Episode-834- Listener Calls for 2-3-12 — 70 Comments

  1. So ahhh, just had a brainwave, since i’ve heard you ask the listeners for feedback on how we would like the listener calls/feedback shows to be….

    Can’t you do a small trial period in which you don’t let the listener-call phone go to voicemail, but actually pick it up and record the conversation?

    Guess it’s a bit harder on your part because there isn’t a lot of time for you to do research on the callers question, but it might also reduce the time you need to spend on listening to calls and answering them, because you’ll already know which ones you can use on the show after you hang up.

    Waiting all day for a call is of course no fun, so if your gonna do this, I suggest picking a certain time slot in which listeners can call in.

    • Why do some people want others to change what works. This is like no other source, don’t conform to look like the mass.

  2. On the jewelry industry, NAFTA has nearly destroyed it. I say this because I have a good friend that he and his wife have been doing jewelry for about 30 years and he can’t make $50 most shows he goes to. Also my wife’s uncle owns a small jewelry store in a tourist town and they are not doing well. I would not recomend it, but do your research.

    Best, Duncan

  3. Jack,
    Thanks for your reply to the 2nd question that I called in. I see your point of view on Anwar al-Awlaki and I didn’t consider whether formal charges had been filed against him, like had been done against Bin Laden and others.
    In another article about this incident, it states that it was confirmed by Obama admin officials that he was the first American specifically put on the CIA’s hit list by them. This statement was confirmed by other sources as I tend not to trust most mainstream media sources. Also, there was no mention of any warrant or formal charges.
    With my job, I too have sworn to uphold the US Constitution and the rights and protections granted with it. I take this very seriously and consider it my solemn duty to do so.
    Thanks again.

    • @JD, I think it is very cool that you are open to the concepts I presented. Regardless of where you come down on a final decision it is important to give such Constitutional issues very careful consideration. Specifically when they involve a person like al-Awlai. It is so easy to write them off, we do that though at our own peril.

    • It’s also not entirely uncommon for the Police, FBI, or govt to fabricate evidence. There are plenty of people convicted of things they didn’t do. If there is a trial, there is a better chance for evidence to come out and it is harder for the powers that be to abuse the system. It’s all part of checks and balances, the executive, congressional, judicial, federal vs state etc ..

  4. @Jack,

    You mentioned video surveillance. I use a small system by Lorex which provides (not solar powered);
    – wireless data transfer to the receiver (does not interfere with my 802.11b/g network)
    – night vision, range is around 40′ in reality
    – motion detection – record on motion
    – audio/video recording
    – plug output RCA into any other input but since it records on the receiver, you don’t need to have it plugged in to monitor/record

    Link to the system on Amazon:

    Now, cons:
    – you are limited to 4 cameras (not a huge deal, but I could use a couple more)
    – night vision is not great, but I have found that putting a light out at around 60′ makes the range much greater
    – there is a slight lag between the motion sensor detecting motion and the recording starting, so if you run really fast you can get to my garage from the gate before you get caught by the recording
    – the system will only record one camera at a time, so if you have the system rotating from camera to camera, you will only record if there is activity on a camera when the system is focused on that camera
    – wireless range is limited to around 50 feet if you go through a few walls

    The biggest benefits to this system are 1) cost, and 2) wireless data transfer (although you still have to run power).

  5. Hey Jack,
    I still am unsure about some issues about money supply. About the OZ movie issue. When I watched the film, I too had a couple issues with ‘their’ solution. They claim the issue is the amount of money. Agreed. But the problem of the money supply being ‘limited’ by the government generally falls apart eventually. They cannot be trusted to limit how much money there is – especially with the system they described that they create money by spending it. The government is creating too much money now, why would they be responsible in the future in a different system, that still rewards them for inflation?
    In the movie, they said the best situation is to let them print paper & just buy stuff with it to put it into the economy? That sounds like Zimbabwe & Weimar. So I don’t understand how that is any better than debt-backed money.
    I do agree that people who are religiously tied to a gold standard don’t realize the problems with that system. When the gold bugs also talk about the gold confiscation by FDR- thats exactly what happens when a gold-backed money supply is so in need of more money in the economy but requires gold to do that. Anyway, I understand how debt-backed money supply eventually will crumble, but I don’t understand how just spending money to create it is better. In both cases, someone has the power to make money from nothing. Look forward to your input.
    Keep up the great work.

    • @bloddyrich you said,

      “The government is creating too much money now, why would they be responsible in the future in a different system, that still rewards them for inflation?”

      Let’s take it in two parts, part one, “The government is creating too much money now”

      EXACTLY so letting a third party create the money DOES ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to prevent printing money. What it does do is create debt and interest. If we had a public currency right now we would have the same money and no debt.

      Part two – “why would they be responsible in the future in a different system, that still rewards them for inflation?”

      Well first AT LEAST voters would have a say, have you ever voted for a member of the Fed Board? Keep in mind the power to “coin money” is the Constitutional Mandate given to congress by the founders. Second you are assuming that such a currency would reward inflation, it would not. Inflation rewards debtors not savers. The government currently benefits from inflation only because the money is debt, take that away and they don’t.

