The Opportunity Cost of Heuristics

(Graphic:Propaganda Remix Project)
How would an economist quantify the opportunity cost of the War on Terror? Would they show how many hospitals or highways or literacy programs might be funded from that money? Or would they illustrate to the average American what an extra percentage of income each month might look like? For many people, cutting the defense budget or Homeland Security budget and reducing your tax burden accordingly would constitute a significant paycheck raise. Money that could be spent on programs and causes chosen by an individual. Money that could be given to churches, colleges, aid programs, or toward savings to help one prepare for a disaster, A ‘disaster egg’ might have helped many during Katrina. But perhaps you think the government is more equipped to prepare your family than you are? That would be quite the ‘liberal notion’ though, wouldn’t it? Implicitly Pinko? See, this is an example of the paradox of the neo-conservative ideology. Hardly the design of the fiscal conservative! (cont.)

So why do we spend so much on ineffectual measures that lull the nation into a false sense of security, providing a distorted sense of control, while we ignore pressing threats and vulnerabilities? Why is it that we consider the possibility of bioterrorism but not the implications of epidemiology? Climate change?

Heuristics refers to biased human risk assessment. People, due to a variety of psychological and social factors, develop a disproportionate fear of certain potential threats that are in fact, statistically improbable. Now we know that this has factored into our nation’s response to the ‘war on terror’ and we know that this idea is reflected in our spending priorities. Now many out there claim that governmental bureaucracy is inherently corrupt, and opinions on national security run along a predictable spectrum. But reasonable people can tell the difference in their real lives between the merits of risk-prevention strategies. We can say that governments are corrupt, but that we demand RATIONAL spending priorities.

For those that believe the budget for Homeland Security is an appropriate reflection of spending priorities, consider the statistical likelihood of other events that we do little to prepare for- Whether liberal, conservative, or somewhere in between- how do you reconcile the disproportionate expense to our government?

Which is not to say that a terrorist attack cannot happen. But should the government have a blank check, spare no expense, on actions –half of which are misguided- to supposedly defend us? As Ben Friedman described in “The Real Cost of Homeland Security” Americans might consider some facts in the context of spending:

Friedman asks:

“Statistically speaking, the terrorist threat to America has always been low. So why are we spending such vast amounts on ineffectual 'Homeland Security'?”


“As political scientist John Mueller notes, in most years allergic reactions to peanuts, deer in the road, and lightening have all killed about the same number of Americans as terrorism. In 2001, their banner year, terrorists killed one twelfth as many Americans as the flu and one fifteenth the number killed by car accidents.”

“Even if attacks killing thousands were certain, the risk to each of us would remain close to zero, far smaller than many larger risks that do not alarm us, or provoke government warnings, like driving to work every day. And if something far worse than September 11 does occur, the country will recover. Every year, tens of thousands Americans die on the roads. Disease preys on us. Life goes on for the rest. The economy keeps chugging. A disaster of biblical proportions visited New Orleans. The Republic has not crumbled. The terrorist risk to the United States is serious, but far from existential, as some would have it.”

“Most people's risk perception is confused. The world is complex. No one can be an expert in everything. Making judgments about risks requires mental shortcuts, what experts call heuristics. Heuristics subject us to biased risk assessment. Human psychology leads us to overestimate the likelihood of dangers that are novel and uncontrollable. The news media and social interaction reinforce these common errors. We also tend to overestimate risks that lend themselves to memorable images, like planes crashing into buildings. Like shark attacks and kidnapping by strangers, terrorism is strange, uncontrollable, and forms a ready mental image. So people overestimate terrorist's risk and demand excessive protection from it.”

“But if safety is expensive, then extra protection is dangerous, because it takes money and resources from more worthwhile ends.”

So, where do you stand on this? Do you think the expense is worth it,, and do you think the government is doing enough to reflect this investment? Do you think they have secured vulnerable places like borders and shipping ports with your money? If you had a choice between an extra 5% of income and HALF the ‘protection’…would you take it?


Drew said...

I just wanted to be the first person to leave a comment. That is all.

Drew said...

First of all... if you compare the Homeland Security budget to say, the Defense budget, HS's piece of the pie looks like a few crumbs from the table. It's hard to say that there is enough money going in to HS in my opinion.

The idea of a savings fund for disaster relief is a great idea, although, by the way the Bush admin has ate into other "surpluses" like Social Security, it's hard to imagine the Government being able to save anything.

I would have to agree though that the constant replaying of images like 9/11 (and Bush's constant reminding us of it) plays into the public's perception that this is a high risk issue that effects everyone. In a way, I guess it is. Sure, your chances of being killed in a terrorist attack are slim to none, but what worries me is that if another attack occured, what would be the butterfly effect that would follow. The markets usually deflate enormously when something like this occurs... business is lost, jobs are lost, the economy suffers. 401K's disappear. Those repercussions are felt much deeper by the American public, I believe.

