Monday, May 28, 2012

A Tutorial for the President on Profit Maximization

Writing in the WSJ last week, economics professor Paul Rubin "takes the community organizer-in-chief to task for his dismissive comments about profit maximization" (ht/E. Frank Stephenson):

"In justifying his attacks on Bain Capital, President Obama argues that "profit maximization" might be an appropriate goal for a private-equity firm, but not for more general public policy. This argument ignores one of the most basic premises of economics.

We economists assume that firms always maximize profits, and that profit maximization by firms (all firms, not just private-equity ones) is a very good thing. But this is not because profits are in themselves good. Rather, profit maximization is good because it leads directly to maximum benefits for consumers. Profits provide the incentive for firms to do what consumers want. 

Consider the converse: What if a business does not maximize profits? Then it is either not making the products that consumers want the most, or it is not producing its products at the lowest cost. In either case, consumers are harmed. Any argument against "profit maximization" is an argument against consumer welfare.

Maximizing consumer welfare is the ultimate justification for an economy. Consumers are of course also workers and voters. Contrary to President Obama's claim, skill at profit maximization does translate directly into skill at governing the economy. Failure to understand this simplest and most basic point is probably itself enough to disqualify someone from the presidency when economic issues are paramount."

MP: Another good time to invoke the sagacious words of Frederic Bastiat below:

"Treat all economic questions from the viewpoint of the consumer, for the interests of the consumer are the interests of the human race."

HT: Warren Smith

173 Comments:

At 5/28/2012 10:07 PM, Blogger Paul said...

One thing is for sure, "profit maximization" will never be an area of concern for the United States government with Obama at the helm.

 
At 5/29/2012 1:20 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

The federal government is well overdue for a massive "creative-destruction" process to increase efficiency and reduce waste.

 
At 5/29/2012 5:37 AM, Blogger geoih said...

"... skill at profit maximization does translate directly into skill at governing the economy."

Government can never maximize profit (i.e., be economically efficient), because it never has to generate a profit and it is isolated from the pricing mechanism.

If the people in government cannot learn this lesson (something I would guess neither Romney nor Obama has learned), then it makes no difference what their backgrounds are.

 
At 5/29/2012 5:37 AM, Blogger geoih said...

"... skill at profit maximization does translate directly into skill at governing the economy."

Government can never maximize profit (i.e., be economically efficient), because it never has to generate a profit and it is isolated from the pricing mechanism.

If the people in government cannot learn this lesson (something I would guess neither Romney nor Obama has learned), then it makes no difference what their backgrounds are.

 
At 5/29/2012 6:22 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Government can never maximize profit (i.e., be economically efficient), because it never has to generate a profit and it is isolated from the pricing mechanism.

True. When you can just commandeer funds as opposed to earning them, then why worry about maximizing your return? You can always just take more.

 
At 5/29/2012 8:09 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

... profit maximization is good because it leads directly to maximum benefits for consumers. Profits provide the incentive for firms to do what consumers want.

=================================

What this says is that consumers pay companies (in the form of profits) to develop the next thing that consumers want. If you believe that profit maximization is a good thing, then this implies that you believe consumers should pay the maximum price in order to develop the next new thing they want.

Like anything else that consumers buy, what they really want is best value for the lowest price, which would say that profit maximization is NOT in the consumers best interest. Which is a conclustion that ought to be intuitively obvious.

If I thought that profit maximiation was good for me as a consumer, then I ought to be willing to pay an infinite price for the last thing I bought, in order to be able to obtain the next thing sooner, which is a pretty dumb proposition.

 
At 5/29/2012 8:25 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

When you can just commandeer funds as opposed to earning them, then why worry about maximizing your return? You can always just take more.

==================================

Government is in the business of maximizing its return on investment, same as any other organization. The better off government makes its citizens, the more they can afford to spend on goods and services which increases taxes paid.

The disagreement is that some people think government ONLY makes its citizens better off by collecting less taxes from them and providing less in terms of protection of people and property, less interms of infrastructure, and less in terms of infrastructure. To the extent that government is inefficient or makes mistakes (like any other large organization) that view is correct, but it discounts steeply the collossal economy of scale and the benefit of having a long term perpective on ROI that a corporation cannot achieve when faced with quarterly reports.

 
At 5/29/2012 8:32 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

it never has to generate a profit and it is isolated from the pricing mechanism.

================================

Government does not have to generate a profit, but its pricing mechanism is to grow the economy so that it can grow its revenues.

Whether you believe that the government can grow its revneues by cutting taxes or or not is the issue, not whether government will grow. After all the Republican argument is that you can increase government revenue by lowering taxes.

And waht will government do with that increased revenue? It will govern more people, more enterprises, and and more activites, trying (and often failing) to provide equal protection and opportunity under the law.

When government does fail, why do we blame "government" when what government does is what we and our lobbyists ask it to do?

 
At 5/29/2012 8:37 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"Government is in the business of maximizing its return on investment, same as any other organization."

Oh, well I guess they're just mind bogglingly bad at it.


"The better off government makes its citizens, the more they can afford to spend on goods and services which increases taxes paid."

The more dependent liberal politicians makes the citizens, the more the citizens need liberal politicians. Call it dependency maximization.

"....and the benefit of having a long term perpective on ROI that a corporation cannot achieve when faced with quarterly reports."

We've spent about 16 trillion on the war on poverty since the '60's. What exactly is your definition of a long term ROI?

 
At 5/29/2012 8:57 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Government does not have to generate a profit, but its pricing mechanism is to grow the economy so that it can grow its revenues"...

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Good one hydra!

LMAO!

 
At 5/29/2012 9:31 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"After all the Republican argument is that you can increase government revenue by lowering taxes." -- Hydra

An increase in revenue may or may not be the net effect of lowering tax rates, but the Republican argument is that workers have a moral claim to their earnings. This, of course, stands in stark contrast to the Democrat view that all of a workers earnings belong to the state and that he should be grateful for what the state allows him keep.

 
At 5/29/2012 9:33 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"... this whole blog is a shrine to the expansion of money and credit that enriches privileged companies even as it does great harm to the consumer and the saver." -- Vag

What complete and utter gibberish.

 
At 5/29/2012 9:46 AM, Blogger Rich B said...

Hydra-

C'mon, you can do better than that. Profit maximization clearly doesn't involve charging an infinite price (besides who has infinite money?). It is an incremental pursuit based on expanding the market for a good or service and lowering the cost of production. The average percentage of GDP accounted for by profits seems to range from about 5-10%. There's your real trickle down economics. For a 5-10% charge, we get the incredible variety of products and services in the modern American economy.

 
At 5/29/2012 9:48 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

What this says is that consumers pay companies (in the form of profits) to develop the next thing that consumers want. If you believe that profit maximization is a good thing, then this implies that you believe consumers should pay the maximum price in order to develop the next new thing they want.

Well, no. What happens when the price of something goes up? All else equal, the quantity demanded goes down.

Let me give you an example: Assume we have a company that produces widgets. At $100, they can sell one widget. At $50, they can sell 1000. At what point do they maximize their profit? Under your initial answer, you would claim that the company, to maximize profit, would sell for $100. But their profit would only be $100. By lowering the price to $50, their profit now increases to $50,000. That is profit maximization.

Like anything else that consumers buy, what they really want is best value for the lowest price, which would say that profit maximization is NOT in the consumers best interest.

The first half of your statement is correct. The part after the comma is illogical. For a reason why, see my example above. For another reason, consider the other half of the equation: the business. The business wants the highest price possible. By the two interacting (and assuming no price controls), the price will settle at the place where net consumer benefits are maximized and net producer benefits are maximized. This is the essence of profit maximization.

Let me leave you with one final question. Let's assume that we want firms to sell their goods at the lowest price. The subsequent problem is that now we face a shortage of goods (demand is higher and supply is lower). Is that really what we want for an economy? Are the consumer benefits really maximized when they cannot consume their desired amount of the good?

 
At 5/29/2012 9:53 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

jon-

"True. When you can just commandeer funds as opposed to earning them, then why worry about maximizing your return? You can always just take more."

i'd take it a step further. they actively seek to not generate returns. they seek to buy votes. the return on capital is irrelevant or, quite possible, deliberately minimized as the cheapest votes to buy are those with the worst return and the biggest pots of cash to "redistribute" come from those engaged most successfully in productive activity.

when private firms persistently lose money, they go out of business (unless they can coax federal aid). when federal programs lose money, they get more money. note the TSA, who is way overbudget, pushing a 40% hike in their budget.

they have no incentive to provide a product you want or at a good price. if GM could make you buy cars at gunpoint, imagine how much less they would spend on R+D and quality assurance.

Bastiat's Moral Law

"See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them; and gives it to persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil in itself, but also is a fertile source for further evils, for it invites reprisals. If such a law is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply and develop into a system.
-- Frederic Bastiat


man did freddie see this mess coming. thanks for trying to warn us. sorry we did not take it to heart.

 
At 5/29/2012 10:00 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"What this says is that consumers pay companies (in the form of profits) to develop the next thing that consumers want. If you believe that profit maximization is a good thing, then this implies that you believe consumers should pay the maximum price in order to develop the next new thing they want."

wow. this thinking is such a mess it's hard to know where to start.

consumers pay the prices they choose. this is the nature of voluntary transactions. companies cannot force them to pay high prices. the consumer can just say no. this is how private industry differs from government.

to use jon's good example, the government CAN force 1000 people to pay 1000 for something they value at $50 and destroy tons of value in so doing.

a private company cannot. you seem to be using the bizarre assumption that consumers do no maximize profit and well being too and that "profit maximization" somehow advocates consumers subjugating themselves to companies. if anything, the opposite is true. in a world of voluntary exchange, the consumer is sovereign, not the producer.

the producer can offer goods and services for sale, but if they are not attractive to the consumer, none are bought and the company fails.

if consumers do not want nike shoes, there is no nike. but if nike disappears, the consumer can still have shoes.

notions that companies can force consumers to pay more for goods than they are worth are totally absurd. the choice lies with the consumer.

absent governmental coercion, why would you pay more for anything than you think it is worth?

 
At 5/29/2012 10:01 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

What complete and utter gibberish.

Really? Do you read many of the postings? We read about the great earnings of the financial companies who raped the taxpayers not very long ago when they ran for bailouts. Did these earnings come from prudent loans to businesses that needed them? No, they came from proprietary trading where the banks get to sell insurance against events that would destroy them and would require another bailout. How about the 'great news' about housing that Mark is hyping? Did that news come because the market was allowed to liquidate the failed speculations? No, that news comes from a slowdown of foreclosure activity by the GSEs, which want the elections to go well, and by giving people with poor credit histories 95% loans.

Mark is hyping good news that mainly comes from government meddling that will create bigger problems down the road or outright manipulation of the real data. I suspect that by this time next year he will be talking about how hard it was to see all of these bubbles and show surprise that the 'recovery' did not take hold.

True advocates of the free market do not support spin and hype or any 'help' from the government or the Fed. They simply observe what is going on and honestly report it as they criticize the meddling no matter what the professed reasons for it.

 
At 5/29/2012 10:04 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Bastiat's Moral Law

"See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them; and gives it to persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil in itself, but also is a fertile source for further evils, for it invites reprisals. If such a law is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply and develop into a system."

-- Frederic Bastiat


You are right. As someone who understood human nature and human action Freddie saw it coming. The problem is that people don't pay attention and that many who claim to support free markets cannot bring themselves to take the logic to its inevitable conclusion.