      Right now there is a cap, it is called the debt ceiling, not one thing about the current system limits the ability to create more money, that is a myth, period. Watch when we hit the cap again, watch the dog and pony show and then watch them do it again, and again, and again. America is not Zimbabwe nor are we Germany in 1922. Again people arguing what the government will do are saying that we can’t limit government. Of course we can, if we couldn’t none of us would currently have a gun or a lawyer when we need one. Read my book at

      • I agree about the Fed-I do not support that 3rd party printing the money. And if it gave the people more control then that would be great…. I’ll read the book. Maybe I’m just getting more cynical – but I worry that they’ll just be saving themselves a step- instead of having to borrow money they’ll just print what they need, and without the debt needed to pay for their spending they’ll find it even easier to overspend. In fact they can just print money to pay off the old debt from the fed debt-based supply. Competing currencies might keep things under control, because they couldn’t just inflate currency if they needed it to have value in order to use it. thanks.

        • What I find interesting about a non-debt based money supply is ‘how does it enter circulation’? The money has to be spent in the marketplace to enter circulation. So what if.. (since we’re making things up)

          You eliminated all taxes and then allowed the government to print x% of GDP to cover its expenses. The money supply inflation would of course work as an indirect tax (as it does now), but would be equally spread among all holders of dollars.

          As a side note, just like personal spending, not all government spending is ‘bad’. I would define ‘good’ spending as spending that benefits most of the citizenry, and ‘bad’ spending as that which benefits some small group or single individual. And by this I mean DIRECT benefit, not ‘trickle down’. The arguements begins when you try and determine which is which. So the closer you can get to ‘local government’, the better chance the spending will be good.

          As a counter-example to this is the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’. Why the hell should the FEDERAL government be concerned/involved with a LOCAL transportation issue? No local government could ever perpetuate this kind of waste (bad spending) and survive the consequences.

          sound good?

    • I have a mild disagreement here (feel free to set me straight) =)

      With a debt based currency, money is ‘loaned into existence’. In the US, that means the ‘money supply’ (quantity of money) increases when the Fed, or an affiliated bank, makes a loan. The Fed can make a loan in any amount to any party it wants without any oversight or control by anyone outside the Fed. An affiliated bank is limited in the amount of money it can create by its legal fractional reserve requirements (assuming of course that these are being enforced).

      The US Government can also ‘create money’, by minting coins, but the amount created is pathetically small, and of course some coins are minted at a loss, so they’re actually destroying money. However, the US Government is NOT loaning money into existence. Therefore, besides coinage, the Government is NOT creating money.

      The Government is however, BORROWING money, on ‘our behalf’, through bond sales. Which today are largely being purchased by the Fed.

      You can nitpick and say ‘without a sucker.. i mean borrower =).. going into debt no new money is created, and therefore the Government is creating money by selling bonds’. This is true, it takes a Loaner and a Loanee to create money in our present system. But the number of bonds that can be sold is limited by the ‘debt ceiling’ (as mentioned by Jack) whereas the amount of money being created by the Fed is opaque and unlimited (see European bank bailouts).

      As to competing currencies.. They already exist. But as mentioned, the issue is if you’re required to convert them into an ‘official’ currency to pay taxes. (Even that isn’t a problem as long as a market exchange exists for conversion)

      There is no law (that I’m aware of) that precludes a community from creating and using its own trade mechanism for EVERY marketplace transaction (property taxes to butter) within its jurisdiction. Which, in my hypothetical utopia, if it produced all of its primary needs (food, water, power, etc.) internally would completely isolate/protect it from the inflation of the US money supply.

        • its that people are constantly saying ‘the government just keeps printing money’. which if true, means that if we can get the ‘government’ under control (budget/taxes).. the problem will be ‘solved’.

          but. ‘the government’ is not the source of the problem, the Fed is. even if we ‘crack down’ on the captial clown troop, the Fed will still print as much money as it wants, with absolutely no oversight or control from anyone.

          money=power. we’re focusing on the puppet, not the puppeter.

  6. Regardless of the type of monetary system, as long as evil people are in control, it will be subverted for nefarious ends.

    The solution is to address the evil pupeteers.

    • Problem with that is there is no such thing as an incorruptible group of people “in control” of something. Power corrupts…absolute power corrupts absolutely. Milton Friedman (not a huge fan of him, actually) provided a beautiful articulation of this on the Phil Donahue show a long, long time ago. Search it on YouTube if you’re interested…

  7. I agree that a straight gold standard is not advisable and that Congress is tasked with setting the value and alloy of the coin “of the realm” so to speak. This has been ceded and that is wrong.

    However I think giving it back to Congress is not the answer. We see what Congress does. I mean – Obamacare, NDAA, Patriot Act, TARP?

    The only viable answer is the gold standard but not the narrowly viewed gold standard where 1 dollar equals x amount of gold. Rather, in an ideal world there would be a 28th amendment that would set the value of a dollar to be equal to a certain amount of gold BUT the value would be calculated at a six month running average.

    Sure someone may be able to manipulate gold for like 15 minutes but no one can keep it high for 6 months.

    Just a thought.


  8. Jack,

    Can you provide a link to the Urban Permaculture DVD? I found one on Amazon, but I’m not sure if it is the same one you referenced. The one I saw was called Permaculture in Practice. It says it talks about a Hampshire back garden belonging to the editors of Permaculture Magazine, including fruit trees, vegetables, bees, chickens, and ducks; a City Challenge project in Bradford close to a housing estate with 10,000 residents, tackling the problems of unemployment, environmental awareness, and backyard food growing; a community co-op in Devon, which involves a café, allotments, and local composting scheme; and a small farm in the Forest of Dean where innovative marketing schemes ensure a close link between producer and consumer, including meat production, a vegetable box scheme, and locally produced charcoal.

