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  #31 (permalink)  
Old September 11th, 2011, 06:54 AM
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Doug R....



Can I ask you to amed that to "Those Rublicans who insist on pro-life and anti-gay as requirements to join thier little gathering offer no lure to me."

I have to say that there are MANY Republicans who never bring up social issues - including John MCCain - because we are "Goldwater" Republicans (as Reagan was) who believe government has no place in private life at all.

I agree with you - whether you call it Blue Dog Democrat or whatever, I am sure that vast majority of Americans are fiscally conservative and socially liberal.

The required alignment of all policy beliefs according to party makes NO sense. Just because you believe in any one thing does not mean you should have to agree with everything either party believes. But I do seriously believe the left goes MUCH MUCH farther in their attempt to paint all conservatives with the same broad brush as the other way around.

For example, I am fine with people having Christian faith - but I don't think it should be a factor in politics. In the same way you just painted republicans with the same brush, I could say all liberals seem to think the only acceptable religious expressions now are Islam or Atheism - anything else gets you labeled as a wacko or worse.

I did mention a LOT about housing above, also. I feel it is the #1 issue in our depression - families have lost most of their wealth because investing in homes used to be the best thing you could do. Somehow we managed to ruin that. Regardless of how it happened - it needs to be fixed.
Let me clarify, you have to be pro-life, anti-gay marriage to be a player on the national scene as the those who control the party nationally require. In my locality not sharing those beliefs do not disqualify you. I believe that is why our Governor Christie does not want to run. He does not want to compromise some of his beliefs just to get nominated. Mayor Guliani said on CNN after the commemoration of 9/11 at the NYSE Friday that he would have a difficult time getting nominated because of his beliefs that he was not willing to compromise.
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Old September 11th, 2011, 07:57 AM
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I had the same or perhaps even more personal experience as Doug. I was an active Republican for many years. Working in the campaigns of a number of candidates and also working for the party with the business community for support and fund raising. As I voiced my belief in gay marriage, equial rights for gays and lesbians and my belief of seperation of church and state I became more "unpopular" in the local Republican party. When I voiced my stand against the invasion of Iraq I was told that I was no longer welcome but if I changed my mind I could return.

I haven't.

Take care,
Mike
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Old September 11th, 2011, 09:45 AM
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Mike, I have a similar experiece. I became a Republican when I was 18 years old and supported the Party for many years because I am a fiscal conservative.
Today in my senior years I also believe in separation of church and state and equal rights for gays and everyone else.
I cannot support the party of ( NO ) any longer.

As far as the economy goes, we need to bring backs jobs. We can't go on just buying goods made in China.

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Old September 11th, 2011, 06:58 PM
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Paul,

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I did mention a LOT about housing above, also. I feel it is the #1 issue in our depression - families have lost most of their wealth because investing in homes used to be the best thing you could do. Somehow we managed to ruin that. Regardless of how it happened - it needs to be fixed.
Housing prices will come back up eventually, and those who still hold title to their property will recoup their paper losses.

The real problem here is those who have lost title to their property, either because they overextended and bought homes that they could not afford or because they fell victim to lending scams like adjustable rate mortgages (ARM's). Many ARM's are designed so interest rates will rise over time to a level at which the buyer can no longer afford the mortgage payment, allowing the lender to foreclose and take posession of the property, then to resell the property at a profit. Additionally, the lender/seller often offers another ARM to the new buyer so the cycle repeats.

Of course, this whole subject raises the philosophical question of how far the government of a free society should go to stop the members thereof from signing bad contracts. At some point, those who wish a free society must bear the responsibility for the consequences, good or bad, of their own decisions. If a buyer did not read the contract and understand its terms before signing, that is neither the lender's nor the government's fault. I'm not persuaded that the government should forbid ARM's. One's instinct might be to enact laws requiring the lender to provide a schedule of maximum interest rates and associated payments under the terms of an ARM before the buyer signs the contract, but a buyer who cannot figure this out should hire a lawyer or an accountant to do so. Signing a contract that one does not understand is not an excuse.

