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I'm With The Libertarians
Yank the troops out of Iraq. From the Libertarian Party, "The moral solution is not more war":

"The President was correct when he stated that, 'there come moments that decide the direction of a country and reveal the character of its people.' At this moment, the people of our great nation are calling for a return to a moral foreign policy that begins with an end to the occupation of Iraq," stated Shane Cory, executive director of the Libertarian Party. "Rather than positively respond to the people of our republic, President Bush continues to see no fault in his decision to invade a nation that posed no risk to the United States and held no direct responsibility for the attacks of September 11, 2001. Instead, in order to justify an indefinite occupation, our Commander in Chief has reverted back to the same misleading, fear-mongering tactics that allowed for the military invasion of Iraq.

"A free and stable Iraq is something that the world would benefit from. However, the Libertarian Party believes there are other ways in which to achieve this goal. The Libertarian Party recognizes that the invasion and occupation of sovereign nations is not the moral, appropriate or most effective way to bring liberty to the oppressed people of the world."

Cory continues, "President Bush paints opponents of his plan for staying in Iraq as people who are against freedom and American security. He calls for all political parties to come together to support his plan and says this plan is one that is appealing to everyone. Our president chooses to avoid reality and seeks shelter behind images of 'good and evil' while liberally quoting lines such as 'freedom is not free.' I'll personally choose to stand behind the words of General George Washington who wisely stated: 'Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.'

"The Libertarian Party renews its call to begin the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, which should be orchestrated by American commanders on the ground to ensure the safety of our troops. While we certainly respect General Petraeus' recommendations for Iraq, his suggestions are still based upon the premise that we should remain in the country. The time has come after four years of no substantial progress to finally admit that war is not the right solution to Iraq. Unfortunately, this is a realization that should have been made before more than 3,800 brave American soldiers lost their lives.

"The moral solution to Iraq is not more war. A free and prosperous Iraq is a very real possibility for the future. A free and prosperous Iraq will come when that society is ready for this liberty, but liberty will never flourish under the auspices of war."

I have real doubts as to whether democracy can flourish under Islam, a collectivist religion that has no respect for the rights of the individual, and where the greatest temptation and desire is to impose the religious rule of Sharia law.

Rebecca Bynum does a great job explaining the difference between our version of freedom and the Muslim version, in the New English Review:

Freedom is a word invoked constantly in America as a descriptive term for self-government and the concept of sovereignty of the people. The word itself conjures pride and patriotism and is an integral part of our national myth. It involves the idea of unlocking human potential, of opportunity, individualism and self-reliance. Freedom and the American ideal of individual self-realization are one and the same in the minds of most Americans. Freedom is that intangible thing we defend when we fight.

Less understood is the fact that the mujahadeen are also fighting for freedom, but a freedom very differently defined. According to the Muslim philosopher Sayyid Qutb,

This din [religion] is a universal declaration of the freedom of man from slavery to other men and to his own desires, which is also a form of human servitude. It is a declaration that the sovereignty belongs only to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. It challenges all such systems based on the sovereignty of man, i.e., where man attempts to usurp the attribute of Divine sovereignty. Any system in which final decisions are referred to human beings, and in which the source of all authority are men, deifies human beings by designating others than Allah as lords over men. (Milestones* pg. 47)

In Islamic terms, the western concept of political sovereignty resting with the people is a form of idolatry, for Allah’s word, as given through Muhammad, is regarded as the only legitimate source of legislation, and in addition, obedience to Allah’s law is the only form of worship Islam allows. These two ideas: that the divine is a law giver, and that obedience to that law is what constitutes worship, are the two most alien concepts confronting the western mind when analyzing Islam. They combine to create the Islamic requirement for territorial sovereignty, something entirely unique among the world’s religions. According to Islamic doctrine, if a Muslim obeys the laws of man, as he must while residing in a modern western state for example, he actually worships man and becomes an idolater guilty of shirk – worshipping other than the one god, Allah. This is a grave sin for a Muslim and so to atone he must engage in the struggle against jahiliyya, which is to say, all non-Muslim culture and ideas, as these are thought to arise out of ignorance of the truth of Islam. And since Islam disallows criticism of itself, it forms a completely closed system of thought with all definitions, including the definition of freedom, self-contained.

