference” Yes I had learned to tell the difference, and it is only a matter of degree… and that is my point!!! because as you rightly have said the difference was NOT between “Worse” and “GOOD”.
    But I’d preferred to see in the article, a little footnote from Mr.Plaitt, about, as you have said, the”political mess” of Mr.Obama and the Gulf Crisis, I don’t ask too much!!
    soorry again for “MRS”!!!!!

  144. Juice

    @137 Zetetic,

    Ok, so it was a procedural trick, but the Dems could have just as easily voted against the motion. They pussed out and killed the bill (for a week). That mean old Republican made them. He tricked them and they fell for it. Oh, but he almost got to say in a campaign ad that Dems voted to approve of government workers watching porn at work.

    Oh, they reintroduced the bill the very next week?

    So I’m supposed to be worried and scared because of this political BS?

  145. MaDeR

    @89:
    Oh dear, yet another political troll.
    “failed to listen to what the people wanted”
    What if people want impossible, smartass?
    “Ask yourself *why* the Dims lost the election”
    Why? Because people thinks that is possible to completely fix in 2 years that rethuglicans screwed, destroyed and generally f***ed up in 8 years, including causing biggest financial crisis in history. So if it is not yet fixed, it is obviously Obama’s fault, full stop.

    @149:
    You realize that people are, generally speaking, stupid and often vote against their best interest? I personally know someone that voted for person that denigrate his kind for their sexual orientation. Why? Because his parents voted for this politican. Mindless retards are very significant part of electorate of every nation. I personally consider it miracle that populist strategies are not always successful.

    “They tend not to view a country as a single entity.”
    For statistic purposes, yes, I can. x number of faceless humans voted for cretins living on their own little pink planet in alternate reality with Alpha Supermale over in clouds. y number of faceless humans voted for spineless cowards without anything resembling thought or guts. Oh, joys of perpetual duopoly!

    It would be from my perspective funny, if not for fact that we speak about world superpower, not thrid rate banana republic.

  146. QuietDesperation

    For statistic purposes, yes, I can.

    But for purposes of wondering why “a country” votes one way and then “the same country” votes another way 2 years later you absolutely and fundamentally cannot. It made Mr. Or Ms. Flibbertigibbet not understand and question a result with a very simple and straightforward explanation.

    Mindless retards are very significant part of electorate of every nation.

    Well, thank goodness they have you, your executive summary statistics and your mid-puberty misanthropic hate to lead them to enlightenment. (eyeroll)

  147. Dogg12

    What short memories you American folks have… these Republicans screw you over, so you bring in Democrats, and when they fail to magically fix every problem left by the Republicans, you re-elect Republicans? What the What?

    Well, the Dems took control of Congress two years before Obama, so they had four years, not two, but never mind that. Every problem we have today, if you can take your titanium lined blinders off for just a millisecond, has fully bipartisan causes. Your rant up there, from the point of view of objective reality, is borderline dementia.

  148. MaDeR

    Me: “Mindless retards are very significant part of electorate of every nation.”
    QuietDesperation: “Well, thank goodness they have you, your executive summary statistics and your mid-puberty misanthropic hate to lead them to enlightenment.”
    Oh, I am just cynic with 100% resistance to sarcasm. If you think that mindless retards are NOT very significant part of electorate of every nation, congratulations on very bold and optimistic thinking. I personally lost faith in humanity long ago.

    @155: “Every problem we have today has fully bipartisan causes.”
    Oh, I agree. I just think repubs contributed way more than 50% of troubles. If I was USA ciziten, I would vote for dems not because they are best thing since sliced bread, but because they will screw a little less things than repubs in same amount of time.

  149. Terry

    @Kuhnigget 129:
    And how does one strengthen self-regulation?

    By allowing private groups of concerned members to self-organize in order to regulate themselves. For instance, the MPAA rating system, the state Bar associations, the American Medical Association. How did the internet regulate itself? There is still no U.S. government agency to tell the internet what to do. That is as it should be.

    @32. PeteC:
    Terry, Kuhnigget,

    Watching your debate with great interest, I see two obvious things.

    One, it’s really good to see a polite, reasoned debate on the internet :) . Neither of you has called the other by a string of daft labels (”nazi”, “terrorist-lover”, “commie”, etc etc etc) yet. Good FSM, reason and debate – whatever next? You two would never make it in media or politics.

    Two, your positions aren’t actually that far apart – it’s more a matter of degree than fundamental belief.

    I love to debate, which is polite. When the name calling and mudslinging starts, I politely leave. Bar room brawls are not the means to achieve discourse and understanding.

    Also, I have a theory that small differences between people foster the most outrageous arguments. That’s why the democrats and republicans are so vociferous today. They got so much in common they have to shout louder to make their points heard.

    I’m not sure the example of radio necessarily works – people were self-regulating it as geeks of their time, hobbyists, but things would have gone wrong quite quickly once extremely large amounts of profit or political and commercial opinion-making through advertising had happened. Some systems, particularly new technological ones, inherently push towards monopolies. Some government setting of standards isn’t a bad idea. I don’t think things would be better with eight hundred and fifty different commercially competing mininets world-wide, all using different protocols, technologies and so on – the IP standards that came out of the original *government*-funded and run project have made the internet possible.

    The original creators of the world wide web were hobbyists. The production of html was hobbyist driven. Today, we are on the brink of html5 and no one has yet regulated the use of HTML on the internet. Most of that his handled through the ISO, a non-governmental organization. The US member of the ISO is ANSI, a private, non-profit corporation. The IP standards were developed by DARPA and the ARPAnet had a heavy government involvement, but it quickly went private. Similarly, some of Armstrong’s work on radio was funded by the government during World War I, but the development took off when private citizens and commercial interests got involved.

    To this day, the internet standards that the entire world communicates under are unregulated except in tyranny states that want to limit communication. Are there problems, sure. Flash versus Silverlight, versus HTML5, etc, but that’s choice. If someone refuses to allow choice, they pay for it commercially. Once the government regulates it, improvement slows to a crawl.

    @134. HMS:
    Terry,

    Happy meals are NOT banned in San Francisco.
    Never meant to say they are. Happy Meal toys are banned so that parents no longer have to say no to their kids who want happy meals for the toys. That’s alright sociologists agree that kids who grow up without boundaries are more likely to not set boundaries for themselves in adulthood and more likely to lack the discipline to control their spending, eating, and energy use, but whatever. It’s all good.

    McDonald’s and other outlets can still serve meals with toys as long as the total calorie count is below 600 calories. There’s even an obvious loophole for that calorie limit, just buy something in addition to the meal. It’s no skin off Ronald McDonald’s nose.

    If anything you should be angry at how conservative media lied straight to your face. Something to remember next time something rolls of the assembly line in their Outrage factory.

    I don’t watch conservative media. I don’t even have cable. I listen to radio during my commute. Do you mean to tell me that NPR is conservative? It is an outrage but a petty outrage. There are a hundred such petty outrages, so I only get annoyed at them. I would like to point out that I am an educated person who reads extensively, both in the classics and modern studies. I read source material before trusting derivative writings. I’ve read the SF ordnance directly. I know what it provides. It is more nannying.

    @135 Zetetic:
    Terry @ #39:
    Thanks for the link, but I’m not to sure what a party that has allowed itself to be largely taken over by it’s more extremist elements, and increasingly divorcing itself from any introspection, has to do with debates about R&D projects.

    Point taken. When I reviewed your original comment, the linked article, and my comment I realize that my point was very tangential. Sorry. Not trying to defend the Republicans, mind you. Trying to tear down the Democrats along with them. My point was simply that the Democrats ignore facts as much as the Republicans.

    The problem is that these Republicans are trying to do precisely that, by ignoring the science and trying to steer this country into economic disaster all for the sake of corporate welfare.

    Agreed. Of course, so are the Democrats.

    Respectfully, that’s not going to happen also long as this country continues to engage in corporate subsides and welfare in the form of attacking other countries to keep oil cheap.

    Please provide evidence that supports that this nation has engaged in any combat to keep oil cheap. In Desert Storm, we were friendly with Saddam Hussein beforehand. Not REALLY friendly because of his human rights record, but he was no worse than Saudi where that goes. Him taking over Kuwait wouldn’t have hurt our oil one iota. Add to that, we don’t get much of our oil from the Middle East anyways. Iraqi Freedom does nothing to support cheap oil either. It DOES support the Neo-conservative belief that promoting democracy by any means necessary is something that will promote worldwide peace and prosperity. The argument comes directly from Democratic Peace theory, which is the lack of evidence-based theory that democracies don’t go to war with each other. (No democracies ever have, so it must be true).

    @ 136 Zetetic:
    Show me one U.S. war to promote corporate interests.

    The “Indian” wars.
    The “war” on drugs.
    Operation Desert Storm.
    Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Iraqi Freedom and Desert Storm disassembled above. You can believe what you want there. Afterall, you can be a 9/11 truther and anti-vaxxer if you want, imho and I can shout louder. I’m good at that.

    I’d like to know which “Indian” wars you are referring to and what corporate interests were supported with the American aggression against Native Americans. I would say they supported national interests in their aggressive warfare, not corporate interests.

    The “war” on drugs is neither a war nor done for corporate interests. What corporate interests are supported by making certain, non-medical, drugs illegal? It supports political and “moral” interests, but not corporate. There have been plenty of wars done in the world for corporate interests, don’t get me wrong, but the beauty of our American system is that the leaders have to find legitimate reasons that the people will buy to make warfare possible in the U.S. Don’t believe me? Look at polling data on the Iraq war in 2003. The populous was in support, not against it.

  150. @ Terry:

    The “war” on drugs is neither a war nor done for corporate interests. What corporate interests are supported by making certain, non-medical, drugs illegal?

    Again, I suggest you read up on a little history. Try William Randolph Hearst again. The “war” against marijuana began when Hearst and DuPont wanted to destroy hemp producers, who were in direct competition with their paper mills. Hence you get lovely propaganda films such as Reefer Madness that set the stage for a demonizing of a substance that is so ridiculously less toxic than alcohol (which Hearst had no financial interest in) as to be ludicrous.

    Our history is filled with such cases, and not just “cold wars,” either. And BTW, please look into the amount of money, manpower, firepower, and military equipment and operations go into this “non-war” before you make any more comments about it. You might be surprised. With any luck you’ll be horrified by what you find.

    And how does one strengthen self-regulation?

    By allowing private groups of concerned members to self-organize in order to regulate themselves. For instance, the MPAA rating system, the state Bar associations, the American Medical Association. How did the internet regulate itself? There is still no U.S. government agency to tell the internet what to do. That is as it should be.

    The MPAA ratings govern motion pictures. Entertainment. The bar association governs lawyers. The AMA regulates individual doctors. Not one of these entities has the power or resources to do serious harm to our entire society, let alone the ecosystems that allow it to thrive.

    The internet, likewise, does not have the potential to pollute the Gulf of Mexico, disrupt the food chain in California’s Channel Islands, or send vast clouds of toxic chemicals over cities in India or spread huge doses of radiation across western Asia and Europe.

    To equate the internet with, say, the petroleum industry or the nuclear power industry is, once again, extreme silliness. At the most basic level, the internet isn’t a business. It’s a medium. The internet itself may not be regulated, but internet providers and corporations that do business on it sure as heck are.

    Even on a less toxic level, to assume that the financial industry will police itself is just utter nonsense and proven repeatedly false by experience. Those brokers you mentioned above didn’t come up with ridiculous “instruments” because regulations prevented them from doing business otherwise. They came up with them because they’d run out of product to sell in order to keep up their obscene profit growth. Banks and financial institutions were doing just fine for decades. Why all of as sudden did they start packaging junk debt as if it were pork bellies? Greed, not government regulations!

    You want to live in a society with fewer regulations? Try the U.S. in the late 1800s. Compare the working conditions in factories then to the working conditions in factories now. (Of course, they’re getting harder to find these days, given big business’s propensity for shipping jobs overseas, where they can pay 19th century wages again.) Or go back to Los Angeles in the 1960s, when the smog was so bad you could hit it with a baseball bat. Hey, I hear property is cheap in Love Canal, New York!

    Oh, yeah. Business will self-regulate. Seriously…I’ve got this bridge that’s up for sale.

  151. Terry

    @138 Nigel Depledge:
    No. Obviously.
    But only an idiot would ignore the expert climatologists who have spent decades trying to understand the Earth’s climate.

    Granted. I agree that only an idiot would ignore the scientists who have spent decades understanding the climate. Of course only an idiot would ignore the economists who have spent decades trying to understand the economy. The difference is that there is fundamental agreement in the climate and less fundamental agreement (though still a lot) in the economy. So, then, taking actions that most of these disagreeing economists say are reckless and will hurt the economy is stupid, unless it is politically expedient to prove you are “doing something” about the problem.
    In Europe, we are paying attention to what the scientists are telling us. The UK and others are investing in wind power, Germany has a scheme whereby anyone with solar panels on their roof has the right to sell surplus power back to the grid, and so on.
    I don’t know anything about that. I think, if you are so worried about atmospheric carbon, build about 700 nuclear power plants in the U.S. and that problem will be reduced dramatically since we use so much over here. Probably the same can be done in the UK as well and that would help significantly to bridge the gap until Fusion power and beamed solar can be used efficiently.
    On the other side of the pond, the debate has become so politicised and muddied by the deniers that, to the average Joe Public, it looks like you have two sets of people saying diametrically opposite things with no clear evidence available to resolve the issue. However, that is exactly the situation that the deniers wanted to engineer. The pblic does not know whom to trust, and the evidence – that would actually speak for itself if given half a chance – is stifled and obscured by mud-slinging.
    No disagreement here. Climate science is a very complex field. My bit of sarcasm was aimed at Brasidas bit of sarcasm. My point was that questioning climate science is more because the science is so damned unclear, not because it is
    Just what exactly do you mean by “big government”?
    Um… large bureaucracies with large amounts of regulation and intrusion upon the rights of the people. IE, not small government.
    , since that naturally leads to runaway industrialization.
    Says who? And why? And on what evidentiary basis?

    Says me, as well as a few other professors at my University. I don’t know what research they based their analysis on. Looking toward the historical record, there have been no cases of rapid industrialization without a large scale government involvement. The closest you come is in Asia minor, South Korea, and other places that western nations (primarily the United States) have encouraged business to invest. That investment was in the form of sweat shops and horrible labor conditions that paid twice as well as any other work in the area and eventually fostered industrialization through deals with western nations as well. This is not a good thing or a bad thing. To apply moralistic terms to it takes it out of the evidentiary side of things. Morally, payday lenders are predatory and disgusting in their practices. Empirically, foreclosures, bankruptcies and defaults increase when states legislate payday lenders out of business. It’s not a question of morality, but empiricism.
    The why is a bit more complex and would probably take a while to walk through. In simple form, big industry takes lots of money, labor, and energy, as well as uniformity of will to create quickly. That needs strong infrastructure, security, and peace. Without strong central government, you can’t achieve these things. The who on that one is Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and other American founding fathers. Adams wanted America to get the industrial revolution that Europe was getting. Jefferson wanted a largely agrarian society of landowners. Jefferson wanted small government and Adams large, for those very reasons.
    Not saying I don’t want a little bit of industrialization, I like being able to read Bad Astronomy on the internet which was created because we had extremely cheap energy and high industrialization, but the two are definitely connected.
    Evidence?

    Internet needed DARPA, the national power grid, the University system, peace, and about a hundred other things necessary for lots of 20-40 year olds to be able to idly waste time on this silly network thing without having to worry about time away from the crops. All of these are things that industrialization gave us and industrialization needs infrastructure.

  152. Terry

    @ 158 kuhnigget:
    Again, I suggest you read up on a little history.

    Um.. I think I’ve demonstrated that I’ve read up on a little history.

    Try William Randolph Hearst again. The “war” against marijuana began when Hearst and DuPont wanted to destroy hemp producers, who were in direct competition with their paper mills. Hence you get lovely propaganda films such as Reefer Madness that set the stage for a demonizing of a substance that is so ridiculously less toxic than alcohol (which Hearst had no financial interest in) as to be ludicrous.

    Hadn’t heard this particular one. That may be the case. That certainly explains the story behind the demonization of marijuana among the populous of the U.S. If I remember correctly, though, the same U.S. tried to make alcohol illegal at one point. Not sure, I haven’t read much history…

    That said, the War on Drugs was not started in the 1930s or 1940s when Reefer Madness came out. It officially started under Nixon, right as Watergate was starting to come out and served as a distraction for the public (hey look over here. Ignore the major violation of civil liberties behind the curtain). Even so, the first act to regulate narcotics dates back to 1914 or so, 20 years before Reefer Madness and was part of the religious craze that swept the nation during that time, not corporate interests.

    Ignoring that, even if you were correct about Hearst creating the propaganda that turned the public against marijuana, that explains why public sentiment was against marijuana, not the war on drugs. At best, Hearst and Du Pont were second-order influencers. As great an influencer is America’s puritanical history and the science that showed marijuana to have deleterious effects on health (which it does, just not at the degree which alcohol does.

    The MPAA ratings govern motion pictures. Entertainment. The bar association governs lawyers. The AMA regulates individual doctors. Not one of these entities has the power or resources to do serious harm to our entire society, let alone the ecosystems that allow it to thrive.

    Nor did radio. Your point?

    The internet, likewise, does not have the potential to pollute the Gulf of Mexico, disrupt the food chain in California’s Channel Islands, or send vast clouds of toxic chemicals over cities in India or spread huge doses of radiation across western Asia and Europe.

    To equate the internet with, say, the petroleum industry or the nuclear power industry is, once again, extreme silliness. At the most basic level, the internet isn’t a business. It’s a medium. The internet itself may not be regulated, but internet providers and corporations that do business on it sure as heck are.

    Ahh, that’s your point. If someone wants less regulation, they want ALL REGULATION GONE! So, by the same token, if someone supports welfare they want NO ONE HAS TO WORK!

    Okay, yes the internet businesses are regulated. That is true. They have to file taxes, they have to follow certain business practices. They have to structure themselves in certain ways.

    Regulation is bad. It also serves a purpose. Cutting down trees is bad. It also serves a purpose. Burning fossil fuels is bad. It also serves a purpose. The point is, too much of any of those, and the purpose is outweighed by the costs.

    Even on a less toxic level, to assume that the financial industry will police itself is just utter nonsense and proven repeatedly false by experience. Those brokers you mentioned above didn’t come up with ridiculous “instruments” because regulations prevented them from doing business otherwise. They came up with them because they’d run out of product to sell in order to keep up their obscene profit growth. Banks and financial institutions were doing just fine for decades. Why all of as sudden did they start packaging junk debt as if it were pork bellies? Greed, not government regulations!

    The obscene profit growth itself is needed because Keynesian economic theory says if you aren’t growing, you are dying. That is just silly. The Austrian school of economics is much more sustainable. How should businesses ensure long term growth? take out loans to get it? Loan themselves money through complicated maneuvers? Absolutely not. They should do it by saving money and then investing into the project. Slow growth better than monstrously fast growth.

    Problem is, here is the Fed that follows the Keynesian model and injects newly minted cash every time things slow down. It is afraid of flat. It is afraid of sustainability, because that means things are going bad in Keynesian minds.’

    What changed was two things. One, a Republican Neo-Conservative, Keynesian administration took office and made some pretty ridiculous actions. It deregulated and then spurred the economy. It was schizophrenic. A good economy is slow moving. Deregulation helps keep the boom and bust cycle to a minimum, so why spur the economy with tax breaks? The tax breaks were purely political and were bad for the country at that time. (I may be an idealist in my theory, but I’m practical in my application). We need to cut spending and the deficit and start getting the debt knocked out before we can cut taxes.

    Second, a new push was started (under Clinton) to get more homes sold to more lower income families. Sub-prime lending became incentivized. Would the banks have done it if they had known they had to pick up the tab? HELL NO! So they had all these extra lending profit and they wanted to make a buck on it, so they turned it into new products that could be sold to unsuspect… I mean potential investors. No one knew what these products actual risk category was, but everyone knew that they wouldn’t have to pay for it.

    Those two things came together to make the environment of the crunch, not any one of those.

    You want to live in a society with fewer regulations? Try the U.S. in the late 1800s. Compare the working conditions in factories then to the working conditions in factories now. (Of course, they’re getting harder to find these days, given big business’s propensity for shipping jobs overseas, where they can pay 19th century wages again.) Or go back to Los Angeles in the 1960s, when the smog was so bad you could hit it with a baseball bat. Hey, I hear property is cheap in Love Canal, New York!

    Fewer regulations in the 1800s, yes. Smaller government? Yes, but not less intrusive. The government PAID these people to make their factories. The government violated civil liberties left and right. The government was committed wholesale slaughter of a race of people. The government made it happen. Right or wrong? Who knows. We wouldn’t be what we are today if the Indians still owned the midwest, I’ll tell you that much. The last obstacle to building a large infrastructure was done away with in the Civil War and the Indian wars and the 14th Amendment that followed it.

    The other examples are perfect examples why regulation has to happen. Does regulation help. YES! Do you sometimes have to dam the river? YES!

    Oh, yeah. Business will self-regulate. Seriously…I’ve got this bridge that’s up for sale.

    It’s okay. I’ll mortgage your children’s futures to buy it.

    I am not offering a perfect system. If anyone can offer you utopia, run the other way. I’m not even offering a SYSTEM. I’m offering my arguments for why we are going too far away from sustainable. If you want to persist is the belief that I am idiotic for believing that we are burning up our children’s futures in a dozen different ways, not least of which is selling those futures in bond initiatives, fine. You go one spending our nations dollars away, and I’ll go on burning our nations future up.

    More than HALF of our federal spending goes to welfare and social spending initiatives. If you think that we need to be sustainable in our energy spending, we need to cut our fiscal spending. Fiscal spending in America is energy spending and the best way to cut our energy spending is to cut the size of our government.

    Am I suggesting that we abolish all social spending? In an ideal world, sure, but we live in the real world and you can’t do that without causing massive suffering. I don’t want ot see massive suffeing. If you do nothing, you cause massive suffering tomorrow. Just as with your arguments about AGW, if we don’t act, we punish the future. It’s all about sustainability.

  153. Ignoring that, even if you were correct about Hearst creating the propaganda that turned the public against marijuana, that explains why public sentiment was against marijuana, not the war on drugs

    A semantic argument. If by war on drugs you mean War on Drugs™ © The Reagan Administration, then yeah, I suppose. But if you mean the systematic demonization of a particular drug that big business couldn’t monopolize, and the subsequent government policies that those same businesses lobbied very effectively to implement, then you’re wrong.

    And yes, the Hearst story is true. And Hearst did not just sway public opinion, he put his money to good use in order to get marijuana use criminalized by the the government. This is a prime example of corporate interests dictating government policy.

    Nor did radio. Your point?

    Radio is not the internet. Radio is based upon a very limited resource: the electromagnetic spectrum. Government regulation was based on this simple fact. The internet faces no such limitation. You want more bandwidth, build it. My point is, your internet example is not equivalent and essentially nonsensical.

    Regulation is bad. It also serves a purpose.

    It is bad only in your world view. I see regulation as a needed and helpful foundation of civilization. Without regulation, society as we know it would not exist. It is NOT by definition “bad.”

    The government PAID these people to make their factories.

    I’m not sure what you’re referencing. Example, please?

    The government violated civil liberties left and right. The government was committed wholesale slaughter of a race of people.

    And are you telling me people didn’t commit that same wholesale slaughter before it became government policy? In the case of the Indian population, that government policy was based upon the prevailing view of the people, a view that had been around ever since Europe colonized the Americas. Without government, that slaughter would have continued just the same. Your example is nonsensical. Government is not a separate entity from the people who create it. You can have good government policy and bad government policy, but the institution itself is neutral.

    It’s okay. I’ll mortgage your children’s futures to buy it.

    You would need to take out an even larger mortgage if big business were allowed to run unchecked.

    . If you want to persist is the belief that I am idiotic for believing that we are burning up our children’s futures in a dozen different ways,

    Not a dozen different ways, just one: believing that deregulating business will somehow reverse human nature and make the world a rosier place. I don’t believe you have provided adequate evidence to back up that position.

    More than HALF of our federal spending goes to welfare and social spending initiative.

    Just don’t exclude all that corporate welfare from your targeting sights. Indirect military welfare to the Boeings, General Electrics, DuPonts, and myriad other monied interests that suck from the public teat would more than make up for any waste in the so-called “entitlement” programs.

    Fiscal spending in America is energy spending

    I have no idea what that means.

    It’s all about sustainability.

    On that we agree, but allowing big business and money to run our society is unsustainable. History has shown this again and again. Business, left alone, is amoral. I have no desire for me or people who come after me to live in an amoral society.

  154. Zetetic

    alex n. @ #151:

    Mr.Platt and Mr. Zetetic, my bad!!! i beg you perdom. i forgot the plural o “Mr.” wowww!!!!!!! sorry again.

    No need to apologize to me about that, you didn’t try to ascribe a gender to me, it was Phil and Barton that you referred to as “mrs”.

    Either way you seem to have filed to notice that you’re apologizing for the wrong thing.

    Yes I had learned to tell the difference, and it is only a matter of degree… and that is my point!!!

    Then apparently your priorities are so screwed up that you didn’t realize that you failed completely to make a valid one.

    Do you really think that the Obama administration trying to spin a report on an environmental disaster, that had stopped at that point, is equivalent to the some high ranking Republican trying to take over committees to undermine the USA’s energy independence and national security for the sake of their fossil fuel benefactors? Oh that’s right Obama is a Democrat so of course what his administration did was worse, right?

    because as you rightly have said the difference was NOT between “Worse” and “GOOD”

    So then you are admitting that you had made a false accusation about me? See, that’s what you should have been apologizing for.

    But I’d preferred to see in the article, a little footnote from Mr.Plaitt, about, as you have said, the”political mess” of Mr.Obama and the Gulf Crisis, I don’t ask too much!!

    Why?
    How is what Obama’s administration wrongly did to spin things after the fact, any any way directly related to to what the Republicans are trying to do to create a disaster for the sake of dogma and fossil fuel money?

    If Phil tried to list every wrong doing by every party every time he criticized one or the other, it would fill up the internet.

    soorry again for “MRS”!!!!!

    Still apologizing for the wrong thing. You really should try to relax and compose your thoughts more before posting. It would help you make a valid point for a change.

  155. Zetetic

    Juice @ #152:

    Ok, so it was a procedural trick, but the Dems could have just as easily voted against the motion.

    Which would have given the Republicans a cheap and dirty shot at them in the next election, not to mention it would have allowed those caught watching the porn to have gotten paid as well.

    They pussed out and killed the bill (for a week).

    Which was the smartest thing to do under the circumstances. They Dems still got to pass the bill, the governemt employees still didn’t get paid, and they deprived the Republicans of a cheap shot in the next elections. Funny how you describe it as “pussed out”.

    So I’m supposed to be worried and scared because of this political BS?

    Granted it’s not the end of the world, but that wasn’t Phil’s point. Do you really think that doesn’t it speaks to Hall’s character (or lack there of) to try and use the education of this country to score a cheap political point?

  156. Zetetic

    Terry @ #135:

    Sorry. Not trying to defend the Republicans, mind you. Trying to tear down the Democrats along with them.

    I think that you and I have much in common on that point. I was just a little perplexed since it seemed to be off on a tangent.

    My point was simply that the Democrats ignore facts as much as the Republicans.

