COLLECTIVE MADNESS


“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Russia & China Have Trashed the Security Council. Let Them Have it.

Enough is enough. The tiresome predictable obstruction by China and Russia in the UN Security Council must stop. There is no longer any point to participating in this charade, expecting that anything of value will ever come out of it. In fact, one could argue that it is a source of harm. If Bush and Blair had not had to play to the UN, they would not have felt compelled to get their blessings for the WMD rationale in attacking Iraq. When that failed and they needed another reason, they went for the democracy thing. No point in going over that, but today we are walking into a great big strategic trap. By participating in the Orwellian "dire sanctions" against North Korea, we are guaranteeing a nuclear Iran. Russia and China are no friends of the US. They are no friends of Europe, but that is theirs to determine. The UN is non-reformable and the Security Council is worse than useless. It is detrimental to the vital security interests of the United States of America. Time to lead. Time to leave.

A scathing opinion piece over at, you guessed it, The Sunday Telegraph

Korea's bomb blows apart the Security Council's show of unity

By Niall Ferguson
15/10/2006


Last week may well be remembered as the beginning of the end for the United Nations Security Council. The institution that has been so central to the post-1945 international order was already tottering under the weight of its own recent failures. But North Korea's claim to have conducted a successful nuclear test last Monday appears to have been the final straw.

For a split-second it seemed that the five permanent members of the Security Council might come up with a tough response. The Chinese government described Pyongyang's claim as "brazen", having only recently agreed with the new Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, that a North Korean nuclear test would be "unacceptable". Beijing even spoke of "punitive actions", which sounded cheeringly close to President George W. Bush's "serious repercussions".

But no. Within days, the Security Council had descended into the usual game of diplomatic tiddlywinks.

182 comments:

  1. looks like the security council has approved a certain level of agreement to sanction north korea now

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  2. The ever secure Chinese promise not to inspect NorK shipping. If they do not, then there is no export inspection regieme.

    There are no teeth, if the Chicom do not provide them.
    As everyone knows, Korea is out of our Zone, well at least it was in 1949.

    What we are seeing from the UN is eye wash, like painting the rocks on the Parade Ground white. Pleasing to the eye, but worthless.

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  3. October is "Burn the UN flag month", commemerating 61 years of tyranny.

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  4. This article from the NYTimes is surorisingly balanced. The author's bias is evident, but easily seen.
    The Border Dividing Arizona
    A new Yorker, Joseph Lelyveld, came out and accessed the scene.

    He stereotypes both sides, but then seems surprised by realities.

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  5. Long term loser, Russia. Yep, Russia. They have an economic model that's unsustainable (in fact, it's a third world country, and sinking fast, now,) their conventional military forces are in shambles, and 50 SDI Interceptors is Poland (ostensibly to counter Pakistan's Nukes) basically check-mates their ability to threaten Europe with Nuclear Weapons.

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  6. Now on FOX News, "China has no intention of inspecting North Korean shipping"

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  7. Why should they--they already know whats onboard.

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  8. No, buddy, they're rouges, just like Dr Kahn.
    Who, using Pakistani military transports, refueling in China, traveled to NorK, without the knowledge of the Pakistani Government, Military or the ever famous ISI. Later those planes made the trip again, without him on board. Again he maintained total operational security, arranging for aircraft, cargo, the fuel in China, quite the clandestine operation, for a scientist/ engineer.

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  9. The Chinese play each side. Giving Mr Bush his UN sound bites, but denying support on the ground.

    When will the first ship be stopped and boarded?
    By whom?
    Robert Kaplan laid out the recriprical threat.
    The US Army is not prepared to occupy NorK, who is?

    Guarenteed chaos or contained threat. Most will vote for containing the threat, putting off chaos to tomorrow.
    Hoping tomorrow never comes.

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  10. It worked with the USSR, Rat.

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  11. I think we lose track of the "Internal" struggle going on inside China. You've got the younger more "progressive" leaders leading the fight for liberalization, and the older, more militaristic politicians that are still fighting the "Cold War."

    The Reactionaries hold power, now, as it pertains to Foreign policy, Military policy, etc. BUT, the "progressive" economists are in the ascendancy. They are giving the people a higher, and higher standard of living, and, thus, winning their support.

    Our strategy is two-pronged; help the progressive economists as much as possible, and build missile defenses. AND, NOT GET RATTLED!

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  12. Containment?
    To a degree.
    But the threat is not the same.

    A one kiloton blast in Baghdad, the Green Zone, is answered how?

    A tactical nuke used in combat by the unnamed enemy. Supplied by Iran or NorK. That should be a gamed scenario, cause it's now a viable achievable enemy threat. One that fits the Bush Doctrine of "over there" as well as the Mohammedan battle plan.

    Realisticly

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  13. I think he was being ironic, with the "rogue operations" bit, rufus.

    But good point, re USSR. Of course, back then, we had a bilateral foreign policy--no Senator Horse-Face Kerry calling the Noko bomb, the "Bush Bomb".

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  14. I can barely keep my head from exploding every time I hear one of these charlatans declaiming "America is a joke, because we can't speak with one voice, and it's all Bush's fault".

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  15. Maybe Kerry is admitting that a country that lets him have a political career must be terribly screwed up.

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  16. Or, even more twisted, a kiloton blast in Najaf, blamed on US, across the Mohammedan Arc

    Take out Sistani and the Mosques
    move the center of Shia ideology to the Iranian Mullahs by default.

    No or few US citizens killed.
    What is the response?

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  17. Just like those Columbia students, rioting to keep that guy they called a nigger from speaking, because he's a racist.

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  18. At what point do we need to clean house around here?

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  19. They've been around a long time, Buddy; even Aristotle and Plato complained they were sending the world to hell in a hand-basket. Radical students, I mean.

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  20. Hell, it's the Truman/Ike bomb, at least as much as it could be called the Clinton/Bush bomb.

    The first post modern war, still bitin' the world in the ass, fiftyfive years later.

    Yes, it was irony, buddy.
    For anyone to believe Dr Khan was a secret rouge, in Pakistan, is either fool or knave.

    The Pakistani, Chinese and NorKs have been working together for decades, today we raise an objection. The Chinese smile, say yes in New York, then do as they please in their Zone of Control.

    Mr Bush gets his UN sound bite, the NorKs continue, full speed ahead. The Iranians not far behind.
    With a handful of cash and infrastructure inplace. Build or buy, or both.

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  21. I heard the Kerry crack about the "Bush Bomb". He has a real knack for reminding people why they can't stand the man.

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  22. And again, everybody, keep in mind that there's an election coming up. EVERYTHING that's done or said. at this time, is in direct corollation to the electoral process. EVERYTHING!

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  23. We're not cleaning house, buddy.
    We'll just add another room

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  24. You're right, of course, Rat; the Nork bomb is a result of many things, including the ISI, working with the NorKs, with the aid of the reactionary wing of the Chinese military.

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  25. I suppose the term, "Reactionary Wing of the Chinese Military" is pretty much an oxymoron, but, what the hey.

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  26. I suppose you could say that the Chinese Military has shot itself in the foot in that this gives Bush an opportunity to greatly expand our SDI program, especially on the West Coast.

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  27. Also, it brings the subject of Japan's SDI program into focus, not to mention their NUCLEAR program.

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  28. Threatswatch provides a link to a report that the General President has endorse a NATO Plan to negotiate with the tribal chiefs to duplicate his Warizstan Agreement. Bill Roggio lays out the case that the General President bypassed the tribes and dealt directly with the Taliban.

    Guess it comes down to defining the "tribe". In any case NATO will negotiate a ceasefire & withdrawal.
    As per the Warizistan template.

    Delegate to the Europeans, you'll get a European result.

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  29. I think the thing that's being missed in all this is that the norks tried to shoot off an ICBM; it failed (as it always does.) And, they tried to test a Nuke; and, it, almost surely, fizzled.

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  30. well, the only comfort in that is, we know more about their stuff, now, but of course, so do they.

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  31. If you take the time to read this Robert D Kaplan (Imperial Grunts)piece, you'll see the more realistic scenario.
    Assumtion of the enemy failure is not a solid foundation to build Policy upon.
    Mr Cheney has said if there is a 1% chance, it must be considered a viable threat, a 100% threat.

    It is as likely the NorKs have a 1-10 kiloton device, as a fizzled dud.

    Mr Kaplan also discusses the NorK/Iranian missile launch. His perspective of it's success differs greatly from that of rufus.

    Me, I'm with Mr Cheney, a 1%er.

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  32. There's a Gaza element in those tribal area truces, tho, you have to admit. If they don't keep the deals, there's an enemy area to hit, now, right?

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  33. Same as there was yesterday or the day before, buddy.

    The Paki's have had enough and took the historical path, leave those mountain men, the fundimentalist rednecks alone.

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  34. If you can't beat 'em, you have to think of something else. Giving them a free zone might be a forced play.

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  35. Remember, they're 'spose to 'behave' now.

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  36. Speaking of the election season, Newsweek has a length article that says, essentially, that Clinton and Albright had reached a deal under which North Korea agreed to give up their nuclear weapons program; but the deal was scuttled by the evil Bush administration.

    A week later Albright was in Pyongyang, meeting with what she described as a well-informed and charming Kim, who gave a sophisticated rundown of his security situation and graciously directed his waiters not to give her too much alcohol during toasts. At one point, recalls Sherman, Kim even called for U.S. troops to remain on the Korean Peninsula (to guard against China). Albright was also treated to a show involving tens of thousands of acrobats and dancers at a stadium, intended to impress her with the glorious feats of the North Korean revolution. During the spectacle, a mass of performers flipped colored placards that together depicted Kim's Taepodong I missile taking off for its first test in 1998. Kim turned to Albright at that moment and said, "That was the first launch of that missile, and it will be the last."
    In retrospect, that evening was the high point of U.S.-North Korean relations. Since then, GOP hard-liners have gleefully criticized Albright for the visit, and dismissed the North Koreans as blackmailers. But had a lasting settlement been reached, many Asian and U.S. diplomats believe North Korea would likely not have tested a nuclear device, and would not have developed an intercontinental missile, the Taepodong II, with a range that can reach Alaska or Hawaii


    The message appears to be if we can get Kerry or some other Democrat in the Presidency, then all the Nork/Paki nuclear problems will disapper as if by magic. No need to worry the10 or 15 nuclear warheads that some think the Norks already have.

    Rat, if someone nukes Najaf as you suggest, the genie will be out of the bottle, regardless of who tries to pin it on whom. According to the link above, the Israelis have a significant supply nukes. Will they sit idly while the Muslim hoardes blame it on them?

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  37. Why can they not be beat, buddy?

    That becomes the prime question.
    When combined with nuclear proliferation the Paki's efforts in TWAT must be questioned.
    How hard did they try?
    Why not call for help?

    If they've left it up to US and NATO, why are we entering negotiations with the Taliban, in Afghanistan? Attempting to duplicate the Warizistan Agreement.

    We are pulling back, or at least trying to. The post modern military option, failing to secure the ground, long term.

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  38. The UN is not the problem. The UN can be ignored. The US is open to act unilaterally, Russia and China will maintain their observers status.

    The problem is energy supply originating in dar al Islam, and the economic disruption it can cause if more than one Jihadi oil producer is removed from the supply pool.

    An alternative energy supply is the only thing that will save us: bio-fuels such as Ethanol. An alternative energy initiative could have reduced our economic and geopolitical dependence on Jihadi oil producers in very short order. But unfortunately, big Oil interests in the US have control of the agenda, and Exxon/Mobil recorded the largest corporate profit in the history of any US corporation last year.


    Growing the Bioeconomy:

    Keynote Webcasts

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  39. Exactly, stout, what happens next, the Israel target Tehran and Mecca with nuclear destruction?
    Preemptively?
    That is a questionable response, possible, but depends on who is running Israel at the time.

    The old guard has passed into the night, the new generation was not as tempered by fire as the old.

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  40. War-lite can't tackle large distant geographical areas, and war-lite is all the country is up for. And very barely that. Tell me, what are the magic words needed to alter that equation?

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  41. "Jaw, Jaw is better than War, War." Somebody, sometime.

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  42. Senator Horse-face would tell you that his bunch would gladly give the whole planet to Kim Jong-Il in return for enough power over the USA that everybody on the team can have their own Big Dig project.

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  43. mat
    rufus earlier linked to a selfsustaining cornfield, feedlot ethonal plant that was interesting.
    Seem that fixed infrastructure capacity costs were three dollars per gallon of capacity.

    A draw down in Iraq could free up 20, 30 billion USD for biofuels infrastructure.

    More feedlots, less Free Range, stealth policy or micro chaos?

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  44. And, the no 1 answer is, "THERE AIN'T NO OIL IN KOREA!"

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  45. Look everyone, see how we're kickin' their ass!

    Those are the words, buddy.
    But they have to be true.
    Watch the opening speach of Patton.
    He talks about America,
    winners and losers.

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  46. Once co-products are taken into account that feed-lot/ethanol operation is probably producine ethanol for about $0.25 - $0.50 gallon.

    This includes amortization on the plant.

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  47. BUT, a regular old modern ethanol plant is producing ethanol for fifty to seventy-five cents/gallon.

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  48. Even the Vikings treated their berserkers like dogs when they didn't have a war on. Patton went from hero to 'threat' before Doenitz's signature was dry on the surrender papers. The liberal mind came out of WWII on a zoom--how, i do not know. Big open playing field, I guess.

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  49. dRat,

    I've seen figures of ethanol being delivered to market at a ceiling of $2 USD per US gallon. Gas stations today are selling E85 fuel at $1.89 USD per US gallon.



    rufus,

    US action in Iraq, Iran, and elsewhere, can be persuasive on the North Korea psyche.

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  50. As they also do in the Military, buddy.
    Out of the million man Army, how many troops cycled through combat in Iraq?
    Not more than 60,000.

    There are few at the point of the spear. They are not well represented in positions of Power, within the System.

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  51. Mat, see rat's link to Kaplan--the military guys call it the KFR. The Kim Family Regime.

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  52. Buddy,

    I know North Korea run 40,000 sleeper agents into the South. What I'm curious about is how many did we.

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  53. The sale price of e85 is set by the price of gasoline. It sells, on average, for about 20% less than the price of gasoline. This, because in the standard engine it gets about 20% less gas mileage. (This will change as the new bio=power engines come on the market.)

    E85 could be sold, profitably, for less than a $0.80/gallon with current subsidies (less than $1.30/gallon with NO subsidies.

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  54. rufus,

    Bush is wrong. We're not addicted to oil; we're addicted to the car. And sugar daddy has a fix. :)

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  55. Metusala, I tried walking to work, but since I was traveling an entire state on a weekly basis, it got pretty tough. Decided I'd have to pay the freight, and go back to driving. :)

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  56. rufus: "The sale price of e85 is set by the price of gasoline."


    Btw, that's very dangerous. The oil cartel can manipulate down the price of oil and make it uneconomical for farmers to grow Ethanol.

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  57. I've been linking a lot to an outfit called Biopact.com. It's a very interesting site, because it makes you aware that the "Whole World" is flying into the biodiesel/biogas/ethanol alternatives as fast as they can get there.

    There are many, many, many countries that are Moving toward 10% biofuels within the the next few years.

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  58. To get below $1.00/gallon at the pump would bankrupt every oil producing country in OPEC, and Russia. $60.00 Oil is like winning the lottery (remember, a whole lot of lottery winners take bankruptcy within a few years.)

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  59. The irony is, we can't make oil less crucial without first letting it run more dear. fortunately, the process is finally underway.

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  60. Really, even if the greenies win, ANWAR won't go away . It'll be there when we need it even more than we do now.

    Now, we need it mainly to keep the marginal price down--which, unless you're a poor person, isn't even in your long-term interests.

    Poor folks are so lucky, ALL their interests are short-term.

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  61. That's the Fact, Buddy.

    Dubya could guarantee himself a Republican Congress, Right Now, if he would, in the next few days, announce a "Major" Policy Initiative to Expand our Alternative Energy Program.

    BTW, Democrats are pushing this hard in a bunch of those races where the Pubs are in trouble.

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  62. Dem's new line, apparent today: "You know, under the Clinton Administration, we had NO North Korean bomb--NOW, we do!"

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  63. Mandate that new vehicles sold be Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs), so that within 5 years most of the fuel sold be for Ethanol cars.

    That should be part of the Republican campaign platform, today!

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  64. That would definitely be a "Winner," Mat.

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  65. Such a cynical play to the bumper-sticker voters. Vomit.

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  66. no sarcasm--and my comment was to the clinton/bomb bit.

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  67. I think rufus thinks I'm being too aggressive with the timetable. He might be right.

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  68. NO, NO, Metusala, Not Sarcasm. It would be a Very Strong Proposal, and Very Popular. No Sarcasm at all.

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  69. A few proposals like that could fire up the public's perception that their government is actually thinking ahead. People hate the idea that they're funding A rabs, and their Jihadi Bullshit.

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  70. The Bush administration has, actually, done a whole heck of a lot to further alternative fuels, but they haven't publicized it very well.

    They could, also, mandate that 1 in 10 gas pumps be E85 within a reasonable number of years, something like that.

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  71. Perhaps, a proposal that would cause fallow lands, currently receiving subsidies for lying fallow, to be used for energy crops production. A combination of carrots (bonus to farmers) with sticks (ending the subsidy for leaving the fields fallow.)

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  72. It would definitely help put a stop to the bullshit that goes on in Nigeria, Liberia, Sudan, Ukraine, Georgia, the Baltic, etc.

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  73. I use those quotation marks incorrectly sometimes, I guess. Sometimes I use them for emphasis, not for sarcasm. I'm just to lazy to do the Bold Tags.

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  74. Interesting thing is, those tropical, and sub-tropical African states can make way more money selling bio-fuels than they could ever make selling oil.

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  75. "... and fully expect their paper to appear to hold back the waters of history."

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  76. rufus,

    It could also provide those African nations the money and the means to fight back Islamic encroachment.

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  77. Islamist control of the Cassava fields - Now there's something to ponder.

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  78. Government does not *have* to be stupid, bob.

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  79. bob smith,

    Oil carter is not free market economics either.

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  80. The thing about missile defense is, if there's a target you really want to protect (let's say you have 50 Interceptors) the enemy has to dedicate 50 missiles to that target alone. Think, the Pentagon.

    Now, you will eventually MIRV the Interceptors. That means the enemy would have to dedicate, perhaps, 250 missiles to destroy ONE Target.

    Now, let's say your enemy is aware that you have a certain number of stealth aircraft off of their coast with Lasers that are capable of destroying twenty percent of your missiles launched, and he strongly suspects that you have a few satellites in space capable of destroying another unknown percentage of your missiles at launch.

    It just gets down-right untenable for an enemy to conceptualize a launch, especially when he knows his own country will be vaporized.

    Missile Defense changes everything, guys and gals; and, the Russians really, really don't like it.

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  81. Bob, they wailed and gnashed their teeth with the passage of "Sherman-Adams," anti-trust legislation, too, but it was a good thing.

    The "Public" knows that Big Business has to be held back a bit every now and then. That's not anti free-markets; that's just common sense.

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  82. The people know that we're spending over a hundred billion a year in the middle east to keep the oil spigots open. They would love to see the government spend one tenth that much for alternatives.

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  83. ha--mat made a typo and came up with a higher truth "cartel" to "carter". Rem3ember the FERC ?

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  84. Means, to me, I abandon my missile delivery options. No more need to build more ICBM missiles.
    As they are obsolete, like bi-planes.

    But how does one fight the next generation War.

    When missiles & fighter jets are so sophisticated they are obsolete, functionally.

    But Baghdad, Ramadi & the Paris suburbs still stand in tribute to the technological failures in securing the ground.

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  85. The oil market is as free as any cartel-priced free market can be. Ordinary economics don't apply to non-renewable resources.

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  86. I have the same feeling about ICBMs--it's almost like, why bother, when you have this enormous global trade, and you can just smuggle your stuff straight to the target.

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  87. Haha! Buddy, I knew it would be you that would catch me. :P

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  88. bob, I think Gingrich feels that the government bureaucracies are squalidly wasteful--not that the 'book' missions are wrong.

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  89. One thing that's flying "under the radar," due to all the hoopla over fuels is Solar Energy. It's about where Alternative fuels was four or five years, ago. It's just now turning cost effective. The technology is getting more efficient every year, and the next bump-up in electricity prices could send it "Over the Top."

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  90. I realize it's been "The next big thing" for a long time, but, so was biofuels.

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  91. That Hawaii quake is sounding a bit more serious--better check in, Doug--

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  92. Bob, My daddy used to say he didn't trust a man who wouldn't fib a little bit in a horse trade.

    If you think about it it makes sense. We expect our politicians to be a little bit opportunistic. After all, we don't want fools in charge of the government. We just want to keep an eye on them so they don't get out of control. I think most people are pretty comfortable with the checks that we have in place.

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  93. Fox interviewed some star not long ago, who said some Hollywood folks are gathering around--i think it was-"solar neighbors-dot-com". That will help, if publicity is good.

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  94. I suspect that doug has no power. Fox News is reporting widespread power outages in Oahu.

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  95. He's just making sure Sonia is ok

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  96. The thread seems to be focused on the irresolution of China to controlling NoKo. Alternate fuels, who to bomb, and everything is election politics at this time.
    I still contend that if we do not reduce the Islamic population by half to three quarters soon, then our own isolation from our traditional, albeit allies in Europe will be fatal to us.
    There's a time for killing and a time for healing. It's killing time.
    Perhaps this article will clarify.

    All Muslims are Radical"

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  97. Probably sailing in his catamaran.

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  98. That's an interesting link on Solar Neighbors, Buddy; I'd never heard of them. It's a start. Good for Ed Norton.

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  99. BOB SMITH...
    yeasterday to my "invisible hand" answer you reponded with "?"
    Perhaps this will help.
    After the intro scroll down to the Wealth of Nations part, or just read it all.

    Invisible Hand

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  100. I remain concerned that the level of corruption will eventually compromise the grand experiment.

    Proposed Constitutional Amendment:

    No person shall hold successive terms in an elected office.

    The Twenty-Second Amendment is hereby repealed.

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  101. Good link on Walid Shoeblat--I've seen him on tv. he's good. Very chilling bio.

    Tess, term limits discussions are re-sprouting everywhere. A rough, harsh tool. But--what else will do the job?

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  102. I was for term limits, then I was against them..Why..

    We vote every two years. If you don't like a Rep/Sen then organize and vote against them.
    If a blog were set up to destroy a particular candidate I'm sure it could be done.
    Term limits allow for a lazy unengaged electorate..not good.

    Invite the candidate you don't like for a walk in Ft. Marcy Park. Worked for some folks in power.

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  103. People would rather go to jail than take a walk in that park.

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  104. "Invisible Hand" is not a designed system, tho, bob. It's merely a description of nature. Mess with it some, but like Nature, not too durn much.

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  105. The Permanent Government is what must be addressed, term limits, while a start, would have limited effect overall.

    End Congressional mail perks, dual purpose staffing and the like.

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  106. Even the "safety net" is natural, if you look at the basic critter as being the community, rather than the individual.

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  107. Get the word out on how much incumbency protection the taxpayer is paying for, and there'd be a revolution.

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  108. But it's like getting tort reformed by 535 lawyers. Or tax reform from 535 lawyers.

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  109. It's like a cattle rancher supporting vegetarianism.

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  110. Bob, my whole point. Leviathan wants it all.

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  111. Hubu,

    Thanks for that link. Towards to end of the interview with Walid Shoebat, Zak Anani, and Ibrahim Abdullah, they say: "America is our last hope". And that is so true.

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  112. link

    "Absent the profit signal, there’s no way of knowing who among entrepreneurs is doing the most to improve how we live. Profits are a way of keeping score, and the greater the profits, the more problems that have been solved. Von Mises referred to this process as the removal of “uneasiness” — which is what members of the Forbes 400 do all the time. Simply, they make our lives better.

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  113. "America is our last hope" is the theme of the upcoming "War Stories" tonight--Ollie North's FoxNews show. Cheney will be interviewed, and what he says is that--"America is our last hope".

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  114. PLEASE ALLOW ME TO LOUDLY BEAT THE DRUM ....MY 3:19 POST , THE INTERVIEW IS THE MESSAGE TO AMERICA AND THE WORLD FROM FORMER TERRORISTS..IT'S WORTH YOUR TIME BELIEVE ME.

    THANKS

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  115. HABU--I READ IT! IT IS A "DON'T MISS"!

    Bob, don't let the specific rule the general (baby & bath water). Of course, one out of ten people is criminal, given the chance.

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  116. Do We Have a Strategy in the War?
    Yes, and a multifaceted one, at that.
    By Victor Davis Hanson

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  117. esp the last para--the 'defined benefits' adjusting that is ongoing.

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  118. Bob Smith.

    In your 3:41 comment you admit to sitting through Econ 101 while doing techy type stuff.
    Then you go on to say "I am not convinced that the invisible hand is an adequate form of containment."
    Now I'm guessing that since you missed Econ 101 you at least read the Wikipedia piece.
    It is only with a monumental ego that you can say what you did with the knowledge level you claim to possess.
    I would highly recommend at minimum reading Adam Smith's two great works "Theory of Moral Sentiments" and "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations" prior to engaging in a discussion of modern economics.
    It would appear that your techy side has dominated your thinking. This is especially dangerous when you enter a field that is called the "Dismal Science"
    I am not trying to be hard on you I just find your hutzpah exceeds you own self professed lack of knowledge in this area.

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  119. Invisible Left Hand which makes its bones exploiting those rules & regulations, then keeps that money in offshore tax havens while advocating higher taxes for you, and while running partly taxpayer-funded subsersive (to all common-sense Americans) activities in the USA. Here, a description of how he is after Federal judges.

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  120. habu, there is indeed much kool-aide mixed into the ominous and sinister "unfunded liabilities" issue. It's more of the "we're all doomed" political philosophy of the left, when it is out of power.

    An analogy is, if you owe a hundred payments on your mortgage, you can add 'em all up and if you had to pay the total all at once right now, "you're doomed". that's not to say you don't have the debt--only that you have a predictable time frame in which to defray it (or cancel it, if you're the organization which has the army).

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  121. Anything set-up by the 1974 congress ought to be repealed, on principle.

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  122. I wouldn't be too hard on Bob, Habu. On top of being dismal, there's no evidence whatsoever that economics has anything whatsoever to do with science.

    While I'm a Great Fan of Adam Smith, I would be the first to admit that sometimes the invisible hand moves too slowly to keep a society intact.

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  123. You're right, Buddy; there are scads of fixes that can be applied to the "unfunded liabilities."

    Basically, it just boils down to how well are you going to take care of the elders? This can be changed as often as the electorate decides.

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  124. By the way, those large shortfalls are based on an assumption of 1.8% growth, as opposed to the 3.3% growth we've experianced over the 50, or so, years.

    It, also, assumes that a healthier, longer-living population will continue to retire at the same age as past generations.

    It, also, assumes that we continue to base cola on wages, and not prices. It assumes a lot of things that are either unlikely, or downright very improbable.

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  125. I think one of the most significant changes we might see in the future is the positive effect that advanced pharmaceuticals will have on bringing down the expense of prolonged hospitalizations.

    The Conservative have given Bush Hell over the pill bill, but they might be missing the long-term forest for the trees. You can pay for a whole lot of Generic Zocor for the cost of a quadruple bypass.

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  126. Don't let habu read this, he'll superglue down the capslock key--

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  127. Catch & Release exemplifies how far we come, since the Suttee.

    No gallows allowed in Iraq, post Invasion. No crime was worthy of death, under a US Administration.

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  128. White Guilt, rat, white guilt. What is the end of guilt? Punishment. what is the ultimate punishment? suicide.

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  129. Now there are "honor killings" in England. In the end, the Suttee wins.

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  130. Gresham's Law obtains, where no stand is made to turn it.

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  131. Buddy,
    I would never use superglue when duct tape is available, or one of those breathe right nasal strips.

    Ever used one of those babies. Taking it off in the morning feels like you're removing the skin on you nose.
    Yeah you and Rufus have some good points, I just think back to the three noble prize winning ecomomists that started the hedge fund "Long Term capital Management" that almost took our system down.

    LTCM

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  132. ...and then the FED stepped in to save the world..Too Big To Fail

    FED Steps In

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  133. They thought it was a "science," when it was, in reality, "Gambling."

    Any good gambler could have told them within minutes of seeing their operation they were going to "Go Bust."

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  134. Just like any good gambler looks at the Hedge fund "Scam," today, and says, "You gotta be Shittin Me!"

    I give you twenty five percent on the good year, and take 100% of the loss on the bad year? FUCK YEWW, HOSS!

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  135. Shorter one.
    "Hey, someone get the mace, Habu's going on and on"

    FT

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  136. Habu, the p/e ratios in the equity markets were a lot--a LOT--higher then, and corporate earnings quality was considerably poorer than now. overall, a situation with much more structural vulnerability. And no sarbox. Dow is now hitting new all-time highs with a P/E ratio of around 16 or so--as opposed to late 90s 25 or so. That's HUGE, as you know, re 'vulnerability'.

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  137. Rufus,
    My thoughts too.
    Even when the new hedge fund guru George Soros testified before Congress about hedge funds he was asked..
    "How do they work?
    His response, "I don't exactly know"
    Since then that's why I've always said, "Just send Habu $5.00 and it'll all be OK"

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  138. Buddy,
    That is an excellent point.

    I just don't like hedge funds due to their size,volatility, and as the second article pointed out the taxpayer ends up bailing out private investors who are already filthy rich...hmm..maybe it's the filty rich I don't like ..naw..I wanna be one...come on Lotto, one time for daddy!

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  139. Bob Smith
    Guess that workout didn't kick in the endorphines...as a matter of fact there are a number of ways of spelling the word..look it up..too bad you lose.
    Then when your techy mind finds out there are several ways to spell it you may apologize, as good breeding would call for.

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  140. Noun 1. hutzpah - (Yiddish) unbelievable gall; insolence; audacity
    chutzpa, chutzpah
    cheekiness, insolence, impertinence, impudence, crust, freshness, gall - the trait of being rude and impertinent; inclined to take liberties
    Yiddish - a dialect of High German including some Hebrew and other words; spoken in Europe as a vernacular by many Jews; written in the Hebrew script

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  141. bob smith,

    As the true bred Hebbie here, I can tell you it's "hutzpa" not "chutzpah".