  9. pdx prepper maybe if you needed a temp place to bug out you could find someone close to you and you could bug out there. It may ease your mind and be a fix until you can get a more permanent location. I kind of worry about that because we have some livestock that we may have to evac. So finding a few people that wouldn’t mind us bringing our animals is a little more difficult but we have a few places lined up.

    There are quite a few preppers from the TSP in this area. Building community is most important.

  10. The idea of making Ham Radio part of a family plan is great. Another possible outlet is Boy Scouts. BSA has a Ham Radio merit badge. They also sponsor JOTA Jamboree on the Air. It is a Saturday in September and scouts and families of all ages get to experience Ham Radio. So my advice to those who want to grow their Ham Clubs talk to your local BSA office.

  11. Jack, you’re beginning to disappoint me :-)– thought ya said something about “this episode will piss everyone off”… and I’m not. Then again, I’m a pretty radical libertarian sort myself…

    Want to respond to the SoCal caller. Dude, only 40 minutes? You’re one lucky fella. My husband commuted for 2 hours EACH WAY every day (Riverside to El Segundo) for the better part of 8 years. Additional advice. Get yourself a flashlight screwdriver– makes repairs in the dark easier. Also, get yourself a data plan that allows for SigAlert so you can run around the jams. Carry a Thomas guide as well, in case you aren’t sure of the route. Learn when the traffic reports come on KFI and the other AMs so you get updates more than once every 10 minutes. If you’re brand new, memorize which numbers go with which freeway (i.e. Riverside Freeway is the 91, for example) because the reports use both designations randomly. I know that confused me to no end at first.

  12. Hi Jack,
    I like your comment about libertarians wasting time calling each other “non-libertarians”. So true.

    I don’t support the view of the Real Truth About Money folks, but so long as the government doesn’t have a legal tender law, I’m ok with whatever anyone wants to do. In my view, the issue is the government having a monopoly on money production.

  13. Jack, regarding “anti-war” —

    Hollywood has an 80-years-plus unwritten rule which is pretty universally accepted when it comes to war movies: ALL war movies MUST be “anti-war” movies, and there will be no exceptions to this rule. Any director who violates this rule will be quietly black-balled everywhere he goes, and he might as well leave Los Angeles because the chances of his ever getting to work on another film again will be close to nil.

    As far as what makes a movie “anti-war,” there are some standard requirements.

    First, the fighting cannot be depicted in a way that is “glorious” or makes the fight itself seem like a desirable thing to do. Fights are to be seen as regrettable necessities, but not longed for goals. And it is a huge plus if the violence is depicted as revolting and tragic but not in any way amusing or cool.

    Second, there MUST be a deeply heart-wrenching death of no less than one of the major characters, specifically a character in whom the audience has built up a significant emotional investment. Failure to have at least one truly gut-punching death of a favored character is an unacceptable breach of the anti-war guidelines. (So even if you follow the other guidelines but fail to follow this one, you’ve still blown your qualifications for a proper “anti-war” film.)

    Third, the main characters who survive the film to the ending cannot reach the film’s final moments without suffering some sort of permanent trauma from the whole affair. The form of the trauma can be anything from a lost limb to a disfiguring scar to an emotional malaise. But no one can be permitted to escape the story unscathed.

    The point of all this is that Hollywood (as despicable as that wretched hive of scum and villainy is) takes the philosophical high ground of universally upholding the idea that war is a necessary evil with the emphasis on the word “evil.” So it can never be glorified nor depicted as desirable or easy or mundane or (most especially) cool.

    As I said, this has been an unwritten but universal rule in Hollywood for over 80 years now. And there was even a famous discussion in one of the Hollywood studios back in the 1940’s where a US military representative who was advising the studio about their war films during WWII asked the studio head “Are you saying your studio sometimes makes war movies that are anti-war?” To which the studio head replied: “I wasn’t aware that there was any other kind of war movie except for anti-war.”

    So even the old Bogart war films and the Ronald Reagan war films and the John Wayne war films all qualify as anti-war because they all did manage to follow those guidelines. If you can find any war film from the 1930’s onward which doesn’t follow those guidelines, it is probably one that is deeply reviled by film critics in its failure to be anti-war.

    • And any time you have watched a film and yet found yourself pausing to ask: “Why did that character have to die? I really liked him.” His death was probably the obligatory death needed to get the correct anti-war designation for the film.

    • It’s almost like the government and Hollywood are controlled by the same people.

      Goes like this: Government wants war to further enrich some monied interest.

      Hollywood all of a sudden starts making movies that depict movies as you have observed.

      Public sentiment coalesces behind the view that war is generally bad but a necessity that we MUST buck up the courage to face just this ONE TIME.

      And so now the rabble is prepped to give their blessing as they see their sons board ships that will take them to the other side of the world to kill those standing in the way of Unocal getting their pipeline across Afghanistan.

  14. 1) The question regarding Anwar Al Awlwki was answered magnificently. That is something that I’ve gotten into debates with my other conservative friends at work over. Thanks for putting that into perspective.

    2) PERFECT answer as to whether or not you should say that your (adult) kids can go to war. As a vet (joined at 17) you ARE an adult when you join and as such, you are responsible for your actions.

    3) Another great thing to keep in your car is a Zippo and a bottle of lighter fluid. Back in the day I was sitting at a Wendy’s drive-thru in Memphis when a guy approached me and asked for a dollar. I didn’t have anything on me except what I was going to buy my food with so I told him I didn’t have any extra money. He slammed his hand on the roof of my car and yelled “Gimme a G.D. dollar!” At this point I whipped out my bottle of lighter fluid and doused him with it. I calmly lit my trusty Zippo and he asked what I was doing. I told him “You’ve got three seconds to get the f*** away from my car before I light your ass on fire”. He decided it wouldn’t be prudent to pursue that dollar after all.

