Thursday, May 11, 2017

"One From The Vault" Dept.

I found this in the archives of the draft folder when doing a search for something. Apparently it was a bit being worked on for a while and finished on August 5, 2008 but for some reason, I never posted it. Since so many of these same kinds of arguments could be tweaked and directed towards Donald Trump or any Republican in the White House, I have decided for fun to lightly tweak and publish the material at the present time since the principles outlined in the text below are just as valid now as they were then even if every little detail may not be. Without further ado...
Oh brother...
Environmetally unfriendly read Kyoto,

Kyoto would cost a ton of money and do nothing whatsoever to change things.

no sane person doubts global warming. 

More like no sane person buys into this garbage and that is why Gore and his ilk are being sued by a few parties including the founder of the Weather Channel who has accused Gore of being the lying fraud that he is. The earth was warmer in the 1940's than it is now, it was warmer during the Renaissance than it is now, it was warmer in the eleventh century than it is now: with the latter that is why Greenland was named "Greenland" because it was green not the icebox it has subsequently become. However, the earth is also warmer now than it was in the 1970's when they were claiming "global cooling" and predicting a coming ice age.

These things are and always have been cyclical and the overwhelming majority of the factors involved are outside of man's control. Meanwhile, the ones that are in our control it is debatable to what extent they even matter except in the most localized of incidents.

The problem with people today is they have no sense of perspective on these matters and will believe whatever fits their inclinations. Furthermore, you have historians and scientists today who let their politics or personal views cloud their professional judgment much as you do judges and other people in positions of authority. The idol of "creativity" in jobs where "creativity" is not part of the description and only leads to confusion as a result.

Katrina totally mishandled due to cronies appointed to positions that should been held by bureaucrats. 

As if bureaucrats are to be trusted with anything...I am not defending the appointment of cronies by any stretch but the idea that somehow bureaucrats are to be trusted as competent is a comment that can only be made by someone naive as to the inefficiencies of bureaucracies. Katrina happened in large part because of weaknesses in the state system of Louisiana going back decades -decades I might add of mismanagement by democratic governors and legislators. Furthermore, it is not the role of the federal government to be handing out money for disaster relief anyway: something else that many folks apparently are unaware of.

Osama - still on the loose, fumbled at Tora Tora.

Yes, Bush was on the ground over there personally overseeing everything...how could we not know this. Phuleeze ;-)

Iraq - billions wasted, 4000 dead, no weapons of mass destruction.

The level of casualties in Iraq is ridiculously low by historical standards and still people whine. I trust most people believe the Civil War was fought for just causes and General Grant in winning that war lost on average 1700 soldiers a DAY in the final year. Both sides combined lost 625,000. There were whole battles in WWII where we lost significantly more than 4000 - Okinawa and Iwo Jima come to mind, so does the Battle of the Bulge and D-Day. Other examples could be noted but this suffices to illustrate my point.

I do not say these things to deprecate those who lost their lives in Iraq but instead to point out the ridiculous lack of historical perspective people today have as well as their overall weakness.
As far as weapons of mass destruction, it is interesting how many people think that was the only reason for the war -the belief by all the major intelligence agencies in the world that Saddam had them notwithstanding.

At any point since 1991 we could have lawfully gone back into Iraq because Hussein never abided by the terms of the ceasefire. And however this was dealt with in that interim, it was becoming evident that something was going to be done about Saddam at some point: that is why President Clinton reoriented the approach towards Iraq to be one of "regime change" in the late 1990's. And after 9/11, it was decided that certain things could not be tolerated anymore and one of them was the situation in Iraq after 1991.

But the media as is their wont never presented the full picture on this matter, focusing only on the WMD subject. As far as whether or not there ever were any -and a variety of sources (including former Iraqi generals) telling us they were moved to Syria in 2002 notwithstanding- it nonetheless was not the sole justifying reason.

I remind you also that even the UN voted on resolution 1441 15-0 but when it came time to vote for the actual use of force (rather than merely another toothless scolding from the UN) there were three nations voting against (Russia, France, and Germany) all of which were found to be receiving kickbacks from Hussein. Or have you forgotten about Oil-For -Food and that whole racket?
If determining the justness or lack thereof depended on a unanimous vote of the UN Security Council (itself a dubious proposition) and the parties voting "nay" did so because they were in Hussein's back pocket, that makes appealing to that UN vote to justify the assertion of "unjust war" a most pathetic and embarrassing stance to be taking.

Tax laws favoring the wealthy

The wealthiest 5% pay roughly 75% of all income taxes. How does this "favour" them?

while borrowing to run a war our children will pay for.

The problem with borrowing money is a problem this is true but is it a problem in principle or simply because the money is being used for something you do not approve of? If you say the latter then you are without principle, if the former than at least there is hope.