Left of Center said...

The more militaristic we get, the more people around the world hate us. Every dollar we spend on the military (beyond what is actually takes to fend off attacks on our soil) is a dollar we can't spend on health care, education, infrastructure, or world problems. It's not a conservitive virtue to spend billions on the DOD, it's a neo-con virtue. The damage done by the Bush Whitehouse will take decades to remedy. The best way to make us safer is to be a better world citizen. Oh, and to impeach Bush. I almost forgot that.

Rhino-itall said...

"the terrrorist threat is always low" ???
Why is that? just dumb luck? that's the question to ask.
"inneffectual homeland security" ??
According to who? we know for a fact that we've thwarted other terrorist attacks already.
The assumption here is that the country would just shrug it off if we had another terrorist attack, or multiple attacks. why do we assume that? What if a nuclear bomb was detonated in midtown manhattan? do you or friedman think we would just move on?
I think that's just stupid. I'm not saying we wouldn't survive, but, it wouldn't be the America that we have today. If we're talking about spending, how about we take the funding from AIDS research? Or these government funded drug rehab places? How about the U.N.? How cost effective is that organization? what's the big benefit we get from them? I could go on, but what i'm saying is why would we take from defense or homeland security when there are clearly more wasteful things that affect less people. The job of the government first and foremost is security, not AIDS research, or studies to see if black people have better self esteem because now we say African American! I don't know if theres an actual study on this but i wouldn't be surprised.
So here's my question to you, why didn't this guy ask about things that are a complete and total waste of money? What is his agenda? I haven't looked into him yet, but i bet i know the answer already.

Lily said...

Of course there are scenarios of redundant or wasteful spending but its a matter of PROPORTION. What do you get when you part with your money? One possibly thwarted attack on LA with dubious facts? One would think the Mayor would have been in on any legitimate HS action. Is this the new spirit of coordination we keep hearing about???

If one were to put Defense spending next to a jar of pennies, the jar of defense spending would be the size of my house and the amount spent on African American self-esteem programs would be 1/10th of a penny in my front yard. Am I saying that NO money should be spent on defense and all of your tax money should go to NPR or Generic FeelGoodProgram? No.

But the ratios of spending are not a matter of opinion or interpretation, these are real numbers. Policy debate would have us focus on the effectiveness of spending, and my question to you is not whether or not we should care about terrorism, but whther or not the AMOUNT is worth what we GET. You are saying that it is. So unsecured ports and civilians patrolling our borders for sport is effective? Yeah- that will keep them out.

Thats the issue here. You might not care about disease research. You might even be one of those people that say "Less people, less headache." But then you would oppose subsidies to pharmaceuticals as well, right? Research grants? Money to research universities? No doubt you would oppose AIDS prevention education as well, right? But again, this is less than a penny in my front yard in terms of proportion!!! Why do we always quibble about the rehab for the undeserving druggie'? And not the money spent so NASA could develop a pen to write in space? (the joke continues that the Russians used a pencil)

Consider: when republicans talk about budgets, they invariably point to the SMALLEST expenses and look to cut education,social programs, 'feel good' stuff, But thats alot like talking about weight loss from not eating a tic tack while a person eats fifteen big macs. PROPORTION, is the issue.

Drew said...

RINO, so what you are basically saying is that you would rather dump billions into the military machine (which btw is budgeted at twice the amount of any other nation) than have your tax dollars go towards benefiting the common citizen. I agree with you that if a social program has a lousy track record, if it isn't doing what it is chartered to do, or if it's a simple waste of money, then it should be scrapped or rethought. However, the elimination of social spending in this country will help grow a distinct class based society that will, in the long run effect you and those taxes you saved.
Lets take Medicare for example. Say we just eliminate it. What happens next? The millions of recipiants that cannot afford health insurance get sick, go to the hospital, get treated, don't pay. To cover loses, hospitals charge insurance companies more for services. As for you? Your insurance premiums skyrocket thanks to higher services costs. There goes all that tax money you saved... whoops! Oh.. wow, it DID affect you in the end!

Drew said...

One more thing.. AIDS research in this country has been one of the most effective use of tax dollars in the past 15 years. The decline in new HIV and AIDS patients has been in steady decline since the 90's. I don't think you can argue that it has been at all ineffectual. What needs to be done now, though, is to focus that research on stimeying the AIDS epidimic in Africa.

Blogenfreude said...

Don't forget - the Dear Leader saved all those Los Angeleanians in the Liberty Tower, or whatever it's called.

tp said...

