After Ike: Can Charlottesville love both peace and war?

If I told you I would support women's rights as long as I didn't have to oppose rape, you’d think I needed lessons in both logic and basic human decency. If I said I would favor freedom as long as I didn't have to be against slavery, you might start backing away slowly.

Yet on September 1, in a statement that's anything but out of the ordinary, the Daily Progress reported Charlottesville School Board Member Ned Michie's objection to a resolution in support of events celebrating the International Day of Peace:

"I'm all in favor of peace and non-violence," Michie said, "but, for instance… to the extent that any of the events are really sort of anti-war events, I'm not necessarily comfortable with supporting that."

It's a funny thing about peace and war: you really do have to choose between them. They don't mix any better than freedom and slavery. You can't favor peace without opposing war. In fact, you can't support peace without opposing the machinery that makes wars likely. And that machinery is all over Charlottesville, where it provides many local residents with jobs.

Nonetheless, job creation is something else you can't support without opposing what President Dwight Eisenhower 50 years ago warned of as the "military-industrial complex."

How can that be? Let me explain.

Charlottesville is home to the National Ground Intelligence Center, now north of town but previously downtown in what became the SNL Financial building. The new location for NGIC also accommodates the National Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency and the DIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency. The University of Virginia has built a research park next door. There's a Judge Advocate General's Legal Center attached to UVA Law School as well. Then there's the Virginia National Guard, which does tend to guard nations, just not this one.

Local want ads offer jobs "researching biological and chemical weapons" at Battelle Memorial Institute (located in the UVA Research Park) and producing all kinds of weaponry for all kinds of governments at Northrop Grumman. Then there's Teksystems, Pragmatics, Wiser, and many others with fat Pentagon contracts.

Employers also recruit here for jobs in Northern Virginia with Concurrent Technologies Corporation, Ogsystems, the Defense Logistics Agency, BAE Systems, and many more. BAE, which often runs a green full-page ad in the Progress, paid a $400 million fine last year to the U.S. government to settle charges of having bribed Saudi Arabia to buy its weapons.

From 2000 to 2010, 161 military contractors in Charlottesville pulled in $919,914,918 through 2,737 contracts from the federal government. Over $8 million of that went to Mr. Jefferson's university, and three-quarters of that to the Darden Business School. And the trend is ever upward.

The 161 contractors are found in various industries other than higher education, including nautical system and instrument manufacturing; blind and shade manufacturing; printed circuit assembly; real estate appraisers; engineering services; recreational sports centers; research and development in biotechnology; new car dealers; internet publishing; petroleum merchant wholesalers; and a 2006 contract with Pig Daddy's BBQ.

Back in March, the New Yorker magazine noted that DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, "invited interested literary theorists, anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, political scientists, and related 'ists' to the Boar's Head Inn … to answer a question frequently posed to junior high-school students: 'What is a story?'"

DARPA is the same agency that has moved on from mechanical killer elephants and telepathic warfare to exploding frisbees, cyborg wasps, and Captain America no-meals and no-sleep soldiers. The DIA, also in on this side of "intelligence" work, used to train "psychic spies" (men who'd stare at goats if they could find one) at a place in Nelson County called the Monroe Institute.

Jobs, jobs, military jobs everywhere you look. And yet, every billion dollars our government spends on the military produces (directly and indirectly) fewer jobs, and lower-paying jobs than would the same billion dollars invested in a number of other industries or even in tax cuts for working people. Redirecting a fraction of our military spending to education, green energy, healthcare, and tax cuts would create a job for every unemployed or underemployed person in this country (29 million of them) as well as for those losing war industry jobs during this conversion. Such a shift would leave the military with more funding than it had 10 years ago.

Do we have a debt problem?  An unemployment problem?  Or just a war problem?

U.S. military spending across numerous departments has increased dramatically during the past decade and now makes up about half of federal discretionary spending. Yet the Defense Department has not been fully audited in 20 years, and as of 2001 it could not account for $2.3 trillion out of the $10 trillion or so it had been given during that time. The United States could reduce its military spending by at least 80 percent and still be the world's top military spender.

A move away from the military industrial complex would also reduce warfare. Our country is right now fighting drone wars that create enemies by killing innocents, in large part because the Central Intelligence Agency created a bureaucracy for drone wars and wants to use it. Experts from around the country and within the military will gather in Charlottesville from September 16 to 18 to chart a different course, one that supports peace even if it means opposing war. Any member of the public can sign up to attend at MIC50.org.
~
David Swanson is helping to organize the MIC50 conference in Charlottesville. His previous essay in the Hook was a 2008 look at the hazards of voting machines, and his latest book is "War Is A Lie."

50 comments

I think the school board member was put in a position he shouldn't have been. Why is the Charlottesville School Board voting in support of an "international" day of anything? Yes, it may well reflect the will of the community, but what does it have to do with educating children?

Clearly he was trying to make a fine point. He doesn't want to be on record as voting against the wars the United States is currently engaged in. However you feel about the wars, clearly such a vote is political in nature. I question why the school board of a town the size of Charlottesville is voting on such a measure.

My recollection is that this vote was during the same session that the school board voted to allocate 2.4 million dollars for the purchase of 2000 tablet PCs. The school board seems to be in a pretty weird space; one moment voting to affect world peace, the next blowing wads of cash on untested technology.

Some day, and that day may come soon, the people of Charlottesville will rue the pie in the sky mentality of this elected board.

The assertions in this article are ridiculous. The direct comparison of war to rape is an insult to the men and women who have given their lives to stop aggression around the world. Human beings have predatory tendencies and are no different than a lion defending its pride battles must be fought. Anyone who believes that if we just laid down our weapons peace would rain down from the sky is an idiot.

The war /money relationship does need to be reconfigured, but the defense industry keeps us safe from aggressors. America is a country that has assets worth protecting.

Your ignorance of world events and history is astounding.

Opposing only wars that don't currently exist does not amount to supporting peace. Supporting peace involves opposing actual wars.

In 1967, anti-war activists tried to get a resolution to stop the Vietnam War on the ballot. The city tried to stop them arguing it was not the city's business. The court decided Farley v. Healey , 67 Cal.2d 325 in favor of the activists stating: "As representatives of local communities, board of supervisors and city councils have traditionally made declarations of policy on matters of concern to the community whether or not they had power to effectuate such declarations by binding legislation. Indeed, one of the purposes of local government is to represent its citizens before the Congress, the Legislature, and administrative agencies in matters over which the local government has no power. Even in matters of foreign policy it is not uncommon for local legislative bodies to make their positions known."
http://login.findlaw.com/scripts/callaw?dest=ca/cal2d/67/325.html

Most city council members take an oath of office promising to "protect and defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic." They don't take an oath to fix potholes. If the Constitution is in danger, then their primary duty is to defend it. If it is safe, and they have time on their hands, then they can fix potholes. Cities and towns routinely send petitions to Congress for all kinds of requests. This is allowed under Clause 3, Rule XII, Section 819, of the Rules of the House of Representatives. This clause is routinely used to accept petitions from cities, and memorials from states, all across America. If a federal action has a significant negative impact on a city, then it is appropriate for the city to defend itself. Citizens from this city may be sent, or have been sent, to Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., to fight in an illegal and unjustified war. Tax funds from this city that could have been spent locally have been spent on wars ($104,000,000 from Cville for Iraq and Afhanistan so far). Tax money from this city has been wasted in no-bid contracts with companies like Halliburton. Yet this city can barely afford things it needs, and the school board is pressed to find $ for computers.

