Ron Paul and the Despoiling of the Middle Class, and the Cost of War, and the Military-Industrial Complex: Help!

Republican” candidate Ron Paul did pretty well in the Michigan primary. In a good mood, he addressed his supporters at the end of the day. He said two things that surprised me, one that even surprised me a lot. During these primaries (plural), I have heard Dr Paul make a goodly number or strange or downright false statements (see postings on this blog). So, I don’t believe him anymore but it does not mean that everything he says is false. Some of his statements could easily be true and interesting. However, his record is so bad as far as I am concerned that I don’t feel like checking anything he says that sounds strange, or aright, or false. I hope someone will help me, a Paulista, or a folklorist perhaps.

1 The wars we have had for ten years, he said (I assume he means Iraq and Afghanistan), have added four trillion dollars to the US national debt ($4,000,000,000,000). I have no idea where this comes from. I doubt the contribution of the wars to the national debt can even be calculated. Yet, I would be happy if this figure were merely a pretty good approximation. I would say it’s fine even if the order of magnitude were right. How demanding is this? That’s the statement that surprises me only moderately.

At any rate, I sure hope this large amount included the 20 billion dollars per year just air-conditioning American forces in the two relevant countries Paul said it cost.

2 The congressman announced that there was a “transfer of wealth from the middle class” to the rich. That’s not a surprising statement since it’s also the basis of the Obama class war. What is surprising is the way this transfer takes place, according to the congressman. It is through the erosion of the currency, the US dollar’s value, according to Dr Paul. I don’t know how this could be. I have no quarrel with the idea that the US dollar has lost much value in say, 20 years, relative to something, to gold in particular. What I don’t know is how what is lost by the “middle-class” (whatever that is) comes to accrue to the benefit of “the rich.” Here again, I am open-minded. Please, help.

Speaking of mind, Paul’s followers applauded mindlessly when he offered this strange reasoning that is too difficult for me to grasp. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s just me and he has thousands, tens of thousands of followers (or devotees) who are both better informed and more intelligent than I am. Depressing thought!

Dr Paul needs a language style adviser. For me, it would be easier to believe him if he forswore expressions that bring back to life the distant days when young women lusted helplessly after me. (And I am not exaggerating.) One such, one of Paul’s favorites: “the military-industrial complex.” No kidding!

About jacquesdelacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
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36 Responses to Ron Paul and the Despoiling of the Middle Class, and the Cost of War, and the Military-Industrial Complex: Help!

  1. Martin Anding says:

    I believe that the phrase “Miltary-Industrial Complex” was a phrase in a speech by President Eisenhower in 1961. It may have earlier origins. It has a wikipedia entry. Really Jacques this is so easy to check thanks to goggle I don’t understand why you huff and puff and don’t do your homework. Well, I really do understand. RP used it so it must be somehow suspicious.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Martin: I am puzzled. Of course I know who had coined the phrase. I said that Ron Paul would be more likely to get me ear if it did not use absurdly out-of-date phrase s such as that one. Eisenhower had lived his best years during a period when the phrase may have had substantive meaning. It does not now. If it does it’s for different reasons and he should use a different phrase, one of his own, one he could coin himself. Or could he?

      IN general, Ron Paul’s language dates back to my youth. He has not learned a damn thing since 1989 (since before the collapse of the Soviet Empire.) This does not prove anything of course, but it sure excites my imagination

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    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      I wish you Paulistas used proper English and, in this case, proper Sicilian so I would not have to guess what you are trying to say. “Vendetta” means violent actions based on an honor obligation to take revenge. Ron Paul has not done anything to me or to mine requiring that I take revenge. I am just drawing attention to his light treatment of reality because: 1 He gives libertarianism a bad name; 2 He is preparing to give Obama four more years to destroy the country. (Of course, Brandon Christensen, an apparently unconditional Paul loyalist said, that he, personally would.)

      I think Congressman Paul is a wily madman supported by a small number of cult followers and a larger number of ill-informed honest people..

      Those are good enough reasons to continue.

      • My dictionary says ‘a prolonged bitter quarrel with or campaign against someone’. It is related to the word vindictive. I am sure that does not describe you, though. I mean, you kindly refer to us as Paulistas, not the much more, uh, vindictive Paulbot or Paulestinian or Paultard. Good for you.

        You have apparently fallen for the BS that Obama is bad because he is a Marxist, when the real reason he (and three GOP frontrunners I could name) are all BAD and all the same is their similarities to a supposed non-Marxist, President Bush. I say apparently because you are using the meme that four more years of Obama will destroy this country when it is actually four more years of Unconstitutional power-grabs, four more years of reckless spending, four more years of binge-inflationism, and four more years of policing the world not just at a monetary cost, but also a liability on human capital and international respect.

        And to answer your disingenuous and/or intentionally ignorant question about ‘how this could be’ in reference to Paul’s statement “that there was a “transfer of wealth from the middle class”…

        Inflation, in however small a degree, is a hidden tax on every dollar, but more so on those that get that dollar last. And those that gets that dollar, be it a physical, paper dollar, or credit*, first, pay the least ‘tax’ on it because they are able to spend it before the price system has time to recognize the increase in artificial liquidity.