 
At 5/29/2012 10:12 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

i'd take it a step further. they actively seek to not generate returns.

I agree Morganovich. I even agree with the vote-buying scheme, but let's take it even farther than that. The typical argument for government subsidies/investments in an industry is that said industry is not growing fast enough/producing enough of the goods or services "we" want/people aren't consuming enough of these goods or services. In short, the free market does not see the return on investment as viable. So, the government steps in on what is widely acknowledged (at least by folks who are risking their own money) to be bad bets.

That reason is part of why I say private equity and investment is not only better economically than government investment, it's more moral too.

 
At 5/29/2012 10:28 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"That reason is part of why I say private equity and investment is not only better economically than government investment, it's more moral too."

exactly.

that's well said. companies producing products that people value at more than their costs do not need subsidies.

 
At 5/29/2012 10:30 AM, Blogger Ken said...

Hydra,

this implies that you believe consumers should pay the maximum price

If you believe this, then you don't understand how to maximize profit. Wal-Mart operates at a very low profit margin, yet is incredibly profitable. Let me ask you, is it more profitable to make a $1000 on the sale of 1000 products or a $10 profit on the sale of 1,000,000 products?

 
At 5/29/2012 10:31 AM, Blogger Ken said...

Hydra,

Government is in the business of maximizing its return on investment, same as any other organization.

Really? Then how do you explain Solyndra (and all the other failed government sponsored "green initiatives"), GM, etc?

 
At 5/29/2012 10:49 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Government is in the business of maximizing its return on investment, same as any other organization."

i cannot believe you can even say that with a straight face.

what evidence do you have that they even try? (or even try to measure it?)

what mechanism would enforce such behavior?

 
At 5/29/2012 10:57 AM, Blogger Michael said...

There is only benefit to society when the rules under which profit is maximized are sensible. The mafia, Bernie Madoff, and the people selling drugs from the abandoned house down the street are all profit maximizers.

Government is in a position to attempt those valuable functions which are not well incented by profit. Government is not generally very profitable. And yet you can't find a high productivy modern society that doesn't have a large "intrusive" government. Correlation is not causation, but it is not wise to ignore it either.

 
At 5/29/2012 10:59 AM, Blogger Michael said...

There is only benefit to society when the rules under which profit is maximized are sensible. The mafia, Bernie Madoff, and the people selling drugs from the abandoned house down the street are all profit maximizers.

Government is in a position to attempt those valuable functions which are not well incented by profit. Government is not generally very profitable. And yet you can't find a high productivy modern society that doesn't have a large "intrusive" government. Correlation is not causation, but it is not wise to ignore it either.

 
At 5/29/2012 11:07 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Government is in a position to attempt those valuable functions which are not well incented by profit.

If they are not profitable, then they are not valuable. If people value a function, then they will pay for it.

Your argument is close to being logical, but not for that reason. Where you should have gone was "the government is in a position to attempt those functions that are non-excluadable." These goods/services are valuable, but since you cannot prevent someone from enjoying the benefits, you get free-rider problems (think the military, light houses, parades, etc).

 
At 5/29/2012 11:30 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

michael-

i'm not sure what your point is.

the rules in those cases ARE sensible.

the laws against fraud are suite clear and, to my mind, enforcing contracts is a valid role of government. the problem is that they are so bad at it. bernie was caught dead to rights by the private sector. they even went so far as to hand the info to the sec (with concrete proof his strategy was impossible as he claimed to trade more options contracts daily that the whole market did) and the SEC did nothing with that.

the mafia engages in non voluntary transactions like theft or extortion. there are plenty of good laws about that as well.

the drugs issue is one in which the laws are actually bad, but one in which, at least, the standard motives apply. no one has to buy them. price would be lower and quality higher if the government got out of the way.

so what exactly are you driving at?

so long as transactions are voluntary and contracts are enforced, welfare in increased.

i think your intrusiveness argument is self defeating however.

what one can do is look at the extent and nature of intrusion. countries with more do poorly those with less, well.

venezeula greatly upped its intrusion. they have sunk like a stone. columbia greatly reduced theirs. they have been one of the best economies in the world.

china loosens restrictions and grows. the us clamps down further and growth slows.

compare the economies of states with relatively low regulatory burdens to those with high ones.
utah creates jobs while californa struggles.

your notion that all states have regulation and thus it is likely a contributor to success is completely contradicted when you look at relative regulation and the experience of states that move toward more or less.

 
At 5/29/2012 11:38 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Government is in a position to attempt those valuable functions which are not well incented by profit." -- Michael

Government certainly has legitimate functions, but those are narrow and limited. When government steps outside those legitimate functions and inserts itself into areas that are appropriate to the private sector the fact that it is not, as you put it, "incented" by profit produces, necessarily, an inferior result.

 
At 5/29/2012 11:45 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

the role of government is to defend the rights of citizens, enforce contracts, defend the borders, and stay out of the way.

we can perhaps make a few begrudging exceptions around goods like a highway system, but mostly you do not need them.

if there were no government lighthouses, do you really believe private shippers would not put them in? they benefit, they should pay. they pass it on in costs, and those who use their services pay and pass that on.

user pays always works better.

the problem with government is that it diverges so significantly from that notion.

picking someone else's pocket to pay for that which you want and they do not is always attractive to the guy getting free stuff, but that does not make it good, just, or efficient.

 
At 5/29/2012 11:45 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

There is only benefit to society when the rules under which profit is maximized are sensible. The mafia, Bernie Madoff, and the people selling drugs from the abandoned house down the street are all profit maximizers.

The mafia gave us Jazz, Vegas, Broadway, Hollywood, and gay rights. I would say that those are all positives for society. The government gave us wars that killed millions and is still busy bombing kids. I would say those are all negatives for society.

Madoff was a crook who was protected by the SEC but exposed by private individuals seeking to profit.

People sell drugs because other people want to buy them. The problem is that by prohibiting their sales government encourages criminal gangs on the supply side and property crimes on the demand side.

 
At 5/29/2012 11:47 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Government is in a position to attempt those valuable functions which are not well incented by profit. Government is not generally very profitable. And yet you can't find a high productivy modern society that doesn't have a large "intrusive" government. Correlation is not causation, but it is not wise to ignore it either.

It is government that drops incendiary bombs on innocent families, uses torture on people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is government that runs huge debts and allows the financial system a monopoly on money creation.

 
At 5/29/2012 12:48 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"It is government that drops incendiary bombs on innocent families, uses torture on people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time"...

LOL!

Innocent?!?!

LMAO!

Good one vangeIV!

 
At 5/29/2012 2:47 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

juandos-

oh, you mean they never miss? they never hit the wrong house? never have bad intel?

or are you claiming that just living near someone suspected of terrorism is guilty and it's fine to drop a hellfire missile on them?

i find it funny how the same people who are so upset about the women and children killed over the weekend by the syrians so frequently completely ignore or dismiss as "collateral damage" civilians killed in US attacks.

you can't have it both ways.

several reports (how credible is arguable) claim 2800 civilians killed by us missiles in pakistan over the last 7 years. that's getting up toward 9/11 numbers. why is that not barbarous?

the civilian casualties in iraq and afghanistan exceed 100,000.

yet we are all up in arms about a 100 or so syrians?

seems a bit inconsistent.

i absolutely agree that some of the folks getting blown up richly deserve it and are "enemy combatants" in a strict sense, but there have been a great deal of innocent collateral damage victims as well.

do you dispute that or are you just arguing that anyone in iraq, afghanistan, or pakistan is "guilty".

 
At 5/29/2012 3:11 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Getting a little off topic:

There is no greater argument for a limited government than war.

 
At 5/29/2012 3:26 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Morganovich,

"i absolutely agree that some of the folks getting blown up richly deserve it and are "enemy combatants" in a strict sense, but there have been a great deal of innocent collateral damage victims as well. "

Sure, but the innocent civilians are not the target. The problem is the terrorists use human shields, forcing us to make a choice. We can either let them have a "safe zone" to regroup and plan more mayem, or hit them anyway and be denounced by people of bad intent(I don't mean you) for killing civilians.


That's different from what the Syrians are doing.

 
At 5/29/2012 3:40 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Morganovich says: "the drugs issue is one in which the laws are actually bad."

So, if you believe a 65 MPH speed limit is a "bad" law, you drive 100 MPH and kill some innocent people, it's the law that's bad, not the lawbreaker.

You want to get rid of the illegal drug problem? Then stop buying illegal drugs.

Why reward lawbreakers?

 
At 5/29/2012 3:43 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"...the same people who are so upset about the women and children killed over the weekend by the syrians so frequently completely ignore or dismiss as "collateral damage" civilians killed in US attacks ... you can't have it both ways." -- morganovich

There is no moral equivalence. The two things are, in fact, completely different. The U.S., and our allies, go to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties, while the enemy does everything in their power to inflict them. The enemy knows this, which why key Taliban and al Qaeda figures routinely seek cover amongst the greater civilian population in a cynical effort to play our own deeply held moral values against us. The Geneva Conventions are clear with regard to combatants seeking cover amongst the civilian population. It is the enemy that routinely ignores this and callously puts these innocents at risk.

"In the past year, insurgents have used a wave of child suicide bombers, some as young as 10, on the ruthless assumption that small boys can pass through checkpoints and security cordons more easily than men. A senior Afghan intelligence official estimated that more than 100 had been intercepted in the past 12 months, including 20 from the Kandahar area in the south. The insurgents seek to exploit the innocence of their recruits and turn it into a weapon." -- The UK Telegraph

For the U.S. and our allies, these are difficult moral decisions, and I am sure that those who are responsible for making them struggle to weigh the costs involved. Our, enemies, however, seem to have values sufficiently flexible to allow for the deliberate murder of innocents to advance their cause. To argue that we should not confront the evil and the dangers posed by our enemies because they have decided to up the ante through their own depravity is ludicrous.

 
At 5/29/2012 3:49 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Soldiers in Helmand claim that the policy of "courageous restraint" is forcing them to fight with "one hand tied behind our backs". The doctrine was introduced by Gen Stanley McChrystal, the former American commander, to reduce the number of civilian casualties, which are mainly caused by aircraft bombs or artillery missiles. However, with their own casualties mounting, troops say there is an urgent need for a change and for more flexibility in using lethal force to defend themselves. June was the bloodiest month since fighting began in 2001. A senior Non-Commissioned Officer, on his third tour of Afghanistan, said the rules of engagement had "gone too far one way" in favour of the insurgents. "Our hands are tied the way we are asked to do courageous restraint. I agree with it to the extent that previously too many civilians were killed but we have got people shooting us and we are not allowed to shoot back ..." -- The UK Telegraph

 
At 5/29/2012 3:52 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

VangeIV says: "It is government that drops incendiary bombs on innocent families, uses torture on people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The U.S. military does a much better job than any other military killing its, and its allies, enemies without killing innocent civilians.

Also, the U.S. doesn't use torture, just because some people consider it torture:

Ex-CIA chief defends waterboarding of al Qaeda leader
April 26, 2012

The former head of the CIA's Clandestine Service talks to Lesley Stahl about those methods, including waterboarding, for the first time and defends their use - even comparing them to the current policy of killing al Qaeda leaders with drone strikes.

Rodriguez says everything his interrogators did to top-level terrorists like Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah was legal and effective.