The state National Guard should be available to protect this city from floods, hurricanes, earthquakes or other disasters. But instead they have been sent off to illegal wars.

War, the worst crime imaginable, must not be compared with rape, yet humans are just as stupid and vicious as lions and there's nothing that can be done about that? People made these incoherent arguments in defense of slavery, dueling, and all sorts of barbarisms we've largely put behind us. And they were made against strawmen, as here. Objecting to a global imperial presence that costs seven times as much as the next highest spender on earth is not necessarily a call to eliminate the military. What would you say to reducing the US military to, say, three times the size of China's?

"The direct comparison of war to rape is an insult to the men and women who have given their lives to stop aggression around the world. Human beings have predatory tendencies and are no different than a lion defending its pride battles must be fought. Anyone who believes that if we just laid down our weapons peace would rain down from the sky is an idiot. "

Right. So it's a good thing that none of that is actually asserted in the article. It should be possible to disagree without having to misrepresent.

If anyone is confused, here, it would appear to be David Swanson, who attempts to apply facially simple semantics to what are often very complex moral and practical choices occurring within dynamic circumstances. I'll just bet one of Dave's favorite conundrums is something on the order of, "If God is all powerful, can He create a stone so heavy that even He can't lift it?" Whoa. That's profound, man.

"It's a funny thing about peace and war: you really do have to choose between them" writes Dave. And I suppose that if I am shown 2 doors -one labeled "peace," the other, "war," then I would choose the "peace door." But suppose the peace door opens into a world of slavery and oppression, whereas the war door opens into a fight for my life (or yours, Dave). NOW which door do I want?

Wait wait, Dave! I know what you're going to say, just as assuredly as you issue blanket generalities which are both true, and meaningless. You're going to say that by nature, slavery and oppression are not "peaceful," because they involve some kind of violence against the human spirit. I'll buy that. So let's say that the slavery and oppression in this case takes the form of being required to work a grueling 60 hour week in a community where the penalty for robbing a bank is 10 years in prison. I'm a slave to a job I hate and I live in a place where I will be oppressed if I step out of line. How very odd - that sounds like a place where you need to work to make ends meet and there are penalties for doing bad things. Meanwhile, the fight for my life (the thing behind the "war door") involves defending myself from someone who's trying to kill me.

I won't torture the subject anymore - the point is that choices which are simple and obvious in theory often boil down into something else in actual life. You will understand, I hope, that I am nervous about applying my preferred and ideal choice in theory to every real life situation that confronts me.

And I'm also nervous about people who argue that MY only choices are the ones that THEY give me; that THEIR perception of the fundamental challenges of civilized people are the correct understanding of our history and of our nature. The last person to get away with this, to my knowledge, was a fellow who shared his Cool-Aid with the willing adherents to his view. Me? I'll take a martini, thank you very much.

And that brings us to MIC50, the details of which may be found at the warisacrime.org web site. Here, we read such breathless questions as,

"Did you know that redirecting a fraction of our military spending to education, green energy, healthcare, and tax cuts would create a job for every unemployed or underemployed person in the country (including those losing war industry jobs during this conversion)?"

This statement, which certainly must be directed at those who are willing to let others do their thinking for them, is, again, an example of some generally feasible and logically appealing notion which rings true as a nice idea, but which is easily parsed into the nonsense of which it is comprised.

Hey, Dave, let me ask you: "How BIG a fraction?" 1/10th? 1/2? 7/8ths? Don't we kinda need to KNOW that before we go too much further? And what happens to the people whose jobs are terminated because the funding was moved elsewhere? Will you magically transport them to a wind farm? Or do they just wait for a call? And, hey Dave! "Exactly WHICH education programs, which "green" initiatives, what healthcare programs, and WHOSE taxes?" And, while we're at it, what kind of jobs, Dave? Got all that mapped out for us?

What we have here, I think, is some appealing ideas, expressed in superficial logic, dressed up in intellectual garb, and aimed at the gullible public.

Should be a great conference.

Whats even worse by this type of military spending is most of these jobs only help those who already have security clearances these days. Contractors don't want to pay to particular branch for the security audit, so they just try and pull people out of government who are already doing the job.Then they charge the taxpayer even more. Everyone else is just left for what remains, which is the typical low wage garbage in the area.

How nice that all those who can't apply for the jobs due to this discrimination get to pay for it through their taxes.

I really back Ron Paul in this area, and don't see why this kind of money needs to be spent here when there isn't money for infrastructure. The best defense of all is to have a strong economy....

Good article.

I agree that first off all it is important to understand that war starts first in our support for the policies of our leaders who wage it. Thus, it is important for us to look as individuals inside ourselves. We often are led to believe many myths that are used to justify wars, one of which is the myth of unchanging human nature.

The economic arguments you raise are most important: I stand with President Eisenhower in comparing war to theft:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children... This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower

As you point out, today vast sums are spent, and often wasted by a military-industrial-congressional complex that has grown far beyond President Eisenhower's worst nightmare. More than 1/2 of every tax dollar we each pay, by some estimates, is spent by a military that is spending as much or more than the rest of the world's militaries combined. What threat to our country can possibly justify that scale of spending? Or is it really more about fraud and theft?

I am sure the US Army's former Chief Procurement officer will be insightful, and I understand she will be speaking at the upcoming conference.

Although JSGear seems to be having a really good conversation with him or herself that has little need for my actual participation, the details on the budget numbers are all provided here http://warisacrime.org/content/i-just-found-29-million-jobs

Hey Old Timer, amen, brother or sister

Jon, thanks for that quote from Ike!

Hell we could solve a lot of the problems of this country: famine, health care, infrastructure repair, debt, etc., with the trillions the Pentagon looses! How is it they can loose more than their budget? Something stinks at the Pentagon, and it sure isn't JET FUEL!

"I get tired of saying, that defense is to be made an excuse for wasting dollars, I don't thing we should pay one cent for defense than we have to." - Dwight D. Eisenhower - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rRqeJcuK-A

One response to David Swanson's title question might be "Yes, Charlottesville can love both peace and war, because the citizens of Charlottesville come at these issues from many different perspectives." I don't know Mr. Michie, but it looks as if he tried to please all of those people at once, rather than take a stance, and I suspect it's embarrassing to have that pointed out.

Let's step aside from issues like whether the rape analogy is appropriate and just look at the military spending issue. Is it appropriate to be pouring half of our entire federal discretionary budget into wars? Does it make ANY sense for the US to be anteing up 42% of all the military expenditures for the ENTIRE PLANET? When the next largest, China, is spending 7%? Russia less than 4%?