  15. Yes, most military leaders are against the idea of a draft. We have enough problems with people who regret the choice to join and major problems with those forced into joining. A person who does not want to be there drags down the other Soldiers, reduces the effectiveness of the unit and they suck up 90% of your effort.

    Those who say things like “We should make all 18 to 20 year olds spend two years in the military to learn discipline and serve the nation” often are not people who served themselves. I know when I was a Drill Sergeant the people I had the worst time with were the kids who had been forced in. (Getting an illegal offer of not prosecuting the kid for a crime if they joined the military or being threatened by their parent.) These were people Able to do the job or task, but unwilling to. It is possible to deal with people who are not able to do the task but willing. You can work with them. But an able/unwilling only drags down those around them.

    If you did a draft, we would end up with a massive number of able/unwilling in the system. This would hurt our combat effectiveness and military discipline.

    I don’t speak for the military, but this is a topic that comes up often and you are right Jack, the leadership does not want a draft.

  16. @Jack,

    First–you asked how did the world get along before us? Well, the answer is Great Britain and France basically filled the role we do today. They did it with actual empire building (worldwide colonization), whereas we seemed more satisfied with economic empire building (and relatively little 17th-19th century style colonization). It isn’t as if there was a power vacuum, prior to America dominating the world. Before that, there were many powers vying for control. The point is, someone is always the “superpower” or vying to become it, so it isn’t a question of whether it is us or no one, but us or who else. Could we have a more balanced arrangement? Maybe, or maybe that leads to more conflicts–as history demonstrates.

    While I agree that we need to take a real hard look at how our military is deployed, I’m not sure that I can agree that no one wants to start a war with us. Al Qeada DID start a war with us, which of course you know–about 10 years before we started fighting back. They did so, despite the US having the most powerful military in the world, because they thought they could accomplish their goals.

    I think it is incorrect to say that no one wants to fight us. Various groups or nations DO want to fight us, they just don’t have the means at their disposal to win, or rather to harm us sufficiently…yet. I think that CAPABILITY is the only thing standing between us and conflict with aggressors, not INTENT. When they find the capability (like 9/11) they use it.

    Back to the main point–The mindset that we have the most powerful military, so, no one would dare attack us is false (9/11 proved that), and while al Qeada isn’t a nation, they were supported by the Taliban who ruled Afghanistan. We helped to topple that Regime, but they are still there.

    We are NOT immune from attack, because we have a powerful military, and we won’t be. What will and is changing is the capability of these nations of groups to inflict very serious harm on us WITHOUT having an early 20th Century model military might to rival ours. That is not needed today.

    Also, there seems to be a general mindset amongst some that assumes that people dislike us exclusively because of something we’ve done. While I’m sure what we do is part of it, it is not the whole of it. Some people dislike us, because that is what their ideology involves. The world is not a place governed by “If we are nice to you, you will be nice to us” thinking.

    I don’t disagree with the thought that we should really reconsider where we are deployed with our military, but we aren’t Switzerland, don’t hold the position that Switzerland does. So, being a more powerful version of Switzerland isn’t realistic–at least not today.

    If we want to change our place in the world by design, it will be as long and arduous a process of changing our monetary system, if not more. There are no simple answers for a complex issue such as foreign policy, but that seems to be the underlying mindset that I’m hearing.

    And what if we DID become Switzerland? Who fills in that power vacuum? What nation would you be satisfied seeing as the World’s Super Power? I think friendly parity isn’t a likely result, but rather dominance by someone else.

    Lastly, this isn’t a matter of what I’d LIKE to happen, but rather what I think WILL happen. I don’t see a world with a “kinder, gentler” USA being a place that suddenly becomes more friendly and peaceful or somehow leaves us out of the conflicts that are sure to continue. Unfortunately, I’m not at all confident that continuing our current course is going to end up much better.

    Like our Economic/Monetary system, we have to deal with where we are NOW, not where we wish we could be.

    • @KAM come on bro, you know better than all that France and Britten crap. I really can’t believe you of all people put so much effort into the above. You know better man. So how did North and South America get along for about 10,000 years with out “us” meaning Europe?

      Conquering people is not helping them. I bet if you stay on your path every previous “us” will be a conqueror. Romans, Huns, etc.

      • @metaforge,

        Interesting response given I never rejected the “wisdom of the founders” in the first place.

        Also–easy to say. Now, go ahead and come up with a plan on how to actually follow that wisdom, given where we are now.

        What you’re apparently calling “hogwash” is the situation we are in. Like it or not, that is reality.

        “Wouldn’t it be great if we could go back to Early American Foreign Policy” sounds a lot like “Wouldn’t it be great if we had the gold standard again.”

        Yeah, a lot of things would be great “if.” The question is how do we get there, and I’m telling you–we aren’t even close to having the Prerequisites in place to START down that path.

        I think we’ll be lucky to manage our decline to a level equal to what the UK has managed (and that’s not all that great), and they had a VERY friendly replacement (the USA). I doubt our replacement will be as kind to us.

        We aren’t going backwards, so apply the Wisdom of the Founders as much as we can, but it is highly unlikely we can go back to where we might all wish we could.