Pressed by Stahl about charges that Zubaydah, who was waterboarded and sleep deprived, gave false information that wasted U.S. resources, Rodriguez replies, "Bull****!, He gave us a roadmap that allowed us to capture a bunch of al Qaeda senior leaders," says the ex-spy.

 
At 5/29/2012 3:56 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"... I keep telling them that the rules are the rules for a reason. If we simply go crazy and start shooting at everything, in the long run we will lose this war because we will lose the support of the population." He too is frustrated, accusing the Taliban of manipulating the rules of engagement by using women and children as shields and shooting from hidden positions before dropping their weapons and standing out in the open. "They know we can't shoot them if they don't carry guns or without positive identification. They are fighting us at another level now," MacLean said ... "We were attacked treacherously. We came under fire from everywhere, but the rules of engagement prevent me from doing my job," said Lance Corporal Mark Duzick, who was in the unit that was ambushed." -- The UK Telegraph

 
At 5/29/2012 4:00 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

peak-

that's a nonsensical argument.

i know you are a violent conservative reactionary on the drugs issue, but at core, you are creating a bigger problem by making them illegal than they pose as a legal substance, just as prohibition did for alcohol.

what people choose do do recreationally if up to them so long as it does not hurt others.

we could make bananas illegal too, then only criminals would get potassium. your answer would be "so stop buying bananas?" that's ludicrous.

your speed limit argument is utterly irrelevant. if i hit you driving 65 or 85, i am still responsible. also note: speed limits exist ONLY on public roads. on a private road, you can go as fast as you want and do not need a license or insurance.

i sued to drive over 150mph on limerock racetrack before i was even allowed to operate a car on a public road. your example is meaningless.

 
At 5/29/2012 4:04 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Morganovich, calling people names is a "nonsensical argument."

You don't even realize the contradictions in your statements, e.g. "what people choose do do recreationally i(s) up to them so long as it does not hurt others."

 
At 5/29/2012 4:06 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"This week, Taliban terrorists publicly beheaded three civilians in Afghanistan's Farah province, then herded women and children into compounds from which they fought government forces and US advisers. With a vicious ground battle under way, the Talibs knew attack aircraft would appear. According to military sources, they set up the target. And, just in case, they slaughtered those women and children with grenades before any aircraft appeared. The entire massacre was a planned media event. And who gets blamed? Not the Taliban." -- The New York Post

 
At 5/29/2012 4:07 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

che-

that seems like a weak argument and a pile of assumptions.

no moral equivalence? we know damn well there will be civilian casualties. we may try to avoid them, but we know we can't. intel may or may not be good. we know that.

morally, it's the same question: how many innocents is it ok to kill to hit my foe? there may be varying answers. i doubt you can give me any sort of definitive answer on how to calculate that.

once you say "it's ok to have collateral damage" then it's just degree, a totally subjective answer.

you trot out lots of anecdotes about using civilian shields, yet nothing about whether the syrains did so but then claim moral inequivlence.

i think you are using very inconsistent standards here and pretending that subjective morality can be rendered objectively.

at best, one can say "i do not think the syrians use enough care not to kill civilians" but i have not seen any evidence that demonstrates that, and i do not know how you could establish and defend any particular standard there in the way you are trying.

i'm not even arguing that our troops have been cavalier with civilians (though the drones likely are) but pointing out that we seem to afford the syrains no similar wiggle room nor opportunity to explain or make mistakes.

i doubt they were aiming at women and kids intentionally.

 
At 5/29/2012 4:16 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Out of the 2,777 conflict-related civilian deaths in Afghanistan in 2010, the latest UN report blames “anti-government elements” for 2,080. In other words, the civilian death count is almost entirely Taliban, not Western. To crunch the numbers further, 75 per cent of all civilian deaths in 2010 came at the hands of Taliban and related jihadist forces, up 28 per cent from 2009, UNAMA adds. Meanwhile, “Pro-government forces were linked to 440 civilian deaths (16 per cent), down 26 per cent from 2009.” (Nine per cent of civilian deaths in 2010 could not be attributed to any party to the conflict.) -- Diana Wets

 
At 5/29/2012 4:17 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Before this conversation gets to FUBAR, can we just agree one one thing:

War kills innocents.

It doesn't matter who they are. They may be an Afghan herder, a German priest in Dredsen, a Japanese mother in Nagasaki, or some poor soldier on the front lines. None of these people signed up to die. None of these people have a qualm with one another. But they die nonetheless. This is the largest tragedy of war. Those with the actual beef do not fight. They send proxies to fight and die. If Osama bin Laden really cared, he'd have been on a plane. If FDR really wanted to stop Hitler, he'd have parachuted into Germany. If Hitler really cared, he'd have entered Poland by himself.

No one ever said "I fought in the War to stop Private Wolfgang Schultz from taking over!" But in the end, that's who dies. Innocent men and woman who just wanted to live their lives. Innocent Germans baked in their homes. Innocent Japanese vaporized instantly. Innocent Americans trapped in sinking ships. Innocent Britons trapped underground.

Wars kill. No one remembers the reason. All we remember is the tragedy. We swear to never repeat our mistakes but we do, again and again. If we really wanted to honor the memories of our veterans from all countries, we would make peace. A lasting peace.

There is no morality in war. Dress it up any way you want, but in the end, every soldier asks God for forgiveness.

 
At 5/29/2012 4:19 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

peak-

there is no contradiction in that statement.

if you want to smoke cigars or smoke pot in your house and it does not harm me, i think they are precisely equivalent.

the contradiction comes from positions like yours where smoking cigars and drinking whiskey are fine, but using safer, less addictive drugs with lower health risk is not.

you hide behind the shallow argument of strict legalism and say cigars are legal and joints are not and fail to see that they are the same. if you harm me with either, you are equally responsible.

this is the same logic that was used to ban homosexual intercourse etc. WE say that a man and a woman can have sex, but not 2 men, even if both consent.

your taking extacy and dancing in a warehouse or LSD and talking tech with steve jobs would not harm me. why should i seek to ban it?

and fwiw, that was not name calling. i think it is an accurate, technical description of your position on this issue. you are deeply conservative and reactionary on this topic. you have intense and implacable feeling about the private decisions of others and seek to cast as a huge health and safety issue somehting that is just an issue of personal liberty. you react to the decisions of others by forcing your views upon them.
this makes you a conservative reactionary by any definition i am aware of. calling you such is no more name calling that is calling barak obama a liberal.

perhaps "violent" was too strong an adjective, but based on your past comments on this issue, i think it's pretty close to the mark.

sorry if you took offense, that was not my intention.

 
At 5/29/2012 4:23 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Morganovich, there are contradictions in your statements. Otherwise, you'd be against people who buy illegal drugs too.

 
At 5/29/2012 4:25 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"no moral equivalence? we know damn well there will be civilian casualties. we may try to avoid them, but we know we can't. morally, it's the same question: how many innocents is it ok to kill to hit my foe?" -- morganovich

If anyone is guilty of "weak arguments" and "pile of assumptions", it's you. First, you assume that we are responsible for the majority of civilian casualties - We are not! Second, you assume that we are the aggressors - Again, we are not! Third, you assume that if we had not taken out Saddam and the Taliban that the civilian casualty rate would be lower or nonexistent and that fewer innocents would have perished - Complete bullshit!

Instead of asking "how many innocents is it ok to kill to hit my foe?", maybe you should be asking yourself how many innocent casualties you are willing to suffer in downtown Manhattan, D.C., San Francisco, etc. before you say FUCK THIS!!!

 
At 5/29/2012 4:37 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Morganovich,

"morally, it's the same question: how many innocents is it ok to kill to hit my foe? there may be varying answers. i doubt you can give me any sort of definitive answer on how to calculate that."

That's a question it never even occurs to the Taliban to ask. That's what makes us different.


"i doubt they were aiming at women and kids intentionally."

The Assad regime is horrific. Hamas and Hezbollah are warmly hosted in Damascus. The regime works closely with the Iranians.


“What is very clear is this was an absolutely abominable event that took place in Houla, and at least a substantial part of it was summary executions of civilians, women and children,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. “At this point, it looks like entire families were shot in their houses.”

 
At 5/29/2012 4:49 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

If illegal drugs were legal, people could take drugs until they OD, although it'll likely cause more harm than good for society or the economy.

 
At 5/29/2012 4:51 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

if there were no government lighthouses, do you really believe private shippers would not put them in? they benefit, they should pay. they pass it on in costs, and those who use their services pay and pass that on.

Actually, someone looked into the subject and found that private lighthouses were built in the US so even that example does not work for the advocates of government.

 
At 5/29/2012 4:53 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

LOL!

Innocent?!?!

LMAO!


Absolutely. The US military has paid compensation for thousands of dead civilians that it has killed over the past few years. It has admitted to killing innocent families and tried to blame faulty intelligence. This happens all the time, which is why many people around the world hate the US government.

 
At 5/29/2012 4:58 PM, Blogger VangelV said...


Sure, but the innocent civilians are not the target. The problem is the terrorists use human shields, forcing us to make a choice. We can either let them have a "safe zone" to regroup and plan more mayem, or hit them anyway and be denounced by people of bad intent(I don't mean you) for killing civilians.


This is total BS. When you shoot up a wedding party you are not hunting terrorists. You are just made a mistake and killed a bunch of innocent people. And when you try US soldiers for killing innocent people and keeping ears as trophies you are admitting that some of your troops have a few screws loose and are psychopathic killers.

That's different from what the Syrians are doing.

The problem is that we do not know the Syrian story very well. Many of the atrocities are committed by the people that we have trained, funded, and armed. They are killing Assad supporters and our media is blaming the Assad government. The last thing that we need is a militant Islamic government that slaughters Christians in Syria and one that hates the US.

 
At 5/29/2012 4:59 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Why reward lawbreakers?

The customers reward lawbreakers. The laws make their margins very high.

 
At 5/29/2012 5:01 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

There is no moral equivalence. The two things are, in fact, completely different. The U.S., and our allies, go to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties, while the enemy does everything in their power to inflict them. The enemy knows this, which why key Taliban and al Qaeda figures routinely seek cover amongst the greater civilian population in a cynical effort to play our own deeply held moral values against us. The Geneva Conventions are clear with regard to combatants seeking cover amongst the civilian population. It is the enemy that routinely ignores this and callously puts these innocents at risk.

You invaded other countries, occupied them and killed hundreds of thousands of people. Sorry but I do not see any other country that has killed as many in as short a period. War is bad. It is even bad when you start it and have most of the weapons. What is needed for prosperity and security is peace but for some reason false conservatives and make believe Christians refuse to see the truth.

 
At 5/29/2012 5:08 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Just one last comment before we go completely off track:

I was listening to a money show on the radio today (Money Basics on 107.7 WTPL, if anyone cares). They said something today that was mind-blowingly obvious:

Investments should be made based on knowledge, not hope.

 
At 5/29/2012 5:12 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"You invaded other countries, occupied them and killed hundreds of thousands of people." -- Vag

You are an ignorant moron. The U.S. has not "invaded other countries, occupied them and killed hundreds of thousands of people". Perhaps you could write this historically illiterate gibberish in German, Japanese or Russian since that is what you would probably be speaking - if you were allowed to speak at all - if it were not for the U.S..


"Sorry but I do not see any other country that has killed as many in as short a period." -- Vag

Maybe you should try reading a book or two.

