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AMERICAN POLITICS... posted 04 Nov 2004, 14:11 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

One of the things that has so blown me away about this discussion forum has been the almost utter lack of flame wars, despite the controversial nature of the subject matter. So far the spirit of open inquiry, and the corresponding distinction between egos and arguments, has reigned supreme, I think... So I thought a discussion about Bush's recent election victory might just be possible. Though I'm not an American citizen, I lived in America for three years (or my entire life! - depending on what you think of 'Canadian identity'), and I loved both the people and the country. If I were American, I would have voted for Nader. So as you can imagine, yesterday's election results have me scratching my bean. What happened? view post


posted 04 Nov 2004, 20:11 by Grantaire, Moderator

I agree with you Scott, this forum has been astoundingly flame free, considering that even many of best forums that I've seen out there on the net have had flamewars, even without discussing things as potentially sensitive as we do here. I think that's quite a testament to the people who come here. Given this, I think we can have a discussion on the election. Being an American, but not of voting age, I can only go with how I would have voted- Kerry. Kerry was who I would have voted for, had I been capable, but despite this, I thought Nader would have been a better president. However, given the relatively small role of third parties in the American system, Nader has no real chance (I know there have been exceptions, namely Perot in the 90's). I wish this were different, because Americans aren't really given a huge choice- either the Democrats, or the Republicans. What is a voter to do if they are fiscally conservative, but socially liberal? What about foreign policy doves who have more conservative views on social issues? The American system gives only two options, which I believe forces mixed voters onto one of the two sides. Shouldn't people be able to pick someone whose views truly go along with theirs? Sorry, had to throw out my thoughts about the lack of choice. I want to touch on a number of issues that I see with the American political system. First, I simply want to talk about why I prefered Nader, but would have chosen Kerry. First, I want to see a great degree of government reform, of government responsibility. I want to see a government that cares about the environment, who cares about the good of the people, and not simply keeping their power. I believe Nader would have been the best choice in fitting with those desires. But, given that I am vehemently anti-Bush, Kerry would have gotten my vote, because I greatly wanted change in the White House. Bush's policies go contrary to my views regarding social issues, the environment, and international relations. Kerry was a fairly unknown factor as to how he would take the situations Bush has created, and change them, but I felt that a relatively unknown factor was better than one I knew I severely disliked. Another thing I'd like to touch on- I really wouldn't have so much minded Bush being re-elected, if the Democrats had re-taken majorities in the House and Senate. That would have at least created gridlock, so that radicals in either party wouldn't really have been able to pass through their policies. That would have forced some degree of moderation in the executive and legislative branches, and would have forced Bush appointees to the court system for this term to be more moderate as well. But now, I truly fear. The Republicans have large majorites in both houses of Congress, make up about 70% of the court system, and have the executive branch. Bush has repeatedly taken actions that I have issue with, and that was when there could at least be some level of opposition, and when he had to worry about re-election (i.e. not making everyone angry). Now he has support everywhere in the government, and no longer has to please both sides of the political spectrum. To me, that is a frightening scenario. As to what happened on Tuesday, I'm sure there are many things to attribute it to. First, I would say the seeming trend in American towards conservatism. Whether for good or bad, the political spectrum seems to be moving to the right. The liberals of today are the conservatives of yesterday. I'm not sure exactly why it is/has happened. One possible explanation is increased conflict over social issues (i.e. abortion, gay marriage, etc), that has been making the christian right increasingly energized. Or perhaps it can simply be explained as a natural fluctuation of the views of the population. Either way, I do not like it, as I would like to see the upswing of liberalism. Another issue of the election was perhaps the media and how informed the American people were. Most people have their political views influenced by their family and friends (myself not excluded), and this causes there to be bias in how people interpret the news. Also, many people simply support someone of their own party, no matter what happens. Also, the media is becoming increasingly sensitive and self-censored. People criticize the government, and are fired. The media doesn't show images, or tell about occurances that are too sensitive for the public. I do not like this, and while I understand that the media exists solely to sell itself, I would like to see a larger degree of bare honesty in the media. I'm not sure exactly how to take the election yesterday. The Republicans may have rallied their base better, maybe there was election fraud, maybe maybe some people were too uninspired about either candidate. I do not know. But, I can only worry about the next four years for America and the world. view post


posted 04 Nov 2004, 21:11 by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

Well, I did vote Tuesday and sadly, I couldn't have voted for my #1 choice. Roger Calero of the Socialist Workers Party (they weren't on the ballot in TN). My #2 choice, the Green Party, also wasn't on the ballot in my home state. I almost went with Nader (like I did in 2000), but instead capitulated and voted for Kerry, the first time since I developed sense in college that I voted for a candidate more conservative than I am. I'll say more later, hopefully. Need to eat soon. Starving. view post


posted 04 Nov 2004, 21:11 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Hard to believe you're not voting age yet, G! When I was in Windsor a couple of weekends back, I talked to a number of Americans about the election, and not a one had a clue as to what was going on, or how they would vote for that matter. As for strategic voting, this simply makes it utterly impossible for a 'third way' to open up in American politics. Since I think the long term always trumps the short term, I'm against it on principle. I should clarify my original statement. Though I have no idea HOW Bush won the election (given that his first term has been such an obvious disaster), I am glad that he won, insofar as it will force conservatives to reap what they have sown, both domestically and internationally. The bottomline is that the vast majority of people form opinions for utterly irrational reasons. Karl Rove, the mastermind of every Bush election since he won the governorship of Texas in the 90's, knows this all too well. They used marketing tactics that capitalize on what's called 'low attention processing': which is to say, they focussed on [i:1ku8hyhl]conditioning[/i:1ku8hyhl] potential voters, rather than convincing them. I think you're right, G, Americans are becoming more conservative (but I think the 'mushy centre' is much larger than most pundits make it out to be). The fact is, though, that message boards like this, or any other forum devoted to the presentation of arguments, will not change this. I really think the only thing that will work, short of a sustained, multi-billion marketing campaign that also takes advantage of low-attention processing, is giving the conservatives all the rope they want, then let them hang themselves. But this is all assuming that the conservative camp is dead wrong. Anyone out there actually vote for Bush? view post


posted 05 Nov 2004, 19:11 by neongrey, Peralogue

I work phone polls, so Bush's win absolutely didn't surprise me. It is, on the whole, things like this that make me glad I'm Canadian-- though I doubt I'd move or be more than saying I would, if I were an American. I probably would have ended up voting libertarian, myself, if I were an American out of a sense of 'oh, close enough', or for Kerry, following the old Canadian tradition of 'let's vote for the only other guy with a chance to keep this guy out', AKA 'the voting method that's kept the liberals in power ever since Mulrouney'. Which is what the problem is, I think. When I was doing the polls, there was a question along the lines of 'are you voting for this candidate because you want him in office, or because you want to keep the other guy out?' Bush voters, in my experience, which is of course a limited sample of a limited sample, were voting to keep Bush in office. Kerry voters were voting to keep Bush out of office. Which is where the key is, I think. Problem with voting to keep the other guy out is that you do tend to get the people who decide to vote for the person they would have voted for anyway, as I see it, at least. view post


posted 05 Nov 2004, 21:11 by Taliesin, Peralogue

Well, this was a rather disappointing first presidential election for me... I'm just starting to make it out of my post-election depression. But, at least now Bush will have the opportunity to get the blame for the mess he has created over the past four years, rather than pawning it off on Kerry. Of course, I'd also rather see someone in office who I think has a chance of starting to correct things, rather than going further in some very bad directions. I have a number of friends who voted for Bush, many because they are Republicans and there was never any questions, but also some who voted for him simply because they think he's a nicer person (an assessment which I would take issue with.) But then, there are people like my father who have always voted for Republicans for president, but this year voted Kerry, because of the disturbing domination of the Republican party and the president by the evangelical right. I think the real trouble with our country is that people are confusing morality with self-righteousness. view post


posted 06 Nov 2004, 03:11 by saintjon, Auditor

My position, as a Canadian, is conflicted. On the one hand, had Kerry won I'm pretty sure it would've meant a new ambassador to Canada. A definite plus (Paul Celucci or whatever his name is can go play on the freeway for all I care). However, given the way our respective economies have been looking lately, maybe after another 4 years of Bushonomics in America our dollar could be worth more than yours for a change. A tale I would tell my grandchildren. One big thing though is that I don't feel too safe getting all snide at the states for re-electing bush when north of the border we're now stuck with Paul Freaking Martin. Canada has like a leadership vacuum. Our political system is tailor-made to keep strong leaders out of leadership positions, it's garbage. I sometimes think that if we had a mind like Bismarck's at the helm for awhile we'd be a major world power inside of a generation. view post


Re: AMERICAN POLITICS... posted 07 Nov 2004, 16:11 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="Cu'jara Cinmoi":3cdpe2uh]One of the things that has so blown me away about this discussion forum has been the almost utter lack of flame wars, despite the controversial nature of the subject matter. So far the spirit of open inquiry, and the corresponding distinction between egos and arguments, has reigned supreme, I think... So I thought a discussion about Bush's recent election victory might just be possible. Though I'm not an American citizen, I lived in America for three years (or my entire life! - depending on what you think of 'Canadian identity'), and I loved both the people and the country. If I were American, I would have voted for Nader. So as you can imagine, yesterday's election results have me scratching my bean. What happened?[/quote:3cdpe2uh]I have no idea what happened. I voted for Kerry because Kerry's "I'm not Bush" platform was all I needed to persuade me. I would like to have voted for Nader or any one else that isn't a Republocrat. I really do not want to talk about it. I will say one thing though, my decision on whether I move out of this country or not has been made much simpler, I do not wish to live under a Theocracy. Also here is a nice link about the evidence of voting fruad. http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/110704A.shtml view post


posted 19 Jan 2005, 07:01 by Wil, Head Moderator

[quote="Cu'jara Cinmoi":2sj9sez7] I am glad that he won, insofar as it will force conservatives to reap what they have sown, both domestically and internationally... ... is giving the conservatives all the rope they want, then let them hang themselves... [/quote:2sj9sez7] The problem with this way of thinking is that all of the Liberals will get screwed in the end. Yeah, it will be nice if Bush chokes on his own filth, but at what expense? I do not want my right to marry or my friend's right to have an abortion to vanish so America can "learn its lesson". view post


posted 03 Feb 2005, 16:02 by Annabel, Peralogue

Thanks, Will - I was thinking the same thing. Okay, let the neo-cons reap what they sow -- BUT can our young republic absorb the blow? The creepiest and most disturbing trend in American politics for me -- the rise of the religious right. Its going to be the end of us if it continues. view post


posted 03 Feb 2005, 21:02 by Faelcind Il Danach, Peralogue

I think the election of George W. Bush was an international disaster. I voted for Kerry and I actually liked much of his platform. It was not a major issue in the Campaign but I think people will look back on the last two elections and consider then battles over the future of energy systems. Both Gore and Kerry were for movement to hydrogen economy within twenty years, and the money bush has spent on warring in the middle east could have easily been spent building the infrostructure for hyrdogen economy, researching sustainable ways of reproducing it. The fact that we as nation elected imbedded oil interests to office twice and thousands have people have died to allow them to continue to line their pockets is incredible depressing to me. view post


posted 03 Feb 2005, 23:02 by Annabel, Peralogue

I have to pipe in again (can you tell I haven't been busy at work today!). I ask, as far as a trend to the right, what are the likely explanations? The problem with labels such as "liberal" and "green" or "conservative" is that they they aren't terribly helpful in analyzing the question. In my opinion, the Democrats' biggest problem over the last few decades is that they lost the South. The southern states were traditionally democratic, supportive of more socialist government policies, etc. It begs the question (did I really use that tired old phrase? sorry, too much law school), what does it mean to be a Southern democrat or, in contrast, a West Coast republican? The socially conservative Southern dems have been "frightened" by topics such as legalizing abortion and gay marriage - so scared they ran right into the conservatives' waiting arms. However, most California repblicans tend to be open-minded on the same issues. I guess my point is that if the Democrats are gonna win back converts, they need to somehow re-focus campaign issues on "uniting" Democratic issues and keep it there. Does that alienate some current Dems? Frankly, yeah, it sure does. But, just as frankly, they got nowhere else to go. Except for forming their own party. And, that would NOT be a bad thing for politics in the U.S. - we need more parties than just the Dems and the Republicans. A whole different issue to me is the sticky morass of America's relationship to the world at large (e.g. international relations) where our president has an incredibly broad mandate and Congress is unlikely to seize back some form of control any time soon. [Can we separate? My prior para. is about government's relationship with the governed. This para. is about government's relationship with other governments]. The average American spends too little time thinking about our relation with the rest of the world. Why is that when we are the last "super power"? Are we the world's police-man (a role that's primed for abuse)? Are we crusaders bringing the light of democracy to the oppressed masses? How do we balance national safety against the masses of dead (and why the hell is it always the brown people we bomb?????) and amount of damage done in Iraq and Afghanistan? Was it worth it? Even if you don't like the ugly jingoism and pyschotic religious fervor the neo-cons have stirred up in order to garner support for U.S. actions in Iraq, well, these questions still exist. They sound awful cold, I know. But I think its because most Americans had NOT thought about these issues pre 9/11 that the majority got scared shitless and capitulated bonelessly to - oh - the current administration's curtailing our rights, broadening government powers to investigate your library books (my God, why didn't the federalists vote for Nader or Kerry based on this alone?), detaining aliens and illegal immigrants without due process of law, bombing more brown people, etc., etc., etc. The rights we have in this country - they were paid for in blood, lots and lots of blood and death. How can we cede them so easily? Grrr. Arrgh. Time to go stick pins in my Karl Rove dolly. Sometimes the little thing comes to life, at which point, I like to make it go pound salt for a few hours. view post


