Does Lindsey Graham Think Before He Opens His Mouth?

By James Kwak

“The debate on the debt is an opportunity to send the world a signal that we are going to remain the strongest military force in the world. We’re saying, ‘We’re going to keep it, and we’re going to make it the No. 1 priority of a broke nation.’  ”

That’s Lindsey Graham, as reported in the Times today (emphasis added).

Graham is trying to make the case that we should undo the automatic reductions in defense spending mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (last summer’s the debt ceiling compromise). But as a conservative Republican, he is also wedded to the notion that the United States is “broke.” (Which, of course, is nonsense. If you’re not sure why, see chapter 5 of White House Burning.) Graham has also signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, meaning that the federal government can only solve its fiscal problems by cutting spending, not increasing tax revenues.

To make this balancing act work, Graham makes the claim that a country that is “broke” (again, his word) should continue to make military spending its top priority—including military intervention in both Syria and Iran. Does he really think that, under that assumption, we should continue slashing domestic spending so we can continue paying for expensive overseas adventures? Yet this is the unavoidable, nonsensical conclusion of today’s Republican orthodoxy.

74 responses to “Does Lindsey Graham Think Before He Opens His Mouth?

  1. The Bond Man

    Lindsey is a piece of work, isn’t he. Acknowledging the country is broke, while stating exorbitant defense dept. spending is still indicated, suggests a delusional frame of reference.

    Here’e someone who never met a country he didn’t want to drop bombs on, I suggest this pathetic chickenhawk SERVE on the front lines, next time he’s agitating for another war. The man is a disgusting piece of crap.

  2. The stupidity and ignorance of lots of the GOP’s “important people” in Washington is matched only by the members of the 99% who vote for them.

  3. The tax payer protection pledge need not worry about raising tax revenue. Once the Bush tax cuts expire, and defense spending is reduced, there will be plenty of money to bring a bankrupt country back into the fold by the more favorable debt to GDP ratio, and Ben’s commitment to long term zero rates. He and his like minded friends are morons of the highest order though, I can agree with that.

    And they don’t need 99% of the population to vote for them either. one percent will do, since nothing in the constitution prevents the 1% from reelecting themselves to office.

  4. Defense, after all, is THE quintessential Public Good (consumed both non-rivalrously and non-exclusively–which isn’t true for most non-defense govt. spending) and generally recognized as the national govt’s first order responsibility. As well, as a percentage of GDP, it’s currently about half of what it was when JFK was President.

    Clearly then, defense spending is not the reason Graham says the country is ‘broke’–as in, unable to meet its currently mandated future entitlements by trillions of dollars. And, those who bother to read the Times piece will see that the Obama Administration–in the person of Leon Panetta–agrees with Sen. Graham.

    Nor would one need go any further than this blog’s comments section to notice a certain…mental imbalance(?) that should give us pause about any rosy scenarios regarding our defense needs. Selected at random;

    ‘Most people including me want peace and non-violent change. History sadly proved however that systemic and brutal tyranny and fascism is NEVER altered peacefully or non violently despite many wise individuals best intentions. These monsters will not change or alter their tyrannical despotic criminal ways peacefully. Shades and shaitans of this brood (predatorclass) must be forcefully confronted, ruthlessly defeated, and excoriated from positions of power. Peace and non-violence is an impossibility. Fight fire with fire. Sadly, there is no other way.’

  5. Someone should force him to read Paul Kennedy’s book, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000.

  6. How can a nation who owes as much money as we do continue to add and add and add more debt? Mr. Graham is right. We are broke. But we can find our way back by increasing taxes…not only on the wealthy–that too, but everybody. We can also cut military spending and quit trying to police the world. This is the only war in our history that we have put on Mastercharge. If we are going to fight…we gotta pay our bills. Charity begins at home, Mr. Graham and we have quite a ways to go. Roger Lovette, South Carolina – rogerlovette.blogspot.com

  7. Let’s assume we are not broke, for we can create money out of thin air. And, I thought only God could create something out of nothing.
    Excuse me, God and the “full faith and credit of the U.S. Government.”
    Would we be more fiscally sound if our total debt was half of what it is now?
    Don Levit

  8. ‘This is the only war in our history that we have put on Mastercharge. ‘

    Ever hear about WWII?

