« Hope I Get Old Before I Die | Main | You Have Been The Victims Of A Terrible Swindle »

August 24, 2010

Comments

" 'Even though the war be wrong, we are in it: we cannot retire without dishonor.' Well, not even a burglar could have said that better."

- Sam Clemens

Such a vulgar picture.

Me and my true love will never meet again.

Eric, a couple of quick points. First, if Obama is prosecuting the covert war globally against extremists as reported, word is out that the US remains in the game. Second, absent a clear, articulated reason why our national interest compel remaining in Afghanistan, the "our allies will lose heart and our enemies will be emboldened" argument is getting very, very stale. Third, it's a big leap to go from the cost of war to a local school system's financial woes. Schools are locally funded and the local citizens, if they choose, can raise local taxes anytime they wish if they wish.

Sadly, this is our life.

Third, it's a big leap to go from the cost of war to a local school system's financial woes. Schools are locally funded and the local citizens, if they choose, can raise local taxes anytime they wish if they wish.

McKinney, I love you, but next time you complain about the "combined" federal, state, and local "tax burden" I will cram the above back down your throat.

--TP

next time you complain about the "combined" federal, state, and local "tax burden" I will cram the above back down your throat.

Cram away, Tony. Here's the thing, if Houstonians want to put more money into their schools and less into something else, let's say pot hole repair, they can vote for city council people who will support that. If they want to pay higher property taxes to support higher spending, they can do that. I've voted for local tax increases when the purpose for the increase made sense.

When the feds raise taxes, ostensibly to help folks out locally, well local folks can already do that. Or not, as they see fit. I am a fan of local initiatives. It's the federal tax load on top of the local and state load that bothers me.

"we are a feckless nation that can be stampeded into surrender"

This statement enrages on so many levels. The worst is "[national] surrender". Listen, a "national surrender" would be letting the Taliban in to run America. I don't think that's on the cards.

Unless you plan on retaining Afghanistan as an American imperial possession, we have to leave someday. It's pretty much guaranteed that when that day comes, Afghanistan will be a violent, largely-ungoverned place with a large contingent of misogynistic murderous assholes. Because that's what it's been for at least decades, probably more like centuries. Maybe forever.

Failure to remake Afghanistan in our own image is not "surrender". If we embark on an ambitious program to DESTROY THE SUN, and that program fails, it is not "surrender" to give up on it. It's common sense. (Everyone knows you should start with the Moon, for one thing.)

When the feds raise taxes, ostensibly to help folks out locally, well local folks can already do that. Or not, as they see fit. I am a fan of local initiatives. It's the federal tax load on top of the local and state load that bothers me.

Not all local areas are equally wealthy, McTex. Some are really poor. National-level funding helps even out these inequalities and make sure that a child's schooling is less dependent on where they happen to be born.

McKinney, I'll tell you what: let's pay (locally) for toilet paper in our schools with money we save (nationally) by making the Marines buy their own Charmin. Would that be a "big leap"?

--TP

"Feckless," eh? I guess that means I don't give a feck. A flying feck, even.

Second, absent a clear, articulated reason why our national interest compel remaining in Afghanistan, the "our allies will lose heart and our enemies will be emboldened" argument is getting very, very stale.

JFTR it was already stale in 2004.

Not many people are aware that the trend toward NOT providing toilet paper in selected school districts is by word and deed creeping dhimmitude and Sharia law in compliance with the Quran, which presribes which hand shall be used for which function, free of Kimberly Clark, Georgia Pacific, and Procter and Gamble.

Taliban and al Qaeda madrasses don't provide toilet paper either and, look, the U.S. Government is horning in with my tax dollars and trying to subvert those local rights as well.

If we're lucky, Sarah Death Palin, Newt Gingrich, Sean Hannity, and Redshite (which deals out the crap with both hands) will tweet their outrage about this and demand that Homeland Security and DOD, with my hard-earned tax dollars, begin airlifting toilet paper to local school districts who, under the thobe of fiscal austerity, are slowly but surely subjecting our children to Barack Hussein Obama's nefarious plan for America.

The problem with handling pork handouts in America is that even though one hand washes the other in corrupt Washington D.C., sometimes one hand doesn't know what the other hand is doing.

On the other hand, next up: no more school lunches, which will keep at least one hand free for learning cursive.

Second, absent a clear, articulated reason why our national interest compel remaining in Afghanistan, the "our allies will lose heart and our enemies will be emboldened" argument is getting very, very stale.

JFTR it was already stale in 2004.