        So, even under inflation where everyone’s real income is going up, if some (i.e., the powerful, well-connected rich, but not necessarily all ‘the rich’) are receiving special favors (as in our lovely Federal Reserve System), they are keeping the less well connected from making gains that they otherwise would be making.

        So, are you actually defending (tongue-in-cheek, of course) this ‘legal’ plunder or are you truly so uninformed about how an economy becomes distorted and rights are curtailed?

        *Any reasonable application of conforming a monetary system to Natural Law would expose the no-opt-out fiat system we have as little less than fraud and coercion, i.e., violates the non-agression principle that libertarians supposedly adhere to.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Keim: 1 vendetta is a Sicilian word with the origin I gave. Get a better dictionary. Why in the world would I have a long and bitter anything with Ron Paul? What would be my motivation? And certainly not a “quarrel.” It takes two to quarrel. I am sure Congressman Paul is no aware of my existence, as he is not aware of many much more important other things. I can’t possibly “quarrel” with him. I am just doing a little public health work in my little corner of the world. Why do you react so bitterly. Why not just treat me dismissively?
        2 The second someone attributes something to me I did not say ( a major form of falsehood), I put what s/he says at the bottom of my “to-read” file. I never said Obama was a “Marxist.” I am sure he is not. That would require that he read something a little heavy. Obama is a minimally educated man. He does not know what Marxism is. I wonder if you do. (I could be wrong on you. Feel free to give me a sign but avoid falsehoods, please.)

        I read belatedly (3/5/12) another part of your comment above. You wrote: “So, even under inflation where everyone’s real income is going up….: This is non-sense, of course. How can I keep reading? You sound as if your mind lived in an alternative reality. This perception re-inforces my perception of Ron Paul’s own mind.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Keim: I almost forgot: “Paulista” is not exactly a horrible designation. It merely means, “supporter of Paul.” Stop whining; it gives Paulistas a bad name!

      • Jacques,

        First. You are of course right that what you have is by no means the first definition of a vendetta, which is a prolonged bitter quarrel’. We can argue all day about what constitutes a ‘prolonging’ (not long, as you misquote), ‘bitterness’ (I am unable to judge because I don’t know you personally), or a ‘quarrel’ (which generally, yes, means a verbal disagreement between two parties but has been used to mean any point of contention). However, the second definition of a vendetta is, as I stated: campaign against someone. I am not entirely sure if the “prolonged bitter” is used as an adjective for just “quarrel with” or if it modifies both “quarrel with” and “campaign against”. In regards to my dictionary, it is whichever one that comes standard as an app for 2011 model 21 inch iMac. I presume the people who created the app know better than you as to what the definition of a word is. Granted you consulted your own dictionary, which no doubt is superior (because you own it, of course) to mine. Okay. Blah. Blah. Blah. Lets just say I ‘tried’ on that one.

        Second. Do not confuse my calculated use of rhetoric with bitterness. Even my loved ones refer to me as a ‘hairsplitter’. It may be annoying in everyday conversation, so they tell me, but you should come to expect it, especially after displaying your relative ignorance, smugness, and sarcasm and then challenging your readers to correct you. And, no, I did not just call you an ignoramus, I only opine that your inability to answer the questions you ask in your post is a result of your having ignored something. What that something is I know not. Doubtless you are in the same boat.

        Third. I did say the word ‘apparently’. You must have skimmed over it. I guess your standard operating procedure is to read one paragraph. Decide to skim the rest for offensive material (such as suggesting, not accusing, that you might be among those that think the worst part about Obama is his Marxism), and upon location of such material, relegating the rest of the comment to the bottom of your ‘to-read’ file.

        Fourth. My point was not to suggest that you thought he was a Marxist, although I did make that suggestion, but rather to suggest that you thought that his Marxian tendencies and proclivities (which he does have, even if he isn’t an Orthodox Marxist). This is another thing we could argue about all day, who is and who isn’t a Marxist.

        Fifth. In addition to using the word ‘apparently’, I stated why I thought that of you. You can reread it later in this comment.

        Sixth. Last night, before I went to bed, it occurred to me that I hadn’t finished what I was saying. I wrote:

        “I say apparently because you are using the meme that four more years of Obama will destroy this country when it is actually four more years of Unconstitutional power-grabs, four more years of reckless spending, four more years of binge-inflationism, and four more years of policing the world not just at a monetary cost, but also a liability on human capital and international respect.”

        But I meant to add:

        “All of these things are something he has in common with George W. Bush, Willard M. Romney, Newton L. Gingrich, and Richard J. Santorum.”

