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09 September 2011


Greg Goodknight

"Recently we were discussing Machiavelli and whether it was ok for the government to lie to the American people and it was concluded that it was not."

Not really; iirc we concluded that, contrary to your claims, Machiavelli never concluded it was OK to lie to one's own people. In fact, I think old Niccolo never got into the ethics of the use of power, only the dynamics. The ethics were for the Prince and God to sort out.

And regarding "Bush lied, people died", what Bush said in his state of the union address was that British Intelligence said they believed Iraq was seeking yellowcake uranium in Niger. In fact, the Brits still say that, and a bipartisan U.S. congressional panel investigating after the fact agreed. Bush didn't lie.

Long after the fact, Vladimir Putin let fly with public statements that on two separate occasions, he personally informed Bush of Russian intelligence gathering of comments by Iraqis to the effect they were planning on sponsoring terror attacks within our borders. Imagine what would have happened had that happened on Bush's watch, after being tipped by Putin.

In fact, a lie is a pretty high (or low) standard. You have to be saying one thing while knowing it wasn't true, and I saw little evidence of that by the Bushies. Certainly less than in the Clinton administration and possibly less than in the Obama administration. Believing in something and making a statement that was later found to not be true makes it an error, not a lie.

Douglas Keachie

How many gallons of aid and comfort as an Islamosymph will you buy at the gas pump today?

Douglas Keachie

Once it was established that the WMD's were not there, say 2 years in, it was time to leave, if that was the rationale for going in.

Paul Emery

Thank you Todd for the direct response to my statement.

The Constitution requires a congressional declaration of war before the president can wage war.

The Viet Namm war was specifically authorized by the Bay of Tonkin resolution which was a designed lie to get support from Congress for military action in the region. WMD's was the primary reason for invading Iraq that was presented to Congress to gain support for our action. Those reasons were lies and deceptions hiding the real reasons for both wars which was strategic resources and posturing.

Do we have an agreement that Constitutionally we need a Declaration of War to engage in a military invasion of a sovereign nation?

Tonkin resolution


Douglas Keachie

I get all of one hit for:

"Tora-Tora-Tora Shinto Temple"

Apparently this is some pet project belonging only to George Rebane.

Are there any German Christian churches with special shrine outside the concentration camps of NAZI Germany?


The memorial site
Memorial at the camp in 1997
Aerial photo of the memorial in 2010

Between 1945 and 1948 when the camp was handed over to the Bavarian authorities, many accused war criminals and members of the SS were imprisoned at the camp.

Owing to the severe refugee crisis mainly caused by the expulsions of ethnic Germans, the camp was from late 1948 used to house 2000 Germans from Czechoslovakia (mainly from the Sudetenland). This settlement was called Dachau-East, and remained until the mid 1960s.[29] During this time, former prisoners banded together to erect a memorial on the site of the camp, finding it unbelievable that there were still people (refugees) living in the former camp.

The display, which was reworked in 2003, takes the visitor through the path of new arrivals to the camp. Special presentations of some of the notable prisoners are also provided. Two of the barracks have been rebuilt and one shows a cross-section of the entire history of the camp, since the original barracks had to be torn down due to their poor condition when the memorial was built. The other 32 barracks are indicated by concrete foundations.

The memorial includes four chapels for the various religions represented among the prisoners.

The local government resisted designating the complete site a memorial. The former SS barracks adjacent to the camp are now occupied by the Bavarian Bereitschaftspolizei (rapid response police unit).[30]

Todd Juvinall

Well said Greg.

George Rebane

BenE re 1148am - Am I being pilloried again for having posited thoughts that I never had?

GregG re 144pm - Well said.

RL Crabb

Utah Phillips and George Rebane were/are both friends of mine. Both have some very radical tendencies at different ends of the spectrum. At times I had very big differences of opinion with both of them. They never made it easy on me. I always tried to return the favor.

Todd Juvinall

Somehow my response te Greg doing the smackdown of PaulE was out of sequence. I noticed PaulE does his usual dodge by agreeing to something I said which I don't have an idea what it is while never answering any of my questions. That debate technique makes you look silly PaulE. Or, maybe I am reading your lack of response wrong. maybe you don't answer our questions because you can't. We could therefor assume you are accepting our questions as the truth. Yes, that is it. Our questions to you are dodged because you know we have asked you to answer something you know is true and therefore you have decided to acquiesce to our logic by your silence. Thanks PaulE, now I know when and why you never answer.

Douglas Keachie

Contrary to Greg's prior commentaries, I know I'm doing well when the other side does their best to pretend what I've written doesn't exist.

"Hey, hey


How much Islamosymph gas, did you buy today?"

Loyal Americans will work for solar independence, and so shall future history record the rebirth of the nation.