We all know people who are struggling. Struggling to hold on to their homes, or losing them. Struggling to make their rent payment, or stretch their food budget. Struggling to buy medicine or pay medical bills. Struggling to pay off student loans five, ten, fifteen years after they've graduated from college. Struggling to care for aging parents. Yet the tax money from those struggling people, and from those who would like to see government help them in their struggles, is being squandered on extravagant dreams of empire. Our "defense" budget is indefensible. Polls show that our budget doesn't reflect people's real priorities, and I'm certain it doesn't reflect the priorities of the people of Charlottesville. Bringing our government to the point where it reflects citizens' priorities rather than those of the military-industrial complex Eisenhower warned us about is David Swanson's intent. He deserves our support.

David,

I am pretty much a libertarian, which is why I get really bothered by the GOP these days more than even the DNC. The GOP talks about shrinking government, but they support this kind of big government nonsense, just like you see with Bill Marshall. They are flaming hypocrites.

Its fair to say that the dollars that go into military spending means that those are dollars not going into other sectors of our economy. If its a job we feel the government needs to do, especially on the long term, then government should be doing it. You don't shrink government by handing the job over to a private entity.

In this case, its even worse with the DoD, because unlike infrastructure building, those who can do the jobs were already trained and paid for by the tax payer, and now you limit competition for those jobs. Those jobs also cluster in certain areas, whereas infrastructure jobs spread out.

Businesses really shouldn't be in the business of doing business for government. But with the rest of the population sucked dry of any gainful employment, who are they going to sell to?

Isn't it funny that those who preach about the government being too big and the need to get government out of our lives create the very environment to make that happen?

I appreciate the tease, Dave, and must confess that my most ardent admirers are measured in the ones.

That said, your referral to your own undocumented material is hardly any credible answer to the questions I posed, above. Ignoring the numbers you cite, I take from it that we should have a kind of, "Gee-whiz, look what we COULD have done with all that money!" I don't know, but I rather suspect that no matter what goals or purposes of government expenditures, we will always find, later on, that there was a better way. As to the cost of defense and our escapades on foreign soil, no one has yet proffered any credible theory of the outcomes had we NOT done so.

You have cited (but not documented) some substantial numbers, but the numbers themselves are not really the point. More to the point are your assertions, such as this:

" I just spotted an easy way to create 29 million jobs, one for every unemployed or underemployed U.S. worker.

"No, I'm not about to say 'Just raise taxes on gazillionaires and hire people to build stuff.' I'm all in favor of that, for lots of reasons, including the political corruption created by a concentration of wealth. We might have to disempower gazillionaires before we can enact any sensible policies, including the one I'm about to propose, but it can itself be done without raising a dime in revenue. This means that the President, who has broad, albeit unconstitutional, powers to move funding around from one program to another could do this himself. Or Congress could.'

The above passage suggests, literally, that you are in favor of raising taxes on gazillionaires, "for lots of reasons including . . . political corruption. . .". But I am sure you really don't like political corruption. What you mean is that taking money from the rich will get rid of corruption. And I suppose we should draw from this that concentrating the wealth somewhere else will somehow NOT contribute to corruption at its new location.

Or, maybe you mean that "spreading the wealth" among ordinary folks like me, and taking it away from people like Donald Trump, is what will cure corruption; at least as it might arise from having too much money in one place. Presumably, intellectual corruption would still be protected, because some people count on that to make a living, you know.

But what the heck, Dave, let's get down to brass tacks, here. Exactly how much money is too much money? I think the President came up with $250,000 as a point at which the tax noose begins to tighten up a little bit. Does that number work for you? You often write about what "we" could do, when it comes to national policy and priorities. So who is counted among the "we" who determine when my treasure should be procured for redistribution? I'll bet YOU'RE on the committee, aren't you, Dave?

Point being, that when your material is stripped clean of the the cited studies and numbers (none of which themselves are documented) all we have left is what we might do, what we could do, what can be done, and so on. All figments of an imagination. And when you say, "we" I'm not at all sure who you are talking about; you, certainly - but who else? And for all those things you believe could or can be done, you have offered nothing about HOW, exactly, to do so.

JsGeare,

On the contrary, I think there is plenty of historical evidence of what happens when we spend on things other than giant DoD contractors building drones. For example, the TVA, or the work programs by FDR that built our national parks and monuments. How about the national highway system? Yeah Ike built it for supposed military purposes but the money was spent right here in America on things all Americans can use and hiring lots of American workers.

One big difference between now and then though, is that Americans did expect to pay taxes to provide all these things.

Mr. Swanson, in your first comment you appear to be confusing the city council with the school board. Two separate entities. Whatever oath the city council takes has no bearing on the school board. The school board has nothing to do with fixing potholes.

What I don't understand is why didn't you use an analogy of anti-semitism and Nazi Germany? Why not compare the school board member to a Nazi? You've compared him to a rapist and someone who supports slavery. What logical reason do you have to not compare him to a Nazi? Or Pol Pot?

GO AWAY Joe Thomas!

JS.

I believe Mr Swanson is basing some of his opinions on a study from the 90's that was revised in 2004-7?.
It basically said 1 billion diverted from defense to other areas would produce better employment results.

Of course diverting to education was the winner by far(hummm) and diverting the money to tax cuts was the worst scenerio. One thing that stands out (I believe) in his opinion is that higher paying would be created by diverting to other areas. If memory serves me correctly higher paying jobs were created by putting money into defense because scientists and engineers are in higher demand.

If I have time I will look for the study and post. There was also one done by CBO that negates this study.

OT: When you say, "on the contrary," I am not sure what I have said that is contrary to the historical evidence. Perhaps it is my statement that Dave's notions are figments of the imagination.

By contrast, OT, your references to FDR's TVA and Ike's Interstate System are much more stunning challenges to Dave's thinking than anything I have written. And, I agree with you - they are perfect examples of economic drivers, both as to their construction and as to their enduring social and economic benefit. And, as you probably know, the enabling legislation for the Interstate System was called the National Interstate and (cough, cough) DEFENSE Highways Act of 1956. Military purposes, indeed.

And I'm all about similar projects, right now. Two of them come to mind: The Natural Gas Act pending before congress would defray the cost of converting oil burning truck fleets to natural gas, a commodity which we have in abundance under our own soil. Among the anticipated impacts of this legislation is increased employment, a reduction of imported oil, a reduction of the national debt, an environmental benefit and reduced transportation expense. The other project, not yet expressed as a piece of legislation, is a national high speed rail system which I personally envision as something that would follow, where technically feasible, some of the Interstate routes. This would make construction faster and less costly. Passengers on this system would arrive at final destinations in the same or less time then flying, cross country trips excepted. Millions would be employed, imports on energy reduced, travel would be safer, and the environmental impact would be less than alternative means of travel.

But all of this is a far cry from Dave's rhetoric about choosing between peace and war, taking money from "gazillionaires," and putting the brakes on corruption. We might reasonably argue that it will take a few gazillionaires to get these projects done. He presents all the wide-eyed sense of wonder of a youngster who has just figured out that milk doesn't come from the store -it comes from a cow!

It should be profoundly evident, without Dave's prescience to guide us, that money spent in one place can't be spent in another. The revelation that we COULD stop building drones and use the money for windmills or national parks, instead, hardly qualifies as the work of a giant intellect.