  17. @Jack,

    I’m not really understanding what you’re objecting to. Prior to the
    United States becoming a Superpower, Great Britain (in the 19th Century) was a massive power. They dominated the world in many ways, including controlling and dividing up much of the Middle East.

    I can’t be sure, but I think you’ve talked about the US becoming a Superpower as the UK declined in that role (culminating after WWII).

    North and South America, prior to the Age of Exploration weren’t involved in a similar manner to Modern Nations. It is more difficult to make comparisons prior to Post-Dark Age Europe, but you could go back to the Roman Era to see the same sort of dominance by one great power.

    I am not saying that building an Empire is what SHOULD be done–I’m saying that in recent history, the world has been dominated by either one major power or several large powers who fight with each other for dominance.

    The United States is somewhat different in that we didn’t engage in heavy colonization as previous great powers did in the 17th-19th century and even into the 20th Century (ending basically with WWI). Instead we followed a model that involved more economic dominance (monetary manipulation, etc).

    I’m not arguing that the world should be dominated by major powers, I’m just noting what history has been in the semi-modern (meaning the era with the modern concept of nations).

    I state this, because it seems that some form of this model is likely to continue into the 21st Century. That is relevant, because I think if the United States draws back from this, someone else will take our place as we took the Place of Great Britain in many ways.

    Beyond that, but related–a lot of the problems that the US is dealing with has its roots in Great Britain’s former dominance (The middle east specifically).

    • There’s alot of things about the British empire that where not good and I believe that behind the scenes that had alot to do with the world wars. Ghandi basically was opposed to British rule and India was a wealthy nation before the British arrived and the British did some things to China as well via the Opium wars.

        • @surfivor,

          Undoubtedly it is true that The British Empire did things in the world that (at least in part) led to WWI (and other wars before that), and of course WWI led into WWII. If you’re the biggest player on the planet, certainly you’re going to be part of what happens (and in some cases the cause).

          However, I’m not making a case for the British Model of Imperialism or even the USA’s model in the 20th Century. I’m responding to Jack’s (perhaps rhetorical) question about what was before the United States.

          Perhaps I misunderstood his question or its intent, but literally, before the United States became a, and then THE Superpower, others were there.

          Would the USA be better off as we were in the Late 19th Century? The time when other nations were dominant and we were more focused on our own nation. Maybe. Personally, I sort of look at those days as our “golden era” in many ways (not in others), but it really doesn’t matter.

          We are in the position we are, right or wrong, and the notion (not trying to put this on Jack) that we can simply draw back from our position in a way that isn’t going to involve massive consequences (some good some bad) is not realistic–in my opinion.

          Not saying we are going to disappear (Britain is still there), but I have no reason to believe this will necessarily lead to a good thing. What other nation will step into that void? Have we thought about how that would look, and how that would affect our lives?

          The other side is that this is likely to occur–but how it happens is unknown. Just as we can’t just simply go back to the gold standard, we can’t simply retreat from the world stage militarily.

      • >> We are in the position we are, right or wrong, and the notion (not trying to put this on Jack) that we can simply draw back from our position in a way that isn’t going to involve massive consequences (some good some bad) is not realistic–in my opinion.

        what consequences ? I think alot of people would like to see us retreat, except maybe the ones we bought off to go on TV and ask us to stay. Massive consequences like killing civilians with drones ? What is the objective anyway, to install democracy ? We don’t even have honest elections in our own country because alot of the voting machines are rigged. Do you really think the military objective is to install democracy someplace ?

        >> Not saying we are going to disappear (Britain is still there), but I have no reason to believe this will necessarily lead to a good thing. What other nation will step into that void? Have we thought about how that would look, and how that would affect our lives?

        Britian is not in any kind of great economic shape and apparently hasn’t been for a long time.

        What void ? There is no void except that our economy is sinking.

        >> The other side is that this is likely to occur–but how it happens is unknown. Just as we can’t just simply go back to the gold standard, we can’t simply retreat from the world stage militarily.

        If there is no conflict that makes any sense then the default is to retreat. There has to be a good reason for war and I see none. Even if you believed what they tell you, if men in caves blow something up then you don’t need to invade a country over it. Send in some special forces or intelligence (something sensible), but no that wouldn’t justify a massive miltary budget would it ?

        • @surfivor,

          I’m not sure you’re really following my line of reasoning, and you’re all over the board with comments about voting machines and such, so it is very difficult to address your post.

          First, while I agree that perhaps invading a country isn’t the best way to deal with a group of terrorists, it MAY be. I’m not a military expert, so I’m not going to say “Well just send in special forces” as if I know what that entails. What I do know is that there is an amazing amount of Logistics behind what the military does, and we aren’t fighting “men in caves” which implies they are unsophisticated idiots. Al Qeada was well organized and effective. After 10 years of us chasing them, they may be less effective, but I’d warn you (and others) to remember what they were able to accomplish to our great detriment.

          I think I’m going to keep this as simple as I can, and state my belief. That is, the world is not governed by benevolence. It isn’t a bunch of Nations just waiting to be friends, if only the United States would stop with our militarism.

          The whole idea that the US can just bring our military home and everything will get better is as nonsensical to me as saying “we just need to go back to the gold standard.” Or as unrealistic as the people that fantasize about a collapse thinking we’ll just go back to pioneer days and live a peaceful agrarian life. It isn’t going to happen.

          Now, again I am NOT saying that we shouldn’t and can’t alter the way things we do in the world, including how we deploy our military, but just saying “bring our troops home” isn’t a plan, and there are MANY issues that need to be dealt with if that IS our goal.