It would appear though that Rhino and others like him choose AIDS because it fits their argument of the 'undeserving'. After all, Jesus intended for people to judge the worthiness of others, right? Notice he turned right to AIDS, race, etc? Its automatic. Tithes well spent on the Pat Robertson Propaganda Machine!
I wonder, when Jesus multiplied the fish, did he first say "I will not accommodate you lazy, self interested, do nothing, welfare culture mutherfuckers??"

I think a case can be made even by an absolute darwinist that perhaps evolution INTENDS for us to use our skills to perpetuate our own via some sense of community. Why else do we have emotional reactions to suffering, if nature did not intend for us to consider it? If we were meant to just keep walking?I would like to know what you consider to be a worthy social expenditure, versus what is not?

Left of Center said...

Rino:"how about we take the funding from AIDS research? Or these government funded drug rehab places? How about the U.N.? " My god, the ignorance runs deep. How little is understood of history, or human nature. Spending money to keep people well mentally and physically is always cheaper than jailing them and giving them extraordinary life saving measures. People like Rino, talk about security, but they don't criticize a Whitehouse who refuses to close our borders to illegal crossing. Who refuses to check incoming shipping containers for nuclear materials, or have cargo baggage screened on passenger airplanes. More people every year die from cancer than from all the deaths in 9/11, yet the president has no war on cancer. Sure, I would concede that the primary role of government is security. Is social security part of that overall plan. Are we not secure if we are unhealthy. If we have no long term plans for using energy recourses beyond oil, and that are not a net losers like Ethanol? If a nuclear bomb does go off in Manhattan, would the fact that this administration didn't do more to secure Russian nuclear materials be to blame. That we invaded Iraq but yet let Iran and N. Korea develop nuclear technology. How about the fact that Brazil is there to. If Rino wants to find wasters of money he should look at the GOP run congress, and ask them why they pay billions of dollars to oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, or why they have allowed millions if not billions of dollars to be stolen from the funds that are suppose to rebuild Iraq. The money for Aids, and drug rehab is a pittance compared to the billions the Republicans are wasting on things that don't benefit the people or contribute to our security.

Rhino-itall said...

1. As a proportion, homeland security/defense protects and affects everyone in the country, so it should have the highest budget.
2. It is not perfect, we should have a fence on the southern border, and the ports are a complete disaster. that doesn't mean it's not effective at all, or that it doesn't do anything.
3. we know about the L.A. thing, and the Brooklyn Bridge thing, but that doesn't mean those are the only things we prevented. the war in Afghanistan and Iraq has severely dessimated the operations of these terrorist groups. We don't know what may have happened if we weren't there.
4. i do not say "less people less headaches"
5. i chose AIDS because it is a big liberal cause and figured it would resonate with you. I chose drug addicts for the same reason. AIDS affects a tiny percentage of the population, so the funding they get is disproportionate.
6. I could name many other things to save on taxes, like eliminating the IRS for example, going to a flat tax system (the only fair system) etc. Just simplifying the tax code alone would save billions!
7. I don't believe in evolution.
8.please don't put words in my mouth, i didn't say AIDS patients or drug addicts were undeserving of anything.
i'm sure i missed some things, but i'm kind of busy. i'll check back later if i can.

Rhino-itall said...

LOC, you must have been posting at the same time that i was. And you shouldn't assume you know me, and try to lump me in with anyone else. If you go back to the archives in my blog you will see that i have been extremely critical of this administration on the border situation. You will also see that in general we have all been critical of government spending.
You talk about our energy situation like it just started the day W got elected! Are you serious?
Hey LOC what should we do? Are you saying we should invade Russia and N.Korea? Right, tell me another one, that's funny.
Wake up lefty, you're living in a dream world. How about what did previous administrations do to prevent N.Korea from getting Nukes? What did Clinton do? What did Bush Sr. do? N.Korea's developed nukes during Clintons reign at the top. Is it his fault? i wouldn't say it is, but if i follow your logic, then it is his fault.
I don't believe in Social Security, it's a socialist program started by a commie sympathizer.

Drew said...

Paying for the defense of the nation is great. However, we are paying for the OFFENSE of this nation's military force. We are paying 50% of our taxes to fund an invasion and occupation of a country half way around the world, which, I may add, had no tacticle capabilities of striking us. We've deposed a brutal dictator and replaced his regime with a power vacuum that just seems to produce terrorists like a factory. To top that off, we've been fed lies and excuses to legitimize our governments actions, all of which have been dubious at best. There were no WMDs, there were no terrorists (prior to our invasion that is), there were no consiritorial yellow cake dots leading to Niger. This war has cost every American taxpayer nearly $3000 so far. Just think if that $3000 instead went to schools or energy research or Katrina relief. People tell me I'm just a Bush Hater... and angry Liberal. You're damn right I'm angry! I have every right to be angry! This is my goddamn country too and I have every right to expect accountability for what becomes of my hard earned money.