    I’ll agree that both parties can ignore the facts, but my point is that such behavior seems to have gotten much worse on the Republican side overtime as they continue to pander to the most extreme elements in their party. For all of the faults on the Democrats side, at least they aren’t attacking the science (and scientists) supporting AGW, evolution, sex ed, etc. Also at least many Democrats have no trouble criticizing the representatives in Congress and Obama. Many Republicans (even the higher ranking polictos) have completely cut themselves off from any sort of introspection, that’s very dangerous.

    Agreed. Of course, so are the Democrats.

    I never said that the Dems don’t have their faults, but the Republicans are the ones deliberately undermining education and science in general in the USA. Not to mention the approaching mess of AGW.

    In Desert Storm, we were friendly with Saddam Hussein beforehand.

    True, until he attacked Kuwait. I wonder what the USA’s national interest was with Kuwait?

    Him taking over Kuwait wouldn’t have hurt our oil one iota.

    Incorrect. Hussein attacked Kuwait because they were keeping oil prices lower than he liked. Hussein blamed them of undercutting the prices OPEC had set, while he was trying to rebuild his economy after a long war with Iraq. He attacked Kuwait with the goal of trying to increase oil prices. One of the stated goals of the (first) Bush administration was to protect the oil supply, so they lied about Hussein preparing to attack Saudi Arabia. Hmmm… and what was the USA’s national interest in Saudi Arabia at that time again?

    Add to that, we don’t get much of our oil from the Middle East anyways.

    We get enough of it that even the mere threat of increased Middle Eastern instability causes oil prices to skyrocket.

    Iraqi Freedom does nothing to support cheap oil either.

    So you really think that trying to remove an unfriendly dictator, and install a friendly democracy has no bearing on the politics of the region and therefore oil prices? Seriously?

    It DOES support the Neo-conservative belief that promoting democracy by any means necessary is something that will promote worldwide peace and prosperity.

    No offense but your view of history seems to be rather selective. The USA originally invaded primarily in the name of fighting terrorism and WMDs, remember? Trying to spin it as a liberation primarily came afterward when things didn’t play out as planned. Or do you really think that what a government claims as it’s reason for going to war is usually the actual reason?

    Iraqi Freedom and Desert Storm disassembled above.

    Unfortunately, no you didn’t.

    I’d like to know which “Indian” wars you are referring to and what corporate interests were supported with the American aggression against Native Americans.

    The systematic extermination and oppression of Native Americans was often referred to as the “Indian Wars”. As to the corporate interests… You never heard of the Railroad Companies and land given to large cattle ranching interests, among others? What do you think the federal government did with all of the land they took by force, do you think that they gave all of it to small time settlers?

    The “war” on drugs is neither a war nor done for corporate interests.

    Why do you think that I put “war” in quotes? It’s still a violent action and restriction of people’s freedoms (asset forfeiture laws for example) in the name of an agenda.
    Do you think that competing products and the prison industry, the police equipment companies, etc have nothing to gain? Not to mention alcohol and tobacco companies as competition? Cocaine is a very effective local anesthetic too.

    The populous was in support, not against it.

    Yes because the administration lied about it, just like they did for Operation Desert Storm, and many other wars. Or do you really think that the public can’t be fooled?

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    Terry @ #160:

    So, then, taking actions that most of these disagreeing economists say are reckless and will hurt the economy is stupid, unless it is politically expedient to prove you are “doing something” about the problem.

    And exactly what kind of harm to the economy will run away AGW do? Do you really think that won’t be an economic disaster of major proportions if things continue the way they are trending? Actually the economic effects of AGW have been studied and it’s looking very bad the way things are heading. As to countering it, it looking increasingly do-able.

    Positives and negatives of global warming

    Solving Global Warming – Not Easy, But Not Too Hard

    Scientists find “net present value of climate change impacts” of $1240 TRILLION on current emissions path
    You may also want to read my earlier link about AGW and conservatism, if you haven’t done so yet especally the link it has to an article about “adaptation”. I agree that any action taken to prevent/minimize AGW needs to take economics into account, but even in an economic sense ignoring AGW is looking increasingly suicidal.

    All of these are things that industrialization gave us and industrialization needs infrastructure.

    I agree, but all of which is threatened by AGW. How much sense does it make to take such risks for the profit of fossil fuel corporations and their paid politicians?

    Like you I don’t care much for either party, but at this point the Republican party is increasingly making itself the enemy of science and civilization as a whole. I wish that it wasn’t true, but just look at their actions. Lately I find myself increasingly having to increasing side with the Democrats as the lesser of two evils on many issues, especially the biggest ones.

  157. Terry

    @ Kunigget:
    First, the last:
    On that we agree, but allowing big business and money to run our society is unsustainable. History has shown this again and again. Business, left alone, is amoral. I have no desire for me or people who come after me to live in an amoral society.

    Let me savor that last sentence. sigh… I DON’T WANT YOUR MORALITY! I DON’T WANT THE FUNDAMENTALIST RIGHTS MORALITY EITHER!

    This is my point. There is no difference between the right and the left on this. You want to tell other people what they must believe moral or immoral. What I want is for the government to get out of the business of telling people what is moral because that definition ultimately rests with whoever is in power.

    There is one morality in the U.S. that matters to me. It was laid out by Thomas Jefferson, even if he really failed to follow it. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Further, I hold that: “— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” and that, “— That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    ———————————–
    The rest.

    A semantic argument. If by war on drugs you mean War on Drugs™ © The Reagan Administration, then yeah, I suppose. But if you mean the systematic demonization of a particular drug that big business couldn’t monopolize, and the subsequent government policies that those same businesses lobbied very effectively to implement, then you’re wrong.

    You’ll note that I pointed out that the criminalization of drugs started long before Reagan (at least before his administration, I think he was born by 1914). And the point about government regulation supporting business interests… how is this not support for my argument?

    And yes, the Hearst story is true. And Hearst did not just sway public opinion, he put his money to good use in order to get marijuana use criminalized by the government. This is a prime example of corporate interests dictating government policy.

    I don’t doubt that the Hearst story is true. I just don’t know much about it. My argument answer would be that the Hearst story you pushed proves my point. This started with my call for evidence of corporate involvement in causing wars, actual wars in the United States. I don’t doubt that corporations shape public opinion, nor that they shape government policy. Hell, maybe half the regulations out there are shaped by corporate gerrymandering. How does this support your argument?

    Radio is not the internet. Radio is based upon a very limited resource: the electromagnetic spectrum. Government regulation was based on this simple fact. The internet faces no such limitation. You want more bandwidth, build it. My point is, your internet example is not equivalent and essentially nonsensical.

    You are correct that there are differences between the internet and radio due to the limited frequency resources. However, my point was not the equivalency of radio and internet. My point is that the internet and other industries have managed to self-regulate. Have they not done so?

    It is bad only in your world view. I see regulation as a needed and helpful foundation of civilization. Without regulation, society as we know it would not exist. It is NOT by definition “bad.”

    So, it is, by definition, not bad to take away freedom in your world view?

    Lets use your tactic and take this to the extreme, why don’t we regulate what meals people are allowed to buy at restaurants (Wait… that’s already started). We’ll regulate what restaurants you may go to (Hmm… no thats not started yet, I don’t think, unless the restaurant serves alcohol, then it is definitely started). We’ll regulate how much time you are allowed to spend reading (thank god no one has done this yet). We’ll regulate what those topics are that you are allowed to read about (this happens ALL THE TIME).

    I don’t think you mean to take it to that extreme, but the taking away of freedom is never good. According to the philosophy of liberty, I do not count the ability to hurt others and control their liberty as a freedom. Other freedoms should be protected, but it is sometimes necessary, but a necessary evil. If you don’t believe that freedoms are what government is supposed to protect, we have nothing further to discuss, because I love freedom and hate dictatorships.

    The government PAID these people to make their factories.

    I’m not sure what you’re referencing. Example, please?

    Paid was not an accurate term. I didn’t mean to say that financial transfers were made. I meant to say that the government incentivized this behavior. Want an example? I don’t have time to do any extensive research to find specific examples, it’s been a few years since I took a look at that. There were a couple of steamship lines that got subsidies. There were plenty of factories that got subsidies. The key things is that people like Carnegie and Morgan and others, the so-called robber barons, came along and blew them out of the water with innovation and so the government came along and broke their companies up, despite the fact that their monopolies were already fading as other people began to compete more actively and they were consistently making things cheaper, not more expensive as others charge.

    In fact, the definitive histories on Standard Oil were written in the 1930s, during the rise of American socialist movements and were critical of the concept of capitalism. Later, during the 50s to 70s new histories of Standard Oil pointed out that the anti-trust cases against Standard Oil actually reduced competition in the oil market, not increased it.

    On the other hand, the government also took very direct action to limit capitalism. An example is Leland Stanford lobbying to make it illegal to compete with his California Pacific rail company. History records that government subsidy made the railroad possible. That may or may not be, I don’t know. I do know that government involvement made it illegal to compete with the existing rail companies.

    Of course, this was about factories and poor labor conditions. I absolutely support the right of unions to organize! Free associations of people should be allowed to occur. That much is simple. Businesses should not be compelled to hire union workers. That much is also simple. Do we need some regulation to preserve the rights of people. YES! Yes, and Yes and YES again. Does regulation hurt business? YES! Does business pay peoples wages in the U.S. YES! You have to avoid regulating where it is not necessary. Health insurance needs some regulation. It does not need the government to take over the freedom of choice in that regard. Notice, the health insurance companies are not the ones complaining about this new health bill. It does need the enforcement of certain standards of safety, dignity, and wages.

    And are you telling me people didn’t commit that same wholesale slaughter before it became government policy? In the case of the Indian population, that government policy was based upon the prevailing view of the people, a view that had been around ever since Europe colonized the Americas. Without government, that slaughter would have continued just the same. Your example is nonsensical. Government is not a separate entity from the people who create it. You can have good government policy and bad government policy, but the institution itself is neutral.

    You are absolutely right. The government violated its principles to support this because it was politically expedient. It does that when left unchecked. What is should have done was make sure that no individual could violate the life, liberty, and property of another individual, but instead it decided to condone it. I have never once said that I am an Anarchist. I’m not even a libertarian, except in that I support the philosphy of liberty. I don’t think that the government should cease to exist. I think it should be repurposed back to defending liberty, life, and property, not taking it away.

    Not a dozen different ways, just one: believing that deregulating business will somehow reverse human nature and make the world a rosier place. I don’t believe you have provided adequate evidence to back up that position.

    I’m aware you don’t believe so. I don’t believe that you have provided adequate evidence to suggest that regulating business will not have a deleterious effect on the economy. I don’t believe that I’ve ever advocated the complete elimination of regulation. I do believe that I have said that regulation is bad for business and the economy and that it is inherently damaging and it is also sometimes necessary. You seem to be willfully ignoring that point, but that’s fine you can ignore me if you choose, just as you can ignore fact and history and science if you choose.

    The use of the term evil was mostly in the context of a necessary evil, not to address a morality. The only morality that I call for is the concept of liberal civil rights, embodied in the rights to life, liberty and property.

    So. I notice in all this, we’ve talked about my political philosophy? What is yours? What do you believe? How do you make that consistent with freedom and human rights?

  158. @ Terry:

    I DON’T WANT YOUR MORALITY! I DON’T WANT THE FUNDAMENTALIST RIGHTS MORALITY EITHER!

    And yet, by choosing to live in a society — ANY society — you are forced to accept the morality of others, if only as a compromise that allows everyone to get along. If you don’t want to make that compromise, fine and dandy. Go off and live in a cabin in the woods somewhere. Your belief that business is better than government, that government is inherently bad, is your own brand of morality. I wouldn’t want to live in a society dominated by that sort of morality. I realize I have to accept some aspects of it, however, so I compromise. Doesn’t mean I, or you, cannot bitch about it, however.

    And the point about government regulation supporting business interests… how is this not support for my argument?

    The original point came up when you asked when had government waged war in the interest of corporations. The drug war came up. You doubted the connection. I gave you the example of Hearst and marijuana. Hearst’s corporate interests (destroy the budding hemp industry that threatened his paper business) took precedent, thanks to his buying legislation criminalizing the production of hemp, over the interests of the people. That is in direct contradiction to your whole “freedom of the people” philosophy, is it not?

    This started with my call for evidence of corporate involvement in causing wars, actual wars in the United States.

    The “war” on drugs is an actual war. There is military involvement, collateral damage, oppression, violence and death, oppression of minorities, and huge, huge costs. Again, to try and edge around that is to engage in silly semantic games.

    You are correct that there are differences between the internet and radio due to the limited frequency resources. However, my point was not the equivalency of radio and internet. My point is that the internet and other industries have managed to self-regulate. Have they not done so?

    You utterly missed the point of my rebuttal. You set up the internet as a paradigm of successful technological development, absent of regulation. This, as opposed to radio, which you imply turned into a monopoly by RCA because of government regulation. But the two examples are utterly unrelated. Apples and oranges. The internet’s development, sans regulation, is nothing like the development of a technology (e.g. radio) or industry (e.g. petroleum) that either uses limited natural resources or has potentially devastating impacts on the environment or human life directly. To use the internet as an example of how wonderful life would be if business had fewer regulations is just nonsense.

    So, it is, by definition, not bad to take away freedom in your world view?

    See above, regarding society. We all make compromises in order to live together. You can label that “taking away freedom,” or you can call it doing what we need to do so the greatest number of people can live happy, productive, safe and satisfying lives. I choose the latter. You, obviously, are incredibly hung up on that whole compromise issue.

    Lets use your tactic and take this to the extreme…

    Nah, let’s not. You, yourself agree that some regulation is necessary. I, on the other hand, will never go to the extreme and say every aspect of life, private or corporate, has to be regulated. And in looking back through my posts, I don’t believe I have ever implied that. So your statement is a strawman, and completely pointless.

    I meant to say that the government incentivized this behavior. Want an example? I don’t have time to do any extensive research to find specific examples, it’s been a few years since I took a look at that.

    Well of course you don’t have time.

    Specifics are besides the point anyway. As mentioned above, of course there are times when government policies go awry. Governments are human constructs and last time I looked humans are fallible. Doesn’t mean you throw out the whole institution every time some over zealous legislator gets carried away.

    Besides, and if you ever do get the time, I’m willing to bet that for every one example of a subsidized industry gone awry you’ll find half a dozen examples of subsidies that did NOT go awry, that helped the industry thrive, helped people work and grow and prosper, and succeeded in doing exactly what the subsidy was supposed to do.

    I don’t think that the government should cease to exist. I think it should be repurposed back to defending liberty, life, and property, not taking it away.

    And, perhaps unfortunately for someone of your philosophical bent, in order to defend liberty, life, and property for the most people, sometimes we have to compromise. And business enterprises are no different. Honestly, it’s as simple as that.

    I do believe that I have said that regulation is bad for business and the economy and that it is inherently damaging and it is also sometimes necessary. You seem to be willfully ignoring that point, but that’s fine you can ignore me if you choose, just as you can ignore fact and history and science if you choose.

    Please give me an example where I willfully ignored that point. Strawman.

    The only morality that I call for is the concept of liberal civil rights, embodied in the rights to life, liberty and property.

    And that call of yours would have an impact on the lives of others, just as any system of morality would. You cannot have total freedom without impinging on the freedom of someone else. It’s simply impossible. Somewhere, sometime, someone is going to want something that you want, or don’t want, and that results in conflict. That is why society is a series of compromises.

    I notice in all this, we’ve talked about my political philosophy? What is yours? What do you believe? How do you make that consistent with freedom and human rights?

    Well, if you can’t figure it out from the above…

    I, too, believe in freedom. But freedom demands responsibility, the responsibility to compromise, to ensure that your freedom doesn’t impinge on the freedoms of others. That ability to compromise is the foundation of society and civilization. But because people are not perfect, and because some people don’t like to compromise, we have laws and governments that enforce them. These are not “evils,” they are necessities. Without them we could not exist as civilized society. Do they have to be checked and kept in balance? Of course they do. In this they are no different from any other human enterprise…including business. Business, specifically corporate business, is also a human invention and therefore prone to all the usual human faults. It is not up on some pedestal with a “hands off” sign on it. If corporations are granted rights, then they, too, must have responsibilities. One of those should be the responsibility to cease and desist if their actions do harm to society at large. Just as an individual who breaks the law can be incarcerated and have his rights taken away, so, too, should corporations. No one, individual or corporation, should be above the law.

  159. Terry

    @ Zetetic:
    This is why I like debating here rather than other places. Even if there are a share that just resort to name calling and ad hominem attacks, most will use FACT to argue points. I like that and thank you.

    Incorrect. Hussein attacked Kuwait because they were keeping oil prices lower than he liked. Hussein blamed them of undercutting the prices OPEC had set, while he was trying to rebuild his economy after a long war with Iraq. He attacked Kuwait with the goal of trying to increase oil prices. One of the stated goals of the (first) Bush administration was to protect the oil supply, so they lied about Hussein preparing to attack Saudi Arabia. Hmmm… and what was the USA’s national interest in Saudi Arabia at that time again?

    That was true, and narrow. In the 1970s, Saudi tried to artificially raise oil prices. When they did, demand went down and OPEC lost money. They lost a lot of money. Kuwait didn’t want a repeat of that so they fought artificial raises in price for political purposes. They have no other natural resources to speak of, so for them, unlike for Iraq and Saudi, there is nothing to fall back on when the oil price goes up.

    If Saudi had succeeded in controling Kuwait and no other, non-US, coalition stepped in to stop it (which the Soviets would have, trust me. May even have kept them together another couple of years). Then they would have set price higher and demand would have fallen, and OPEC would suffer again. The U.S. with its long standing contracts would not have suffered. Europe would have. Even if the large-scale economics failed to occur the way they had in 1970, and even if the U.S. did step in to ensure its oil supply, what corporate interest did this serve? It served an industrial interest, not a corporate one.

    In any case, Once Kuwait got back into control of itself, it joined OPEC in raising prices anyways, to help pay for war damage. The price went up despite Desert Storm.

    So you really think that trying to remove an unfriendly dictator, and install a friendly democracy has no bearing on the politics of the region and therefore oil prices? Seriously?

    Show me how. It has to do with regional interests of the United States. Since the Boxer rebellion, the United States has demonstrated a consistent policy of opening foreign markets to investment. We sailed ships into Japanese harbors to force them to trade with us. I am not saying that the U.S. has not acted agressively to support trade and economic movement. I am saying we have not fought to support corporate interests in the majority of our fights. Even if we had YOU ARE PROVING MY ARGUMENT! The way to reduce the impact of business into daily lives is not to make government bigger. Business uses government when government lets itself be used.

    Anti-trust laws don’t protect the people or the economy, they protect competitors to businesses. Do people use Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer because Microsoft forces them to? No, they use it because it is the most convenient. If someone made something that really competes with MS in terms of convenience, they would take market share. BOOM! here is Mac. It is convenient, and it is taking market share.

    The problem is when business is aided by government to take out competitors. Would Tucker have gone out of business if the Securities and Exchange Commission hadn’t have harrassed Tucker from the beginning? He had the most innovative car out there, and the other companies were scared, so they made it harder and harder for Tucker Corporation to succeed, but Tucker innovated around them. What brought Tucker down was the SEC, not Big Three. Of course, the fact that the SEC had gone after every small manufacturer coming out of the war era had NOTHING to do with the Big Three, I’m sure.

    No offense but your view of history seems to be rather selective. The USA originally invaded primarily in the name of fighting terrorism and WMDs, remember? Trying to spin it as a liberation primarily came afterward when things didn’t play out as planned. Or do you really think that what a government claims as it’s reason for going to war is usually the actual reason?

    You are absolutely correct. That was not the argument needed to get people moving. Neither was “We need to protect our OIL!” And everyones view of history is selective, including your own. You can only be influenced by what you allow yourself to learn.

    As to what I think, I think that the political philosophy that the Neo-cons espouse (and have espoused for more than a decade) calls for promoting democracy abroad. Suddenly, when the neo-cons get into power (not just of the presidency, of course) we are invading foreign countries left and right and ignoring foreign borders to conduct cross-border operations. We are violating the concepts of sovereignty upon which ALL of international law is based. (Incidently, if you want to look at a libertarian legal system, look at the UN charter. See how well that works. Even so, the rule of thumb on international law is that almost all nations support international legal principles almost all of the time. The outliers are punished by the other nations for outlying behaviours. So, it works somewhat, I guess.)

    The systematic extermination and oppression of Native Americans was often referred to as the “Indian Wars”. As to the corporate interests… You never heard of the Railroad Companies and land given to large cattle ranching interests, among others? What do you think the federal government did with all of the land they took by force, do you think that they gave all of it to small time settlers?

    What you are proving is that corporations benefitted. So did I since I was born after that period in lands that were once owned by indians who were slaughtered. You are not proving that the extermination and oppression was carried out in the first place to support corporations. It seems more a national pride issue and support of the Manifest Destiny concept than corporate interests. Manifest destiny was a concept that began in the 18th and 19th centuries and was popularized by the then democratic party (which is nothing like the current democratic party). No one corporate interest was behind this and there was never the argument that “We need this to support our corporate interests” it was “We need breathing room!” If anything, the need to promote Christian values was behind this movement, not corporate interests.

    Yes because the administration lied about it, just like they did for Operation Desert Storm, and many other wars. Or do you really think that the public can’t be fooled?

    Oh yes… The populous can be fooled. Absolutely. We wouldn’t have the health care bill if that wasn’t the case. On the other hand, you have to prove that the administration lied overtly. You are making a serious allegation there. If there was proof, why was there no impeachment hearing? PROVE IT.

    And exactly what kind of harm to the economy will run away AGW do? Do you really think that won’t be an economic disaster of major proportions if things continue the way they are trending?

    Significant. Survivable, but significant. You get no argument from me there. There will be a signficant economic disaster if it continues unabated. Can you change human nature by legislation? Can you convince people to buy the more expensive thing now vice the cheaper thing that cost more in the long run? On a small scale, sure, by education.

    As to countering it, it looking increasingly do-able.

    My argument is thus on AGW. It is a real future hazard. It needs to be addressed. Is AGW surviveable as a society? I don’t know. We can’t do it without adaptation. Only the most extreme argument say that we are turning our planet into Venus. Do most climate scientists agree on this? I don’t think so. We, as a race, adapted to the ice age. We can, I think, adapt to the steam age.

    Should we do nothing? Of course not. We should work hard to develop alternate technologies. We should try to get fusion power up and running. We need much better energy storage solutions. I don’t know about you, but charging my electric car for 12 hours to handle my hour long daily commute seems excessive. We need to realize that we aren’t going to convince people to act outside of basic economic and sociological theories of behavior. We need to convince them to act within those practices by making it cheaper to do the right thing. That is difficult because oil is so dense an energy solution.

    As far as doing something right now? Put up or shut up about it. There is only one technology that comes close to the efficiency of fossil fuels in energy production. What makes nuclear power more expensive is excessive regulation. Wait… Let me be clear, we need some regulation on nuclear power for safety and environmental sustainability reasons, as well as to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. We don’t need regulation to require the land around a nuclear powerplant to have less radioactivity than the city of Denver. Which is more dangerous, run away global warming or long term radiation storage problems? Weigh your options. Convince environmental groups to get out of the way of building nuclear power plants using pebble-bed reactor techniques.

    Like you I don’t care much for either party, but at this point the Republican party is increasingly making itself the enemy of science and civilization as a whole.

    Which is why I don’t vote Republican. The Democrats are making themselves the enemies of businesses and business innovation. Which is why I don’t vote Democrat. I instead vote for individuals. For instance, I never once voted for President G.W. Bush, mostly because of his record on science and forcing morality on others. Neither did I vote for President Obama, for the same concept of forcing morality, though I hoped science would be a benefit for him.

    Lately I find myself increasingly having to increasing side with the Democrats as the lesser of two evils on many issues, especially the biggest ones.

    That is not an excuse to support any group. That is an excuse to reject a group. Stop looking at the parties as entities. Look at the parties as if they were favorite baseball teams. What matters is an individual’s record. The gentlemen above were not elected on their records. They were elected on their party. More and more voters are choosing to do so, becoming moderates and independents. I support that. Reject the party system.

  160. even if the U.S. did step in to ensure its oil supply, what corporate interest did this serve? It served an industrial interest, not a corporate one.

    Thus, Terry demonstrates his naivete concerning the corporate world.

    Goodness! Collusion amongst corporations in the same industry! Gosh! That never happens!

    Mr. Cheney, call for you on line one.

  161. Terry

    @Kuhnigget:
    I , too, believe in freedom. But freedom demands responsibility, the responsibility to compromise, to ensure that your freedom doesn’t impinge on the freedoms of others. That ability to compromise is the foundation of society and civilization. But because people are not perfect, and because some people don’t like to compromise, we have laws and governments that enforce them. These are not “evils,” they are necessities. Without them we could not exist as civilized society. Do they have to be checked and kept in balance? Of course they do. In this they are no different from any other human enterprise…including business. Business, specifically corporate business, is also a human invention and therefore prone to all the usual human faults. It is not up on some pedestal with a “hands off” sign on it. If corporations are granted rights, then they, too, must have responsibilities. One of those should be the responsibility to cease and desist if their actions do harm to society at large. Just as an individual who breaks the law can be incarcerated and have his rights taken away, so, too, should corporations. No one, individual or corporation, should be above the law.

    I see nothing here inconsistent with my points. Corporations should not have rights. Their owners should have rights. Corporations should not have responsibilities, their owners should have responsibilities. No one should be above the law, at all, nor protected from it by hiding behind a group association.

    The problem with that statement above is that it is vague and inconsistent. What constitutes harming society at large? Does selling fatty foods harm society at large because they know people while buy it? How about selling cigarettes? How about prostitution? If corporations are held to this standard, how about unions? Does obstructing the railway harm society at large? Is it irresponsible? Where do you draw the line there? Who keeps government in check? The government? The people? When the people have lost their freedoms, how do they make the government get back in check? The argument above would mean that corporations which are not harming society at large should be left alone. That means a gentleman’s club which refuses access to women is okay. What about one that refuses access to blacks, is that okay? You say that freedom demands responsibility. How does removing responsibility for making choices support freedom?

    And yet, by choosing to live in a society — ANY society — you are forced to accept the morality of others, if only as a compromise that allows everyone to get along.

    So by that argument, you suggest that since most of America is Christian, you should adopt Christian morality to get along?

    If you don’t want to make that compromise, fine and dandy. Go off and live in a cabin in the woods somewhere.

    You can’t. You still have to pay taxes. Can’t afford to pay taxes if you don’t work. Even so, you are distorting my argument again.

    Your belief that business is better than government, that government is inherently bad, is your own brand of morality. I wouldn’t want to live in a society dominated by that sort of morality.

    Again, you are distorting my argument. I am not explaining the perfect society. I am explaining my philosophical influences. There is no perfect society. It is absurd to try to build one. Society should be allowed to evolve. Government is not society. Government is the system that protects people from each other, at least under Liberal thought. My argument is not that business and government are good or bad. My argument is that if business makes a practice that is exploitative, you can walk away from it. If government makes an act that is exploitative, you can not. My argument is that the taking of life, liberty, and property is bad and should be avoided unless necessary. Corporations taking life, liberty, or property are just as bad as individuals doing it and just as bad as government doing it. In each case it is just other people coming in to take your rights.

    I realize I have to accept some aspects of it, however, so I compromise. Doesn’t mean I, or you, cannot bitch about it, however.