Posted by aalkon at September 14, 2007 10:44 AM

Comments

> "The moral solution is not
> more war"

It's fun to think we'er omnipotent! That people decided to be violent only because we decided to be violent.

> to finally admit that war is
> not the right solution to Iraq.

How many contenders will speak this admission?

> These two ideas: [etc.]

I hate it when people pretend this in a failure of understanding.

LIsten, if we want to withdraw to the Kurdish territory, maybe it's time to do so. But what's left will be carved up by some of the most horrendous people alive today. And even then, the oil won't flow.

Posted by: Crid at September 14, 2007 1:45 AM

It's nice to see the Libertarian Party come clean on this. Unless someone is an immediate threat to us, or was directly involved in an attack on us, we can't fight them.

Which means that they were against the Afghanistan war as well, then. After all, Afghanistan as a nation had nothing to do with 9/11, and they weren't a threat to us.

Wrong answer. I won't be voting for any Libertarians, I guess. If they support the idea of going punch-for-punch with the Islamists then we have no hope of survival.

Posted by: brian at September 14, 2007 5:10 AM

Thanks for posting the part by Rebecca Bynum. I've never read an interpretation of Islam like that and it really opened my eyes even further than they were. Religion is scary and dangerous (note: I didn't say believing in a higher power/god/santa clause is *dangerous*).

Religion has (in my experience) nothing to do w/ believing in something bigger or following a path to "enlightenment." It has everything to do with manipulating people and adding an extra level of control over people.

If someone wants to break the law they go to jail and that's it - it sucks but it will usually be done at some point. On the other hand, if someone screws w/ the rules of their religion then god will punish them and then their soul is damned for eternity - that's a lot scarier to people who buy into that shit.

Posted by: Gretchen at September 14, 2007 5:50 AM

"...decision to invade a nation that posed no risk to the United States."

I'm not so sure about this. You can always reverse engineer these things, but you had a nation with significant wealth, the propensity for bio, chem, and nuke weapons, who harbored international terrorists, and paid a bunch out of country.

So we've got a preemptive war that is not going as well as we want it too. The status quo ante is no solution.

"A free and stable Iraq is [good] ...there are other ways in which to achieve this goal."

And what exactly are these ways?

"Our president chooses to avoid reality and seeks shelter behind images of 'good and evil'"

I think this could also be said about most war critics.

Posted by: doombuggy at September 14, 2007 6:07 AM

Didn't someone point out awhile ago that a Libertarian Party is a contradiction in terms?

> I think this could also be
> said about most war critics.

Yes, as with "The moral solution is not more war"

Posted by: Crid at September 14, 2007 9:39 AM

The main question at this point isn't "Should the US have invaded Iraq?" It's what to do now.

My question to people who want the U.S. to pull out of Iraq is, Do you...

A) not believe that the bloodshed and carnage experienced by the Iraqi people will increase considerably if US troops leave?

B) believe violence is the problem of the Iraqi people, not the US?

C) not really care because the whole thing can be blamed on Bush?

Posted by: winston at September 14, 2007 12:34 PM

The main question at this point isn't "Should the US have invaded Iraq?" It's what to do now.

Wars are always about power, nothing else. They end only when there is an uncontested victor.

There are two wars, the US's on behalf of corporate oil and the Iraqi factions for political dominance. We have unquestionably lost our war and should leave. There is nothing we can do by staying but continue to kid ourselves.

We should stay out of the factions quarrel until one emerges as the victor. We should recognize the government it forms, and deal with it as the sovereign power, including the power to sell itse oil. Like any buyer, we will have to pay the market or do without.