I think the actual sell-by date was some time in 1966.

Listen, Stephens and similar male persons. I will control my knee-jerk feminism if you will stop describing military action in terms often found in my spam filter. When your rhetoric is built around words such as "strength, endurance, hard, firm, upright, power", I hear a cry for Viagra, not moral seriousness. Try making an argument that *doesn't* use those terms, and I'll try not to use terms like "anxious masculinity".

Doctor Science, your post brings to mind an interesting question: has the frequency that such rhetoric is used or its effectiveness with the general population decreased as availability of Viagra (and friends) has increased?

"I hear a cry for Viagra, ..."

Yes, and the condition has persisted for nine years since the initial penetration but neo-conservatives hold firm and won't consult a physician.

In fact, they erect new conquests to stiffen our resolve.

(The) Dick Armey will not stand down, nor even consider a course of planned detumescence.

The U.S. cannot remain a superpower if the suspicion takes root that we are a feckless nation that can be stampeded into surrender by a domestic caucus of defeatists.

You'll never win at poker if you fold bad hands.

You'll never win at poker if you fold bad hands.

Our losses are too big to start cutting them now.

"You'll never win at poker if you fold bad hands.

Our losses are too big to start cutting them now."

I have to say this part of the thread is particularly appropriate because, as everyone knows, there are only two times that a gambler (warmonger) won't quit:

When he's winning (ride the run) or

When he's losing (this bad luck will change).

Given that it's a 9-year war, that stampede must have been on tippy-toes.

The U.S. cannot remain a superpower...

...history would, of course, agree

Jacob, the war is very affordable, as long as creditors continue to accept US dollars as payment for real goods and services.

The Iraq War cost over a trillion dollars. But so what? Over its duration, didn't the Chinese accept more than much US paper, in exchange for real goods?

Don't the Saudis part with their non-renewable national patrimony, in exchange for stuff that, as Bernanke so nicely put it, can be created at will and dumped out of helicopters?

As long as the USA is in a position to repay its debts in inflatable dollars, the Chinese, the Saudis, and all the other creditor saps around the world can be made to effectively pay a substantial proportion of the real cost of empire.

Does this sort of system distort the world economy? Of course it does! e.g. If you're one of those poor losers in the USA trying to make a living by selling real goods and services, then obviously you didn't get the memo!

At least the Chinese can console themselves that, even if they are getting effectively shortchanged in terms of how much consumption they get from their production, at least their nation as a whole is benefiting from an expedited transfer of know-how.

The Saudis, on the other hand, are just plain getting cheated by the unaccountable stooges who rule them. But it doesn't matter what Saudi people think. If they try to overthrow their monarchy, the Marines will shortly arrive to protect it.

The economy of empire works just fine. It's sustainable at least on the time-frame of decades, and if history is anything to go by, parasitical oppressive empires can often last for centuries.

How much value-added did the Romans really give the peoples of the Mediterranean basin? How much did they repay the Egyptians, say, for growing all that grain?

Oh, I know, they repaid everyone with what can be described as "enforcement and administrative services." The Romans could go all around their world and declare, "we are proud to be your exclusive provider! You feed us, and in return we graciously agree to undertake the onerous burden of ruling over you."

What did this mean if you were some ordinary Quintus, living in Latium? It meant that unless you get yourself the qualifications to participate in the burgeoning global enforcement and administration services sector, you're going to be reduced to paupery. Having a farm and selling food just won't get it done--not when Roman administrators and enforcers can get the stuff from Egypt at much lower cost. A central Italian peasant, as the Roman Empire grew, faced two main choices: the first option was to find a way to get hired into the enforcement and administrative sector (perhaps by enrolling in the legions, perhaps by investing in an educated Greek slave to help learn rhetoric). The second option was to become a landless, displaced member of the Roman populus, a client of some affluent patron, doing odd jobs, collecting a bread dole, and occasionally watching rebellious slaves or religious fanatics get slaughtered in the arena.

No ordinary Roman could make a living selling real goods and services when the scale economies and specialization in the Mediterranean world meant that Rome's regional economy was increasingly based on the provision of worldwide enforcement services.

Nice market, huh?

Now ask yourself: how many peer competitors exist in today's global enforcement services market?

For those who need to consume global enforcement services, what brand has the most consistency and easiest recognition?

And even if global enforcement services consumers were unhappy with their current provider, what would be the costs and risks associated with trying to change providers?

What are the lead times and capital investments required to participate in the global enforcement services market?