posted 04 Feb 2005, 18:02 by Wil, Head Moderator

[quote:3k7gtadu]The socially conservative Southern dems have been "frightened" by topics such as legalizing abortion and gay marriage - so scared they ran right into the conservatives' waiting arms. However, most California republicans tend to be open-minded on the same issues. [/quote:3k7gtadu] My personal opinion (this is just my opinion, and it is true of the entire country and not just these areas) this issue is this: in the South and Mid-West there are generally more smaller, rural, farming communities. In such communities, there is less diversity, and these communities tend to be more "neo-religious" in that going to church has become a family past time. In addition, in farming/ranching communities, less importance is placed on higher education because it is the children's job to come and run the family farm. It has been show that the more educated a person is, the more open they are to people of different backgrounds (people of different cultural heritage, different sexuality, etc.). In a time when LGBTQ rights are coming to the front as are abortion issues, it is harder to integrate these issues into a standard belief system (Christianity in all of its forms) then things in the past have been integrated. I believe this is why Dems have little sway in the South and Mid-West. It is also why the West Coast Dems have done so well. While the above is true for much of Washington and Oregon (I don't know about California) the lager cities, Seattle, Portland, LA, SF, etc. have large enough populations that they can pretty much dictate the policies for the entire state. In larger cities, you are more likely to have a more diverse population and higher education becomes much more important. [DISCLAIMER: I am in no way saying that Dems are more educated then Reps, I am merely commenting on an educational trend that has been studied, I happen to know some very, very, very intelligent Republicans and some incredibly stupid Democrats] [quote:3k7gtadu] And, that would NOT be a bad thing for politics in the U.S. - we need more parties than just the Dems and the Republicans. [/quote:3k7gtadu] I completely agree with this, and always have. The problem is that it would be nearly impossible to split two major political parties into many small ones. [quote:3k7gtadu] A whole different issue to me is the sticky morass of America's relationship to the world at large (e.g. international relations) where our president has an incredibly broad mandate and Congress is unlikely to seize back some form of control any time soon. The average American spends too little time thinking about our relation with the rest of the world. Why is that when we are the last "super power"? Are we the world's police-man (a role that's primed for abuse)? Are we crusaders bringing the light of democracy to the oppressed masses? How do we balance national safety against the masses of dead (and why the hell is it always the brown people we bomb?????) and amount of damage done in Iraq and Afghanistan? Was it worth it? [/quote:3k7gtadu] I don't think I'm even going to try and get into our international politics shit-hole. view post


posted 17 Feb 2005, 18:02 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="Annabel":2ad1cybo] A whole different issue to me is the sticky morass of America's relationship to the world at large (e.g. international relations) where our president has an incredibly broad mandate and Congress is unlikely to seize back some form of control any time soon. [Can we separate? My prior para. is about government's relationship with the governed. This para. is about government's relationship with other governments]. The average American spends too little time thinking about our relation with the rest of the world. Why is that when we are the last "super power"? Are we the world's police-man (a role that's primed for abuse)? Are we crusaders bringing the light of democracy to the oppressed masses? How do we balance national safety against the masses of dead (and why the hell is it always the brown people we bomb?????) and amount of damage done in Iraq and Afghanistan? Was it worth it? [/quote:2ad1cybo]This smacks of Carlin and Hicks. Big ups to my dawg. view post


posted 28 Feb 2005, 15:02 by Anonymous, Subdidact

Wil, I must say that your contention (however you deny it) that Dems are more educated than Republicans is false. The fact is that, on average, Republicans are more educated than Democrats. Every study that I've seen shows this. Republican income is higher than Democrat income and this correlates directly to educational level. Implying that Bush got reelected by a bunch of uneducated southerners and Midwesterners just doesn't hold water. I am very glad that Bush got re-elected but I'm also surprised. My only explanation is that Kerry just wasn't the guy for the job. It is difficult to represent him as a "man of the people" when he is from a wealthy family and has married heiresses twice and lived off of their money rather than going out and making his own way in the world. It is difficult to sell him as a war hero when the length of his service was so short and he spoke out against the US military and the US government so vehemently immediately after his tour of duty AND when the circumstances of his "heroic" exploits are so vague and questionable. I think that the Dems should have stuck with Dean, in all honesty. My own vote went to Bush though I am, at heart, a libertarian. view post


posted 28 Feb 2005, 20:02 by Annabel, Peralogue

Amadah: As a libertarian, why did you vote for Bush? Did you read the Homeland Security Act? I'm a liberal but some of my best friends were/are libertarians - all in the Federalist Society - and I just gotta say that if you believe in minimal government and as little possible intrusion on people's rights as possible, then the Bush administration must be driving you nuts. Economic, social and environmental regulation and interference (or the lack thereof in my opionion), well, okay maybe the administration is okay as far as that goes - laissez faire to our own destruction. But there is some weaselly stuff going on with basic rights - like due process, privacy, etc. Plus, there's our ever-ballooning deficit and the back door draft. I would think that most libertarians would be hopping mad. Can you explain? I really would like to know what the rationale is. Thanks! view post


posted 01 Mar 2005, 00:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote="Annabel":2lirf3l2]Amadah: As a libertarian, why did you vote for Bush? Did you read the Homeland Security Act? I'm a liberal but some of my best friends were/are libertarians - all in the Federalist Society - and I just gotta say that if you believe in minimal government and as little possible intrusion on people's rights as possible, then the Bush administration must be driving you nuts. Economic, social and environmental regulation and interference (or the lack thereof in my opionion), well, okay maybe the administration is okay as far as that goes - laissez faire to our own destruction. But there is some weaselly stuff going on with basic rights - like due process, privacy, etc. Plus, there's our ever-ballooning deficit and the back door draft. I would think that most libertarians would be hopping mad. Can you explain? I really would like to know what the rationale is. Thanks![/quote:2lirf3l2] I voted for Bush because I have no use for liberal Democrats, socialists and the like and because, to me, the very existence of a Libertarian Party (note the large "L") violates what I consider to be libertarian (note the small "l") values. The Bush administration is doing, for the most part, a fine job, imho. I dislike the short-sightedness of some of the "rights stuff" that you mention because the legislation is pre-supposing (even more than most laws) that the caretakers of the law will be fair in their use of the broader powers that they are granted. So far, that is the case, but it will not remain so. Opening the door WILL lead to abuses but we will see the abuses come more from the left than the right. Laissez-faire to our own destruction? Not likely. "Hands-off" policies are far better for most of the areas mentioned than trying to meddle with them. History has shown that laissez-faire policies are, in the long run, far more beneficial than the alternative. Still, there really needs to be a dynamic tension for our political system to work well. I dislike some of the Bush administration's policies domestically and am more than ready to see them go by the wayside. Although I REALLY hate liberals, I dislike ANY political party telling me (or anyone, but mostly me) what I can and cannot do. For example...an amendment to the Constitution banning gay marriage? Hogwash! While I'm not FOR gay marriage, it is not for me to say whether they can wed or not. Constitutional amendments need to be reserved for more important things if the Constitution is to be amended at all (for the record, I'm vehemently opposed to amending it). In the end, only Kerry and Bush had any hope of winning the election so I had to vote for the party (and the man) that I'd rather see in office. I'd rather have a right-wing Christian war-mongering freedom-lover in office than a left-wing hippy socialist flower-child with questionable (to me) loyalty to his country and people, but that's just one man's opinion. view post


posted 01 Mar 2005, 00:03 by Annabel, Peralogue

Hate is a strong word. view post


posted 01 Mar 2005, 02:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

But applicable. view post


posted 01 Mar 2005, 04:03 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="amadah":34ka4c1z]Wil, I must say that your contention (however you deny it) that Dems are more educated than Republicans is false. The fact is that, on average, Republicans are more educated than Democrats. Every study that I've seen shows this. Republican income is higher than Democrat income and this correlates directly to educational level. Implying that Bush got reelected by a bunch of uneducated southerners and Midwesterners just doesn't hold water.[/quote:34ka4c1z] Actually it does, I have seen video of a guy doing interviews in the red states, some people had a clue, but a lot of people voted for Bush because of family name and had no clue what Kerry's name even was. One voter thought that bush wanted universal health care. Like I said, not everyone of these people was a moron. [quote:34ka4c1z]I am very glad that Bush got re-elected but I'm also surprised. My only explanation is that Kerry just wasn't the guy for the job. It is difficult to represent him as a "man of the people" when he is from a wealthy family and has married heiresses twice and lived off of their money rather than going out and making his own way in the world. It is difficult to sell him as a war hero when the length of his service was so short and he spoke out against the US military and the US government so vehemently immediately after his tour of duty AND when the circumstances of his "heroic" exploits are so vague and questionable.[/quote:34ka4c1z] Do you know anything about the Bush family? W has been helped in every stage of his life. And I will say that he is so much less a "man of the peolpe" than most candidates, including Kerry. [quote:34ka4c1z]I think that the Dems should have stuck with Dean, in all honesty.[/quote:34ka4c1z] I agree. [quote:34ka4c1z]My own vote went to Bush though I am, at heart, a libertarian.[/quote:34ka4c1z]For me, my vote went to anyone [i:34ka4c1z]but[/i:34ka4c1z] Bush. view post


posted 01 Mar 2005, 17:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote="AjDeath":3lyub80p] Actually it does, I have seen video of a guy doing interviews in the red states, some people had a clue, but a lot of people voted for Bush because of family name and had no clue what Kerry's name even was. One voter thought that bush wanted universal health care. Like I said, not everyone of these people was a moron.[/quote:3lyub80p] It does...?! So the smart people, the coastal ones by your implication, got outvoted by the stupid masses of southerners and midwesterners? Not likely. I've seen plenty of interviews with people in the "blue states" who had no clue. Seeing interviews with a small sampling of the populace isn't much of an indicator of anything at all. My own personal experience with employees of mine who voted for Kerry is that they voted Democrat only because Democrats are supposedly "for the little man" or some crap like that. Few voters can give what I would consider a good reason for their vote. It's mostly some vague notion or "just because". Overall, though, having lived in southern and Midwestern states almost exclusively, I really have to laugh at the proposition that people in the "red states" are less intelligent than people in the "blue states". Do you actually believe that? [quote:3lyub80p] Do you know anything about the Bush family? W has been helped in every stage of his life. And I will say that he is so much less a "man of the peolpe" than most candidates, including Kerry.[/quote:3lyub80p] I know quite a bit about the Bush family, as a matter of fact. Much more so than MANY people. Has W been helped? Sure he has. But he's still got a lot more in common with the "common man" than does Kerry. view post


posted 01 Mar 2005, 20:03 by H, Auditor

[quote="amadah":338fv4hk][quote:338fv4hk] Do you know anything about the Bush family? W has been helped in every stage of his life. And I will say that he is so much less a "man of the peolpe" than most candidates, including Kerry.[/quote:338fv4hk] I know quite a bit about the Bush family, as a matter of fact. Much more so than MANY people. Has W been helped? Sure he has. But he's still got a lot more in common with the "common man" than does Kerry.[/quote:338fv4hk] Provided this is true (which i'm in no way convinced it is), how does that make him fit to run the country? I'm sure he's got alot in common with me, 10 finders and toes, 2 eyes and so on. However, i don't want to know what he's got in common with me, i want to know what he's going to [i:338fv4hk]do[/i:338fv4hk] for me. What he has in common with everyone doesn't change his policy nor his attitude toward the rest of the world, the two issues i have trouble accepting as 'just'. Besides being disturbed by his Born Again attitude, i also don't support his agenda. Somehow knowing that someone is in office looking to, first, provide breaks for big bussiness (i.e. not me) and, secondly, to subvert the constitution by bringing religion into the government. I can't see how either of these things will bring this country closer to freedom and democracy, ideals which seem to be so all important to Mr. Bush. Honestly, i thought Kerry was a crappy candidate, and although i voted for him, i only did so out of desperation. I'd honestly would have voted for a Islamic Fundamentalist candidate too, if it was my only other option besides Bush. Realistically, i'm supposed to feel safe with a leader who asked the troops in Iraq to [i:338fv4hk]pray[/i:338fv4hk] for [i:338fv4hk]him[/i:338fv4hk]? Wait a minute, shouldn't that be the opposite way arround? Aren't the soldiers out there, fighting, dying, missing their families and loved ones to defend Mr. Bush's (possibly justified, possibly not) decission? And i'm supposed to say that Mr. Bush is looking out for me and my interests? If it were up to him, i'm sure i'd be in Iraq right now, drafted to go kill some people who [i:338fv4hk]may[/i:338fv4hk] not have done anything more wrong than wanting their own country for [i:338fv4hk]themselves[/i:338fv4hk], not to be exploited by foriegn powers. Sound familiar? I seem to remember some other country wanting the same, around 1776. As for people 'on the coast' being 'more intelligent', that is strictly a farce. Come to New York, and walk around a bit, and let me know what you find. Becasue there are certainly no short supply of ignorant people abound. There is pretty much the same ammount of ignorance everywhere, it's just in regard to what issues that is any different. view post


posted 01 Mar 2005, 20:03 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="amadah":fmfyzce7][quote="AjDeath":fmfyzce7] Actually it does, I have seen video of a guy doing interviews in the red states, some people had a clue, but a lot of people voted for Bush because of family name and had no clue what Kerry's name even was. One voter thought that bush wanted universal health care. Like I said, not everyone of these people was a moron.[/quote:fmfyzce7] It does...?! So the smart people, the coastal ones by your implication, got outvoted by the stupid masses of southerners and midwesterners? Not likely. I've seen plenty of interviews with people in the "blue states" who had no clue. Seeing interviews with a small sampling of the populace isn't much of an indicator of anything at all. My own personal experience with employees of mine who voted for Kerry is that they voted Democrat only because Democrats are supposedly "for the little man" or some crap like that. Few voters can give what I would consider a good reason for their vote. It's mostly some vague notion or "just because". Overall, though, having lived in southern and Midwestern states almost exclusively, I really have to laugh at the proposition that people in the "red states" are less intelligent than people in the "blue states". Do you actually believe that?[/quote:fmfyzce7] No, I don't actually believe that. there are stupid people everywhere, but more religious nuts are found in the Bible Belt, and the midwest states. And yes, THEY DID OUT VOTE US! That is how tWit won!. [quote:fmfyzce7] Do you know anything about the Bush family? W has been helped in every stage of his life. And I will say that he is so much less a "man of the peolpe" than most candidates, including Kerry.[/quote:fmfyzce7] I know quite a bit about the Bush family, as a matter of fact. Much more so than MANY people. Has W been helped? Sure he has. But he's still got a lot more in common with the "common man" than does Kerry.[/quote]Then you know that W's grandfather sold weapons to the Nazi's when it was illegal to do so and got arrested for it? The family is all war profiteers. view post