Douglas Keachie

Is getting married and having a kid right out of high school yet another path to avoiding Vietnam service, utilized by one who is five years younger than I and had the advantage of watching us older dudes protest the stupid war enough so that he knew it was bad juju, to be avoided by any and all means possible? Besides, making babies is fun, especially the very first part...

Greg Goodknight

Paul, WMDs were one of about four of the stated reasons for resuming hostilities in Iraq, any one of which were sufficient under international law. However, none of them would have existed had we chosen not to get involved a decade earlier when Iraq decided to expand past its borders. Personally, I found the failure of Iraq to uphold the cease-fire agreement to be necessary and sufficient the second time around, but not for a virtually permanent occupation.

WMDs was the issue that got the most traction, and it was oversold.

The world would be better off now had the Islamists had to deal with their own failures in the '90's without "The Great Satan" to blame for their own shortcomings in the years following.

Paul Emery

Todd, or anyone else

Let's try this

Constitutionally do we need a Declaration of War to engage in a military invasion of a sovereign nation?

Ben Emery

Short memory isn't an excuse. A state department memo showed that the infamous 16 words were false nearly two weeks before the 2003 SOTU. The documents were forgeries that the administration chose to ignore and went forward using the false claim to promote and secure support for an otherwise unjustifiable invasion.

Greg Goodknight

Ben, links to the "memo", please. The State Department wasn't exactly a neutral player in all of this. Remember State's Armitage being the actual leaker in the Valerie Plame affair? Again, a bipartisan congressional investigation long after the fact found otherwise.

Paul, a bill passed by Congress and signed by the President giving the President the authority to invade a sovereign nation if needed would seem to be equivalent.

Paul Emery


So that would be the Bay of Tonkin Resolution and the Iraq war resolution of which the Itaq's possession of WMD's was the main reason. This is supported by Sec of Defense Rumsfield in a recent interview he said.

" intelligence reports - now shown to have been false - that Iraq possessed so-called WMDs was the main reason for going in, Rumsfeld said.

"No question it was the big one," he said. Asked if the United States would not have invaded if the administration didn't believe Iraq had the weapons of mass destruction, Rumsfeld said: "I think that's probably right."

He criticized the source known as "Curveball" - an Iraqi defector who admitted his claims that Iraq possessed WMDs were false - but stopped short of condemning the U.S. intelligence community.


I suggest reading this link to Fox news to learn more about "Curveball"

George and I agree that the real reason for the invasion was strategic resources. In my opinion the whole resolution was intentionally deceptive to hide the real reason.

In my opinion both resolutions were intentionally deceptive making the protestors of our actions champions for truth and honesty.

George Rebane

As I have stated before on these pages - given that it is in America's interest to remain a/the world's hegemon, then our prime foreign policy plank is to destabilize any and all up-and-comers who would challenge our hegemony in their parts of the world. This will from time to time require us to project military power, but it does not require us to win any engagements that are popularly called 'wars'. There is, of course, an internal political cost to be paid for this that includes questions of culture-specific morality.

(For what it's worth, George Friedman of Stratfor agrees.)

The two open questions are 1) can our interests be served by other than remaining hegemon, and if not 2) what internal moral parameters apply/restrict our ability to maintain our hegemony. The first question is imperative, the second is optional.

Paul Emery

Here's the proper link to the Rummy story


Greg Goodknight

Paul, the cease fire terms for Iraq I included that they were to follow the UN demands, and the UN went on to craft 17 (iirc) resolutions that the Baathists failed to heed. Including a demand that Iraq help prove their claims that all WMDs were destroyed.

The cat and mouse games with inspectors were contrary to the UN resolutions, but they did effectively convince Iraqs neighbors that Iraq kept the goodies just in case. They walked a fine line hoping the US would figure out what the truth was.

State Department sent a guy to Niger to ask if Iraqis has shopped for yellowcake, and that guy, send by the recommendation of his wife Valerie, was told "no". Also, there was a faked document, but the best description of that thing's effect was by comrade Christopher Hitchens, who wrote "The upshot was—follow me closely here—that a phony paper alleging a deal was used to shoot down a genuine document suggesting a connection. "

In fact, Hitch's Fighting Words in Slate had a number of great articles on the subject. The quote above is from "Wowie Zahawie: Sorry everyone, but Iraq did go uranium shopping in Niger".

Paul Emery

I don't have time to input on this very important question except that I would reverse the priority.

Paul Emery


I hear what you are saying and we can argue and compare links for weeks. Let me ask you this question. Assuming there was true concerns about WMD's, do you believe the reasons stated in the resolution were the true reasons for invading Iraq.

Greg Goodknight

Paul, I expect you'd be perfectly willing to remain on the subject were you not losing your arguments. Read the Hitchen's piece.

Personally, I blame George HW Bush's presidency for getting us into the area, and it was his Sphincter of State, James Baker, who made it clear we were going in at that time because of oil and American jobs. But in those days, the only protests were by Peace & Freedom types and Libertarians. Dems and R's both loved it. Wave that flag.