His excitement and conviction might be pardonable if they were offered as an academic study of the economic and social consequences of the national agenda. But instead, they take the form of oblique reference to presumed authoritative sources, which are exploited to prop up his own political and moral agenda which don't stand the test of intellectual scrutiny themselves.

He writes: "They (war and peace) don't mix any better than freedom and slavery. You can't favor peace without opposing war. In fact, you can't support peace without opposing the machinery that makes wars likely."

Really? Oh yes, I CAN favor peace and go to war - as indeed, many millions have done, so as to secure the peace. You may disagree with this idea, but it is, at least, morally and intellectually defensible. It certainly stands on more stable ground than saying I can't mix them because Dave says so.

On this web link (http://warisacrime.org/content/i-just-found-29-million-jobs) Dave writes "We might have to disempower gazillionaires before we can enact any sensible policies, including the one I'm about to propose . . ."

Again, I ask, who is WE? Who is going to "disempower" the rich? And HOW? This has all the appeal of the radical Muslim ideas about destroying our society -and we all know the consequences of that, don't we? Funny thing - Dave has no numbers, no historical references on how to go about it.

At the close of the same link, he concludes: "A major effort would be needed to convert military factories and workers to green energy and other industries. Net job gains reflect a lot of job losses and redirected careers. But that conversion is part of this process and will involve job creation itself. If additional funding is needed, then, you know what, the hell with it, go ahead and tax a few multi-billionaires. It won't hurt them."

By his own logic, none of this makes any sense. If you disempower the multi-billionaires (take their money) how, then, will you tax them?

But to Dave, it is all so simple.

And that's why I challenge all readers of this little exchange to look closely at what Dave actually tells us. My opinion is that he contributes heavily to discussion, but tells us little that we don't already know. And he offers nothing in the way of a substantive, practical alternative.

To jeeze: I really don't care what study Dave is talking about. I will stipulate that they all say exactly what he reports, even if they don't. But the clear evidence that money might be better spent elsewhere should come as no surprise to anyone, has produced no practical road map for solutions and hardly is a basis for disempowering people. I am reminded of Steve Martin's comedy routine about "How to Be a Millionaire, and not Pay any Taxes." It opened with this instruction: "First, get a million dollars."

My opinion is that Dave's use of the data is intellectually corrupt. I (or anyone) can certainly cite whatever evidence I want to support a view that a situation should be different than it is. This country has a problem with obesity, and I have the data to prove it! And here, all this time we could have been spending money on promoting exercise and healthy diet - oh, woe is me! What do we do about it? Well, first of all, "we" have to disempower people with too much money.

There! That feels better!

Might it be possible that a school board member, being asked about something that is essentially a political question, he chose the most reasonable answer: the school system's job isn't to promote any particular political stance? In fact, it iss not clear what the inclusion of Mr. Michie's statement adds to the article. To protest war is generally perceived as a protest of those waging war--even if the protest is something more specific. As a school board member, Mr. Michie's job is not to protest the government, even if our tax dollars are ill-spent. As a private citizen, it is his right to support, protest, agree, or disagree with whomever, and however he wants. But, he's not quoted as a private citizen.

old timer// what part of the "defense/money should be reconfigured" did you not understand.

I am all for downsizing the military at this juncture but may be willing to upsize it if an enemy emerges to attack us or an ally.

I am all for smaller government and ending waste at the pentagon but I have read enough of world history to know that evil exists and that we need to be ready for it because it is obvious that people like you will simply bend over and take it and say "thank you sir may I have another"

diverting borrowed money from the pentagon to roads may be money better spent but it is still borrowed money when we are already overdrawn.

This, J, is the way that Dave operates, evidently. And, as seems to be typical as well, he stumbles. Here is what he wrote about Ned's remark:

". . . in a statement that's anything but out of the ordinary. . ."

What that phrase means, literally, is that Ned's comment was "ordinary." That is, if it is ANYTHING BUT out of the ordinary, it is therefore "ordinary." I'm not sure why an ordinary comment would justify any discussion, so I can only assume that Dave meant the statement was actually worth the rhetoric which followed.

I think I "get it" about Ned's discomfort with endorsement of the events associated with the International Day of Peace, and I admire him for being honest about his feelings. His anxiety about the nature of the events should not be confused with his personal preference of peace and non-violence.

But leave it to good old Dave to use Ned's remark to chum the waters for his conference.

"There! That feels better!"

Glad I could help and I agree with you. The "rich are evil" and "give me" attitudes are growing unchecked and being fed by quite a few groups. The sad part is some are funded by the government.

"I CAN favor peace and go to war - as indeed, many millions have done, so as to secure the peace."

So, JS, how is that working out for you? Can you cite me one example where war begat peace? Unless, of course, you are thinking of the kind of peace that comes from death to a whole population.

Your remarks remind me of my favorite slogan from the Vietnam era: "Fighting for Peace is like F***ing for Chastity."

I think it goes without saying that war begets more war, and we have volumes of historical documentation to that fact, including the Holy Bible!!

So the question before us is really, can peace beget peace? Unfortunately, our nation's history has been defined as chapters between wars; wars have been the bookends separating eras and how each generation has come to define itself. What a sad commentary on the USAmerican experience.

I am reminded of a certain Art History professor long ago who showed us slides of artifacts from both the Mycenaeans and the Minoans. The Mycenaeans' artifacts were mostly weaponry while the Minoans were mostly utilitarian objects and art for art's sake. The historical conclusion was that the Mycenaeans were a warlike people while the Minoans were a peace-loving people. I have to wonder what word future civilizations will use to describe us as they unearth the stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction that we have spent our time and treasure creating, and perhaps ultimately burying ourselves with.

All that aside, the immediate question at hand that Swanson seems to be asking and that hopefully the MIC50 conference will address is, how much is enough? Is half our operational budget enough for our defense? Should it be 70% or maybe some think it should be 100%. Would that do it? Would we then be safe?

I don't know about others, but I would prefer my share of the common defense dollars be spent protecting the roof over my head from foreclosure, or protecting my body from disease, or protecting my food supply, air and water from poisons. If the "common defense" that we all are guaranteed and have all paid for does not address the most basic human protections, then what in the world do we need with it in the first place?

I guess it boils down to who or what the greatest threat is. So why don't we all take a walk around our towns and ask ourselves if the boarded-up city blocks of homes and stores are the result of mideast terrorist activity or the acts of any foreign power. Observe the lines at unemployment offices, food banks and health clinics and let us ask ourselves if those result from any foreign threat. Likewise, the children with asthma and other afflictions attributed to environmental degradation.

So the question in the end is: how much of the money allocated to the military must be moved to protecting basic human needs in order to truly protect our population? I anticipate a lively discussion of this question at MIC50 and hope all speaking here will participate!

Eisenhower also said. " Only strength can cooperate, Weakness can only beg"

Exactly! And a homeless, jobless, diseased, uneducated, poor and hungry population is indeed weak!
Therefore.....???

Barbara: I am indebted to you for asking some questions which I can actually answer with a bit more certainty than the kind of hypothetical nonsense which appears to inflame your passions.

How's that war and peace thing working for me? Examples?