posted 01 Mar 2005, 23:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote="H":17uocyi1] Provided this is true (which i'm in no way convinced it is), how does that make him fit to run the country? I'm sure he's got alot in common with me, 10 finders and toes, 2 eyes and so on. However, i don't want to know what he's got in common with me, i want to know what he's going to [i:17uocyi1]do[/i:17uocyi1] for me. What he has in common with everyone doesn't change his policy nor his attitude toward the rest of the world, the two issues i have trouble accepting as 'just'.[/quote:17uocyi1] It doesn't. I'm just arguing that Bush has more of an idea of what the average US citizen needs and thinks than does/did John Kerry. Your idea, though, about wanting to know what he could do for YOU is a good one and one that should be explored. Perhaps reading about capitalism and the free market in general as opposed to socialism would tell you what he could do for you vs. what Kerry could/would do? As for Bush's attitude toward the rest of the world? I hear that brought up all the time but the man simply won't bend knee to a bunch of other countries. Why should he? Why should WE???? [quote:17uocyi1]Besides being disturbed by his Born Again attitude, i also don't support his agenda. Somehow knowing that someone is in office looking to, first, provide breaks for big bussiness (i.e. not me) and, secondly, to subvert the constitution by bringing religion into the government. I can't see how either of these things will bring this country closer to freedom and democracy, ideals which seem to be so all important to Mr. Bush.[/quote:17uocyi1] I don't care for any sort of overly religious attitude, either, but that goes for a Buddhist president, an Islamic president, a Catholic president...ANY religion. I DO, however, like a moral framework included. I don't think that the Ten Commandments are a big deal, though representing them AS the Ten Commandments might offend followers of other religions. Breaks to big business ARE breaks to you. Again, read about capitalism and trace out where the money goes. It doesn't just sit in the pocket of some company. Money gets spent, in gets INVESTED...it GROWS and it's up to YOU to make it grow for YOU. The government only sets the stage. view post


posted 02 Mar 2005, 00:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote="AjDeath":3df50ua7] No, I don't actually believe that. there are stupid people everywhere, but more religious nuts are found in the Bible Belt, and the midwest states. And yes, THEY DID OUT VOTE US! That is how tWit won!.[/quote:3df50ua7] Are the "religious nuts" who are "found in the Bible Belt, and the midwest states" really any different than eco-nuts in the northwest, ultra-liberals in Cali or Mass, or any other special interest group? Or does it just bother you because you blame these "religious nuts" for the big loss of the Dems? The Democrats had a wonderful chance to win but they blew it big time with the REALLY left-wing nut jobs that they fielded. Don't worry, though. Democrats really ARE better politicians than Republicans and they've learned their lessons well, I'd say. Next election will be a whole other story. [quote:3df50ua7] Then you know that W's grandfather sold weapons to the Nazi's when it was illegal to do so and got arrested for it? The family is all war profiteers.[/quote:3df50ua7] I know that there was some international banking involved and Prescott Bush happened to be on the board of the bank. I also know that the primary German involved was imprisoned by the Nazis and had actually split with the Nazi party before WWII even began because he disagreed with their treatment of Jews and other minorities. Prescott was NOT guilty of selling weapons to the Nazis, though, and he went on in later life to serve in Congress so any charges were done away with.... view post


posted 02 Mar 2005, 03:03 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="amadah":by5xgnoj][quote="AjDeath":by5xgnoj] No, I don't actually believe that. there are stupid people everywhere, but more religious nuts are found in the Bible Belt, and the midwest states. And yes, THEY DID OUT VOTE US! That is how tWit won!.[/quote:by5xgnoj] Are the "religious nuts" who are "found in the Bible Belt, and the midwest states" really any different than eco-nuts in the northwest, ultra-liberals in Cali or Mass, or any other special interest group? [/quote:by5xgnoj] Yes, and if you cannot see the difference, there is no point in talking to you about this. Also. international banking? You could call it that. :roll: view post


posted 02 Mar 2005, 15:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote="AjDeath":2t9k5wtb] Yes, and if you cannot see the difference, there is no point in talking to you about this. [/quote:2t9k5wtb] Wow. What a cop-out! No point in talking to me about this? How is one special interest group any different than another? Oh...wait...the "religious nut" special interest group is a large one whose votes destroyed any chance that your preferred (or reluctantly accepted) candidate had of winning! If it had gone your way, would your attitude be different? [quote:2t9k5wtb]Also. international banking? You could call it that. :roll:[/quote:2t9k5wtb] You can call it that because that's what it is. As I noted above, all involvement ended before WWII began. Read up on it. A little information is a wonderful thing. view post


posted 02 Mar 2005, 15:03 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="amadah":273juy0x][quote="AjDeath":273juy0x] Yes, and if you cannot see the difference, there is no point in talking to you about this. [/quote:273juy0x] Wow. What a cop-out! No point in talking to me about this? How is one special interest group any different than another? Oh...wait...the "religious nut" special interest group is a large one whose votes destroyed any chance that your preferred (or reluctantly accepted) candidate had of winning! If it had gone your way, would your attitude be different?[/quote:273juy0x]I know it is, but if you cannot see the difference between someone that thinks our environment is in shambles because he reads what is going on in scientific journals and someone that bases their life on an imaginary friend, that is your problem. [quote:273juy0x]You can call it that because that's what it is. As I noted above, all involvement ended before WWII began. Read up on it. A little information is a wonderful thing.[/quote:273juy0x]They did stop right before war broke out. but if Brown Brothers Harriman, National City Bank, ITT, Ford, General Motors, and General Electric hadn't funded Hitlers rearmament and infrastrusture there would have been no war, or at the very least it would have been a very, very short one. And international banking my ass, Brown Bro Harriman and NCB supplied they money, those other companies supplied the equipment. And the investment paid off, these people knew what they were doing, they were looking for easy profit, hence war profiteers. At least the gov't thought so, enough to put individuals on trial. view post


posted 02 Mar 2005, 21:03 by Annabel, Peralogue

[quote="H":127f1glu]As for Bush's attitude toward the rest of the world? I hear that brought up all the time but the man simply won't bend knee to a bunch of other countries. Why should he? Why should WE????[quote:127f1glu] Then, why should other countries bother to follow trade agreements, environmental agreements, etc? By that standard, Iraq was absolutely right to deny UN inspectors. And Korea has the right to build the bomb and Russia is within its rights to sell nuclear materials and know-how to whomever they wish. [quote:127f1glu] Breaks to big business ARE breaks to you. Again, read about capitalism and trace out where the money goes. It doesn't just sit in the pocket of some company. Money gets spent, in gets INVESTED...it GROWS and it's up to YOU to make it grow for YOU. The government only sets the stage.[/quote:127f1glu][/quote:127f1glu][/quote:127f1glu] You mean Reagan's trickle down econ theories that worked so well in the 80's? And, how do you guaranty the money and breaks trickle down to Joe Schmo? How does that work? All the honest CEO's on Wall Street say, gee, I have $2M in tax cuts this year from the administration -- guess I'll give everybody raises . . . or . . . maybe I just buy a new yacht. Its fucking laughable really. Conservatives and neo-cons say that socialists are deluded -- "if men were angels we wouldn't need government" being the criticism of marxism. And, yet we trust our private citizens to "spread the wealth" and let it "trickle down". Come on!! Whatever carrot you put out there (e.g., if you invest it back in the company, you can make that money grow), a bird in hand is worth 2 in the bush. And, people are driven by greed more than wisdom. And just to expand on this point, why tax breaks to companies and the wealthy when you need a healthy middle class for a democracy to thrive? I mean 1% of the population in the U.S. earns more than $100K and up a year. I'm in that group and, you know what, I don't need more tax breaks. view post


posted 02 Mar 2005, 22:03 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="amadah":1ycc72vd] Breaks to big business ARE breaks to you. Again, read about capitalism and trace out where the money goes. It doesn't just sit in the pocket of some company. Money gets spent, in gets INVESTED...it GROWS and it's up to YOU to make it grow for YOU. The government only sets the stage.[/quote:1ycc72vd]This is the biggest bunch of bullshit yet. Trickle down economics only created the biggest deficit this country has ever seen every time it was put into use. Reagan, Bush the Elder and Bush the Younger try this bullshit and hurt thgis country finacially, but they knew what they were doing, lining the pockets of the people that got them elected. The fact is, big businesses do not move that money along, it stays right where it goes, their pockets. view post


posted 03 Mar 2005, 01:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote:35xizqk2]I know it is, but if you cannot see the difference between someone that thinks our environment is in shambles because he reads what is going on in scientific journals and someone that bases their life on an imaginary friend, that is your problem.[/quote:35xizqk2] I work as an environmental and mining consultant. I don't see an environment in shambles. Sorry, but you're in the realm of belief as opposed to fact and, like religion, it can't really be argued. Facts are facts. The environment is as good as it's gonna get unless you subscribe to genocide and the collapse of civilization as we know it to "correct" the biosphere. I won't argue with you on the Prescott Bush thing because I'm sure that he and his circle WERE trying to profit from war...but they WERE NOT profiting from it by being direct party to the atrocities committed by the Nazis as most who bring it up are trying to imply. view post


posted 03 Mar 2005, 01:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote="Annabel":nm0j85je] Then, why should other countries bother to follow trade agreements, environmental agreements, etc? By that standard, Iraq was absolutely right to deny UN inspectors. And Korea has the right to build the bomb and Russia is within its rights to sell nuclear materials and know-how to whomever they wish. [quote:nm0j85je] Why? They don't have to follow trade agreements and such if they don't want to do so and ALL countries treat such agreements as being worth the paper they're written on when it suits them to do so. Iraq DID have the right to deny UN inspectors, Korea DOES have the right to build nuclear weapons and Russia DOES have the right to sell nuclear materials and know-how to whomever they wish. The US also has the right to do as they please and, since we are bigger and badder than other nations, we normally get our way if we choose to flex our muscles enough. Iraq is just one example of MAKING an example. [quote:nm0j85je]You mean Reagan's trickle down econ theories that worked so well in the 80's? And, how do you guaranty the money and breaks trickle down to Joe Schmo? [/quote:nm0j85je] It always does. And, by the way, it's not Reagan's theories. It is called free market capitalism. It works. It's been proven to work and it continues to work. Corporations don't hold on to money. Rich people don't hold on to money. They make it work for them by investing it in more businesses or in existing businesses. Those businesses generate jobs and goods. Those jobs bring people money and those goods are used by those people. THAT is how Joe Schmo gets the money. [quote:nm0j85je]How does that work? All the honest CEO's on Wall Street say, gee, I have $2M in tax cuts this year from the administration -- guess I'll give everybody raises . . . or . . . maybe I just buy a new yacht. [/quote:nm0j85je] So what if they do? The yacht was made by someone and will be maintained by someone, thereby giving jobs. You sound very bitter or very young. What someone does with their money is their own business, actually, but "the rich" didn't get rich by hoarding money. They got it by investing it wisely...and that doesn't mean taking it down to the brokerage, either. Most people who are VERY rich actually invest very little in anything but their own businesses. [quote:nm0j85je]Its fucking laughable really. [/quote:nm0j85je] It's fucking laughable that you actually believe that socialism works better than capitalism!! [quote:nm0j85je] Conservatives and neo-cons say that socialists are deluded -- "if men were angels we wouldn't need government" being the criticism of marxism. And, yet we trust our private citizens to "spread the wealth" and let it "trickle down". [/quote:nm0j85je] Why not...????!?!?!? Who better than to trust than private citizens? Surely you aren't so ignorant of reality that you think that the GOVERNMENT manages money more wisely than private citizens?!?! [quote:nm0j85je] Come on!! Whatever carrot you put out there (e.g., if you invest it back in the company, you can make that money grow), a bird in hand is worth 2 in the bush. And, people are driven by greed more than wisdom. [/quote:nm0j85je] Obviously. :roll: [quote:nm0j85je]And just to expand on this point, why tax breaks to companies and the wealthy when you need a healthy middle class for a democracy to thrive? I mean 1% of the population in the U.S. earns more than $100K and up a year. I'm in that group and, you know what, I don't need more tax breaks.[/quote:nm0j85je][/quote:nm0j85je][/quote:nm0j85je] And what, exactly, do you do that earns you more than $100K per year but yet you don't understand simple economics? view post


posted 03 Mar 2005, 02:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote="AjDeath":lkpa9xgu][quote="amadah":lkpa9xgu] Breaks to big business ARE breaks to you. Again, read about capitalism and trace out where the money goes. It doesn't just sit in the pocket of some company. Money gets spent, in gets INVESTED...it GROWS and it's up to YOU to make it grow for YOU. The government only sets the stage.[/quote:lkpa9xgu]This is the biggest bunch of bullshit yet. Trickle down economics only created the biggest deficit this country has ever seen every time it was put into use. Reagan, Bush the Elder and Bush the Younger try this bullshit and hurt thgis country finacially, but they knew what they were doing, lining the pockets of the people that got them elected. The fact is, big businesses do not move that money along, it stays right where it goes, their pockets.[/quote:lkpa9xgu] I'm very curious where your economics education was obtained. Big business doesn't move the money along...? It goes in their pockets? No. That's impossible. Businesses use their profits to GROW. If you mean that they invest profit back in themselves, then I'll have to agree but otherwise not. Money that sits doesn't grow. The purpose of money is to be USED. As for Reagan and the two Bush presidents creating a deficit...?! I suppose that you believe that the booming economy of the 1990's was an isolated event that had no connection to what came immediately before? Do you think that Clinton-era economic policies were somehow good...that the economic ventures of the Democratic party are enriching? If so, then how do you explain the bottom dropping out in the last year of the Clinton administration? You need to look past Annabel's "1 bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush" thinking and see how the economy actually works. Here is a prophecy for you: We will enjoy another booming economy before the end of the second Bush term in office. It will not, unfortunately, be as big as that of the 1990's because we won't have the internet around as a new tool, but it will be a boom as history knows booms. view post


posted 03 Mar 2005, 03:03 by Annabel, Peralogue

You know what, Amandah? Despite your insults, I'm finding this conversation interesting although I doubt you and I will ever agree on anything or learn anything. Sad but true that's how these conversations go. As for credentials and what I do for a living, I'll show you mine when you show me yours. As much as they are worth - often times not more than the paper they are written on. You assume I am young and/or bitter. I guess that means your old and cynical, huh? I actually think that capitalism is a good thing - to a point. We don't have a free market system. You know that. The debate circles on around how free it should actually be. Where the controls lie and which abuses we should prevent. Taxes are a necessary evil. But where do the tax cuts go? Again, I ask why to the wealthiest? You claim it was the prior 2 Republican administrations that led to the Clinton budget surplus. Is there some scientific way to show causation? This concept of trickle-down economics working or not working has been debated endlessly. But the income gap between the rich and the poor has been growing in the past decades and that is not good thing for government stability. As for various nation states using military power to basically do as they please, I suppose that is the way of things. Might makes right and its a big bad world out there. Lets kill or bomb or dominate or exploit all those countries out there that we can. Throw all notions of good or bad out the window when it comes to the international arena. But, really, what did our country gain out of invading Iraq? My gas prices are still pretty high. I mean what did all those Iraqis and U.S. soldiers die for if I can't get a better price at the gas station? Security on U.S. soil? I think better immigration and travel policies might serve us better on that score. And lets not forget that Al-Quaeda were not in Iraq. Nor the weapons of mass destruction. view post


posted 04 Mar 2005, 21:03 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Just a couple of questions for Amadah: What is the social function of money? What is the purpose of economy? What determines our obligations to others? view post


posted 06 Mar 2005, 02:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

finding this conversation interesting although I doubt you and I will ever agree on anything or learn anything. Sad but true that's how these conversations go.[/quote] How true. By the way, though...I'm only insulting you to the degree that I feel you're insulting me... [quote:mx8m2xky] As for credentials and what I do for a living, I'll show you mine when you show me yours. As much as they are worth - often times not more than the paper they are written on.[/quote:mx8m2xky] And how do you propose for us to do this? [quote:mx8m2xky] You assume I am young and/or bitter. I guess that means your old and cynical, huh?[/quote:mx8m2xky] Old? Not really. "Only" 34. Cynical? There is no doubt that term applies. [quote:mx8m2xky]I actually think that capitalism is a good thing - to a point. We don't have a free market system. You know that. The debate circles on around how free it should actually be. Where the controls lie and which abuses we should prevent. Taxes are a necessary evil. [/quote:mx8m2xky] Exactly. I believe that the more free the better. I believe that Smith's "invisible hand" will guide as necessary and the end result will be the best result in that situation. I KNOW that WE as human beings CANNOT predict what will happen and cannot CONTROL the economy but can only steer it in general directions and hope that forces that are either outside of our sphere of influence and/or are unforseen don't derail it or guide it where we don't want it to go. IF we could ever actually be able to account for all (or even most) of the variables, then I'd be FOR more control. Since, however, the economy actually includes the variables for pretty much everything else in the world to one degree or another, I don't see that ever happening. [quote:mx8m2xky] But where do the tax cuts go? Again, I ask why to the wealthiest?[/quote:mx8m2xky] Because the actions of the wealthiest control the economy to a greater extent than those in lower economic "classes" (hate to say it like that, though). Maybe it is better to say that holders of more capital have more influence over the total capital in the economy more so than holders of less capital. This is why tax cuts SHOULD go to those whose actions with said capital from tax cuts will generate more of an effect on the overall economy. [quote:mx8m2xky] You claim it was the prior 2 Republican administrations that led to the Clinton budget surplus. [/quote:mx8m2xky] No, though I implied it. The Clinton budget surplus had nothing to do with Clinton, by the way. It had EVERYTHING to do with money moving in the US economy, though, since every time money moves, the government takes a cut. An economic boom creates more taxes and, providing that government spending is not increased over and above the level of what comes in, then there will be a budget surplus. Bill GATES, by the way, is more responsible for the economic boom of the 1990's than Bill CLINTON... Look at it this way... You (or someone else) said or implied that Bush had created a budget deficit through his fiscal policies. Add up the tax cuts and any increase in spending over the Clinton administration (primarily the war expenses) and see if that number equals the current budget. It does NOT. So, then, what happened? Economy is sluggish, money changes hands less and so therefore less tax revenue. The economy slowed down after seven years of Democratic fiscal policy but had sped up after 12 years of Republican fiscal policy. Is there a correlation? I certainly believe so but I am, of course, a libertarian and capitalist pig. [quote:mx8m2xky]Is there some scientific way to show causation? This concept of trickle-down economics working or not working has been debated endlessly.[/quote:mx8m2xky] Again, it becomes a matter of belief. If there was a definite way to show it beyond a shadow of doubt, then there wouldn't be debates. Everyone has their own beliefs and those beliefs matter more in their reasoning than fact. [quote:mx8m2xky]But the income gap between the rich and the poor has been growing in the past decades and that is not good thing for government stability.[/quote:mx8m2xky] I guess the poor need to get off their asses and go do something other than rely on government programs financed by the tax dollars of those who ARE productive. You say you make $100K+ per year...did you get there by sitting around and not working or thinking? Was it luck or ability/drive? Are you willing to share your $100K income with a person who makes $0 so that each of you make $50K? [quote:mx8m2xky]As for various nation states using military power to basically do as they please, I suppose that is the way of things. Might makes right and its a big bad world out there.[/quote:mx8m2xky] It is. [quote:mx8m2xky] Lets kill or bomb or dominate or exploit all those countries out there that we can. [/quote:mx8m2xky] We do. Other countries definitely exploit the US. No doubt. Life is about getting what you want, whether than is an individual "you" or a collective "you". [quote:mx8m2xky] Throw all notions of good or bad out the window when it comes to the international arena. [/quote:mx8m2xky] I have very strong notions of good and evil but I also realize that it IS a big, bad world out there. If you DO NOT kick the schoolyard bully in the balls every now and then, you're gonna get your lunch money taken away. The USA is really VERY nice in it's dealings with other nations. What other country gives as much and as freely as the USA? What country ALWAYS sends aid to countries in need? You got...the USA. NO ONE else. [quote:mx8m2xky] But, really, what did our country gain out of invading Iraq?[/quote:mx8m2xky] In the most basic terms? We showed that we could and that we WOULD. Despite any claims of anything else, I firmly believe that in private conversations, Bush, Cheney, Powell and Rice "high-five" one another and congratulate themselves on kicking Saddam's ass simply because he refused us. Was there some residual resentment about the first Gulf War? OF COURSE there was. I have no doubt. A show of force periodically goes a LONG way in the international community. Talk of poor relations with other nations is funny. Other nations deal with the USA because of mutual benefit, not because we're buddies. [quote:mx8m2xky]My gas prices are still pretty high. I mean what did all those Iraqis and U.S. soldiers die for if I can't get a better price at the gas station? [/quote:mx8m2xky] My thoughts exactly. [quote:mx8m2xky] Security on U.S. soil? I think better immigration and travel policies might serve us better on that score. [/quote:mx8m2xky] Oh, God, NO! I don't think isolationism is a good thing, if you're talking about restricting things. Not at all. [quote:mx8m2xky]And lets not forget that Al-Quaeda were not in Iraq.[/quote:mx8m2xky] Were they not...? Come on...do you really believe that? [quote:mx8m2xky]Nor the weapons of mass destruction.[/quote:mx8m2xky] Ho, hum... Saddam had (1) possessed WMD before, (2) money to buy WMD and/or their components, (3) an industrial and knowledge base to build WMD, (4) had used WMD in war before and, finally (5) had used WMD on his own people. To me, it doesn't matter in the least whether he had any WMD or not at the time of the invasion. He had the ability to make them and the will to use them on ANYONE that he pleased. ************************************* Long post. Sorry. I enjoy some of these internet debates, though the medium leaves something to be desired. BTW...I am actually NOT some right-wing nut, despite the beliefs cited above. I very much believe that our political system works well because of dynamic tension between two opposing parties/points-of-view. To go too far one way or another invites disaster. Facism or socialism...both bad choices... :D view post


posted 06 Mar 2005, 03:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote="Cu'jara Cinmoi":3loedtse]Just a couple of questions for Amadah: What is the social function of money?[/quote:3loedtse] That question is much more than just seven words...! Please clarify, if you would. I am accustomed to the phrase "social function of money" as being part of the rhetoric of communism/socialism, which I reject out of hand. [quote:3loedtse]What is the purpose of economy?[/quote:3loedtse] Of "economy" or of "the economy"? The latter, I am assuming, and you probably mean in the broadest of senses, but please clarify. [quote:3loedtse]What determines our obligations to others?[/quote:3loedtse] Our own values which are, in turn, thrust upon us by the societies in which we live (in the general sense) or upon a particular situation in which we find ourselves (in a more specific one). As an aside: Absolutely LOVE your books. Just finished the second one today. Although I like what you've done with the characters, I eagerly await more history and descriptions of cultures and physical locations. Most original stuff that I've read for a long, long time... view post


posted 06 Mar 2005, 04:03 by AjDeath, Didact

Alright, I know this is in response to Annabel's post, but I feel I have to get a few things out. [quote:1xoiyju6]Because the actions of the wealthiest control the economy to a greater extent than those in lower economic "classes" (hate to say it like that, though). Maybe it is better to say that holders of more capital have more influence over the total capital in the economy more so than holders of less capital. This is why tax cuts SHOULD go to those whose actions with said capital from tax cuts will generate more of an effect on the overall economy.[/quote:1xoiyju6] This is horse shit, we would spend it if we had any money. All I see these people doing with their money is demanding more of their workers, to the point of overtime for a lot of people going to the wayside, and they invest their profits in their business, and also in themselves. It doesn't go anywhere, the market is not the people, the companies are not the people, the people see nothing but the cost of living skyrocket but not their salaries. As Annabel said, the divide between CEO's and their workers income is the highest it has ever been in U.S history. It is somthing like 130 percent more. Is it like that in the UK or Canada? Hell no. I think it is 13%. It is ridiculous. Workers are being forced to work more and more for less and less. Minimum wage hasn't risen in how may god damned years? Fuck the overall economy. People need food, and not dog food a la the Reagan years. [quote="Annabel":1xoiyju6]But the income gap between the rich and the poor has been growing in the past decades and that is not good thing for government stability.[/quote:1xoiyju6]The divide started in the 60's and hasn't stopped, it actually is starting to grow exponentially. [quote="amadah":1xoiyju6]I guess the poor need to get off their asses and go do something other than rely on government programs financed by the tax dollars of those who ARE productive.[/quote:1xoiyju6]Holy shit, I hope that is sarcasm. Christ, I work my damn ass off at a decent job that requires skill, knowledge, and experience to do. I am not well off, I make a good standard wage for my area, I am not in debt, but unless I work 70 hours a week, which I sometimes do, I am not getting ahead. Compared to these people that got rich when they inherited their money and do nothing(read-BUSH The Younger) I work my asshole off and get nothing for it except a pat on the back for "keeping the bottom line in mind before your own needs." And I have a decent boss. I wonder how bad it is for some people that, even though they should be in college, cannot go because it was not a financially viable option. To say that we should "get off our asses and work harder" is not only asinine, but shows a certain lack of compasion for others. [quote="Annabel":1xoiyju6] Lets kill or bomb or dominate or exploit all those countries out there that we can. [/quote:1xoiyju6]:D [quote="amadah":1xoiyju6]We do. Other countries definitely exploit the US. No doubt. Life is about getting what you want, whether than is an individual "you" or a collective "you".[/quote:1xoiyju6]That maybe true, but it is also the philopsophy of very selfish people. [quote:1xoiyju6]And lets not forget that Al-Quaeda were not in Iraq.[/quote:1xoiyju6] [quote="amadah":1xoiyju6]Were they not...? Come on...do you really believe that?[/quote:1xoiyju6] [quote:1xoiyju6]Nor the weapons of mass destruction.[/quote:1xoiyju6] [quote="amadah":1xoiyju6]Ho, hum... Saddam had (1) possessed WMD before, (2) money to buy WMD and/or their components, (3) an industrial and knowledge base to build WMD, (4) had used WMD in war before and, finally (5) had used WMD on his own people. To me, it doesn't matter in the least whether he had any WMD or not at the time of the invasion. He had the ability to make them and the will to use them on ANYONE that he pleased.[/quote:1xoiyju6] Wow, none of that is the point. We were lied to just to get us into a war only the NeoCons wanted. That is the point. Bush's whole staff should be impeached based on that fact alone. These people will do anything to get what they want even if it is a war that should not have happened. [quote="amadah":1xoiyju6]BTW...I am actually NOT some right-wing nut, despite the beliefs cited above. I very much believe that our political system works well because of dynamic tension between two opposing parties/points-of-view. To go too far one way or another invites disaster. Facism or socialism...both bad choices... :D[/quote:1xoiyju6] Being a centrist, in my opinion, is taking the easy way out. Some people say it is all about compromise, but how can you compromise your ideals and beliefs? What happened to integrity? Moderates are not helping anything, they are keeping the status quo in place. What are these peoples ideals? Whatever the news says it should be? I have a lot more respect for conservatives and liberals that have genuine beliefs that they can back up. I can honestly say that our gov't has none of these people. We have yes men that are looking perpetually towards the next election. view post


whats great posted 06 Mar 2005, 06:03 by ilana richardson, Candidate

i heard that homeland security is launching a serious investigation into Paul Begala's receding hairline. And the word on the street is Tucker Carlson's urine... pure colombian nose cream. I personally wave my flag left to right, unlike those other sick freaks who wave it right to left. And it seems no matter how hard i wave the flag, i can't drown out the sound of cash registers ringing in the homes of the economic and political giants who've always run the world. view post


posted 06 Mar 2005, 15:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote="AjDeath":2mudfuzk] This is horse shit, we would spend it if we had any money. All I see these people doing with their money is demanding more of their workers, to the point of overtime for a lot of people going to the wayside, and they invest their profits in their business, and also in themselves. It doesn't go anywhere, the market is not the people, the companies are not the people, the people see nothing but the cost of living skyrocket but not their salaries.[/quote:2mudfuzk] Overtime going by the wayside? But you said you worked 70 hours per week...? Investing the profits in the business is bad? How? They are growing the business and providing jobs for the employees. Investing the profits in themselves? How is that bad? Their ideas and risks MADE the profits, even if the labor was your labor. "They" are entirely justified in spending the profits in whatever manner they choose. Why do you begrudge this? [quote:2mudfuzk]As Annabel said, the divide between CEO's and their workers income is the highest it has ever been in U.S history. It is somthing like 130 percent more. Is it like that in the UK or Canada? Hell no. I think it is 13%. It is ridiculous. [/quote:2mudfuzk] It IS ridiculous. Why are the CEOs of companies in the UK and Canada working for so little? Perhaps they aren't as efficient? Perhaps THAT is the reason that the US leads the world? That the cream rises to the top? That you get REWARDED for your abilities and accomplishments rather than being forced to work for just a little more than the people under you who DID NOT get the education and/or put forth the effort that you did? I have to laugh every time someone brings up a statistic like that. Stand-alone examples mean very little, if anything. Canada is a paradise? The UK is a paradise? Look at crime rates in the latter. Look at land area vs. population and who their southern neighbor is in the former case. There are more things at work that must be considered. [quote:2mudfuzk]Workers are being forced to work more and more for less and less. Minimum wage hasn't risen in how may god damned years?[/quote:2mudfuzk] A rise in minimum wage leads to greater unemployment. It's an economic fact. [quote:2mudfuzk] Fuck the overall economy. People need food, and not dog food a la the Reagan years.[/quote:2mudfuzk] Fuck the overall economy? Yeah, that's an intelligent thing to do. [quote="Annabel":2mudfuzk]Holy shit, I hope that is sarcasm. Christ, I work my damn ass off at a decent job that requires skill, knowledge, and experience to do. I am not well off, I make a good standard wage for my area, I am not in debt, but unless I work 70 hours a week, which I sometimes do, I am not getting ahead. Compared to these people that got rich when they inherited their money and do nothing(read-BUSH The Younger) I work my asshole off and get nothing for it except a pat on the back for "keeping the bottom line in mind before your own needs." And I have a decent boss. I wonder how bad it is for some people that, even though they should be in college, cannot go because it was not a financially viable option. To say that we should "get off our asses and work harder" is not only asinine, but shows a certain lack of compasion for others.[/quote:2mudfuzk] Not sarcasm at all. If you make little money and work so much and don't accept the situation, then you should go do something else rather than bitch about it. Resenting W because he inherited money does no good. Asinine? Nah. Lack of compassion for others? Nah. I just hold in contempt the attitude that people with a lot of money did nothing to get it and do nothing to keep it and/or grow it. I also hold in contempt those who do not wish to better themselves but only wish to bring others down. [quote="Annabel":2mudfuzk] That maybe true, but it is also the philopsophy of very selfish people.[/quote:2mudfuzk] Welcome to reality. [quote:2mudfuzk]Wow, none of that is the point. We were lied to just to get us into a war only the NeoCons wanted. That is the point. Bush's whole staff should be impeached based on that fact alone. These people will do anything to get what they want even if it is a war that should not have happened.[/quote:2mudfuzk] It IS the point, actually. The only thing that was "wrong" is that the citizens of this country aren't, in general, bright enough to understand anything other than a direct threat and sometimes not even then. [quote="amadah":2mudfuzk] Being a centrist, in my opinion, is taking the easy way out. Some people say it is all about compromise, but how can you compromise your ideals and beliefs? What happened to integrity? Moderates are not helping anything, they are keeping the status quo in place. What are these peoples ideals? Whatever the news says it should be? I have a lot more respect for conservatives and liberals that have genuine beliefs that they can back up. I can honestly say that our gov't has none of these people. We have yes men that are looking perpetually towards the next election.[/quote:2mudfuzk] Being a centrist is just as valid a position as any other. A centrist wants to maintain the status quo...so be it. A leftist wants things to go their way, too...what's the difference? Why would being a centrist compromise ideals and beliefs? Why would being a centrist be a loss of integrity? Moderates aren't helping anything? I submit that moderates are far more helpful than anyone leaning too far to either side. The news is normally liberally-biased...NOT centrist. You don't seem to have any respect for anyone who doesn't share your own ideals... And, finally, something with which I CAN agree...we have WAY too many career politicians. view post


posted 06 Mar 2005, 16:03 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I'm glad you like the books, Amadah! But doesn't mean I'm going to let you off the hook with these questions... :wink: It's just been my experience that these kinds of debates break along certain 'hinge positions,' which once clarified, allow the real issues to come to the fore, and cut down on cross-purpose sniping - which resolves nothing at all. [quote:29zs1n4o]That question is much more than just seven words...! Please clarify, if you would. I am accustomed to the phrase "social function of money" as being part of the rhetoric of communism/socialism, which I reject out of hand. [/quote:29zs1n4o] This answer puzzles me. Social function is neither 'left' nor 'right.' Money does in fact have a very clear, very powerful social function. I was just wondering what you think it is... [quote:29zs1n4o]Of "economy" or of "the economy"? The latter, I am assuming, and you probably mean in the broadest of senses, but please clarify. [/quote:29zs1n4o] Let's say [i:29zs1n4o]our[/i:29zs1n4o] economy, then. What's the point of our economy? What should it be doing? [quote:29zs1n4o]Our own values which are, in turn, thrust upon us by the societies in which we live (in the general sense) or upon a particular situation in which we find ourselves (in a more specific one). [/quote:29zs1n4o] So our obligations to others are simply the result of how we're socialized? Which is to say, if I feel obligated to others, and you don't, there's no fact of the matter that makes me or you right or wrong? view post


posted 06 Mar 2005, 18:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote="Cu'jara Cinmoi":nigb2me0] This answer puzzles me. Social function is neither 'left' nor 'right.' Money does in fact have a very clear, very powerful social function. I was just wondering what you think it is...[/quote:nigb2me0] In my long ago readings of various doctrines, that particular phrase always jumped at me out of Marxist doctrine...hence the association. I don't really understand the question, I guess.... :?: [quote:nigb2me0]Let's say [i:nigb2me0]our[/i:nigb2me0] economy, then. What's the point of our economy? What should it be doing?[/quote:nigb2me0] The point? Hmmm....to ME, the economy simply IS. It exists without necessarily having a point. It is the interaction of individuals and groups in the necessary exchange of goods and services....and I suppose it should be doing that in the most efficient manner possible, though I'm almost certain that this isn't the answer that you were looking for.... [quote:nigb2me0] So our obligations to others are simply the result of how we're socialized? Which is to say, if I feel obligated to others, and you don't, there's no fact of the matter that makes me or you right or wrong?[/quote:nigb2me0] Yes, pretty much. However convoluted this may sound, I am not, myself, morally relativistic, but I believe that moral relativism is a fact. I merely choose to disregard it and hold to my own beliefs, however "right", "wrong" or otherwise they might or might not be. If you hold one belief and I hold a diametrically opposed one, they are both still [i:nigb2me0]beliefs[/i:nigb2me0] and not facts, though these beliefs might form the entire foundation of our respective subjective existences. :wink: For example, you might feel an obligation to donate 10% of your income to charity and your religion might, in fact, require you to do so. My own belief is that religious institutions should not get a penny of my personal income, regardless of what aid they might render to others or even to me in the years to come. Who is right? Both of us, from one point of view and neither from another but each from our own. For years I've laughed at people trying to find a meaning to their lives. I believe that there is no meaning beyond what we make of it but my own meanings are definitely rooted in some sort of Judeo-Christian Americanized independent-thinking (within certain boundaries) rebellious place... :D Oh...yeah...I guess the answer to your question is a qualified "yes". :lol: view post


posted 06 Mar 2005, 18:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote="Cu'jara Cinmoi":30x8ojw2] It's just been my experience that these kinds of debates break along certain 'hinge positions,' which once clarified, allow the real issues to come to the fore, and cut down on cross-purpose sniping - which resolves nothing at all. [/quote:30x8ojw2] Forgot to comment on this....! Does anything ever REALLY get resolved...? Or does each party just keep holding to their respective [i:30x8ojw2]beliefs[/i:30x8ojw2] and go their own way, shaking their heads at the other party's "ignorance"? Although I like messing around on various forums like this and debating others in person, I cannot remember any situation in which anyone's position was changed substantially. It's the old "politics and religion" thing which never really gets resolved because it IS a matter of belief rather than fact. The only time that I see a person's basic beliefs change is when they are confronted by a major LIFE-CHANGING event such as becoming a parent, converting to a different religion (in which case I believe they were looking to fill a void, anyway), seeing a lot of death, etc. An example of a change in political beliefs that made me laugh was when I was watching Jay Leno (I believe) interview Dave Chapelle. Chapelle (a comedian, if you are unfamiliar with the name) is black and so is (or was), fairly predictably, a Democrat. Leno asked him prior to the presidential elections who he favored. Chapelle replied wryly that he used to see the Democratic stance as the way to go but, since he'd made a lot of money with his comedy show, the Republican party looked better and better. While this was said in a joking manner, I have little doubt that he truly meant it. Major life changes make for switches in points of view. I don't otherwise believe in firm resolutions to debates involving personal philosophy. Whew! Sorry for the rambling....! :D view post


posted 06 Mar 2005, 21:03 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I agree, these things don't typically resolve in anyone abandoning their position wholesale - there's nothing in the subject matter that can command consensus, as there is in, say, scientific debates. But then it all depends on how those involved approach the issue. Personally I've had my head turned right around, as have many people I know, through the course of debates. So long as those involved both agree from the outset, that odds are they're mostly wrong (and odds [i:19dx7n5a]are[/i:19dx7n5a], in fact, that we are mostly wrong) then the argument need not be about defending conclusions, as opposed to [i:19dx7n5a]considering[/i:19dx7n5a] them. I'm not sure how to rephrase the question about the social function of money. Are you saying you don't know what it is? If not, it would be a good place to start. As for the purpose of our economy... Isn't it simply to work for the benefit of all its members? That's why most of the world's centrally planned economies 'failed,' is it not? They were more detrimental to their members than market economies were. I'm not sure I understand you position regarding values. You're a relativist who thinks you are nevertheless essentially right? I'm not sure that makes sense! :) Even still, wouldn't you say that dependency entails obligations? view post


posted 07 Mar 2005, 01:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote="Cu'jara Cinmoi":1p83f753]I agree, these things don't typically resolve in anyone abandoning their position wholesale - there's nothing in the subject matter that can command consensus, as there is in, say, scientific debates. But then it all depends on how those involved approach the issue. Personally I've had my head turned right around, as have many people I know, through the course of debates. So long as those involved both agree from the outset, that odds are they're mostly wrong (and odds [i:1p83f753]are[/i:1p83f753], in fact, that we are mostly wrong) then the argument need not be about defending conclusions, as opposed to [i:1p83f753]considering[/i:1p83f753] them.[/quote:1p83f753] Agreed. [quote:1p83f753]I'm not sure how to rephrase the question about the social function of money. Are you saying you don't know what it is? If not, it would be a good place to start.[/quote:1p83f753] Let's assume that I do not...or that I am not, at least, cognizant of it in whatever context you're looking for.... [quote:1p83f753]As for the purpose of our economy... Isn't it simply to work for the benefit of all its members? That's why most of the world's centrally planned economies 'failed,' is it not? They were more detrimental to their members than market economies were.[/quote:1p83f753] I can't quite agree that the economy's purpose is to [i:1p83f753]benefit[/i:1p83f753] it's members. That [i:1p83f753]should[/i:1p83f753] happen, of course, but the purpose of the economy is to enable the exchange of goods and services and in doing so [i:1p83f753]should[/i:1p83f753] benefit but does not always and does not for everyone, not even in the most perfect of examples. [quote:1p83f753]I'm not sure I understand you position regarding values. You're a relativist who thinks you are nevertheless essentially right? I'm not sure that makes sense! :) [/quote:1p83f753] My values are right [i:1p83f753]for me[/i:1p83f753] in [i:1p83f753]my own[/i:1p83f753] life. They aren't necessarily applicable across the board even to people in the same situation(s). I choose to apply the label "libertarian" to myself because that viewpoint most closely resembles my own. I live my own life without disturbing others (unless they are a potential threat to me and mine in some manner) and expect others to do the same. Make any sense? [quote:1p83f753]Even still, wouldn't you say that dependency entails obligations?[/quote:1p83f753] I would say that if you [i:1p83f753]allow[/i:1p83f753] dependency, then obligations [i:1p83f753]should[/i:1p83f753] follow. I chose to have children and thereby allow their dependency on me. In my worldview, I have obligations to them. There are others out there, fortunately few, who might not feel that way. view post


posted 07 Mar 2005, 16:03 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

All societies require hierarchy to function: the actions of some must be subordinated to the imperatives of others. In our society, money is the primary vehicle of this subordination. People DO things for money. Given that societies are basically vast networks of interdependent actions, this makes money [i:1r5m09ah]the[/i:1r5m09ah] social lynchpin. Wouldn't you agree? Regarding the purpose of our economy, if you think the economy [i:1r5m09ah]should[/i:1r5m09ah] work for the benefit of all the individuals, then you think that should be the purpose of our economy, right? I get the impression that you're waffling out of fear that you'll be drawn into a trap! :wink: So I'll be upfront. I think the libertarian position is little more than a rationalization of the status quo, one that derives its intuitive force from our socialization into the ideology of 'individualism.' Upon reflection, however, I think it becomes as clearly wrongheaded as communism. Handing everything over to the market is as obviously a recipe for oppression as is handing everything over to the state. Where the communists conflate the market with oppression, the libertarians conflate the state with oppression, where I think it's empirically obvious that both state and market can both be oppressive and enabling, depending on the circumstances. I say this just so you know where I stand. All I can do is show the lines of reasoning that brought me around from beliefs much like yours. None of them are decisive, and even if you remain unconvinced, you'll at least have a better sense of what it is you're arguing against - which can only be a good thing. There's no trap, just reasons. Should I proceed? view post


posted 08 Mar 2005, 16:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

:x :x :x :x Just had a long and informative post LOST by losing my connection!!!!!!! Let's see...in brief: 1. Agree about the social function of money but must point out that it's not about the money itself but the things that money can buy. 2. "Yes" about the trap. Any time anyone asks questions for you to answer, you are drawn into a framework of THEIR choosing and I don't fight on someone else's turf if I can help it. 3. Disagree about the libertarian position supporting the status quo. Libertarianism, as [i:3ka4xx50]I[/i:3ka4xx50] understand it, wants some changes. 4. Agree that a pure libertarian position [i:3ka4xx50]as most understand it[/i:3ka4xx50] is as wrong as the opposite ideology. It's a Utopian ideal that the vast majority of people couldn't handle. By way of example, look at our own Industrial Revolution, it's accomplishments, it's excesses and what came out of them for both the good and the bad. 5. I believe (as I think I've stated elsewhere on this forum) that dynamic tension between the two ideologies is best but I also firmly believe that the tug-of-war needs to position most of the rope on the right rather than the left. I believe in libertarianism and the free market on a different plane than what most do. Step up above the two ideologies and you see nothing on EITHER side but people looking after their own self-interests. Each ideology professes to help the greatest number with their philosophy. Fact of the matter is that the invisible hand is STILL at work here. Hearkening back to the Industrial Revolution example, we see lots and lots of people making money and lots of people working for little money and in poor conditions and companies (and individuals) doing as they pleased. Government steps in (ONLY because the government IS the people and enough people with enough say in things got together and made sure it happened) and regulates and pulls it back to a more "reasonable" level. In the long run, overall and in the "big picture" (to try and cover everything), the idea of the free market still rules over all. Socialism and communism are just words for extreme examples of controls that occur in response to capitalism gone too far but they are still part of the system. Anyway, I think that sums up my position a little better for you, though still not as good as the long-ass post that I lost. Go ahead with your reasoning. I am very interested in hearing it. view post


posted 08 Mar 2005, 19:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

I [i:rs9oaczv]hate[/i:rs9oaczv] it when that happens. I always ctrl-C my longer posts for that very reason - either that or paste from Notepad. I think this gives us good place to start! Just a couple of things (digressions, more like :wink: ). More as an aside than anything else, I wouldn't identify yourself as a libertarian, if I were you, because I'm not sure you share much more than some sympathies with them. Also, I think you're dead wrong on the questions. Certain questions - [i:rs9oaczv]leading[/i:rs9oaczv] questions - can create the situation you describe, but the way you frame it makes it sound like answering questions is always a mistake, which is tantamount to saying that genuine debate is a mistake! If, in the course of answering questions, you find yourself committed to further claims, that simply [i:rs9oaczv]has[/i:rs9oaczv] to be a good thing, either because it reveals unknown inconsistencies in your view (which can't be fixed until they're identified), or because it leads you to a more powerful view (and since it's pretty much a given that we are all duped in someway, that means there's always a better view to be had!). The only way I can see answering being a negative in the way you suggest is if the point of argumentation is [i:rs9oaczv]winning[/i:rs9oaczv] as opposed to expanding one's perspective. But then that's argument in the sense of 'quarrelling,' not in the sense of giving and asking for reasons. The last point has to do with socialism, which is [i:rs9oaczv]not[/i:rs9oaczv] 'communism lite,' and though the right always makes this comparison, it is nothing more than a fallacious guilt-by-association tactic, possessing no more force than left-wing cries of facism. But enough of that. Onto the points... Let's start with money first, just to keep things manageable. MONEY Most people understand money in a 'local' sense, as the means to buy what we want. You suggest that this is 'what money is in itself,' but in point of fact, you're wrong. What money is in itself is simply pieces of inked paper, or numbers on a bank statement. What money 'is in itself' is arbitrary - we could use plastic chits, or beads on a string. What is essential about money are the human [i:rs9oaczv]actions[/i:rs9oaczv] prompted by these arbitrary markers. You can have all the paper currency in the world, and you would have little more than paper to roll your joints if no one [i:rs9oaczv]behaved[/i:rs9oaczv] as if that paper were money. Money, in the simplest terms, is access to the actions of other individuals, either in the form of goods, which require the actions of others to manufactures, or in the form of services. This is why people with money are 'powerful.' Power is simply the control of other's actions, and people regularly cede their actions in exchange for money - which is to say, access to the actions of others. As members of the most intensely interdependent society in the history of the human race, we have [i:rs9oaczv]no choice[/i:rs9oaczv] but to cede our actions in exchange for the actions of the myriad others we depend on. Now in a market system, the monetary value of our actions is determined by the vagaries of supply and demand. All of us, by and large, surrender similar portions of our lives doing actions we would not otherwise do in exchange for money. The easier our particular actions are to replace, the less money we typically receive. This is simply a fact: in our market system, though we all generally give the same number of action-hours, the access to the action-hours of others that we receive in exchange is anything but the same. Those who work for minimum wage, for instance, give the most action-hours in return for the least. The opposite could be said of millionaires. In fact, this is what relative wealth and poverty basically consists of: the ratio of actions given to actions received. It is a fact that relative wealth depends on relative poverty. Without the working poor giving more than they receive, the wealthy couldn't receive more than they give. For me, this was a crucial step in my conversion from a right wing 'fiscal conservative' to a socialist: understanding the systematic relationship between poverty and wealth. Before it simply never occurred to me that the two were interrelated. There was just a bunch of lucky or hardworking rich people and a bunch of unlucky or lazy poor people. I looked at our system in asystematic terms - as a bunch of disconnected individuals who had to take responsibility for themselves. But this was simply an illusion of my ignorance, which in turn was a product of both my hardwiring (I evolved to cognize small communities of 100 to 200 people, not mass conglomerations of 100's of millions), and my socialization in the 'cult of individualism,' which trains us to look at people in isolation from one another, and to think of all things collective as uncool (when was the last time the action hero got something done by working [i:rs9oaczv]within[/i:rs9oaczv] the organization? Everyone knows he's gotta go it alone!). I, like everyone else, thought myself independent, tough-minded, and self-sufficient - when in fact I belonged to the most [i:rs9oaczv]dependent[/i:rs9oaczv] generation in history! Then I realized: our society, like every other society in history, had developed a belief system that abetted the status quo. We call it individualism. We are [i:rs9oaczv]cogs[/i:rs9oaczv], through and through, and yet we all style ourselves self-contained mechanisms, with little or no real understanding of our social position. When the forces that so profoundly shape us remain in the dark, then it seems clear that 'everyone makes a choice, they have to own up to.' But that simplicity is illusory, a function of confusing ignorance of one's social dependencies for the absence of such dependencies. If relative wealth is systematically dependent on relative poverty (and it in fact is), then the question of 'taking responsibility' for one's social position becomes a very vexed question. It's hard to understand how one could take responisibility for something they're entirely ignorant of anyway! This is where the 'blame game' begins, and things become less factual, and more partisan. But does this make sense so far? Just remembered to ctrl-C this!!! view post


posted 08 Mar 2005, 20:03 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

That was me, BTW. I guess I should've used Notepad after all! view post


posted 09 Mar 2005, 02:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

Damned machines! I replied again but lost it. Too much work to repeat it tonight. Will do so tomorrow.... :( view post


posted 10 Mar 2005, 09:03 by Faelcind Il Danach, Peralogue

[quote="Cu'jara Cinmoi":1u21d2r3]All societies require hierarchy to function: the actions of some must be subordinated to the imperatives of others. [/quote:1u21d2r3] This is not really true according to most anthropologists. The simplest soceities none as bands often have no heirarchy in fact its considred one of their key charecteristics(there are of course exceptions). There is no accepted way for one individual to force his will on to another, social pressure is big controll in the soceity but their is no heirarchy everone is essentially equally subordinated to the will of the majority. Its little more complicated because people do bend their will to certain individuals more then others but their is no institutionalized heirarchy and nothing like chimp groups with a single dominant member. Since this type of soceity likely dominated at least the last 100,000 years of human evolution I think that humans are most happy in the this type of system. I don't think that it works for large groups of human beings unfortuneatly I don't buy the chomskian anarchy argument, though I should really study it more before disregarding it. To me socialism is the the most efficient method for maintaing egaltarianism that has been discovered for industrial nation states. All societies have resource ridistrubution institutions and its my observation that the systems used by the social democracies have of northern europe have created the highest qualities of life in industrial societies. view post


posted 10 Mar 2005, 23:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

*pops head in* Very thought provoking discussion, this. I just thought I had to reply to this. I think the Revered Author is absolutely right concerning [i:xbguyxgd]power[/i:xbguyxgd] and concerning money as an expression of power. (hadn't looked at money that way before. Fascinating. It's not the only kind of power, though) Yes, the wealthy receive bigger rewards for the same amount of effort. Yes, one could see this as unfair. (Hell, I see it as unfair.) Yes, right-wing politics will maintain this as the status quo, or even aggravate it. But this does not consider the factor of prosperity. Whilst there will always be rich and poor, powerful and weak, this does not mean a system like capitalism can't increase the [i:xbguyxgd]overal[/i:xbguyxgd] level of prosperity. Does it matter the poor stay poor and the rich stay rich despite the fact they work equally hard, if the standard of living for [i:xbguyxgd]everyone[/i:xbguyxgd] is improved? It depends, of course, on what one holds to be important. Fairness, or prosperity. I'll take prosperity. This also, of course, assumes our current prosperity has been achieved thanks to capitalism. I think it does, but readily admit my knowledge of economics is rudimentary at best. Incidentally, when defending capitalism in this debate I'm a bit of a devil's advocate, since as a European I'd regard even Kerry as an extremist right-wing religious fanatic. ;) view post


posted 11 Mar 2005, 07:03 by Faelcind Il Danach, Peralogue

Capitalism is pyramid scheme a game of externalising costs and ultimately it needs a large bottom to support the top, a group of the people who are much worse of for he system then the would be without it. Its easy in the west to say it helps the prosperity of all but you have to remember that majority of the resources and labor which support our prosperity come from the third world were most people live in as a bad a condition as any in history. view post


posted 11 Mar 2005, 12:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote="Faelcind Il Danach":2xgaig3c](snip) . . . Its easy in the west to say it helps the prosperity of all but you have to remember that majority of the resources and labor which support our prosperity come from the third world were most people live in as a bad a condition as any in history.[/quote:2xgaig3c] I suspect that you've been given a warped view of history if you're comparing third world countries to all civilizations of all times and saying that they're in as bad a shape. But even so, would you deny that the quality of life in the third world, [i:2xgaig3c]in general[/i:2xgaig3c], is improving due to the funneling of monies from modern industrialized nations into them? view post


posted 12 Mar 2005, 08:03 by Faelcind Il Danach, Peralogue

I would suspect the same of you if think most of the world has it significantly better then most preceeding periods in history. Much of the third world is living very close to starvation, work incredible long hours, have very high rates of disease and live in exceptional crowded and dirty conditions. The money from industrialized nation is certainly helping but I have my doubts as to whether its even close to offseating the extraction of resources and labor from the area in its effects on the the third world. view post


posted 13 Mar 2005, 00:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

Hmmm. Speaking in generalized platitudes is all well and good, though generally some form of mutually agreed-upon evidence is necessary to make any progress with a topic such as this one. How shall we compare? Via landmass or population? Let's just take landmass because I know geography better than I know international demographics. Then think back to a pretty crummy time in history. Saaay, the mid 14th century. What portion of the world, at that time, had quality of life similar to that found in modern industrialized nations? I certainly can't think of any. Indoor plumbing didn't exist, there was no significant governmental regulation of food quality, etc etc etc. The very highest echelons of society, at the time, had poorer sanitation and medical aid than the poverty-ridden here in the States (And similar to, or slightly better than, the average 3rd-world civilian). Significant portions of the modern world have these amenities. All of the industrialized world, for example, and a significant portion of the developing world. The entirety of North America, Europe, large portions of Asia, significant sections of Africa (especially the more developed nations such as Egypt), and so forth. Seems that the modern world is doing pretty well so far. What about the so-called 3rd world countries? Frequently these nations don't have such amenities, but I would propose that if one were to compare the ratios of persons with a high quality of life to those with a low quality of life, on an absolute scale, between today and the 14th century, you'd find that the world is a heckuva' lot better today. I'm not saying that there's no imperfection, I'm not saying that oppression doesn't exist, on the contrary--- the existence of those things is incontrovertible and always will be. I *am* saying that, in general, the modern world is much better off than the world of the plague years. Perhaps I interpreted your statement too literally when you said that in the 3rd world most people live in as bad a condition as any condition in history, but I'd much rather live in the third world today, with gangs and warlords and the whole shebang, than in Europe during the plague years. Or in the USSR during Stalin's reign. Or any number of other times and places. Because you know what? Gangs and warlord and the whole shebang have existed throughout the world, throughout history. They aren't new, they aren't original, they aren't unusual. Now, onto the more relevant point which has less to do with us trying to insult each other. [quote="Faelcind Il Danach":36rs3quq]The money from industrialized nation is certainly helping but I have my doubts as to whether its even close to offseating the extraction of resources and labor from the area in its effects on the the third world.[/quote:36rs3quq] Well, good. At least we agree that the monies being shifted there aren't hurting. I will admit to wondering why the extraction of labor from the area is a bad thing, assuming it isn't a forced extraction. (Which does happen, though generally not to the modern industrialized nations. And when it is, it's black market trade and [i:36rs3quq]certainly[/i:36rs3quq] not endorsed or allowed by the gov't or culture at large). I mean, if the conditions in these third world countries are as awful as you say, wouldn't it be better for these people if they were to work in a developing country? Their quality of life would be higher, to be sure. And as for the resources, that's what's bringing the money into their society, isn't it? (And labor [i:36rs3quq]is[/i:36rs3quq] a resource, by the way.) That's the way it works for [i:36rs3quq]all[/i:36rs3quq] countries! And all people, in fact. If you want money, you've got to give something or you've got to steal it. That's about it. They aren't [i:36rs3quq]owed[/i:36rs3quq] money simply because they have less to start with, or because some warlord 500 years ago set their culture on a self-destructive path which led them to being the 3rd world country they are today instead of an indutrialized nation. The very concept is patently ridiculous. (I [i:36rs3quq]assume[/i:36rs3quq] you're not implying anything of the sort.) What I'm trying to say is that, by definition, they aren't being "cheated" out of their rightful compensation for the resources they provide unless they (A) Are gullible. Like me at a car mechanic. Then they may be cheated, but they aren't blameless-- they should have done their homework. Or (B) Are being coerced. Which is the far more likely possibility of the two. So, as I see it, if your argument is to hold [i:36rs3quq]any[/i:36rs3quq] merit, it must be that you are accusing the industrialized nations of coercing 3rd world countries for their resources. Is that what you're saying, or have I completely missed the mark here? view post


posted 24 Mar 2005, 21:03 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I'm still waiting to hear from Amadah, but in reply to your question of prosperity, Randall, I think you're entirely right. This comes back to my original question of what the [i:1rfvgs0f]purpose[/i:1rfvgs0f] of an economy is. I think it's clear that if it isn't working for everyone's benefit then it isn't working. For instance, what's the point of economic growth, when by and large it only benefits the top ten percent? Which has pretty much been the case in Canada and America the last 30 years. Sure household income is up for the vast majority, but when you factor in the number of people in the household working, and the number of hours worked, that increase all but vanishes for the bottom 80%. And the GDP has doubled in that time. Think about it. Anything with the word 'public' attached to it is in some state of fiscal crisis, and yet as a society, we're twice as wealthy as we were 30 years ago. view post


posted 30 Mar 2005, 16:03 by Alric, Auditor

[quote="Cu'jara Cinmoi":1ps540mp]This comes back to my original question of what the [i:1ps540mp]purpose[/i:1ps540mp] of an economy is. I think it's clear that if it isn't working for everyone's benefit then it isn't working. Think about it. Anything with the word 'public' attached to it is in some state of fiscal crisis, and yet as a society, we're twice as wealthy as we were 30 years ago.[/quote:1ps540mp] Scott, can something as nebulous as "economy" have a true purpose? I think that organizations, institutions, individuals, etc. can take part in the economy for a desired and specific purpuse. In the same way, I think that those same entities can enter into the economy with intent to create some sort of purpose for it. Still, it seems to be a highly fractured purpose. I would venture as far as to say that the economy works exactly to the purpose of those who have the ability and desire to make it work for them, either the money, resources, ideas or ability to craft benefit out of the exchange of goods, services, capital, etc. I think it is more human failure that that system is manipulated for the good of the very few instead of a more inclusive, good of the whole. I live in an area that has been quite seduced my the "no new taxes, efficient government, cut-backs" type of platform being upheld by most conservatives. Year after year, I see the people who vote on that platform get exactly what they want. They don't get new state or federal taxes. But, they are losing public transportation, health care, affordable housing, pristine environment, quality education, adequate social services. It seems that a majority of people, even though they are not specifically getting richer, are happy with the illusion that they are better off because they don't have to pay an extra $100 a year in taxes. Of course, that doesn't stop people from complaining about health insurance or the quality of education in public schools. It's a frustrating mess. view post


posted 31 Mar 2005, 21:03 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

[quote:x04g7c7e]Scott, can something as nebulous as "economy" have a true purpose? I think that organizations, institutions, individuals, etc. can take part in the economy for a desired and specific purpuse. In the same way, I think that those same entities can enter into the economy with intent to create some sort of purpose for it. Still, it seems to be a highly fractured purpose. [/quote:x04g7c7e] To say that an economy has a purpose is simply to say there's things that economy [i:x04g7c7e]should[/i:x04g7c7e] do. Or you suggesting that there's nothing in general that an economy should do, Alric? For instance, should it not secure the needs of the individuals who comprise it? Should it not maximize their opportunities? Should it not reward creativity and hard work? And so on... view post


posted 01 Apr 2005, 04:04 by Anonymous, Subdidact

Isn't that mixing up cause and effect? I've always viewed an economy as a sort of natural, societal side effect of people doing whatever it is they do. An accident, if you will, of cultural give and take. And, as a corollary to that, I don't think that an economy does or should reward creativity or hard work. Nor should an economy maximize opportuinities, or secure the needs of people. An economy does none of these things in itself, it's not an independently capable entity. An economy is a dumb mechanism whose ultimate, sole value is the conveyance of wealth, in one of its many forms, from person A to person B. All those other things are done by people independent of and to an economy. I think that it would also be fair to suggest that all those economical "add-ons" (if you will) decrease the effectiveness/efficiency of an economy's transferring of wealth. I'm not saying that that's necessarily a bad thing in all cases, but the more responsibility that we try to place on an economy (which I think is an inherently flawed approach to take in the first place), the more we weigh down the natural flow of commerce between two cooperating parties. view post


posted 01 Apr 2005, 10:04 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

There's much I don't understand in your reply, airhed13. You start off by saying that we shouldn't expect anything of our economy, but then you finish by saying that we [i:1jzhau30]should[/i:1jzhau30] leave it alone so that it can do what it does best - in other words, that we should expect it to create wealth. Should we expect anything of [i:1jzhau30]society[/i:1jzhau30]? Or how about a corporation? Or how about any institutional mechanism consisting of multiple individuals? It seems quite clear that we can and that we do. Also, what is 'the natural flow of commerce between parties?' What's 'natural' mean here? And what counts as an 'add-on,' which, as I take it, is something 'artificial' and imposed from the outside? How can we distinguish the one from the other? view post


posted 04 Apr 2005, 04:04 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="Cu'jara Cinmoi":2w6lfq6s]I'm still waiting to hear from Amadah, but in reply to your question of prosperity, Randall, I think you're entirely right. This comes back to my original question of what the [i:2w6lfq6s]purpose[/i:2w6lfq6s] of an economy is. I think it's clear that if it isn't working for everyone's benefit then it isn't working. For instance, what's the point of economic growth, when by and large it only benefits the top ten percent? Which has pretty much been the case in Canada and America the last 30 years. Sure household income is up for the vast majority, but when you factor in the number of people in the household working, and the number of hours worked, that increase all but vanishes for the bottom 80%. And the GDP has doubled in that time. Think about it. Anything with the word 'public' attached to it is in some state of fiscal crisis, and yet as a society, we're twice as wealthy as we were 30 years ago.[/quote:2w6lfq6s]It is supposed to "trickle down." I hate economists, economic theory is bullshit. I can't wait for oil to run out. Mad Max, here I come! view post


posted 06 Apr 2005, 04:04 by Anonymous, Subdidact

OT: What a great forum. If I had not read the books, (which I have) or I thought they were total crap, (which I don’t) I could read a single thread all night and not do a bit of homework (which I have). Are all philosophers so interesting? That would explain the high divorce rate. Anyway, I hope amadah replies. He’s ahead so far by my count, although I might be biased. I voted for Bush too, I just didn’t realize I had so many good reasons. I must be an ignorant red-stater that loves Jesus and ammo. That’s all I can add to this discussion except a relevant quote from another board... Are you a Democrat, Republican or Southern Republican? Here is a little test that will help you decide: How do you tell the difference between Democrats, Republicans, and Southern Republicans? The answer can be found by posing the following question: You're walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children. Suddenly, an Islamic Terrorist with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, praises Allah, raises the knife, and charges. You are carrying a Glock .40, and you are an expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family. What do you do? Democrat's Answer: Well, that's not enough information to answer the question! Does the man look poor or oppressed? Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack? Could we run away? What does my wife think? What about the kids? Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand? What does the law say about this situation? Does the Glock have appropriate safety built into it? Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of message does this send to society and to my children? Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing me? Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content just to wound me? If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me? Should I call 9-1-1? Why is this street so deserted? We need to raise taxes, have a paint and weed day and make this happier, healthier street that would discourage such behavior. This is all so confusing! I need to debate this with some friends for few days and try to come to a consensus. Republican's Answer: BANG! Southern Republican's Answer: BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! click.....(sounds of reloading). BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! click Daughter: "Nice shooting, Daddy! Were those the Winchester hollow points?" libertarian’s answer: Ask amadah to be sure, but I think the middle one. Sorry for the long post, and thanks for the great books, I love them more than Jesus [i:x7v4r5dr]and[/i:x7v4r5dr] ammo. view post


posted 29 Jun 2005, 04:06 by azdahak, Candidate

One difference between Europe and the US is when we talk about liberalism it's almost always economic liberalism. The US has gone from being a economical liberal nation to one of corporate liberalism by dismantling anti-thrust laws and allowing price fixing. Classical (economic) liberalism lets the market more or less handle it self, but requires capitalistic nations to have laws to secure the market against cornering. After the recent tarrifs and the all-consuming power of the corporations it's fair to say that the United States of America is NOT a free-market nation. Coming from a nation that's been social democratic (not Sweden, the other one ;) ) for a long time with some liberalist periods between, I can tell you it's a good and safe system to live under. Low poverty means low crime rates as well as more productive individuals (consumers). Yes we have high taxes, but we also have a high awarenes for what those taxes pay for (universal healthcare, roads, welfare). If you lose your job, it's not freeloading NOT having to sell your house while you're waiting for the next one. We might have to wait a bit for non-chritical operations, but it's free! Having a condition that requires expensive medicine? Everything above $250 is paid by the state. I can't really see how this can be wrong and apparently the UN can't either as they rated it the best country to live in. The poster below hasn't got a clue what he's talking about when it comes to self defense. Many of us that leans to the left (at least for you americans) have qualms of ATTACKING other nations and people. That doesn't mean that people who comes against us with weapons and bad intent isn't fair game. We humans are survival-machines after all!! An please remember amadah that the reason for international diplomacy after WW2 is that the "OTHER" side also has thermonuclear weapons! So don't wave your dick around too much would you. I want a future on this planet even if you don't! HOT view post


posted 29 Jun 2005, 18:06 by Harrol, Moderator

Azdahak I understand your point of view. Meaning that a socialist democracy is your preferred society. What about people here in America who do not wish to live in that type of society. Personally I do not want to hand most of my money over to the government and have them take care of me. Thomas Jefferson once stated that if the government has the power to give you food, clothing and shelter they also have the power to take it away. Right now in America if the government controled those functions, the truth is they would not take them away. They would leverage them for their own control of the society. Another fear I have to having is a socialist democracy is the office of the president regardless of party has gain power never granted to it by the constitution. I state all this for one reason. Over the last 20 or more years the presidents have been moving to have power similar to that of a Roman Emporer. How they do this is through executive order. Bill Clinton issued over 400 and the current president is on the same course. Our congress is content to stand by and do nothing even though the power is theirs according to the constitution. Like the Roman emporers taking power from the senate. If we have one person with majority power that controls the food, clothing, housing and medical needs of the coutry. Then what is to stop him from abusing his powers. We have many examples of that in history. Recent examples are Stalin, Hitler, Saddam, Pol Pot and Ho Che Mein. One more thought that I have a hard time getting around is the fact that the Nationalist Socialist Workers Party is what the Naxi party's official name was. view post


posted 01 Jul 2005, 10:07 by Randal, Auditor

[quote:sthyz2ap] Personally I do not want to hand most of my money over to the government and have them take care of me. Thomas Jefferson once stated that if the government has the power to give you food, clothing and shelter they also have the power to take it away[/quote:sthyz2ap] That's not quite what a social democracy is about... Yes, you pay more taxes than the Americans do. But it's not "most of your money" (here in Holland at least, effective taxation would be between 30 and 40% of total income at most. Still a bloody lot.) and you are not "taken care of" by the government. You are not given food, clothing or shelter normally. And so nobody can take it away either. The richer people live in privately owned houses, have private healthcare insurance, etc. What the system is all about is providing a safety net for those who would otherwise fall through the cracks of society. If you suffer from a chronic disease, it will be treated no matter how much money you have. If you lose your job, your children can still go to college. Of course, the system can be (and is) abused. There are unfair rules, too. Sometimes, for example, a low-end job will pay no more than you'd get from the state if you're unemployed. But basically the system is about reducing inequality and righting injustices. It's about making sure those who are unfortunate enough not to have highly marketable skills in the modern world will not suffer for it more than is inevitable. Of course, you can take the line that every human gets what he/she deserves, and that the poor have either brought it onto themselves or just have "tough luck". But this has been discussed earlier in the thread, and suffice to say most people here would disagree. Hence our system of government. And as for scary governemnt powers? Hah. In the U.S., perhaps. You have presidents with great powers which could conceivably be abused. But in Holland, I'm much more afraid of the government's incompetence and inertia than any plans to establish a dictatorship. With a dozen opposed political parties and evershifting coalitions and no rule safe by consensus, there is no such thing as "the" government which could seize power. That would require all the politicians unite towards a single common goal, and that won't happen this millennium. (as for your examples: Stalin is a bad one, he simply inherited and consolidated Lenin's power. Russia never was a democracy. Hitler and such did seize power, but they could only succeed because most of the populace [i:sthyz2ap]wanted[/i:sthyz2ap] a strongman to take over and set things to right.) view post


posted 01 Jul 2005, 11:07 by Harrol, Moderator

Randal Those are some interesting thoughts. Paying about 30-40% on taxes is about what we in America pay anyways. Most of are taxes are income tax and property tax. Our politians like to hide taxes in the basic use of services so it is hard to say what our exact percentage is. I will say this much every time I check my pay stub a strong urge to call the police and tell them I have been robbed comes over me. Thanks for your post that is info I did not know about. view post


posted 07 Jul 2005, 01:07 by zap21, Commoner

well i can't vote yet but... WOULDN'T IT BE GREAT TO TURN ON THE TV AND HEAR ANY U.S. PRESIDENT, DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN GIVE THE FOLLOWING SPEECH? My Fellow Americans: As you all know, the defeat of Iraq regime has been completed. Since congress does not want to spend any more money on this war, our mission in Iraq is complete. This morning I gave the order for a complete removal of all American forces from Iraq. This action will be complete within 30 days. It is now to begin the reckoning. Before me, I have two lists. One list contains the names of countries which have stood by our side during the Iraq conflict. This list is short. The United Kingdom, Spain, Bulgaria, Australia, and Poland are some of the countries listed there. The other list contains everyone not on the first list. Most of the world's nations are on that list. My press secretary will be distributing copies of both lists later this evening. Let me start by saying that effective immediately, foreign aid to those nations on List 2 ceases immediately and indefinitely. The money saved during the first year alone will pretty much pay for the costs of the Iraqi war. The American people are no longer going to pour money into third world Hell-holes and watch those government leaders grow fat on corruption. Need help with a famine? Wrestling with an epidemic? Call France. In the future, together with Congress, I will work to redirect this money toward solving the vexing social problems we still have at home. On that note, a word to terrorist organizations: Screw with us and we will hunt you down and eliminate you and all your friends from the face of the earth. Thirsting for a gutsy country to terrorize? Try France, or maybe China... I am ordering the immediate severing of diplomatic relations with France, Germany, and Russia. Thanks for all your help, comrades. We are retiring from NATO as well. Bon chance, mes amis. I have instructed the Mayor of New York City to begin towing the many UN diplomatic vehicles located in Manhattan with more than two unpaid parking tickets to sites where those vehicles will be stripped, shredded and crushed. I don't care about whatever treaty pertains to this. You creeps have tens of thousands of unpaid tickets. Pay those tickets tomorrow or watch your precious Benzes, Beamers and limos be turned over to some of the finest chop shops in the world. I love New York A special note to our neighbors. Canada is on List 2. Since we are likely to be seeing a lot more of each other, you folks might want to try not pissing us off for a change. Mexico is also on List 2. President Fox and his entire corrupt government really need an attitude adjustment. I will have a couple extra tank and infantry divisions sitting around. Guess where I am going to put em? Yep, border security. So start doing something with your oil. Oh, by the way, the United States is abrogating the NAFTA treaty - starting now. We are tired of the one-way highway. Immediately, we'll be drilling for oil in Alaska - which will take care of this country's oil needs for decades to come. If you're an environmentalist who opposes this decision, I refer you to List 2 above: pick a country and move there. They care. It is time for America to focus on its own welfare and its own citizens. Some will accuse us of isolationism. I answer them by saying, "darn tootin'!" Nearly a century of trying to help folks live a decent life around the world has only earned us the undying enmity of just about everyone on the planet. It is time to eliminate hunger in America. It is time to eliminate homelessness in America. It is time to eliminate World Cup Soccer from America. To the nations on List 1, a final thought: Thanks, guys. We owe you and we won't forget. To the nations on List 2, a final thought: You might want to learn to speak Arabic. God bless America. Thank you, and good night. If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English, thank a soldier. view post