Stopping alternative sources of energy with his oil cronies,

And who is going to develop these supposed "alternative sources of energy"? It is not the role of the federal government to do this and even if it was, the federal government's history of incompetence on these kinds of matters gives us a good read of how successful they would be with this one.
The problem with economically ignorant liberals is they are all in favour of taxing the "rich" who often own the sorts of large businesses with the capital to fund research into these matters. (Not to mention business owners in general most of which are small business owners: they are often lumped in with the "rich" also.) Then they complain when alternative sources either are not available or are too expensive for average people when they are.

These things do not just grow on trees but require research, planning, and the risk of capital in speculative enterprises. But continue to whine about "the rich not paying enough" and levying more and more taxes on them so that they do not invest their capital in development in these areas. That is what happens when you have so many economically ignorant people -and a good chunk of the latter tend to vote democratic.

laws disregarded,

Yet I will wager that you have no problem with the idiotic notion of an "evolving constitution" which (if I am correct about this presumption) makes your complaint here have no merit whatsoever.

civil liberties violated.

This is a broadbrush term that you do not bother to explain further; ergo it is worthless until you do.

Firing of DA's for political reasons.

Where you this mad when Clinton fired all 93 federal attorneys upon taking office or is it just with this president firing 8 of them that makes you so mad? Or was Clinton's firing of all the attorneys altrustic and not political in nature?

My stance on what both presidents did is that as chief executives they have complete authority over that department so they can do what they want on it -and I say this despite believing that Clinton's firing of all the attorneys at once was wrong from the standpoint of having no continuity in this area where historically there always had been. But despite that, he was president and had the right to do what he did. That right did not cease when W became president.

Failed immigration policies.

I do not disagree with you on this one but the problems go back prior to this administration.

Disregard for separation of powers.

More useless talking points. Specific examples would be helpful here.

Politicizing the Supreme Court,

Are you nuts? The ones politicizing the Supreme Court are and have been the democrats. The idea that they would ask any justice how they would vote on hypothetical issues and use that as up or down criteria is abominable. But with the democrats, that is why they sandbagged Bork, sought to sandbag Thomas, and the like. Show me where the republicans did this with Clinton's nominees and his nominees are among the worst in history if you care a whit about the actual Constitution and the interpretation thereof as opposed to inventing things out of whole cloth.

alienating all our allies and many other countries in the world.

You realize I presume that a universal negative like "all" can be disproved by one contrary example. And when many of those who are "alienated" were on the take from Hussein, I frankly do not give a damn if they are "alienated" though in the case of France and Germany I am willing in light of the presidencies of Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel to consider the possibility that they have changed courses and are no longer collaborationists.

His financial policies have had a hand leading us into a recession.

What exactly are you referring to here? First of all, there is no definite proof that we are in a recession yet -even if it is looking more and more that we may be. There are certain measurements that all must align for that determination and thus far, they are mixed. Secondly, what exactly has Bush done personally that affects the economy negatively? If you want to claim that he did not wield his veto pen to discipline the Republican congresses of the first six years of his presidency, then that is a viable criticism. (Though the current congress appears to be more money-hungry and wasteful still but at least Bush found his long-lost veto pen to use on them.)

Have I left anything out.

Most of what you list is a bunch of either ignorant gibberish or terms which require further examination to see if the criticisms are even viable ones.

Bush is a disaster.

Bush has not been a great president this is true. He also has been disappointing in a number of areas. Nonetheless, your attempts to "prove" he is a "disaster" are seriously wanting.

Only blindly ignorant conservatives could rally to Dubya.

Considering the degree of ignorance of reality in your comments, I would not be so quick to call other people blindly ignorant if I were you.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Briefly on the Problem With An Emeritus Pope Benedict Statement on "Torture":

[Disclaimer: This is something that was prepped in draft form back on September 9, 2009 but for reasons I cannot recall at the moment was never published. While I do not remember at the moment what the statement made was, the basic criticism made on this subject remains intact and extends to Pope Francis as well. For that reason, I am dusting off this prior blurb from the drafts folder, tweaking it slightly (including revising the title), and publishing it at this time. -SM]

This is a small bit posted in a combox thread a couple weeks some time ago. I will likely may follow it with a more detailed exposition on the problem so noted below at some point in the coming days or weeks.

We are in need of a definition here. Not a definition as in dogma but instead in the meaning of the term and how it is to be applied. I have gone over these matters before and at times at length{1} but that is the bottom line really: definitions are the tools of thought and it bothers me that this pope and his predecessor{2} on some subjects do not bother clarifying their use of words.

As far as whom I am with, I do not make the mistake of confusing the role of the church with that of the state. I am with whomever stands up for the three fundamental rights of man and one of those rights is life and thus survival. And I will not align myself with any pundit, politician, philosopher, pope, president, or anyone else whose positions by logical extension endanger my survival or that of my loved ones. And that is the bottom line really.

Notes:

{1} On Torture and General Norms of Interpretation--Parts I-III (circa October 13, 2006)

{2} Who were/are not lacking in the intelligence department.

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