    I wholeheartedly agree that compromise and the right to bitch are core values to a good system of government.

    Again, to try and edge around that is to engage in silly semantic games.

    As is jumping back and forth between the “War on Drugs” under Reagan and the legislative movement against drugs (not just marijuana) that started 20 years before Hearst’s involvement and didn’t really involve military action. Hearst carried out a propaganda campaign that supported his wishes. The propaganda campain was not done in isolation. The movement to restrict and regulate drugs predated him. He furthered something that existed.

    Even so, this is an example of regulation taking away freedoms and causing all sorts of suffering from it. Thank you.

    You utterly missed the point of my rebuttal.

    No, I looked at your rebuttal as besides the point. It needlessly makes a distinction to reframe the debate. Show me another ‘limitless’ industry that avoids regulation. Two options are the film industry and the book industry, both of which are complicated by the First Amendment meaning that they get protected in other ways and are still regulated. So is the internet. Find me one not protected by the First Amendment in the U.S.

    Please give me an example where I willfully ignored that point. Strawman.

    The fact that my argument has never said you have to eliminate all regulation yet you seem to repeatly suggest I want to see government taken completely away.

    The liberal worldview is that a lack of governance leads to terrible things and too much governance leads to terrible things. You need balance. I don’t want to see business unregulated. I want to see LESS regulation.

    And that call of yours would have an impact on the lives of others, just as any system of morality would. You cannot have total freedom without impinging on the freedom of someone else.

    Which is why I don’t call for total freedom. I call for government and government’s morality to be the preservation of life liberty and property. From each other. Including via the use of government to achieve it. Government needs money to operate, so we need a tax system to provide for that. Workers need protection from exploitation, so we need some sort of labor laws to protect against that. All sorts of compromises need to happen and I support that.

    You speak about compromise as if that is the primary obligation of a civil society. It is one of them. Another primary obligation is mutual respect. That means not assuming you know better than everyone else.

  162. Terry

    @Kuhnigget 169:
    Thus Kuhnigget demonstrates his debate tactics. He cherry picks quotes to attack them in absence of everything else.

    Of course the corporate world colludes. Read my point about Tucker and the Big Three? I recognize that the corporate world colludes to achieve things. Now answer the question. What corporate interest was served? Which corporations? Or maybe your argument is that our desire to help ALL AMERICANS by supposedly stealing Iraqi oil was the cause behind these conflicts? In which case, it is still not a corporate interest that is driving it, but a national one.

    And once again, if the corporations are making wars happen, thank you for proving my arguments that business coopts government and government encourages big business.

  163. Dave

    Can I get anyone a bottle of Hater-Aid? Phil?

  164. Terry

    Sorry Dave. You are correct about the vitriol there in my last post. I get annoyed when people attack me personally rather than attacking my arguments. Even so, my point was not meant as an attack on Kuhnigget personally, but rather on the tactic he used. I think I’ll have to agree that this is getting nowhere however. We are going around in circles for no reason debating over where to put the hair so we can effectively split it.

  165. Thus Kuhnigget demonstrates his debate tactics. He cherry picks quotes to attack them in absence of everything else.

    It wasn’t “cherry picked.” The quote was the summary of an argument you were trying to make, yet it flies in the face of reality, a reality which you, yourself, apparently, recognize.

    Now answer the question. What corporate interest was served?

    Well, for starters, British Petroleum (yes, those guys) was only this summer awarded $500 million worth of oil contracts by Iraq, contracts which, under Hussein would have remained with the Iraqi’s own state oil operations.

    And guess which U.S. corporation services all those “newly available” oil contracts? Here’s a hint: it rhymes with Haliburton.

    And sorry, but the interests of Haliburton are not synonymous with the nation’s.

    My claim of naivete on your part remains.

    The problem with that statement above is that it is vague and inconsistent. What constitutes harming society at large?

    To be determined by society. You. Me. All of us. That’s how it works. Got a problem with that?

    So by that argument, you suggest that since most of America is Christian, you should adopt Christian morality to get along?

    No, but I certainly accept our secular laws that may or may not have been influenced by people who happened to be Christian.

    Again, what’s the problem with that? I’m not being forced to be a Christian. And I don’t see any laws on the books that suggest otherwise. Do you?

    If you don’t want to make that compromise, fine and dandy. Go off and live in a cabin in the woods somewhere.
    You can’t. You still have to pay taxes.

    Emigrate. Problem solved. Otherwise, compromise. That’s the way it works.

    The movement to restrict and regulate drugs predated him. He furthered something that existed.

    Utterly beside the point. You asked for an example of a corporate interest influencing government with regards to war. Yes, the war label is a semantic issue, but for all intents and purposes there is no difference between government forces using armed tactics to get their way on foreign soil and government forces using armed tactics (more history: look up Harry J. Anslinger) to get their way on U.S. soil. Okay, so the actual phrase wasn’t coined until the 80s, but the tactics were in place 40 years prior.

    No, I looked at your rebuttal as besides the point. It needlessly makes a distinction to reframe the debate.

    The internet was brought up by YOU, apparently as an example of an industry that thrived because of a lack of regulation. I have shown this is irrelevant to your point. If I’m missing something else, please clarify, because I honestly do not understand why you brought up the internet. Why did you? What were you trying to prove?

    The liberal worldview is that a lack of governance leads to terrible things and too much governance leads to terrible things. You need balance. I don’t want to see business unregulated. I want to see LESS regulation.

    Fine and dandy, but see what you did there? I’ll quote: “liberal worldview is that a lack of governance leads to terrible things…”

    You’ve been excoriating me for claiming that you don’t want no regulation, you only want less regulation. And yet right there you do the same thing: you imply liberals want to impose regulation regardless of whether it’s needed. Sorry, but that’s not MY view, and not the view of any of my “liberal” friends.

    What we do want is an end to this ridiculous notion that business is somehow by definition better than government, when both institutions are human inventions and prone to all the pluses and minuses of any human endeavor. Government by definition is not good or bad. It can be one, the other, or both, but it is not by definition either. Same with business. To believe otherwise is to ignore the reality of human nature.

    You speak about compromise as if that is the primary obligation of a civil society. It is one of them. Another primary obligation is mutual respect.

    The two are not mutually exclusive, something that people who assume “all government is an evil” often find hard to accept.

  166. @ Dave:

    Aw, c’mon! This is lightweight stuff! Stick around for the next UFO nut post!

  167. Terry

    @Kuhnigget 174:
    To be determined by society. You. Me. All of us. That’s how it works. Got a problem with that?

    None at all. The guidelines of that debate were set out on July 4th, 1776, got a problem with that?

    Again, what’s the problem with that? I’m not being forced to be a Christian. And I don’t see any laws on the books that suggest otherwise. Do you?

    That is a whole knew area of debate to approach. I don’t have a problem with more christian values in society, being as I’m Catholic. I do have a problem with official representatives of my government trying to influence the religious choices of my daughter (who is an atheist) in school by bashing atheism in the classroom (just last week). I don’t see any laws onthe books to suggest otherwise, but I see laws that ‘encourage the teaching of all the debates and issues involved with the the development of life on Earth’.

    Emigrate. Problem solved. Otherwise, compromise. That’s the way it works.

    Where have I suggested that compromise is not an important part of government and society? Compromise is required on everything but principles. Don’t force me to pay for or otherwise support abortion and I won’t force you to make it illegal. I’ll pray for those souls lost, and those who are doing the killing, but I won’t try to enforce my morality on you. Morality obeyed only when adopted freely. Otherwise, you are just playing the law of averages.

    You asked for an example of a corporate interest influencing government with regards to war.

    No I didn’t. I asked for an example of a war undertaken to support corporate interests in the U.S. You haven’t demonstrated one. You’ve come really and truly close with the Iraqi Freedom. Even so, I disagree that it was done for corporate reasons. You have demonstrated that BP and Haliburton gained because of it, not that it was done for BP in the first place.

    My claim of naivete on your part remains.

    As is your right. I even agree that I am not an expert in anything. I distrust anyone who claims to be an expert in anything, actually, but that’s besides the point. On the same token, my claim of your inconsistency remains. You want a system that is unsustainable to remain unchanged.

    The internet was brought up by YOU, apparently as an example of an industry that thrived because of a lack of regulation. I have shown this is irrelevant to your point.

    No you haven’t. You’ve added a point of distinction to the argument I was making above which would artificially eliminate the internet from consideration. Your argument was based on the theory that the internet is unregulated because it is essentially limitless in scope and that radio was only regulated because it is a limited resource. You advanced that theory, support it with evidence. Are there any other essentially unlimited areas of human industry that are not regulated because they are unlimited?

    On the other side, there are limited areas of human industry that have less regulation than the radio bandwidth. For instance, land property is not all registered with the U.S. government and rented out from the government like the EM spectrum is. In unused property, a person stakes out a claim. If they want to protect that claim, they register it with the government. This is to prove prior possession. In the event of a property dispute between unregistered claimants of the land, the government comes in to mediate the dispute but normally does not claim the property as theirs (sometimes, yes). Land is a very limited resource until we start moving into space. Then it will be a slightly less limited resource. They still have land use regulations and laws, but at the basic level, people manage fine. I support land use laws. I don’t want run off to create runaway erosion. I don’t want factories by school yards. All of that is on the scale of the public good. In the radio case, with that, it could still have been manipulated.

    Why did you? What were you trying to prove? I’m trying to prove that regulation does not make industries run better. Regulation does not protect from exploitation. Regulation allows a new window of exploitation and regulation itself is the taking away of freedoms. I’m trying to prove that if you take away freedom, it hurts people. There are plenty of people out there to argue that the government needs to do more. I think we need voices that well and truly argue that the government needs to do less. Not less like the Republicans want, which is really more. Not less like the Libertarians want, which is barely at all. Just less than it does now. I don’t need your healthcare. I work hard so I can provide my family my own. I don’t need your welfare. I develop a social network and attend church regularly to provide my own. I don’t need your new jets, I think the last ones were cool enough. I don’t need you to plan for my future. I can plan for my future. I don’t plan to quit working, until I die, because I like working.

    Fine and dandy, but see what you did there? I’ll quote: “liberal worldview is that a lack of governance leads to terrible things…”

    You’ve been excoriating me for claiming that you don’t want no regulation, you only want less regulation. And yet right there you do the same thing: you imply liberals want to impose regulation regardless of whether it’s needed. Sorry, but that’s not MY view, and not the view of any of my “liberal” friends.

    Let me finish the quote for you. “… and too much governance leads to terrible things.” That is what I said. I don’t know how you missed it, but my guess would be that you assume I meant liberal in the meaning it has taken on in the last 50 years in America and not the meaning it had for four centuries before that. I’ve been excoriating you for misrepresenting my argument. That right there is a perfect example. You took half my quote to suggest that I said something when I said the opposite. That is misrepresenting my argument completely in a circle.

    My whole statement does not imply that liberals want to “impose regulation regardless of whether it’s needed”. My statement is that my worldview, which is (classically) liberal, is that good government falls somewhere between too much government and too little. The philosophy of liberty means that I put the emphasis on liberty over security, and i believe America was founded to do the same.

    The two are not mutually exclusive, something that people who assume “all government is an evil” often find hard to accept.

    I don’t know if that’s the case. You’ll notice that I pointed out compromise is another primary obligation of a civil society, meaning that I think it is important and not excluded by mutual respect. I also don’t assume all government is an evil, so you possibly weren’t talking about me.

    I do think that mutual respect leads naturally to the philosophy of liberty, however.

  168. Terry

    This video gives a good disassembly of 400 years of liberal thought into the philosophy of liberty. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTQqvDtPzY0&feature=related

    (Hint: Just turn down the sound.)

  169. Emigrate. Problem solved. Otherwise, compromise. That’s the way it works.
    Where have I suggested that compromise is not an important part of government and society?

    Okay, now you’re playing the game you’re accusing me of.

    That statement was in response to your statement, which was quoted above it: “You can’t (go off and live in a cabin). You still have to pay taxes.”

    If you don’t want to pay taxes, don’t live here. Go somewhere else to live. Emigrate, or…compromise. See? They all hook up.

    You asked for an example of a corporate interest influencing government with regards to war.

    No I didn’t. I asked for an example of a war undertaken to support corporate interests in the U.S.

    Uh…semantics? If a war supports corporate interests, and the decision to start that war is influenced, even directly motivated by corporations, how is that not a war undertaken to support corporate interests?

    The internet was brought up by YOU, apparently as an example of an industry that thrived because of a lack of regulation. I have shown this is irrelevant to your point.

    No you haven’t. You’ve added a point of distinction to the argument I was making above which would artificially eliminate the internet from consideration.

    Hm. Guess I’m just not very good at interpreting your statements. Post #157: “How did the internet regulate itself? There is still no U.S. government agency to tell the internet what to do. That is as it should be.

    So again, I ask, what was the argument you were making about the internet? I’m asking for clarification, so please clarify, because clearly I’m not getting the point you were making when you first brought it up. Based on your original post, and the comment you’ve just made here (” I’m trying to prove that regulation does not make industries run better.”), you seem to be setting the internet up as an example of the benefits of self-regulation. That may be, but as I pointed out, the internet – a medium – does not compare with an industry such as the petro-chemical industry, in which corporations can do vast amounts of damage if not properly regulated.

    You took half my quote to suggest that I said something when I said the opposite. That is misrepresenting my argument completely in a circle.

    Okaaaay…. but let’s look at your quote again, in its entirety:

    The liberal worldview is that a lack of governance leads to terrible things and too much governance leads to terrible things.

    See, the confusion occurs because if you try to combine those two clauses the statement doesn’t really make sense. A “liberal worldview” would assume that lack of governance leads to terrible things, but that same liberal worldview would NOT necessarily assume that too much governance leads to terrible things. I could only assume that you meant to put a comma in there somewhere. Sorry if that wasn’t your intent, but it wasn’t an attempt to misrepresent your argument. I just couldn’t figure out what your argument was. Thanks for the clarity. Perhaps in future you could go ahead and say “classic liberal worldview” just so us chowderheads know what you’re talking about.

    I do think that mutual respect leads naturally to the philosophy of liberty, however.

    I suspect that to be true as well, although one man’s liberty is another’s bondage, so I’m always a little cautious when those terms are bandied about.

  170. Terry

    @Kuhnigget:
    Okay, now you’re playing the game you’re accusing me of.

    That statement was in response to your statement, which was quoted above it: “You can’t (go off and live in a cabin). You still have to pay taxes.”

    If you don’t want to pay taxes, don’t live here. Go somewhere else to live. Emigrate, or…compromise. See? They all hook up.

    This is going nowhere. My original statement was an ironic aside to prove your original hyperbole about cabins was impossible. I ignored the rest of your statement about emigration as more hyperbole. “If you don’t like it, leave.” Instead I focused on your repeated use of the word “compromise” as a solution to my arguments. I don’t think compromise means capitulate though, which is what both of your arguments would be. If I left my home, I would be capitulating. If I compromise to the point I can’t argue my points, it is capitulation and a complete loss of liberty.

    Uh…semantics? If a war supports corporate interests, and the decision to start that war is influenced, even directly motivated by corporations, how is that not a war undertaken to support corporate interests?

    Excellent. You and I are on the same sheet of music finally. Now prove it. Was the decision to go to war with Saddam Husein’s Iraq in 2003 (or even 1991, if you’d like) taken in order to win profits for Halliburton or any other corporation? Where is the evidence that the U.S. corporations colluded in causing the U.S. Government to go to war? More importantly, where is the evidence that the U.S. Congress voted to authorize that war for corporate interests? Please provide. You demand it of people who make Anti-vax claims, provide it for people who claim the political process was hijacked in the United States to take us into military conflict.

    The “Cheney was Halliburton” argument won’t work because you have to prove that Cheney was the one that took action to line Halliburton’s pocket books. That is wasn’t the Senate voting to authorize conflict. Or that it wasn’t the then Secretary of State Colin Powell who sold Congress on it. Or that the zeitgeist of the intelligence community that brought about the evidence about WMDs that Powell presented was brought about by Cheney and Bush’s administration. That is the smoking gun that people have been trying to find for 7 years, which the media has failed to adequately find (though has claimed many times).

    Even if you prove it was done for that reason, it would mean simply that the checks and balances of our system have been corrupted by corporate interests and they have to be renewed . My argument is that highly centralized government plays into the hands of big business by allowing them to control the finances by controlling the buying public, by regulating their competition out of the way, and by relying on the expensive infrastructure that highly centralized, powerful government provides. The way to combat this is not by making government yet bigger to reduce the power of corporations but by slowing our system of government down, making it harder for corporations to shape our national discourse and making it less worthwhile for corporations to do so.

    So again, I ask, what was the argument you were making about the internet? I’m asking for clarification, so please clarify, because clearly I’m not getting the point you were making when you first brought it up. Based on your original post, and the comment you’ve just made here (” I’m trying to prove that regulation does not make industries run better.”), you seem to be setting the internet up as an example of the benefits of self-regulation. That may be, but as I pointed out, the internet – a medium – does not compare with an industry such as the petro-chemical industry, in which corporations can do vast amounts of damage if not properly regulated.

    Your analysis of my statement is essentially correct. The internet is a good example of how industry may regulate itself to prevent abuses and provide for economic movement. Consider that during the global downturn, most internet based industries (not industries that are facilitated by the internet such as shipping but industries that are based on the existence) have seen very little downturn.

    I take your point about petrochemicals pretty well. The harmful effects of the products can do great harm to the environment and even directly to people. Communities can be harmed. That should be prevented from happening, by law if necessary. However, I will again point out that nothing we do by regulation, short of nationalizing the company that violates policy, will be anywhere near the devastating effects on a company caused by market forces when they harm the public good.

    However, you first mentioned that radio was a limited resource and that is why we need to regulate. Go back to radio. How does regulating radio frequencies help? And I’m still waiting on an example of another unregulated by unlimited industry?

    Perhaps in future you could go ahead and say “classic liberal worldview” just so us chowderheads know what you’re talking about.

    Sorry, calling myself a liberal is too effective at getting people who think of themselves as liberals to open their eyes to their essentially non-liberal worldviews. Just because the Democratic party coopted the term liberal when they switched to progressive politics and socialized democracy doesn’t mean I should follow their terminology. Yes, I am willfully ignoring what other people think about the use of that term, but calling itself liberal has made many democrats forget what that term REALLY means.

    Besides, my only other opportunity would be calling myself a libertarian, which I am not. I have libertarian leanings, but I am an independent thinker.

    And I don’t believe you to be a ‘chowderhead’. If you were, it wouldn’t be worth my time to talk. People like me talk on the internet because we need some degree of external justification to our internal thoughts. We need verification or at least engagement. I also do my best thinking when I’m challenged by others. That is why I love DMing DnD sessions more than writing fiction; the engagement makes it worthwhile. I do believe that you are purposefully ignoring the root of my argument because your own position is untenable and unsustainable over the long run.

    I suspect that to be true as well, although one man’s liberty is another’s bondage, so I’m always a little cautious when those terms are bandied about.

    How is one man’s liberty another’s bondage? That grammar structure is used a little too flippantly. One man’s Blizzard is another man’s McFlurry. One man’s Bondage is another man’s sexual deviancy.

    How is my liberty bondage to another person? It can only be that if you misapply the definition of liberty. Unless you mean to take liberties vice having essential liberties. It could be a crafty and subtle play on words maybe? I’ll assume that is the case and I didn’t get it.

  171. Terry

    I’m also pretty sure we are the only two still paying attention to this debate. Neither of us will convince the other, but that wasn’t the point of the debate, was it?

  172. AJ in CA

    @#161 Terry: Way too much stuff for me to comment on, I just wanted to say: please keep posting! Lots of interesting stuff there to run around the ol’ noggin…

    That goes for you too, kuhnigget! :)

  173. AJ in CA

    @179 Terry: Wait, there’s a debate? Damn, I missed it :P

  174. AJ in CA

    I’d like to take a crack at that “One man’s liberty is another man’s bondage” thing, Terry.

    The example that springs to mind first and foremost for me is the healthcare debate. Let’s say the most pro-socialization folks got their way, and healthcare was nationalized, as it is in the UK.
    Now, someone on the political right would say that their freedom was being diminished. That their choice of providers was being restricted, that they were being forced to pay into the system whether they wanted to or not, that the government was intruding into private matters. Am I right? This is presumably why so many people are fighting healthcare reform in the US.

    On the other hand, if I’m someone who doesn’t have a lot of options, this socialization of medicine could be a godsend.

    Real situation: I have a friend who works for the county office of education. Because they’re a largish public agency, they offer a pretty good healthcare insurance package. My friend suffers from a chronic condition which makes it far too expensive for him to buy his own insurance. He’d like to quit and go start a career doing something else, but if he does, he’ll be unable to access the coverage he has now (and needs). He’s effectively stuck in his current line of work. For him, the aforementioned scenario would bring great freedom.

    So yeah, bing bang boom, one man’s freedom, another man’s bondage.

    /Full disclosure: I’m in a similar situation as my friend, except that I currently don’t have insurance, and I’m now about 10 grand in debt because of it, a number which is likely to grow. So yeah, you can guess how I feel about this issue.

  175. @ Terry:

    I don’t think compromise means capitulate though, which is what both of your arguments would be. If I left my home, I would be capitulating. If I compromise to the point I can’t argue my points, it is capitulation and a complete loss of liberty.

    That last sentence might be true, but then if that were the case, your position would have to be of an extreme nature (e.g. “I’m not paying ANY taxes.”). I don’t believe any society, anywhere, can long survive accommodating such extremes. In that case, “emigration” is not hyperbole, but your only recourse.

    Excellent. You and I are on the same sheet of music finally. Now prove it.

    Now if I could do that, I would be either a very rich or a very dead man, wouldn’t I? You are right in that I cannot prove my position, but I can posit realistic possibilities. Given what we know about Bush, Cheney, et al, and given that the administration’s energy policies were guided by petroleum industry insiders in closed-door sessions, the records of which were subsequently sealed as being vital to the national security, and given the conduct of the war in which private enterprises such as Halliburton and others were handed lucrative contracts and given unprecedented responsibility for operations once the responsibility of the military, I’d say the chances of those possibilities being probabilities are pretty high. It’s rare in history – military or other – that you say with certitude, “this happened because of this.”

    However, you first mentioned that radio was a limited resource and that is why we need to regulate. Go back to radio. How does regulating radio frequencies help? And I’m still waiting on an example of another unregulated by unlimited industry?

    You do get the distinction between WHY radio requires regulation and the internet does not, right? Because that’s the answer to your quesiton. There are only a limited number of frequencies available to broadcast radio signals. If you’ve got stations broadcasting willy nilly wherever they want, you will end up with chaos. In a perfect world, I suppose the biggest broadcasters would politely stick to a single frequency, turn down their power so they don’t drown out everyone else, and let the little guys have their bandwidth. But this isn’t a perfect world, and that wouldn’t happen. If you’ve ever listened to the radio near the Mexican border, you know what that would be like.

    And I’m sorry, but I don’t get the second part of your question. Clarify, please?

    And I don’t believe you to be a ‘chowderhead’. If you were, it wouldn’t be worth my time to talk to.

    Chowderheads need human contact, too. Though I resent being called an “it.”

    That is why I love DMing DnD sessions more than writing fiction;

    I know what fiction is (proof in name), but I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about in the beginning of that sentence.

    I do believe that you are purposefully ignoring the root of my argument because your own position is untenable and unsustainable over the long run.

    Wrong on both counts. First, I’m just having a hard time figuring out what the root of your argument is, and I don’t buy what I take to be your basic premise that business/industry/the free market is somehow better or less worse than government by definition. Secondly, I don’t believe my position is unsustainable at all. As you’ve said yourself, the key is balance. I don’t think we are anywhere near overloaded with government regulations. Are there areas where maybe the intrusions are getting a bit too close for comfort? Sure, I’ll readily grant you that. But are we setting up the decline of civilization? Hardly.

    How is one man’s liberty another’s bondage?

    Again, it’s all in the extremes. If I want the liberty to do as I please, and I personally see no harm in, say, building a huge factory in the middle of a once quiet residential neighborhood, a factory that requires constant truck traffic to deliver raw materials and take away manufactured goods, so much traffic that my neighbors cannot move out of their own driveways, I’ve pretty much bound them up, haven’t I? It doesn’t matter that I’m contributing to the economy or providing jobs for people outside the neighborhood, I’ve still created an intolerable situation for a large number of my fellow citizens.

    Neither of us will convince the other, but that wasn’t the point of the debate, was it?

    I dunno about you, but I’m just putting off typing up the treatment that’s due on monday.

  176. Zetetic

    Terry @ #168:

    I like that and thank you.

    My pleasure, and thank you. Like I said before I think that there is less separating us intellectually than it seems. As you seem to be, I’m not a big fan of either party, but I feel forced to side with the Democrats when it comes to AGW and science education due to the apparently increasing extremism on the part of the Republicans.

    I just find it perplexing that you seem to have no trouble with the idea of government and corporations being “in bed together”, but you seem to balk at the idea that the US government would do take any major action for the benefit of major businesses. Especially when they are such a large part of both the economy and the country’s military capacity.

    In the 1970s, Saudi tried to artificially raise oil prices. When they did, demand went down and OPEC lost money.

    This is partially true, but you need to remember that part of the decrease in demand was due to an unprecedented push in most industrialized countries for increasing conversation, efficiency, use of nuclear power etc. It was also help to motivate increasing exploration and exploitation technologies for oil, increasing other sources of oil. Also, I don’t know if you remember gas rationing (I do) but that was also part of reducing the demand (hardly the ideal solution for many).

    Kuwait didn’t want a repeat of that so they fought artificial raises in price for political purposes.

    That and the fact that whenever there is a large number of agencies colluding to raise prices it become in the interest of each party to increase their profits by undercutting the others. That was another part of the reason it didn’t work so well for the Saudis.

    If Saudi had succeeded in controling Kuwait and no other, non-US, coalition stepped in to stop it (which the Soviets would have, trust me. May even have kept them together another couple of years).

    I think that you meant Iraq there, not Saudi. As to some other coalition stepping in, that is a very big assumption. Especially since the Soviet Union was busy imploding and they were also making money of of oil and therefore profited from higher crude oil prices.

    Then they would have set price higher and demand would have fallen, and OPEC would suffer again.

    The problem with this is that you seem to be thinking that the demand for oils is very elastic, on the contrary it’s very inelastic for the last couple of decades. It takes time for an economy that becomes increasingly dependent on energy production with each year to suddenly “change gears” or develop new technologies, that also imposes additional costs on businesses. Also remember the during the 70′s China and India were not going through the economic growth they currently are, let alone today’s economic activity and need for energy, that has resulted in today’s oil market being much less elastic and hence vulnerable to increasing prices.

    It served an industrial interest, not a corporate one.

    Not just industrial, it also benefited the oil refining and distribution companies, transportation and many other corporations themselves. Granted there was an overall industrial benefit (in the short run, considering AGW) but when you are talking corporations that have so central to the functioning of the economy it become impossible to separate the two. The oil companies would like very much to keep it that way, hence there funding of AGW denialist think-tanks.

    In any case, Once Kuwait got back into control of itself, it joined OPEC in raising prices anyways, to help pay for war damage. The price went up despite Desert Storm.

    Of course it did, due to decreasing availability of oil (as in peak oil), increasing demand in spite of increasing prices (the inelasticity in demand I mentioned before) due to China, India, and others. Also, it went up due to the sensitivity to any threats to stability in the Middle East, as I mentioned in my last post.