I blame Bush I even more for not finishing the bloody job, but it does appear the ex-CIA director turned President thought the Agency could work its magic and help a Iraqi coup d'etat decapitate the government. Unfortunately, Saddam understood the essence of Machiavellian theory and Stalinist tactics better than the CIA did.


Greg Goodknight

For some preemptive reading, check out comrade Hitchen's "Clueless Joe Wilson: How did the CIA's special envoy miss Zahawie's trip to Niger?"

"Take that permanent smirk off your face, Ambassador (and the look of martyrdom as well, while you are at it). It seems that your contacts in the Niger Ministry of Mines—the ones that your wife told the CIA made you such a good choice for the trip—didn't rate you highly enough to tell you about the Zahawie visit. It would, interestingly, have been a name you already knew. But you didn't even get as far as having to explain it away—or not until last week—because you were that far in the dark. It was left to Italian, French, and British intelligence to discover the suggestive fact and transmit it to Washington. And it's been left to someone else, most probably in the Niger embassy in Rome, to produce a much later fabrication, either for gain or in order to discredit a true story. The forged account has no bearing at all on the authentic one: It bears the same relationship as a fake $100 bill does to a genuine bill. "


Paul Emery


I assume you feel that the case made for war by the Bush Admin was a valid reason for invasion and war so that position stands on it's own. I'm not arguing with you, I just wanted to know where you stand so mission accomplished. You know where I stand so any further googling and mousing won't change anything and is a waste of time. Yeah, you're the winner.

Ben Emery


Link to memo

The link to the original article will not open so here is a another link that picked up the story.

State Department Memo: '16 Words' Were False
Opening paragraph

"Sixteen days before President Bush's January 28, 2003, State of the Union address in which he said that the US learned from British intelligence that Iraq had attempted to acquire uranium from Africa - an explosive claim that helped pave the way to war - the State Department told the CIA that the intelligence the uranium claims were based upon were forgeries, according to a newly declassified State Department memo. "

Ben Emery

So you believe in American Empire and to keep that power collateral damage a.k.a. innocent civilian deaths/ destruction of social structure is justified?

Brad Croul

Vietnam was not our enemy. Vietnam was a pawn in a bigger, hegemonic power struggle between USSR, China and USA, and with France before that. It was not the protesting of the Vietnam War (aka, The American Invasion of Vietnam) by US citizens our own reasons that gave aid and comfort to the Vietnamese, it was the propaganda used by the Vietnamese (why were they our enemies?) of USA protestors that may have given aid and comfort. I am glad at the thought that the Vietnamese were comforted knowing that, at least, a few people in the USA were of sound mind and thought invading small tropical countries was not a very righteous thing to do just to prove who was the biggest hegemon master on the block. It seems it was a trivial pursuit anyway. Now it is a tourist destination and full of cheap laborers. We won after all, it would appear.

Todd Juvinall

George, it is fascinating to listen to the illogical of liberals. For instance, BenE's last comment at 4:54 as usual goes to extremes of illogical. Because you state America should remain strong and should protect the citizens by remaining strong, the liberal asks if slaughtering civilians is OK. Now, having debated these nuts for many years, this tactic is SOP from their leftwing playbook. If you had said you favor a strong police presence on Broad Street to keep the scofflaws from attacking pedestrians, you would be accused of being a fascist. oops, they already have doe that, sorry. Anyway, these liberals simply believe they can talk to the head choppers and everything will be fine. I shake my head in amazement at their ignorance of life and history.

Paul Emery


There is nothing else you have to say. You believe the Bay of Tonkin resolution and the Iraq war resolution fulfilled the Constitutional requirements to authorize us going to war. You need say no more. Your position is clear. Thanks for the conversation.

Greg Goodknight

Ben, thank you for the link to info on the memo you were referring to, it was exactly as I expected.

That information was handily demolished by the two pieces by Christopher Hitchens that I quoted and linked. Try reading them.

Bush's SOTU address claim, that British Intel believed Iraq was shopping for yellowcake uranium in Niger, remains literally true and incontrovertable. That Joe Wilson asked his buddies in Niger and wrote a memo to the contrary does not negate the fact that the Brit, Italian and French intelligence services came to a different conclusion. As did the US Congress.

Greg Goodknight

Paul, your desire to just cook the issue down to the regurgitation of the usual sound bites is your choice.

Greg Goodknight

BTW, a show of hands, please... Of those of you who are to the left of the Democratic Party center, how many of you expected the Obama administration to promptly shut down Guantanamo and bring charges against Bush & Cheney?