Norm.
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Old September 11th, 2011, 07:00 PM
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Donna,

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I grew up being told, the best investment you can make is in land/housing and for most of my life, that was true, until recently...I agree, we have to get that back along with job security and just plain jobs...
A decade from now, those who bought real estate at the pre-2008 peak probably will have no regrets. The value probably will be well above what they paid for it.

"Invest in land, son. They are not making any more of it!" -- Will Rogers.

Norm.
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Old September 11th, 2011, 07:13 PM
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Todd,

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In so doing I completely alienated my own political party big shots although my constituents were behind me. Every elected official states they do the same thing but they conveniently leave off the, "...as long as the party approves."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord W. S. Gilbert, in "When I Was a Lad" from HMS Pinnafore

Sir Joseph Porter, K. B. C.:
I grew so rich that I was sent
By a pocket borough into Parliament.
I always voted at my party's call,
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all.

Chorus: And he never thought of thinking for himself at all.

Sir Joseph Porter, K. B. C.:
I thought so little, they rewarded me
By making me the ruler of the Queen's navy.

Chorus: He thought so little, they rewarded he
By making him the ruler of the Queen's navy.
(Sir Joseph Porter, K. B. C., holds the post of the First Lord of the Admiralty, which was roughly equivalent to our Secretary of the Navy when the latter was a cabinet-level position.)

Plus Áa change...

Norm.
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Old September 11th, 2011, 07:52 PM
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Mike,

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As I voiced my belief in gay marriage, equial rights for gays and lesbians and my belief of seperation of church and state I became more "unpopular" in the local Republican party.
I have to disagree with branding issues such as "gay marriage" and abortion as religious. Rather, these issues are moral issues in which objective reason alone establishes clear right and wrong under religiously neutral principles based on the order of the universe that philosophers call Natural Law. The Western tradition in this area began with Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle in Athens nearly 2,500 years ago, and thus clearly did not parrot Judeo-Christian principles, and most eastern philosophers, including Buddha and Confucious, arrived at a similar set of moral principles.

The existence of a religiously neutral, and thus universal, set of moral principles is extremely important. Without such a set of principles, it would be impossible to say that murder, rape, kidnapping, and other horrific acts are morally evil and thus deserving of proscription and even punishment by a religiously neutral civil government.

It is factually true that many religions do teach moral principles in addition to their respective religoius doctrines, and it is also true that many of our public school systems here in the States never taught classical philosophy or the moral principles of Natural Law that it provides. Indeed, these realities probably are at the core of the widespread confusion that wrongly associates morality with religion in modern life. Those of us who belong to religious institutions that also teach morality have a clear obligation, as citizens, to distinguish between the universal moral code of Natural Law and religious belief when we go to the polls: we must vote in accordance with Natural Law if we are to have a moral society, whereas voting based upon our religious beliefs would be an abject failure to respect the legitimate religious freedom of others.

Of course, any religion that acknowledges a deity as the creator of the universe must recognize that deity to be the giver of this Natural Law, and thus must construe Natural Law to be a clear expression of that deity's will, with the consequence that immoral acts also violate the will of that deity. Thus, in the Judeo-Christian and Moslem traditions, immoral acts are intrinsically sinful by that very fact, and it should be no surprise that both Judeo-Christian and Moslem scriptures take the side of Natural Law in so far as they speak to moral issues.

Incidentally, the traditional Judeo-Christian depiction the "Ten Commandments" divided into two tablets clearly expresses this distinction between religion and morality. In this depiction, the first tablet contains the religious precepts and the second tablet contains the moral precepts.

Norm.

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Old September 12th, 2011, 09:33 AM
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Norm,

There was no mention of abortion and gay marriage was separate from separation of church and state. I did not refer to it as a "religious" issue. I find all of these as three separate issues.

Others may find these to be part of their religious/moral beliefs but I and many others find them to be very separate. Your citing of the writings of Thomas Aquinas 'interreptations of Natural Law is the integration of religious and moral beliefs.

I find that people can be quite "moral" and not be religious or follow the teachings of any religion. I also find the adverse can also be true.


Take care,
Mike
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Old September 12th, 2011, 04:24 PM
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A few good ideas, and lots of others that would produce massive unintended consequences if implemented.