    Show me how. It has to do with regional interests of the United States.

    Does it really seem that hard to see how an government other than oil-less Israel that is friendly to the USA would improve the USA’s position in the oil market? Especially when it’s a member of OPEC and when the former ruler had publicly admitted to designs on “uniting” the rest of then oil producing countries (not that he was likely to succed, but he still could have caused problems)?

    I am saying we have not fought to support corporate interests in the majority of our fights

    I don’t recall ever saying that is was the “majority” of US conflicts, just some.

    Even if we had YOU ARE PROVING MY ARGUMENT! The way to reduce the impact of business into daily lives is not to make government bigger.

    I don’t recall ever arguing otherwise. Care to show me where I did?

    Actually my position is that the USA’s wars for economic benefit in the Middle East are very shortsighted. If instead of fighting wars for oil and providing massive subsidies for the fossil fuel industries (as I linked to earlier @ #135), we had diverted even a fraction of the resources devoted of even one of the wars with Iraq to researching renewable energy/efficiency, improving the countries use of energy, etc. The USA would be far less dependent on oil now, the market for oil would be more elastic, Middle Eastern terrorism would be less funded (and motivated), and the USA’s economy would be more stable and vulnerable to politics on the other side of the world. And most of all, AGW would be less of a concern (or at least easier to get a handle on) at this point. Not to mention the cost in lives and freedoms, both short term and long term.

    Business uses government when government lets itself be used.

    And now you’re making my point for me! :D

    Anti-trust laws don’t protect the people or the economy, they protect competitors to businesses.

    Uh…where did I say otherwise? I never even mentioned anti-trust.

    Do people use Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer because Microsoft forces them to? No, they use it because it is the most convenient. If someone made something that really competes with MS in terms of convenience, they would take market share.

    I never argued otherwise..In fact I agree with this. Are you confusing me with someone else?

    BOOM! here is Mac. It is convenient, and it is taking market share.

    I would argue that much of Apple’s recent success is due to marketing and hype. Also, that Windows has been dominant for so long due to a more open, and therefore competitive manufacturing system reducing prices of computers and creating a greater range of options.

    The problem is when business is aided by government to take out competitors.

    Yes, like getting subsidies in terms of finance, infrastructure, regulations, and military action for fossil fuels instead of renewable energy. This is part of the problem with the Republicans taking over such posts in congress. Regardless, you still seem to be arguing against someone else.

    Neither was “We need to protect our OIL!”

    Not for “Operation Iraq Freedom” it wasn’t, but that was part of the official justification for “Operation Desert Storm”, as I had noted in my prior post.

    You are not proving that the extermination and oppression was carried out in the first place to support corporations.

    Do you really think that the politicians that made such land grants didn’t benefit either directly (in contributions and “retirement funds”) or indirectly in the sense of building the US economy and military?

    It seems more a national pride issue and support of the Manifest Destiny concept than corporate interests.

    What makes you think that those two goals are in any way exclusive? If anything they are synergistic.

    On the other hand, you have to prove that the administration lied overtly.

    It’s a matter of historical record that the government had lied in both Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom.

    If there was proof, why was there no impeachment hearing?

    Because it take s a lot of political effort for a impeachment hearing (although there was some effort on that front for the second Bush) and even then impeachment doesn’t remove someone from office. Remember Clinton? He was impeached, did it hurt his political career?

    Can you change human nature by legislation?

    Actually I prefer a “carrot” to a “stick”, but the incentives need to be created not demonized as many Republicans are attempting to do.

    Only the most extreme argument say that we are turning our planet into Venus. Do most climate scientists agree on this?

    Actually I don’t now of a single scientists that says anything that extreme.
    Rather the most likely results would be more like this…..
    Veterans Day, 2030

    Scientists find “net present value of climate change impacts” of $1240 TRILLION on current emissions path, making mitigation to under 450 ppm a must

    We have a choice…
    We can either commit economic seppuku.
    Or we can become more energy independent, meaning cleaner air, a more stable economy, and less war/terrorism.

    It seems like a no-brainer for anyone that wants a smaller government. Especially since “War is the health of the State.”

    That is not an excuse to support any group. That is an excuse to reject a group.

    Except that sometimes the only way to reject one group is to slightly support the only real opposition. It’s not a good solution, but it’s often better that letting the more extreme element destroy civilization.

    Look at the parties as if they were favorite baseball teams.

    No offense but that’s a really bad analogy.
    Supporting one team or the other in baseball does little to nothing as to their chances of winning, and if one team or another wins has little to no impact on society as a whole.

    The gentlemen above were not elected on their records. They were elected on their party.

    I agree, and that’s part of the problem I pointed out in my first post. That’s why I chose to vote against someone based on their records (like the two corrupt/incompetent clowns that are the subject of this post), hence the choosing the lesser of two evils.

    It’s not how I wish things were, but all we can do is try to make the best choices for what we have available. Sometimes the only choice we have is between more damage, and damage control. Then we can focus on making things better.

  177. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 148. Zetetic :

    @ Messier Tidy Upper: Respectfully there is absolutely no way that a subject like AGW won’t get politicized short of a sudden increase in both logic and long-term vision on the part most of the human race. Not with the ideologies, money, and power at stake.

    You may be right there.

    But having the ex-leader of one political camp preaching it?

    That’s really NOT helpful.

    Having a lead scientist become an political activist & agitatator for the most stupidly unrealistic and fringe ideological proposed solution of all -ie. just cut all coal usage right now – never mind that everybdy still get almost all their electrical and other energy from fossil fuels.

    That’s really NOT helpful at all either as far aspublic credibnility goes.

    As for Al Gore, that’s irrelevant,

    If only it was.

    Scientifically of course it is – but then onc epolitics gets dragged in the debate stops being scientific and starts being a political debate. And political debates rarely if ever solve anything, usually involve a lot of partisan screaming and name-calling and end up causing a lot of divisions and polarisation.

    hence our current mess.

    The further scientists remove themselve sform politics the better, methinks. heck, anyhow going nera politics is well advised to wear a peg on their nose and thick oven gloves. ;-)

    ..denialists always look for one or two people to hold up as representative of the “other side” in order to scapegoat. It’s the same with anti-vaxers and Paul Offit for example. Al Gore makes a convenient target since he’s not a scientist.

    Well of course, they do and of course he does. That’s why playing intotheir hand s b having Gore speak onthis issue pretty much at all is sucha bad idea. Do we really need to play into their hands?

    Gore should agree with climate science. So should the Republicans and Democrats alike. Just like all politicians on both side sshould be able to agree the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and goes around the Sun which is a G2 V star located 1 AU away. Those are the basic, pretty much beyond doubt realities.

    Problem is that insetad of just accepting the science Gore has egotistically (oh what a surprise there!) decided he personally needs to be the lead spokesperson for turning that science into a political cause celebere. Bad move.

    The scientists should talk about the science of AGW,., thepoliticians should then deal with thepossible solutions all agreeing on the science. Politics should never take over science and smear its dirt through an issue that looks far better, cleaner and clearer without it.

    End Part I,part II to follow.

  178. Messier Tidy Upper

    Part I mark II edited and improved version – sorry ran out of time.

    —–

    @ 148. Zetetic :

    @ Messier Tidy Upper: Respectfully there is absolutely no way that a subject like AGW won’t get politicized short of a sudden increase in both logic and long-term vision on the part most of the human race. Not with the ideologies, money, and power at stake.

    You may be right there.

    But having the ex-leader of one political camp preaching it?

    That’s really NOT helpful.

    Having a lead scientist becoming a political activist & agitator for the most stupidly unrealistic and ideological fringe proposed solution of all – ie. just cut all coal usage right now & never mind that everybody still get almost all their electrical and other energy from fossil fuels.

    That’s also really NOT helpful at all either as far as public credibility goes. :-(

    As for Al Gore, that’s irrelevant,

    If only it was. :roll:

    If only.

    Scientifically, of course, Gore *is* totally irrelevant – but once he opened his gab it stopped being about science and entered a lower sphere of discussion becoming a political debate by virtue of the : “Oh look this is what Al Gore, lead liberal is arguing for …” factor.

    Automatically and inevitably then the other side gets their back up and starts opposing by political tribal reflex. :-(

    Once politics gets dragged in the debate stops being scientific and starts being a political debate. And political debates rarely – if ever – solve anything, usually involve a lot of partisan screaming and name-calling and end up causing a lot of divisions and polarisation.

    Hence our current mess. :-(

    The further scientists remove themselves from politics the better, methinks. Heck, anyone going near politics is well advised to wear a clothes peg on their nose and thick oven gloves! ;-)

    ..denialists always look for one or two people to hold up as representative of the “other side” in order to scapegoat. It’s the same with anti-vaxers and Paul Offit for example. Al Gore makes a convenient target since he’s not a scientist.

    Well, of course, they do and, of course, he does. :roll: That’s exactly why playing into their hands having Gore speak on this issue pretty much at all is such a bad idea. Do we really *need* to play into their hands? People seriously concerned with making a good scientific case for AGW would have done so much better to have told Al – “Thanks but no thanks let the experts handle this and talk sense and please just step back into your magisteria because your presence here hurts more than helps.” Too late now, alas.

    Gore should agree with climate science. So should the Republicans and Democrats alike. Just like all politicians on both sides should be able to agree the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and goes around the Sun which is a G2 V star located 1 AU away. Those are the basic, pretty much beyond doubt, realities.

    Everyone should agree on the science basics and keep them non-political arguing only about what to do about it.

    But Gore just had to speak about the science itself as his personal cause ( :roll: ) thereby making it political, making it contentious, and thus here we are. Democrats believing in climatology and Republicans not. All of us worse off for that. :-(

    ***

    Sorry about that. Clicked submit too early by mistake tostart with. Need more sleep. Need to ansewer .. need sleep .. must answer ..

  179. Messier Tidy Upper

    Part II mark one and hopefully only!

    @148. Zetetic

    Of course when a scientist does speak up the anti-AGW side then says that scientists should “stay out of politics”, but that’s backwards. We need politics to stay out of science, but we need science to be involved with informing politics so that the correct decision might actually be made.

    Okay I think you’re making a big mistake here so let me go through this again step by step :

    scientists should “stay out of politics”,

    Yes, as far as remotely possible they should in my view.

    that’s backwards. We need politics to stay out of science

    Agreed 100 % there. :-)

    But :

    we need science to be involved with informing politics so that the correct decision might actually be made.

    Emphasis and strike through added.

    See how that while very close really changes the meaning there?

    Yes, science should *informing* politicians – but in a party-neutral a-political *un-politically-involved* way. Otherwise, if scientist take part in politics then they and their research becomes politicised too and the science suffers for it. :-(

    It’s like how someone diving into a swamp comes up stinking of mud. It is far better to stay out of the swamp and map it from the air via aircraft or satellite – that’s far safer, far easier and far more effective than it is to dive in and flounder about trying to map it by swimming through it. Ideally the swamp will be drained but, alas, politics (the metaphorical stinking swamp here possibly also known as the Bog of Eternal Stench!) is something we’ll never manage to abolish being part of human nature. So we’ll have to settle for scientists staying above the morass.

    Except of course, Jim Hansen has jumped out and gone for a swim in a particularly smelly and deep patch of it and Gore has climbed out onto the plane without wiping his boots and is now sitting there dripping stinking putrid marsh water everywhere. :-(

    Do you really think that if Al Gore, or the scientific community stayed out of the debate that there would be less opposition to trying to prevent/reduce the effects AGW?

    Yes.

    Not *no* opposition sure, but considerably *less* opposition, yes I do think that. Unless we can contact an alternative universe where Gore stayed out of science and scientists stayed out of politics on this we’ll never know for sure but that’s what I think.

    That the oil companies, and their paid think-tanks, would just be quiet and let everyone calmly review the scientific literature that everyone would somehow just happen to be more aware of? How does that make any sense? … [SNIP!] … There would be opposition regardless,

    I’m cynical / realistic enough to know that, yeah, the fossil fuel industries wouldnt be happy and would oppose it – but just imagine if there was bipartisan political agreement that there was a problem at every level of government? That the hyper-politicisation currently present was down a few notches and the Climate Contrarians were denied a lot of their “its all political – look Al Gore!” ammunition.

    …trying to silence the side of those speaking up for the science does nothing but encourage those that have decided to oppose/ignore the science. In sort the problem isn’t one of speaking up…it’s one of not being loud enough to cut through the lies being shouted from the anti-AGW side for many people.

    Don’t know about you but when someone is shouting it usually makes *me* less likely to listen seriously to them NOT more. If the volume is too loud it gets turned down or muted & ignored altogether.

    I don’t think volume is the problem here. Turning it up more is already causing people to ignore AGW or say its too much, too extreme to beleive.

    From a strategic Point-Of-View, understatement might be more worth trying, sounding more moderate and les like ranting eco-nuts. I’m not saying deny the science, I’m not saying don’t tell people but let’s do it with our inside voices and talk reasonably putting forward the argument with less shrill shrieking.

    Of course, it is possible to take a wide range of approaches with various people adopting the tones, styles and volumes that suit them best. I’m not saying there’s not the place for some rants, raves and loud stuff too .. Just that I think the quieter, calmer, more logical stuff is what’s more likely to work on more people – as I see things natch.

    To steal a Stewart slogan : “I disgaree with you on this but I’m pretty sure you’re not ..” Oh wait, no can’t mention him! ;-)

  180. Messier Tidy Upper

    Part III :

    @148. Zetetic :

    Ultimately, the only way to avoid politicization of science for such issues is to either better inform the public as to the science to an unprecedented level, or create some kind of technocracy (an idea I don’t find too appealing).

    You know the more I look at the politicians “running” our democracy – in Oz as well as the States – the more temptingan effective, competent, halfway sane technocracy seems! ;-)

    Better inform the public – yep, indeed youre right but, hey, good luck with that – esp. now. Its not like that has not been being tried for a long time already. :roll:

    “If Gore was less associated with Climate change I have a strong feeling that the Republican side would be a lot more open to accepting the reality of the science.” [Me.]
    Not likely since so many of them get their money from fossil fuel interests, stay devoted to corporate welfare, and/or think that God won’t let anything bad happen.

    Yes, you *do* have a point there I have to admit.
    But I also think you have to admit that the “Gore factor” really isn’t helping things either. :-(

  181. Terry

    @AJ in CA:

    So yeah, bing bang boom, one man’s freedom, another man’s bondage.

    That is a great example and a great case of a moral dilemma. Any philosophy that is without moral dilemma is without moral fiber too. On that note, I am sorry that you and your friend are both suffering. My condolences and my prayers, fwiw.

    Now, I know you mentioned a single-payer socialized medicine as your point, but I’m going to talk the current law first. As a thinking man I can’t say that the current form of health care reform is all bad. There are good points and bad points, just as with the USA PATRIOT act there were good points and bad points. Overall, the requirement that everyone buy insurance is an usurpation of liberty, as is forcing insurance to accept people with pre-existing conditions. You also can’t have one without the other or else you would drive the insurance companies out of business or make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. Both of those are, as I see it, the most fundamental aspects of the new health care act. Both of which are going to HAVE to raise costs on the populous as well, despite the claims by the administration. Ignoring reality seems to be the specialty of politicians of all stripes.

    A single-payer system stifles innovation and cripples research. It also provides for the overall health care of more people at today’s standards. It just means that research on all of those diseases and disorders that aren’t hot-button issues effectively becomes nil. However, this wasn’t about the practical reasons why single-payer system works or doesn’t, it was about the liberty element and on that, there is a clear moral calculus for the concepts of liberty. Take the government out of the equation. If the government is equivalent to the will of the people, then it is equivalent to going to your neighbor and demanding that they pay your hospital bills. Since the government uses force to secure tax money, it is equivalent to doing it with a gun.

    On the other hand, you already go to your neighbors house and say “Fix the damn roads!” with a gun, and “Protect me from those foreigners!” with a gun. Both of which are invasions of liberty, but both of which are necessary to a functioning society. The question is which is better for the most people. That is a debate I have seen and can see both sides of, but I don’t believe that the current legislation on the matter is good for the most people. I’ve been accused of naivete on occasion here. I think it is plainly naive to consider it possible to sustain the current system without bankrupting the nation. Socialism is unsustainable. Marx said so. Smith said so. Hayek said so. Keynes said so.

    I wish there was a way that everyone could be taken care of without breaking down the system and if there was a cheap form of health care reform that didn’t created an insurmountable and growing burden on the populous I would love it. I don’t see it.

  182. AJ in CA

    @#190: Thanks for your concern :)
    I think you ultimately hit the nail on the head regarding the question of liberty. There’s a clear balance that needs to be struck between anarchy at one extreme and totalitarianism at the other. It boils down to finding where that balance is. It takes an issue-by-issue slog through what most people are willing to trade for freedom or security.

    Another issue that comes to mind is public police cameras. I understand London has something like several hundred thousand. The argument that they reduce crime may indeed be true. Still, were you to propose a system like that in the US, it’d probably be strongly opposed, even if you did have undeniable proof that it reduces crime. The calculus of liberty, as you eloquently put it, depends on the culture and history of the society that, er, calculates it.

    Personally, I believe that the public good of a national health insurance system (not nationalization of health care institutions themselves, as they do in some places) would far outweigh the costs. I haven’t always believed that, though – I’ve done quite a bit of position reevaluation in the past several years, so I do understand where the “other side” (I hate to use that phrase, but you know what I mean) is coming from here.

    BTW, For what it’s worth, the bit of the bill about an insurance company not being able to refuse you for a pre-existing condition is hogwash, as I found out first-hand. Sure, they technically can’t refuse you, but they can set your premiums so ridiculously high that you can’t possibly pay them.

    I’ve been accused of naivete on occasion here. I think it is plainly naive to consider it possible to sustain the current system without bankrupting the nation. Socialism is unsustainable. Marx said so. Smith said so. Hayek said so. Keynes said so.

    Could you please elaborate on that? By the current system, do you mean the one that existed prior to the latest healthcare bill, or the system at present? Or are you speaking more generally, beyond the healthcare issue?
    And by socialism, are you including stuff like fire, police, schools etc? Every nation has public infrastructure – I’m not sure where we can agree to draw the line on where that ends and socialism begins?

    I wish there was a way that everyone could be taken care of without breaking down the system and if there was a cheap form of health care reform that didn’t created an insurmountable and growing burden on the populous I would love it. I don’t see it.

    Is there no nation with a national healthcare system that IS sustainable? Are they all unsustainable?

  183. Terry

    I don’t believe any society, anywhere, can long survive accommodating such extremes.

    I don’t believe any society, anywhere, can long survive without compromise, mutual understanding, and a shared ideal. I think that when I nation has lost its idealists and everyone has become practicalists, that nation has no future. It will go on, but it won’t thrive.

    You are right in that I cannot prove my position, but I can posit realistic possibilities.

    Point of disclosure, I fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. I also served in Kosovo. In Kosovo, under President Clinton, K&B, the unit of Halliburton which had all the lucrative contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, was the main logistic supplier to all of our operations out there. They had a lucrative 10 year contract. It was obscene, but also unfortunately predating Afghanistan and Iraq.

    I am not arguing that Halliburton and other corporate insiders did not benefit. I’m not even arguing that the militarism of the United States foreign policy has not served the corporate interests. I’m not arguing that the awarding of no-bid contracts to Halliburton and other corporations is not corruption. I’m arguing that neither Iraq nor any other war was fought to serve corporate interests. They were fought to serve national interests, which are strongly influenced by corporate interests. AND THEY WERE PROBABLY STILL IMMORAL.

    It’s rare in history – military or other – that you say with certitude, “this happened because of this.”

    As if a million historians called out in terror… and were silenced.

    If you’ve got stations broadcasting willy nilly wherever they want, you will end up with chaos.

    So, people wouldn’t have learned to get off of each others’ frequencies if they want to be heard? It is in the best interests of broadcasters to organize their own actions so that other broadcasters stay off of their frequencies too. They form a private organization to see to that broadcasting, but built of the people who it interests rather than politicians who don’t recognize the value of the medium. That private organization has no enforcement powers, unfortunately. I guess they could just be ignored, at the peril of the broadcaster that ignores them, because anyone can jam anyone else’s signal easily.

    If you’ve ever listened to the radio near the Mexican border, you know what that would be like

    I grew up in California. Pirate radio is a response to regulation and a rebellion from the system, not a sign of what the lack of regulation would be.

    And I’m sorry, but I don’t get the second part of your question. Clarify, please? Sleepy tired grammar apparently.

    My original question, way up there, was if your argument is that radio is regulated because of its limited nature and action on the internet is unregulated because of its unlimited nature. Show me another unlimited industry that is unregulated, aside from those that are protected by free speech issues, which is the only reason that the internet is unregulated.

    Chowderheads need human contact, too. Though I resent being called an “it.” More sleepy tired grammar. Apparently I need an editor… Meant to say “to you”.

    I know what fiction is (proof in name), but I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about in the beginning of that sentence. I looked at your books with interest, actually. As far as the first, I should have said tabletop roleplaying games. DMing means dungeon mastering. In both cases, I made an assumption that by saying that it would be clearer than explaining I play roleplaying games with friends and act as the storyteller. I’m good at bringing disparate elements into my stories.

    Wrong on both counts. First, I’m just having a hard time figuring out what the root of your argument is, and I don’t buy what I take to be your basic premise that business/industry/the free market is somehow better or less worse than government by definition.

    Not my premise at all, actually. My premise is that letting anyone walk into the home of your neighbor and take away money at gunpoint is a harm. Forget that, and you forget mutual respect. Some harms are necessary for the good of the populous, but some go beyond the good of the populous. If you are taking money from your neighbor at gunpoint to use in rebuilding the road, that benefits everyone, even your neighbor, and may be justified. It is still a harm, but one that also helps. If you are taking money from your neighbor by force to give to the guy at the street who has no job, that is a harm which benefits only the guy down the street. If you keep taking from your neighbor to give to everyone else, because times are tough, that neighbor may quit your protection racket and leave. If too many of your neighbors leave, the protection racket turns to using force to prevent people from leaving. If they keep complaining about it, might as well use force to keep them from talking about it too.

    Nothing in my belief means I think government is bad and business is good or less bad. My believe means I think that government can use force and business can not. It can still use fraud, which is also bad, but not force.

    If only they would compromise…

    If I want the liberty to do as I please, and I personally see no harm in, say, building a huge factory in the middle of a once quiet residential neighborhood, a factory that requires constant truck traffic to deliver raw materials and take away manufactured goods, so much traffic that my neighbors cannot move out of their own driveways, I’ve pretty much bound them up, haven’t I?

    Up there I did talk about the value of zoning laws. Some are good, others are not, but they still can serve a purpose. Still, we are discussing my philosophical leanings, not my practical ones so lets go ahead. That would be something for courts or arbitration to decide, in my philosophy.

    There will be disputes in any system of government and there is no perfect system of government. There will be winners and losers in any system of government. To think that you can prevent loss for everyone is asinine and truly naive, and I don’t believe that. Progressives seem to believe that, while conservatives don’t seem to care as long as it stays the same as now.

    I dunno about you, but I’m just putting off typing up the treatment that’s due on Monday passing the time until my wife and kids get back from a weekend trip, as well as expanding my understanding of philosophy with challenges and discoveries.

  184. Terry

    @ Zetetic:
    I just find it perplexing that you seem to have no trouble with the idea of government and corporations being “in bed together”, but you seem to balk at the idea that the US government would do take any major action for the benefit of major businesses.

    I’m not adverse to the idea, I just want proof. There is a lot of rhetoric in debate on both sides and I want fact, not rhetoric. The fact is, no one has ever proved that we went to Iraq to serve for corporations, yet the argument is still made as if it were fact. I don’t accept that.

    This is partially true, but you need to remember that part of the decrease in demand was due to an unprecedented push in most industrialized countries for increasing conversation, efficiency, use of nuclear power etc.

    The efficiency boost was because the oil had become so expensive that it spending more on converting to efficient technologies was incentivized. Either way, OPEC learned their lesson and since then have had strenuous arguments about raising the price. The fuel rationing was before my time, but I understand the concept. It doesn’t fundamentally change my argument. Fuel rationing can easily come back.

    The problem with this is that you seem to be thinking that the demand for oils is very elastic, on the contrary it’s very inelastic for the last couple of decades. It takes time for an economy that becomes increasingly dependent on energy production with each year to suddenly “change gears” or develop new technologies, that also imposes additional costs on businesses.

    When the cost of fuel doubled in the U.S. a couple of years back, the SUV market crumbled, the Hybrid market exploded, small cars took off, and national demand for oil began to come down, which drove the speculation costs WAY down causing the price to tank. It was seriously elastic in my view. I will accede that I am not an expert on the oil market, but I will tell you that any economist knows we will never run out of oil. It will just get so expensive that other forms of power are cheaper at which point the era of nearly free energy is over and we get to go back to slow growth. If you increase the cost, people will get more efficient or the will go elsewhere for power.

    As China and India become more industrialized, they will invariably use more energy, causing overall energy demands to go up, which will decrease supply and increase price, that is absolutely true. Eventually, the cost will be so high that solar power is finally cheaper and people will start to REALLY go solar. Already, I think nuclear power is cheaper than coal power in second order costs. Eventually it will be cheaper than coal in dollar point at which point no matter what the Sierra Club does to derail it, it will take off again.

    Does it really seem that hard to see how an government other than oil-less Israel that is friendly to the USA would improve the USA’s position in the oil market?

    We have TONS of friendly countries in the gulf. TONS. Saudi is very friendly to U.S. business interests. So is Oman, though they are more careful with their investments. The UAE practically wants to become the America of the Future, without losing its religious monotony. It is not in our interests to upset that egg cart. Consider this, compare and contrast how much oil costs in Europe, and how much it costs in the United States.

    That said, having a puppet regime could certainly support us that way. It would certainly provide a public benefit, to ALL AMERICANS, if we had lots of really cheap, oil. It could keep our economic engine running at high octane for a few more decades even, but it doesn’t serve a corporate interest, it serves a national one.

    If instead of fighting wars for oil and providing massive subsidies for the fossil fuel industries (as I linked to earlier @ #135), we had diverted even a fraction of the resources devoted of even one of the wars with Iraq to researching renewable energy/efficiency, improving the countries use of energy, etc. The USA would be far less dependent on oil now, the market for oil would be more elastic, Middle Eastern terrorism would be less funded (and motivated), and the USA’s economy would be more stable and vulnerable to politics on the other side of the world.

    I agree wholeheartedly with that argument, with one tangential exception. I think you may be channeling the spirit of Ron Paul a bit there, but I do certainly agree. My exception is the assumption that putting money into research equals quantitative results. I don’t know that we’d be better off right now in terms of technology because you never know if the research you are doing will actually pay off. That said, you can’t gamble on new technologies if you don’t pay the house.

    Do you really think that the politicians that made such land grants didn’t benefit either directly (in contributions and “retirement funds”) or indirectly in the sense of building the US economy and military?

    They certainly could have. Do you have something concrete?

    Are you confusing me with someone else?

    Perhaps, do you disagree with my original argument that the people who are most concerned about run away industrialization are the ones that want big government which in return causes run away industrialization?

    I would argue that much of Apple’s recent success is due to marketing and hype. Also, that Windows has been dominant for so long due to a more open, and therefore competitive manufacturing system reducing prices of computers and creating a greater range of options.