Left of Center said...

Rino, I didn't go back very far in your blog because I ran out of nausea medication. The situation I talked about are generalized problems, and not ones I suggested you turned a blind eye too. As far as being critical of spending.. well, it's not all the spending but the type of spending. The energy situation didn't begin with Bush, but he had more information on the situation than any before him, he also had more global and national weight behind any move to get behind an intelligent energy policy that stressed conservation, and alternative energy solutions like wind, solar, and Hydrogen. He choose to let Cheney do what he wished and our problems are now compounded. As for Russian Nukes, they WANTED our help.. their decimated economy could not cover the cost of security and disposal. Instead Bush underfunded the program to aid them, and now rogue Soviet era munitions are loose in the world. North Korea. Yea bad Clinton What a fool to try DIPLOMACY! But Bush's “my way of negotiation, or the highway” hasn't achieved ANY agreement. Trying to force multilateral negotiations has been completely unproductive. Then you said “ I don't believe in Social Security, it's a socialist program started by a commie sympathizer. “ which is it? a communist program or a socialist program? You may want to know they are not the same thing. Perhaps you should look back into your family history and see if there is anybody that would have ended up in some state funded poor house or sanitarium if it weren't for Social Security. If you were referring to my social security reference just know I did not mean the program, but actual social security.. no caps. I lost my blind faith in government when I was a 19 year old soldier in Honduras standing guard over weapons headed for El Salvador. Thanks Ronald Reagan and Oliver North.

enigma4ever said...

LOC and DREW and LILLY- wow you have the situation well in hand- and I can't believe that Rhino would even peep here - you all have schooled him well and definently drummed the FACTS home.....I feel really strongly about AIDS research and care and KNOW as was said above that it was and IS money well spent....Actually we have Health Care crisis in this country..that needs taking care of , millions without insurance- it is OFFENSIVE the way we treat our poor, middle-classed, children , elderly and sick- it is more TERRIFYING to me than anything I can think of....

Rhino-itall said...

Man do you guys just make stuff up as you go along? How about some facts. I don't mean the editorial pages of the ny times, or as i call them Pravda on the Hudson. I mean facts.
No terrorists before us?
50% of our tax dollars?
3000 per person?

Bush had more info than anyone before him? so what, clinton had more than anyone before him too, why didn't he sign kyoto?
Bush sr. had more info than Reagan, who had more than Carter, etc. etc. in the Six years that Bush has been in office what has changed so drastically with our energy policy from the 8 years before him??? Nothing!
Why is clintons diplomacy with N.korea better? because it failed? i don't understand that. Please explain why we should continue doing something that doesn't work?
I never said socialism and communism were the same thing, i said the program was socialist, the president who started it was a commie sypathizer. Maybe you should read it again, and this time take your nausea medicine.
And finally, unlike yourself, i never had blind faith in the government, but what you did for your country was a good thing, so thank you. and i'm sure if they could Reagan and Ollie would thank you too.
The problem i have with you guys is that it seems you don't have your own opinions,you spew out the talking points, and the bullshit you read in the liberal media. Bush is hitler, Fox news is evil, Cheney was drunk, Bush hates the environment, Tax cuts for the rich, halliburton no bid contracts awarded by Bush, we created the terrorists in Iraq. Bush lied people died. its all bullshit. There are no facts, just opinion, lies, and name calling. Your hatred for Bush just blinds you to common sense. Its hard to take you seriously, and harder to have a discussion/argument because it's all opinion. I guess i could just start making stuff up like ted kennedy is a murderer or Hillary is a socialist, or howard dean is a idiot............ oh wait a minute, those things are true. ummm oh that's embarassing....

Drew said...

50% of our taxes go to current and past DoD actions.

The Iraq war costs American taxpayers $195 million per day

For the cost of fighting the war in Iraq one day, we could...

One day in Iraq could provide 3.97 million households with an emergency readiness kit.

One day in Iraq could close the financing gap for interoperable communications in 41 small cities, 36 mid-sized cities, or 6 large cities so that federal, state and local first responders can talk to one another during an emergency.

One day in Iraq could purchase 780 fire trucks for improving local emergency response capabilities.

One day in Iraq could employ 4,919 fire fighters, 4,222 police patrol officers, or 7,052 paramedics and emergency medical technicians for one year each.

One day in Iraq could double the federal budget for nuclear reactor safety and security inspections to ensure that these potential terrorist targets are adequately protected.

One day in Iraq could pay for 1,101 additional border patrol agents to better guard our borders against potential terrorists.

One day in Iraq could provide 9,750 port container inspection units to detect hazardous materials being trafficked into the country.

One day in Iraq could provide 1,332 explosive trace detection portals for airport screening of passengers, as recommended by the 9/11 Commission.

One day in Iraq could provide 6,290 local law enforcement agencies a bomb-detecting robot.

One day in Iraq could provide 4,875 narcotics vapor and particle detectors.


One day in Iraq could cover the full cost of attendance for one year at a public college for more than 17,100 students.

One day in Iraq could provide more than 79,000 needy college students with a Pell grant.

One day in Iraq could enroll 27,000 more children in Head Start.

One day in Iraq could employ 4,269 elementary school teachers or 4,027 secondary school teachers for one year.

One day in Iraq could provide health insurance coverage to 344,500 working Americans to give them a break from the rising cost of coverage.

One day in Iraq could provide health insurance coverage for one year to 380,900 uninsured children in America.

One day in Iraq could employ 3,597 additional registered nurses for one year.

One day in Iraq could immunize every person over 65 in the U.S. against influenza 4.6 times over.

One day in Iraq could immunize every baby born in the U.S. last year against measles, mumps, and rubella 14.2 times.

One day in Iraq could provide unemployment benefits for almost 722,000 unemployed Americans for one week.

One day in Iraq could fund Social Security retirement benefits for one day for over 6.75 million Americans.

One day in Iraq could provide comprehensive safety and health training to 121,875 workers.xxiii
One day in Iraq could pay for an increase of $3.34 per hour in the wages of every minimum wage worker in the country.

One day in Iraq could provide paid sick leave to half a million workers for an entire year.

One day in Iraq could buy 71.55 million gallons of unleaded regular gasoline.

One day in Iraq could pay for one year’s gasoline consumption for 97,500 Americans, even at today’s elevated prices.

One day in Iraq could buy 63.1 million gallons of fortified whole milk.

One day in Iraq could buy 166.6 million cartons of large Grade A Eggs sold by the dozen.

One day in Iraq is equivalent to half of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country of East Timor.

One day in Iraq could feed all of the starving children in the world today almost four and a half times over.

One day in Iraq could vaccinate three-quarters of the children in Africa for measles and give millions a lifetime protection from the disease.

One day in Iraq could build 5,571 AIDS clinics in Africa.

One day in Iraq could provide 650,000 women in Africa living with HIV/AIDS antiretroviral treatment for one year to extend their lives and improve the lives of their children.

One day in Iraq could provide one third of the aid needed for earthquake relief for the four million people affected in South Asia.

Lily said...

With all due respect, please show me where I have not spoken with facts? Now if you are asking for more information to substantiate a particular item, please let me know, I would be happy to do that. Thats the organized, reasonable way. Productive, versus senseless.

Do you want a number for a budget item? Do you want examples of no bid contracts? What? You need to be clear on what you are disputing, throwing in the rest just gets tiring. Less testosterone, eh?

Far more effective on your end might simply be to say "Can you cite some examples of no bid contracts?" To which we could respond with examples- you see? You could eliminate the whole accusatory insulting spiel. If you have an item to dispute, dispute. It isn't necessary to climb into the gutter together. I think we all have valid things to say- whats the goal here? See who gets pissed and dismisses the other first? If you dismiss people you've categorized before you've talked sincerely with them, why do it?

If you truly believe me to be ill-informed, parroting talking points,
making up myths to bolster my psychosis- then how far will you get? Whereas I view you as a person who has come by information differently, who has different priorities, and a different view of what we might expect from our administration. But I don't dismiss you, because I think facts- when properly presented- speak for themselves. I think you can step up to that.

Lew Scannon said...

There are no terrorists in Iraq, we are fighting an insurgency. Every single penny spent in Iraq is a waste. It is a war that we didn't need to start. It certainly had nothing to do with the so-called "war on terrorism".
And when we go to war with Iran because they are building a power plant, that means every penny we spent during the cold war building the largest nuclear arsenal as a deterrent was a waste. We spent the trillions of dollars with the idea that no one would nuke us because we have ten bombs to their one, we could turn any threat into a parking lot if need be the case.
Bush did lie, he said Iraq had WMD. That was a lie. He said Saddam had ties to alQaeda and links to 9/11. These also were lies.These are facts you are unable to deal with.And when he says that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, that is a lie as well. They are building a nuclear power plant at Bushehr. I thought you conservatives liked nuclear power (or, if you prefer "newcular")now all of a sudden it's a bad thing?(probably because Russia's building it for them and not Halliburton)

Earl Bockenfeld said...

Man do you guys just make stuff up as you go along? How about some facts. I don't mean the editorial pages of the ny times, or as i call them Pravda on the Hudson. I mean facts.

Rhino, that's called projection. Lying about other people doing exactly what you are doing. You are full of it, living inside your little wingnut bubble, and guzzling on the GOP Kool-aid.

There are no facts, just opinion, lies, and name calling. Your hatred for Bush just blinds you to common sense. Its hard to take you seriously, and harder to have a discussion/argument because it's all opinion. I guess i could just start making stuff up like ted kennedy is a murderer or Hillary is a socialist, or howard dean is a idiot............ oh wait a minute, those things are true.

You wouldn't know a FACT, if it came up and bit you on the ass! Get Real....

Adorable Girlfriend said...

This is quite poignant for me today. Standing on line today at the airport security, The Uncanny Canadian and I agreed that homeland security is super great. Why? It creates jobs and fuels the military industrial complex. High school educated people, half who weren't even born in the US are supporting our freedom, protecting our American interests and all for minimum wage! We're so lucky our tax dollars are misused by people who say they dislike big gov't, gov't spending and increased taxes.

"Hello, George, it's kettle!"

Rhino-itall said...

drew are you serious? you're sending me stats from WAR RESISTERS LEAGUE? i mean come on, do you think maybe they have an agenda? Anyway, i don't have time to go into every single comment here, but i will say this. War is expensive. That's the deal.

Lily, i wasn't talking about you, i was talking about the two guys i was addressing in that comment. Sorry if i insulted you. I hope you still dig me.

I was using the no bid contracts as an example because it was clinton who gave them to haliburton. but really, that's old news and i don't care anymore. I argued about that years ago when it was news.

lew if Bush lied, then so did EVERYONE. it can't be just one way, every prominent democrat said that he had wmd. including everyone in both parties on the senate intelligence committe. also all of the foriegn intelligence people who confirmed it. But really, i'm tired of this argument, i went over it on my blog at length a long time ago.
I didn't want to be specific, i was saying that these are the bullshit things that you guys have been saying for years, and i'm tired of it.

Also lew, we do like newcular power. it is the future, don't fight it. however, the current regime in Iran is less than stable, so unless you're rooting for the destruction of Israel, you should be behind any action we take to stop them.

earl, i don't want to get bit in the ass, so let me know if any facts pop up in your comments, this way i can avoid them. oh and ted kennedy is a murderer. Fact.

adorable,.... well i'm sure you are, and you probably dig me, so i don't want to mess that up. have a safe flight.

Left of Center said...

Laura Bush is a killer too. I didn't say murderer as Rino did because that implys intent. Bringing up Kennedy's accident is typical right wing stuff. As is still commenting on Clintons blowjob as if it happened yesterday, and was actualy important.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP)A 1963 accident report says that Laura Bush ran a stop sign in the Texas crash that killed a person.

Democrats in the House and Senate had no reason to distrust Bush on the Iraq intelligence. They wanted to be strong on security. They were given cherry picked information that supported plans that the neo cons had going all along.To say they supported the Bush agenda is just ridiculous.

enigma4ever said...

Lilly Dear- you have a Troll on your hands- Mr Rhino came over to my site and left a not very nice messege and called me Sonia...( ???which was kind of funny- but inaccurate)..he is only here to create arguments and get new sites to pester- he doesn't give a shit abut facts or reality...Give Him the Boot honey....go on, we support you...

( to be real honest I have enough fights going on in my life- my gas bill that went up 1300% and being denied health insurance because I have a fucking murmur....I don't want to fight on blogs- it is too tiring....)

Lily said...

I understand, its frustrating. I wish we could just disagree civilly. (then again, I called a man at the store an asswipe yesterday, poster girl for manners I'm not!)

Hmm, some of us go to their sites looking for trouble too, its part of blogging I guess? We always have the option, and this is true in real life, of walking away. Of choosing not to fight. I often take that route. My ego can tolerate that sort of thing.

But also, realize that on this blog we sometimes DO post things that we fully expect some people to disagree with or have some discomfort with. The goal is to reflect, hopefully. Discuss! I never approach things from a starting place of thinking I know it all. I sure don't. In real life, I deal with people I do not agree with alot, it's nice when we can insulate ourselves with our 'own' but I think we need to put a hand out, even if its slapped sometimes.

Anonymous said...

That Rino guy sound like a real ,sorry ma'm, buttwipe. He's like Clyde down at the BP, watchin' Fox news all the time and lisnen to Rush Limbawh and never livin in the real world.

ps why do I gotta type in words dont make no sense just to speak my mind? Can I do tis at my blog to?

Karen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Karen said...

What would you make of someone who makes the following comment?