        Seventh. So, whether you think he is a Marxist or not is irrelevant to that point. The point is that you are apparently just fine with any of three Republicans who support these policies, but turn around and whine that Ron Paul is planning on handing the election to Obama, who is little different than those three stooges. Your statement was “He is preparing to give Obama four more years to destroy the country.” Apparently (there is that word again, this time it follows a direct quote), you feel that there is something about Obama that just makes him implementing these policies much, much worse than a Republican implementing these policies. What is it, exactly? Some would say it is his skin color. But I am not so low as to accuse someone I don’t know of racism. Others might imply that it is his religion (Is he a Muslim? Is he a Black Liberation Theology “Christian”? It doesn’t matter, because I am sure you are tolerant of those things). Still others (such as myself) would suggest that it must be that he is a subversive, be it an all out Marxist, a Trotskyite, a Stalinist, a Democratic Socialist, a Nationalist Socialist, a follower of DeLeon or Luxemburg, or just an ignorant progressive. Okay, so I was mistaken, it is not that you think he is a Marxist that you think he is so bad, it is that you think he is an ignorant progressive. Your statement:

        “I never said Obama was a “Marxist.” I am sure he is not. That would require that he read something a little heavy. Obama is a minimally educated man. He does not know what Marxism is.”

        But as noted before, that is besides the point.

        Eighth. You are right, Paulista isn’t so bad. I was serious when I said “good for you”. Not entirely though, so as you also used the term “folklorist”.

        There. I tried, once again, not to be “dismissive” (I am just not like that). I hope I came across as respectful and coherent, if longwinded. I did do my best, you know.

        ~Henry (the modern English evolution of Keimh₃reg, which is the theoretical Proto-Indo-European reconstruction of the name Henry/Henri/Heinrich/Enrico/Enrique/etc.)

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Keim: I don’t understand most of what you are saying. I did not read most of what you wrote because you lost your credibility with me when you stated that I was one of those who consider Obama a Marxist. (You are right, I stated what you said wrongly the last time around.) I don’t want to spend my time with people who make wild suppositions based on nothing but their wishes. I have serious business to attend to. And, please, don’t act so hurt, you might bring tears to those old tired eyes!

        You are welcome on my blog though, in this comment, in other comments or, if you prefer, in an essay that I will be glad to put up without changing anything to it.

      • Corrections. Some of these are minor, but if I am going to fix the bigger ones, I might as well fix them all. Sorry, my first proof-reading did not spy these:

        In the first paragraph: I need another quotation mark on ‘prolonged bitter quarrel’. I also need quotation marks on the word ‘long’.

        Second paragraph: ‘It is annoying…’, not ‘it may be annoying’.

        Third paragraph: I need a comma instead of a period between ‘…to read one paragraph’ and ‘decide to skim the rest…’. And that ‘d’ should be lower-case.

        Fourth paragraph: First sentence should be “My point was not to suggest that you thought he was a Marxist, although I did make that suggestion, but rather to suggest that you thought that his Marxian tendencies and proclivities (which he does have, even if he isn’t an Orthodox Marxist) were the worst thing about him or were the cause of his ill deeds.” Parentheses always distract me from finishing my sentences.

        That should just about be it.

        Henry

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Keim: Your corrections stand. Please, try to say what you mean the first time around: You thought that I thought that Obama might have Marxist “proclivities.” Come on!

      • There is nothing to ‘come on!’ to, I am afraid. You are focused on the word Marxist as though I put it in your mouth and as though it was the point of what I wrote. I acknowledge that it may be the wrong word for what you think about Obama, but I took that into consideration the very first time I commented, which is why I also made qualifying statements (which you ignored) in that first post and subsequent post. I also explained in my first post and subsequent posts why I thought any of this was ‘apparent’. You chose to ignore those as well. My lack of credibility in your eyes is premised on you having not seen these things.

        I will repeat what I have said in a different way though, and make damn sure it is right this time.

        I never said you thought he was a Marxist. I also never said you said you thought he was a Marxist. I also made sure I used qualifying words, in my very first comment, no less, so as to signify that I was uncertain of what your views on Obama might be. I then made the case for why I thought that. The evidence I put forward for it can be interpreted in any number of ways. I chose to take one example of what an interpretation could be: that you think what makes Obama worse than the three GOP frontrunners is his Marxism. I was incorrect. It is that he is a minimally educated man (your words) with bad policies, not a Marxist with bad policies.

        And still, none of this even matters because it was never the point. the point was that you seem to feel that Obama is somehow much worse than the others (your statement was “He [Ron Paul] is preparing to give Obama four more years to destroy the country.” Yet provide NO REASON as to why this might be the case. I actually gave you the benefit of the doubt when i humored the possibility for the reason was the belief, common to conservatives and some libertarians, that the supposed Socialism/Communism/Marxism of the democratic Party is somehow worse than the supposed Fascism/Corporativism/Nationalism of the Republican Party.

        So what is it about Obama that makes him worse? I contend that there is nothing of significance, and that the implications of your statement is just another thing you can latch onto in your screeds against Paul. It is a fairly common talking point (to imply that Ron Paul becoming the nominee necessitates an Obama win and/or that an Obama win is fundamentally worse than a Gingrich, Romney, or Santorum win), and I have yet to see it’s merits demonstrated.

        Henry

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Keim: I appreciate your efforts but….

        You seem to think that your imputing opinions to me based on nothing I have said, written, or done establishes the basis for a discussion between us. It does not. I have written a lot, right on this blog about President Obama. It’s all there. You might have found some of it instead of using your imagination. Let me say it again in yet a different way: If I begin reading a text by a stranger that says in the first sentence, ” You, Jacques, who are svelte, handsome and kind….,” I stop reading because the writer has already established her lack of credibility.