    I would argue that for some people Apple’s recent success is the “it just works” type of customer. And that marketing and hype account for other parts. I would also argue that some people go with Windows because they hate some Mac fanboi. Either way, its just another example of competing causes and effects and elements achieving an overall result economically.

    It’s a matter of historical record that the government had lied in both Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom.

    It’s a matter of the media rhetoric that the government lied. Another outlook could be that it was mistaken for Iraqi Freedom. That comes down to “Dishonest” or “Incompetent” but proof has not been supplied for either argument. For Desert Storm, I don’t know what lie you are talking about. Please provide proof.

    Because it take s a lot of political effort for a impeachment hearing

    And proof.

    True. Just a reminder, I’m not a Republican. They are certainly responsible for their share of recklessness about denial of reality. As are the Democrats. Both essentially say, in their own field of idiocy, “We can maintain the status quo and it won’t hurt anyone?” The one side is economic. The other is ecological. Both are calling for unsustainable practices.

    Which is worse? That is a matter of personal and practical choice.

    My practical choice is that having a sustainable economy is more important than having a sustainable ecology in the short run. If your economy tanks, it is impossible to motivate people to do something hard to achieve a lasting result. Thus, if your economy sucks, you will NEVER convince the public that you need to take cuts to improve the ecology.

    We have a choice…
    We can either commit economic seppuku.
    Or we can become more energy independent, meaning cleaner air, a more stable economy, and less war/terrorism.

    I don’t disagree with anything here. I disagree that you can achieve that via anything short of making more incentivized energy solutions available. A national policy to support energy alternatives is not a bad thing. My point was someone complaining about runaway industrialization.

  185. @ Terry:

    So, people wouldn’t have learned to get off of each others’ frequencies if they want to be heard? It is in the best interests of broadcasters to organize their own actions so that other broadcasters stay off of their frequencies too.

    No, you’re still not clear on this point. There are a limited number of frequencies available. That is the difference between radio and, for example, the internet. The tendency amongst broadcasters, being humans after all, is to do the equivalent of shouting louder. Boost your signal, drown out the others, so your message, i.e. your commercials gets heard instead of the competition’s.

    I grew up in California. Pirate radio is a response to regulation and a rebellion from the system, not a sign of what the lack of regulation would be.

    I wasn’t referring to so-called pirate radio. I was referring to Mexican stations that blast their signal so strong it drowns out other stations on nearby frequencies. Again, the issue gets back to that limited resource: broadcast frequencies.

    Show me another unlimited industry that is unregulated, aside from those that are protected by free speech issues, which is the only reason that the internet is unregulated.

    And my response is, that is NOT why the internet is unregulated, unlike radio. See above. Again. Radio is regulated because it’s bandwidth is limited by the laws of physics. The internet has no such limitations. It doesn’t require regulation the way radio does. That’s why I don’t think you can reasonably compare the two.

    My premise is that letting anyone walk into the home of your neighbor and take away money at gunpoint is a harm. Forget that, and you forget mutual respect. Some harms are necessary for the good of the populous, but some go beyond the good of the populous. If you are taking money from your neighbor at gunpoint to use in rebuilding the road, that benefits everyone, even your neighbor, and may be justified. It is still a harm, but one that also helps. If you are taking money from your neighbor by force to give to the guy at the street who has no job, that is a harm which benefits only the guy down the street.

    And my only argument with that would be, in the latter case, there is actually some benefit to the neighbor. If the guy who has no job gets back on his feet again because of the handout, he is now a productive member of society and contributes to its well-being once more. He starts buying stuff, some of which might be manufactured by the business owned by your neighbor, and generally speaking just becomes a better citizen again. There is value in that. It might be a temporary intrusion on your neighbor’s “liberty,” but for society as a whole there is a long-term benefit.

    BTW, about the whole Halliburton thing. I would also posit, with no way of proving it, that the profit made by Halliburton during the Balkan wars was exactly what set the stage for their greater involvement in the wars to come.

    “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume you, it will.” (Since we’re quoting Star Wars.)

  186. AJ in CA

    Ack. I think I’ve been over on the twitter side of the intertubes too damn long. I’m having trouble keeping up with these long (though well written) posts. I may just be caffeine-deprived.

    @#Terry: (re Iraq, Afghanistan) By the way, good on you and thank you for your service!

    @#194 kuhnigget: Just to be a nitpicking PITA, the internet also needs regulatory agencies to keep it working, groups that assign and coordinate domain names and IP ranges such as the IANA and ICANN. Those could (loosely) be said to be doing work that’s similar to what the FCC does with radio frequencies…
    Of course, they’re not US government agencies, so… Point?
    Also, since IP v6, we don’t have the spectre of address exhaustion hanging over us anymore. Though they did help us stretch that out a few years by developing subnetting systems.
    Er, what was I saying again?

    Oh yeah, astronomy! :P

  187. @ AJ:

    Just to be a nitpicking PITA

    The original point was made regarding radio’s dependency upon a limited resource (the electromagnetic spectrum’s finite amount of available frequencies), not the techniques used to broadcast over them.

    Consider the nit picked.

    Astronomy? That’s that silly column in the newspaper every day, right?

  188. Terry

    Needing to leave soon, I’m going to limit myself to only a few comments, rolled up into one post.

    @Kuhnigget:
    And my only argument with that would be, in the latter case, there is actually some benefit to the neighbor. If the guy who has no job gets back on his feet again because of the handout, he is now a productive member of society and contributes to its well-being once more.

    Agreed. If, unfortunately, this becomes an impetus not to bother really looking for a job and lasts forever without a deadline, it is a broken system. Even better would be if all those roadside projects and ‘shovel ready’ jobs were given to something like the CCC so that employees who want a guaranteed, low-paying, menial labor job would be given it and that would be the only government handout they got.

    And my response is, that is NOT why the internet is unregulated, unlike radio. See above. Again. Radio is regulated because it’s bandwidth is limited by the laws of physics. The internet has no such limitations. It doesn’t require regulation the way radio does. That’s why I don’t think you can reasonably compare the two.

    And my response is that there are no other markets in the U.S. that are essentially free of government regulation, regardless of whether it is unlimited or not. Only illegal markets completely free and there are plenty of abuses in those because of the inability for victims to gain redress for their hurt. The only ones that remain free are the ones that are protected otherwise or completely governed by anarchy.

    BTW, about the whole Halliburton thing. I would also posit, with no way of proving it, that the profit made by Halliburton during the Balkan wars was exactly what set the stage for their greater involvement in the wars to come.

    “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume you, it will.” (Since we’re quoting Star Wars.)

    I could repurpose that quote for welfare…

    And I could posit that climate scientists are colluding much more actively to sow fear about AGW so that they can gain funding and support their viewpoint at the expense of evidence. Without proof, I’m stuck making conspiracy theories.

    Is Halliburton a profit seeking, amoral company who has sucked off of the government teat to enrich itself. Yep, and worse, then it relocated its headquarters to a foreign country that is much more friendly to corporate policies, taking away tax dollars from the country that continues to pay a good portion of its less lucrative contracts. They won no-bid contracts. Big government feeds them well.

    @AJ in CA:

    It takes an issue-by-issue slog through what most people are willing to trade for freedom or security.

    Don’t forget, there is a third arm to that freedom v. security tension you mention. That is the dimension that Kuhnigget seems most worried about, which is the tension between freedom and consumerism. There is also a tension between security and consumerism. This is mostly modern communist theory, I believe, but the model is useful. In a perfectly consumerist world, there would be little freedom and little security. The corporation would monopolize the workers time and they would have near immunity to killing off their employees indirectly (Foxconn anyone?). Imagine that as a triangle

    Consumerism
    /
    Freedom — Security

    Going to any of the extremes would be an unpleasant world in my view.

    Another issue that comes to mind is public police cameras. I understand London has something like several hundred thousand.

    By the same token as the police cameras is payday lending practices. I might have mentioned that one earlier. Payday lending practices are predatory. They are designed to feed off of the parts of our population that are working the hardest and getting the least for it. In states where they outlaw the practices or regulate them out of business, foreclosures go up, bankruptcies go up, suicides go up, and, a second order effect, the jobless rate goes up. Which is more important, the predatory nature of the practice, or the ultimate results? By outlawing it, we protect people from themselves and end up, perversely, helping them.

    On the police cameras, if they are in public places and record only video, they are not an invasion of liberty. They are an invasion of privacy, but you have no expectation of privacy outside of your own home, your car, or your place of business if it is not public. I’m still an advocate of privacy as well, but I’m not debating that here. In fact, outlawing the payday lenders in an invasion of liberty, it just might be morally preferred by some.

    Could you please elaborate on that? By the current system, do you mean the one that existed prior to the latest healthcare bill, or the system at present? Or are you speaking more generally, beyond the healthcare issue?

    I am speaking more generally. We can’t keep cutting taxes and raising budgets. Our government does too much already. We need it to do less. It also needs to get over this Keynesian crap. The Great Recession is not evidence of the failure of deregulation. It’s evidence that any complex, chaotic system can have ups and downs.

    A note on Keynesian economics. Keynesian economics are akin to a binge drinker. When he’s feeling down, he throws back some drinks to get happy again. He rocks out to the music, and then crashes hard later. The next morning, hungover like crazy, he immediately grabs for the hair of the dog. The money the government throws into the economy can make the economy boom but payback always comes later. Eventually its gonna be Leaving Las Vegas and the economy doesn’t get better ever again. And the funny part is that Republicans complaining about the stimulus are complaining about the purposes it was used for, not that it existed at all. The parties are both the same in that regard as well.

    And by socialism, are you including stuff like fire, police, schools etc? Every nation has public infrastructure – I’m not sure where we can agree to draw the line on where that ends and socialism begins?

    I don’t dispute the public infrastructure. The Fire, police, and schools are needed. Some places in the U.S. have private police agencies, and they work fine, but they are supported by an insurance program so it comes out to much the same thing, especially with laws that now require those private police agencies to protect people who haven’t paid the insurance, which is driving them out of business. Professional firefighters are really important to protect city infrastructure, so they are necessary. Fire brigades just don’t cut it. There will always be services that the state must provide for safety and protection of the populous, which is the duty of the state under liberal theory. I will also note you didn’t mention the postal service. This is much better run by private industry than public.

    None of those industries are what I mean by socialism, though I will point out that schools seemed to do much better before we essentially nationalized their administration. What I mean by socialism is when nominally private industry is turned into or completely supported by a public industry. This doesn’t include companies that exists solely to perform a service for the government at the cost of the government but are still privately managed (for example, H&R Block), but does include private companies that the government manages.

    The reason it is unsustainable has already been covered, but is simply companies and individuals that can’t fail, don’t try to succeed, thereby becoming inefficient. Second, the more services the government provides, the more it drives up the tax burden, the more private businesses fail to make a profit. When businesses fail to make a profit, they do one of several things. First, they streamline by getting rid of jobs, driving up the burden on the government making the tax burden that much higher. Second, they may turn toward government subsidy, driving up the tax burden against. Third, they may just move out from the tax burden. Fourth, they stop doing business.

    Any of those happen, the middle class disappears.

    Is there no nation with a national health care system that IS sustainable? Are they all unsustainable?

    I couldn’t say, I haven’t looked at all the national health care systems out there. I can tell you that a single-payer system can work for a long time as evidenced in Canada and Europe. It may even be sustainable, but not without something giving somewhere. Either cost or quality of service will have to give. What it won’t be is innovative. To correct that, it WILL innovate, in the management of health care. It won’t innovate in the curing of diseases, just keep doing the same thing over and over again.

    Just to be a nitpicking PITA, the internet also needs regulatory agencies to keep it working, groups that assign and coordinate domain names and IP ranges such as the IANA and ICANN. Those could (loosely) be said to be doing work that’s similar to what the FCC does with radio frequencies…

    The original point is that industry can self-regulate if allowed to do so.

    ________

    A few more comments than I intended, I guess. This is a very interesting debate guys.

  189. Terry

    I wish I could edit my posts… That one got all jacked up. Especially my little triangle.

  190. @ Terry:

    You can edit your posts, for a few minutes. Just click anywhere on the comment after you’ve posted it and a box will pop up with the editable text in it. You’ll see a little countdown clock showing you how much time you’ve got left. (No pressure or anything.)

    Great for removing really stupid comments before anyone else sees them, too.

    BTW…

    And my response is that there are no other markets in the U.S. that are essentially free of government regulation, regardless of whether it is unlimited or not

    And I have no problem with that. :)

    I can tell you that a single-payer system can work for a long time as evidenced in Canada and Europe. It may even be sustainable, but not without something giving somewhere. Either cost or quality of service will have to give. What it won’t be is innovative. To correct that, it WILL innovate, in the management of health care. It won’t innovate in the curing of diseases, just keep doing the same thing over and over again.

    I would disagree with that. For example, LASIK eye surgery, of which I am a happy recipient, came out of research from Spain, Italy and Greece. It was first performed clinically in the U.S., but wasn’t adopted at large – and covered by private insurance companies – until after it had been in use in Canada and Europe for nearly a decade.

  191. Terry

    I would disagree with that. For example, LASIK eye surgery, of which I am a happy recipient, came out of research from Spain, Italy and Greece.

    I won’t argue the point. It is too easy to lose that argument. Just consider the primary medical techniques for diagnosis and treatment used by doctors across the world. Take the list of the top 100 treatments and tell me how many were developed in a single-payer system? I haven’t done the research, so i can’t tell you. I can tell you that my argument is unwinable because most of those procedures will be from the U.S. Since the U.S. has long lead most scientific development, tying it to one factor or another will be difficult. You would have to define WHY the U.S. has been one of the top locations for science, which is undoable.

    As for LASIK, that is a very cool procedure. It is also anecdotal in this context, but since my argument was that NO innovation will occur, touche. I should revise to say very little innovation will occur.

    You can edit your posts, for a few minutes.

    I can’t from this access point. From my other computer, I can, but not here. I know why, but its a side-effect of my build.

    And I have no problem with that. :)

    Sigh… my snarkometer is in the shop, so… I do. We regulate for no good reason, other than someone is upset that someone else is hurting themselves. The excuse to legislate away self-destructiveness will only get stronger now that the public is clearly harmed by having to pay higher insurance premiums when other people get fat. Your argument was that we only legislate radio because it is a limited resource. Where is the back-up proof that if it was an unlimited resource, not protected by free speech concerns, that it would be left alone. The only way that is the case is if the market is small (The market for sea salt, for instance) or the market is unoffensive to almost anyone (the market for sea salt, for instance).

    Effective limitlessness is not an acceptable criteria, in my mind, because it doesn’t actually describe the limits between what we do regulate and what we do not. It is an artificial distinction that the public doesn’t actually follow.

  192. Zetetic

    Sorry about the length everyone, but there was a lot to cover…..

    Messier Tidy Upper @ #187:

    But having the ex-leader of one political camp preaching it?

    If the other side was even trying to be rational about the subject in the first place what difference would it make? None.

    Does it change the facts of AGW? No.
    Does it change the seriousness of the problem? No.
    Does it change what needs to be done to improve the situation? No.
    Did the Republicans embrace AGW before AL Gore, to suddenly stop just because he spoke up about the subject? No.

    The Republicans (as a group, there are exceptions) have been in denial about AGW since long before Al Gore started on the subject. The fact of the matter is that politicians have been ignoring AGW since at least the late 1950′s. The problem has been getting increasing attention recently since it’s effects have been getting more obvious around the world, and more governments around the world are starting to take action.
    Climate science 1956: A Plass from the past.
    Please be sure to play the embedded video!

    1969 Global Warming White House Memo

    Gee! I guess that just Al Gore’s birth was powerful enough to motivate the denialists in the Republican party! ;)

    The problem isn’t with Gore, he’s not even that big of a figure in the debate IMO, as convenient as it is to point fingers at him as a scapegoat for the denialism of others. The problem is that fossil fuel money sponsored FUD campaigns, religious dogma, ideological blindness, and self-imposed intellectual isolationism (to maintain ideological purity) have all conspiring to deny the truth. Do you really think that someone that honestly believes that “Climategate” was actually evidence of scientific wrongdoing, or that the the majority of scientists around the world are conspiring to take over the world are going to suddenly believe that AGW is real just because Al Gore stops talking in public about it?

    It seems more like you want a convenient answer to a very old and complicated problem. Please go back and look at the past few AGW threads, exactly how many of the comments against AGW were actually about Al Gore? Not many…

    In fact you seem to be doing more complaining about him than the anti-AGW side!

    Having a lead scientist becoming a political activist & agitator for the most stupidly unrealistic and ideological fringe proposed solution of all – ie. just cut all coal usage right now & never mind that everybody still get almost all their electrical and other energy from fossil fuels.

    I’m not sure who you are talking about here…. Al Gore was never a scientist IIRC.

    As to the claim that someone (presumably Al Gore) has advocated to “cut all coal usage” right now, I can’t find such a comment from Gore. Do you have a citation for the comment? Al Gore has talked about trying to civilly stop the building any more coal fired plants that don’t use CO2 sequestration, but I can’t find such a statement as what you have claimed. It seems to be far more likely to be a misrepresentation by denialists, and if so that’s still not Gore’s fault.

    but once he opened his gab it stopped being about science and entered a lower sphere of discussion becoming a political debate by virtue of the : “Oh look this is what Al Gore, lead liberal is arguing for …” factor.

    And soooo…What exactly makes you think that the reaction would be any different for any other “liberal” on the planet that publicly urged action on AGW?

    Automatically and inevitably then the other side gets their back up and starts opposing by political tribal reflex.

    Thanks for making my point for me. :)

    Once politics gets dragged in the debate stops being scientific and starts being a political debate. And political debates rarely – if ever – solve anything, usually involve a lot of partisan screaming and name-calling and end up causing a lot of divisions and polarisation.

    Yeah, gee, if only the world’s governments could find solutions to problems without politics getting involved at all. Oh wait…they can’t as long as one side (in this case the Republicans) refuses to deal with facing the issue objectively.

    That’s exactly why playing into their hands having Gore speak on this issue pretty much at all is such a bad idea. Do we really *need* to play into their hands? People seriously concerned with making a good scientific case for AGW would have done so much better to have told Al

    OK, since you seem think that you have such a good grasp on guiding on public opinion…
    Who specifically would be a better choice to reach the public?
    Why would they be better choice?
    How could they avoid being demonized too?
    Why would the enough of the public suddenly start to listen to this other person, and not find an excuse to ignore them as well?

    Many in the Republican party already know that the majority of the scientific community says that AGW is real, but they think it’s a conspiracy to take over the world. Why wouldn’t they also just write-off any scientist as part of the conspiracy? Also the majority of Republicans are even ignoring the few high-ranking Republicans that do want to take action against AGW. I guess that’s Al Gore’s fault too, right?

    So should the Republicans and Democrats alike.

    Agreed, but the fact of the matter is that the majority of the Republicans have been denying AGW since long before Al Gore started to talk about it (see above).

    Just like all politicians on both sides should be able to agree the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and goes around the Sun which is a G2 V star located 1 AU away. Those are the basic, pretty much beyond doubt, realities.

    And yet many (again, mostly Republicans) deny those facts too, as part of a scientific and “liberal” conspiracy to hide the truth and take over the world.

    Or, is that Al Gore’s fault too?

    But let’s look at that example further….
    When these same Republicans that deny the age of the Earth try to alter the school system to hide such information, is it the fault of the scientists and activists that want to educate the public? Should the scientists that know the Earth is older than 6,000 years just shut-up about it because they’d be getting involved in politics? Should the activists that aren’t scientists stay out of it too since it might inspire the Republicans to engage in tribalism? Who then exactly should be doing the talking…we can’t have the scientists “getting involved in politics” by trying to tell the public the truth, and we can’t have non-scientists talk either because they might be a convenient target for the opposition to demonize. So who?

    Everyone should agree on the science basics and keep them non-political arguing only about what to do about it.

    And yet that can’t happen if the other side won’t even agree to the scientific facts due to dogma, ideology, and conspiracy mongering.

    But Gore just had to speak about the science itself as his personal cause ( :roll: ) thereby making it political, making it contentious, and thus here we are.

    And not publicly discussing the issue will help how exactly? And it was political since long before Gore ever took his first office. Why are even the few high-ranking Republican that support acting on AGW being ignored too?

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
    Messier Tidy Upper @ #188:

    Yes, science should *informing* politicians – but in a party-neutral a-political *un-politically-involved* way.

    Which is exactly what the scientists have been trying to do. The problem is that when one party almost universally denies the issue and presents it to the public as an ideological issue (instead of a scientific one), then any attempt to scientifically discuss the issue is then portrayed as an attempt to undermine and attack the party and to “undermine America”. Look at the last Bush administration’s alteration of the objective and apolitical climate reports, this is the fault of Gore and the scientific community how exactly?

    Yes.

    Not *no* opposition sure, but considerably *less* opposition, yes I do think that

    Really? And how exactly do you know this to be a fact? That there would be less opposition to AGW if Gore and the scientific community would just be quiet on the subject? Do you have any evidence yet that the majority of anti-AGW comments are directed against Al Gore? Have you found an explanation yet for the denial of AGW before Gore became involved?

    Don’t know about you but when someone is shouting it usually makes *me* less likely to listen seriously to them NOT more.

    And so a movie that people had to choose to go see, and some interviews counts as “shouting” now?

    If the volume is too loud it gets turned down or muted & ignored altogether.

    And if it’s not loud enough to be heard over the denialists, no one will ever believe the science, and nothing will ever be done.

    Turning it up more is already causing people to ignore AGW or say its too much, too extreme to beleive.

    Of course the dogma, ideological blindness, and FUD campaigns from the fossil fuel industry have nothing to do with it, correct?

    I guess the reason why so many Americans think that Earth is less than 10,000 years old, is because of all the “shouting” that it’s 4.5 billion years old, and not the shouting of Creationists?

    I guess the reason so many Americans don’t know the Earth goes around the Sun is due to the “volume” of Heliocentrism, and not due to Geocentrists making their arguments?

    I guess the anti-vax movement is a result of trying to educate the public on the importance of vaccines?

    Do you see the problem with this line of reasoning?
    You seem to be trying to find a simple solution to a complex problem by blaming the people on the side of science, instead of those that refuse to accept anything that doesn’t conform to their limited view of reality.

    From a strategic Point-Of-View, understatement might be more worth trying, sounding more moderate and les like ranting eco-nuts.

    Yes. because the fossil fuel industry and their bought-politicians have obviously been silent all this time on Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Glen Beck. What you are asking for is for only the denialists to actually have the floor and then expecting the public to just *somehow* come to the correct answer.

    No. The problem is that the scientific community hasn’t been “loud” enough and that the majority of the news media is more interested in “hearing both sides” of every issue (to encourage controversy not enlightenment), no matter how wrong one of the sides is.

    Just that I think the quieter, calmer, more logical stuff is what’s more likely to work on more people – as I see things natch.

    Yes, I guess that explains the success of Fox News, Beck, and Limbaugh in the USA. For some people that many be true, but reality tends to show that is not usually very effective as long as the denialist side is still able shout of scientific conspiracies to their twisted little heart’s content.

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    Messier Tidy Upper @ #189:

    Better inform the public – yep, indeed youre right but, hey, good luck with that – esp. now. Its not like that has not been being tried for a long time already.

    True it has been tried…poorly. That’s part of the reason the Republicans in the USA want to undermine the education system, look at Texas for example.

    Of course even if the education was suddenly improved, it won’t have much effect for many years even under idea circumstances. I meant it as a long term approach. Sadly short of a major disaster that can clearly be directly linked to AGW, the current situation is likely to continue for a while. Even then there would still be many among the Republicans that claim it was part of a conspiracy, so it might not be enough.

    Frankly, I’m not too optimistic about civilization’s future. The technical and economic obstacles are solvable, but humanity has an unlimited capacity for self-delusion and is generally lazy.

    But I also think you have to admit that the “Gore factor” really isn’t helping things either.

    Frankly I’ve yet to see anything convince me that it’s a factor at all. IMO nearly everyone that is a denialist would still be one regardless. The majority of the arguments don’t actually concern him. AGW denialism has been around since long before he got involved in the subject. Finally, his efforts have seemingly helped to get more people interested in the subject by bring it a little more to the public’s attention.

    IMO… I’d say that either it’s “a wash” or that he might help slightly, albeit not much.

  193. Messier Tidy Upper

    @201. Zetetic :

    “Having a lead scientist becoming a political activist & agitator for the most stupidly unrealistic and ideological fringe proposed solution of all – ie. just cut all coal usage right now & never mind that everybody still get almost all their electrical and other energy from fossil fuels.” [Me.]
    I’m not sure who you are talking about here…. Al Gore was never a scientist IIRC.

    I was talking there about James Hansen.
    Not Al Gore.
    I would have thought that was clear from the description.

    If the other side was even trying to be rational about the subject in the first place what difference would it make? None.

    Nothing political is fully or purely rational. Unfortunately. Therein lies the problem. :-(

    Politics is not science – it is a tribal popularity contest where two camps vie for control of the country based on appealing most to most people. Its full of emotion and symbolism, manipulation and dirty tricks and logic and reason are not featured much or held in high regard there.

    In science the arguments and whether they make sense based on the available evidence are the key things.

    In politics it is the people who are talking and how folks feel about them that matter most.

    Now I think that sucks and I think the system is broken but that’s how it is.

    Right now, Gore is divisive figure with a few ardent & still loyal fans but an awful lot more folks who can’t stand the sight of him. Which is why he makes a bad figurehead and spokesperson / salesperson – for anything. :-(

    In My Humble Opinion Naturally.

  194. Zetetic

    Terry @ #193:

    I’m not adverse to the idea, I just want proof. There is a lot of rhetoric in debate on both sides and I want fact, not rhetoric. The fact is, no one has ever proved that we went to Iraq to serve for corporations, yet the argument is still made as if it were fact. I don’t accept that.

    And yet when confronted with the fact that the US government declared maintaining the oil supply as part of the reason for Operation Desert Storm, and lied about Hussein being ready to invade Saudi Arabia. You come up with a list of assumptions for why you think that oil prices hypothetically wouldn’t have gone up (even if the US Government didn’t agree with it). Additionally you seem to be engaging in a form of binary thinking, where if there are any other possible reasons (even good ones) for getting involved that therefore corporate interests weren’t a factor.

    The efficiency boost was because the oil had become so expensive that it spending more on converting to efficient technologies was incentivized.

    Not just incentivized but there was also a big government push for such development. Also don’t forget (I know that I accidentally left this out in the last post) that the USA in the 70′s also had price controls in effect to keep gas/petrol prices low. This is another reason why OPEC’s plan didn’t work out, although it had the result of gas lines and rationing in the USA (odd/even days, etc.). In other words, part of the decrease in demand in the USA was due to a reduced ability to consume created by price control created shortages. Please understand I’m not arguing in favor of such controls, I’m merely pointing out the history.

    When the cost of fuel doubled in the U.S. a couple of years back, the SUV market crumbled, the Hybrid market exploded, small cars took off, and national demand for oil began to come down,

    True but it still didn’t come all the way back down. Also this was when the economy was doing relatively better and more people could afford to buy a new car to save money. In the meantime to total global consumption of oil has been increasing rapidly making the market less elastic too. Also don’t forget about the problems that many business had due to the temporary spike in price. It didn’t just boost small car sales, it seriously hurt the auto makers in the USA that were more heavily invested in making the SUVs. Shipping and transportation was also negatively impacted for a while.

    Eventually, the cost will be so high that solar power is finally cheaper and people will start to REALLY go solar.