  9. Unfortunately Pat, there are other non-violent methods, which given enough time, shall produce results at no cost. But, that will come from a God you may not believe in, or one that you have yet to meet. That’s where faith enters the room, and peoples true colors start to show. But here is where the combination of the two “full faith and credit of the U.S.G.” and “God” begin to part ways, and confuses the ordinary tax payers from the ones who believe that money is their god.

  10. The Bond Man

    WW2 was largely financed by payroll withholding taxes, which, if memory serves, was introduced in 1943, for the purpose of paying for that war.

  11. I have often heard that the inflation of the ’70s was due to a failure to pay for the Viet Nam war when it was happening.

  12. ComradeAnon

    Reminds me of when the turd talked about “The vibrancy of the tax cuts.” What a dick.

  13. The Bond Man

    @ Comrade, you made me laugh!

  14. ‘WW2 was largely financed by payroll withholding taxes….’

    What would a Baseline Scenario post be like without a totally fact free assertion from Bond Man.

    In 1939 the Federal Govt spent about 10% of GDP, about a fifth of that was on defense (2.07%). The Federal deficit was 2% of GDP, with the gross debt about 44%.

    In 1945, those totals were up to about 48% of GDP for total spending, with defense at 42%. The deficit for 1945 was 24% of GDP, with total debt almost 117% of GDP.

    All that means that during WWII, Federal spending increased almost five fold, but defense spending increased twenty fold. To pay for that, borrowing increased twelve fold, increasing gross debt almost three fold.

    Numbers courtesy of; http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/

  15. “America is broke.” Millions of Americans, perhaps the majority, believe this. Yet borrowing costs have never been cheaper for the federal government, so clearly global investors don’t think so.

    “Corporate profits are at an all-time high” (both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of GDP). This is an incontrovertible fact, yet I’m quite sure the vast majority of Americans are unaware of it.

  16. Pat, we spend as much on our military as the rest of the world COMBINED, and this jackass wants to keep that going.. with your apparently enthusiastic support.

    “Defense, after all, is THE quintessential Public Good (consumed both non-rivalrously and non-exclusively–which isn’t true for most non-defense govt. spending) “.

    Wow, thats about as ignorant a comment as one person can make, but at least you made it sound good with Economics 101 terms. I dont WANT or need this “good” that I’m being provided with, that my countrymen are dying for. Tell me what exactly it is that has been accomplished in the past decade with these trillion dollar wars in the Middle East? Unless I’m Exxon Mobil or Lockheed Martin, then I don’t see a lot of benefit here.

  17. The Bond Man

    @ Patrick, you avoided addressing the withholding tax issue altogether, and went tangentially into other areas…..conflating and confusing a post that was initially clear and direct.

    We’ve come to expect no less from you, Sir Patrick.

  18. Anonyomousy

    No more pushing buttons please, a barry ful o monkey’s is all I can handle right now, and she calls me the bus driver, cause I’m about to take you to school.

  19. When you spend money on war, that money is gone. Lost forever. It’s blown up, shot up, killed, burned, or otherwise destroyed in an orgy of loss.

    When you spend money on public works and helping your country, long-lasting things are built. Things that can produce other things or help people live better. The money doesn’t just get destroyed; it can create additional wealth.

    I really don’t get why a group that claims to stand on the capitalist high ground chooses the path less profitable. It guess because it would be a cardinal sin to agree with a “socialist” about what would be best for our economy.

    We need to reduce expenditures in the military AND increase taxes where possible if these bozos seriously want a balanced budget. Anything else just sounds like a little kid stamping their feet and screaming at daddy to buy them a pony while standing in the unemployment line. It’s not in line with reality, and certainly not something that should be taken seriously.

  20. I’m thinking he made that remark because he realizes that although America is poor or “broke” as he put it, America is not going to be taken over by anyone. What I mean by that is if every other country knew that America was broke and desperate, America would be bought by the highest bidder. There is no way people who were born and raised here will ever go for that. Keeping the war going is a good tactic at keeping potential foreign investors from considering taking America from its citizens hands. I know that theory sounds crazy, but to some people it’s a thought that they never want to become reality.

  21. I agree with Earl that Kennedy’s book is a must read for anyone voting on military expenditures. Let’s sum it up by saying that over reach, and over spending, by the military seems to be the historical curve we are on. Over spending on the military no longer makes it a “good” for a society, but a drain on it’s resources and leading to a countries down fall as a Great Power.

  22. Graham is just another austerian idiot, and a military spending idiot to boot. Two strikes and he’s out, folks.

    It is important to understand that we are not suffering from our national debt or deficit. If you don’t agree, ask Ben Bernanke. Since the fall (or FALL) of 2008, he’s spend FED dollars like a drunken sailor, and yet, guess what, the prospects of inflation are near zero. The only driver of things like increases of food prices and energy (specifically petroleum products) has been speculation in the commodities markets, and OPEC strategy. Why does gas cost so much at the pump? We know that oil production presently is outstripping usage by millions of barrels a month. We know that food production, at least insofar as the US is concerned is more than keeping pace with demand. As a matter of fact, overall demand is down, owing to growing poverty and government cutbacks, as well as vast unemployment.

    The Tea Party Republican austerians just keep playing the same old tired tune, cut government spending. We know that the only remedy for the present malaise (look at the European economies, many of which have slipped back into depression from their austerity economic prescriptions) is for the government to spend. Bernanke, as I said, has spent vast amounts to “prop” up the Wall Street gang (a fiscal black hole and now even larger casinos owing to the FED’s investment in their rotting garbage with nearly free money), and yet, ask yourself where we would be if Bernanke’s 8 trillion dollars sent to Goldman, etal, had been spent on infrastructure, education, research, etc. The recession would now be over, many would be employed, and the economy would be humming.

    As the supporters of the Modern Monetary Theory like Jamie Galbraith and many others, who understand that with the government existing as the last potent purchasing force in the country, it can rev things up by buying. And, we know that even at current tax rates, a healthy economy could generate enough revenues to neutralize our debt and deficit growth. Time to get the intransigent, non-governing Republicans AND Democrats out, and bring in elected folks who want to run a country, and not into the ground.

    Time to cut Military spending by 50% and go from there.

  23. ““Corporate profits are at an all-time high” (both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of GDP). This is an incontrovertible fact, yet I’m quite sure the vast majority of Americans are unaware of it.”

    That would be because the increase in profitability has left the middle and lower classes in the dust for 30 years now. They aren’t rich, so they’ve enjoyed none of those benefits. It’s hard for them to agree that their labor has brought record profitability when all they can see is the record hours they’re working, the record unemployment around them whipping them forward, wages that don’t keep tabs with inflation, and healthcare that chews up an ever larger piece of their shrinking paycheck.

    Who can blame the average working or unemployed American for not knowing of or celebrating the record profits of their corporate masters? They’re too busy making sure they can eat tomorrow.

  24. I would second with Earl that Paul Kennedy’s book be required reading for anyone voting on defense spending. Over reach or over spending seems to be a historic precursor to a countries fall from Great Power status. The over spending perversely turns, the common defense, from a “good” that we all enjoy to a drain that endangers the welfare of the society as a whole.

  25. Terrific post, per your usual, Bayard.

  26. ‘Wow, thats about as ignorant a comment as one person can make, but at least you made it sound good with Economics 101 terms.’

    This is an economics blog, after all, so one can hardly expect to not brush up against a few of the basic concepts of the discipline. Such as when one writes;

    ‘I dont WANT or need this “good” that I’m being provided with…’

    and the answer lies in the good’s non-rivalrous non-excludable in consumption nature.