Paul Emery


I will be gone till Monday with little time to spend on this but when I return if you would like to engage in an in depth look at my contention that the Bush Admin cooked up false justifications for going to war in Iraq I will gladly engage you. My contention, and George agrees is that the real reason we went to war in Iraq is to secure strategic resources. Nowhere was that mentioned in the Iraq war resolution making it deceptive and devious.

Douglas Keachie

BTW, a show of hands, please...Of those supporting tax cuts for the rich, how many believe that these policies created any substantial numbers of good paying jobs (in this country, of course) over the last ten years?

Ben Emery

I went to the article and read it and what I read was a guy desperately trying to justify his support (born again neo-con) for the invasion. I also did a little research and found nothing that validates his claims. But I did find

Larry C Johnson

Christopher Hitchens, Clueless in a Class by Himself

Greg Goodknight

I see Ben has googled the article and found an obscure blog entry (two whole comments!) by someone who inartfully contradicts Hitchens.

Hitchens as a neocon? He's not a conservative of any sort, neo or otherwise. However, Ben, it is clear he isn't of your tribe, and you may ignore him on that level if you need to.

This is about tribalism, and the "Peace Center"'s divisive choice on Sunday was as tribal as it gets.

Todd Juvinall

BenE calling Hitchens a neo-con! Now that's rich. It is clear he does not know who he is.

Keachie, I think everyone should pay less taxes even those rich people. The problem is spending.

Douglas Keachie

I thought the divisive cultural split between PFLAG and The Teeper Creatures in the parade Sunday won that award for the year.

Douglas Keachie

No, the problem is spenting. All the past spenting that Bush and the Raiders of the Lost Arc of the Socsecure funds is the problem. Arc is not mis-spelled, you see it goes with all the voters who cosined the raids, instead of vetoing them during the elections following each pillage. It takes quite a few pillages to reduce all the villages and villagers to peonage.

Paul Emery

I was in the balcony running sound and can testify that the TFLAG entry got as many cheers as the TP's

Ben Emery

You picked a single article from a person who was a strong advocate of the Iraq invasion. You choose yours and I choose mine. Larry C Johnson was a distinguished CIA analyst and started that "obscure" blog that focuses on terrorism, intelligence, and politics. His blog, NoQuarterUSA, was one of the highest rated political blogs at the time. He was a republican that voted for President Bush in 2000.

I know who Hitchens is and he has made a very interesting turn over the last decade.

Would Rumination Regulars (RR) consider George W Bush a conservative? I wouldn't, he is a neo-con. I believe it is RR who don't know what they are talking about and need to a little more research.

Definition of a neo-con.
: a former liberal espousing political conservatism
: a conservative who advocates the assertive promotion of democracy and United States national interest in international affairs including through military means

Those who support and advocate the policies of PNAC are neo-cons.

Ben Emery

The question is still hanging out there RR; do you believe in American Empire and to keep that power collateral damage a.k.a. innocent civilian deaths/ destruction of social structure is justified?

My point is look at our response from 19 terrorists who attacked the US. What would we do if a nation invaded the US and imposed martial law on US citizens? There is this saying that keeps popping up that it known as The Golden Rule or Ethic of Reciprocity.

George Rebane

BenE - IMHO and the reading of history, your "popping up" sayings are a bit naive when applied to sovereign nation states. Mores and values stop at national borders, and their conjunctions must be negotiated between parties. It was ever thus, and is more so in today's world of changing empires and hegemonic dynamics. Nations act and react to serve their interests, and not on the basis of altruistic shibboleths that may apply only in one culture if even there.

Paul Emery

Yeah, like what we did in Iran in 1952 creating a coup that ejected and executed a democratically elected leader replacing him with a dictator, the Shah of Iran. Guess what? It was all about oil. That was a golden moment in American history.

This is from the CIA website no less

"Most of the CIA's acknowledged efforts of this sort have shown that Washington has been more interested in strongman rule in the Middle East and elsewhere than in encouraging democracy. The result is a credibility problem that accompanied American troops into Iraq and continues to plague them as the United States prepares to hand over sovereignty to local authorities. "


Ben Emery

So your answer is yes. I wish you would just answer the questions straight forward instead of hiding behind flowery responses. So it is global manifest destiny. What is going on in the US has played itself out many times in world history. I put the naive label onto you my friend in believing the US can avoid repeating history despite its perpetual expansion of its empire in the name of national interest. If we want to continue our super power status we need to bring back manufacturing to the US, create energy independence through a variety of energy sources while eliminating our nearly $400 billion expense of foreign sources, and reduce our military influence over the globe. We spend more on defense than the rest of the planet put together.