Doug and Mike are absolutely right (as in "correct") about the obvious social issues litmus test that--as a practical matter--Republicans have to pass. It's not formal, and Paul's also correct that there are lots of Republicans who don't live and die on social issues. But the problem with Republicans these days is that they've become "the party with the fringe on top." The extremist tail is wagging the sensible dog bigtime, and it is doing none of us any good.

I think what bothers me even more than the strict anti-abortion and anti-gay rights positions is the overall disdain for science. A scientist friend who watched the Republican debate the other night said that. . .

"Listening to GOP Presidential candidates talk about science is like listening to children talk about sex: They know it exists, they have strong opinions about what it might mean, but they don’t have a clue what it’s actually about."

Just a few general points:

--The argument about reducing capital gains taxes even further sounds good, but it is a very questionable idea. There is already a massive difference between what people pay in taxes whose income is derived from gains (15%), and what the middle class--what's left of it--pays from income derived from actual work (35%). The argument in favor of this disparity is that favorable gains treatment spurs risk-taking, entrepreneurship and job creation. Recent data calls that old chestnut seriously into question. It is more likely these days that people with growing income from gains simply hoard their wealth, because they're either greedy, afraid of tomorrow, or both. What we know for sure is that 80% of gains income in this nation today accrues to 5% of the people, thereby widening the income gap and squeezing the middle class even further. I'd RAISE, not lower the capital gains top rate to 10% below the top marginal rate for ordinary income.

--Of course, all the President's goals regarding taxes on the rich, as reflected a number of times here, should absolutely be done.

--When people talk about job creation these days, it's amazing how often they fail to link it with one important fact: in order to create jobs, somebody's got to be willing to pay salaries, and that translates into spending. Whether it's in the private sector or the public, you can't create jobs without spending money. So obvious, and yet the zealots refuse to accept this obvious truth. When you combine this need with the fact that our debt problem is long term while our jobs problem is immediate, you come to the conclusion that we must invest in jobs at both the public and private levels. Infrastructure is the best way to do it, if it can be managed properly. A WPA-like concept is basically on the right track.

--Spending cuts, we need those too. I know this is a military-oriented group, and unless I missed it not a soul has mentioned ending senseless wars in which our national interest has never been adequately defined. But I'll mention it. Them wars of choice are damned expensive and I'm thinkin' we could save boatloads of cash and make a lot of military families happy by pulling some plugs. . .fast.

Norm wants six Constitutional amendments (good luck to you, pal), some of which aren't necessary even if you agree with his ideas. But I sure would like it if somebody would write down what defines a "war" these days for the purpose of determining when a cowboy president can go off on his own and get us into one, and when he can't. And while we're at it, somebody should write something down about what financial commitments must be made--ON the books--when we do decide to go blow somebody up in the name of freedom and liberty.

There is a lot more to say, but I'm sure the new Congressional Gang of 12 will do a wonderful job of sorting everything out. And if you believe that I've got some foreclosed land in Florida to sell you. But then, everybody's got foreclosed land in Florida they want to sell you!
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Old September 12th, 2011, 05:58 PM
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Mike,

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There was no mention of abortion and gay marriage was separate from separation of church and state. I did not refer to it as a "religious" issue. I find all of these as three separate issues.
Okay, sorry that I misunderstood.

But the misunderstnading of which I spoke in my post is nonetheless commonplace, so I think that it's good to address it in any case.

Quote:
Others may find these to be part of their religious/moral beliefs but I and many others find them to be very separate. Your citing of the writings of Thomas Aquinas 'interreptations of Natural Law is the integration of religious and moral beliefs.
Actually, I never mentioned Thomas Aquinas. Actually, his writings on morality and Natural Law have more than a few problems. Modern science has shown several of his assumptions to be wrong, so the conclusions that depend on them don't stand logical scrutiny.

Of course, the fact that Natural Law does not depend upon religion does not mean that people of religion cannot contribute to the discernment thereof. It only means that they cannot use their religious tenets as a basis for development of rational arguments.

Quote:
I find that people can be quite "moral" and not be religious or follow the teachings of any religion. I also find the adverse can also be true.
Yes, I agree completely. And indeed, in saying that the moral standard known as Natural Law is universal and does not depend upon the tenets of any religion, my earlier post implied that.