  27. ‘@ Patrick, you avoided addressing the withholding tax issue altogether, and went tangentially into other areas…..conflating and confusing a post that was initially clear and direct.’

    Clear, direct, and wrong in its assertion. So, why don’t you tell me what percent of GDP income tax withholding was in 1945.

  28. Mr. Patrick, it is clear you are introducing confusion and disinformation into this conversation.

    I would suggest that this forum creates an active moderator to prevent troll-like behavior such as this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

  29. I would suggest to you, where would it stop. The answer is that it wouldn’t, you would have a blog like all other blogs, meant to be sent in the direction that the moderator dictates. Trolls leave the room once they relize that they have been trumped, as do most anonymous ones, over time.

  30. The Bond Man

    We’re all big people here, and can regulate and control ourselves, unlike the banksters, so, for the record, I am opposed to moderation.

    Let people say what the will.

  31. After all, it is a free country.

  32. I love the title of this article and The Bond Man’s answer.

  33. Seriously, suggesting “moderation” on the guns vs butter discussion?

    Let me guess, the bouncer makes sure everyone who is NOT drunk gets tossed?

  34. Be careful of being too big here, you are familiar with the phrase “The bigger they are the harder they fall” It was meant to focus on comfort and the neck, in which case a complete soft landing is the most preferred one. So big, yes, but also turned and balanced, and no one liners folks, that’s amounts to nothing.

  35. Not putting up with the HOOLIGANS shutting down the discussion again, especially from a southern boy who can’t figure out how to live without slaves – what COWARDS you are!:

    Here, let’s try this again – what was CENSORED:

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    There was precision in the way the Middle Class was demolished in the USA. That makes it the most successful genocide using modern technology making the wealth transfer invisible until it was accomplished.
    This is from the official definition of genocide:
    “…deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;….”
    So why does not the Middle Class of USA demand from the GLOBALISTS that it be granted its own land and form a sovereign nation state? Why stop at breaking up Unions – let’s break up the United States of America.
    Who is that stupid to ask sadistic psychos for what we can provide for ourselves and each other? No one I know.
    I truly believe that USA Middle Class deserves to be a separate and sovereign state in the *global economy*. We could even gain *global* support to be recognized as a separate country because it would mean that the Mercenary class, er, military complex, would be shrunk substantially if they can’t take 6 million more homes in fraudclosure as payment for their perpetuation.

  36. Sarah Tenney

    Perhaps Senator Graham’s comments can be explained by the fact that South Carolina is home to Boeing and other major companies involved in the defense industry. Every member of Congress (and the Senate) has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the interest of his or her constituents. Moreover, as opensecrets.org notes, Boeing is among the top contributors to Sen. Graham’s campaign financing (http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cycle=2012&cid=N00009975&type=I&newmem=N).

    To be fair to Senator Graham, it should be noted that he is also a vocal advocate of “smart foreign policy,” which includes an emphasis on providing foreign aid to developing countries and taking an active role in addressing global issues.

    Also, it is important to note that Boeing is a “heavy hitter” in terms of campaign funding on both sides of the political aisle. For example, President Obama is one of the top recipients of its contributions.

    Clearly, further research is needed on the fiscal and political impact of the US military-industrial complex.

  37. To be even fairer, he takes that active role with guns and armor, and if that doesn’t work, it become hell or high water, which most congressmen are currently in today. The study and research are over and the results are in, we have over armed ourselves with confidence and hopeium. And we can’t seem to stop ourselves from studying and adding to our defense costs after the studying is done. Rinse and repete with elections every 4 years and the game on forever, or until one runs out of resources, I would consider anything over $54 trillion of total debt to be measured as, out of resources. Add the $119 T of unfunded liabilities and we are in orbit without an oxygen tank. And the shrinking middle is real people.