        Life is short. There is fishing and movies. One makes choices!

        You seem to be determined to draw me into a discussion of the respective merits of President Obama and of the remaining Republican candidates other than Ron Paul. Why would I do something so useless? It’s done abundantly and well in the press and on talk radio. I know I have nothing useful to contribute. Perhaps you do but then, you deserve a better discussion partner than I can ever be. let me just repeat something I asserted recently on this blog: I could write a severe essay against any one of the top three Republican candidates off the top of my head. Could you do the same against Ron Paul? I think you should go on this record with your answer.

        I suspect so strongly that I would bet on it that Ron Paul is going to try to give Obama four more years by throwing his support to him at the last minute. Even if only half of the people who usually vote for Paul comply, that’s enough for a Republican loss in just about any presidential election. Merely abstaining from supporting the Republican nominate, I would see as giving the presidency to Obama.
        Paul is a devious man under his appearance of folksy simplicity.

        Why don’t you offer me an essay for this blog, “Why Delacroix is wrong and always will be” ? Or you might craft one for your blog and link it here.

        PS Should be “its” merits. What a bitch! I couldn’t resist. I am deeply ashamed.

      • Once again. Never my intention to pigeon-hole you as someone who thinks that Obama is a Marxist, but rather as someone who a) thinks Ron Paul doing x, which could lead to an Obama win, amounts to him giving Obama the election (though he has said he MIGHT support whoever the GOP candidate is, were they to make some serious, and much-needed concessions), and b) thinks that somehow Obama winning as a result of what Ron Paul DOES do (Run third party, tell his supporters to stay home, whatever) is much worse than one of the three frontrunners winning as a result of what Ron Paul DOES NOT do. It is correct to say I took a shot in the dark when I postulated (NOT posited!) that the thing that must make Obama worse than the others must be something he has that they don’t. I picked one possibility and ran with it, all the while leaving myself an out with the word ‘apparently’ and then saying WHY I used the word ‘apparently’.

        I was certainly KEEN on getting you to discuss certain things in a certain way, but it never reached the level of determination. Don’t confuse my continual nagging and belaboring-of-points (most of which is done to correct the record of what I said, or, in some cases mis-said) with “determination”. I feel that most of what I have written has been done not in an attempt to get you to admit that you are wrong or make some concession, but merely to get you off my back (yes, I know, I can voluntarily put away the keyboard at any time).

        Do you say it is useless just because it is already done ad nauseum? Or do you also acknowledge the some disconcerting similarities between Obama and GOP frontrunners? If so, I ask again: If what Ron Paul is doing “to give Obama four more years to destroy the country” makes no difference (because Obama and the three are more or less using the same statist logic, just different ideological rhetoric), why bring it up as a criticism of him?

        I could (and shall, if you wish) write an essay about my peeves about Paul. On its own it might be severe, but compared to what I have to say about the other four contenders now in the lime light, it might be considered ‘mellow’. That is the thing (for me at least) about Ron Paul: It is not that he is a perfect man, or ‘the chosen one’, it is that the others are complete turn-offs. It is worth noting also, that where I agree with Ron Paul, I really agree, while where I disagree, it is always in an area where that point of contention does not involve him using the state to shove his personal agenda down my throat. I suppose you could argue that he DOES indeed have a personal agenda (Does he irrationally loathe the Military-Industrial Complex? Does he have a vendetta against it?), and he DOES indeed want to implement it through means of government, but in the negative, it seems always to be a restriction against the abuse of power, and in the positive, it seems always to be an affirmation of rights.

        I can understand the argument that Ron Paul in some way might cause an Obama win, but where do you get that he might actually throw in with Obama? Even if Obama swore on a stack of Bibles to Audit or End the Fed (yeah right!) AND to bring ALL the troops home, I don’t think even anyone as forgetful, imaginative, and trusting as Ron Paul would do such a thing. And you equate the principled (and depending on how similar the GOP candidate, is to Obama, pragmatic) stance of not supporting an Obama-wannabe to actually throwing in with Obama?

        Can Ron Paul both be a “devious” man and one that, I paraphrase you (perhaps from one of your chats with Brandon) from somewhere, ‘does not intentionally lie’? Is feigned folksy simplicity the same as real ignorance, both of which you attribute to Ron Paul?

        I will send up your essay(s). I wish I could say when, but know that it is soon.

        PS. I can handle a grammatical correction from anyone!

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Keim: This is all a bit much for me but it’s clear.

        Repeating myself:
        I fear that Ron Paul will do something that will give Obama a victory instead of doing the normal thing in this political system. The normal thing would consist in negotiating his support with the real nominee against either a cabinet post or some policy promises. I would have no objection to either. I can’t prove why I think he would prefer to have Obama elected except that I suspect he is a spiteful old man. Old men who preach in the desert forty ears will easily become spiteful.

        I have no objection to the domestic part of Paul’s agenda except for it’s being utopian and precipitous.

        One can be devious without lying. I could tell you about an old girlfriend of mine … but I will not. It’s self-evident.