Norm.
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Old September 12th, 2011, 06:40 PM
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AR,

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But the problem with Republicans these days is that they've become "the party with the fringe on top." The extremist tail is wagging the sensible dog bigtime, and it is doing none of us any good.
The same is true of the Democrats, and perhaps more so. It's just a different collection of fringe groups with a different agenda.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I think what bothers me even more than the strict anti-abortion and anti-gay rights positions is the overall disdain for science. A scientist friend who watched the Republican debate the other night said that. . .

"Listening to GOP Presidential candidates talk about science is like listening to children talk about sex: They know it exists, they have strong opinions about what it might mean, but they donít have a clue what itís actually about."
Unfortunately, this is just as true of the Democrats.

Backing up a step, most politicians are not scientists, and do not have the training to differentiate between good science and bad science. Thus, I'm not surprised that politicians of both parties err frequently when discussing scientific issues.

What's even worse, though, is that in some cases political interests have corrupted the normal scientific process by

>> 1. Using tax dollars to fund "studies" with continuation of funding only going to those whose "research" supports the desired ("politically correct") conclusions, thus depriving those who produce contrary findings of the means to continue legitimate research,

>> 2. Running conferences that only accept papers that support the same desired conclusons,

>> 3. Publishing "journals" that, again, only accept papers that support the same desired conclusions, and

>> 4. Systematically launching attacks intended to discredit those who voice legitimate criticisms and who manage to publish contrary viewpoints in the forums that the "insiders" don't control.

The result of such tactics is a gross distortion of the scientific method leading to a false appearance of scientific consensus on conclusions that often are not really correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
There is already a massive difference between what people pay in taxes whose income is derived from gains (15%), and what the middle class--what's left of it--pays from income derived from actual work (35%).
Most of the middle class pay federal income taxes at the marginal rate of 25% rather than 35% under the current tables.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
The argument in favor of this disparity is that favorable gains treatment spurs risk-taking, entrepreneurship and job creation.
Yes, this is true. When the wealthy realize capital gains from investments, about the only thing that they can do with the capital gains is to reinvest them in one way or another.

The other reality is that taxation of capital gains tends to hit rlatively modest estates that have a family farm or a family business. When you force the estate to sell the farm or business to pay the estate tax, the buyer often miscalculates and all of the employees end up losing their jobs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Recent data calls that old chestnut seriously into question.
"Figures don't lie, but liars can figure." -- Old quote.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Of course, all the President's goals regarding taxes on the rich, as reflected a number of times here, should absolutely be done.
One must be careful. Most of the people who are truly wealthy have relatively modest taxable incomes because most of the growth of their appreciation of wealth comes in the form of unrealized capital gains, on which there's no tax. Warren Buffet and Bill Gates probably realize less than eight figures in taxable income, even though their net worths exceed 11 1/2 figures. Rather, the person who is most likely to have a high taxable income is some middle class woker who gets lucky and hits the lottery for nine figure payday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
When people talk about job creation these days, it's amazing how often they fail to link it with one important fact: in order to create jobs, somebody's got to be willing to pay salaries, and that translates into spending. Whether it's in the private sector or the public, you can't create jobs without spending money.
I see your thinking, but you are missing two details.

>> 1. First, the fundamental philosophical question is whether you want to create government jobs, which typically consume wealth, or jobs in private industry that produce wealth. The overall affluence of society depends upon the latter, for which I vote. "A rising tide lifts all boats." -- John F. Kennedy.

>> 2. Private businesses exist to generate profit for their owners or shareholders, and thus will not hire people who don't contribute to their bottom line, taking into account the many cost factors that I described in a previous post. Of course, justice also demands that the investors who fund the creation of a business receive a fair return on their investment, and this return comes out of the profits that the business gnerates.