  38. ‘WW2 was largely financed by payroll withholding taxes….’
    Perhaps this should have been stated as, “WW2 debt was largely repaid by a large increase in income taxes (to 10% of GDP from 2% prior to the war)”. The total cost of the war amounted to about 120% of 1945 GDP, which at the instituted tax rates and the growth rate of the post-war US economy was retired in about 5 years. Tax rates did not return to pre-WWII levels, however, for two major reasons; the creation of a standing global Cold War military, which for 30 years consumed 10% of the GDP of an economy that was growing 8% per annum; and increased social spending to retrain returning vets, retool the economy, and create a universal secondary education system, amongst othe things. Great Society spending, the latter of which did not really take off until the late 1970s, became the prime driver of the national debt until the Reagan era defense buildup.
    So yes, WWII was charged to future income. But it was theoretically paid for by explicit tax increases agreed to by the electorate as part of a declared war with a defined goal and that repayment eased by a rapidly expanding national economy that was the consequence of being the last man standing in an otherwise cratered globe.
    The question being argued here in the original post and in the comments section is what level of defense is appropriate. The end of WWII saw a massive change in the nature of the US military from theatre defense to a global containment force responding to what is now understood to have been an overblown threat from the East. By the time this was realized, however, the political-industrial infrastructure set up to support it was not readily dismantled and the original reason for the increased tax structure forgotten.
    Now, in a much different world with threats quite different from those that infrastructure was set up to address, we have to make hard choices in what we spend on. Even our own military commanders are calling for cutbacks and restructuring of our traditional military structure. National defense is not just guns; it’s the right sort of guns, but even more than these days it’s butter. And yes, it has to be the right sort of butter as well.

  39. @Sarah, excellent point. The common defense is one thing, the Military-Industrial-Political complex is another.

  40. ‘So yes, WWII was charged to future income.’

    Congratulations, but you forget to admit that that means that the assertion,

    ‘This is the only war in our history that we have put on Mastercharge.’

    as well as;

    ‘WW2 was largely financed by payroll withholding taxes…’

    were, as I said, wrong.

  41. ‘…what is now understood to have been an overblown threat from the East.’

    Understood by whom? Certainly not by the unfortunate citizens of eastern Europe, China, North Korea, Vietnam.

  42. @Paddy – Claiming “eastern Europe” was a victim of the EAST is so delusional, I hope to God you are never in a position to advise anyone on anything.

  43. Betty Pawsheifer

    Who cares what that queen says.

  44. What most people overlook is Germany just recently made its last payment of retribution from WW2. And now that it’s people have worked themselves to the bone to be in a position to collect debts from loans to other country’s, there is talk of defaults, or debter country’s leaving the Euro should Germany not step in to avoid a financial collapse. Which they naturally won’t do, and can’t understand how it could even happen them. Europe will be all down hill from here folks, and its affecting the upper middle class too as they don’t see their investments being backed up by the Fed, IMF, or the ECB. Its fast forward to panic mode for many of them.

  45. The Bond Man

    The trouble is this: an enormously powerful military-industrial-security-politico-Congressional complex that is wildly out of control, as Ike predicted decades ago, coupled at the hip…as siamese twins….a ruthlessly insatiable corporate need for business.

    People like that turd-burger Graham are merely the tip of this foul iceberg, and Graham is by no means unique in this. The Congress is filled with robust chickenhawks who never saw a day in real live combat.

    So, we’ve defined this as fascism, which any clear thinking person is clearly aware of.

    The danger is this: the need for a constant stream of enemies is critical to keep the game going, and if one is not available, then through a combination of shock and awe, the necessity of creating one thereby becomes fully actualized in the collective psyche.

  46. And they have zero gold to fall back on too. It’s a mess indeed.

  47. “Thinking” like that is one reason the south lost the civil war, don’t you think. With some luck, maybe that gene will die out in the not too distant future.