I believe that your last statement will not ring true within the next century or even two generations. We are seeing a shifting of a paradigm (fossil fuels, banking, war, water, food) that can no longer exist on its current path and when we hit that threshold the shift will come through massive collective suffering and what will emerge is a global cooperation. The question is whether we are going to have policies in place that allow us to make the transition relatively quickly or is it going to be a long and drawn out process. I choose the former. I encourage you to check out the book A New Golden Age http://02ae523.netsolhost.com/gapr.html

Todd Juvinall

George he still doesn't get your statement after all the explanations. They don't want to get it because they can't. They are not smart enough to figure out that America is a unique place they happen to be born in instead of be grateful they are snarks. PaulE is hung up on Iran. During WW2, America and the allies used the Iranian roads to ferry supplies to our then ally, the USSR in its battle with the Nazi's. When it was apparent the Nazi's were going to be toast, Stalin decided to try and weasel into taking over Iran to gain a warm water port. He of course had done this to many other countries, even Estonia. Anyway the country became part of the "cold war" strategies. The thing Paul doesn't get is the USSR would be there today and the country would contain 70 million little Stalin's which I guess he doesn't care about. He complains the US installed a dictator there, well, maybe and maybe not. The Shah was a secular fellow and not unlike the others rulers around the planet, governed with an iron fist, Well, PaulE and BenE got their wish and now we have the present day Iran ruled by religious nuts and a PM who thinks his savior will be jumping out of a well soon. The Shah never had aspirations beyond the borders of Iran as does the present day rulers. I think Paul's history lessons need some updates and critical thinking.

Todd Juvinall

Oops, one last point. BenE thinks hegemony means the Americans taking over the place. Physically I guess. I see it as we stay powerful through our economic and military might so other countries leave any thought of conquering us under their pillows. We have no desire for more dirt which the liberals don't understand. There is no physicasl manifest destiny, only hegemony through strength to be unmolested here.

Paul Emery

Iran is just one example of the US using it's military power to topple democracies throughout the world. It's Imperialism pure and simple. We have supported some of the worst dictators kn the world all the time saying the US is for the peace and freedom of the world. Ron Paul again comes to mind.

"The inability of taxpayers to fund both guns-and-butter has not deterred those who smell the glory of war. Notoriously, great nations fall once their appetite for foreign domination outstrips their citizens' ability or willingness to pay. We tried the guns-and-butter approach in the 1960s with bad results, and the same will happen again as a consequence of the current political decision not to cut back on any expenditure, domestic or foreign. Veto nothing is current policy! Tax, borrow, and print to pay the bills is today's conventional wisdom. The problem is that all the bills eventually must be paid. There's no free lunch, and no free war. The economic consequences of such a policy are well known and documented. Excessive spending leads to excessive deficits, higher taxes, and more borrowing and inflation — which spells economic problems that always clobber the middle class and the poor."

Todd Juvinall

We are not an imperialist country, you are simply wrong. I do agree with your opinion on spending in the last post.

Iran nationalized the oil industry in the early 50's which was owned in partnership and under treaty between th e English and Persia. I would expect you might defend yourself if someone came in and took your undies.

Paul Emery

That's correct and we intervened causing a coup and ousting a Democratically elected leader replacing him with a friendly dictator. Why was it our business to come to Britain's rescue? . Imperialism pure and simple

Who pays for our wars Todd? What is it about Ron Pauls piece on spending that you disagree with?

Paul Emery

Here is Websters definition of imperialism

: the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas; broadly : the extension or imposition of power, authority, or influence

Sounds like American foreign policy to me

Todd Juvinall

Wrong again PaulE. The definition does not fit our role in Iran at all. A coup removes one set of rulers and replaces them with another. The replacements were Iranians, not Americans. To make your manipulation of the word work America would need to be there and running things. The Shah did that.

Regarding the wars. Yes, wars are very expensive and should be avoided most of the time. Unfortunately their are people and countries that want to do us harm and we need to protect ourselves. Sure, there are times we have helped others (like the French in Vietnam which was a huge mistake) and we have treaties of mutual aid and protection we must stand up for. Like WW2 or Grenada and even Panama. Maybe Santa Domingo and Nicaragua in the 20's. We have been the world's police force force a 120 years and right or wrong it was done under every political party. Sometimes you have to stand up to tyranny and yes it costs us money. But we are not Imperialists, we even got out of the Philippines didn't we?

George Rebane

BenE re 1054pm – Wow! Where to start? You again ascribe opinions and beliefs to me that you fashion out of whole cloth to suit your thread of argument. I have claimed no “global manifest destiny”, nor have I claimed that we are expanding our “empire” (cf. PaulE’s continuing harangue on US imperialism). We are past the tipping point in many dimensions, and a graceful retreat is the best we can now hope for. Nevertheless, for the most part our interests remain unchanged. Those notions are semantically independent and should be covered in their own right.

Your prescription for US retaining its hegemony is wrong. We cannot “bring back manufacturing” as long as those 3 billion workers out there compete with would-be American factory workers. Strict political and trade isolationism is the only environment in which that can occur, and as most readers know, if goods don’t cross borders, armies will. In the interval, the US will become a much poorer country with a degraded QoL. And due to our broken educational system and demographic inertia, there is no quick fix in sight – few politicians understand this reality, and none want to talk about it in public.