    I don’t doubt that, the problem is that in the process CO2 emissions will also continue to increase just as rapidly, increasing AGW even more, and the oil supplies will run out that much faster. Also don’t forget that solar will have to be competing again a fossil fuel industry that has been far more heavily subsidized for a long time.

    Already, I think nuclear power is cheaper than coal power in second order costs.

    Quite possibly true especially since coal is apparently running out faster than was earlier thought. The other problem though with nuclear (speaking from your point of view of wanting a smaller government) is that nuclear also tends to be heavily subsidized for not just construction, but decommissioning plants, and waste disposal. I have nothing against nuclear per se, and I much prefer it to coal, but that also needs to be taken into account.

    We have TONS of friendly countries in the gulf. TONS. Saudi is very friendly to U.S. business interests.

    You mean the same countries that have also been sponsoring anti-US terrorism? Are you familiar with the term “fair weather friend”?

    It is not in our interests to upset that egg cart

    On the contrary, my point was that the US government sees it as stabilizing the area for US interests.

    It would certainly provide a public benefit, to ALL AMERICANS, if we had lots of really cheap, oil.

    For the short term and ignoring both peak oil, AGW, and possible future military involvements to keep the oil flowing…yes it would. If you ignore the long term that is.

    It could keep our economic engine running at high octane for a few more decades even, but it doesn’t serve a corporate interest, it serves a national one.

    As I had already pointed out in my last post the two are not mutually exclusive. Especially when so much of the USA economic and military well being is dependent on those same corporations. It’s not a matter of all one way or the other, reality is more complicated than that.

    My exception is the assumption that putting money into research equals quantitative results.

    True, but that all the more reason to have expert opinion as to courses of action and to try and maintian a diversified research program pursing multiple strategies. For example during World War II many of the involved countries (including the USA) pursue multiple research paths simultaneously for weapons, communications, etc. Some delivered, some didn’t.

    I don’t know that we’d be better off right now in terms of technology because you never know if the research you are doing will actually pay off.

    True, we don’t know that for sure, but it’s a reasonable assumption especially if we had started a couple of decades ago.

    That said, you can’t gamble on new technologies if you don’t pay the house.

    Quite so…and it’s probably much cheaper than repeatedly blowing up another country.

    They certainly could have. Do you have something concrete?

    It’s not that hard to find related information.
    Indian removal
    Indian Removal Act

    Perhaps, do you disagree with my original argument that the people who are most concerned about run away industrialization are the ones that want big government which in return causes run away industrialization?

    Things can certainly go that way, we do live in a world of unintended consequences after all. But I found it confusing since I never even came close to the subject of anti-trust legislation.

    On the other hand, as I mentioned in my last post, those that are determined to keep government smaller by trying to ignore AGW may be setting us all up for a much bigger government than they ever feared as a result of the effects of AGW.

    Again…unintended consequences.

    Either way, its just another example of competing causes and effects and elements achieving an overall result economically.

    No disagreement there, although I think that Macs are overpriced due to their IMO overly-proprietary design. That’s a large part of the reason why Windows has long held the majority of the market share. Apple could easily provide an OS for the typical IBM compatible PC, but they don’t want to give up that much control of their consumers. Nothing wrong with that per se, people still get to make their choices.

    That comes down to “Dishonest” or “Incompetent” but proof has not been supplied for either argument. For Desert Storm, I don’t know what lie you are talking about. Please provide proof.

    No offense but for someone that argues for a smaller government you seem to be very unaware of it’s tradition abuses of power especially in regards to war. You might want to look up the Gulf of Tonkin some day.
    As to Operation Desert Storm…
    In war, some facts less factual
    and Iraqi Freedom…
    Iraq War
    This part is especially “good”….
    “According to documents provided by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, George W. Bush, ten days after taking office in January 2001, instructed his aides to look for a way to overthrow the Iraqi regime. A secret memo entitled “Plan for post-Saddam Iraq” was discussed in January and February 2001, and a Pentagon document dated March 5, 2001, and entitled “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield contracts”, included a map of potential areas for petroleum exploration.”
    You were saying something about wanting proof of corporate interest?
    Maps and Charts of Iraqi Oil Fields
    Funny what you can find with just a little searching….isn’t it?

    And proof.

    As demonstrated, proof wasn’t the problem. It’s a matter of political will, especially when many of those that would have to call for such hearing were themselves involved in voting for the war and may have benefited from the same corporations that stood to gain. It’s much easier to get an impeachment for a sex scandal that only effects one politician than a war that was voted in favor of by the majority of congress.

    My practical choice is that having a sustainable economy is more important than having a sustainable ecology in the short run.

    Yes a functional economy is important, but as I’ve pointed out earlier, you don’t have to sacrifice one to protect the other…as long as you go about things intelligently. Also, in the lo0ng run (again assuming intelligent decision making) the economy will be better off in the long run.

    I disagree that you can achieve that via anything short of making more incentivized energy solutions available.

    I don’t recall saying that we should incentivized energy solutions, I’m not sure were you got that from. I merely stated that there are different way, some better than others, that can be employed to reach such a goal.
    Here, for example, is an approach that I like much more than “Cap and Trade”
    Cap and Fade

    My point was someone complaining about runaway industrialization.

    Ironically moving to a cleaner economy would also help with mitigating at least some of those issues to.

  195. Zetetic

    Messier Tidy Upper @ #202:

    I was talking there about James Hansen.
    Not Al Gore.
    I would have thought that was clear from the description.

    Respectfully, you were first talking about Al Gore, then brought up the remark in question, in your first post (#186 and #187). The first time you mentioned Hansen by name was after that line (in your next post at #188), so no it wasn’t clear. That’s why I wasn’t sure if maybe you were talking about someone other than Gore.

    Now that’s cleared up, the only thing I could find that comes even close to what you said Hansen had called for was to phase out coal fired plants by 2030, and not to just stop them now period. That’s a big difference. If you could find a citation for the comment I would like to read it, but from what I’ve found so far it sounds like a denialist was misrepresenting what he (Hansen) said.

    As for Hansen becoming a “political agitator”…lets consider a hypothetical.
    Let’s say a large asteroid is found on it’s way to Earth in a few decades and that it looks big enough to kill a large amount of the human race, with the only real uncertainty being the final body count due to an uncertainty of it’s point of impact. At this scientific revelation, many in the Republican party decide that it’s a conspiracy to promote big government by those “pinko socialist one-worlder scientists”, while other Republicans think that the asteroid is “god’s will” and that we should not try to prevent it through an international effort to alter it’s trajectory. Then there are large companies that stand to profit from selling shelters and survival supplies that want nothing to be done so they try and launch a FUD campaign. Of course Fox News et al., are all too willing to go along with the party line on this, and so much of the public believes them too. Because of this any action to prevent the impact is being delayed, perhaps indefinitely.

    Now would any scientists calling for action be a “political activist & agitator” in your book? Would that be a bad thing under the circumstances? Would this be an example where scientists should avoid getting involved in politics? How specifically would you propose convincing enough of the public, if you think that such activism is incorrect?

    Nothing political is fully or purely rational. Unfortunately. Therein lies the problem.

    True but that is precisely my point. You seem to under the impression that as long as those that are calling for action on AGW stop trying to convince people, then suddenly everyone will become more rational on the subject, when there is no reason to make such an assumption, and history indicates otherwise.

    Now I think that sucks and I think the system is broken but that’s how it is.

    I agree completely.

    Right now, Gore is divisive figure with a few ardent & still loyal fans but an awful lot more folks who can’t stand the sight of him. Which is why he makes a bad figurehead and spokesperson / salesperson – for anything.

    Respectfully, while I agree that he’s not the ideal advocate (I think someone more charismatic would be better) you seem to be getting an opinion of what others think of him largely from people that have a vested psychological interest in finding any excuse they can to deny AGW. He doesn’t even figure that much in most of the anti-AGW arguments and he’s rapidly being supplanted by Mann as the demon du jour. Long after everyone has forgotten about Al Gore, and the poles are melting away the denialists will still be blaming someone else for why they don’t accept AGW.

    If we go by what those who make a point to deny the evidence say they want, then the rest of the public will never be convinced because we’ll be dancing to the tune of those that can never be convinced by arguments and evidence until they open themselves to the possibility that they are wrong.

    Of course that is my opinion as well…. ;)

  196. Zetetic

    @ Terry (and anyone generally concerned about the economic impact of mitigating AGW):

    Here is a new article recently published in Skeptical Science, it deals with several studies forecasting the economic impact on the GDP of the USA for various CO2 reduction strategies compared to no change in policy, also known as Business As Usual (BAU).
    Economic Impacts of Carbon Pricing

    The upshot is….

    The majority of these analyses find that the evaluated climate policies impact the US GDP by less than 1% as compared to BAU.

    Apparently they would also lower the Federal deficit [emphasis added]…

    The CBO analysis of Waxman-Markey found that the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $9 billion by the year 2019. The CBO analysis of a similar bill proposed by Senators Kerry and Boxer found the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $21 billion by 2019 and “would not increase the deficit in any of the four 10-year periods following 2019.” And the CBO also found that Kerry-Lieberman would decrease the deficit by $19 billion by 2020.

    The cited article also goes into further detail as to other benefits and costs of the various proposals.

  197. AJ in CA

    The BA blog really needs a dedicated discussion forum, preferably with a thread tree ;)

    @Terry: I’m not sure I understand the Consumerism arm of that consumerism/liberty/regulation triangle. Any recommended reading you could point me to (I’m not picky, a Wiki article is just fine).

    Anyway, thanks for clearing up the earlier comment – I’m fairly sure I understand the definition of socialism we’re using, now.
    Unfortunately, I’m only vaguely familiar with Keynesian economics or the Austrian school; that’s some more reading I’ve got to do! I’ve yet to take any economics courses yet, but then that’s yet another thing that should really be taught in (public) high school that isn’t.
    So I’ll take your word for it for the time being :)

  198. Terry

    @AJ in C: Agree on the forum issue…

    I’m not sure I understand the Consumerism arm of that consumerism/liberty/regulation triangle. Any recommended reading you could point me to (I’m not picky, a Wiki article is just fine).

    I’m having trouble finding a good resource for this one. I read it the professor’s notes in one of my books on international relations and politics, specifically Akehurst’s Modern Introduction to International Law . I believe it is in there, but I don’t have my copy available right now. As I can’t find that triangle anywhere on the net right now, it might have been his original analysis. I’ll keep looking.

    @ Zetetic 203:

    I wrote up a long treatment answer to your post and my internet subsequently crashed. As I have to get to work, a shorter response will follow.

    On the corporate interest warfare bit, I think that fundamentally or difference of opinion here has to do with a fundamental definition problem. I originally asked for BJN to provide one example of a war to support corporate interests, not a war that supports corporate interests. If national interests are served, however cynically or corruptly, then I see that as trumping corporate interests. You seem to see it as not mutually exclusive. I have pointed out in not so direct terms that I don’t see problems with wars being engaged THAT support corporate interests, but I don’t believe, in the main, we have ever fought a war specifically TO support corporate interests. The closest would be the Spanish-American War that Kuhnigget mentioned which we fought following and during a propaganda campaign carried out by Hearst. That gave me pause to think about, but the reason I don’t count that one personally is that the American People and Congress authorized combat actions based on a perceived series of human rights violations.

    BJNs original comment was that we engaged in wars to support corporate interests. I don’t believe that, because I still have faith in the system though I think it has gone out of bounds. It needs to be reined in, but I don’t think that corporate control of Washington is to the point that they have start wars with impunity to achieve their aims.

    On the Iraq wars, specifically, the Desert Storm incident proves that someone within the government lied or was incompetent enough to allow a confirmation bias to take over logic. Government satellites have historically been better than corporate ones, but its hard to prove that empty desert is full of troops. Saddam’s own rhetoric about tearing down Saudi Arabia and that the Saudi royal family was unfit to in charge of the Two Holy Mosques, was not a government manufactured lie. The rest of the propaganda work by the Kuwaiti government on American public opinion certainly was a great example. Was the UN similarly altered? And the British government? What about the rest of the coalition? Several other western bloc nations saw it as within their national interests to act. They were not manipulated by corporate interests to act, but national ones. Why would it logically only be the US who was manipulated by corporate ones instead?

    Of course, their national interest could be “Keep on the Beast’s (the U.S.’s) good side”, but history is really muddy, as was pointed out before. My dad (the Roman Historian) would have been upset with me for writing that.

    Either way, even if we did enter Kuwait for oil, and later Iraq for oil, it is not a corporate interest. Oil is a strategic resource. Unless you can prove that we engaged in two separate wars to make a corporation or group of corporations happy, I don’t see this as proof. I may be seemingly raising the bar on the proof, but that was my thought process behind my original argument.

    It’s not that hard to find related information.
    Indian removal
    Indian Removal Act

    Related information that says, among other things, that southern leaders wanted to avoid future wars along their borders. Its a national, even though racist, interest. There were business leaders involved. The document doesn’t contend that they had the primary interest. I haven’t studied this piece of history as well as I should. My only detailed knowledge of it is a fiction novel which is not a good place to base your arguments. If the business interest was more central to the doctrine than these links suggest, you really might have something here.

    On the other hand, as I mentioned in my last post, those that are determined to keep government smaller by trying to ignore AGW may be setting us all up for a much bigger government than they ever feared as a result of the effects of AGW.

    That presumes that those who want to keep government smaller also want to ignore global warming. Many of us who feel we need to keep government smaller, believe in the Austrian School of economics, which suggests that larger governments subsidize growth for a nationalist reason. Such unnatural growth is prone to failure as planned economies are attempts by very limited human minds to control something extremely complex. The Austrian school sees growth as a slow process, not a boom. Slower growth is better for the environment in the long run.

    You were saying something about wanting proof of corporate interest?

    Okay… first, enjoying the snark, especially when you fail to provide proof. I can get Kuhnigget all in an uproar by providing proof that Washington has plans for Alien Invasions as well.

    Second, the foreign suitors document is interesting, since that doesn’t even provide a benefit for the U.S. people. That would be the ultimate corruption. It would also be a lot more damning if it was more than a couple of pie in the sky documents. I can find a lot more damning information in the Climate Gate scandal than “U.S. administration planned for how to topple the Iraqi government the Government had been dealing with for a decade and planned for ways to stabilize the oil market afterwards”. This could certainly be evidence in a conspiracy, but it is not proof. I don’t see anything from these documents that trumps the unstable geopolitical situation in the region where Saddam had been pestering neighbors with cross-border incursions, lying to UN inspectors, hindering inspections, and acquiring materials that COULD be used to make WMDs for a decade.

    Frankly, if we did go to war with Iraq for nothing more than to give the Brits more oil I’d be even more upset at the government’s actions than I am now. If they did go to war to support corporate interests, its just more proof that the nation has usurped its authority granted by the people to it in the Constitution. And that the Constitution must be returned as the primary document of the land.

    The Cap and Fade is one that I’d have to look at more closely. Its interesting and it does incentivize energy solutions, but does so at the expense of the economy and in our current system, it would eventually cause the USG to subsidize a number of other industries to prevent their losses, such as further farming subsidies, American manufacturing (especially unionized factories) and energy heavy information technologies. It would also become a deterrent for new technology development as research can use a lot of power. That would have to be subsidized more heavily as well.

    Unintended consequences, huh?

  199. Zetetic

    Terry @ #207:

    I originally asked for BJN to provide one example of a war to support corporate interests, not a war that supports corporate interests.

    Frankly that sounds a lot like “hair splitting”. Do you really think that for any such war the government will just come out and publicly admit that corporate interests were the motivating concern? For that matter, do you really think that there can ever be a war were the government can’t in some way justify it on some other grounds?

    All of that is even just setting aside the problem that I already, repeatedly, mentioned that when the country’s military and economics capacity is so tightly linked some corporations, that any action to the benefit of those corporations will by definition be of “national interest” (at least in the short term).

    Whether you realize it or not, you are trying to define “war for corporate interests” in such a way that no conflict can ever be called as being “for corporate interests”. Even if we (hypothetically) had a tape recording of Exxon, Texaco, Haliburton, BP and the other usual suspects ordering Bush to invade Iraq then by your definition we still couldn’t call it a war for corporate interests, since it could still be tied to national short-term interests and “humanitarian goals”.
    How is that logical?

    It’s like when a Young Earth creationist is asking for evidence to prove the Earth is more than 6,000 years, but not allowing geology, radiometric dating, etc to be used to make the determination in the first place.

    Do you think that I’m being unfair about your “definition”? Then perhaps we should try turning things around a bit. Can you come up with any realistic scenario were a country would go to war for a corporations(s) that where were so small that it would have no impact on other national interests and were there was no way to “justify” in terms of other (perhaps humanitarian) grounds?

    You seem to see it as not mutually exclusive.

    Correct, especially since they are so tightly linked. One of the other benefits to push non-fossil fuel energy is to help minimize such ties, and allow the military decision making to be more about what is in the USA’s long-term strategic interests while minimizing entanglement in such a volatile region of the world as the Middle East.

    I don’t believe that, because I still have faith in the system though I think it has gone out of bounds.

    Respectfully… I think that your “faith” is part of the problem here.
    You admit that things are broken, yet you seem to not want to admit just how broken things have become. Granted the problem of the the USA’s government are fixable IMO, but at this time things largely seem to be moving in the wrong directions.

    It needs to be reined in, but I don’t think that corporate control of Washington is to the point that they have start wars with impunity to achieve their aims.

    Saying that corporations are able to “start wars with impunity” is a straw-man here.
    Even BJN didn’t make that claim, and I certainly didn’t. As usual the real world is more complicated than that. What I have in fact been saying is that corporate interests have become such a part of the considerations of foreign policy and military actions that it tends to push us into conflicts that otherwise might not be fought, just as it tends to push us away from long term solutions for things such as energy independence and therefore promotes further conflicts in the Middle East. Nobody here has made the claim that politics and it’s ramifications aren’t involved.

    You seem to be trying to state that we are making such a overly simplistic view of such policies, in order to deny the corporate influence on the societies of the USA and other countries. That is not just rude, but intellectually dishonest both to others and yourself. Please try to keep your replies to the positions that have actually been stated, and not to what you seem to wish we were saying.

    On the Iraq wars, specifically, the Desert Storm incident proves that someone within the government lied or was incompetent enough to allow a confirmation bias to take over logic.

    Several someones I would say, since official military spokespeople presented it as the motivation to the public. But I don’t see confirmation bias as an explanation for saying a photo of empty desert showed a large military force building up. So we’re back to lying.

    Saddam’s own rhetoric about tearing down Saudi Arabia and that the Saudi royal family was unfit to in charge of the Two Holy Mosques, was not a government manufactured lie

    I never said that part was a lie, in fact if you recall I had earlier specifically pointed out Husein’s desire to “unite” the oil producing countries, the lie was saying that he was about to try just that with Saudi Arabia. The problem that you seem to be missing is that goes right back to my point that the federal governed publicly stated that maintaining oil exports from the Middle East was the USA’s national interest. As was trying to keep oil cheaper for a country of whom many voters still remembered the gas lines.

    That only makes my earlier points, it doesn’t refute them.

    Was the UN similarly altered? And the British government? What about the rest of the coalition? Several other western bloc nations saw it as within their national interests to act. They were not manipulated by corporate interests to act, but national ones.

    All of the other countries, aside from Saudi Arabia which was more concerned about a potential future military threat from Iraq, had the same motives as the USA. Or do you think that they aren’t oil dependent too? As to the UN, with most of the biggest member nations backing the war for economic reasons, why wouldn’t the smaller, but no less oil dependent, countries oppose it, especially when it costs them nothing and may gain them political points with the bigger nations?

    You still seem to be having trouble with the observation that any country that is so economically and militarily tied to a few corporations, will find those corporate interests as being tied to their national interests (see above).

    Why would it logically only be the US who was manipulated by corporate ones instead?

    Another straw-man argument, I never claimed that it was solely a case of the USA having been motivated by corporate interests, I simply assumed that if you realized that little detail then it would have been easy to see a similar motive for many of the other countries. Care to point out where I made such a claim that is solely the USA that had an corporate/economic interest?

    Either way, even if we did enter Kuwait for oil, and later Iraq for oil, it is not a corporate interest.

    Then do you care to explain why in the second Iraq war the US government had oil surveying map draw up for oil companies nearly two years before the actual conflict? Again you are defining any benefit that isn’t exclusively just for that specific corporation(s) alone as not being in their benefit.

    Oil is a strategic resource.

    Yes, because the USA is highly dependent on it and it continues to be so largely due to the same oil companies attempts to manipulate the government, and public opinion about AGW. Once again, greater energy independence would avoid (or at least reduce) that complication in the future.

    Unless you can prove that we engaged in two separate wars to make a corporation or group of corporations happy, I don’t see this as proof.

    But, as I pointed out above, you have tried to define such evidence in way that no amount of evidence can ever be considered sufficient to make such a conclusion.

    If the business interest was more central to the doctrine than these links suggest, you really might have something here.

    Same problem as above.

    That presumes that those who want to keep government smaller also want to ignore global warming.

    Incorrect.
    Granted if you go and look at many in the Republicans, Libertarians, and Teapartiers you’ll find a large number of them do in fact deny AGW is occurring or would be a problem, but if you go back and read my replies to you, you’ll see that I’ve never made that assumption about your position. That is why I kept my AGW related replies to you confined to the effects of AGW on it’s current path and the costs/benefits of controlling AGW.

    The problem I’ve brought up previously is that by not taking government action to correct AGW, in order to “keep government small”, that we may be on the track to create an even larger and more intrusive governments world wide in an attempt to compensate for the problems AGW will be causing and the conflicts that it’s likely to produce.

    Many of us who feel we need to keep government smaller, believe in the Austrian School of economics, which suggests that larger governments subsidize growth for a nationalist reason.

    I’m already well familiar with the Austrian school of economics.
    The problem here is that much of the damage has already been done, and it’s increasing daily. This problem is a direct result of the fact that the damage to the environment created by CO2 is a very externalized cost, and so it isn’t properly accounted for economically. This is why many of the proposals to reduce CO2 emissions is to add a cost to it’s emission and try to help compensate for centuries of fossil fuel getting an indirect (and inadvertent) subsidy by not being properly accounted for in cost calculations. The “Cap and Fade” article I linked to at my post #203 is such an attempt to correct such an error while minimizing the increase in government bureaucracy while adding an economic cost to CO2 emissions.

    Okay… first, enjoying the snark, especially when you fail to provide proof. I can get Kuhnigget all in an uproar by providing proof that Washington has plans for Alien Invasions as well.

    Right…..
    So you ask for evidence that you could have easily looked up yourself, but apparently didn’t. In it are links to evidence that the US government made plans to invade Iraq two years before the invasion, had drawn up oil exploration maps to divide the territory up among oil companies after the invasion that was still two years away. Then in the years leading up to the war, that the Bush administration had repeatedly and systematically ignored reports that didn’t match with the publicly announced agenda. But apparently none of this is still good enough for you according to your conveniently re-defining such evidence in a way to make any such evidence impossible.

    Second, the foreign suitors document is interesting, since that doesn’t even provide a benefit for the U.S. people.

    I thought you had already admitted that oil is a strategic resource. Why then wouldn’t cheaper oil be to the USA’s corporate short-term benefit?

    It would also be a lot more damning if it was more than a couple of pie in the sky documents.

    By “pie in the sky documents” I think you mean plans for after the invasion that were submitted to the Commerce Department, and were turned over due to a court order.

    I can find a lot more damning information in the Climate Gate scandal than “U.S. administration planned for how to topple the Iraqi government the Government had been dealing with for a decade and planned for ways to stabilize the oil market afterwards”.

    If so then that speaks to a possible bias on your part. There is nothing whatsoever in the stolen “Climategate” emails that would be considered damning when taken in context and with a modicum of understanding of science. How you can compare that to planing to divide up a country’s resources after it has been conquered years before the actual invasion, is somewhat baffling.

    This could certainly be evidence in a conspiracy, but it is not proof.

    So now not even evidence is enough for you now? See what I mean about trying to define things so that there can never be good enough evidence.

    I don’t see anything from these documents that trumps the unstable geopolitical situation in the region where Saddam had been pestering neighbors with cross-border incursions, lying to UN inspectors, hindering inspections, and acquiring materials that COULD be used to make WMDs for a decade.

    And the link I already provided showed that most of those claims were contradicted by other far more credible evidence that was systematically ignored by the administration. So let’s see even if Hussein was still indenting to invade other countries (with what little was left of his military from the first war) what would be the USA’s main interest there again? Oh yeah…oil.

    If they did go to war to support corporate interests, its just more proof that the nation has usurped its authority granted by the people to it in the Constitution.

    It’s would also be proof that we have become far too economically dependent on the energy from other countries, and that has gotten us far too entangled in the politics and wars of other regions of the world. So why does the USA keep directly and indirectly subsidizing such the oil industry? Oh that’s right…the bought politicians and a public mislead by decades of propaganda campaigns from the fossil fuel industry.

    Its interesting and it does incentivize energy solutions, but does so at the expense of the economy and in our current system, it would eventually cause the USG to subsidize a number of other industries to prevent their losses, such as further farming subsidies, American manufacturing (especially unionized factories) and energy heavy information technologies.

    Not necessarily, that’s part of the reason for gradually increasing the carbon tax in such a system. To give companies time to adjust and for non-fossil fuel based energy technology to begin planning and construction. Also don’t forget that various states across the USA have different levels of fossil fuel based energy production, California for example gets less of it’s power from fossil fuels than most other states (IIRC). Either way it still would just be adding the cost of CO2 emissions, that had previously been externalized to the point of being ignored, back into such economic calculations.

    Unintended consequences, huh?

    Yes, like ignoring the even greater cost of the effects of AGW if we continue the business as usual of ignoring the cost of continued CO2 emissions.

  200. Terry

    @ Zetetic:
    Whether you realize it or not, you are trying to define “war for corporate interests” in such a way that no conflict can ever be called as being “for corporate interests”.

    Again, I’m talking the primary motivating factor. Let me put it this way. If a person kills another person and stands to gain a fortune from it, that looks cut and dry. The motivation could be said to be financial. However, when you find out that the ‘victim’ was pointing a gun at the killer’s friends, is the motivation financial or is it in defense?

    In a court of law, the prosecutor would have to prove otherwise. The key point I am making here is that there is a burden of proof that must be reached.

    I am not redefining evidence. I’m defining why the evidence you have given doesn’t prove what you assert it proves. It is not enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the standard of guilt in the U.S. It proves that the government made plans to deal with a post-Saddam Iraq, not that they acted in corporate interests.

    By contrast, if you factor in military suppliers, every conflict, no matter the national interests can be called corporate interests, which I don’t believe you intend to mean. Not to say that this isn’t an issue that needs to be addressed, but I don’t believe you mean to say then that every war is just a corporate profit engine in disguise.

    If you feel that I am is splitting hairs, great. I personally think there is a big difference between “corporate interests have become such a part of the considerations of foreign policy and military actions that it tends to push us into conflicts that otherwise might not be fought” and “wars [we have] engaged to serve corporate interests”. One suggests that any consideration of corporate interests by the government is thereby corrupt. The other suggests that we are fighting wars primarily IN ORDER TO make corporations rich. You call it splitting hairs, I call it defining the actual issue I first responded to.

    How is that logical?

    It’s like when a Young Earth creationist is asking for evidence to prove the Earth is more than 6,000 years, but not allowing geology, radiometric dating, etc to be used to make the determination in the first place.