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  142. mmmmm ....smells like victory

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  143. hedges--private equity--all promising to "beat the market", using derivatives out the yazz--no, not for me, neither. They need volatility to beat the indexes, and that's not a good thing for several trillion to be biased toward.

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  144. Hutzpa is Hebrew for Fwrech gaul, er,.. I mean gall.

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  145. You have to believe matt, he speak de Yiddish.

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  146. guy driving along country road, passes farmhouse, and a flock of extremely long-legged chickens start chasing the car.

    Guy speeds up to 70 and chickens keep up with him.

    Flabbergasted, he turns around and goes back to the farmhouse, knocks on the door, and tells the farmer what just happened.

    Farmer says, "Yep, we like fried chicken so much, we bred 'em for those big long legs."

    Guy, nonplussed, asks "Well, how do they taste?"

    Farmer answers "Dunno--can't catch any of 'em."

    (Eco 101--unintended consequences)

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  147. Has anyone read or heard about where our carrier task forces are that were headed toward the gulf?

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  148. Haven't heard a word, habu, but think about them often. If I'm Achhemiknobjob, i'm having involuntary sphincter chair-grabations.

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  149. Buddy, I heard that Dubya offered KimDongFell another couple of them Nucular Reacters if he would just throw up another one of them Missiles before election day. Kind of in the direction of Alaska, you know?

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  150. This was damn helpful, for translating farfegnugin.

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  151. Dems will say "hey, we won't die in our name, damn you".

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  152. farfegnugin. that sounds like penguin speak.

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  153. VW campaign, back in the 80s I believe. It never was really defined, but it was easy to see that it meant "I Like My VW!".

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  154. South America actually had a meat-eating kangaroo--a big-ass mutha about 8 or 10 feet tall with a huge gut-hook toenail. glad that bastid went exstink.

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  155. Flueven Hueven Farfegnugen

    commonly used when someone says something really fast or in a language that you do not understand

    urbandictionary.com

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  156. ...found a birdie
    in the snow,
    ...wing was broken,
    couldn't go.
    ...took it home,
    fed it snackers,
    ...then i ate it,
    with some crackers.

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  157. Music by Stereolab:

    http://www.vw.com/vwlife/commercial.html

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  158. OK, P-Tater, you're done..
    You wouldn't believe the karaoke night we had. All P-Tater wanted to sing was ole Stephen Foster stuff. So we let him
    Then the 'shine kicked in and he was onto "The Devil went down to Georgia" and then "Freebird"
    P-Tater sings with a kinda lispy hiss so you wanna be a bit back from him.

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  159. The Economist uses the F-Bomb on Russia...

    F-Bomb

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  160. Ollie all over the jihad..go Ollie

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  161. He also segued that comment into "If Churchill had had to face the sort of opposition confronting George Bush, Hitler might well have won his war."

    He means YOU, Sen Kerry (*spit*).

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  162. It's a stew, alright. When I was a little kid, in the 50s, spending summers with grandparents in Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, where a great Civil War battle had been fought, the oldsters would tell me stories of what a real difference of opinion could grow into, right here in hometown, USA.

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  163. Yeah, heard tell there was some trouble right here in the US of A..now our leaders are a bit behind the curve if they want to win.
    Unless they define the Qu'ran and Islam as true threats, not just the terrorists, but the entire religion then our population will not grasp the full dimensions of this war...and so far they're trying to parse, and it's farce.

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  164. Several people here mispell every fifth word--why even start correcting? It's like reading 19th century letters, when a lot of words had no 'settled' spelling. I kinda like it, it's expressive.

    Not to mention, when you yourself are of a mind to, say, forget about capitalization for awhile because of your broke up old hands, then it's ok, because the standard of grammatical formality is already set at 'tolerable'.

    I do realize that the language is the first slip on the the slippery road to Pewrdition, but I hope that elegance of thought & expression will add more than is subtracted by the slippage of grammar and spelling.

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  165. Bob Smith said in part to me.

    "Get a clue and stuff yourself"

    This after correcting me for something I was correct about.

    Bobbi..ain't no big deal, I usually eat too much anyway.

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  166. Hey, if you're Aaron Spelling, or Tori Spelling, than your parents' moms are Grammer Spelling!

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  167. well, your dad's mom, not your mom's mom. She would be "Grammer Smith" or "Grammer Jones", or some such.

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  168. Sometimes it's more fun to write "nucular reacter," than to write nuclear reactor, don't you think?

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  169. it can add shades of meaning, economically--like poetry do. I think it's called "poesy". Poesy license.

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