The bottom line here is that the best way to generate hiring is to cut the cost of hiring employees while generating investment capital. There are several ways to do this -- cutting payroll taxes, cutting the unnecessary regulatory burden, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
--Spending cuts, we need those too. I know this is a military-oriented group, and unless I missed it not a soul has mentioned ending senseless wars in which our national interest has never been adequately defined. But I'll mention it. Them wars of choice are damned expensive and I'm thinkin' we could save boatloads of cash and make a lot of military families happy by pulling some plugs. . .fast.
Our presidents have access to intelligence information that we all don't know. When a candidate campaigns on the promise of a change in policy and then follows the policy of his predecessor once elected, chances are that there's something significant in that intelligence information.

Norm.
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Old September 12th, 2011, 09:39 PM
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You're 100% right Norm. On everything. I should have known better than to even post. You're always 100% right.

I should have realized that wars with no clear objectives are pursued because generations of politicians have the "inside track," know more than we do, and are acting for the good of all of us. . .as long as we're part of the military-industrial complex. Vietnam was like that, wasn't it? Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon. . .they all knew something we didn't that made it necessary for us to squander untold lives and treasure. At the moment I just can't put my finger on what that was, but I'm sure it was something worthwhile. I imagine it'll come back to me the next time I walk the Vietnam Memorial downtown and touch my hand to the names of the friends I lost.

Again, I humbly bow to your pedigree, your clearly superior body of knowledge, your unassailable financial acumen, your stock portfolio and your political brilliance.
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Old September 12th, 2011, 11:02 PM
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I'm reminded of the adage, "All things in moderation" except when it comes to war.

I shall say that my greatest disappointment in Bush was that he went into Iraq without the total force necessary to win (actually he had it but was forbidden by Turkey to use it). War is pure Hell (I know because I'm a student of war). War is only won with total devastation of the opponent, PERIOD! I personally think we should have stayed in Afghanistan and Afghantistan alone.

But in Norm's defence, we don't know what the government knows. As late as 1945, Winston Churchill stated he almost lost the war in the North Atlantic in early 1943 when in fact, he had won it in 1941 and never knew it. Statistics bear out this fact. i'll be happy to provide these statistics if anyone believes otherwise. As a matter of fact, we ourselves didn't even know it. But as I said, hindsight is twenty-twenty.

Remember that, hindsight is twenty-twenty.

John Kennedy wanted to get out of Vietnam and he was absolutely worried to death that he would be followed by Lyndon Johnson, whom he couldn't stand. Kennedy proved to be right. I could tell you facts about Lyndon Johnson during his stint with the Navy in WWII that would enrage most Americans. But then again, hindsight is twenty-twenty.

As yet again, I love to say, "History is history," PERIOD! We either learn from it or are doomed to repeat it.

In closing, FDR (whom I believe was the right man at the right time as was Churchill for England....and as I recently wrote, I was honored to lay a wreath at his grave (and I slanted it toward Fala's), he never even came close to solving the Great Depression. Don't take my word for that, just check the stats. In 1940, unemployment in the US stood at between 16 and 18 percent. So much for government intervention in the economy.

If one thinks the government is the answer, they're dead wrong....unless of course the government curtails regulations, issues tax cuts, etc., etc.

In essence, Socialism in whatever forrm does not work, has never worked and will never work. Over two thousand years of history have amply proven that. Don't believe me? Then lets go to the stats!

I am not a college graduate nor do I have exceptional knowledge of business. BUT, I read voluminously, everything, and as a former law enforcement officer I am ingrained with backing up what I say....not with politics....but with statistics. If I'm adamant about something, even if you don't agree, you really don't want to go to war with me simply because I know the answers long before I pose the proposition.

And no, I'm, not a smart ass..... I've just been burned too many times to know better.

Todd
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Old September 13th, 2011, 12:02 PM
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Todd--

You're obviously right that "we don't know what the government knows." The issue then becomes one of trust. Because when governments are caught in lies about why we fight ("domino theory," "slam-dunk," etc.) they lose credibility in an arena where they can ill-afford that loss. The consequences are overwhelming, in that it becomes difficult or impossible to make a case in the future, even if you have facts on your side. You're left saying "trust me," when nobody does because of your record.