          We’ve lived in a world for the last 60 or so years where the US military HAS dominated (or balanced off with the USSR), and we really don’t know what might have happened had the US retreated back home fully after WWII. I HIGHLY doubt that the world would just have become a peaceful, happy place.

          We are where we are in the world today, and if we have the will to change that (we as a nation do not BTW–currently), then we have to be prepared for the change that will bring. If you think that shift in power across the world (which is what elimination of US military presence would be) won’t precipitate changes, then you’re really oversimplifying things.

          Again, this isn’t saying “Don’t do it.” I’m merely saying, be aware that this is not a simple matter.

      • You can try to learn some about how war actually works and ask questions like why did banks in the USA fund the Nazis ? WWII was just a continuation of WWI. The British arranged for the Russians and the Germans to kill each other off and then after that the US and Britain went in and finished off a weakened Germany.

        You don’t like the idea that the Nazis could have won world war II ? What’s the difference if you are going to be scanned with x-rays on every street, groped at the airport, your food poisoned, you have no constitutional rights, they take away the free internet and there’s no jobs ? All the scary stuff that the Nazis where working on where brought over here, Nazi scientists and all. If you don’t like the idea of Nazis winning the war, then be against these wars because they are a smoke screen to take away your rights.

        If this is a free country, you don’t need to be a military expert to have an opinion on what should be done. These wars have been going on for 10 years and nothing has happened except they apparently have used the patriot act against US citizens and our economy continues to crumble. Alot of wars end because people just get tired of the war.

        • @surfivor,

          No difference if Nazi’s had won WWII? Um, we’ve got problems, we’re not Nazi Germany.

          Sorry, but I don’t think I can play in the arena you’re in.

      • WWII was a conventional war with a clear enemy at least, we don’t really know too much about who the enemy is and our govt is becoming increasingly secret while at the same time we are losing all of our privacy.

        That’s why there should be a new 9/11 investigation or an actual real investigation. Why did we invade Iraq ? Al Qaeda ? No, I don’t think so. It was all fabricated reasons and the oil prices only went up, so if you where one of the saps that thought that was going to help you, .. sorry.

        These wars are discredited, the reasons for them are not well established or based on lies like so many wars apparently.

      • Jack or the mods may not like it that I used a bad work here “sap”, I apologize, I know they don’t like people getting testy on posts.

      • Well, we did have to fight the Nazis, but the part of history that they don’t teach is who funds these dictators and people like Hitler. Hitler was a front man, but also the German people can be faulted for following him.

        I see there is a parallel here in that the wall street types, bankers, and corporations would have no power if people didn’t go along with their nonsense.

        It seems that these empires can’t really last, they all fall apart in a dramatic violent way, another reason for not having one ..

      • on the flip side, I will say that I have never really heard a good explanation as to why WWI happened and what the purpose of it was when so many people where killed for what ? I have no idea really. In many ways WWII was just a continuation of WWI.

    • @KAM, I am objecting to your response being in response to my question, “how did the rest of the world get along without us”. What you are saying doesn’t answer the question. There have been plenty of times and plenty of regions (even right now) where we don’t do anything and no other “super power” did/does anything and things work themselves out.

      We act as if this nation is necessary for the world to not implode on itself. We justify what we do in the name of saving lives on one region (such as Kosovo) and let something far worse go on in others (such as Darfur, Uganda, etc, etc, etc, etc)

      We pick and choose what we do, in many ways the world is far less not more stable due to our actions. The sheeple are told by both the left and right that, “only the US can do these things”. I find this arrogant to the extreme! I find it a lie. So when you answer my question with, “the British and French did it before us”, it doesn’t really answer the question.

      So did that mean only the Brits and French (who constantly were are war with each other) could do it then? Does this mean the Soviets were part of the solution from 1922-1991? That today the Chinese are the “French” in the equation or are we now the “French”.

      Like I said how did the people of the “new world” sort themselves out for 10,000 + years with out the wisdom of a dominating more “advanced” society.

      The entire claim the “we must because no one else can” it a total lie and massive injustices and atrocities have been done in the name of that lie. I will be the first to say that we have done MASSIVE GOOD in the world as well, however we could have done most of the good and none of the bad if we didn’t see our role as to decide how things should be and where things should be said way.

      In other words if some black people want to kill women and children where there is no oil and optimum we talk but don’t act. However, let some brown people do evil yes but far less evil near a field of poppies or on sands that cover a sea of oil and “we have to do it because no one else can”.

      • @Jack,

        Thanks for that response. However, I should point out that I didn’t say “We MUST do X, because no one else can.” I didn’t say we MUST do anything.

        To be clear, I’m not arguing for our current position in the world. I’m noting that IS the position we are in (and that others were in this position before us). Is it BETTER than not being in this position? Hard to say–we will never really know.

        I’m not saying We MUST do anything. I’m saying, we need to consider very carefully where we are (and why), and what drawing back from that will mean. And also–what continuing to do what we are will mean as well.

        However, nothing we do is going to happen in a vacuum. I’ll agree, parts of the world got along without the sort of system we have now, but how likely is it that the world will head back in that direction? I think that’s highly unlikely. I think if we step-back as a superpower, someone else will step in. In fact, other nations are actively positioning themselves to be that dominant power whether we like it or not.

        Even if we decided we would adopt an Early USA foreign policy doesn’t mean the rest of the world would fall into a position that would lead to good things. That genie is out of the bottle in many ways, and as much as that holds attraction to me, I don’t think that matters.