As these pages have recorded and cited (now there seems to be clinical evidence), the collective mindset not only interprets differently what it sees of the world (the observables), but also uses a different and yet to be discovered logic with which it reasons. That is the prime impediment to understanding so that what each of us says to the other often makes no sense at all. RR is a hopeful venue where we can come together and keep the dialogue alive, no matter how frustrating it is. What other alternatives have we?

(In a deeper vein here, I’ve been meaning to write a piece on how many people of goodwill fail to make progress in a conversation that seeks to dissect an seemingly crisp issue/topic that was introduced at the start. The explication involves the understanding of and hewing to a strict semantic taxonomy, and punctually noting when ‘lateral jumps’ are made so that the result is not getting lost in the forest of seemingly related notions and winding up exhausted and frustrated. Examples of such meanderings abound in RR’s comment streams.)

Finally, you accuse me of “hiding behind flowery responses”. First, you ask a lot of prosecutorial questions of the form ‘Have you stopped beating your wife yet?, Yes or No.’ These are obviously weak in dealing with the topics and issues here (there are other blogs where such approaches may better serve). And second, for the most part RR readers and discussants are an educated lot, and as such, I treat, talk, and write to them as peers using the best communicative and compact language of which I am capable. If for some this causes a problem, I apologize without promise of any change.

Ben Emery

The ones not getting it is Rumination Regulars (RR), which seems to be dwindling by the way. Total comments and supporters of these very extreme minority ideas are two totally different things.

Please Read this short book online
War is a Racket by Major General Smedley Butler

George Rebane

BenE - your use of "RR" for "Rumination Regulars" is confusing. RR has been the initials contraction for the name of the blog since its inception. And you seem to have an additional meaning that the Rumination Regulars are only the conservative regular readers of this blog, and not all regular readers of which you are one. Perhaps using RRR would be more clear, or even RCR for 'Ruminations Conservative Regulars' as opposed to RLR.

Todd Juvinall

BenE, so you have access to the pageviews on RR? I would suggest you know not what you speak of. I would suggest you read the Holy Bible. I am already a old hand at military history.

George has you pegged perfectly. You always complain and you never answer any questions from the opposing view.
Oh, here is a book you should also read. "How to win and Election for Dummies". LOL.

Ben Emery

My line of questioning is to get you to clarify what you are advocating, nothing more. US manufacturing can come back if we would remove ourselves from these destructive free trade agreements. It just takes political will to stand up the powers that own both republican and democratic leadership. If America is to remain a prominent player in the world this is a must. Creating level playing field with selective import tariffs creating the cost of goods equal no matter where companies decide to manufacture is far from being isolationists. Out of the G20 nations that the US is the only nation that does protect its own industries through some form of what I just described.

I will stop participating at ruminations because it is evident that those who follow and support ruminations insights do not believe in that people should have any power in their government that control the laws from under which they live. I believe in representative democracy, allowing the people to control their government. RR believe in corporatocracy where the wealthy and businesses dictate the laws and conditions of our nation. This is really the extension of the arguments of the founders. A pure republic vs a democratic republic.

Here are a few words from Thomas Jefferson (my perspective) to John Adams (RR perspective).

"The artificial aristocracy is a mischievous ingredient in government, and provision should be made to prevent its ascendancy. On the question, what is the best provision, you and I differ; but we differ as rational friends, using the free exercise of our own reason, and mutually indulging its errors. You think it best to put the pseudo-aristoi into a separate chamber of legislation [the Senate], where they may be hindered from doing mischief by their coordinate branches, and where, also, they may be a protection to wealth against the agrarian and plundering enterprises of the majority of the people. I think that to give them power in order to prevent them from doing mischief, is arming them for it, and increasing instead of remedying the evil."

Greg Goodknight

Ben, your Smoot-Hawley part Doh! is not the path to prosperity, and Hitchens isn't a neo-con. Or any con. Anti-theist heretic liberal is probably closest.

The facts in Hitchen's pieces are all verifiable. If you have problems with one or two, just ask. If more than that, you're just not looking very hard.

George Rebane

When we protect our commercial enterprises with tariffs, to 'level the playing field', we wind up making Americans pay more than the best price available from the most efficient providers. Other nations that did that have wound up the poorer for it - e.g. charging outlandish tariffs on American goods like cars and ice boxes.

Protectionism has never worked in America's favor, but in the past we always had the next area of technology or level of productivity as a unique capability on which the country could capitalize. That is still there, but fewer American workers are able to participate in such work areas for all the obvious reasons. Today protectionism is returning as a bi-partisan populist goal, but there is no indication that it will serve any better than in the past to beggar the nation.