  48. @Patrick, I effectively corrected the postings of previous commentors with my own. I saw no reason to beat them over the head with it. The primary subject of this posting and the comments following it is, what amount and type of defense is appropriate for today’s world? If it is to be a leaner, more focused force, as many in the military are moving towards and, how is that to be accomplished? You’ve offered some interesting opinions and useful sources of data here. The commentors on this site may not agree with your conclusions, and some may not be interested in engaging you in discussion, but there has been effective dialog on this site in the past, and there can be in the future. Interested?

  49. By “East” I was referring to the Eastern Bloc nations, i.e., the USSR and its client states.

  50. Why doesn’t Lindsey Graham THINK before opening his flapper? The reason has to do with Graham being the leading edge of an ossified, cynical, retrograde, radically doctrinaire, Republican approach to governance, which is nothing but elevated nihilism. Encompassing the following bullet points, as set forth in a piece on Veteran’s Today, today, I’ve taken the liberty to reproduce here:

    STARVE THE BEAST
    1. Reduce taxes on the wealthy.
    2. Start unfunded wars.
    3. Allow your WALL STREET BUDDIES to defraud the global economy.
    4. Bail them out with our TAXPAYER money.
    5. Send the country into a fiscal spiral.
    6. Then don’t let the democrats fix it, and call it their fault.

    Oversimplification? To my ears, this resonates with verisimilitude by basing this on objective conduct now, not ideology, and speaks of a particularly pathetic, cruel, and cowardly strategy to let your own country go to hell in a handbasket. Have they no decency?

  51. Spring Fever

    They weren’t going to be able to unwind their positions, so why not jump the risk factor and go for broke, it worked before mark to market, will it work after?

  52. The Bond Man

    @ Spring Fever, hello. Let it all blow, let them go for broke, let them auger in, as Chuck Yeager would say.

  53. Spring Fever

    Agreed, well it’s sleepy time for me, have a good nite. : > )

  54. ‘The commentors on this site may not agree with your conclusions, and some may not be interested in engaging you in discussion, but there has been effective dialog on this site in the past, and there can be in the future. Interested?’

    What did you have in mind, Wisconsin-like busing in of commenters who actually have heard of Econ 101 terms?

    At any rate, I hope all the Dimon-phobes (including Simon Johnson) enjoy this;

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aaZGpGgHsVGw

    ‘Harvard was so strapped for cash that it asked Massachusetts for fast-track approval to borrow $2.5 billion. Almost $500 million was used within days to exit agreements known as interest-rate swaps that Harvard had entered to finance expansion in Allston, across the Charles River from its main campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    ‘The swaps, which assumed that interest rates would rise, proved so toxic that the 373-year-old institution agreed to pay banks a total of almost $1 billion to terminate them. Most of the wrong-way bets were made in 2004, when Lawrence Summers, now President Barack Obama’s economic adviser, led the university. ‘

    No wonder the recovery has been so anemic, we’ve been screwed by the Cambridge Whale.

  55. Hmmm. I take it that a mutually respectful discussion of the issues of the day is not on the agenda. Too bad. This site used to be full of such give and take.

  56. He doesn’t have to think. He doesn’t have to tell the truth. He doesn’t have to make sense. He knows that those voters who are left in the republican party don’t think, don’t care if they’re lied to, and don’t care if their narrative doesn’t make sense. In Ohio, they complain about people walking into the grocery store using up the $1000 in food stamps they get every month on sushi, filet mignon, and crab legs, all the while talking on their smart phones. Never mind the fact that the food stamp benefit in Ohio is $147 per month. Then there’s the death panels, the birth certificate, the North Carolina legislature outlawing the prediction of sea level rise by valid scientific methods since that upset the coastal real estate developers.
    These republicans don’t care about facts; they just care about sticking it to the liberals. They willingly lap up every drop of verbal diarrhea that dribbles out of Rush Limbaugh’s ass.
    In the next few years, they will win enough political power to run most democrats out of congress, and every state house in the country. They have the money, the organization, the zeal, and the unthinking lunatic followers who will vote for them no matter what stupid shit Lindsay Graham says.
    It’s game over, in my opinion. Welcome to Pottersville.