Dead Afghans mean better brand recognition. The brand is defined like this: "what other global enforcement services provider can maintain indefinitely a military occupation of a rugged country on the other side of the world?

"Who can better guarantee the sanctity of property and contract, on a worldwide basis? Some developing country threatening to nationalize your assets? Need an enforcement services provider? Just call America at 1-800-MARINES. We have no peer competitors!"

To crush Iran is in a way an investment aimed at discouraging the formation of any kind of alternative, in-house, DIY enforcement services provision. Iran's never could be a competitor, but who wants customers opting out of their long-term contracts? How could we continue to "grow our business" if that happened?

Now when the global enforcement services market is as centralized as it is now, the leading provider becomes, like a massive bank, "too big to fail."

Even if their directors have made lousy decisions, even if they're not efficient, everybody else is forced to swallow their bile, and bail them out.

Of course, this leads to moral hazard. Why would the directors of the world's dominant provider of global enforcement and administrative services be motivated to be less exploitative, and take fewer bad risks? Why would they listen to their clients, their employees, or even their own shareholders?

The dominant global enforcement and administrative provider will probably enjoy its position than much longer than the efficiency of its services would theoretically warrant, because by the time it becomes dominant, it's also "too big to fail." A "run on the bank" would worry even those getting foreclosed! Isn't that hilarious?

That's why the Roman Empire could last for four centuries AFTER Nero took up the fiddle!

In a later post on this blog, a Professor exhorts his students to restore the Republic. But if he had their best interests at heart, I think he should have advised them to position themselves for a job in the Beltway, on Wall St, at a NGO (the janitorial department of global enforcement services), or with such a promising subcontractor such as Xe.

If not, chances are they'll have to work as temps, collect food stamps, and entertain themselves by watching Muslims get killed in real time, on live streaming webcast, in HD.

That was a rant worthy of Paddy Chayevsky.

Let me guess, Roland is Ned Beatty is Arthur Jensen.

I sit in at my desk in my pajamas and a raincoat and I am mesmerized.

I'm opening the window to the street below so the crowds can hear me.

I have three things I want to shout:

1. Bravo!

2. I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!

and, just to stimulate debate ...

3. Aqueducts


...if you think you've got four centuries, guess again

Turbulence:

If anything, I think the supply of anxious masculinity has increased since the introduction of Viagra. It may be that anxious masculinity (and its rhetoric) is an eternal, ever-renewable resource; but it may also be that advertisement for Viagra and related products is designed to engorge masculine fears, that they may then be soothed pharmaceutically.

What have the Romans ever done for us?!

Well played Nate.

Honestly, for the first half of the post, I thought that was where Roland was going with it.

John, did anyone have to be ruled by Romans to supply a town with water? Did the Greeks need to conquer the Romans to give them an alphabet or teach them architecture?

Note also that the Romans adopted Greek letters and architecture before they ever conquered the Greeks.

Empires are needed neither to teach, nor to learn.

Well, I was about take credit for anticipating Nate's Monty Python cite, but now that you've turned the tables, let me congratulate on it being all Nate's fault.

;)

JT: That you did.

From commenter Patrick D at Unqualified Offerings:

"Looking “weak and irresolute” is a hazard to a country involving itself at levels that far exceed its actual interest."

As long as the USA is in a position to repay its debts in inflatable dollars, the Chinese, the Saudis, and all the other creditor saps around the world can be made to effectively pay a substantial proportion of the real cost of empire.

This is what the Escurial thought about the fact that bullion kept flowing out of Spain and goods flowing in. "This shows how strong Spain is: craftsmen in half of Europe are, in effect, servants of the Spanish Crown." And you know how that ended up.

"inflatable dollars"

It's loving, warm and inflatable
A guarantee of joy

"But if he had their best interests at heart, I think he should have advised them to position themselves for a job in the Beltway, on Wall St, at a NGO (the janitorial department of global enforcement services), or with such a promising subcontractor such as Xe."

Or paper mills that churn out the requisite grit for toilet paper.

I have a secret word for you...

Four-ply.

This is what the Escurial thought about the fact that bullion kept flowing out of Spain and goods flowing in. "This shows how strong Spain is: craftsmen in half of Europe are, in effect, servants of the Spanish Crown." And you know how that ended up.

But, ajay, doesn't the "inflatable" part of US dollars, stemming from the fact that we can simply make them out of nothing, mean that they are, in some sense, the opposite of bullion? (I don't necessarily disagree with what I think your larger point is, despite my question.)

Holy crap, Roland. That rant is a thing of beauty.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad