Comments Posted By endorendil
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”I am not complaining that Maddoff is rich. More power to him if he gambles successfully in the stock and commodities market. But his lawbreaking highlights the unfair advantage that accrues to the rich when they can bend government to their will and warp the competitive marketplace to their own advantage.“

This is topical, but misguided. Madoff didn't rely on legal loopholes he helped create. He simply worked hard and very smart (he was a real pioneer in electronic trading) to become a respected rich man in the financial industry. But when things started going badly, he started cheating, and found that this was very easy to start, but hard to stop. This is just human nature, and the only thing that guard against it is overzealous, overbearing regulators. And yes, they have to be overzealous and overbearing. How else would you describe them, since they have to assume that even the most intelligent, hardworking and respected investment fund manager can turn into a common crook at any point in time.

Comment Posted By endorendil On 20.12.2008 @ 08:30

Welcome to the modern socialist fold, Rick. Yes, the government is the only way that "the rest of us" have to counteract the vast power wielded by large corporations and wealthy individuals.

Comment Posted By endorendil On 20.12.2008 @ 08:09


Odd, how your last two posts are so completely different. Yesterday you tell the voters that they have no excuse not to know every dire prediction about Obama's policies. Today you say that voters in the Heartland have the right to be ignorant of the issues, that they'll rightfully decide who they rather want to have a beer with in stead.

Basically, just trying for anything that might convince people NOT to vote Obama?

I used to really like McCain. I still think he would be a much better president than his current platform would make one believe. He was against Bush's tax cuts because he thought they favored the rich. I'm sure he'ld reach across party lines to increase taxes in general and to make them more progressive. He'ld be relatively easily coopted into the Democratic Congress, dragging along a sizeable part of the Republican party. I'm pretty sure that the US would move structurally much further left under McCain than under Obama, as it would officially all be "bi-partisan", and thereby an easier sell.

You reeeeeeally had to stretch to find that one, didn't ya? Especially since I said no such thing about voters having a "right" to be ignorant. You just put that in there because you're an elitist snob.

And yeah, right. You used to really like McCain - like anyone believes that. Your class warfare arguments are a dead giveway just how much you "like" anyone with an "R" after their name.

And you're being serious when you question why I wouldn't try to convince people not to vote for Obama using every argument, every reason I can come up with? Is this now to be illegal in Obama's America?


Comment Posted By endorendil On 1.11.2008 @ 17:21


"We will stay and train the Iraqi army while keeping up the pressure on al-Qaeda in Iraq who will find themselves more and more facing off against the Iraqis anyway."

I agree that this is how it will start, out of inertia and unwillingness to admit massive failure. But in the end, odds are that the Iraqi army will be a Shi'a army, and do we really want to train the Iranian Quds forces? The ugly truth is that Iraq is now Shi'a territory. The Kurds are limited geographically, and will be happy with autonomy and the prospect of independence. The Sunnis have been on the losing end, and most of their best and brightest have left the country already. Unless the US starts supporting the Sunni insurgents, politically if not militarily, there is no escaping the fact that Iran just lost its archenemy and gained a bosom buddy.

"And I suspect we will have some kind of “tripwire” force in place to prevent mischief by Iraq’s neighbors in case they get a hankerin’ for military adventures against the very weak government there"

Unlikely. Aside from the fact that these bases would be under continuous attack, who would really be detered? Turkey will go after the terrorists that run the Kurd regions eventually, and I doubt that the US will stop them. Sunni neighbours are probably going to be our allies - once we reassess the situation. And then there's Iran, which doesn't need to invade (except by pilgrimages) in order to rule Iraq.

Comment Posted By endorendil On 11.05.2007 @ 15:14


"ALBANIA FER CRISSAKES! Albania? Quick – name something dangerous that ever came out of Albania. "

Um, international terrorism and organized crime.

Albanian organized crime currently runs a lot of drug, prostitution and human trafficking crime rings in Europe and the US. Search on Rudaj.

Albanian KLA "freedom fighters" were classified as terrorists before. Search on KLA.

Yeah, who would have thought that a US-supported guerilla movement with strong radical islamist ties could ever turn against the US?

Comment Posted By endorendil On 9.05.2007 @ 18:05


"But if al-Hashimi and the Sunnis leave the government, it begs the question: Just who or what is Maliki in charge of in Iraq? The answer is not too damn much. "

Beg to differ. Dawa is not nuts. They're winning on every front. About two thirds of the population was Shi'a before all this nonsense started. As you point out, the Sunni power base is seriously diminished since then - a lot of their best people have left the country. The only thing Maliki needs to do is find a reasonable way to split the country between Shiites and Kurds, and he can rule indefinitely with a super-majority. He can scare the living daylights out of foreign powers by threatening to offer the Kurds independence - better than any nuclear bomb as a threat. And he will be able to count on strong support from Iran. In the end, the commitment of the West to democracy means that the Shiites just can't lose. Certainly not now, after they've been succesful in reducing the Sunni population further.

This was all rather obvious from the start. Democracy in Iraq means creating another Shiite-run, oil-rich state.

Comment Posted By endorendil On 9.05.2007 @ 17:28


"This run of “power families” who have dominated American politics much of the last 50 years – the Kennedys, the Clintons, the Bush’s, – makes the United States look like a banana republic. Or worse, a debased aristocracy"

Fully agree, but I think that in this case, looks don't deceive. Or at least not completely.

"The whole point of inventing America was to create a place where it wasn’t supposed to matter who or what your father was, that you were judged on your own talents and merits"

An ironically the only time that this really works is if you're an immigrant. If you're born here, the income of your parents determines your income. Not perfectly, of course, but much more so than in almost any western country, except for the inncorrigible class society of the UK.

Comment Posted By endorendil On 9.05.2007 @ 17:46


What's the Republican plan to win Iraq and Afghanistan? Having fumbled and failed in North Korea, what's the grand plan to get back on track there? Now that they've giving Iran 140,000 bargaining chips to play with, how do they plan to stop it from acquiring nuclear processing technology?

The way I see it, the US needs more troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also needs to reverse the retreat to megabases in both of them - otherwise their presence is pointless. And it needs to enter in a binding treaty with the Iraqi government that fixes the American military presence in Iraq at 200,000 or more for a long period of time, say at least 5 years, but preferably 10. This is the only way to allay the suspicion that Bush or his successor will turn tail.

Of course this means that the military needs to be expanded, either by some sort of draft, or by drastically increasing the pay or benefits of soldiers. It would be nice, for instance, if they didn't need to rely food stamps to feed their families, or charity.

Obviously Republicans wouldn't do any of this, or they would have done so already. They seem to be happy to keep training Iraqis to get better at killing each other and us. They're happy to keep the army fighting with deteriorating equipment, in an increasingly dangerous situation, even though it is clearly straining under the effort. They simply lack the political strength to push through the decisions that could lead to victory. That's why they have no credibility on national security.

Comment Posted By endorendil On 28.10.2006 @ 14:01



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