  57. TonyForesta

    Amerika is two nations under the current panjandrum. The predatorclass that Lindsey and the nazi – I mean republican party favor, shield, and advantage, and the 99%. Lindsey and his brood are rolling in wealth. The rest of are indeed broke. Of course Lindsey promote unending gargantuan funding of the military, intelligence, and private military and private intelligence industrial complexes. All those complexes are predatorclass preying off the backs and blood of the rest of us for their own otherworldly profits. Funding education, infrastructure, assistance for the poor, the old, our children, dare I mention arts is the devilswork – but lavishly funding mercenaries, warmaking, tyranny, imperialism, and predatorclass oligarchs and heaping all the monstrous debt, neverendingwars of misadventure, and printing trillions of dollars out of the must and funneling into the offshore accounts of predatorclass oligarchs and fiends is godzwork! Saitans! A pox on Lindsey Graham, the gop, and the den of vipers and thieves in the predatorclass!!!

    The sooner Amerika and the world is rid of these creeps – the better for the 99%.

    And it’s obvious to those with eyes to see and ears to hear, Lindsey is a funnyboy. Sooner or later his rank hypocrisy will meet the light if day.

    Rot in hell Lindsey!

  58. @Oregano, “…By “East” I was referring to the Eastern Bloc nations, i.e., the USSR and its client states….”

    You do realize that USA and Russia were allies during WWII, right?

    What do you think happened there? They stopped having mutually respectful discussions?

  59. I think the Cuban missile crisis got in the way, after a thing called the cold war in Korea. Messed up everything. And Rich, you do know that many laws are completely unjustified, only made from the greed of man and backed up by pumped up police men and soldiers. The poor can only pay for crack by giving up the food stamps they don’t really use. It will take decades to reverse and that’s only after you have gotten the law straight which is no where in site. It will take a lot more than talk to shake out the evil in him.

  60. @Annie: yes, but that alliance was opportunistic. Stalin needed to remove the existential threat of Germany which it could only do with the help of the West. Once that threat was gone, they returned to their knitting, which was the creation of a non-democratic competition to the West.
    The ultimate result of the winning of WWII for the Eastern European nations was 40 years of rule from Moscow – the core of the Eastern Bloc. So yes, the Eastern European nations were threatened by the East – not by China, but by Russia. The threat from the East that I was referring to was the threat that the US felt to itself and its NATO partners – really, a cratered Western Europe unable to defend itself against a new threat. But you know this.
    May I point out that if we stop talking to each other, we are but one step removed from war. Right now, everyone – in the media, in private discussions – on blogs such as this one – are talking PAST one another – even to those with whom they may generally agree.

  61. ‘Hmmm. I take it that a mutually respectful discussion of the issues of the day is not on the agenda. Too bad. This site used to be full of such give and take.’

    And now it’s filled with such as;

    ‘Amerika is two nations under the current panjandrum. The predatorclass that Lindsey and the nazi – I mean republican party favor, shield, and advantage, and the 99%. Lindsey and his brood are rolling in wealth. The rest of are indeed broke. Of course Lindsey promote unending gargantuan funding of the military, intelligence, and private military and private intelligence industrial complexes. All those complexes are predatorclass preying off the backs and blood of the rest of us for their own otherworldly profits. ‘

    Who’s responsible for that, surely not I.

  62. @Oregano – here is what Melchizedek observed in 1934 AD, “…Vanity contributed mightily to the birth of society; but at the time of these revelations the devious strivings of a vainglorious civilization threaten to swamp and submerge the whole complicated structure of a highly specialized civilization. Pleasure-want has long since superseded hunger-want; the legitimate social aims of self-maintenance are rapidly translating themselves into base and threatening forms of self-gratification. Self-maintenance builds society; unbridled self-gratification unfailingly destroys civilization.”

    An opportunistic alliance with a megalomaniac, gee, what could go wrong there?

    War always was and always will be about the booty. Yes or no? Your explanation – including the completely inane use of the word *existential* – confirms that motive – wait until someone else builds the village, grows the harvest, picks it – and then go slaughter them all and take over. Identity theft is much easier to do after a genocide.