Posted by: Machida at September 14, 2007 1:31 PM

First it is not entirely Bush's fault, don’t get me wrong I personally hate the guy, but this situation is a result of decades of fucked up foreign policy. How many dictators and killers and military coups does our government tacitly accept, often endorse and occasionally fund??

How often does our government turn a blind eye to the atrocities committed by theses governments until the moment they step out of the role assigned to them by our government?

Saddam was once an ally, then relegated to acceptable leader of Iraq, and was only considered an enemy once he decided to trade oil in euros.

And brian you’re a dumbass Afghanistan was run by the Taliban and they were harboring al quida.

And crid please don’t bother to give me the argument of working with the lesser of two evils, with Americas resources and ingenuity we could easily cut off all ties with every oppressive regime and isolate them from the rest of the world economically if we really wanted to.

And here is a question for you, why is it morally reprehensible to republicans to fund welfare for “people who will never work for themselves if they can get a free ride”

Why does no republican ever turn that mentality towards the war? And quite frankly aside for the oil there is no real reason to be there, suppose we did pull out, what is the worse that could happen - they are already killing each other, I say let them. Pull out let Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia all fight over Iraq, let the Kurds in the north form there own state and destabilize Turkey.

They’ll spend the next 50 yrs wiping themselves out

And another thing I am so fucking sick and tired of hearing about the 3000+ dead soldiers - they’re the lucky ones, why does no one ever mention the thousands of wounded? the amputees? the shrapnel torn bodies? the concussive brain injures? Why does no one ever mention them?

Posted by: lujlp at September 14, 2007 1:39 PM

My question to people who want the U.S. to pull out of Iraq is, Do you...

No. I have a question for you, Winston. Why do you and like minded folks persist in believing Bush's predictions when it comes to what will happen in Iraq if American troops leave? After all, every single one of the neo-con/Bush Administration predictions have been wrong, from the Iraqis greeting us with flowers to Mission Accomplished to "turning the corner" every few months.

I don't believe. I don't believe in Santa Claus, I don't believe in the Tooth Fairy, I don't believe in Jesus Christ, and I sure as hell don't believe President Bush.

Posted by: Rebecca at September 14, 2007 2:38 PM

> the argument of working with
> the lesser of two evils,

Don't bother to anticipate, I'll make my own case.

> with Americas resources and
> ingenuity we could easily cut
> off all ties with every oppressive
> regime and isolate them from
> the rest of the world economically
> if we really wanted to.

That's a remarkable thing to say, and a wacky thing to believe. The last, best effort to isolate this single nation through the United Nations brought us Oil-for-fool, the biggest financial scandal of all time. Of all time. Of all time.

That's fun to say. Of all time.

> I sure as hell don't believe
> President Bush

OK, but did you ever?

> Bush's predictions when it
> comes to what will happen
> in Iraq

What do you think will happen?

Posted by: Crid at September 14, 2007 2:47 PM

Crid while saying "of all time" you forgot to mention that our esteemed vice presidents own company was also violating that policy.

Incidentally I said isolate, not allow trade for humanitarian aid. Total ISOLATION, the populace want humanitarian aid then they should get off their asses and fight for their own freedom

Posted by: lujlp at September 14, 2007 3:38 PM

Hell, I was surprised the Libertarian Party still exists. You do learn something new everyday.

Posted by: Joe at September 14, 2007 3:57 PM

Machida - if you think this war was for corporate control of oil, you're a bigger fool than anyone I can think of. If all we wanted was the oil, we could have gone along with France and Russia, ended the sanctions, AND BOUGHT THE FUCKING STUFF. Instead, we invade, expend mass amounts of blood and money, and LET THEM SELL IT TO SOMEONE ELSE?