        Of the remaining nominally Republican candidates, one is well-informed, well-spoken but petulant and out of control (self-control) too much of the time. Another is too socially, culturally conservative for my taste. I don’t suspect he could do much on the social level that I would object to strongly because he believes in states’rights. The third, is Romney of course, the favorite, I think. He may not even be a conservative. Nevertheless, I will easily vote for him because he will easily be more economically conservative than Obama.

        I, and many others more gifted than I, together, have written thousands of pages about Obama. I am sick of the topic. Here is a summary: A man who never accomplished anything in his life except get elected. A gut-leftist with no education to speak off. (I mean a mindless leveler.) An electoral impostor (pretending to be “black”). A man who is ashamed of this country. (His wife often speaks for him on the issue.) An intellectual light-weight. A man with strange secrets: Why in the world would a fifty-year old man keep his undergrad grades under lock and key? I have no idea but I don’t like it. Moreover, I am not completely sure he is his own man. This follows from his being a light-weight. I am not sure he is not his own man either. I don’t like the uncertainty. I don’t like the way his liberal but reputable economic advisers all left him, one after the other.

        I really don’t have much interest in discussing the respective merits of Obama and of the three Republican candidates who are not Ron Paul. I have already done it at length if implicitly, And, I want to spend my energy doing other things.

        Yes, they are all statists. That’s the main reason why one of them will be elected and Paul will not. Alcoholics don’t go dry in one day or in one election.

        Have you decided not to give me the source or sources of your list of alleged American military bases surrounding Iran according to Ron Paul? Have you? I need to know so I may wrap up this part of my endeavor. Thank you.

        PS Why is there so little about you on your blog? I don’t even know if you are a boy or a girl. (I might be more polite if you are a girl.)

      • What you have said is fair enough, and I will (try) not (to) contest it.

        To be honest with you, I am prepared for whoever wins. But Ron Paul has stated that his campaign is as much about education (I know, you might say he is ‘miseducating’) as it is about winning. If he doesn’t get the nomination, he will still have ‘won’, and I will be grateful for that. It would be nice to get some concessions out of whoever the nominee is, though.

        I agree with most of your opinion of Obama.

        Gingrich, as well. I am perhaps a little more harsh. He has his merits, of course, but he is both Establishmentarian AND volatile. the worst of both worlds.

        Santorum’s statements are mostly okay, but I think the whole state’s rights thing is a ploy on his part. At the November 19th Thanksgiving Family forum he basically denounced the Tenth Amendment. At that same time he argued that rights don’t derive from the individual, but from the family. Sure sign of a collectivist. I like family values as much as the next guy, but at a certain point they way they are touted by some is downright disgusting and dangerous.

        The whole thing with Romney is bizarre. The template on both the left and the right is: flip-flopper, elitist, out-of-touch, etc. I don’t quite buy it. There have been several times where he came across, to me, as the exact opposite of those things. He is still a moderate squish, of course, but his economic plan is actually better than that of either Gingrich or Santorum, in terms of what it would add to the debt over the next decade.

        I would vote for any of them if they made some concessions (audit or end the Fed, go to war CONSTITUTIONALLY, cut entire departments like even Rick Perry said he was going to, etc.). But, take Gingrich for example: wants to make the Dep. of Ed. a ‘statistics-gathering agency’. Yeah right! Replace the Environmental Protection Agency with an Environmental Solutions Agency. What tripe!

        I am a 21 year-old male. I just started the blog January 31st and only recently have I really known what the heck I have been doing.

        As you will no doubt discover, I got you those sources.

        Let me know if you would like to carry on this time-consuming discussion elsewhere or through a different medium.

        Hank (not a girl’s name!), but if I was a girl, I wouldn’t want you to go easy on me. Haha.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Keim: First, I am glad you are not a girl. That makes you easier to rough you up when you need it. But then, stop writing like a girl, with ‘quote’ “marks” everywhere. You are a smart guy. I am glad you are involved. As for me, like Socrates, I want to die while “corrupting the youths.”

        You want small concessions from statist Republicans such as abolishing the Fed. You don’t ask for much!

        Of course, Paul is on an educational mission. That will not stop him from doing something bad. By the way, I have no quarrel with his domestic agenda. It’s the psychedelic political isolationism that gives some other libertarians’) idea of virtue.

        Feel free to contest anything I said but not (to me) anything I did not say. It’s hard enough to be responsible for what I say. I don’t want to also be irresponsible for other people’s wild imaginings. I may not respond because I have my own agenda and not all comments deserve comment and some comments that deserve comment don’t get them because life is short.

      • Sounds good. I am not a writer by education or training, btw, so it is not so much that I am not writing my gender, as much as it is just that I am way out of my league. I will try a little more to tailor my message to whoever is reading. Note to self: Jacques likes folksy simplicity in comments on his blog. I will cut back on my punctuation. Not too much, though. I usually don’t write so much at one time, either. This is all very stimulating to me, but though young, I am no spring chicken (though there are certainly many lessons for me to learn) when it comes to arguing on blogs.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Keim: Here is some help from an immigrant. Post it near your computer.

        1 THE CAT IS LYING ON THE COUCH.

        2 THE FELINE QUADRUPED HAS ADOPTED A RECLINING POSTURE UTILIZING AN ITEM OF FURNITURE OFTEN BUT NOT ALWAYS DEDICATED TO SITTING.