    The planet Venus traveled in front of the sun for 6.5 hours yesterday. Never before in the history of mankind were so many people able to observe it – thanks to increased communication capabilities. But here’s the thing, the next transit will be in 2117. That means that no one alive yesterday will be alive the next time it happens. How are we going to “time capsule” all the recordings made of the event yesterday so that Earthlings in 2117 can access our data?

    Stalin periodically captured and tortured pilots – guess he didn’t like to fly…

    The derivatives gotta go….talk about a freakin’ EXISTENTIAL THREAT…

  63. @Patrick, I would propose that the reponse
    “What did you have in mind, Wisconsin-like busing in of commenters who actually have heard of Econ 101 terms?” does not contribute to mutually respectful discussion.
    @Annie, the word “existential” was reasonable. Even if Stalin’s Russia did not have the right to exist, it existed, Germany’s intent was to overrun it, and would likely have without the West’s efforts on the Western Front.
    But we’re now very very far from the original topic of this thread.

  64. The Bond Man

    @ Annie, good post, yes, and Bankia in Spain is in mighty derivatives trouble, now, too.

    *Rotsa Ruck*, so to speak, to Spain, a basket case, but a country interesting and unique to visit.

    ECB: let Bankia declare insolvency, which it is clearly insolvent, and then commence resolution and wind up of the bank’s business doings, as opposed to shoveling more Euros into the toilet hopper.

    DELETE NEGATE SHRED CANCEL DESTROY DERIVATIVES, THE PERNICIOUS EFFECTS OF WHICH STILL HAUNT AND STALK THE WORLD FINANCIAL SYSTEM.

    My cap lock got stuck, and I don’t feel like retyping, sorry, people. : – )

  65. @Oregano, “…..Even if Stalin’s Russia did not have the right to exist, it existed, Germany’s intent was to overrun it, and would likely have without the West’s efforts on the Western Front…..”

    To even use such language as “…even if Russia did not have the right to exist….” indicates some kind of value/judgement system that you are PERSONALLY not able to execute. Get over yourself, already…

  66. @annie, I was trying to figure out what you were talking about with your response: “An opportunistic alliance with a megalomaniac, gee, what could go wrong there?
    War always was and always will be about the booty. Yes or no? Your explanation – including the completely inane use of the word *existential* ” which I thought incorporated YOUR value judgement on the existence of a totalitarian state like Stalinist Russia, so I referred to it. Forgive me for misunderstanding.
    Now, if we can all stop stomping on each other’s throats we can call this a discussion forum again.

  67. @Oregano – Fine. Let’s get back to how much of the earth’s resources should be devoted to killing each other and how much of the world’s resources should be devoted to life-maintenance.

  68. @Annie – so be it. I vote all for life-maintenance. And playing-field linearity
    ;-).

  69. Bill Gilwood

    James Quak, if you met Graham’s constituents you’d know immediately why he can get away with saying this garbage.

  70. ahahaha,,,,,@ Bill, above!

  71. Lindsey Graham thinks unilateral interventionism is effective and US still has military power to push this agenda. It is like a child that spends all his money on video games and has nothing to show for it but the memories of playing those video games while everything else falls apart.

    Military isn’t an effective investment. Improving schools is. More Post-Graduate Doctorates in Science is. More Basic Scientific Research because it has been proved time and again that it is a better catalyst for creating jobs.

  72. War represents a REAL negative return on investment……more deficits, more debt, more people hating the USA around the globe with passion, and a neglect of peaceful activities, such as mentioned by the writer above.

  73. Graham’s knuckle-dragging constituents still haven’t figured out he is gay yet, or he would be out of office in a heartbeat!

  74. Zinsky–the real issue is the continuing crazy war…and those who support it. As for the gay comment…this is irrelevant to the issue at hand…and does not add to the dialogue. Keep caring. Roger Lovette rogerlovette.blogspot.com