Get a new talking point. That one is so thoroughly discredited that I will no longer bother acknowledging anyone who repeats it.

lujlp - if you don't understand the politics of detente, then you can't possibly hope to understand why we supported Saddam. Oh, and Saddam was considered an enemy BEFORE THE FUCKING EURO EVEN EXISTED. The Euro, as a currency, wasn't even traded until 1999. It wasn't even conceptualized until 1992. We invaded Iraq the first time in 1990. Unless I forgot how to do math, 1990 is before 1992, therefore Saddam selling oil in Euros is just as much bullshit. And I've already noted that currency is fungible.

This too is thoroughly discredited. I'll not address it again.

Oh, and lujlp, could you please explain for me the means by which we could utterly isolate a nation with a coastline and airports? I'd like to understand the logistics of it.

Rebecca - Even a blind squirrel finds a nut. Absent Iran's intervention, we'd be done in Iraq now. If Iran manages to get the upper hand in that region, you will never be able to afford gasoline again. Keep in mind that the world's largest OPEC exporters are (in no particular order) Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela. Venezuela and Iran are buddy-buddy in their anti-west mentality. And Saudi Arabia is scared shitless of Iran. Iran has already stated that when we leave they will take over Iraq. Maybe you'll believe Ahmadinejad instead of Bush.

Crid - Right on brother.

Posted by: brian at September 14, 2007 4:01 PM

Joe, we missed you!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 14, 2007 4:26 PM

Brian, it would please me if you would not acknowledge anything I say for the rest of eternity. Your rants are to knowledge what masturbation is to seduction.

Joe, I missed you too; your comments are always a pleasure to read.

Posted by: Machida at September 14, 2007 4:59 PM

brian the first time we "invaded" Iraq was so we would have a viable exucse to leave military bases in the middle east. If you had bothered to read CARFULLY what I had written I never said Saddam went from an ally to an enemy right away - there was that breif stint when govenrment contractors were getting oil under the UN program.

It was only after that program was schedualed to end and Saddam was saying he wouldnt trade with the US that he became such a priority.

As how to isolate a country, simple you impose an embargo, you tell all your allies and their populations that due to the nature of said country's regime you will not trade with them and you ahame your allies publicly into doing the same. You place a blockade in international waters confiscating shipments, you have allies in the region do the same to any fights that land in their borders. And do the same to any government that assists these regimes in any way.

Posted by: lujlp at September 14, 2007 6:26 PM

Oh by the way brian have you seen the proposed division of profit in the proprosed Iraqi oil agreements? And do you think Saddam would have agreed with those terms?

Posted by: lujlp at September 14, 2007 6:29 PM

lujlp - I have one word for you. Fungible.

Iraq not trading with us is less than meaningless. We haven't traded with Iran since 1979, and Cuba since, what, 1967? I don't think that's reason enough to commit military resources.

I seriously doubt that the government of the US was willing to invade Iraq (incidentally, to get them out of Kuwait) just so a company could improve their profits. This isn't exactly the days of United Fruit here. And seriously, you want me to believe that Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 FOR BIG OIL????? (oh, and that was STILL before the Euro existed, so can you please explain to me how we were motivated by Saddam wanting to sell his oil in Euros? Because I'm obviously too fucking stupid to see it.)

And let me tell you the folly of trying to isolate Iraq. First, you have the inability to blockade their coastline. Iran would certainly assist them in breaking the blockade if for no other reason than to get Iraq to owe them one. Then there's all the nations that are more interested in their money than anything we can or would do (i.e. France, Russia, China). And I doubt very seriously that the WTO would allow us to get away with threatening embargoes against EU coutries. When's the last time we (or anyone else, for that matter) shamed France, Russia, or China into doing anything?

And given the interconnectedness of the world, I believe that it is logistically impossible to impose an effective blockade on a nation. I mean. that blockade shit worked SO WELL against Cuba. Ad shaming other countries into not trading with Cuba? There's only one country that doesn't, and that's us.

As to the proposed division of profit - no, I haven't seen it. But Saddam wouldn't go with it unless it was 100% to him. If the Shia got even one cent, he'd say no.