        1 above is a good sentence; 2 isn’t.

        Do you ‘Understand’ ?

        Gd, I am ashamed of myself!

      • Understood. The shame is all mine.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        You can say that again!

      • Haha. I am working on the first stages of one of your challenges to me, the severe essay.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        It sounds like a worthwhile task. I will put it up without changes (unless you want me to, of course).

      • One thing I forgot to do last night.

        You said,

        I read belatedly (3/5/12) another part of your comment above. You wrote: “So, even under inflation where everyone’s real income is going up….: This is non-sense, of course. How can I keep reading? You sound as if your mind lived in an alternative reality. This perception re-inforces my perception of Ron Paul’s own mind.

        I have read Ramesh Ponnuru criticize Ron paul, and the entire Austrian School for their idiosyncratic definition of inflation: Any increase in the supply of money, as opposed to the more generally accepted increase in prices.

        Is it idiosyncratic to suggest that inflation that does not keep up with or matches economic growth is not really inflation?

        Lets take a hypothetical.

        There is a society that is a Free Market utopia. All classes are improving their material well being and standard of living as a result of the economic growth that ensues. But the government decides to create a central bank that has the power to create credit out of thin air and give it to whomever it pleases. It doesn’t matter who the central bank gives this undue favor to. It could be to the most productive, the least productive, the most wealthy, the least wealthy, etc. Now, if prices do adjust to this artificial increase, but only the one getting the favor has his standard of living go up, how is that not theft? If the credit is in the form of five bucks, the price system may not react, so the theft will go unnoticed. Nobody suffers, but someone does get something for nothing. Now if it is on the order of 5 million or 5 billion, won’t the price system react? So even if the economy itself is still sound enough to keep increasing the standard of living for all, could it not be argued that because someone, even if it is just one person, has to pay a higher price in order for the central bank to keep granting favors, that some injustice, however small, however insignificant, however tolerable, however necessary towards some high-minded end, has occurred?

        I know this is a hypothetical, but if the principle applies, am I really living in an alternative reality?

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        “...real income….”

  3. Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes did an economic analysis of the costs of the US war in Iraq and came up with a cost of $3 trillion. Ref: The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Thanks, Fred. And Ron Paul relies on Joseph Stiglitz? Another essay I will have to write. This is not a denial of the correctness of the figure. I just have to wonder how Republican candidate Ron Paul came to be aware of Stiglitz’s anything. He has a right too, of course. It’s even commendable. But, I am surprised. Are you?

      The figure you report satisfies my generous criterion of being in the right order of magnitude. Nevertheless, I have to say “3 trillion” is not “4 trillion.” Any idea where Ron Paul got the fourth trillion? I realize some will find my question petty: What’s a trillion dollars between friends?

      Is it possible that the fourth trillion is accounted for by the Afghan war? I realize that your providing a partial answer to my question puts you under no obligation to give a complete answer. I am just picking your brain.

      • I believe Ron Paul’s statements were in regards to both Iraq and Afghanistan, perhaps as well as any related costs (the so-called war on terror), whereas Stiglitz’s analysis appears to only be for the Iraq war.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Thanks but this is hardly answer my question, is it?

        Paul goes around throwing away near-facts because he believes that only his faithful are listening and that they will not question him. See libertarian in good standing’s Brandon in a very recent comment to “Ron Paul: Iran Surrounded” on this blog.

        I should not question Ron Paul’s numbers because he is a Congressman and therefore must have better info than I have!

        Look it up quickly.He, Brandon may yet have the presence of mine to remove that. (It’s 10: PST on Sunday 3/4/12.)

      • I have just read that. It looks like you attacking someone’s credibility because they said something you had not specifically heard before and/or it offended your ‘Patriotic’ sensibilities, all without providing any information whatsoever to counter what that person said.

        And when someone else points this out you attack their credibility as well. And all based on the fact that they did not respond in kind to your irrational statements that someone else has no credibility without actually stating why that person has no credibility.

        I don’t see why he would remove any of it. It was a bit childish at times, but I think it exposed, rather nicely, that you have a problem with anyone who makes any statement that happens to challenge the view that whatever set of lenses you have happens to be. I really wish I had time to read everything you ever wrote to get to know you better so that every thing I said about you was informed and accurate. Would you care to give Doctor Paul the same courtesy? Perhaps you have already. Like I said, I wouldn’t really know.

        And in regards to not answering your question is it because I used such unscientific words as ‘believe’, ‘perhaps’, and ‘appears’? I do have to cover my ass, you know! If I had all the time in the world, I would be more than happy to do your research for you and come up with a precise answer to any question, no matter how insincerely it was asked, you address to us ‘Paulistas’.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Keim: I don’t understand what you are saying. First para you write: “…and/or it offended you ‘Patriotic’ sensibilities.” Quote marks are meant to indicate that you are quoting, I think. I don’t know who you are quoting, certainly not me. I rarely use the word “patriotic;” I have not for quite a while. When I do use the word, I don’t dress it up is with a cap in the middle of a sentence. What are you saying?