My first war (that I remember, anyway) was with a bully in my neighborhood who made it his business to make my life miserable. He tied me to a stake and lit fires around me. He whipped me, he humiliated me. And in order for me to secure the peace, I had to perform some rituals to his satisfaction, which were in the nature of servitude and worship. But one day, an older youngster saw my distress and physically intervened on my behalf. After that, I was truly at peace, made my walks to and from school in safety and was otherwise secure. My second war was years later, when a fellow in my dorm would periodically make an appearance to punch me, kick me, throw me around, trash my room, break or take my possessions. His territory of operation expanded so that I was subsequently attacked at various places on campus. But one day, when it was just he and I in an empty lobby of an academic building, he moved in for the "kill," or so it seemed to me. But this time I defended myself and disabled him in such a way that no further assaults were attempted ever again. And again, I had my peace. Later, the two of us actually became good friends.

More broadly, as to whether times of peace are the bookends confining times of war, or the other way around, I honestly don't know. I don't know that the question is even relevant. But I believe that the such peace and prosperity as is enjoyed by Europeans today is owed in part to the suppression by violence of Hitler's Germany; I suspect the South Koreans prosper and live in relative peace because the North and the Chinese were driven back by violence, and we no longer have legalized slavery here because the Union defeated the Confederacy in a war. More topically, there is some possibility that Muammar Gaddafi's evident defeat under the force of arms may lead to society which is at peace with itself and with others.

But your question, "Can you cite me one example where war begat peace?" probably presumes you already have a ready answer in the negative, which I suppose is why you asked it. But since you have cited Scripture as support for your contention that war begets war, let's give the "devil his due," here:

Can you cite me, Barbara, one example where peace begat peace? Of course, I, too, presume the answer, which is that you cannot. Given that war seems to be a frequent and long standing human activity, whether on a personal or on a national scale, we of course cannot demonstrate the peace begets peace proposition. Therefore, we find ourselves, I think, in an intellectual, moral or philosophical discussion which appears to advance neither the agenda of peace nor of war.

But one thing on which we probably CAN agree is that humanity has been engaged in war and violence of all kinds for a long time, and shows few signs of giving up on it any time soon. So it might be a tenable argument to suggest that war is something we are going to have. Which leaves us with the question of what we should do about it; which is a much more practical challenge then arguing over a preference for peace. Given the improbable occurrence of everyone, everywhere, laying down their arms all at the same time, if any society hopes to secure for itself some measure of peace, then it would appear that a good strategy is to make the cost of war too much for the enemy to tolerate -or even, to survive.

Which brings us to the "how much is enough" question. I suppose the answer, ultimately, is not so much a percentage as it is a target outcome: that is, "whatever it takes" to get what you want. Meanwhile, of course, we face other issues you mentioned (shelter, food, health, etc.) which are, or may become, as great a threat as military attacks by people who want to kill us off or dominate us.

My opinion is that the impending conference will do little to actually move us toward any substantive new understanding or enlightenment on any of these matters. And Dave's essay and web site, while forceful in language, are terribly undernourished -even disingenuous- when it comes to critical thinking and original thought. I am guessing that the conference will simply be more of the same. I confess to some morbid curiosity about how "we" will "disempower" the rich, for the success of Dave's agenda appears to require it.

I will suggest that the lively exchange of ideas on this comment forum may be much more valuable than whatever program is presented at the conference. I am grateful to you, Barbara, for your challenge and for your convictions.

Exactly! And a homeless, jobless, diseased, uneducated, poor and hungry population is indeed weak!
Therefore.....???

If that is how you percieve the United States then you are a sad individual.
Barbara

The United states is the one country on earth where food is plentiful, medicine and medical treatment is available and everybody can find somewhere to go to get out of the rain.

Just because it isn't the home with the white picket fence doesn't mean you are not better off than every other country on the planet.

peace must be earned.That means a strong defense.

ALL wars are based on LIES, most probably including your bully story.

Hey BM; I mean Bill: you say "I am all for downsizing the military at this juncture but may be willing to upsize it if an enemy emerges to attack us or an ally."

Would you consider a bunch of shameless banksters emerging to rob people of their homes an enemy worth upsizing the DOMESTIC defense to combat? How about predatory insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies who have a license to price healthcare out of the reach of millions? Are they an enemy worth upsizing the DOMESTIC defense for?

And what about the Halliburtons and Bechtels whose cronyism with the "deciders" have landed no-bid contracts in the billion$, and likely even wrote their own contracts; are they an enemy worth upsizing the DOMESTIC defense for?

So you have "read enough of world history to know that evil exists," have you? Have you read enough to know that often evil exists within? Have you heard of inside jobs? Are inside players equally guilty in your book,
and equally worthy of defense spending, albeit DOMESTIC spending?

Tell me true, Bill, if you knew for a fact that the US Treasury had been robbed by people like a sitting VP or Sec of the Treasury, or that elections had fraudulently been decided by a sitting Supreme Court, would it be obvious to people like me 'that people like you will simply bend over and take it and say "thank you sir may I have another"?'

Barbara: your assault on Bill, whom you evidently characterize as a form of human effluent, is in the finest warrior tradition. Take names, kick butt, ask questions later. You present to me as the most exquisite example of the kind of thinking and action you loathe so much in others: the "shameless banksters," the "predatory insurance companies," the cronies and deciders. Nice touch.

And then the questions, issued in a marvelous and hypnotic staccato. These are questions to which you, evidently, appear to have the final answers, the ultimate truth; whereas poor Bill is cast adrift, awaiting your enlightenment.

And you ask Bill that "if you knew for a fact. . .?" Which presumes, I think, that you DO know for a fact that the VP and Secretary robbed the Treasury and that the "sitting" Supreme Court had fraudulently decided an election. REALLY? A miracle! The "sitting" court includes 4 members who have been on the bench less than 6 years. I am assuming the fraudulent election you mention refers to the court's decision about the vote count in Florida, which decision put "Dubbya" back in office. But of course, that was over 6 years ago, before the "sitting" court sat. Or maybe there was ANOTHER election, since then, in which all currently sitting justices fraudulently decided the outcome of an election. If so, which election was that? If NOT, then how did the justices who sit today spoil the election years before they were even nominated?

Wait wait! No need to explain any of this to me. It doesn't matter that there is factual support for your interrogation of Bill; you simply BELIEVE what you believe, so much so, apparently, that it is cemented in your mind as FACT.

Someone once said we are entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts. But in your case, Barbara, and wanting to make peace with you, I'll gladly make an exception.

Well, JS, ain't we having fun?!

1. Think nothing of it; happy to oblige you the opportunity to examine my passions!

2. I am truly sorry to hear that you were so often the target of bullies, and having never had that experience myself, I can only ask the question my mother would ask me following a catfight with my sister, which is, "what did you do to evoke such treatment?" And that is the same question I have to ask my country when they feel they have to respond to, say, a "terrorist" attack. Like, did you ever do a dirty deed to these people, or use them? or misuse them? or take your marbles and go inside when things didn't go your way?

Of course I can't presume to know what, if anything, you may have done to taunt these fellows. Maybe you were just good looking and all the girls liked you and they were jealous.