Posted by: brian at September 14, 2007 7:00 PM

Thanks Amy and Machida.

Posted by: Joe at September 14, 2007 8:44 PM

"...Winston. Why do you and like minded folks persist in believing Bush's predictions when it comes to what will happen in Iraq if American troops leave?
...and I sure as hell don't believe President Bush."

Do you have some reasoning behind the idea that violence will decrease when U.S. troops leave? Or do do you simply take the contrary position to Bush?

Posted by: winston at September 14, 2007 9:30 PM

"...with Americas resources and ingenuity we could easily cut off all ties with every oppressive regime and isolate them from the rest of the world economically if we really wanted to."

China?... I certainly wouldn't use the word "easily" in that sentence

Posted by: winston at September 14, 2007 9:33 PM

I know I said I wouldn't address it again, but I had to.

Y'know, lujlp - I keep going back and re-reading your screed. You know, the one you seem to think I can't comprehend. You might want to go back and read it again. Especially this part:

Saddam was once an ally, then relegated to acceptable leader of Iraq, and was only considered an enemy once he decided to trade oil in euros.

Is there any set of events which cause this to be true? Unless time doesn't go forward, then the end-game you state here is not possible.

Did Bill Clinton not really mean it when he signed the Iraq Liberation bill - which called for regime change - in 1998? Did Bill know that Saddam was going to come out in 2000 and suggest that post-embargo he was going to sell his oil in Euros? The timeline just doesn't work.

And nobody has been able to give me an answer other than "duh" when I ask - what is the difference between selling oil in Euros and US Dollars? Because unless there's been a fundamental change in the laws of economics, I can't find one. Sure, the tinfoils have all kinds of conspiracies about how we need to buy oil with dollars because the government is really bankrupt. But those guys wear tinfoil beanies for a reason - they're all batshit fucking loco.

So, before you challenge my intelligence and my reading skills, you might want to get your critical reasoning tuned up. I think you forgot to carry a 1 a few steps back.

Posted by: brian at September 14, 2007 9:55 PM

"And nobody has been able to give me an answer other than "duh" when I ask - what is the difference between selling oil in Euros and US Dollars? "

Brian-as much as it pains me to respond to your existence, here is your answer. Read it if you wish to take some responsibility to change your rants to some minimum level of rational informed discussion.

http://www.amazon.com/Petrodollar-Warfare-Iraq-Future-Dollar/dp/0865715149/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-7302091-8216820?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1189865413&sr=8-1

Posted by: Machida at September 15, 2007 7:15 AM

Machida -

This is the very last time I will ever respond to you. You expect me to read a screed by a tinfoil-wearing lunatic as PROOF that you are right. You might want to consider reading "Basic Economics" by Dr. Thomas Sowell before you try this again.

After some initial stupidity about US imperial hegemony, Clark goes on to "recommend[s] the multilateral pursuit of both energy and monetary reforms within a UN framework to create a more balanced global energy and monetary system-thereby reducing the possibility of future oil and oil currency-related warfare". The same UN that started the Korean war? The same UN that has more corruption than Chicago, LA, and New York combined? What the fuck are you two smoking?

No, sir, you ARE WRONG. As are the deluded "reviewers".
From "Golden Lion":

Currency risk hedges in favor of the dollar. Currency risk keeps gasoline at $5 a gallon around the world, 60% more than the US.

An outright lie. The cost of "petrol" in the UK is as high as it is because of taxes. Not currency risk.

I also found this, by the same crank. In which he claims that Saddam wanted to sell his oil in Euros because they are worth more than dollars. And I feel stupider for having read it. This is the most economically illiterate tripe I have ever read, and I'm not even an economist, I'm an engineer. Oil is worth what oil is worth. If a barrel of oil is worth $70, Saddam isn't going to get someone to give him 70 euros for it, he's going to get some lower number of euros. Unless he's selling it to an idiot, that is. And that's the centerpiece of this Clark idiot's argument, that the euro is worth more than the dollar, and therefore he would have more capital for the rebuilding of his nation?