 
At 5/29/2012 5:24 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Saddam killed hundreds of thousands of people.

Getting rid of Saddam saved lives.

Saddam used real torture methods and killed people in many ways.

 
At 5/29/2012 5:31 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Close to 90,000 children who would have died before age 5 in Afghanistan during Taliban rule will stay alive this year because of advances in medical care in the country, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday. The under-5 child mortality rate in Afghanistan has declined from an estimated 257 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2001 to about 191 per 1,000 in 2006, the Ministry of Public Health said, relying on a new study by Johns Hopkins University ...
Fatimi, the health minister, said 85% of Afghans now have access to basic health care — a marked improvement from the past. A U.S.-led invasion in 2001 toppled the Taliban militant movement from power." -- USA Today


That 90,000 figure was 5 years ago by now we are probably well into 6 digits.

Of course, there is only one side to the lefty leger.

 
At 5/29/2012 5:53 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"If not for Islamic terror, the rest of Iraq would be as free, safe and successful as the northern Kurdistan region ... Americans have literally been spilling their own blood to provide this sort of future for Iraqis, while the "Holy Warriors" of Islam have been doing everything in their power to prevent it from happening ... IraqBodyCount does not appear to have any interest in making this truth known. In fact, they are actively distorting it ... A hard study of the incidents finds the number of civilians killed in Iraq over the last two years from American collateral damage to be between 1 and 2% of the overall count." -- Front Page Mag

"Researchers have found that while coalition forces accounted for 12 per cent of deaths and Iraqi forces 11 per cent, the vast majority of violent killings were killed by unknown perpetrators ... The authors found that most Iraqi civilian violent deaths during this time were inflicted by “unknown perpetrators”, primarily through extra-judicial executions. These were primarily gunshot wounds often preceded by kidnap and torture. Unknown perpetrators also used suicide bombs, vehicle bombs, and mortars that had highly lethal and indiscriminate effects on Iraqi civilians." -- The UK Telegraph

 
At 5/29/2012 5:54 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

"In the past year, insurgents have used a wave of child suicide bombers, some as young as 10, on the ruthless assumption that small boys can pass through checkpoints and security cordons more easily than men. A senior Afghan intelligence official estimated that more than 100 had been intercepted in the past 12 months, including 20 from the Kandahar area in the south. The insurgents seek to exploit the innocence of their recruits and turn it into a weapon." -- The UK Telegraph

What the Telegraph is describing are actions taken by nationalists to repel foreign invading forces who have more and better weapons. The cause is the occupation and if you want to eliminate it all you have to do is to stop occupying other countries.

Do you suppose that Americans would sit idly while a more powerful foreign invader occupied their country, trampled on their rights, and killed innocents with impunity? And once there is resistance would the occupying forces be justified in bombing civilians because they thought that a terrorist might be living in the community?

 
At 5/29/2012 6:04 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"When you shoot up a wedding party you are not hunting terrorists. You are just made a mistake and killed a bunch of innocent people."

Wtf is that even supposed to mean? You think the US military just shoots up wedding parties for fun? I assume you are talking about an incident that occurred in 2002, when the US accidentally dropped a bomb on a wedding party. You understand the concept of "mistake?"


"And when you try US soldiers for killing innocent people and keeping ears as trophies you are admitting that some of your troops have a few screws loose and are psychopathic killers"

And the fact that they are tried for crimes in the first place means absolutely nothing to you because anti-Americanism is a central tenet of your weirdo Ron Paul religion.

 
At 5/29/2012 6:14 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"What the Telegraph is describing are actions taken by nationalists to repel foreign invading forces who have more and better weapons."

"Nationalists," I love it. You're like Michael Moore associating Islamic savages with the Minutemen.

"Do you suppose that Americans would sit idly while a more powerful foreign invader occupied their country, trampled on their rights, and killed innocents with impunity"

What to even say to this gibberish? I don't think even you believe in the moral equivalence, but you have to say it in order to keep your Lew Rockwell fantasy world from coming apart at the seams.

 
At 5/29/2012 6:14 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The U.S. military does a much better job than any other military killing its, and its allies, enemies without killing innocent civilians.

Nonsense. They are incompetent cowards who kill innocents because they are too afraid to wage a ground war.

US air strike wiped out Afghan wedding party, inquiry finds

Drone kills innocent girls

Authorities in Afghanistan say a coalition airstrike in an eastern province has killed at least eight members of a family.

US drone kills five Somali civilians

An airstrike killed 14 people and wounded 16 during a wedding party, according to hospital officials in the unstable city of Falluja, but the U.S. military said its planes had targeted a terrorist safe house.

Three Civilians killed in US drone attack in Abyan

Stop making excuses for aggression against civilians and start calling for an exit before things get even worse.

 
At 5/29/2012 6:20 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Also, the U.S. doesn't use torture, just because some people consider it torture:

Ex-CIA chief defends waterboarding of al Qaeda leader


You can call it what you want. But torture is torture. And the US does not just torture al Qaeda leaders. It tortures lots of innocents that it suspects know something even whey do not and are totally innocent.

 
At 5/29/2012 6:23 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

"... I keep telling them that the rules are the rules for a reason. If we simply go crazy and start shooting at everything, in the long run we will lose this war because we will lose the support of the population."

LOL Too late.

Sunday's slaughter of 16 Afghan civilians by an American is another symptom of a war that has to end.

US Army ’kill team’ in Afghanistan posed for photos of murdered civilians

 
At 5/29/2012 6:25 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Ha!

"They are incompetent cowards who kill innocents because they are too afraid to wage a ground war."

And Vange "proves" it by linking to Iranian state-run network. Well, I'm convinced! Previously, he has cited the Marxist Institute for Policy Studies as a source of his "information."

Excellent work, you're a true defender of liberty, Vange!

 
At 5/29/2012 6:27 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"And the US does not just torture al Qaeda leaders. It tortures lots of innocents that it suspects know something even whey do not and are totally innocent."

Do you have any non-Marxist or Islamofascist cites for that assertion? I guess you'll have to go outside your usual sources.

 
At 5/29/2012 6:30 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"What the Telegraph is describing are actions taken by nationalists to repel foreign invading forces ... blah, blah, blah" -- Vag

For leftist trash, like you, others are always responding to the "aggression" of the U.S., we are never acting in response to theirs. I'm not surprised that you would find a way to justify the use of children as suicide bombers. You are a degenerate.

"They are incompetent cowards who kill innocents because they are too afraid to wage a ground war." -- Vag

What a spineless little fraction of a man you are. So tough, safe behind your keyboard in Canada while real men make the world a safe place for you to hurl your ignorant bile.

 
At 5/29/2012 7:14 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

paul-

don't get me wrong, i am not defending the taliban. but you guys are also erecting a straw man here with me. i pointed to syria, not the taliban.

i chose that example for a reason.

i'm not some moral relativism libtard that thinks that it's ok to enslave you women, torture your people, and call your society and morality equal to ours but different.

but this recent issue in syria is not really the same thing.

assad is not a nice guy, but neither are these sunni fanatics who have engaged in significant terror of their own and used civilians as shields.

i have some good friends in damascus, and they say the country is terrified of both sides.

but if we are going to call out the taliban etc for using civilians as shields, must we not do the same of the sunni in syria? they need our help even after attacking a pro government rally with mortars?

look, i have no love for assad and his tin hat dictator bathist crap, but the folks many americans are lionizing are no bed of roses either and have done their share of deliberate killing and intimidation of civilians. why do they get a free pass?

 
At 5/29/2012 7:36 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

paul-

in fairness to vangel, you really out to google "extraordinary rendition".

we snatch folks and send them off to somewhere unsavory like egypt or syria and have the torture outsourced while our guys gather intel.

at low count, maybe a couple of hundred folks, at the high end, who knows. i doubt it's been a stadium full or anything, but it has been a US practice and a pretty ugly one.

if you violate your own moral tenets to fight an enemy, aren't you already losing? to give up your morals in the defense of your morals seems a pretty questionable practice.

we deplore your torturing your citizens so we are going to torture your citizens to stop you?

does that not strike you as a questionable moral position?

 
At 5/29/2012 7:44 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

peak-

"Morganovich, there are contradictions in your statements. Otherwise, you'd be against people who buy illegal drugs too."

nonsense. they are completely consistent. i note you are unable to actually point to any of these purported "contradictions". you are just using rhetoric to hide your lack of an actual argument.

i think drugs should be legal, just like whiskey. what you do in your home is none of my business. but, if you take pcp and go nuts and harm me, i expect you to be treated just as if you drank a fifth of jack and beat up your wife. it's the same thing.

use it responsible and harm no one, good. fail to do so and violate the rights of another, well, that's a crime.

what about this is so hard for you to grasp?

it's completely consistent.

i think it's a bad law. i think it makes criminals out of people who only seek to recreate and mind their own business.

imagine we had no substance laws at all. let's say we are creating them all for the first time.

you want to smoke a bong and watch tv, i want to get drunk and lay in the backyard. please tell me why those acts are any different in a moral or social sense.

no more hiding behind baseless claims and rhetoric.

lay it out for me. why should whiskey be legal and marijuana illegal?

why can i drink 12 beers and 2 step at a roadhouse, but not take mdma and dance at a rave?

 
At 5/29/2012 8:11 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

look, i have no love for assad and his tin hat dictator bathist crap, but the folks many americans are lionizing are no bed of roses either and have done their share of deliberate killing and intimidation of civilians. why do they get a free pass?

They get a free pass because they are the chosen instruments of NATO and the US in the attack against Syria. From what I see most Americans are too ignorant to really understand what it going on because they have no interest in learning in the first place.

 
At 5/29/2012 8:14 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Morganovich,

"but you guys are also erecting a straw man here with me. i pointed to syria, not the taliban."

Well, I'm confused then. You posed the question in regards to the US military: "moral equivalence? we know damn well there will be civilian casualties. we may try to avoid them, but we know we can't. intel may or may not be good. we know that. morally, it's the same question: how many innocents is it ok to kill to hit my foe?"

So I guess I'm just unclear about your point. Also, I do agree with your comments on the Sunnis, but I was commenting on Assad's brutal regime.

"If you violate your own moral tenets to fight an enemy, aren't you already losing?"

Well, not if you defeat them. See Sherman's march through the South, the firebombing of Dresden, and Hiroshima for a few examples. In other words, it's complicated! :)

Also, I know about extraordinary rendition, and I can see your point, to a degree. However, surely you know that's not the argument Vange was making. He implied the US directly and routinely tortures innocent people. He's an anti-American turd who routinely makes things up out of whole cloth, or cites the most cretinous authorities to buttress his "facts."

 
At 5/29/2012 8:17 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"From what I see most Americans are too ignorant to really understand what it going on because they have no interest in learning in the first place."

Maybe we need to be like you and gather our information from Islamic terrorist and Marxist news sources.

 
At 5/29/2012 8:22 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"LOL Too late"...

You got to remember in the naive world vangeIV occupies these are supposedly 'innocent' civilians or some such crap, NOT enemy logistical support infrastructure...

 
At 5/29/2012 8:24 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"You can call it what you want. But torture is torture. And the US does not just torture al Qaeda leaders. It tortures lots of innocents that it suspects know something even whey do not and are totally innocent"...

I'm sorry but what are the alledged downsides of these supposed acts again vangeIV?