"QUESTION: You cant be serious? You will begrudge me for having pride in my success just because of the inner resentment [Classic projection] you have for your own failings [In Donkey's world view having children is a failing?] and for the fact I have no children? Sit down. Relax and think about the fallacy of your argument. I was a 'victim' of Pres Reagans social cuts being that I am from a single parent, high crime, povery stricten background, and I genuinely sincerely thank him for restoring pride in this country that enabled me to succeed.I very easily could have been just another statistic that you 'liberal thinkers' like to quote but never help."

At the time I wanted to say something to the effect of "buddy, it wasn't pride that pulled you out of your situation, it was you," but I knew any logic or rrason would fall on deaf ears when spomeone hates himself as much as that guy does. And I won't even go into how bizarre his attitude towards children appears when you consider the fact that Reagen considered himself a pro family Republican. It kind of proves what I have suggested all along. Republicans have no values and they do not value families.

What's interesting about this statement is that he doesn't give himself any credit for improving his own condition, but gives credit to a president whose idea of a war on poverty was actually a war on the poor. Talk about self hate.

On another occasion, Rhino came over to our blog with comments like "You must really hate me now" and my personal favorite, another comment, which went something like "if you hate me you should read my team mate Donkeyhue." Wherupon we had our first or one of our first experiences with Donkey. In fact, now that I think about it, we had a real outpouring of hate when one of us asked why either Rhino or Donkey needed to feel that they were hated. That in and of itself was a little bizarre.

To read the entire post and the comment that I quoted please go to:


Karen said...

RE: .....I feel really strongly about AIDS research and care and KNOW as was said above that it was and IS money well spent....

Well said! My brother-in-law is HIV positive. This issue touches us in ways that you can't possibly imagine

Zelle Brennan said...

Thank you Karen. I think that what it speaks to is the social phenomenon of alliance with the oppressor class, and submergence. I write alot about this elsewhere, but in a nutshell it is the theory that people who are oppressed develop an internalized self loathing that is transferred from the oppressor, and they in turn begin to loathe others that are like them. They begin to identify NOT with their own but with the person who seeks to undermine them and keep them down. In some cases, they emulate the oppressor through symbolic material items, or by exhibiting lateral aggression. These are desperate efforts to separate one's self from the 'others', to foster the belief that they are not oppressed but rather are part of the elite group they aspire to.
This theory explains many behaviors, and explains why a person might identify with a leader or regime/group/etc. that really does not have their best interests at heart. Think of the minimum wage employee that buys the $400 purse, or the person who vandalizes their own neighborhood. These are manifestations of 'oppressed reality".

Kyle said...

What my wife (Karen) didn't mention was that we have also had huge arguments with these "people" (I use the term loosely) about finances and personal responsibility. I won't bother you with too many details, but I'm studying to be a vet, we have housing expenses, three children, and the cost of raising a family. We don't have a cell phone, we don't eat out, we don't have cable. We watch our pennies, and yet we're always struggling. (I guess working hard,trying to stay out of debt and raising the next generation of citizens is a "failing" in some warped minds.) The fact that these reactionary THUGS don't get it, is both disgusting and unamerican.

As for this remark: "Laura Bush is a killer too." Hell, Bush is so addicting to causing pain, death, and destruction, that it's probably what turned him on to her in the first place. I can just hear W as he was telling the rest of the family about his wife to be.

"And she KILLED someone too! THat is so fucking COOL!"

Lew Scannon said...

Isn't it funny how we can start a serious discussion here and then the Raving right comes in and all logic flies out the window.
That's just what they are like, a logic vacuum, not really intent on intelligent discussions, more intent on getting shots at their usual targets: Bill Clinton, Hillary, Ted Kennedy. To myself, this is the essence of being brainwashed: they have had the same tripe drilled into their heads (such as "liberal media"- a term I don't understand as all I see is a corporate media)by the information vacuum caused by their belief system, which is reinforced by that vacuum itself.
The point was, isn't the money spent on the neocon agenda of world hegemony better spent in America on Americans?

tp said...

Kyle and others:

Here's my take: discussions about policy choices should be broad, and I would not defend my details, rather, I would describe how many thousands of families are struggling because of rising costs,such as health care and insurance costs from treating the uninsured at hospitals and in auto accidents. I would state that tuition has gone up, fuel, heating, utilities (a racket monopoly)school taxes, etc. The original point of this was to look at spending priorities, and Homeland Security and Defense budgets, and ask if we are using tax dollars wisely.

It need not be a war of morals, lifestyle, or choices.

AJ said...

Rhino is right.
The arguments for war did not begin after 911 and have not ended now.Both Democrats and Republicans have acquiesced to a plethora of shame.
Both sides are afraid of losing their power base, or losing their life.
But this does not prove it is not shameful.
And Rhino, you have not proved it is right.