Maybe, if you were a good LIBERAL (gasp!) you might've asked yourself if perhaps there was something going on with these guys at home that you didn't know about, and perhaps you could've befriended them without going through the torture. Maybe they just needed a friend, eh?

3. Well, I do believe it is a relevant question to ask why our history must be defined in chapters of war. There is such a thing as cause and effect, and I am sure someone as articulate as you knows full well that often the causes for going into war are not legitimate, and in many cases serve to enrich war profiteers and/or to steal a people's resources. I'm very glad slavery is in our past & regret it was ever a part of our being, but again, there were economic issues driving the abolitionists as much as any sense of morality was. And regarding Gaddafi, well, it appears to be yet another case of a US-installed dictator who once served US purposes, but is no longer useful. Let us not be naive.

4. Can I cite you an example of when peace begat peace? Of course not. After thousands of years of wars, we have never given peace a chance. All we are saying...is thousands of years of war have failed to produce peace. You think we might try something else??! And to that point, isn't it reasonable to assume that the country who is the most heavily armed might be the one to test the premise of laying down one's arms? You certainly don't expect the weakest to have the courage to lay down their arms first, do you? Have you not noticed, and could you possibly argue against the point that it is when animals, people, or countries feel threatened, that that is when they build up their defenses. If you don't know that, you haven't seen as many rattlesnakes as I have.

Take the recent example of Kim Jong Il being on the verge of discarding hopes of nukes under Clinton's charm, but then going at it with a vengeance after Bush went around calling names "axis of evil" and issuing threats. My God, the most natural response to a threat is to build up your arms. And I bet you're a gun-toter, JS. And if you are, I want to tell you something: it is not the brave who go around town toting arms; it is the fearful!

5. Regarding making the cost of war too much for the enemy: we are the enemy, JS. It is US invading other countries. We are the aggressors. And the cost of war is too much for us; that is what I am saying; that is what Swanson is saying; that is what this whole conference is about. The cost of these wars are gutting us. Would you spend your last dollar on a bullet or milk for the baby? That is the question before us.

As for your pre-emptive opinion about this conference, or the shortcomings of Dave's essay & web site, if you're so smart, why don't you understand that this is but an invitation for people like you to add to the conversation? Any misbegotten notion you have that Dave or anyone else seeks to rob the rich and give to the poor is well, misbegotten. We would just like to rid the rich of their misbegotten wealth; ie: that they stole from the labors of ordinary working people like you and me. And it is a fact, JS, that when at least 50% of the wealth of nation is in the hands of a mere 1%, it is a dangerous situation indeed. An economy that top-heavy cannot stand; more important, this tiny fraction usurps the power to wage wars, for example, and divert our earnings to their own self-serving purposes; not to mention usurping the power of our military. That is not equality. That is not rule by WE THE PEOPLE! I bet you like that term. Guess what, Liberals do too. We all have a Libertarian streak.

Well, you get back to your trains and I'll get back to my crayolas.

Dear Bill,

As JS has pointed out, it was crude to address you by your initials, and I truly am sorry. It won't happen again,
and it's OK with me if the moderator removes that post.

But yes, I do see the United States descending into a country where there is increasing homelessness and joblessness; where education is becoming more difficult, and yes, there are sadly many poor and some even hungry.

And JS, that is not my opinion, but certifiable fact. And it is across this country. Just last week our local paper featured a couple, he a veteran and she in need of a liver transplant, forced to live under blue tarps draped over stakes in their yard because their trailer house had been repossessed. Haven't we all seen the pictures of the homeless sitting beside their sofa and refrigerator with the kids and dog on the curb in front of their homes?

This is what America looks like to so many, sweet William, and if you have not seen it, you are fortunate but not well informed.

You are also misinformed if you think food and medicine is available to all. There have been medical clinics recently, with lines of people around the block for hours, some diagnoses of cancer and other serious conditions discovered over the course of a day, since it had been years since some of these had seen a doctor. Likewise, lines at food banks; most churches I know of collect canned goods for the food pantry. And there is the highest number ever in this country on food stamps.

If you have not seen these things, I suspect you get your news from Fox or one of Rupert Murdoch's other news sources.

So explain to me how knowing these things makes me a sad individual. I am sad, but not in the way you mean.
I am sad we are allowing our society to crumble; and just as sad that we have crippled the society of so many others around this world. And the cause of it all is these endless wars. JS, that also is certifiable fact.

Ah, Barbara, you're back! And yes, I'm enjoying the exchange. Let me see if I can address some of your well formatted questions and considerations.

#1. Likewise, I'm sure.

#2. I suspected I would get the question about what I did to provoke the attack of a bully. It is scarcely within the realm of an 8 year old to challenge the dominion of a 12 year old. What I did was simply to present a target. I was invited to come play in the fenced in garden area of the bully and of course, I happily did so. With the results I have previously described. But you, Barbara, may nonetheless harbor the notion that I was the cause of that effect. Literally, of course, I WAS; for had I not been there at the time, it might not have happened. But, what the heck, I'll concede that it was all my fault. As to the attack of later years, the person who assaulted me was someone I barely knew. But again, OK, it was all my fault, somehow. Which still leaves me with the question of whether I defend myself, or submit. Perhaps you would find it more satisfying that I simply submit to my attackers. I trust you will have the same solicitude for anyone who attacks and beats you. After all, surely, Barbara, it was something you did.

Your examination of my personal challenge portrays a broader notion that the United States has been the essential cause of the attacks we suffered 10 years ago; or otherwise of a strong cynicism held with respect to our motives and intentions. I do agree that we certainly could have had a more gentle touch and greater appreciation of cultures which differ from our own. In fact, I wrote a rather blistering letter to the head of the NFL on the occasion of a "wardrobe" malfunction during a super bowl half time some years ago, and shortly after the 9/11 attacks. My point was that the excesses of our culture and our hedonism were precisely the fuel that fired the recruitment efforts of our adversaries: I told him that the blood of American (and other) youth was on his hands. I received a personal letter of regret and remorse, in reply.

Do not imagine, therefore, that in a global community, behavior doesn't matter. I believe it does. That said, I hope it matters to everyone - not just us.

#3. You refer to causes of war that are "not legitimate," which presumes that you have some special enlightenment about the causes that ARE legitimate. Perhaps the Pentagon should defer to your judgement as to what is, and is not, legitimate. But relieve our defense people of this exercise, please. Tell us now Barbara, the legitimate reasons for war, so that we may be spared any wrong decisions in the future. What, Barbara, exactly what, would make any future engagement legitimate in your mind?

As to our old friend Muammar, shall we be instructed to avoid alliances or support of any nature with the rulers of the current time, so as to avoid embarrassment in the future? Ho Chí Minh was also a buddy of ours at one time, when he had issues with the Chinese. And so, of course, was Saddam, when he was unhappy with the Persians. And so was King George, who some of our founders imagined as a beneficent and reasonable person, until he was not. So tell, us, Barbara, please, how do we discern NOW, in the present day, who will not cause us great regret, loss and embarrassment in the future? Or otherwise, tell us which society, which government, which culture has ever been immune from the problems of alliances gone bad. The only person in my recollection who has ever understood this issue (but never resolved it) was Nicolo, whose writings were bedside reading for leaders world wide, and, I suppose, still are.