    I’ve asked for proof and I haven’t disallowed any evidence. I’ve argued that the evidence isn’t ENOUGH. I’ll say again that is it more akin from that same young earth guy saying that because someone wrote an email looking for ways to drive a scientific publication out of business extrapolating that it is proof of a vast conspiracy. They are DIRECTLY equivalent and both just as flawed thinking. There are many leaps that have to be made to arrive to those conclusions.

    Do you think that I’m being unfair about your “definition”? Then perhaps we should try turning things around a bit. Can you come up with any realistic scenario were a country would go to war for a corporations(s) that where were so small that it would have no impact on other national interests and were there was no way to “justify” in terms of other (perhaps humanitarian) grounds?

    Right, so, why does everything have to be extremes? Talk about a straw-man argument. The whole first part of your argument is a straw-man argument. My point was the distinction between primary and secondary goals. Let me be clearer, if you fight a war that extends your borders, it supports short-term national interests (though not long term in todays world). If that was only to gain access to a deposit which a corporation can use to achieve profit, that was PRIMARILY for corporate interests. If it also allowed strategic access to a possible sealane you lacked before, it could be either corporate or national and national trumps corporate on that scale. The documents you referred to, a handful of documents which I have read before, supposedly comprise the entirety of a government plan to invade Kuwait?

    As a skeptic, I have to ask: Do they (the Commerce Department documents) define the reasons or are they possibly an annex of the plan that deals with the commercial elements of how to stabilize the world oil markets after the invasion, hence why those documents would be at the Commerce Department, rather than, say, the DoD. What other explanations are there?

    WE DON’T KNOW, so I can’t, as a skeptic, jump to the conclusion that it was a war to support corporate interests. I can suspect all day long, and keep investigating, but not conclude. I personally don’t suspect, but that’s my bias. Maybe I should. What I don’t do, as a skeptic, is make the statement without convincing proof. You do suspect, so investigate further. Maybe you’ll get evidence that REALLY proves it, rather than proves that corporations were thought of in the plan.

    Finally, your question was unclearly written, but I assumed that you meant to ask me to come up with any hypothetical where corporate interests were the only interest and no national interests were to be served, and obviously I can not because national pride is itself a national interest. That isn’t the crux of my argument, however.

    So you ask for evidence that you could have easily looked up yourself, but apparently didn’t.

    That is an interesting assumption. You are assuming that I didn’t look up the so-called evidence and must be simply uninformed if I disagree about the interpretation of the evidence. Could it possibly be that you are seeing something that your biases call for in the evidence and I am seeing something else that my biases call for in the evidence. I frankly believe that the government probably made plans to invade Iraq TEN YEARS before it did. If it is a smart government than it would have. Personally, I don’t believe in foreign adventurism and I support the current conflicts only as far as necessary to get our troops out of those theaters. I am not a neo-con. I believe that the government is too highly tied into corporations and that corporations are too effective at manipulating the government. I believe that monopolies only work the way anti-trust folks claim when they have government support. I believe that enough people have been killed or hurt in the name of corporations that they must be controlled and, if possible, shrunk. I believe that the same applies to government. I don’t think it is possible to shrink either in our current system.

    Yes, because the USA is highly dependent on it and it continues to be so largely due to the same oil companies attempts to manipulate the government, and public opinion about AGW. Once again, greater energy independence would avoid (or at least reduce) that complication in the future.

    Unfortunately, greater energy independence is something we may have in the future. It was not something we had at that time, or even now. In addition to public perception manipulation (by a conspiracy of oil companies) we are also dependent on oil right now because there is no energy solution that is denser than oil, both per gram and per dollar, in feeding our hungry system. Solar power isn’t there yet. Wind power isn’t there yet. Hydroelectric power is already being used, and causing environmental damage in the process in lots of places. Battery technology isn’t there yet to get cars moving enough.

    Second, the foreign suitors document is interesting, since that doesn’t even provide a benefit for the U.S. people.

    I thought you had already admitted that oil is a strategic resource. Why then wouldn’t cheaper oil be to the USA’s corporate short-term benefit?

    Dude, I was agreeing that it would be bad, read in context with the next sentence. And I already said above that it would be, so the question serves no purpose. It also happens to serve the interests of every single American.

    By “pie in the sky documents” I think you mean plans for after the invasion that were submitted to the Commerce Department, and were turned over due to a court order.

    “Pie in the sky” is a term used to mean a plan for the future, usually impractical, but also just unlikely. As these were supposedly prepared in 2001, they were at that time “pie in the sky” thinking. They are proof that the government plans for things it wants to accomplish, however despicable. They do not prove that the government engaged in behavior that was primarily to support the interests of corporations. Having the taint of corporate involvement is not what I disagreed with. I disagree that the government has carried out wars IN ORDER TO support corporate interests. They had to have an overriding national interest as well. That is a very key distinction. The British government carried out wars to support corporate interests of the East India Trade Company many times. I don’t doubt that governments do so. I doubt that the U.S. government has done so.

    If so then that speaks to a possible bias on your part. There is nothing whatsoever in the stolen “Climategate” emails that would be considered damning when taken in context and with a modicum of understanding of science.

    My point was and is that your bias is making a handful of documents (unclassified documents at that) into a smoking gun, not that I believe the Climategate scandal proved anything beyond the fact that people hate it when others disagree with them, especially when they think they are right. If they happen to actually be right, so what. Everyone THINKS they are right until they realize they were wrong and then they still think they are RIGHT at the current moment.

    In the Climategate example I was providing the same thing, in my mind. It is a handful of documents taken out of thousands, which suggest that they are ‘hiding the decline’ in global temperatures and ‘using that trick’ to keep people in the dark, and that they are manipulating publications to drive out voices of dissent. I also happen to think that AGW is very real, I’m just saying that I can find so-called ‘smoking guns’ in there. You should look, instead, for a preponderance of evidence.

    So now not even evidence is enough for you now? See what I mean about trying to define things so that there can never be good enough evidence.

    Um… so the existence of Project Blue Book is proof that there was an alien conspiracy? I can prove PBB, but I can pretty effectively argue why aren’t being visited by aliens. You call it redefining all you want. I call it expecting a standard of proof. I can go to the police and say that my neighbor is selling drugs out of his house. That is not enough for the police to arrest him. It isn’t even always enough for the police to get a search warrant, nor should it be.

    And the link I already provided showed that most of those claims were contradicted by other far more credible evidence that was systematically ignored by the administration.

    Did I ever deny that the Bush administration may have lied? I certainly suspect that they could have. It proves that Colin Powell, a man known for his integrity and honor, told Congress something that may have not been true. I can tell you that every investigation of the intelligence picture used at the time said that the great likelihood is that there were WMDs in the country, right or wrong. The administration had a lot of impact on that, but the evidence was there, just not the proof. See this whole thing about proof versus evidence? All of this still fails to prove that the reason for the supposed lie was corporate interests in Iraqi oil.

    So let’s see even if Hussein was still indenting to invade other countries (with what little was left of his military from the first war) what would be the USA’s main interest there again? Oh yeah…oil.

    Oh, and world economic stability, which of course is based on oil. So… is oil the goal or world economic stability… hmm….

    Oh that’s right…the bought politicians and a public mislead by decades of propaganda campaigns from the fossil fuel industry.

    Yes. No argument here. Well, except to say that this is a simplistic view of the situation, but the only thing wrong with that is that simplistic views suggest that there may be simple answers, which I don’t really believe in this case.

    Also don’t forget that various states across the USA have different levels of fossil fuel based energy production, California for example gets less of its power from fossil fuels than most other states (IIRC). Either way it still would just be adding the cost of CO2 emissions, that had previously been externalized to the point of being ignored, back into such economic calculations.

    Okay, I agree that we’ve been ignoring the costs of CO2 emissions, just as we have been ignoring the costs of other environmental damage. I still think that the cap and fade scenario you linked would end up being corrupted by politician’s earmarks to subsidize their reelections (in a very roundabout way). That said, because the damages of oil have been so easily ignored and externalized, as you pointed out, it falls upon the government to act. This is one of those cases that are clearly in the common good, which I haven’t argued against.

    The impact may be very significant, I don’t know. However, I don’t think we will be able to achieve the political will to act by subsidizing or taxing anything indefinitely. The difference in cost/kwh of energy is significant between the energy alternatives, but falling all the time. Eventually, the cost of alternative energy will fall to the point that only the coal miner states will vote to continue to subsidize fossil fuels. We can accelerate this process only by randomly discovering new techniques or commercially developing already discovered techniques. We can’t discover new techniques without investment in research, of course, but subsidizing something that is by nature more expensive is not a process that can continue forever without burdening the economy. That, of course, includes oil.

    Finally, to bash on my state for a moment, the only state that gets less total power from fossil fuels is Texas. That said, there are only 11 states that get less percentage of power from fossil fuels. It gets complicated because CA is a net importer of power, but mostly from the Hoover Dam, a hydroelectric solution. Still, 38 states are behind CA on alternative energy. Of course, I predict that as more jobs leave CA for economically greener pastures, they will have less energy demand and that will drive the whole local energy issues completely out of whack, but that’s just a prediction.

  201. Zetetic

    Terry @ #209:

    Again, I’m talking the primary motivating factor.

    Yes I’m well aware of that. The problem is that you’ve gone from “for corporate interests” (BJN’s original position), to ” for primarily corporate interests”, to “primarily motivating factor”, and you’ve now defined the situation in such a way that it can never be demonstrated in a way that fits the definition that you have established.

    If a person kills another person and stands to gain a fortune from it, that looks cut and dry. The motivation could be said to be financial. However, when you find out that the ‘victim’ was pointing a gun at the killer’s friends, is the motivation financial or is it in defense?

    Poor analogy again.
    A more comparable analogy (assuming Operation Desert Storm, since you didn’t specify but it’s closer to your analogy) would be if the victim had in the past argued and made general threats to the one of the shooter’s friends which were never acted upon, and had attacked a different friend in the recent past. It also turns out that both the prior victim and the shooter’s other friend both have long standing business deals with the shooter, and frequently cut the shooter deals that helped the shooter’s business. Then forensics determined that during the shooting the shooter planted another gun on the victim, to claim that he was about to shoot his second friend that earlier had only been verbally threatened.
    Would you really want to be the defense attorney in such a case?

    In a court of law, the prosecutor would have to prove otherwise.

    We’re not in a court of law, even so see the above analogy. I noticed that you haven’t yet been able to provide a realistic hypothetical scenario that would meant your own criteria for concluding that a war was done primarily for corporate interest.

    The key point I am making here is that there is a burden of proof that must be reached.

    Yes, and just like a defense attorney that knows he/she has a guilty client you’re trying to get as much of the evidence thrown out as possible on minor technicalities by insisting on an unreasonable level of evidence. Such as expecting a corporation to be so large and important to the USA’s interests that it can influence policy, but at the same time not be so large that it has any national or economic impact.

    By contrast, if you factor in military suppliers, every conflict, no matter the national interests can be called corporate interests, which I don’t believe you intend to mean.

    You are correct that I don’t mean that, but there is a big difference between military suppliers that are paid to provide equipment to the military benefiting from conflict and companies profiting from cheaper resources from another country when the rest of the country would most likely be fine if no action was taken.

    The other suggests that we are fighting wars primarily make corporations rich.

    Go back and read what BJN originally stated in post #75. There was nothing in there about the all of the wars being primarily for corporate interest, just that some wars were. You are the one that made it “primarily IN ORDER TO”, not BJN. Just as you started to lecture me on anti-trust when I never even got close to that issue. My response to your post was your request to “Show me one U.S. war to promote corporate interests. Show me one.”, and that is what I did. Now were keep moving away from the original question since you’re trying to shift the focus away from what was originally said and towards a position that would be easier for you to defend.

    In the Climategate example I was providing the same thing, in my mind.

    It would be if the two situations were remotely comparable.

    You should look, instead, for a preponderance of evidence.

    Which you have been provided with but just summarily dismiss. Like I said before, by your criteria…even if we have a recording of the heads of oil companies telling Bush to invade Iraq for cheap oil, it still wouldn’t be good enough for you since it could still be claimed that maybe Bush did it for other motives. That’s unreasonable.

    Um… so the existence of Project Blue Book is proof that there was an alien conspiracy?

    No project Blue Book was to find the cause of UFO sighting, but they failed to find proof of extraterrestrials. What Blue Book does prove though is that enough people in the US government were concerned enough about UFO reports to have it looked into, it does nothing to prove a conspiracy. Another bad analogy.

    I can go to the police and say that my neighbor is selling drugs out of his house. That is not enough for the police to arrest him. It isn’t even always enough for the police to get a search warrant, nor should it be.

    False equivalency. There is verifiable evidence of the government lying, suppressing contrary information, and planing what to do with the country’s resources long before the actual invasion.

    It would be like you going to the police with video footage of your neighbors trading what looks like bags of powdered cocaine in exchange for cash, and the police telling you “Well how do you know it’s not just baking soda?” Sure it could be baking soda, but how plausible is that?

    Did I ever deny that the Bush administration may have lied?

    No you didn’t, but I think you misread what I was saying there since I didn’t imply that. You did though try to rationalize the US military declaring that a satellite photo of empty desert was an impending invasion as a possible case of “confirmation bias”, which is a rather implausible justification.

    Oh, and world economic stability, which of course is based on oil. So… is oil the goal or world economic stability… hmm….

    As I’ve already pointed out repeatedly, it is precisely because the governments of the world (including the USA) have been subsidizing fossil fuels, both directly and indirectly, that oil is so import for the current economies. Therefore it becomes impossible to separate the two, regardless you can see who benefits the most. Slightly higher oil long term prices would hurt the economy, but they would hurt the oil companies more as the use changes in response to the prices (even a relatively inelastic demand had some elasticity). Even you have admitted to that (changing demand) earlier.

    Perhaps a hypothetical might help (but at his point I’m beginning to doubt it)…
    Let’s say (hypothetically) that most of the worlds computers a cheaper than they are today and are in far more products, but they break down all of the time (much more so that today). so they need to be more frequently replaced. Let’s also assume that these same computers are dependent on minerals from a relatively few countries and so the price of the minerals impacts the price of the computers, which in turn effects the rest of the economy. Now let’s say that one of the exporters of the needed minerals takes over one of the other exporters. Now this will possibly have an impact on the price of the minerals and therefore on the computers, and therefore on the rest of the economy.
    Now the US government knows that while there will possibly be an impact on prices, that it won’t be the end of the world, and that there are alternative manufacturing techniques to rid the computer industry from needing such minerals, but progress there will take time and money and the current manufactures are heavily tied to the current processes. So does the US invest in the alternative manufacturing technologies to promote a more stable economy and not be so tied to foreign powers? No, instead it invades the other country to insure that the current manufactures get a steady supply of the mineral that they need and then continues to largely ignore the alternatives that threaten the market share of the current manufacturers.

    Now by your definition this would not be a matter of fighting for corporate interests because others besides the computer manufactures benefited, and as long as others benefited in some way (which will always be the case for every war) we can’t say that it was for corporate interest.

    What I and the others are saying (especially since this is not in fact a court of law) is that if the major corporations (that maintian large numbers of paid politicians) greatly benefit, and that the benefit to the country as a whole is a relatively minor (not to mention harmful in the long run) maintaining of the approximate status quo, and there is evidence to the effect that a large part of the government’s concern was to ensure the low price of said resources. Then it’s reasonable to conclude that corporate interests were at the very least a significant factor (probably even the primary factor), especially when any other benefits to the country as a whole were minor or questionable. Especially when the country could have easily survived without having gone to war in the first place over the resources. But the corporations in question would have had a much harder time surviving themselves as alternatives are sought out and used.

    Frankly, it’s getting tiresome and pointless to argue the point further since you want us to provide an unreasonable quality of evidence for a type of conflict that you have defined in an unrealistic manner as opposed to what was originally argued.

    —————————————————————————————————————-

    Well, except to say that this is a simplistic view of the situation, but the only thing wrong with that is that simplistic views suggest that there may be simple answers, which I don’t really believe in this case

    On the contrary the description was intentionally simplistic, since more detail wasn’t necessary for my point, nor did I assume a “simple answer” hence the other articles I linked to earlier. Obviously moving the USA off of oil will take time, money, and social adjustments. But, it will be cheaper to start making such adjustments now rather than fighting another war(s) over declining supplies, not to mention the hidden cost of environmental impacts.

    That said, because the damages of oil have been so easily ignored and externalized, as you pointed out, it falls upon the government to act. This is one of those cases that are clearly in the common good, which I haven’t argued against.

    Glad to see that we are in agreement there. :D

    As to possible abuse…Yes that concerns me too, that is why I think that any funds from such a program need to be earmarked exclusively for efficiency and non-fossil fuel base energy projects, to avoid it being “diverted” to other projects. Of course that is the same risk with any government program, the potential for abuse, that’s one reason I like “Cap and Fade” better than “Cap and Trade”. The Fade program sounds like it should be simpler and less prone to abuse than Cap and Trade, not that would make it immune to abuse of course.

    Eventually, the cost of alternative energy will fall to the point that only the coal miner states will vote to continue to subsidize fossil fuels.

    I’m sure that it will eventually, the problem is that “the meter is running” here, with more environmental damage being done everyday that will also need to be paid for later. The fact of the matter is that even with current technology, we could move a large way towards energy independence for a fraction of the cost of the current wars, and in the bargain maybe prevent the next one too.

    We can accelerate this process only by randomly discovering new techniques or commercially developing already discovered techniques.

    It’s not entirely random, there are some well known paths to be explored. That is why I made my earlier comparison to R&D in World War II.

    We can’t discover new techniques without investment in research, of course, but subsidizing something that is by nature more expensive is not a process that can continue forever without burdening the economy

    True, but you also have to consider that one of the main obstacles faced by alternative energy tech is not just economy of scale and efficiency, but that it is competing against a fossil fuel industry that is already being heavily subsidized, both directly and indirectly, and has been for decades. The subsidizing of the fossil fuel industry tends to give them more of an edge in the market than they would otherwise have. IMO any subsidies to the fossil fuel industry should be ended immediately (I’m betting you would agree with that) and that alone would help to make alternative power more attractive in the market.

    Of course, I predict that as more jobs leave CA for economically greener pastures, they will have less energy demand and that will drive the whole local energy issues completely out of whack, but that’s just a prediction.

    Perhaps, but don’t forget that even with the economy CA is adding more and more non-fossil fuel based energy. There have been recent approvals for solar farms, and between California and Nevada 31 geothermal plants “broke ground” this year with more planed and funded for 2011. So to be honest I don’t see an exodus of jobs from California (which I think is somewhat overstated, IMO) as having as big of an impact on CA’s energy consumption as you seem to think.

  202. Terry

    Frankly, it’s getting tiresome and pointless to argue the point further since you want us to provide an unreasonable quality of evidence for a type of conflict that you have defined in an unrealistic manner as opposed to what was originally argued.

    If you want to justify your inability to provide the proof by saying that I have changed my standards of proof, fine. My point is and has been that you and anyone else can not show a war TO support corporate interests. You then argue that that is splitting hairs, which I don’t believe it is. BJN asked about wars TO support corporate interests. Look, I don’t go to the movies TO get popcorn. Someone might, but I don’t. I go to the movies TO watch a movie and while I’m there, I almost always get popcorn. I don’t go get a haircut TO chat with the haircutter; I go to preserve my inimitable style. I don’t teach TO get a good paycheck; I teach to help others learn to expand their thoughts. I don’t go TO church to get a bit of wine and bread; I go to church to take a nap.

    I am sorry that proving what you believe to be the truth is tiresome. I don’t find it tiresome to read your arguments nor to write counter-arguments. Your documents are not enough to prove what you are claiming they prove. They wouldn’t be enough by any method of ferreting out truth, be it in a court of law or by a peer review process. If you find it too tiresome to continue, there is no need to. As you say it is pointless if no one learns from it. If it does allow you or I to see our own blind spots (of which I’ve found and acknowledged a few during this whole blog discussion) then there is no value in it.

    Poor analogy again.

    Well, since the analogy was to show that there can be competing interests, it showed my point. If you think I’m needlessly splitting hairs, fine. Personally, I believe quite simply that there is a significant difference between a war TO do something and a war THAT does something. World War II was a war TO stop the conquest of Europe and the Pacific by Axis powers THAT established the United States as the leader of the free world in the face of the Soviet Union. The Civil War was a war TO reunite the nation THAT kick started the industrialization process within the United States. The Gulf War was a war TO reinforce U.S. dominance in the Middle East which looked like many other proxy wars against Russia that had been fought up to that time THAT gave the U.S. favorable bases within the ME for years to come and maybe, just maybe, influenced oil prices. The Iraq War was a war TO topple a destabilizing regime in the Middle East THAT maybe could open up Iraqi oil fields to the businesses, and keep those fields from being used as an economic weapon.

    The United States has acted repeatedly to achieve its primary national interests for a stable, worldwide, open market, at least since the late 1800s. Its foreign policy for more than 100 years has been guided by the belief that an interconnected, open market creates peace between nations. The biggest hiccup in that belief was the policy of Containment. We went to war for much more overriding national purposes than any corporate interests. That has been my point from the beginning.

    Those kinds of actions have become more and more imposing upon the world system as time has gone on, especially in the monopolar world that emerged following the fall of the Soviet regime, but though they have been influenced by corporate interests, the United States is still generally acting in national interests, however cynically it may be doing so.

    I noticed that you haven’t yet been able to provide a realistic hypothetical scenario that would meant your own criteria for concluding that a war was done primarily for corporate interest.

    I don’t understand your request here.

    My response to your post was your request to “Show me one U.S. war to promote corporate interests. Show me one.”, and that is what I did.

    No, you didn’t. You didn’t show a single U.S. war TO promote corporate interests. You want some foreign wars to promote corporate interests? I can certainly show you those, especially from the historical record, but you haven’t shown convincing evidence that corporate interests in any engagement we’ve fought have overridden the national ones.

    Which you have been provided with but just summarily dismiss.

    Nope. You have provided a few documents that fail to prove what you are claiming. See below about the crux of what I believe to be your argument. And I did not summarily dismiss them, you’ll notice. I considered them first and then found alternative arguments to explain them as evidence and when they failed to provide proof of what you were claiming I dismissed them.

    Look, I can prove direct corporate involvement in a number of simple issues of the government, but War is never a simple issue. It has a number of causes, long periods of diplomacy leading up to the decision and a final act of aggression that has more to do with the history of the conflict than any casus belli that people use to justify themselves. I don’t see any case where all of that is overruled by corporate interests in U.S. history. I can see it in European history, especially during the era of colonialism. I can see it in some banana republic wars. I can see U.S. corporations making the equivalent of wars over resources in some places in South America, but I don’t see any one war in U.S. history in which the corporate interests were greater than the geopolitical factors and national interests involved.

    Like I said before, by your criteria…even if we have a recording of the heads of oil companies telling Bush to invade Iraq for cheap oil, it still wouldn’t be good enough for you since it could still be claimed that maybe Bush did it for other motives. That’s unreasonable.

    No, I think that would be beyond a reasonable doubt. Do you have a recording of that?

    No project Blue Book was to find the cause of UFO sighting, but they failed to find proof of extraterrestrials. What Blue Book does prove though is that enough people in the US government were concerned enough about UFO reports to have it looked into, it does nothing to prove a conspiracy. Another bad analogy.

    It is only a bad analogy if you go by your history of the project. Why did scientists involved with the project call it the “Society for the Explanation of the Uninvestigated”?. I don’t believe that little green men were visiting earth, but PBB didn’t try to investigate most UFOs, they just looked for a quick explanation, truthful or not. Taken in isolation of EVERYTHING else, That gives the appearance of a conspiracy to cover up ETs.

    It would be like you going to the police with video footage of your neighbors trading what looks like bags of powdered cocaine in exchange for cash, and the police telling you “Well how do you know it’s not just baking soda?” Sure it could be baking soda, but how plausible is that?

    Your video analogy is also a bad analogy because you don’t have anything like that cut and dried of evidence. You have a handful of documents out of thousands that must have been put together in response to any plan to topple Iraq. It is more equivalent to giving police a piece of paper with the names of several local street dealer hangouts that you found outside your neighbor’s house. It’s not enough to convict, but certainly enough to investigate further.

    You did though try to rationalize the US military declaring that a satellite photo of empty desert was an impending invasion as a possible case of “confirmation bias”, which is a rather implausible justification.

    In addition to saying a confirmation bias, you’ll remember that I also said someone was possibly lying. Have you looked at the photos and compared them to the original ones? Do you know that they are of the same exact area? Do you know they were at the exact same time? Do you know that the photos weren’t provided from Soviet stocks to discredit the USG in the first place? I don’t really doubt they were probably the right photos at the right time, but I don’t know for sure. I’ve looked at Heller’s photos (Heller is the reporter who broke the story for the St. Petersburg Times) now, but hadn’t at the time I wrote that. Though I certainly can’t see any military troops massing, I still say it could be a confirmation bias because I DON’T KNOW what they saw in their, completely different, photo. If I don’t know, I can’t jump to a conclusion. The USG hasn’t released the photos so there has been no direct analysis of the information they were seeing so how you know they were lying is beyond me. I didn’t jump on any bandwagon. That is my point.

    I’ve even stated where one of my biases is in this argument. It is up to every person to determine whether or not your documents prove beyond a reasonable doubt that corporate interests were a motivating factor. I try to get beyond my bias, by looking at evidence objectively. You think I’ve failed, fine. I think you also have objectivity issues in this argument because of your dislike the oil industry and its government ties. I also dislike the use of oil, but I don’t blame the companies for seeking a profit, I blame the individuals within the government for not rising above it.

    As I’ve already pointed out repeatedly, it is precisely because the governments of the world (including the USA) have been subsidizing fossil fuels, both directly and indirectly, that oil is so import for the current economies.

    And what does that have to do with my point? Just because it’s the fault of the entire world doesn’t make it less true. If that is the economic reality, that is the economic reality.

    Perhaps a hypothetical might help (but at his point I’m beginning to doubt it)…

    Using your words, that is a false equivalency. Computers themselves don’t drive our economy. Work drives the economy and the energy sector makes work much much easier meaning that it drives the economy. As for the rest, your hypothetical proves my point. Despite the government’s best interests in the ‘computer manufacture’ sector, it invades. Your “why?” is answered by: it is afraid of change and the computer companies lobby them not to change. My “why?” is answered by: it gives the government a presence in the region most central to the world’s economy at the moment, and the government is afraid of change, and the computer companies lobby them not to change.

    Now by your definition this would not be a matter of fighting for corporate interests because others besides the computer manufactures benefited, and as long as others benefited in some way (which will always be the case for every war) we can’t say that it was for corporate interest.

    Nice, straw-man there. Keep fighting against that definition all you want, because it wasn’t mine.

    What I and the others are saying (especially since this is not in fact a court of law) is that if the major corporations (that maintain large numbers of paid politicians) greatly benefit, and that the benefit to the country as a whole is a relatively minor (not to mention harmful in the long run) maintaining of the approximate status quo, and there is evidence to the effect that a large part of the government’s concern was to ensure the low price of said resources.

    I mentioned a court of law because it is an instrument designed, however faultily, to gain access to the truth. The truth is what we are arguing and my point is that your evidence fails to prove your version of the truth.

    Your test, as to whether the whole of the nation benefits is a good one, but your logic is faulty in this case because you arbitrarily asign values to the benifit of the status quo versus changing to oil. First, let me remind that we aren’t disputing whether it was in the nation’s best interest to go into Iraq or any other country. In the main, I don’t support foreign wars unless there is a clear need and in this case there wasn’t. We are disputing the primary cause to that war.