Drew said...

You're damn right that war is expensive. It's also not fucking necessary. It's really sad that we as human beings have not evolved past the playground mentality of using guns, bombs and missles to solve the world's problems. And we are supposed to be the pinnical of the evolutionary scale? This is as good as it gets? God, I hope for my son's sake that it isn't. What makes me sick about your type, Rhino, is that you carry this bullshit, know-it-all attitude that you can't back up with any amount of reasoning. You wingnuts never consider the long-term results of your reckless actions. War is expensive. Let me be sure and use that as an excuse when my son is footing the bill.

RichM said...

Opportunity cost: What a concept. Do you think we could have gotten Saddam to abdicate for $100 billion if we'd thrown in 70 virgins and a huge mansion on a beautiful sea someplace. Guaranteed running delivery of fresh pina coladas...would that have been more cost effective and less stressful on the neighborhood than what we have going right now?
I love it opportunity cost.

Rhino-itall said...

Hey enigma, i dont' ever remember going to your blog, and i'm not a troll. I came across lily at republican free. (they like me but wont admit it, even asked me to babysit) And if you're scared, just say you're scared. Lily isn't scared. We don't delete anyone at my blog, we're not scared either.
Karen and Kyle are stalking me, but that's ok, because i like them too.

Anonymous said...

"Isn't it funny how we can start a serious discussion here and then the Raving right comes in and all logic flies out the window."
Out the window? Its not all bad.
You have to take responsibility for the flight path of your own logic, Lew! There has been name calling and silliness on ALL sides.
Lets have a sense of proportion here- we are talking about one guy and a whole shitload of liberals. You are asking one guy to fend off attacks from an angry mob. You can think he's a dick, but so? Maybe in the end this forces us to focus on our facts, maybe critics help keep us on our toes? Do you want to live in your comfort zone?

Anonymous said...


Thank you for publicizing my debate victory, very magnanimous of you.


Kyle said...

RE: This is as good as it gets? God, I hope for my son's sake that it isn't.


Karen and I have a son who will be two years old this autumn. And while we're looking to the future and hoping for an administration that isn't caught in the pre-911 paradigm (like THIS one), all we see is Bush and his cronies trying to fight a new kind of war by the old standards.

I'm sure you're all aware of Rove's remarks about how the the Democrats are stuck in a pre 911 mentality. Well, take a look at the facts and tell us which side is stuck in a pre 911 mentality.

We're fighting a war in which a loosely knit organization of terrorists has fanned out across the face of the earth. Almost any military expert you talk to will tell you that this calls for a more efficient use of a smaller, lighter, and more lethal military. At the same time we also need to court allies who will help us during the war on terror. Contrary to Bush and his inner circle of psychopaths and empire builders, allies provide us with technical experts, intelligence, scholars, and linguists etc.

The pre-911 mentality said that we could do it all on our own; that we had to fund a bloated military, keep a large army, a large navy, and an expansive airforce on hand to grab up chuncks of territory and then occupy them for god-only-knows how long.

So what is the Adminsitartion doing?

You guess it.

It's funding a bloated, sheer brute force military instead of making the required changes to fight a war on terrorism. It's fighting a pre-911 war instead of fighting a war on terrorism which calls for elite strike forces and highly trained professionals who speak mideastern and Asian languages and who know the culture. Thanks to Bush we now have young men and women sitting in a godddamned desert who are fighting a pre 911 war of aggression which never should have been started in the first place. Even sweeter, they don't know the culture and they're breeding the very insurgency that we're trying to defeat.

The end result? An ineffective use of our resources and a debt that our children and ourselves will be paying for decades to come.

So how does this connect to what I said last night?

Drew already went there. I'll just bring it home to a real life situation. While the GOPigs are wasting our money on yesterday's tactics, they're draining money away from badly needed social services here at home--including higher education.

EXCUSE ME?! HEL-LOOO! Half the reason I'm working my ass off and going to school at the same time is so that my kids will be able to go to college. Just how does the Administration think that we're going to stay competetive in ANYTHING, much less fight a war on terror when we can't educate the young men and women who will be fighting the war on terror. Here we are at a time when we need experts in everything from technology, to psychology and sociology to foreign languages, and the Bush Administration is cutting our educational throat.

Just one more thing.

To pay off this debt, more mothers and fathers are going to spend more time at work and away from their children. Just who in the hell does Bush think will raise the children? TV? Friends? Video games? How are parents supposed to impart family values when they don't have the time or the energy to do so?

So much for family values.

Neil Shakespeare said...

Cheney: "I have disaster eggs for breakfast! Grrrrrr!"

That Damned Jezebel said...

Implicitly Pinko. Hmm.

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