        You’ve been very good at pointing out that people who think we can just simply go back to the gold standard are oversimplifying things. Likewise, I think we can’t simply go back to our early American foreign policy, and expect the rest of the world to walk back into position that create the circumstances where we can sustain that. We didn’t need Billions of Gallons of Oil then, and our refusal to develop our own puts a pretty big roadblock in removing ourselves from interests in the middle east–that’s ONE issue.

        A few weeks back you said that for Ron Paul to become President so many things would have to change. Well, same here–for us to even START to get back to Early American Foreign policy, dozens of major things would need to change, and I don’t think our society is equipped to begin dealing with that.

        I am in TOTAL AGREEMENT, that we should be influenced by the Wisdom of our Founders, but it has to be applied to reality today. What someone does on the other side of the world (militarily, economically, etc) has much greater potential impact than it did in 1800.

        This does NOT mean we toss out the Constitution, or the Principles of the Founders. It means we APPLY them to the situation today, and that situation is different. We can and should do that (as with all things) within the confines of the Constitution.

        We can talk about how great it would be if we had hard currency, or if we were able to disengage from foreign entanglements, but it isn’t reality today, and its not going to happen if we just do X, Y or Z. It would require a monumental tsunami of change–to START.

        • KAM, i agree with you that saying ‘we need to get back to x’ is a hell of a lot easier than actually doing it.

          i think a good analogy would be ‘getting back in shape’. its easy to talk about, but it takes actual effort to make any progress.

          our nation is fat and bloated, and politicians love to talk about the diet and exercise program we’re going to start ‘real soon now’.. but first lets have another piece of that delicious ‘bail out pie’ or some more of that sugary foreign energy.

          like the morbindly obese, our national actions to date have both short and long term consequences, many of which can not be avoided no matter how seen we start our ‘diet’. there already baked into the cake.

          but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do everything we can do to slim down.. and like diet and exercise, any move towards health is worth taking, no matter how small..


          p.s. i agree that our ‘nation’ (avg. joe on the street) is NOT ready for change. if they were, it would be happening. as the old curse goes ‘you get the government you deserve’. it makes me smile sometimes to see people vehemantly arguing for/against things they have absolutely no control/influence over.

        • @insidious,

          Sorry, I can’t seem to get a reply link in my browser for your message.

          On being ready for Change–I agree, I don’t think we are anywhere close, nor have we even considered what this sort of change would mean for us.

          I’ll say again, I’m not saying we SHOULDN’T be looking that direction. In fact, I think we really should be repositioning ourselves (militarily, economically, etc) because things are changing with or without our approval.

          Jack pointed out that for Ron Paul to be elected (in relation to his economic views) there would have to be a sea-change in the American public. After thinking about that, I think that’s true. The SAME exact thing would need to happen for us to change our Foreign policy to that degree.

          Let’s take the Strait of Hormuz–are we prepared for the military to NOT react to that? Do we have any right to involve ourselves in that area of the world militarily? I guess not. We want to buy their oil, but if Iran decides they want to influence their neighbors by controlling that, who are we to argue with them?

          Would we have to worry about this if we had our own Domestic Production in place? Perhaps not, and wouldn’t that be awesome. Sure it would, but we aren’t there, so until we are, should we maintain a naval presence to protect our economic lifeline or not? I assure you, that $6 gasoline will have the public clamoring for American Military intervention.

          Let’s alter that example a bit–let’s say it IS in our interest to open that area, but we’re no longer deployed in that area, so how many weeks does it take to tend to that issue? Would it have happened in the first place if the US had been there as a deterrent?

          I think it is really easy to demand the Military do X, Y or Z or Stop doing X, Y or Z, while we live comfortably within the reality that exists because they are doing what they are. We don’t really know what would happen if we did things differently. That’s not to say what we are doing now is best, but it isn’t necessarily worst either.

          Could they be deployed differently and still provide that protection. Certainly, but it goes way beyond “Bring the troops home.” That being said–I DO Want to bring our troops home, and give them the rest and return to their lives that they deserve.

  18. Regarding AL AWLAKI & Ron Paul – yes, Paul [& Jack] are 100% correct. He wanted him dead just as much as anyone. But there are procedures that even he deserved [and government should have not had any trouble following]. To not follow it for him when everyone was 100% on board, how can you expect to have your rights protected when you’re a nobody to anyone in government? This is why I am getting more & more in support of Ron Paul – & I have never voted R in my life. I was raised in old-school liberalism. Like supporting the right of free speech for those we didn’t want to hear, like neo-nazis. Ron Paul doesn’t support the Constitution only when convenient. He believes it is most important to support [by following] the constitution when it is inconvenient, so that it is still there when we need it. The modern left, and the establishment right today are both about limited our freedoms. Ron Paul is even trying to explain the problems with the civil rights laws, but people have knee-jerk reactions like ‘you must support segregated washrooms?’ Much of our racist past had a lot to do with government. It involves freedom of property owners, and the freedom to be an asshole. Or when Dr. Paul tries to explain decriminalization of drugs. It is about freedom over your body, and freedom of local jurisdiction. I’d prefer a world where we are educated enough to debate & make our own decisions, not force us to reply on government to decide for us, so we can stop thinking critically for ourselves, & make intellectual a dirty word. Keep up the great work.