Tell ya what. I have this XBox360 I bought for $350. I'll sell it to you for 350 euros. What? You don't like that idea? I wonder why.

The whole argument is based upon bullshit. It doesn't matter if oil is sold in French Francs, Swedish Crowns, or Yuan. CURRENCY IS FUNGIBLE, just like oil. If you think that somehow, US debt is less valuable to bond traders because oil is sold for $57 euro/bbl instead of $70/bbl you've got some serious problems with your head. China doesn't buy US debt because it's backed by oil, they buy it because it's backed by the growth of the economy of the United States, driven by the massive productivity and ingenuity advantages inherent in our nation. If the Euro is so fucking great, why does China keep buying US debt instead of EU debt? Oh, yeah. THERES NO FUCKING GROWTH IN THE EU.

Posted by: brian at September 15, 2007 8:12 AM

And just because I need another post for another link: .

You conspiracy nuts need to go away. There's no such thing as chemtrails, there is no government plot to control the weather with cloud seeding, and there is no conspiracy to invade countries to keep hem using dollars.

Posted by: brian at September 15, 2007 8:26 AM

well, I fragged that link. It wound up with just a period.

Let's try again, shall we.

Posted by: brian at September 15, 2007 8:27 AM

Brian, this will also be the last time I address anything you have to say.

I do have a degree in economics and four years in military intelligence working on these issues.

You, I am sure, will continue to justify your uninformed opinions by selective readings. It is not my obligation to educate the unwilling, nor to open closed minds. Enjoy your dysfunctional mentality.

Posted by: Machida at September 15, 2007 8:34 AM

Ah, the good old Appeal to Authority. My advice? Get a refund.

Please explain to me how this is possible. It is an excerpt from the 2005 Clark paper I linked above.

China's announcement in July 2005 that it was re-valuing the yuan/RNB was not nearly as important as its decision to divorce itself from a U.S. dollar peg by moving towards a basket of currencies likely to include the yen, euro, and dollar.[19] Additionally, the Chinese re-valuation immediately lowered their monthly imported oil bill by 2%, given that oil trades are still priced in dollars, but it is unclear how much longer this monopoly arrangement will last.

How could a simple revaluation of currency have lowered their oil bill by 2%? One of three things MUST have happened - the real-world value of their economy increased by 2%, the real-world value of oil must have fallen by 2%, or they got a 2% discount from the seller.

If simply shuffling around the basis of their currency caused an actual decrease in expenditures of 2%, then the entire basis of economics is a crock. Are you saying that Adam Smith was wrong?

Posted by: brian at September 15, 2007 8:56 AM

I am posting this not for Brian, but for others who may wish to know. None of it is classified information, and is available in the link I posted, as well as in many other authoritative sources.

One may agree or disagree about the efficacy of the petrodollar policy, but its existence is not rationallly contestable. Brian's comments distort understanding the reasons for the policy. It has nothing to do with the comparative economic value of the euro or the dollar.

Dollars being acceptable as the only currency acceptable for oil is part of Henry Kissinger's oil policy brokered during the 1970s oil crisis. It forces other countries to purchase dollars for their oil needs, maintaining the dollar as a hegemonic world currency. This was part of the Carter Doctrine that we would go to war in the mid-east to defend our oil supply.

Bush actually expanded the Carter Doctrine from going to war to defend the supplies to pre-emptive warfare to secure the supplies. His ethical downfall is that he did not openly state his policy as Carter did, so it could be publicly debated.

The reasons he gave are not sustainable in the public mind. The reason that he won't withdraw despite the almost total lack of public support for the war is because the public debate about ending the war excludes Bush's reason for wanting to continue it.

As I stated, all this information is publicly available to those who are wish to understand that aspect of US ME policy. Brian is not among them, but some of you are. This comment is necessarily brief; I welcome civil informed discussion regarding it if anyone so wishes.