 
At 5/29/2012 8:24 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Failure by the U.S. and its allies to root-out the evil and cowardly enemy from their hideouts can lead to lots of dead civilians, e.g. in the U.S., Europe, Africa, etc. (which we've seen before).

 
At 5/29/2012 8:27 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Stop making excuses for aggression against civilians and start calling for an exit before things get even worse"...

Geez vangeIV! There are no innocents in a war zone...

 
At 5/29/2012 8:28 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

"but you guys are also erecting a straw man here with me. i pointed to syria, not the taliban."

Let me be clear. I point to the actions of the US military and NATO. By occupying a country and killing innocents they are to expect that the nationalists within that country will do what they must to get rid of the occupying force. In many cases people will sacrifice themselves for their society by attacking and killing as many of the occupiers as they can in the hope that eventually they will have enough. Given the fact that they succeeded before, against more than one power there is no reason to suspect that they do not believe that they can do it again.

Why is it that people refuse to learn from history?

 
At 5/29/2012 8:30 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"What is needed for prosperity and security is peace but for some reason false conservatives and make believe Christians refuse to see the truth"...

Meanwhile the naive like vangeIV continue to rail against reality as if it meant something...

 
At 5/29/2012 8:31 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Maybe we need to be like you and gather our information from Islamic terrorist and Marxist news sources.

Yes. The Atlantic and BBC are Marxist news sources.

Perhaps you have to listen to your own military when it admits to killing civilians instead of hiding your head in the sand.

By the way, isn't it strange that one of the best sources in the US about what is going on abroad or in the domestic markets is Russian Television? What does it say about the crappy quality of American news services when their coverage pales in comparison?

 
At 5/29/2012 8:32 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

paul-

Well, not if you defeat them. See Sherman's march through the South, the firebombing of Dresden, and Hiroshima for a few examples. In other words, it's complicated! :)

that sounds worryingly like might makes right and history is written by the winners to me.

if you have a moral code and you think it's worth fighting for, then follow it. if you think it's ok to cast it aside in the name of expedience, then your morals are fake and you have no claim or cause to abhor such behavior in others. to do so makes you a hypocrite.

"we had to destroy the village to save it" is no basis for ethics.

rights by their nature are not supposed to be subject to utilitarianism.

sure, there are rotten hobson's choices out there sometimes, but that's no reason to go looking for them.

this:

"Well, I'm confused then. You posed the question in regards to the US military: "moral equivalence? we know damn well there will be civilian casualties. we may try to avoid them, but we know we can't. intel may or may not be good. we know that. morally, it's the same question: how many innocents is it ok to kill to hit my foe?""

is a separate point. i was pointing out that this is not so cut and dry. if you accept that war kills innocents but is still desirable in some cases, then you have effectively admitted that how many innocents it's ok to kill is simply a matter of degree and choice.

you are willingly deciding to kill them, even if you do not intend to, you know you will.

so we are left arguing with how many it is ok to kill.

is the intel on who is in this house good enough to launch a missile? how good does it need to be? 99% 90% 50%? does it depend on who you think the target is? the morality on this is a subjective mess. was a 10% of hitting bin laden worth blowing up an innocent family?

my point is that trying to call this such a cut and dry difference is more fraught than che seemed to be claiming.

engaging in war is always the decision to kill innocents. you yourself speak of burning the south as though that were ok because it served some purpose. how do you then go on to deny others the right to make such a choice and cleanse a village? what if they told you it was "complicated" or that it would end a war and save the hutus from the tutsis? would you accept that?

 
At 5/29/2012 8:34 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Geez vangeIV! There are no innocents in a war zone..."

spoken like someone who has never been in one.

what a disgusting notion.

i hope you were joking.

 
At 5/29/2012 8:38 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"I'm sorry but what are the alledged downsides of these supposed acts again vangeIV?"

oh, nothing. i'm sure it's great. when should i put you down from your free trip to an egyptian rendition spa?

you really see no moral issue with torture and the extra judicial seizure, imprisonment, and torture of individuals on the basis of what they might be?

what happened to innocent until proven guilty? no cruel and unusual punishment? the geneva convention?

i really hope you are kidding here juandos. the stuff you are saying is so anathema to constitutional government, any sort of ethics not based on might makes right, and basic decency that i'm left wondering if you have thought this through at all.

you sound exactly like the guys you claim to hate.

 
At 5/29/2012 8:38 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Government is in the business of maximizing its return on investment, same as any other organization."

Oh, well I guess they're just mind bogglingly bad at it.

==================================

Like any other organization, it gets harder to maximize profit and avoid mistakes as you get bigger. We have had several good corporate examples recently.

 
At 5/29/2012 8:39 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

You got to remember in the naive world vangeIV occupies these are supposedly 'innocent' civilians or some such crap, NOT enemy logistical support infrastructure...

Killing a family or people in wedding parties means killing innocent civilians. Frankly, you are starting to sound a great deal like those terrorists who claim that the killing of civilians during the attacks on 9/11 was justified because the planes were used to go after government targets. Sorry but you are just as morally bankrupt as they were.

 
At 5/29/2012 8:41 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I'm sorry but what are the alledged downsides of these supposed acts again vangeIV?

Do you need for others to explain to you why torture is not the action of a civilized society? Your own government had innocent people, some of them American, tortured. If you don't see the problem then you have a bigger problem.

 
At 5/29/2012 8:46 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Let me ask you, is it more profitable to make a $1000 on the sale of 1000 products or a $10 profit on the sale of 1,000,000 products?

=================================

That depends on your costs, and your opportunity. If you don't have the kind of capital Walmart has, for you it is more profitable to make one dollar selling an apple.

Wlamart makes lots of dollar profit because it is very big, and gains economy of scale, much likethe government. But even Walmart is not immune to profit damaging mistakes.

The article points out that "Contrary to President Obama's claim, skill at profit maximization does translate directly into skill at governing the economy."

Well, why would that be if it is not the governments business to maximise profits?

 
At 5/29/2012 8:48 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

hydra-

"
Like any other organization, it gets harder to maximize profit and avoid mistakes as you get bigger. We have had several good corporate examples recently."

what a load of nonsense. the government does not even try to maximize profit or even maximize impact. they do not even try to measure it (quite deliberately).

worse, unlike a private actor, repeatedly destroying value just makes them grab MORE money because, well, they can, and flushing it down ratholes as well.

private companies are subject to market disciple. the government can just keep destroying wealth until it take a whole society down.

take a look a greece, venezeula, any part of the eastern block under the soviets, and this becomes obvious.

if our government is so profit oriented, then why do we run chronic deficits and accumulate such massive debt.

does that sound like profit to you?

 
At 5/29/2012 8:48 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Good one hydra!

LMAO!

=============================

You certainly are easy to amuse.

You would prefer a government that did NOT try to maximize profit?

 
At 5/29/2012 8:49 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 5/29/2012 8:49 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 5/29/2012 8:49 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Good one hydra!

LMAO!

=============================

You certainly are easy to amuse.

You would prefer a government that did NOT try to maximize profit?

 
At 5/29/2012 8:49 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 5/29/2012 8:52 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

VangelV, you need a lesson about what is torture:

Iraqis pour out tales of Saddam's torture chambers
4/13/2003

Pictures of dead Iraqis, with their necks slashed, their eyes gouged out and their genitals blackened, fill a bookshelf.

An Iraqi soldier, who according to the facility's records witnessed the beatings, said interrogators regularly used pliers to remove men's teeth, electric prods to shock men's genitals and drills to cut holes in their ankles.

"I have seen interrogators break the heads of men with baseball bats, pour salt into wounds and rape wives in front of their husbands," said former Iraqi soldier Ali Iyad Kareen.

(I left some of Saddam's techniques out, because it may be too much for VangelV to handle).

 
At 5/29/2012 8:54 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

on a private road, you can go as fast as you want and do not need a license or insurance.

==================================

Why would you want to? Unless you have a boat load of land, that road is not going anywhere. What is the point of speeding on an island?

 
At 5/29/2012 8:57 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

On Memorial Day a pretty good size chunk of rock whistled by around 25,000 miles way.

Eventually we will get hit by one of those things, and then we will learn that, in the larger scheme of things, wars are not very important.

 
At 5/29/2012 9:03 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

peak-

so let me see if i understand your position:

torture is bad when saddam does it, but ok when we ship guys off to syria and have it done while we watch?

how exactly are you drawing a distinction here?

this sounds like pure hypocrisy and morals of convenience to me.

 
At 5/29/2012 9:08 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

hydra-

"Why would you want to? Unless you have a boat load of land, that road is not going anywhere. What is the point of speeding on an island?"

are you joking?
because it's fun. ever been on a racetrack or down to the bonneville salt flats?

driving 200mph with your ass 3" off the ground is more fun than you can shake a stick at plus the stick.

but that's not really the point. the point was that using roads was a bad example because a public road is not private property. but on a private road, there is no such thing as a speed limit unless the owner puts it there.

 
At 5/29/2012 9:08 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

they do not even try to measure it (quite deliberately).

=================================

We can argue about whether this is done correctly, but ever since Reagan, every president has had major legislation vetted by some kind of cost and benefit analysis.

And what is profit margin if it is not the ratio of benefits to cost?

Obama, while being pilloried for creating an avalanche of regulation, has actually deferred several actions because the benefits over cost were not yet clear.

The government itself does not retain anyt profit, because it pays it all out to shareholder / citizens. But that is not to say that no profit is made, or that it is distributed evenly.

It is hard to blame the 'govenrnment" for doing a bad job, when it is ourselves who are governments supervisor, and it is ourselves who have given government a job designed to be impossible.

 
At 5/29/2012 9:18 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Hydra,

Like any other organization, it gets harder to maximize profit and avoid mistakes as you get bigger.

Except the government doesn't face the ruthlessness of the market. If a private company makes a large mistake, massive restructuring will be needed, possibly even bankruptcy. Government, not so much. NASA would have ended in the 1970's if it depended on profits, rather than confiscated dollars taken at the barrel of a gun.

That depends on your costs, and your opportunity.

It absolutely does not. Profits come AFTER this, so saying you have to take all that into account means you didn't read/understand the question. The profits in the first scenario I mentioned is $1,000,000. The profit in the second is $10,000,000. Directly refuting your assertion that profit maximization means "consumers should pay the maximum price". In other words, many situations means lower profits per unit, but due to the lowered price, volume more than makes up for a lower percentage profit in a higher absolute profit.

Well, why would that be if it is not the governments business to maximise profits?

Understanding how PRIVATE markets work is essential to understanding how to govern. Thinking the government's job is maximize it's profits means you don't understand government. There are no profits in government. Government is not an organization run on voluntary cooperation the way private companies are.

 
At 5/29/2012 9:24 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

are you joking?
because it's fun. ever been on a racetrack or down to the bonneville salt flats?

Never been to Bonneville, not much there, I hear.


"on a private road, there is no such thing as a speed limit unless the owner puts it there."

My point exactly. Why would the owner put it there? Because it is prudent to do so. Same reason the owners put speed limits on public roads.

The only difference is one of sharing: you might drive very fast on your own road, and be highly pissed off if someone else did the same thing. Firstly, it is not their road, and second they might get someone hurt.

And exactly the same thing can be said for a public road: it is not "their" exclusive road, and if they drive crazy they may get someone hurt.


If you like going faxt with your butt close to the ground, try out an iceboat some time. I have only hit around eighty, but the fast ones can do way better than that.