#4 At last you agree that there is no evidence whatsoever that peace begets peace. But the idea that peace has never been given a chance is hollow. In fact, at every point that peace prevailed, it has been used to re-arm, to build, to become mighty; either by the dominant society, or the ones beyond its realm. The most lasting peace that I recall from history is the "Pax Romana," which existed primarily because there was a single society which totally dominated the territory under its control. And many of its subjects might have argued that the peace came at a serious price. So, tell us, Barbara, how do we give peace a chance? What, exactly, shall we do? And will your recommendation guarantee that peace prevails, forever? Or will it be just a good idea at the time? The only way I could make peace with my tormentors was to bend to their will, do their bidding. Is that what you suggest? Are you ready, Barbara, to shed western garb and wear the burka? Are you ready to be killed because you don't advance the dynastic imperative? Or do you need to not only convince US that we need to give peace a chance, but also convince those who would impose their ideas of peace upon us? Shall we send you, Barbara, as an emissary to carry out this good work?

Oh, and as to Kim, who you suggest was under Clinton's charm - you presume to know his motives and rationale. I don't, myself, know much about what makes Kim tick. But I do believe, from personal contact, that he likes good scotch and blonde women from western cultures. Any volunteers?

Finally, you bet that I am a "gun-toter." I'll bet I'm NOT a gun-toter. How much do you bet? How about $1000.00? If you win the bet, then I give $1,000 to your favorite cause. And if I win? You owe me a martini. So, what's it going to be, Barbara? Wanna make that bet? But of course, the bet itself is a farce; you have simply used it as a way to express your belief that people who carry heat are fearful. You have set me up as a straw man. But, the bet's still on. You in?

#5. This section of your response has devolved into your opinions. The problem is US - no one else, Barbara, just us. This MUST be true because you have said it is true. My last dollar - the milk, or the bullet? No mention of the Mother? But, I will answer: I will not spend my last dollar on the milk. No, Barbara, I will spend my FIRST dollar on the milk. my LAST dollar goes to the bullet.

And this is classic, quoting you "Any misbegotten notion you have that Dave or anyone else seeks to rob the rich and give to the poor is well, misbegotten. We would just like to rid the rich of their misbegotten wealth; . . ."

REALLY? And who decides what portion of the wealth is "misbegotten?" You? Dave? Again, please spare us. Just tell all readers right now, what portion of wealth for every individual is "misbegotten?" Do you, Barbara, have any "misbegotten" wealth? Is all your treasure pure, undefiled and free of any moral encumbrance? If so, then good for you. But if not, then what should we take from you so that all that remains is not misbegotten?

You have asked, ". . .if you're so smart, why don't you understand that this is but an invitation for people like you to add to the conversation?" This presumes, possibly, that I'm not really very smart at all. If I WERE smart, then I would understand the polemic as an "invitation." Therefore, I'm as stupid as a table. How did I MISS this invitation? you ask. Conclusion: Because I'm stupid.

On the other hand, the material in Dave's misbegotten essay and the didactic web site strongly suggest that the conference is simply an invitation to absorb the same kind of nonsense there that he has presented here. No thanks, Barb. I may get it all wrong, but I doubt that the speakers at the conference get it all right, either. If I want a "conversation" about this, I'll get it over a martini -the one you will owe me.

You bleeding hearts are a little over the deep end on this one.

America will be just fine. Nobody is starving..just look at all the fat kids. They get free breakfast free lunch and free after school snacks in most places. Those meals do not get deducted from their food stamps. It is easy to get food stamps and if someone can't get them it is because they are too lazy to even wait in line.

ANYBODY can go to an ER for emergency help. If they get a really bad disease then life can be tough and that is why they should try and foster good relationships instead of alienating friends and family.

Most people that are homeless had a chance to see it coming and could have prevented it but they had their head buried in the sand.

The reason we are in this mess isn't george bush or the war machine. The war machine actually kept the economy going by pumping trillions of borrowed dollars into it. The reason we are in this mess is because american consumers spent more than they should have and borrowed to do so. They paid higher prices for everything because they were using citibanks money instead of their own.

If you eliminated the national debt tomoorow it wouldn't create a single job (except that the idiots in DC would borrow more and create more programs to coddle people who are lazy peices of crap and who think they should be able to work at Radio shack and own a nice house and two cars. )

Wars are hell but the fact is that the united states is a small part of it and if we disarmed ourselves the rest of the world would simply use that as an opportunity to expand and challenge us. Ghadafi wanted Chinese weapons to fight the rebels and there is reasonable proof that the chinese violated the boycott and sold them to them and are now lying about it.

The US can makes its military smaller but if they do they need to use the savings to repay the debt not make all the poor kids fatter and buy all the lazy people houses.

anyone who is physically able to can find work in america.. the problem is that they want to negotiate price and will not do so because they shamlessly live off the taxpayer rather than work for less.

Rake some leaves, clean some windows, scrub a floor. go on the internet and get a skill.

The reason there is no peace is because we there are animals in the middle east that have been war mongers for 5 thousand years... long before jesus ever rode his first dinosaur (and way longer than before Geroge Washington chopped down the cherry tree and started world war 1.)

A quote from Patton fits nicely here :

"No SOB ever won a war by dying for his country... you win a war by making the other dumb SOB die for HIS country"

If war is so profitable, why have we been in one for 8 years under GW and now we are broke? Oh wait, only 10 (very very very rich) people actually profitted and now they are crying about a possible tax hike to cover our national debt? If we spent federal military money on wars overseas and they proftted while we all lost jobs, are they really patriots? If so, they would pay the stupid tax and actually save the americans that they didnt actually have to protect from fake WMD's. GW and his war cronies screwed us twice, and we still seem to want to vote repbulican? Do ywe not realize they don't care about the average redneck, they just want our cash and our son's life so they can make fun of us on their yachts? DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE! Republican war mongers are not necessarily here to help. After all, they are from the government, too.

The saddest thing that I read in the post from the folks to te right of the issue here, is there complete contempt for anyone who doesn't make a certain amount of money, or does a job that doesn't fit into their criteria as a useful job. They are also very hypocritical in it too. I recall in a recent thread how the unemployed were eschewed as lazy shiftless entitled people because they were not taking the first 9$/hr jobs available on the VEC website - the kind of wages a job at Radio Shack would pay - and now they are lazy because they do take the job.

Gee, and then people wonder why no one wants the $9/hr job with no benefits after having a job that paid 50k a year. They are looked down on, by their recent contemporaries and employers for just trying to feed their families and start over.

You people are the ugliest, most selfish, and self- entitled of Americans out there, who deserve God's wrath as no other. There but for the Grace of God go I.

There are lazy shiftless people, and many are poor for no other reason than their own foolishness. Yet today, even today, the biggest cause of bankruptcy in this nation is health care costs by a major illness with people who have health insurance. As incomes stagnate, and decline in real wage terms, due to things like exploding healthcare costs and heat costs, those still paying their mortgages and even some savings know that a diagnosis with cancer can mean the end of their entire retirement fund. Because our health care system is so grossly inefficient in the 25%+ payout that goes to pockets and not actual providers by denying care, long before Obamacare was on the horizon. It was eating up 17% of our GDP before that took effect. What a gross misallocation of resources. No wonder jobs leave the US for anywhere else.

I am sure you all I have references will jump up and down ranting about all your personal tragedies that have made through, and we'll hear the litany of bootstrap tales while forgetting the hundreds of subsidies you partook of in and didn't know it, and that when you were young - because I am betting most of you are 50 year old white males - corporations paid a lot more in taxes and unions were strong.

Most ironic of all is that the very wealthy you support in your illogical policies have as much contempt for you as you do for the Radio Shack wage earner. I remember in 2008 reading in the WSJ - yes I get it - how an Army Staff Sgt was going to vote for Obama when he saw the GOP laughing at him because he made a meagre 38k a year in service to his country. So, yes, they will be laughing on their way to the bank with as big of a smirk as you have when the finally manage to swallow you via the policies you support, and something bad finally does catch up with you. It may be no different that simple old age. You will no doubt moan and wail about how you were different than all those 9$/hr wage earners and are a victim. And their children, now adults with giant trusts, will simply say it was your own fault and you didn't plan and they shouldn't have to pay taxes to give you basic food or shelter. After you all, you have some fat on you.

And you know something?

In your cases, they would be right.

Caseonia,

1) I don't think anyone is knocking somoene who works at radio shack, I think they are knocking people who expect to work for 9.00 an hour and live the same standard of living as the person with more training education and skill.

2) The people who declare bankruptsy because of catastphophic unforseen healthcare costs are doing what they are supposed to do, utilize the system as designed. They used to jail debtors. The bankruptsy avenue is a reasonable tool to use in this case and the possibility of it occuring is built into the system. Taxing those who work and GIVING people free healthcare is not a more fair solution because the bankruptsy judge can see if they are scamming or not. The government cannot and will not judge the lazy obese alcholic drug addicted smokers from the truly needy person. Since they won't do it up front then the judges do it on the back end. The system works. (poorly granted but obamcare ain't the fix)

3) The reason that prices escalate is because the government subsidizes the poor. This raises the cost of everything and by default lowers the wages people make by the same amount. (If a person is getting food stamps free healthcare and subsidized rent is equal to 1500 a month then they are making MORE than the 9.00 an hour radio shack guy....)

4) people despise the wealthy as if the wealthy have money that would be in their pocket. The fact of the matter is that if you took that money from the wealthy and used it to pay down the debt it would not be pulled from their mattress but from their investments which means that FEWER jobs would be created. Interest rates would rise and those that don't work woulld still be whining about not getting enough free stuff. The wealthy are not the enemy. The enemy is the government who has lined not only the pockets of the rich but the pockets of the lazy and poor and all at the expense of the middle class.

Bill gates made your life better. The fat piece of crap on welfare didn't do anything but cause your rent to be higher because he gets his paid by you thru your taxes

5) All waste and fraud in the military complex should be rooted out and that is probably 40% of the pentagon budget. Once that is done than we can look at downsizing based on the world situation which may get us an additional 10-20%. Saying Peace will break out all over if the US lays down its weapons is a joke. Set your ipod down on the downtown mall and see how long before someone steals it. Evil is a fact of life.

.

I'm somewhat nonplussed by Caesonia's comments about people with $9 jobs, a bloated healthcare system and support of the wealthy, because, try as I might, I find precious little material here about any of those things, nor any special contempt (or admiration, for that matter) for people who occupy lower paying jobs, or jobs regarded as not useful. I do see that one person believes some people prefer to receive assistance, rather than to work. For all I know, that may be wiser choice in terms of securing an income, but no one can really say until the particulars of any individual case are known.

So - what's the connection with conference on new federal budget priorities?

JSGeare,

As a libertarian I read what Caesonia is talking about here all the time. I think what was being referenced was not only this thread, but the attitude of those on this thread from other threads. Let me quote from this very commentary:

"coddle people who are lazy peices of crap and who think they should be able to work at Radio shack"

Even if those individuals had unrealistic expectations about what they could afford, they are not necessarily lazy. Nor do they hold the monopoly of unrealistic expectations. I count from the poorest to the richest in this nation in that arena.

So be nonplussed and choose to not see on this very thread, and what you conveniently wish to ignore. With folks like you the great corporate welfare checks to companies that should have been allowed to fail pass unnoticed while the kids eating cheap fattening food are to be cursed, along with their parents.

OT: I take your point and can only add that while there have been a few such remarks, the main thrust of the thread otherwise has been more directly related to the original subject matter. Evidently Caesonia wants to challenge some attitudes and opinions which she believes deserve attention, regardless of any relevancy to Dave's bogus essay. Fine with me.

While I myself would be uncomfortable coddling "lazy pieces of crap," I can't say that the tendency to be lazy lies mainly within any particular income level. Maybe it does and maybe it doesn't. I've just never observed the association and have no data otherwise from which to draw a conclusion. And I agree with you that unrealistic expectations seem fairly well distributed across income levels and other social or economic strata.

But I'm not so sure why you have included me among those who ignored corporate welfare and focused on kids eating too much cheap food. I've had nothing to say about those issues whatsoever; or if I have, please disabuse me. This makes the second time I appear to have been inaccurately characterized. Earlier, someone else thought I carried a gun, even though, again, I've said nothing about armed civilians, the right to bear arms, or anything even remotely connected with such material.

Where does this stuff come from?

old timer. if you are going to quote someone at least do it in context
YOUR CUT AND PASTE:
coddle people who are lazy peices of crap and who think they should be able to work at Radio shack
THE ACTUAL SENTENCE:
to coddle people who are lazy peices of crap and who think they should be able to work at Radio shack and own a nice house and two cars

If the guy at radio shack with his three days training deserves a nice house and two cars then his boss deserves a nicer house and so and so forth which means that a skilled person like a nurse should be pulling in a cool 300k a year and be bashed by Obama for more taxes.

A lie of ommision is still a lie.

Hey, freedom ain't free. It costs a buck fifty nine. And how am I supposed to earn my buck fifty nine without developing alien hybrid killer cows at DARPA.

One doesn't have to be a pacifist to recognize the USA is spending way too much unaccounted for and borrowed money on national defense. Cut it in half; bring the troops home. Let's do some nation building here.

What a simple life some people are blessed with. Everything out of their fifth grade history book is fact. The military is the only means to an end and might is always right. Ain't that so Mr Marshall?

Bill,
I omitted nothing. I highlighted the offensive part of the statement, and clearly addressed the rest of it in my response.

Unrealistic expectations do not make one lazy.It makes one unrealistic. The difference is I find some folks here of the right persuasion seem to think that unrealistic expectations combined with downright incompetence/dishonesty are worthy of a 700 billion dollar bailout, or much lower effective tax obligation than, say, the 9$/hr worker at Radio Shack. The worker at radio shack is lazy, but the derivatives shill who produces nothing needs loads of welfare.

I judge it all pretty ridiculous.