Posted by: Machida at September 15, 2007 9:10 AM

those who are wish

those who wish

Posted by: Machida at September 15, 2007 9:13 AM

> Brian, this will also be
> the last time I address
> anything you have to say.

> I am posting this not for
> Brian, but for others who
> may wish to know

I love when people do that. It's a full-bore Hollywood hissyfit: 'I'll be in my trailer... I simply cannot work with that man!'

A few days ago I was rereading some of Amy's greatest hits from springtime, and came across this handsome number. Consider one comment from 4/19:

> That whoosing noise is the
> point that just flew over
> your heads, don't worry, you
> don't need to duck, unless
> you just feel like keeping
> your head in the sand any
> way! So long oprah/ phil
> suckers!!

What makes it nice 'n ironic is that his earlier comment was about the Virginia Tech shootings. The commenter's doing the blog equivalent of a 'full Cho'... Get ragingly steamed, express your anger, and then permanently forestall response. But as a person named Stacy put it elsewhere in the stack:

> I'm not saying suicide is
> the answer to your problems,
> but if you are going to do
> it, DO IT FIRST, BEFORE
> KILLING OTHER PEOPLE.

In the blog realm, this would probably translate as "CLOSE YOUR BROWSER AND GO WATCH SOME TIVO."

I have a pet theory that goes like this: You can never tell someone you're intimate with that a topic is off limits, because that's not what intimacy is for. (And as a practical matter, when there's this one little thing you're not supposed to talk about with someone you love, suddenly the topic turns up everywhere.)

Nobody here's all lovey-dovey. It's a casual forum... But if you're not here to consider --or at least convincingly challenge-- all other perspectives, then why bother coming here at all?

This problem may never have ever happened with earlier forms of public communication. Few people owned printing presses or broadcasting towers, so ignoring one's rhetorical adversaries was a different animal. (But not a tidier one, as anyone who's ever studied the FCC's old Fairness Doctrine could attest). The internet is a public multipoint-to-multipoint forum, and that's new in human history. We might need to borrow principles from private parts of our lives.

It's only a blog, it's not a big deal, but we shouldn't get in the habit of annoying people gratuitously... We need to concentrate our efforts on the many people who deserve to be pissed off.

Posted by: Crid at September 15, 2007 11:02 AM

Brian, this will also be
> the last time I address
> anything you have to say.

> I am posting this not for
> Brian, but for others who
> may wish to know

I love when people do that. It's a full-bore Hollywood hissyfit: 'I'll be in my trailer... I simply cannot work with that man!'

Lighten up, Crid-it's a rhetorical statement. I will comment on Brian's posts at my will; I just don't live in The Matrix so I must enter it anytime I address his comments.

Posted by: Machida at September 15, 2007 11:23 AM

OK, so the Carter Doctrine was to keep the Soviets from controlling the oil. Is the whole US imperial dollar thing supposed to be all hush-hush? Because I can't find anyone but cranks saying that buying oil in dollars is the holy grail.

Either it is the best kept secret in the world, and the people who want it kept secret care so little that you've blown their cover that you're still breathing, or it's bullshit.

The concept of "hegemonic world currency" only makes sense to people who cannot grasp the concept of a currency with no inherent value. After the gold standard went away, those people couldn't get through the cognitive dissonance caused by the failure of the world economy to collapse. Therefore, they concluded (incorrectly) that a new valuable resource had replaced gold as the basis for currency.

That's your fallacy right there. Currency has NO VALUE. It is literally nothing more than a number. It just so happens that people have agreed to accept a relative valuation of what a "dollar" represents for the purposes of commerce.

On that note, I'm going to rewire my kitchen. If you don't hear from me again, it means I crossed a wire somewhere.