When a puff hits, they accelerate like crazy, and there is no taking your foot off the gas. The wind carts on the salt flats go pretty fast too, I hear.

For weird racing thrills, try a luffing duel in three foot seas with two 40,000 lb sailboats a foot apart. You may be only going five miles and hour, but if you touch the impact is pretty damaging.

 
At 5/29/2012 9:25 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Morganovich, torture is bad whoever does it.

Unfortunately, too many countries use actual torture.

 
At 5/29/2012 9:39 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

That depends on your costs, and your opportunity.

It absolutely does not.

=================================

You are not serious.

I am profitable, running my little business. I would not be profitable trying to be Walmart.

It is absolutely a matter of cost, and opportunity. I maximize my profit by making the best of the opportunities and expenses I have: i would be broke in a microsecond if I tried to be walmart.

Even Walmart started with one store, and expanded on their opportunites as they became available. The bigger they get the harder it is to expand and be successful, same as Berkshire Hathaway, IBM, HPQ, etc. To reach a larger market the price and the margin has to go down.

But that does not mean that Ferrari isn't maximising their profit in the market opportunity they have.

By the time you expand that idea that larger means smaller and smaller margins, in order to get more and more participation, to the size of government, it is no wonder that the margin is so hard to see.

 
At 5/29/2012 9:42 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Comparing government to business is like comparing geology to botany. There are things that happen in geochemistry that ought to be impossible, no botanical process could support them.

But yet they do happen, given enough time, and to complete the analogy, enough pressure.

 
At 5/29/2012 9:42 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Comparing government to business is like comparing geology to botany. There are things that happen in geochemistry that ought to be impossible, no botanical process could support them.

But yet they do happen, given enough time, and to complete the analogy, enough pressure.

 
At 5/29/2012 9:44 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Except the government doesn't face the ruthlessness of the market.

================================

Sure it does, only worse. Your private business might have some security gurads, government needs a supersonic airforce, a navy, and a loot of boots.

 
At 5/29/2012 10:14 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Thinking the government's job is maximize it's profits means you don't understand government. There are no profits in government. Government is not an organization run on voluntary cooperation the way private companies are.


==================================

Only because some clowns won't cooperate. They are free riders masquerading as individualists. The free market would collapse in a heartbeat if no one cooperated.

Fortunately, most people are rational enough to play fair, and not consider every market courtesy, tradition, and rule to be a personal affront to their freedom to become marauders.

An awful lot of people do participate in cooperative government, just as most people participate in cooperative markets.

Most cows recognize the fence, and compete for the available goods within its confines: the fence both protects the cows, and constrains them. Every once in a while you have a cow that does not understand or tolerate the fence, and she keeps banging at it to get to the grass on the other side.

She keeps banging on that fence and strggling and all the while she is losing weight, when the gregarious cows are feeding. She may be an expert cow, but she does not know everything: like the grass on the other side is being saved for winter, or harvested for seed to replant her pasture.

If she keeps up that behavior, she will come up on the short end of the stick, whether the farmer culls her or not. That fence is a reality, whether she thinks she could make a better one or thinks she would be better off without.

Every week or so I spot a guy driving a turquoise lexus. Invariably, he drives like hw owns the road, rules do not apply to him, and everyone else had better cooperate or else he will bully them with his superior power and skill.

it is just a question of time till he ends up like that cow.

 
At 5/30/2012 1:17 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich: "if there were no government lighthouses, do you really believe private shippers would not put them in? they benefit, they should pay. they pass it on in costs, and those who use their services pay and pass that on."

Absolutely. In fact historically, privately operated lighthouses have been common.

 
At 5/30/2012 1:20 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon M: "There is no greater argument for a limited government than war."

And no better deterrent than a strict commodity currency.

 
At 5/30/2012 1:27 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak: "So, if you believe a 65 MPH speed limit is a "bad" law, you drive 100 MPH and kill some innocent people, it's the law that's bad, not the lawbreaker."

That's nonsense. It's illegal to kill people at any speed. The speed limit is irrelevant.

 
At 5/30/2012 2:04 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

V: ""You can call it what you want. But torture is torture. And the US does not just torture al Qaeda leaders. It tortures lots of innocents that it suspects know something even whey do not and are totally innocent"..."

juandos: "I'm sorry but what are the alledged downsides of these supposed acts again vangeIV?"

You're kidding, right?

 
At 5/30/2012 2:24 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"That depends on your costs, and your opportunity. If you don't have the kind of capital Walmart has, for you it is more profitable to make one dollar selling an apple."

Why don't you just answer the question, or didn't you understand it? Which is the larger profit?

 
At 5/30/2012 2:38 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"If you like going faxt with your butt close to the ground, try out an iceboat some time. I have only hit around eighty, but the fast ones can do way better than that."

And you can ask why someone would want to drive fast? Do you really have a position here or are you just spouting nonsense to be disagreeable?

 
At 5/30/2012 2:42 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"
She keeps banging on that fence and strggling and all the while she is losing weight, when the gregarious cows are feeding. She may be an expert cow, but she does not know everything: like the grass on the other side is being saved for winter, or harvested for seed to replant her pasture
"

LOL

You are really off the rails here. Take your meds and get a good night's sleep.

 
At 5/30/2012 6:34 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

VangelV, you need a lesson about what is torture:

Iraqis pour out tales of Saddam's torture chambers


Saddam's torture is to be condemned. So is Obama's and Bush's. We are not supposed to cheer of justify something immoral just because 'our side' is doing it.

 
At 5/30/2012 6:36 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

torture is bad when saddam does it, but ok when we ship guys off to syria and have it done while we watch?

how exactly are you drawing a distinction here?

this sounds like pure hypocrisy and morals of convenience to me.


Welcome to the hypocritical world of the hypocritical Religious Right.

 
At 5/30/2012 6:49 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Hydra:

Profits are calculated thus:

Profits = Revenue - Cost

In the scenarios listed above, we are discussing profits, so costs have already been accounted for.

Secondly, neither price nor margins need to drop in order to expand. Costs need to drop. If fact, most businesses can expand their profit margins and/or their profit by expanding. If expansion necessarily led to falling margins and falling profits, why would anyone expand? Margins expand because of what you cited: returns to scale. Up to a certain point, your average costs decrease as your quantity increases (beyond that point, they begin increasing again, but no rational actor will act that that point). That low point can be pushed farther and father out with technology increases and the such.

The inherit state of nature with free markets is falling costs and rising profits (benefits).

However, none of your objections support your original statement. You originally wrote: If you believe that profit maximization is a good thing, then this implies that you believe consumers should pay the maximum price in order to develop the next new thing they want.

...

Like anything else that consumers buy, what they really want is best value for the lowest price, which would say that profit maximization is NOT in the consumers best interest. Which is a conclustion that ought to be intuitively obvious.


That, as you can see now, is incorrect. At least, I assume you can see now why it is incorrect since you have made no effort to defend it.

Both firms and consumers profit-maximize. Because of this simple fact, the economy, free of any outside interference, will operate at a level where the net benefits of both the consumer and the producer will be maximized.

 
At 5/30/2012 7:04 AM, Blogger Kevin Carter said...

There is a significant difference between "profit maximization" and "maximum sustainable profits", and it's unfortunate that the current climate fosters the former rather than the latter.

 
At 5/30/2012 7:20 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

If anyone is guilty of "weak arguments" and "pile of assumptions", it's you. First, you assume that we are responsible for the majority of civilian casualties - We are not! Second, you assume that we are the aggressors - Again, we are not! Third, you assume that if we had not taken out Saddam and the Taliban that the civilian casualty rate would be lower or nonexistent and that fewer innocents would have perished - Complete bullshit!

Even your own military has admitted that it has killed innocent civilians and paid blood money as compensation to families. You can't spin that by saying that other people kill civilians too. The bottom line is that you are occupying a country in which most of population thinks of you as an evil invader. That means that many people will resist your military and will kill as many of your soldiers and those that collaborate with them as possible.

 
At 5/30/2012 8:28 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Instead of asking "how many innocents is it ok to kill to hit my foe?", maybe you should be asking yourself how many innocent casualties you are willing to suffer in downtown Manhattan, D.C., San Francisco, etc. before you say FUCK THIS!!!

You are totally illogical. The chances of having American civilians killed in, "downtown Manhattan, D.C., San Francisco, etc.," increases the longer that you occupy other countries. The 9/11 attack, the Cole attack, and various other acts of terrors were in response to your presence in Saudi Arabia. From what I recall bin Laden made videos warning you to leave but your government kept ignoring those videos. One of these days some idiot will do something major that your security services will be unable to stop and you could have a huge disaster. Frankly, I am surprised that some fool has not made an attempt to take out one of those LNG ships that comes close to American cities, try to hit a refinery or two, or try to kill people indirectly by making an attempt on the electric grid.

Note that these idiots are not trying to attack the Swiss or going after Lichtenstein. That is because these countries do not have occupying armies stationed on foreign soil. And to see how foolish your position is I suggest that you take a look at Robert Pape's book, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. There is nothing Islamic about using suicide attacks as a tactic. These have been used by many cultures of different religions to repel unwanted invaders for millennia. If the US is not careful it will encourage more attacks both abroad and at home. That would be a terrible waste of lives and money and is to be avoided. It is time for the troops to come back home and let the Afghans and Iraqis to their own devices to fight their own battles as they see fit.

Before I end this let me note that thousands of American solders died and tens of thousands were severely wounded in an operation that handed a secular Iraq to the mullahs in Iran. Not one of those lives was worth the outcome.

 
At 5/30/2012 8:32 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

That's a question it never even occurs to the Taliban to ask. That's what makes us different.

Different? Do you mean that an innocent person killed by the Taliban is somehow more dead than the innocent person killed by a US soldier? And one other thing that makes you different is that the Taliban did invade the US. But you did invade Afghanistan.

Let me point out that the Taliban were willing to hand over bin Laden to a neutral court so that he could be tried fairly. Bush refused and chose to invade instead. I guess that he did not remember his history and was unaware that Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires.

 
At 5/30/2012 8:37 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The Assad regime is horrific. Hamas and Hezbollah are warmly hosted in Damascus. The regime works closely with the Iranians.

True. But so is the opposition that has killed many Syrians without comment on the part of the media. We have seen this story before. Assad is about to get attacked by NATO and Syrian Christians who stay behind are about to get slaughtered by fundamentalist Sunnis. Their only hope of staying alive is to escape to Turkey or Iran. What I find puzzling is the risk that we take of a Shiite rebellion in the oil bearing regions of the Middle East. It would not take much to set a few facilities on fire and drive prices to $300 per barrel. If that happened it should be enough to kill off what is left of the real economy in the EU and to push the US over the cliff. Why is that in our interest again?

 
At 5/30/2012 8:38 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Ron says: "That's nonsense. It's illegal to kill people at any speed. The speed limit is irrelevant."

So, laws are irrelevant, because people illegally kill anyway.

VangelV says: "Saddam's torture is to be condemned. So is Obama's and Bush's."

So, when another country tortures people, it's Obama's and Bush's fault.

Can you cite the U.S. law that countries must torture people?

 
At 5/30/2012 8:40 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

If illegal drugs were legal, people could take drugs until they OD, although it'll likely cause more harm than good for society or the economy.

Some might. When they die they will not be a problem for society or the economy. But given the evidence we know that people are already dying because of the low quality of drugs being sold illegally. If sold commercially those drugs would be much safer and do less harm to regular users. They would certainly be cheaper and more affordable. That means less property crime and is a net positive for society.

 
At 5/30/2012 8:43 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

You are an ignorant moron. The U.S. has not "invaded other countries, occupied them and killed hundreds of thousands of people". Perhaps you could write this historically illiterate gibberish in German, Japanese or Russian since that is what you would probably be speaking - if you were allowed to speak at all - if it were not for the U.S..

What exactly do you call the Iraqi occupation? You attacked a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 on the basis of false intelligence and wound up in a war that killed hundreds of thousands of people. The end result is giving a secular Iraq over to the Iranians.

If you want to ignore reality that is your business. But it is doubtful that you will be able to ignore the consequences of that reality because you will be paying for the war for decades to come.

 
At 5/30/2012 8:43 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

"Sorry but I do not see any other country that has killed as many in as short a period." -- Vag

Maybe you should try reading a book or two.


I am aware of history thank you. I am talking about the past decade.

 
At 5/30/2012 8:49 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Saddam killed hundreds of thousands of people.

Getting rid of Saddam saved lives.

Saddam used real torture methods and killed people in many ways.


You killed more Iraqis in two years than Saddam did in a decade. Many of the deaths attributed to Saddam were the result of an embargo that denied the country medicine and equipment necessary to supply clean water to the population. The last time I looked, your Secretary of State stated that killing 500,000 children was worth it. So let us stop this crap and admit that invading a country that had nothing to do with the attack on 9/11 and was not a threat was a stupid thing to do. And for our Liberal friends, it was your side that cheered on the attack, whose plans were developed by a Clinton Administration looking for an excuse to go after Saddam.

 
At 5/30/2012 8:51 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

That 90,000 figure was 5 years ago by now we are probably well into 6 digits.

This is the same type of crap that the Russians were saying after they invaded the country. Karzai would be strung up by the people without the protection he gets from the US military.

 
At 5/30/2012 8:54 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

VangelV, based on only a couple of factors, legalizing drugs can be a net positive for society.

Saddam could've complied with UN inspectors. You're blaming the wrong people.

 
At 5/30/2012 9:02 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Well this conversation is just getting stupid now.

 
At 5/30/2012 9:13 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

The U.S. captured thousands of suspected terrorists.

Rather than send them all to Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. decided to send some low level suspects to their home countries.

If some of those countries use torture, that's their policy, not U.S. policy.

 
At 5/30/2012 9:23 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"If you don't see the problem then you have a bigger problem"...

Actually vangeIV the only real problem I see is the whining gutlessness of the sniveling but politically correct cowardice that seems to have taken hold across a broad swath of what passes for western civilization...

Apparently the previous lessons of history are no longer considered important by many in the now 'fat, dumb, & happy' generation...
.

 
At 5/30/2012 9:24 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

"If not for Islamic terror, the rest of Iraq would be as free, safe and successful as the northern Kurdistan region ...

Free and safe? I guess if you are in the majority that might be true. But after the fall it is clear that some of the major groups are doing their little bit of cleansing that we keep choosing to ignore because it spoils the narrative.

 
At 5/30/2012 9:27 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Wtf is that even supposed to mean? You think the US military just shoots up wedding parties for fun? I assume you are talking about an incident that occurred in 2002, when the US accidentally dropped a bomb on a wedding party. You understand the concept of "mistake?"

Yes I do. When you make a BIG mistake like invading another country based on lies there is a lot for room for LITTLE mistakes that kill thousands of civilians. The occupation should never have taken place and there is no need to kill innocent civilians or to waste any more American soldier lives on an operation that does little more than hand over a secular Iraq to an Iranian theocracy.

 
At 5/30/2012 9:30 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

And the fact that they are tried for crimes in the first place means absolutely nothing to you because anti-Americanism is a central tenet of your weirdo Ron Paul religion.

Tried? You are joking. Nobody is getting the death penalty as they would if they committed the same crimes at home because no jury or military tribunal has much interest in the lives of foreign innocents. That is what war does. It numbs you to the suffering of real individuals on the other side because they are dehumanised by the caricature and propaganda coming from those that benefit from the conflict.

 
At 5/30/2012 9:31 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"The last time I looked, your Secretary of State stated that killing 500,000 children was worth it"...

Outstanding vangeIV you taking the word of a known liar and hyporcrite from the party of lying hypocrites...

 
At 5/30/2012 9:34 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

"Nationalists," I love it. You're like Michael Moore associating Islamic savages with the Minutemen.

They are nationalists who want to see a foreign invader leave their country. The Pape book I cited would be very instructive and shed you of your ignorance. And for the record, I think that you are beginning to sound like Vichy apologists for the Nazi occupation of France.

 
At 5/30/2012 9:39 AM, Blogger juandos said...

" It numbs you to the suffering of real individuals on the other side because they are dehumanised by the caricature and propaganda coming from those that benefit from the conflict"...

Ahhh, the naiveness of the 'fat, dumb & happy' generation...

Well good luck with that sort of thinking...

 
At 5/30/2012 9:41 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

And Vange "proves" it by linking to Iranian state-run network. Well, I'm convinced! Previously, he has cited the Marxist Institute for Policy Studies as a source of his "information."

Excellent work, you're a true defender of liberty, Vange!


You forgot the BBC and the Atlantic. And their station might be owned by former Marxists but the RT people have much better coverage on foreign affairs than CNN, Fox or the other major networks in the US. They report on events that the US media ignores but ensure that they use the US military press releases as sources that can defend them from the type of attacks that you are trying to make.

Where the truth comes from does not matter as long as it is the truth. We already have NATO and the US admitting that they killed a family of innocent people in error as a drone attack was based on bad intelligence. The fact that the admission is covered by an Iranian, or Pakistani news agency does not matter because the US military has already admitted to the facts.

It is pathetic how people want to turn a blind eye to truth because they do not like what they see.

 
At 5/30/2012 9:51 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

"And the US does not just torture al Qaeda leaders. It tortures lots of innocents that it suspects know something even whey do not and are totally innocent."

Do you have any non-Marxist or Islamofascist cites for that assertion? I guess you'll have to go outside your usual sources.


Why don't you do a bit of your own research? Don't you know that it is now 'legal' for the US to torture American citizens who live within the US? It seems that if you do want to torture you just have to fly them to other countries and watch.

New Bill Authorizes Rendition of American Citizens Living within the United States to Other Countries for Torture

You remember José Padilla

The ACLU knows. Why don't you?

 
At 5/30/2012 9:51 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"And to see how foolish your position is I suggest that you take a look at Robert Pape's book, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism"...

Ahhh, the effort you go through vangeIV to make sure everyone knows of your naive foolishness you roll out one of the all time loser apologists for islam...

Good one!

 
At 5/30/2012 10:02 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

For leftist trash, like you, others are always responding to the "aggression" of the U.S., we are never acting in response to theirs. I'm not surprised that you would find a way to justify the use of children as suicide bombers. You are a degenerate.

Lefty? You must be thinking of our Liberal friends, not me. I am not justifying anything. I am simply pointing out what Dr. Pape made clear in his wonderful book and what my neoconservative professors taught me long ago. Suicide attacks are nothing new and not a product of Islamic tradition. They go back long before Islam was formed and will be with us as long as strong countries occupy waker ones. Anyone familiar with Plato and the idea of thymos will expect such attacks to take place because they are the product of human nature. I would expect that if Chinese troops occupied American cities and had better and more guns some Americans would resort to similar tactics. In all cases the spark that drives the attacks are the occupations. End those and the attacks against that occupation will also end.

Now you may want to say that the occupation is about justice but that would ring hollow because justice of such little concern to an all powerful state apparatus that is used to arbitrary rules and the need to control populations. Some of the free market advocates on this site keep referencing all kinds of so-called advocates for liberty. The funny thing is that when you look at most of their writing you tend not to find the word justice in them. This includes some legal scholars that I actually admire and agree with on most issues. So let us not talk about nation building and justice because it was made clear when these wars began that those were never a goal. And from what I see there is no evidence that they are a goal now.

And for the record, the ordinary people in the US military agree that the occupations have no moral purpose and overwhelmingly want them to end. This is why Ron Paul got more in donations than the all of the warmonger GOP candidates combined and more than Obama.

 
At 5/30/2012 10:04 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

What a spineless little fraction of a man you are. So tough, safe behind your keyboard in Canada while real men make the world a safe place for you to hurl your ignorant bile.

What is heroic about killing innocent families by pushing a button that shoots a rocket or drops a bomb from a drone? Isn't that an act of cowardice?

 
At 5/30/2012 10:30 AM, Blogger Ken said...

Hydra,

You are not serious.

I was pointing out that you read my comment wrong, that those costs were all ready calculated and accounted for, so you saying that "it depends" was absolutely wrong when referring to my comment. The $1000 profit on the sale of 1000 units vs $10 profit on the sale of 1,000,000 units all ready accounts for costs and opportunity, by assumption.

Comparing government to business is like comparing geology to botany.

And, yet, here you are trying to say that not only is business into profit maximization, but so is government, which even a cursory reflection will show that this is incorrect.

Sure it does, only worse. Your private business might have some security gurads, government needs a supersonic airforce, a navy, and a loot of boots.

Ha! Does NASA? How about social security? Medicaid? Medicare? I can't believe you even said this. Most government spending isn't about the military. Additionally, the government spends way to much on the military.

Only because some clowns won't cooperate.

Exactly. The private sector free markets can only operate using cooperation. People like you who don't like how other people live think nothing of forcing them to live as you want them to. Private revenue depends on cooperation and people willingly spending money. Government revenue depends only how willing politicians are at taking from other people, regardless of successful policy (politicians are very willing to take from other people.

 
At 5/30/2012 10:53 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Actually vangeIV the only real problem I see is the whining gutlessness of the sniveling but politically correct cowardice that seems to have taken hold across a broad swath of what passes for western civilization...

Apparently the previous lessons of history are no longer considered important by many in the now 'fat, dumb, & happy' generation...


Politically correct? Isn't it politically correct to go with the majority and cheer on whatever the troops do? And since the troops are overwhelmingly on my side of the issue of ending the occupations are you suggesting that they are being politically correct?

You are right about one thing; the lessons of history are important. But it is you who is refusing to learn from them. Wars are very expensive and divert wealth from the taxpayers to the special interest groups who profit from them. Wars kill many people, most of them innocents. And wars in Afghanistan have never been particularly useful for the invaders, all of whom have gone back home losers.

The point is that you can't spin the killing of innocents into some justification for blind patriotism. True patriots do not kill kids by remote control as they hide in bunkers hundreds of miles away. They do not torture their fellow citizens or anyone esle. They respect life and protect the innocent, no matter who they may be.

 
At 5/30/2012 11:00 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Outstanding vangeIV you taking the word of a known liar and hyporcrite from the party of lying hypocrites...

You are proving that both parties are liars and hypocrites. At least Albright had the conviction and courage to show the world the immoral monster that she is.

And sorry but there is no way to spin a public admission that your Secretary of State said that killing 500,000 kids was 'worth it'. Your government was as bad for Iraqis as the man that it helped to put into power and armed to fight the Iranians. After that failed you decided to invade the country and hand it over to the Iranians yourselves.

Why is it that people like you hate the idea of the United States being a great example to the world as it respects individual freedom for all? Is the idea of lording it over others so appealing to you that you want to see it pushed into bankruptcy and having it give up the moral high ground that was rightfully earned for such a long period of time? (Pre Spanish American War for those that are curious.)