        There is a short statement about what I believe about credibility in my recent essay: “Credibility and virginity.”

      • And I am not sure if this is the best place to do it, but here is your list of current official installations (most of which are considered bases, absolute permanence having nothing to do with it). Some of these are international airports but are still officially recognized as US Military installations.

        In Afghanistan:
        Camp Dwyer
        Camp Leatherneck
        Camp Rhino
        FOB Delhi
        FOB Delaram
        Fiddler’s Green
        FOB Geronimo
        Kandahar IAP (AKA Kandahar airfield)
        PB Jaker
        Bagram Airfield
        Kabul IAP
        Shindand AB

        In Bahrain:
        NSA Bahrain
        Mina Sulman
        Muharraq Airfield
        NCTS Bahrain
        Sheik Isa AB

        In Djibouti:
        Camp Lemonnier

        In Egypt:
        Cairo (IAP?AB?NB?)

        In Israel:
        The Dimona Radar Facility (120 personnel, but still a base)
        United States Sixth Fleet facilities in the Port of Haifa (semi-permanent)

        In Kuwait:
        Camp Ali Al Salem
        Ali Al Salem AB
        Ahmed Al Jaber AB
        Camp Arifian
        Camp Buehring
        “K” Crossing
        Camp Patriot
        Camp Spearhead
        Camp Virginia
        Kuwait NB
        Camp Moreell

        In Kyrgizstan:
        Manas AB

        In Oman:
        Masirah AB
        Thumrait AB

        In Qatar:
        Doha IAP
        Al Udeid Air Base

        In Saudi Arabia:
        King Abdul Aziz IAP
        King Fahd NB
        Eskan Village

        In Turkey:
        Incirlik AB
        Izmir AS

        In United Arab Emirates:
        Fujairah IAP
        Jebel Ali Port Facility
        Al Dhafra AB

        Comes to exactly 45 (coincidence?) US Military Installations (I fault Ron Paul for not using this word instead of ‘bases’, but so far as I can tell, the great majority of these are still referred to as ‘bases’), none of which are really permanent (if they were said to be ‘permanent’, we would have to admit to being ‘occupiers’, right?)

        Of course, we could also count the fleet hanging out in the Indian Ocean and/or Mediterranean Sea, and wherever NATO has a presence, and bases recently closed, etc, but we won’t do that.

        I will get back to you on the other stuff tomorrow perhaps. This took me an hour and a half as it is, and I have to go.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Keim: Interesting but completely useless as presented. Without a source, there is nothing because the reader has to be able to judge whether you are simply reproducing someone else’s propaganda or list of errors. By the way, I suspect that is exactly Ron Paul’s chronic problem. As I told your fellow Paulista Brandon days ago, just because someone wrote it or because it’s in the “press” does not make it so. Again, we need an identifiable source, not just me, you too if you want to be a rationalist.

        Once you have produced a source, which I think you will, there will be some discussion but I will insist that you tell in a forthright manner whether the establishments you list are “bases” because that’s what Paul said, exactly. He could have said, “temporary facilities,” for example. He did not, he said “bases.” The word implies a degree of permanence, years, rather than months, and certainly, than weeks. It does not imply “forever,” obviously.

        Then, there is the issue, of determining how close you have to be to “surround”Iran. Does Antarctica count? About Diego Suarez? I ask because I notice you include establishments in Djibouti. Isn’t that a bit far away to “surround” Iran?

        There is an American military facility in Cairo, Egypt? Right now?

        “Eskan Village” I like it. It looks like a country club but I will grant you that it’s an air base.

        FOB Delhi is housed in a former agricultural college in the middle of nowhere. How big can it be? There must be some lower size limit, don’t yo think? (This is a real question.)And if, for some reason, the Marine Corps split the FOB there into two commands would there now be “46 military bases surrounding Iran”?

        You are on much more solid ground when you mention naval forces, I think. Paul would have been too. Why do you think he did not?

      • Jacques,

        I apologize in advance for the length of this. I am attempting to respond to two of your comments. I will separate my responses.
        ________________________________________________________

        The word ‘Patriotic’ was not meant to put words in your mouth, but to serve as one possibility of what it was that got your goat on what Ron Paul said. Was it that the number of bases was inexact (40 vs. 45)? Was it that it was way off (15 vs. 45)? Was it that their was no source (Wikipedia? Anti-War Dot Com? Some book from 2004?)? Was it that it was irrelevant (Iran needs to be dealt with regardless of how many bases we have or whether they are actually pursuing nuclear weapons or not)?

        I am sure you are not one of them, but there is a sect of self-proclaimed ‘Patriots’ that, no matter what, will never acknowledge the slightest possibility that maybe Iran isn’t what the media tells them.

        I can see now that your beef has nothing to do with Ron Paul’s foreign policy per se, but more his loose (I do agree that he is not the best mouthpiece for whatever cause it is he is fighting for, be it his imagination, his pocketbook, the Constitution, or a genuine reverence for the idea of Liberty) way of saying things which are hard to fact-check because he uses the wrong terms and does not attribute his information to a source.

        I capitalize some words in the middle of a sentence, sure. Constitution, Liberty, Patriotism, Federal, Trillion, Foreign Central Banks. Those are all examples of where I have done it recently. You have caught me.