We simply don't have a pat solution to the workforce crisis, and I fear that regressing to protectionist policies will simply reproduce past effects. More here.


paul emery

Imperialism defination once again
" by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas; broadly : the extension or imposition of power, authority, or influence"

We installed and supported the dictatorship of the Shah of Iran with billions of dollars and AMerican intelligence services. We sat back while he sent untold thousands to death camps and prisons . How is it American to support such a despot? Imperialism no doubt by this definition. I can provide more later

Todd Juvinall

PaulE give it up about imperialism man,. you are wrong.

BenE, why do you make statements like this in your 11:10 Am today,

"I will stop participating at ruminations because it is evident that those who follow and support ruminations insights do not believe in that people should have any power in their government that control the laws from under which they live."?

That is simply evidence again that you have no clue what a conservative stands for and for that matter, the multi-dimensional Tea Party. I am shocked, totally shocked you would make such an asinine statement. And threaten to leave the RR blog because you seem to believe the tripe in that quote! Please!

I would suggest the Green Party is simply a arm of the liberal democrat party which is even more extreme than they. Your party platform ( http://www.gp.org/committees/platform/2010/index.php) would subjugate humans and place them on an equal right to live as an amoeba for goodness sakes. You also favor job killing regulations to "protect" the planet from human endeavors. Remember, wasn't the Green Party the outgrowth of some violent European revolutionaries as well?

Free trade is not the problem either, it is labor costs. That is where we are smoked by the billions of people across the seas and below our borders. I suggest you figure that out first.

So please, if you can't hack the debating surely leave and remain at the lefty blogs where people of your ilk play footsie all day.

Greg Goodknight

Paul, let us know when you want to stop chatting about cold war machinations.

U.S. spooks weren't trying to get control of the Iranian people or their wealth, but they were scrambling to have client states on the edge of the USSR for monitoring posts and to keep Soviet influence at bay. This was important to the spooks in the '50's, not so important now. Satellite technologies have largely replaced radios on the ground. Having a communist sympathizer running Iran the threat of nationalizing the British controlled oil company also angered many, especially the Brits. Now, had they just decided to milk the Anglo oilmen they way one would boil a frog, slowly raising tariffs, they'd have gained control of oil profits the old fashioned way while allowing the Brits to keep enough to make it worthwhile.

Paul, just to 'calibrate' the discussion... on the evil scale of 0 to 10, 10 being really, really, maximally evil, where do you put the last Shah of Iran, and where do you put Saddam Hussein? I'd put the Shah at about a 3, where most active hereditary Kings with real power might be, and Saddam at a 9, along with Hitler and Stalin. You?

paul emery


You neglect to note that Saddam committed huge attrociaties while on the American payroll including gasing the Kurds with chemicals whose manufacture was supported by American advisors. We continued to give him financial and logistic after it become common knowledge. No Todd, evil is evil and I don't want our country to be part of any of it. Imperialism? Yes

George Rebane

"... including gasing (sic) Kurds with chemicals whose manufacture was supported by American advisors (sic)." Well there's a direct connection to American imperialism if I ever saw one.

The US has never become a signatory of any international agreement that outlaws the responsive use of chemical, biological, or radiological weapons. (In fact, for most CBR weapons we reserve the right to first use.) We have them in our arsenal, so of course we not only "support" the manufacture of such chemicals, we actually manufacture them ourselves. And such support doesn't come from only American advisers, but from the President himself.

Did we supply, teach, and goad Saddam in the use of such weapons against his own people? No. But with such tenuous tendrils of reasoning, America can easily be blamed for damn near anything that is on the leftwing agenda to denigrate the nation.

Todd Juvinall

I still can't make the connection PaulE is laboriously trying to make about Saddam. In his tortured mind Americans must have been holding the nozzle open when the Kurds were murdered. I guess that is why they greeted us so warmly when we booted Saddam. A liberals thought process has to lead to ulcers.

paul emery

It was a policy that we supported because we continued to supply him with money and weapons after it was known. Imperalism

Here's all you need to know if you read it


paul emery

More from the declasified documents

The provision of chemical precursors from United States companies to Iraq was enabled by a Ronald Reagan administration policy that removed Iraq from the State Department's list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Leaked portions of Iraq's "Full, Final and Complete" disclosure of the sources for its weapons programs shows that thiodiglycol, a substance needed to manufacture mustard gas, was among the chemical precursors provided to Iraq from US companies such as Alcolac International and Phillips. Both companies have since undergone reorganization and Phillips, once a subsidiary of Phillips Petroleum is now part of ConocoPhillips, an American oil and discount fossil fuel company, while Alcolac International has since dissolved and reformed as Alcolac Inc.[24] Alcolac was named as a defendant in the Aziz v. Iraq case presently pending in the United States District Court (Case No. 1:09-cv-00869-MJG).

Todd Juvinall

Paul you have tortured logic. Try to convince someone else, it hasn't worked on me. The Kurds love us, the love GWB, they love Disney.

George Rebane

PaulE - It would be faster progress if you would just connect the dots that you are laying down to apparently indict the US of war crimes as an accomplice of Saddam. Is that what the conclusion is? And then we go from that to 'imperialism'? ToddJ's 1240pm is a pretty strong counter here since the Kurds are not fools.

In short, where are you taking us?

paul emery


call it what you want the evidence is there. Did you read the documents I included?

George Rebane

PaulE - Yes I did, and in detail. There is nothing in them that attests that we colluded with Saddam to kill Kurds. The first document confirms an analysis of US influence in the mid-east via Iraq in light of the Iraq/Iran war ending. The second is a vapid misapprehension of Iraq's intentions after the war - especially blowing the prediction that it would not invade Kuwait. And in the third we find that it was the US who actually informed the world of how Saddam gassed his Kurds. None of these corroborate your conclusions. Now I'm wondering whether you read them.

paul emery


You cannot deny the truth of this. Quite simply do you deny the fact that the us aided Saddam in his chemical and biological weapons program and continued to do so after it was discovered that he used chemical weapons against the Kurds

Do you need more? This is from Conservative columnist Robert Novak no less. Perhaps my links were too subtle.

"That suggests Rumsfeld also has not read the sole surviving copy of a May 25, 1994, Senate Banking Committee report. In 1985 (five years after the Iraq-Iran war started) and succeeding years, said the report, "pathogenic (meaning "disease producing"), toxigenic (meaning "poisonous") and other biological research materials were exported to Iraq, pursuant to application and licensing by the U.S. Department of Commerce." It added: "These exported biological materials were not attenuated or weakened and were capable of reproduction."

The report then details 70 shipments (including anthrax bacillus) from the United States to Iraqi government agencies over three years, concluding, "It was later learned that these microorganisms exported by the United States were identical to those the United Nations inspectors found and recovered from the Iraqi biological warfare program."


And more here from the New York Times

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17—A covert American program during the Reagan administration provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war, according to senior military officers with direct knowledge of the program.


Greg Goodknight

Paul, realpolitik infected dems *and* repubs since wwII. Cherrypicking can be done by all sides.

The problem is hubris and attempts by the pols and bureaucrats in power to choose the lesser of a multitude of evils. Dissecting documents with 20-20 hindsight looking for the bad guys isnt all that easy... I think youve unwittingly proven that.

paul emery

Greg, George

I grant you your observation. The path of this conversation has been to examine the moral grounds by which the Penn Valley gathering may be considered damaging to this countries best interests and of aid to the enemy, being the Islamic radical factions that wish to harm us. My contention is that we harm ourselves by engaging dictators and strongmen to act as agents for this countries interests and we neglect to take responsibility for the harm they inflict on the people of their country. By us intentionally aiding them and being aware of how they inflict harm on innocent people we must then assume responsibility for what occurs. This is very basic ethics, moral and spiritual code.

That said I believe I have provided ample documentation to show that the aid we gave Saddam contributed to the death of innocent civilians and that we were aware of that occurring and continued to provide him with money and assistance because it was in our best interests to do so. This is today accepted knowledge even amongst conservative journalists so it's pretty shaky to deny that this occurred.

If you continue to deny the basic historical facts I will rightfully accuse you of intentional ignorance. By accepting the historical reality that these things did indeed occur we can go on with discussing the moral questions involved, and they are considerable and varied, as they apply to whether demonstrations such as what happened in Penn Valley are harmful or helpfully enlightening leading us to a better understand of our proper future in the world.

I hope my position is clear. Thanks for the respectful conversation.

Greg Goodknight

Paul, it isn't a denial of "basic historical facts" to call you on your stretching them to fit your thesis, and the "Peace Center" is a center for left wing hate of the non-left. Good music, though.

Bonnie M

..."they try to rewrite history all the time." You're so right Todd. Any honest historian will back that up. That's why the manipulator's can't wait for the eye witnesses to die of old age. Whoever controls the educational media rewrites history. Most hypnotic is television. First get the subjects attention and then when he's relaxed...feed his mind with subliminal (secret) messages not apparent to the naked eye, but picked up by the brain. On the screen the image or words are flashed so fast they're physically unseen. It's supposed to be illegal, but evidently advertizement ads abound with it. I think that's what happened during the last election. Everyone talked about how intelligent Obama was. I kept watching and listening, but he never said anything intelligent. He talked about "change" but never even explained what he meant. This blank mindedness is puzzling, but epidemic...Perhaps this advanced form of mass hypnosis explains it.

Paul Emery


What is your opinion. Did the US continue to aid Saddam after it was known he used chemical weapons on the Kurds? Did US financial and technological assistance help in the effort?

Direct simple questions.

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