Posted by: brian at September 15, 2007 11:44 AM

Currency has NO VALUE

Correct up to a point Brian. Assuming you are using currency and money interchangeably, the complete statement would be that currency has no INHERENT value. It has the value we assign to it, and you are correct that neither gold nor oil is what creates the value of currency. What creates the value is the willingness of others, persons or entities, to accept it for things we want in exchange, including oil.

Buying oil and its derivative products is a one step transaction for persons who receive their income in US dollars. They simply buy it with their dollars. It is a two step transaction for those who do not receive their income in dollars, they first must obtain dollars and then buy the oil with those dollars. Obtaining dollars has a separate demand curve from obtaining oil, and this is why maintaining the dollar as the sole currency for purchasing oil is important to a certain demographic that has great power and influence over US public policy.

The reason I am alive is because the information is in the public domain for those who will seek it out. I have made two recommendations for books that deal with the issue in excellent summary form. There are many others with impeccable credentials who have written on the subject, but some of them aren't easy reads like the ones I recommended.

If the saliency of oil in general and petrodollars in particular as issues in ME policy is fallacious, it should fall on its "demerits" rather than negative categorizing of its adherents.

I also have a project that needs tending. Good luck with your project and happy blogging.

Posted by: Machida at September 15, 2007 12:20 PM

"[currency] has the value we assign to it"

The market ultimately assigns the value.

"Buying oil and its derivative products is a one step transaction for persons who receive their income in US dollars."

So?

"It is a two step transaction for those who do not receive their income in dollars"

So?

"...they first must obtain dollars and then buy the oil with those dollars"

That's what makes it a neutral transaction. If Japan needs $10 billion worth of oil, they go to a window and exchange 1 trillion yen for $10 billion. So instead of $10 billion, someone is happy to have 1 trillion yen. Instead of $10 billion worth of oil, some producer is happy with the cash. Japan has to go to work to cover the $10 bil (or tril yen).

"Obtaining dollars has a separate demand curve from obtaining oil"

This doesn't matter. The demand curve keeps all currencies at an equal value (rate fixers need not apply).

"this is why maintaining the dollar as the sole currency for purchasing oil is important to a certain demographic that has great power and influence over US public policy."

I suppose it is an ego thing for some people. But the productive capability of an economy is the final arbiter of its wealth. Whatever currency is used for international trade is generally a neutral thing. Though, the issuer can get a little juice from hoarding (such as when the fiscal genius Saddam Hussein shrink wraps and warehouses a couple billion in US currency).

Posted by: doombuggy at September 15, 2007 9:21 PM

Doom - wasn't that 'currency' that Saddam had hoarded counterfeit, or at least some of it?

And you've managed to say what I've been trying to say all along. The number of steps in a transaction is ultimately meaningless, unless you harbor a bias against middlemen.

Oh, and I guess this means I wired my kitchen right. I'm still here.

Posted by: brian at September 16, 2007 6:04 AM

Congrats on the wiring job, Brian.

From what I heard, the shrink wrapped bricks of $100s were legit, but I didn't follow it that closely.

In the Econbrowser article you linked above, one of the comments likened the argument over pricing oil in euros/dollars to that of measuring distance in kilometers/miles.

Posted by: doombuggy at September 16, 2007 6:22 AM

Thanks. I never had any doubts, I've rewired most of the place since buying it - not a single grounded outlet (or wire) in the place when I got it. Now there's only one loop left to go. I left the actual service and panel upgrade to a professional. At least what I'm doing is on the inside of a circuit breaker. That line from the pole? No breaker. You screw up, you die.

I will tell you, however, that replacing wire in-wall is a pain the the ass.

Posted by: brian at September 16, 2007 7:19 AM

TO: Amy Alkon
RE: 'Libertarians'?

"From the Libertarian Party, "The moral solution is not more war":" -- Amy Alkon, citing someone else

These bozos need to get a copy of Civilization IV and play it On-Line.

They'd probably get more of an education from IT than they did from the cretins teaching them in the K-12 zone.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to relive it.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at September 17, 2007 4:01 PM

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