        And I believe the title of your essay is a short enough statement to get your point across without me looking at it (though I shall). Credibility and Virginity: once you lose them, you can never get them back. The only problem is that credibility is subjective (One loses credibility because of something they said that either is provably and purposefully false, is simply misunderstood, or is somewhere between those descriptions. One loses credibility because another person judges them to no longer have any), whereas virginity is objective (Let’s be frank but modest: intercourse is intercourse. A person ABSOLUTELY loses their virginity because of something they DID do, irrespective of whether there is an outsider making a judgement).

        I am glad to know your standards. You say that once someone has a store of credibility, it remains viable if they occasionally, involuntarily slip up. That is fair enough. I still maintain that I made no such false statements so as to lose credibility, even by your standards, and that the ambiguous words I used to leave myself options should be considered. I also maintain that though I do not have a capital reserve of credibility in your eyes, it is still not cause to think that the first statement I make that does not seem to add up at first, or even upon later glances, gives legitimizes your immediate denunciation of me for that statement.

        I will admit that I have enough pride that even the losing of SUBJECTIVE credibility, in the eyes of someone I have never met, with whom I disagree, and with no onlookers to prove anything to, grieves me. I do not urge you to merely overlook things I have said that don’t seem to add up, but I do ask you to consider that maybe your taking of offense at my mere suggestion of a possibility, went straight to your head.
        ________________________________________________________

        The list comes from several pages on, *gasp*, wikipedia. I meant to give the sources, but I was under a time crunch while typing yesterday. Here are the links:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Army_installations_in_Kuwait

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Army_installations

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Navy_installations

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Marine_Corps_installations

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_military_bases

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Air_Force_installations

        And , while surrounded is a matter of some subjectivity, I went on to include such far-away and exotic lands as Kyrgyzstan and Djibouti because that is what the map you and Brandon were discussing showed. I did watch that 2/22 debate, but I don’t recall if Ron Paul said how long Iran’s influence-radius was. As a rule of thumb, say Islamic (except for Israel, of course) countries in the Middle East. Once again, the Middle East is a subjective geographical description. The one I went with can be found here:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Middle_East

        If you would prefer to say that only countries that share a border or strait with Iran surround it, that is fine. It then becomes an argument over geographic definitions and spheres of influence. In that instance, we would be left with 39 facilities (called bases by wikipedia, which, of course, does not know everything).

        We can decide on parameters if you like. I will make a suggestion: Anything with an NB, FOB, AB, etc., in its official name, because the B is for ‘Base’, is a base. If wikipedia calls it a base, we can look further into its size and purpose, etc. If it is not called a base, either officially or by some general definition, we can narrow the rest down by eliminating them or making considerations. I don’t mind doing the research, with sources of course, if you agree with these suggestions or have your own suggestions. I can either do it in an essay of sorts or in our ongoing (and thoroughly enjoyable) discussions.

        I will look more carefully into the Cairo thing. It is probably the IAP or a port that Egypt allows the US to use, and so is only a base by the same standards any other port or IAP is one, if used by the US military.

        As to an FOB becoming two FOBs, I would say that an FOB is an FOB, and was perhaps split in the first place to serve some purpose (increase in personnel or operations?).

        As to why Ron Paul used the word ‘bases’ instead of ‘facilities’, and as to why he didn’t specifically include the fleet (I just capitalized that word out of habit, but corrected myself. Odd.), I don’t know. I will see if I can find the clip to shed more light on it. Feb. 22 debate, right? Do you have any idea at what point in the debate it was?

        Hank

        BTW, I try, and sometimes fail, to use double quotes when actually quoting, but single quotes for other purposes. When I single quote ‘Patriot’, it is because I say it with some disdain. It is not that ‘Patriotism’ itself is the object of that disdain, but simply the overuse of the word for any person who happens to both love something about his country and have an irrational, belligerent personality. Though we are perhaps still widely apart in our opinions, I have not come to cast this disdain upon you (at least not anymore).

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Jesus!just too much for me. Paul said what I said he said.

        First, thanks for the sources. The list is nor useful. I have not much of an objection to Wikipedia for this kind of info. I think contributors don’t lie much about easily verifiable objective info. The list is worth looking at again now that you have referenced it.

        The reasons you give for inclusion don’t make sense to me. Why not the large British military installation in Cyprus rather than Djibouti. It’s closer to Iran. That ‘s what counts in operational terms.

        I did not “discuss” any map with Brandon. He proposed a map with much false information that would have been easy to avoid. I told him so. That’s not a discussion.

        At this point, Iran looks considerably more militarily surrounded than I would have thought a week ago, and accordingly, Ron Paul less off the wall on this one. And I don’t care much if it’s 45 or 40. Thanks for the good news about Iran’s encirclement!

        In general, I don’t respond well or I don’t respond when people start imputing motives and reasonings to me. I am responsible for what I say and that’s all. It’s difficult enough without having to defend another person’s straw-man (straw-person?) I am all over my blog and all over the internet. there is no mystery there and accordingly, no excuse for guessing.

      • Okay. He said ‘bases’. I will trust but verify.

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