And although the good book tells us that the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, it doesn't work out that way in politics, even when the son is from another party. If there is a history of lying about justifications for war, that reputation sticks. . .for a long time and across party lines.
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Old September 13th, 2011, 04:56 PM
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AR,

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I should have realized that wars with no clear objectives are pursued because generations of politicians have the "inside track," know more than we do, and are acting for the good of all of us. . .as long as we're part of the military-industrial complex. Vietnam was like that, wasn't it?
Vietnam was entirely winnable, but completely bungled. President Johnson appointed a Secretary of Defense named MacNamara who promptly proceeded to impose himself between the President and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a manner that ensured that neither would ever be in the same room as the other, then told each that the other said what he wanted them to hear -- which was not necessarily what the other actually said.

MacNamara also drew circles around every major city in North Vietnam (25 mile radius around Hanoi and 15 mile radius around the others) and forbade air strikes within those circles. Of course, that's priecisely where the North Vietnamese promptly cited their antiaircraft batteries, which were shooting down our combat aircraft. And that, sir, is no way whatsoever to fight a war.

But the Joint Chiefs of Staff gave two pieces of advice to the White House regarding the Vietnam Conflict. The first was to stay out of it. After the first was disregarded, the second ws to go in with sufficient force to win. That also was disregarded.

In Vietnam, President Nixon inherited a mess. To his credit, he attempted to go in with sufficient force to win. Unfortunately, the political tide had turned before he came to office and a hostile Congress refused to support that effort.

*****

With regard to the present sitution in the middle east, however, the problem is that we failed to take out the leading sponsor of terrorism -- the moolahs in control of Iran. Until we do so, we are going to have an ongoing problem and so is Israel. The present government of Iran is the primary source of funding and arms for several terrorist organizations including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and also the leading source of funding and arms for al Sadr's militia and several other groups of "insurgents" in Iraq. Although the links are less clear, the Somali pirates, various factions of Al Qaeda, and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan also appear to have the moolahs' support.

Norm.
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Old September 13th, 2011, 04:59 PM
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Todd,

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I'm reminded of the adage, "All things in moderation" except when it comes to war.

I shall say that my greatest disappointment in Bush was that he went into Iraq without the total force necessary to win (actually he had it but was forbidden by Turkey to use it). War is pure Hell (I know because I'm a student of war). War is only won with total devastation of the opponent, PERIOD! I personally think we should have stayed in Afghanistan and Afghantistan alone.

But in Norm's defence, we don't know what the government knows. As late as 1945, Winston Churchill stated he almost lost the war in the North Atlantic in early 1943 when in fact, he had won it in 1941 and never knew it. Statistics bear out this fact. i'll be happy to provide these statistics if anyone believes otherwise. As a matter of fact, we ourselves didn't even know it. But as I said, hindsight is twenty-twenty.

Remember that, hindsight is twenty-twenty.

John Kennedy wanted to get out of Vietnam and he was absolutely worried to death that he would be followed by Lyndon Johnson, whom he couldn't stand. Kennedy proved to be right. I could tell you facts about Lyndon Johnson during his stint with the Navy in WWII that would enrage most Americans. But then again, hindsight is twenty-twenty.

As yet again, I love to say, "History is history," PERIOD! We either learn from it or are doomed to repeat it.

In closing, FDR (whom I believe was the right man at the right time as was Churchill for England....and as I recently wrote, I was honored to lay a wreath at his grave (and I slanted it toward Fala's), he never even came close to solving the Great Depression. Don't take my word for that, just check the stats. In 1940, unemployment in the US stood at between 16 and 18 percent. So much for government intervention in the economy.

If one thinks the government is the answer, they're dead wrong....unless of course the government curtails regulations, issues tax cuts, etc., etc.

In essence, Socialism in whatever forrm does not work, has never worked and will never work. Over two thousand years of history have amply proven that. Don't believe me? Then lets go to the stats!

I am not a college graduate nor do I have exceptional knowledge of business. BUT, I read voluminously, everything, and as a former law enforcement officer I am ingrained with backing up what I say....not with politics....but with statistics. If I'm adamant about something, even if you don't agree, you really don't want to go to war with me simply because I know the answers long before I pose the proposition.
This is very well said. You have far more knowledge and wisdom than you may realize!

Norm, who is well aware that learning does not necessarily require formal education leading to academic degrees....
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