  19. Thanks for the thoughts on the house situation. I find it interesting that some people throw morality into it. It’s a contract – it spells out exactly what happens if I don’t pay – bank gets the house. The tax thing is really ludicrous as well. Say I borrow 300k and then short sell at 200k. How is that 100k “income”, because I no longer have the thing I purchased. If I straight up borrowed 300k and only paid 200k back, and actually had the money in my hot little hands, I could understand. But essentially what happens is the lender takes back the house (as per contract), so the debt should be entirely cancelled at that point as far as the IRS is concerned. Whether the lender then sells it (or allows me to sell it) at 200k, that’s the lender’s choice. Frickin IRS… talk about kicking a man when he’s down. Sigh…

    • there is a similiar problem with ‘stock options’. during the internet boom i had friends who were granted stock options as part of their signing bonus. they were ‘valued’ by the IRS at the stocks price when they were granted. a few months later they were worth a lot less, but the IRS of course wanted its money.. it worked like this:

      $500,000 in options (when granted)
      stock falls 90% (options worth $50k)
      irs bill comes due (15-28% based on tax rate: $75,000-140,000)

      • Yes that is f’ed up too. The more I think about this, the more pissed off I get. In my example, the lender & I both agree the house is valued at $300k – they wouldn’t have given me the loan without approving an appraisal. They loan me $300k, I buy the house, no income cuz I have to pay it back. Now I don’t make good, they take the house back, that they agreed was worth $300k. So it’s basically as if they had bought the house for $300k themselves; I’m not any better off for having been part of the deal. Then they go & sell it for $200k, and somehow that’s $100k income to me???? F’ed up. Majorly.

  20. When you say “produce 5% of your own food” it doesn’t sound like much, but that’s a significant 5% when you figure that it probably at the very least means fresh herbs for almost every meal and what that does for the taste/quality of your food. Good work.

    • And a lot of herbs ain’t cheap. So even though it’s maybe 5% of your food quantity it may be 10% of your food bill in $ terms, theoretically, if you grow the most expensive stuff for yourself let’s say.

  21. @KAM

    I can’t get anywhere near a reply button either.. so this is a reply to the above.

    This is a continuation in some ways of the comments abt empire. The goal of empire is to secure ADVANTAGE for the perpetrators through aggression or the threat of aggression. The advantage the US has enjoyed has been artificially low energy and raw material costs (below market price).

    The nation has become habituated to these below market costs, and in the case of energy has done stupid and wasteful things that wouldn’t have been possible without them (SUVs, suburbs, grain fed beef). =)

    Just like a crack addict, even the thought of going without a fix is painful, and yes, going cold turkey might even mean death. Or at a minimum a really nasty and painful period of withdrawl. But of course the drug addict options are ‘quit’ or end up ‘broke and dead’. and the longer we go without dealing with the problem, the worse the detox. oil prices will continue to rise with increasing world demand and diminishing supply, increasing the gap between the $4/gal gas ‘we’ can ‘afford’, and the ‘market price’. (this made me think of the $18 ‘real price’ of chicken. think of how the market would change if the toxic alternative wasn’t available. less chicken eating and more farmers employed growing them)

    as for public clamoring.. if there was every a ‘grasshopper’ mentality, that’s it: ‘give me something i didn’t work for by taking it from someone else’.

    in contrast, the military is the definition of an ‘ant’. and its a terrible thing when its goals and missions are being directed by narcissistic grasshoppers.

  22. @Insidious,

    To my knowledge the US is paying the same price per barrel of oil as anyone else. Now, oil being sold in US dollars and the manipulation of the dollar…that’s another story.

    We’re onto a different subject here, but that’s ok. The reality is that we are dependent on oil, and unless we play catch-up on our own domestic energy supplies (which we should), we’re not pulling back from the middle east (and likely not other places either). We’ve allowed ourselves to play “Environmentalist” here because we get massive amounts of oil from other places. Our energy “policy” is an insult to the concept of the word, because it is closer to idiocy.

    Are we addicted to Foreign oil…yeah, we are, and we are PHYSICALLY addicted, because we cannot live without it–not in the way we are now at least. There is no will in the public to change our lifestyle that would allow us to change this dependence, none.

    The dangerous part is what happens when that isn’t a choice for us, but a reality, beyond our control. That is very possible.

    • the tie in I was trying to make was that for us:
      military policy = energy policy

      with any talk of ‘strategic’ this or that relating to securing or protecting energy supplies. if you can think of any exceptions (since the cold war), i’d be interested to hear them.

      my comment abt oil prices was as you pt out, wrong. there is a ‘world price’ for oil that everybody pays for a barrel (on the open market). what i should have said is that large producers can severely affect the world price by reducing world wide supply, thus driving up the price (think OPEC in the 70’s, Iran’s threats now). the US therefore wants as much ‘influence’ as possible over major oil producers to ensure they don’t do this.

      the spice must flow.. =)

      • @Insidious,

        I would generally agree, although, I’d say that our military policy is heavily tied to our economic policy/needs. That’s one reason that I think “bring home the troops” is much easier said than done–exactly because our economy IS tied to what our military does.

        You’re right–the military does (at least passively) influence what happens with oil producers (especially).

        Again, are we as a nation prepared to say “Yeah, whatever Iran does in its “Regional power” goals is ok, regardless of how that affects the oil we buy and are dependent on. In my opinion we aren’t. If so, then our military is going to keep being deployed in order to “influence” things as you say.

  23. Your Fed stuff was fascinating Jack. One question: where does it say in the Constitution that the Federal Government can’t lend money? I believe that’s what you said was one of the reasons the Fed was created.