    Your argument in this example comes down to “If we went ahead and shifted to another resource instead of oil, we wouldn’t have to fight wars to stabilize the Middle East and its oil revenue, and so since I believe oil companies are primarily at fault for keeping the U.S. from switching away from oil dependence, we are fighting wars in their interests.” The crux of your argument can only be supported if one believes that we are avoiding transitioning from oil because of companies’ propaganda and lobbying rather than the fundamental lack of an equivalent and versatile replacement.

    Your argument also assumes that switching to alternative resources would be equivalent to what we use now. At current technologies, that isn’t the case. We can’t get off of gasoline for cars because nothing is as energy dense enough and stable enough to replace gasoline there. If we can improve car batteries to the point that they can charge in five minutes and run for 300 miles, then I’ll think about switching from gasoline.

    Your argument also forgets ALL of the history behind the situation. Our nation has long acted as the shepherd of the world and the main enforcer of U.N. edict and its national policy directives focused on stabilizing the world system. I don’t agree that is as it should be, but that is as it WAS. That national policy believed it was in the nation’s interest AS A WHOLE to take out rogue actors on the world theater, at least when they could have a strategic impact on our interests. In the case of Iraq in 2003, the world did not agree with President Bush’s interpretation of that mandate, especially with the concept of preemptive war, but the concept that corporate interests in Iraq’s oil were the motivating factor misses the point entirely and minimizes the other concerns in the world system that had plagued the U.S. government for decades.

    Even speaking of oil as though it only benefits a small segment of the United States is disingenuous. The pumping of the oil and the refinement into fuel and petroleum products may only benefit a small segment of the population, but the energy derived from those products, and the manufacture that couldn’t happen without petroleum byproducts, benefits everyone who uses energy on Earth, whether they like it or not.

    True, but you also have to consider that one of the main obstacles faced by alternative energy tech is not just economy of scale and efficiency, but that it is competing against a fossil fuel industry that is already being heavily subsidized, both directly and indirectly, and has been for decades.

    I don’t dispute this. I certainly agree with your second point about ending oil subsidies too. I also would point out that even with the oil subsidies gone, oil would still have an edge over current alternatives, especially in terms of portability of power. Only way to get passed that is research and free competetion of ideas, which needs everything we’ve already discussed.

    So to be honest I don’t see an exodus of jobs from California (which I think is somewhat overstated, IMO) as having as big of an impact on CA’s energy consumption as you seem to think.

    I don’t know if it is overstated or not. My feeling is that the continued intrusiveness of the government, the high tax rate, and the inconsistent track record of the state government would make me loath to open a business there (especially a new fast food place in San Francisco). On the other hand, Texas seems very good right now.

  203. Zetetic

    Terry @ #211:

    If you want to justify your inability to provide the proof by saying that I have changed my standards of proof, fine.

    Well lets see…first you ask for a war to support corporate interests, when given one you then want evidence, then you come up with a ridiculous hypothetical where the USSR rides in to save the day and oil never changes “one iota”, then you decide that if there is any other possible motive then it can’t be considered for corporate interests, then you decide that now we have to abide by the standards of a judge in a court trial rather than a reasonable inference on a blog thread.

    Yeah Terry…you haven’t changed a thing there.

    My point is and has been that you and anyone else can not show a war TO support corporate interests.

    As I already pointed out repeatedly, by your own standard even you apparently can’t come up with a reasonable hypothetical situation that would meet your definition of war were it could be conclusively proven to be for corporate interests.

    You then argue that that is splitting hairs, which I don’t believe it is. BJN asked about wars TO support corporate interests.

    No….. BJN didn’t ask about wars to support corporate interests…you did. BJN just made a comment about it, you are the one that wanted to make it a big deal and start playing ideological games about it.

    I am sorry that proving what you believe to be the truth is tiresome.

    No, I find it tiresome since you have consistently used bad analogies to argue a position while often arguing against positions that no one ever said. all while assuming that if there are any other interests that might be served then corporate ones can be ignored as a motive. Discussing the subject with you has become like having a discussion with a young Earth creationist that will not accept any scientific evidence since it depends on the “assumption” that the laws of physics have been relatively constant, or with an anti-vaxer that will not consider any thing less that a large scale vax vs. un-vax study as evidence that vaccines don’t cause autism.

    That is why I asked you, a few posts ago, for you to come up with a realistic hypothetical scenario that would meet your own criteria of a war for corporate interests. That is also why I brought up the point that by your own criteria that even if we had a recording of Bush being told by oil company execs to invade Iraq, that it could still be rationalized as being for other reasons by your own arguments. It was a test of how willing you were to continue this discussion in an intellectually honest manner and to evaluate your own position.

    If it does allow you or I to see our own blind spots (of which I’ve found and acknowledged a few during this whole blog discussion) then there is no value in it.

    Yet apparently a few still remain for you since you seem to have a problem with a reasonable inference due to evidence, and instead seem to expect us to determine intent through telepathy.

    Well, since the analogy was to show that there can be competing interests, it showed my point.

    That’s not the problem, the problem is that there is such a thing as making a reasonable inference due to the evidence and that if you just ignore much of the evidence it makes it easy to avoid coming to a probable determination as to motive.

    The Iraq War was a war TO topple a destabilizing regime in the Middle East THAT maybe could open up Iraqi oil fields to the businesses, and keep those fields from being used as an economic weapon.

    [sigh] Which is just another way of saying that the USA toppled a regime that was of little to no threat, in order to protect the oil market. The next question is who benefited the most from that action since by your own earlier admission an increase in oil prices would in the long run reduce oil demand?

    The biggest hiccup in that belief was the policy of Containment. We went to war for much more overriding national purposes than any corporate interests.

    Yet strangely nobody in the entire thread said that the USA didn’t sometimes go to war for reasons other than primarily economic ones. Again you are arguing points that no one ever made. I already pointed that out to you in my last post, but I noticed that you still haven’t been able to show were anyone in the thread made a claim that the USA has only engaged in wars for corporate interests.

    though they have been influenced by corporate interests, the United States is still generally acting in national interests, however cynically it may be doing so.

    Yet somehow it just happens to be the corporations, and not the nation, that benefits the most from Desert Storm….funny that.

    I don’t understand your request here.

    It’s very simple…..assume a reasonable hypothetical scenario were the USA fights a war for corporate interests. What might it look like, and how would you prove that when by your own criteria if there are other possible national motives, or benefits to others, then any corporate benefit gets dismissed as secondary (or tertiary) to national interests or humanitarian goals?

    If you can’t answer such a simple scenario then there really is no point in discussing that subject further since by your personal standards there is no way to ever make such a case of a war for corporate interests. It’s like asking a creationist “What would it reasonably take to convince you that the Earth is billions of years old and evolution is true?” They won’t answer the question since by their own logic they can’t.

    Look, I can prove direct corporate involvement in a number of simple issues of the government, but War is never a simple issue.

    Yet you seem to want us to provide a simple example were the politicians all just admit “Sure! We did it for Exxon!” and where no politician ever claims alternative motives for a war.

    No, I think that would be beyond a reasonable doubt. Do you have a recording of that?

    Like I said the first time, that was a hypothetical example. The problem is that someone like you could then just say….”Well sure Bush was told to invade, but he really did it for the national interests and humanitarian reasons. After all he’s the President of the USA, he doesn’t have to obey them!”

    See the problem with that line of reasoning?

    I don’t believe that little green men were visiting earth, but PBB didn’t try to investigate most UFOs, they just looked for a quick explanation, truthful or not. Taken in isolation of EVERYTHING else, That gives the appearance of a conspiracy to cover up ETs

    And yet somehow there are mountains of declassified government documents showing that many of the government wanted it investigated, and that many feared if was top secret Russian aircraft.

    Now who’s making conclusions without evidence?

    Your video analogy is also a bad analogy because you don’t have anything like that cut and dried of evidence.

    It’s to show the difference between proving something in court and making a reasonable supposition based on the evidence. Would that alone (a video from a civilian) be enough to convict someone? Not in most courts AFAIN, but that doesn’t make it unreasonable to conclude that something illegal is occurring.

    You have a handful of documents out of thousands that must have been put together in response to any plan to topple Iraq

    And motive, and examples were the administrations were caught lying to make an excuse, and the primary beneficiaries to the wars, and the systematic suppression of contrary info in the decision making/justification process, and that in both cases the the national interest to the USA was minimal to the point of being almost non-existent, but for the oil companies (which both Bush’es were closely tied to) huge. I will admit though that in the case of Iraqi Freedom that the second Bush also claimed to have had a personal motive (that Hussein may have attempted assassinating the first Bush (then a former president), but obviously never did), but that wasn’t in the nation’s best interest either.

    In addition to saying a confirmation bias, you’ll remember that I also said someone was possibly lying.

    First of all I was responding to your implying that I was somehow accusing you of not saying the Bush administration may have lied, when I never said anything to that effect . Secondly, I had already pointed out several posts before as well as why that was unlikely. See, this is why the subject gets tiring, you keep arguing against positions that nobody is making and we keep going over the same points again and again.

    Do you know that the photos weren’t provided from Soviet stocks to discredit the USG in the first place?

    You mean the same USSR that was trying to get on the USA’s good side, for aid, as it was falling apart?

    Though I certainly can’t see any military troops massing, I still say it could be a confirmation bias because I DON’T KNOW what they saw in their, completely different, photo

    And yet where is this important military photo from the early 90′s?
    Why is it that the only people to “see” the alleged 265,000 Iraqi soldiers and 1,500 tanks were massing on the border to invade Saudi Arabia are those that were trying to persuade the public that Desert Storm was necessary to protect the supply of oil, by protecting Saudi Arabia?
    Why was there no other evidence to support the claim of such a large buildup?
    No casus belli? Invent one!
    As for the photos in question….
    Satellite Images Showing Iraqi Forces

    And what does that have to do with my point? Just because it’s the fault of the entire world doesn’t make it less true. If that is the economic reality, that is the economic reality.

    Your point was that the rest of the world had no similar interest, I clearly demonstrated that they did and I was pointing out that it was a “viscous circle”. Also, because it not only speaks to motive, but also speaks to a past history of fossil fuel subsidization on multiple levels to the detriment of other energy policies.

    Computers themselves don’t drive our economy.

    [sigh] Which I made clear in the hypothetical that it’s wasn’t actually a real word example, but I was creating a fictional example where the economy of the world was far more dependent on computers that it actually is.

    As for the rest, your hypothetical proves my point. Despite the government’s best interests in the ‘computer manufacture’ sector, it invades.

    [sigh again] No…in the hypothetical they invaded specifically because it benefited the computer industry through lower resource costs, but as a result the current hypothetical computer industry benefited disproportionally more than the country as a whole (just as other competing alternatives were harmed by the market distortion). Just like with the oil industry.

    Nice, straw-man there. Keep fighting against that definition all you want, because it wasn’t mine.

    Yes it is, and it’s ironic for you to be complaining about straw-men. It became yours when you started arguing that even if companies benefited from the war, that as long as the nation could be said to benefit that we can’t claim that it for the good of the corporations.

    Perhaps you forgot your own words… “If national interests are served, however cynically or corruptly, then I see that as trumping corporate interests. “. Remember?

    I mentioned a court of law because it is an instrument designed, however faultily, to gain access to the truth.

    No, you mentioned a court of law since in that serves your position better than making a decision based upon a rational inference, since it holds to a higher standard (especially since it tends to have greater resources for trying to discern the truth, like subpoenaing witnesses).

    arbitrarily asign values to the benifit of the status quo versus changing to oil.

    You think that stopping AGW, reducing pollution, reducing funding and motivation for terrorism, and not having to be heavily tied to such a volatile region of the world are “arbitrary values”? Interesting.

    First, let me remind that we aren’t disputing whether it was in the nation’s best interest to go into Iraq or any other country. In the main, I don’t support foreign wars unless there is a clear need and in this case there wasn’t.

    So…. It wasn’t in the nation’s best interest to go to war with Iraq, but it wasn’t for corporate interests because it was in the nation’s best interest to go to war with Iraq?
    Right….got it.

    The crux of your argument can only be supported if one believes that we are avoiding transitioning from oil because of companies’ propaganda and lobbying rather than the fundamental lack of an equivalent and versatile replacement.

    Not quite….we have a situation were the fossil fuel industry has been heavily subsidized (not to mention the hidden costs) in many ways for at decades and has been running FUD campaigns about alternatives for a long time. In such a situation the market has been heavily distorted for decades, and the current situation probably doesn’t represent what the market would normally be without such interference. This also creates a greater need for oil (and less market flexibility) than would otherwise likely be the case.

    Your argument also assumes that switching to alternative resources would be equivalent to what we use now.

    Not necessary “equivalent”, just more economically viable, there are other ways the market can adapt.

    At current technologies, that isn’t the case.

    Yes… at current technologies based on a market that has been distorted for decades.

    The pumping of the oil and the refinement into fuel and petroleum products may only benefit a small segment of the population, but the energy derived from those products, and the manufacture that couldn’t happen without petroleum byproducts, benefits everyone who uses energy on Earth, whether they like it or not.

    What I said is that it disproportionally benefits the oil industry. Remember the same changes to the market use and demand if the price of oil increased?

    Only way to get passed that is research and free competetion of ideas, which needs everything we’ve already discussed.

    No disagreement there, my point is that now are stuck playing “catch up” with where we should have already been at, and as a society the USA has had to pay in both lives, money, and opportunity for at least two sizable wars.

    On the other hand, Texas seems very good right now.

    As long as you’re willing to send your kids out of state for their education should the need arise. ;)

  204. Terry

    Well lets see…first you ask for a war to support corporate interests, when given one you then want evidence, then you come up with a ridiculous hypothetical where the USSR rides in to save the day and oil never changes “one iota”, then you decide that if there is any other possible motive then it can’t be considered for corporate interests, then you decide that now we have to abide by the standards of a judge in a court trial rather than a reasonable inference on a blog thread.

    I think you may be correct that this argument is getting nowhere. We’ve both turned to attacking each other’s styles rather than the evidence. The standard that I’m trying to clarify is not one where any national interest trumps corporate ones, though my original argument could read that way. I’m not a professional political author, so sue me. I’m trying to clarify that any corporate interest would have to be more significant than the national one that is believed to be served in order to be a war to “support corporate interests.”

    Let me ask you something about evolving arguments (which I don’t believe I’ve had, though it’s still possible I may have a blind spot there)… if a scientific argument can not continue to defeat evolving arguments against it, does it remain a valid argument? I realize that is another analogy, which you are going to say is a bad one, but in my view, the scientific process is just another method for finding the truth.

    Let me point out that my standard is the basis under which I will operate. If your standard is lower, than that’s fine for you. I think the reason that we continue to argue these fine points is that you want your evidence to stand up to criticism. If I’m intellectually dishonest with myself, there is nothing you can do to make me be intellectually honest. I don’t think that you are intellectually dishonest with yourself, I think you have a bias that is based on the belief that oil is a dangerous and corrupt industry, something that I agree with. Be that as it may, the world’s economy is based upon energy and the Gulf War and Iraq War were both conducted for a myriad of interests, including maneuvering that economy via the oil industry. Even if that was the primary interest, it was not a corporate interest.

    instead seem to expect us to determine intent through telepathy.

    Damn the harshness of internet debates. People assume they are writing all that they are thinking and turn up with something that may not even be good grammar, let alone conveying their point.

    That’s not the problem, the problem is that there is such a thing as making a reasonable inference due to the evidence and that if you just ignore much of the evidence it makes it easy to avoid coming to a probable determination as to motive.

    Nothing is wrong with making a reasonable inference, as long as you also consider all other alternative explanations, which you don’t seem to want to do in this case. Don’t get me wrong, I have the same fault, but my standard is that if the information is damning, I better have a pretty tight set of reasoning to show that competing interests aren’t more significant.

    Which is just another way of saying that the USA toppled a regime that was of little to no threat, in order to protect the oil market. The next question is who benefited the most from that action since by your own earlier admission an increase in oil prices would in the long run reduce oil demand?

    I’m not arguing that it is in the U.S.’s best interests to continue playing big brother to every other nation. However, that is the role that our current policies have set us into and so by the standards of interventionists, getting rid of Saddam, AT THAT TIME, appeared to be an effective policy for strategic reasons. In hindsight, there are plenty of reasons to question its effectiveness and, if you can prove decision makers were primarily motivated by the desire to cultivate Iraq’s oil fields, its purpose.

    Yet strangely nobody in the entire thread said that the USA didn’t sometimes go to war for reasons other than primarily economic ones. Again you are arguing points that no one ever made. I already pointed that out to you in my last post, but I noticed that you still haven’t been able to show were anyone in the thread made a claim that the USA has only engaged in wars for corporate interests.

    No, I was making a general statement about international political action. I’ve already clarified that I don’t believe you or anyone else is trying to make that argument. It’s interesting that you accuse me of arguing to points that no one has made when you are arguing to points I have specifically refuted.

    Yet somehow it just happens to be the corporations, and not the nation, that benefits the most from Desert Storm….funny that.

    No, it doesn’t. The corporations did not get military bases in Kuwait and Saudi out of the war. The corporations didn’t get another steadfast friend in the Middle East from the war. The corporations didn’t build yet another alliance to achieve their results during the war. Again, those are just hindsight considerations. In the considerations of the time, there was the destabilizing factor to the world economy. Are you arguing that a motive based on the capitalist model is corporate interests? You ARE still suggesting that oil is a primarily corporate interest, which only makes sense if the world had the means to immediately switch from oil dependency and it refused to do so. If the United States started a full court press to get off of oil forever, how long would it take to accomplish? The answer is that it would NEVER happen. Sure we could get the majority of our energy from other sources at a cost, but we’d always have processes that need oil, at least until the oil became prohibitively expensive and alternatives were found. Even then, two, maybe three centuries from now, I bet we’ll still be using oil.

    It’s very simple…..assume a reasonable hypothetical scenario were the USA fights a war for corporate interests. What might it look like, and how would you prove that when by your own criteria if there are other possible national motives, or benefits to others, then any corporate benefit gets dismissed as secondary (or tertiary) to national interests or humanitarian goals?

    I don’t see a benefit to this, but assume that Cuba was found to have a reserve deposit of copper. The % of the copper in the ore is below 0.6%, like much of what we are seeing in Chile today. We’ve been successful in embargoing Cuban goods for way too long (don’t get me started on the wrong or right of that) and Cuba couldn’t use that ore with its impurity to wage an economic war. However, Cuba is much closer than Chile and so refined ore coming out of Cuba would be a benefit to corporations that use copper, which are quite a few. If we were to invade Cuba after this long, it would serve a national interest in getting them off of our borders, but we’ve mitigated their rather insubstantial danger for a long, long time now. On the other hand, to invade now would certainly provide a long term benefit to copper-using companies.

    Or, in the oil side of things, say we conquer Venezuela to get at Chavez’s oil deposits, which he has marshaled to economically power his empire. He is not creating instability in the region, much as he’s talking against the U.S. He’s still trading actively and hasn’t tried to invade any neighboring countries. Were the U.S. to invade there, with no obvious national benefit to doing so and quite a large backlash, it would be a clear cut bid for the oil. Not sure it was corporate, but it would still be a straight bid for resources and a throwback to pre-1918 style wars (among the large nations).

    Both are plausible scenarios, though not likely because no national interests are served. The exercise does nothing, because it is playing what-if with the facts. It doesn’t argue to your side of the argument or mine because none of them have happened. Maybe it could be repurposed to serve my argument since we haven’t done the second despite the ample evidence of antipathy between the U.S. and Chavez. We don’t conduct wars to support corporate interests when they fail to also support national ones.

    Of course, your argument would be that my two scenarios are implausible, but the reason they are implausible IMO is that they fail to accomplish anything for the country that can be achieved by other means. Wars are expensive in terms of political capital at the level of nations and there has to be a significant return for a nation to conduct them. If a statesman corrupts that process, it is a significant condemnation of the entire international system of laws we’ve grown in the last century. If a person like Bush or Cheney can be actually blamed for unleashing all the forces of government on another nation for a little bit of pocket change, then it really is time to scale back governments to the point that they can not effectively be a threat to people again, until they grow out of hand again.

    It’s like asking a creationist “What would it reasonably take to convince you that the Earth is billions of years old and evolution is true?” They won’t answer the question since by their own logic they can’t.

    Since I am a patriot, that analogy works pretty well. I can, however, answer it in the case of the United States. I would need evidence that a war was PRIMARILY conducted to achieve a corporate interest vice an interest that serves the government itself.

    Yet you seem to want us to provide a simple example were the politicians all just admit “Sure! We did it for Exxon!” and where no politician ever claims alternative motives for a war.

    If you have simple evidence like that, I would accept it. I am not looking for it. I’ve been in the military. I know that any of our plans for action, even small ones, have to consider the civilian side of things, especially civilians on the battlefield and reconstruction efforts. The only evidence I’ve seen of active corporate involvement comes from the linked documents showing which foreign companies have an interest in Iraqi oil. What you have provided shows a taint, but it does not equal cause. I think that the jumping to a conclusion based on that sketchy of evidence shows just as much of a bias as much your belief that my refuting evidence shows a bias on my part.

    See the problem with that line of reasoning?

    Absolutely. It also isn’t my line of reasoning. Someone like me could say whatever someone like me wants to say. I haven’t said that. I’ve asked for evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. That would be beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Now who’s making conclusions without evidence?

    LOL. That was my original point.

    And motive, and examples were the administrations were caught lying to make an excuse, and the primary beneficiaries to the wars, and the systematic suppression of contrary info in the decision making/justification process, and that in both cases the the national interest to the USA was minimal to the point of being almost non-existent, but for the oil companies (which both Bush’es were closely tied to) huge.

    I see no proof of motive here. I do see plenty of examples of lying, but no motive. The primary beneficiaries of the wars are not at all clear. You have shown NO viable proof that “the national interest to the USA was minimal to the point of being almost non-existent”. I would agree that the achieved benefit in the Iraq War was minimal but there is no evidence that the administration KNEW it would be minimal. The achieved benefit in the Gulf War, for a small government guy like me, was also minimal but for interventionist politics, the achieved benefit was significant if in the long-run damaging.

    You mean the same USSR that was trying to get on the USA’s good side, for aid, as it was falling apart?

    Yes, the same USSR that was falling apart. The definition of falling apart in its case is having different parts of the government acting differently. I’m merely pointing out that this evidence could be taken many ways and should be confirmed through other means.

    And yet where is this important military photo from the early 90’s?

    I don’t know, and that is pretty damning. It is not proof.

    BTW, I’ve already seen the Keller photographs. Oh, and if you are getting much of your information from Wikimir, which makes such accusations as “The U.S. is funding Baitullah Mehsud” which they fail to back up with evidence, you should be careful. I hope you take anything there with a grain of salt or just pulled the photos based on a Google search.

    Your point was that the rest of the world had no similar interest, I clearly demonstrated that they did and I was pointing out that it was a “viscous circle”. Also, because it not only speaks to motive, but also speaks to a past history of fossil fuel subsidization on multiple levels to the detriment of other energy policies.

    My point was that the whole of the world believed it to be in their national interests to intervene, which certainly suggests that the corporate interests would have to be pretty rich and powerful (and rich) to encourage such a large portion of the world to get involved. Additionally, my point is that oil, being so central to our economy, is not a corporate interest in and of itself. That would be like saying gold is a corporate interest. Its not, since it is so valuable.

    Which I made clear in the hypothetical that it’s wasn’t actually a real word example, but I was creating a fictional example where the economy of the world was far more dependent on computers that it actually is.

    My point was that your hypothetical failed to do just that, but I went ahead and played along.

    Yes it is, and it’s ironic for you to be complaining about straw-men. It became yours when you started arguing that even if companies benefited from the war, that as long as the nation could be said to benefit that we can’t claim that it for the good of the corporations.

    Perhaps you forgot your own words… “If national interests are served, however cynically or corruptly, then I see that as trumping corporate interests. “. Remember?

    Yep. That was bad language. In the same post I wrote “I have pointed out in not so direct terms that I don’t see problems with wars being engaged THAT support corporate interests, but I don’t believe, in the main, we have ever fought a war specifically TO support corporate interests,”. By this logic, if the corporate interests are primary, then you are correct. If they are not primary, then you are wrong. The burden of proof, for me, is on the side of innocence.

    No, you mentioned a court of law since in that serves your position better than making a decision based upon a rational inference

    Making a decision based upon rational inference is the heart of quite a bit of faulty logic out there. A rational inference was made by a researcher to show a link between autism and vaccination. It was faulty as well.

    You think that stopping AGW, reducing pollution, reducing funding and motivation for terrorism, and not having to be heavily tied to such a volatile region of the world are “arbitrary values”? Interesting.

    I do when I they are applied against other costs without values attached. Arbitrary means without firm foundation.

    So…. It wasn’t in the nation’s best interest to go to war with Iraq, but it wasn’t for corporate interests because it was in the nation’s best interest to go to war with Iraq?
    Right….got it.

    I don’t think you do. The difference is between my opinion (that it was not in the government’s best interests to go to war in Iraq) and that of the nation (which believed it was in the nation’s best interests to go to war in Iraq). You have to measure based upon what was known at the time.

    Not quite….we have a situation were the fossil fuel industry has been heavily subsidized (not to mention the hidden costs) in many ways for at decades and has been running FUD campaigns about alternatives for a long time. In such a situation the market has been heavily distorted for decades, and the current situation probably doesn’t represent what the market would normally be without such interference. This also creates a greater need for oil (and less market flexibility) than would otherwise likely be the case.

    A greater need, yes, but at what value? Does any other material, aside from nuclear materials, contain as much energy per ounce as fossil fuels? Does any other material, adjusted for all market distortions and long-term costs, produce energy for cheaper than oil? The answer to the second may be yes, especially when you attach some of the more pessimistic projections to the long term costs, but the answer to the first is no. We wouldn’t want nuclear materials in all of our planes, trains, and automobiles, so that leaves us kinda stuck, unless you want to slow down the economy a significant degree (which may not be a bad idea, I don’t know and that has not been my argument in the slightest from the beginning).

    What I said is that it disproportionally benefits the oil industry. Remember the same changes to the market use and demand if the price of oil increased?

    That can only be true if your other suppositions that energy can be derived from other means as economically are true. If you do not drive a car to work, nor live in a city where the food is shipped in, nor work in a business that uses transportation or communications, then maybe cheap (blindly damaging) energy doesn’t benefit you but for the majority of Americans that isn’t the case. You can’t show me a vehicle that is as reliable, as safe, and as energy efficient as an internal combustion engine. You may have one or two, but not all three. Until you come up with that, we are simply stuck on oil for transportation. Alternative power may replace other energy sectors, but not transport.

    Yes… at current technologies based on a market that has been distorted for decades.

    No debate here, just pointing out that the economic realities are the economic realities. We can wish for a different set of circumstances, but we don’t get it unless we work for it. The national interest in a given action must be determined based upon realities, not based upon wishes. Problem is, we base it on wishes.

    As long as you’re willing to send your kids out of state for their education should the need arise.

    Nah, there are plenty of good private schools in Texas. And if we are comparing public education in Texas with California, California is consistently below national averages while Texas is continually at or above. If I have to fill in the gaps in my kid’s education (especially on Science), at least they will know how to do basic math when I do.

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