 
At 5/30/2012 11:13 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"And since the troops are overwhelmingly on my side of the issue of ending the occupations are you suggesting that they are being politically correct?"...

As usual vangeIV your attempt to play the 'abysmal ignorance card' just reeforces your desire to continue to be naive as to the ways of the world...

Our soldiers do indeed want to leave considering that they're held in check at the end if a very short but politcally correct leash...

Apparently you missed the realites of the Haditha scam but then again I'm not suprised since you keep want to run with the Lancet scam also...

"But it is you who is refusing to learn from them. Wars are very expensive and divert wealth from the taxpayers to the special interest groups who profit from them"...

Naturally leave it to you to gloss over one of the major reasons for the increased costs of war, the micromanaging by the politicos...

Pandering to parasites diverts wealth from the taxpayers and over a much longer timeline but apparently that's O.K. with you...

"The point is that you can't spin the killing of innocents into some justification for blind patriotism"...

The fact of the matter is there are no innocents in a war zone and those who think there's some sort of 'justification scam' being pushed are not paying attention to the realities...

What's even funnier is all your blather about the innocents etc is what is expected of someone who's idea of being informed is reading the materials of islamic apologists...

 
At 5/30/2012 11:21 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"And sorry but there is no way to spin a public admission that your Secretary of State said that killing 500,000 kids was 'worth it'"...

You're both a liar and a fool...

Halfbright was no longer Secretary of State...

"Why is it that people like you hate the idea of the United States being a great example to the world as it respects individual freedom for all?"...

Ahhh, the Billy Ayres argument...

We're not here to be an example regardless of what politicos have to say...

 
At 5/30/2012 11:24 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"oh, you mean they never miss? they never hit the wrong house? never have bad intel?

or are you claiming that just living near someone suspected of terrorism is guilty and it's fine to drop a hellfire missile on them?
"...

Its real simple morganovich there are NO innocents in a war zone...

Ask the Japanese or the Germans...

 
At 5/30/2012 11:39 AM, Blogger VangelV said...


Ahhh, the effort you go through vangeIV to make sure everyone knows of your naive foolishness you roll out one of the all time loser apologists for islam...


Sam Harris was a promoter of the occupation and the lies that Saddam had WMDs. He is one of the neocons who counts on useful idiots like you to do what they are expected as he helps cast shadows on the walls in the cave in which you live as he makes a good living telling you what he wants to hear. By the way, Pape's analysis is in agreement with that of the neoconservatives who got you into the war in the first place. In my case, I did not learn about the history of strategic suicide attacks from Pape but from Pangle and Bloom.

And what next? Will you be looking through Google search results to find support from Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearle, Douglas Feith, and other former Trotskyists who now claim to be conservatives?

 
At 5/30/2012 11:53 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Kevin Carter: "There is a significant difference between "profit maximization" and "maximum sustainable profits", and it's unfortunate that the current climate fosters the former rather than the latter."

Profit Maximization is an observable characteristic of human nature. Not sure what you mean by "this climate" or "maximum sustainable profits".

 
At 5/30/2012 12:11 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak

"Ron says: "That's nonsense. It's illegal to kill people at any speed. The speed limit is irrelevant."

So, laws are irrelevant, because people illegally kill anyway.

VangelV says: "Saddam's torture is to be condemned. So is Obama's and Bush's."

So, when another country tortures people, it's Obama's and Bush's fault.

Can you cite the U.S. law that countries must torture people?
"

Are you really Peak Trader, or someone hijacking his ID?

You usually make some amount of sense, even when you're wrong, but this stuff is total nonsense.

Did you really not understand my point? It's illegal to kill people with your car through negligence, period. Imposing a speed limit doesn't change that.

 
At 5/30/2012 12:13 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

As usual vangeIV your attempt to play the 'abysmal ignorance card' just reeforces your desire to continue to be naive as to the ways of the world...

Our soldiers do indeed want to leave considering that they're held in check at the end if a very short but politcally correct leash...

Apparently you missed the realites of the Haditha scam but then again I'm not suprised since you keep want to run with the Lancet scam also...


Your troops do not want to stay because many of them are tired of being shot at by a population who hates them and have no wish to die for the imperial ambitions of the GOP or Democrats. And the fact that tens of thousands of civilians have been killed by US military action is not in dispute by anyone. Why don't you check out the now available logs on WikiLeaks? Or check with AP?

Naturally leave it to you to gloss over one of the major reasons for the increased costs of war, the micromanaging by the politicos...

Pandering to parasites diverts wealth from the taxpayers and over a much longer timeline but apparently that's O.K. with you...


If it were my business, which it isn't, it would not be OK with me. Parasites are parasites no matter what their political affiliation. The two wings belong to the same bird of pray and that bird is feasting on the productive class that has to pay for everything.

 
At 5/30/2012 12:47 PM, Blogger Moe said...

We economists assume that firms always maximize profits, and that profit maximization by firms (all firms, not just private-equity ones) is a very good thing. But this is not because profits are in themselves good. Rather, profit maximization is good because it leads directly to maximum benefits for consumers. Profits provide the incentive for firms to do what consumers want.


So, when and if trucking companies switch to LNG due to it being cheaper than deisel, they will be doing it because it benefits their customers?

 
At 5/30/2012 1:06 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

So, when and if trucking companies switch to LNG due to it being cheaper than deisel, they will be doing it because it benefits their customers?

No. They will be doing it because it benefits them. However, those benefits will transfer to customers because of lower prices, increased quantity, etc. That is the essence of self-interest: what is being done for the company benefits the consumer.

 
At 5/30/2012 1:15 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Moe: "So, when and if trucking companies switch to LNG due to it being cheaper than deisel, they will be doing it because it benefits their customers?"

Yes. Although that isn't their intent, lowering their own costs may allow them to increase their market share through lower prices. Check with Adam Smith on that.

 
At 5/30/2012 1:17 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon M: "No. They will be doing it because it benefits them. However, those benefits will transfer to customers because of lower prices, increased quantity, etc. That is the essence of self-interest: what is being done for the company benefits the consumer."

Sorry, Jon, I didn't see your post until I published mine.

 
At 5/30/2012 1:39 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Sorry, Jon, I didn't see your post until I published mine.

No problem. We both made the same point :-P

 
At 5/30/2012 1:44 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

You're both a liar and a fool...

Halfbright was no longer Secretary of State...


So? She still said that killing 500,000 kids was worth it. You can't spin that into anything other than what it is.

 
At 5/30/2012 1:46 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Its real simple morganovich there are NO innocents in a war zone...

Ask the Japanese or the Germans...


So let us get this straight if you don't mind. You declare a war based on false intelligence and obvious lies. That makes everyone in the country guilty and deserving of being killed.

Remind me how that argument makes you any different than the terrorists.

 
At 5/30/2012 4:20 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Government revenue depends only how willing politicians are at taking from other people, regardless of successful policy (politicians are very willing to take from other people.

================================

And how do we get politicians? We cooperate to get them elected.


I still do not concede your point on profit maximization. If your argument is that all costs and allopportunity are already included in your two examples, then you are comparing two entirely different things - naturally the profits are different.

 
At 5/30/2012 4:59 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Ron, if my comments seem like nonsense, it's because they reflect your (and VangelV's) comments.

 
At 5/30/2012 5:17 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

If your argument is that all costs and allopportunity are already included in your two examples, then you are comparing two entirely different things - naturally the profits are different.

I, uh, I don't follow.

 
At 5/30/2012 6:01 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Yet another incredibly stupid statement by vangeIV: "You declare a war based on false intelligence and obvious lies. That makes everyone in the country guilty and deserving of being killed"...

You have NO idea on the quality of the garnered intelligence the propeled this country to go to war with anyone...

This is replowed ground and you were given plenty of links to check out for their factualness or lack of...

Obviously you didn't do anything...

Your unbelievely 'inane and untethered to reality' statements shows a purposeful lack of understanding the historical nature of the situation that is beyond bizzare....

Then again I guess I shouldn't be suprised since liberals live to lie...

 
At 5/30/2012 6:05 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"So? She still said that killing 500,000 kids was worth it. You can't spin that into anything other than what it is"...

Well maybe you have faith in your fellow liar for that bogus number...

None the less I'm not spinning the number and if that bogus number is what you want to play with then I wouldn't care if it was ten or even a hundred times higher if that's what it took to prevent another 9-11...

 
At 5/30/2012 6:10 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Your troops do not want to stay because many of them are tired of being shot at by a population who hates them and have no wish to die for the imperial ambitions of the GOP or Democrats"...

Still with the stupid statements that have no basis in reality, eh vangeIV?

Watch Chris Matthews much or do you pull these factoids out of your own private library?

 
At 5/30/2012 6:30 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Sam Harris was a promoter of the occupation and the lies that Saddam had WMDs"...

Well you're at least half right this time vangeIV...

Oh those terrible lies:

Just lies...

More lies...

Even more lies...

ROFLMAO!

Oh those terrible lies...

 
At 5/30/2012 8:26 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

You have NO idea on the quality of the garnered intelligence the propeled this country to go to war with anyone...

Sure I do. We have to conclude that the intelligence was terrible or that the government lied about the WMDs. Given the fact that one of your former ambassadors investigated and found forged documents used to push a line about nuclear material I would say that it was clear well before the invasion that there was nothing to see other than the old weapons that the US gave to Saddam to fight Iranians and those were far too old to be of any use for their intended purposes. Subsequent investigations showed that there were no WMDs. Even Bush admitted it.

As for killing innocent families, it is clear that the intelligence was bad. Otherwise the drones would have taken out the intended bad guys.

 
At 5/30/2012 8:28 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Well maybe you have faith in your fellow liar for that bogus number...

None the less I'm not spinning the number and if that bogus number is what you want to play with then I wouldn't care if it was ten or even a hundred times higher if that's what it took to prevent another 9-11...


Right. She owns up to the kids killed on her watch and you don't believe her. How convenient for you.

And for the record again, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 you idiot. That was done by the guys who made all the videos telling you that they would kill Americans unless you pulled your troops out of Saudi Arabia. It took that attack for you to finally pay attention.

 
At 5/30/2012 8:49 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Still with the stupid statements that have no basis in reality, eh vangeIV?

No basis?


"Ron Paul shares an unusually high percentage of supporters in the military compared to the other candidates and it shows in his campaign funding. The Center for Responsible Politics reports the candidate touted more than $95,000 between September 2011 and January in individual donations from current and former members of the military, higher than any other candidate. Obama comes in second at roughly $72,000."


--------

"This year, Paul has 10 times the individual donations — totaling $113,739 — from the military as does Mitt Romney. And he has a hundred times more than Newt Gingrich, who sat out the Vietnam War with college deferments and now promises he would strike foes at the slightest provocation.

What seems, at first blush, counterintuitive makes more sense upon further review. There’s a long tradition of military people being attracted to politicians with Paul’s strict interpretation of the Constitution."


-----------

It seems to me that the chickenhawk conservatives have a big problem on their hands. The young men and women that they sent out to fight in foreign wars of aggression do not really like being used as tools of special interests who wind up becoming rich even as those that fight get shot up and in some cases killed. You guys don't give a damn about the hardships faced by these people. If you did you would bust your ass to get them back home.

Suicides, Mental Health Woes Soar Since Start of Iraq War, Study Finds

 

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