posted 07 Jul 2005, 01:07 by White Lord, Subdidact

Well, I have to say that this last post beats all as far as naivete' is concerned . . . :) If you think isolationism works, well try it! For a year maybe, and see how far you can go towards "solving" the problems you mention . . . Also, as far as I'm concerned, Europe really could do without NATO, so if you can convince the US government to pull out (as far as I can see, it's more in the Americans' interest to still remain in Europe, than it is in Europe's interest to have them . . .), you'll have my support! :) view post


posted 07 Jul 2005, 02:07 by Cynical Cat, Auditor

Where to begin with Zap? Let's just leave the jingosim alone for now and deal with the numbers: Zap, why don't you check how much money America is spending on the war and occupation and compare it to the less than 1% of its budget that goes to foreign aid before you shoot your mouth off about how cancelling foreign aid will pay for the war and solve America's social problems? view post


posted 07 Jul 2005, 04:07 by Wil, Head Moderator

Turning on the TV and seeing the president (no matter what party) saying that would make me even more ashamed to be an American. It's true that there are many things that we as a country need to work on, but isolating countries that didn't support us in a horrible decision (invasion of Iraq with out UN Support) is not going to help us fix those problems. The problem as I see it is that we need to start thinking like we belong to a world government instead of thinking like we own the world. We are a part of something bigger, not the big boy himself, and to think otherwise is why everybody (rightfully) hates us. view post


posted 07 Jul 2005, 12:07 by Harrol, Moderator

I have to disagree with being a part of a world government. America has many problems of its own without a doubt. We can at times truly be arrogant, self-conceited, proud and even cruel. Yet, at the same time so is the rest of the world. Many countries say why can't America adopt more of the ways in which we do things? I understand that statement America makes the same statement all the time too. I find this to be arrogant on both sides. I am a patriot who loves America and the American way of life, but I am not a nationalist that thinks the American way of life needs to be pushed on the rest of the world. At the same time I appreciate other peoples from other countries being patriotic and loving their way of life. I do not appreciate them trying to tell us that we are not as smart or as sophisticated as them because we do not do things like them. To people in other countries that tell America that we are stupid for who we vote for let me just tell you that I find it offensive. No I did not vote for Bush I voted for Nader. I do not support the war in Irag. It is unconstitutional and wrong. It is unconstitutional because congress never voted to go to war. They merely voted to hand the president a blank sheet of paper to work off of. In other words they voted to give up their rights to say yes or no. I find that to be cowardly and wrong. I believe the out cry should have been to replace congress with people who aren't afraid to do their job and vote on the issues that are in their power to vote on and really make policy decisions instead of letting the president do it. Under the constitution the president is the Commander in Chief of all American forces and has some other limited executive powers, but all legisative powers and the power to long term deploy the military rest in the hands of the congress America can not go around the world trying to fix all these problems militarily. That is too reminisent of the Roman empire for me. As the first leaders of this country stated. Friendship and trade without partiality to all, and entangling alliances with none. That is not xenphobia just what I believe would be the best way to operate with foreign policy. view post


posted 07 Jul 2005, 12:07 by Harrol, Moderator

Sorry for the double post. To everyone in England You have my sympathies for those horrible explosions in London. I feel terrible about the loss of life there. I pray it does not happen again. view post


posted 07 Jul 2005, 18:07 by Wil, Head Moderator

I agree with Harrol, my heart and prayers go out to the people of London and surrounding areas. This is a tragedy. view post


posted 07 Jul 2005, 18:07 by Wil, Head Moderator

Harrol, about your first post. What does that have to do with us not being part of a world government? I feel that we as a country need to realize that we are part of the world, not the rulers of it. view post


posted 07 Jul 2005, 19:07 by Harrol, Moderator

Will, You are right I did not make a clear point about us not being apart of a global government. In a way I did address it by saying we need to stay out of other countries militarily. We as Americans need to as I stated before have open friendship with all and free trade. No America should not be the overlords of the world. To me that goes for any country or group of countries. I do not want to see a global government because I feel that as the common man we will lose a lot of our direct representation from our leaders. One example and then I will stop and wait for feed back. That example is who are all the active members of the Security Council. i do not mean the countries. I mean the names of the individual people. I did not vote for a one of them. That makes me think that there is an accountability gap. That is one of my main concerns about a global governing body. view post


posted 08 Jul 2005, 01:07 by Wil, Head Moderator

You make a good point. However, I'm not saying that we need to give up our national government in favor of a world government. I think that America needs to do what it feels is best for America (with in reason, of course). But I also think that on an international level, we need to start acting like we give a shit about the countries around us. I agree that the members of the Security Council should be elected by their respective countries (I have limited knowledge on the subject). I feel that our representative(s) should be directly elected by the American people and not appointed by any official. I feel this would help close the accountability gap. I'm not saying that it will be perfect, but then no government is. The point is that we need to start working towards a common goal of world peace and learn that our actions and decisions directly affect our global neighbors. view post


posted 14 Oct 2005, 00:10 by Anonymous, Subdidact

Wow! Been a while. Kept putting off responding and never DID get back to it....until now, of course. [quote:1wp9ugyv] I think this gives us good place to start! Just a couple of things (digressions, more like ). More as an aside than anything else, I wouldn't identify yourself as a libertarian, if I were you, because I'm not sure you share much more than some sympathies with them. [/quote:1wp9ugyv] Perhaps...but it's as good a descriptor as any. I feel that I've advanced beyond regular libertarian philosophy but I have no idea what to call it, so.... [quote:1wp9ugyv]Also, I think you're dead wrong on the questions. Certain questions - leading questions - can create the situation you describe, but the way you frame it makes it sound like answering questions is always a mistake, which is tantamount to saying that genuine debate is a mistake![/quote:1wp9ugyv] Debate can be a mistake. Debate is not necessarily a good thing. Debate can enlighten but it can also muddy the waters. [quote:1wp9ugyv] If, in the course of answering questions, you find yourself committed to further claims, that simply has to be a good thing, either because it reveals unknown inconsistencies in your view (which can't be fixed until they're identified), or because it leads you to a more powerful view (and since it's pretty much a given that we are all duped in someway, that means there's always a better view to be had!). The only way I can see answering being a negative in the way you suggest is if the point of argumentation is winning as opposed to expanding one's perspective. But then that's argument in the sense of 'quarrelling,' not in the sense of giving and asking for reasons. [/quote:1wp9ugyv] "Better view"? I don't know. You would have to define "better". There's always the supposition that there is something "better", but it's not always the case. "Better" is a perception and not an absolute. Debate can be good but, in most instances, it becomes a matter of winning. Show me someone who takes a side in something who ISN'T proud of having the "better" argument. [quote:1wp9ugyv]The last point has to do with socialism, which is not 'communism lite,' and though the right always makes this comparison, it is nothing more than a fallacious guilt-by-association tactic, possessing no more force than left-wing cries of facism. [/quote:1wp9ugyv] I guess so. It's still a matter of perception, though. In the same way that I identify myself as a libertarian when I'm not really, the above statements are the best description that I can do without making up new terms. [quote:1wp9ugyv]But enough of that. Onto the points... Let's start with money first, just to keep things manageable. MONEY Most people understand money in a 'local' sense, as the means to buy what we want. You suggest that this is 'what money is in itself,' but in point of fact, you're wrong. What money is in itself is simply pieces of inked paper, or numbers on a bank statement. What money 'is in itself' is arbitrary - we could use plastic chits, or beads on a string. What is essential about money are the human actions prompted by these arbitrary markers. You can have all the paper currency in the world, and you would have little more than paper to roll your joints if no one behaved as if that paper were money. [/quote:1wp9ugyv] You misunderstood but that's fine. Money IS what it is...and you describe what it is below.... [quote:1wp9ugyv]Money, in the simplest terms, is access to the actions of other individuals, either in the form of goods, which require the actions of others to manufactures, or in the form of services. This is why people with money are 'powerful.' Power is simply the control of other's actions, and people regularly cede their actions in exchange for money - which is to say, access to the actions of others. As members of the most intensely interdependent society in the history of the human race, we have no choice but to cede our actions in exchange for the actions of the myriad others we depend on. [/quote:1wp9ugyv] Agree in many ways but I'm beginning to see that you and I identify some things differently...one of the best ways to lead to disagreement. [quote:1wp9ugyv]Now in a market system, the monetary value of our actions is determined by the vagaries of supply and demand. All of us, by and large, surrender similar portions of our lives doing actions we would not otherwise do in exchange for money. The easier our particular actions are to replace, the less money we typically receive. [/quote:1wp9ugyv] Ah...and here we go. That last sentence is very important. [quote:1wp9ugyv]This is simply a fact: in our market system, though we all generally give the same number of action-hours, the access to the action-hours of others that we receive in exchange is anything but the same. Those who work for minimum wage, for instance, give the most action-hours in return for the least. The opposite could be said of millionaires. In fact, this is what relative wealth and poverty basically consists of: the ratio of actions given to actions received. It is a fact that relative wealth depends on relative poverty. Without the working poor giving more than they receive, the wealthy couldn't receive more than they give. [/quote:1wp9ugyv] And here it is. You seem to be working under the assumption in this particular paragraph that some people's actions are worth more or less than others but that seems to contradict what you said one paragraph above. Wealth and poverty DO depend on luck, on ability, on effort...just because people give relatively equal "action-hours" doesn't mean that, for some reason, they should receive equal compensation. As you pointed out above, the easier our particular actions are to replace, the less money we typically receive. The opposite is also true. The more difficult our actions are to replace, the MORE money we typically receive. [quote:1wp9ugyv]For me, this was a crucial step in my conversion from a right wing 'fiscal conservative' to a socialist: understanding the systematic relationship between poverty and wealth. Before it simply never occurred to me that the two were interrelated. There was just a bunch of lucky or hardworking rich people and a bunch of unlucky or lazy poor people. I looked at our system in asystematic terms - as a bunch of disconnected individuals who had to take responsibility for themselves. [/quote:1wp9ugyv] And this is where we differ. I fully understand the interrelationship between human beings in our society. We are where we are BECAUSE we have specialized more and more and have split up tasks. This does not mean, to me, that we aren't or can't be individualistic. As a matter of fact, it makes ME even BIGGER on the concept of libertarianism and the free market. The better that you as an individual can be at something, the more money (power over the actions of others) that you can get. If you're not that good at anything, then you aren't going to have that. Let's say that, for example, an educated man writes some pretty decent books that get published. There is some luck involved, of course, but there's a lot of hard work and ability involved, too. This guy gets them published and gets money for it. There are other people out there who have written MORE but never been published. There are probably people out there who have written MORE and BETTER (perception again, of course) but never been published because of the luck factor or something else. Should that guy who got published share his money/power with others who have done something equivalent in terms of time but not ability? Let's say that there's 1000 man-hours of the author in a book. Should that compensation be shared with the part-time McDonald's cook who worked 1000 hours in a year? Nope. Relative wealth and relative poverty are only a PART of the huge equation. I take it as a "given" that the wealth of any particular individual is largely dependent on the actions of other individuals...but I DON'T see that as any sort of impediment to my way of thinking. I don't see it as illogical at all. It's just a truth. If not for there even BEING other people, there is no concept of wealth or poverty. There would just be YOU as an individual. To even seek out wealth, you need a society. [quote:1wp9ugyv]But this was simply an illusion of my ignorance, which in turn was a product of both my hardwiring (I evolved to cognize small communities of 100 to 200 people, not mass conglomerations of 100's of millions), and my socialization in the 'cult of individualism,' which trains us to look at people in isolation from one another, and to think of all things collective as uncool (when was the last time the action hero got something done by working within the organization? Everyone knows he's gotta go it alone!). I, like everyone else, thought myself independent, tough-minded, and self-sufficient - when in fact I belonged to the most dependent generation in history! [/quote:1wp9ugyv] Another difference that is, oddly, not really a difference but a matter of perception. I've ALWAYS realized the above but it hasn't affected me as it has you. You can't even have the concept of an individual WITHOUT having more than one person and even two people make a society of sorts. [quote:1wp9ugyv]Then I realized: our society, like every other society in history, had developed a belief system that abetted the status quo. We call it individualism. We are cogs, through and through, and yet we all style ourselves self-contained mechanisms, with little or no real understanding of our social position. When the forces that so profoundly shape us remain in the dark, then it seems clear that 'everyone makes a choice, they have to own up to.' [/quote:1wp9ugyv] I don't believe that individualism abets the status quo. I actually believe the opposite, in general. An "individual", in our society and by my way of thinking, is most often OPPOSED to the status quo...or part of it, anyway. [quote:1wp9ugyv]But that simplicity is illusory, a function of confusing ignorance of one's social dependencies for the absence of such dependencies. If relative wealth is systematically dependent on relative poverty (and it in fact is), then the question of 'taking responsibility' for one's social position becomes a very vexed question. It's hard to understand how one could take responisibility for something they're entirely ignorant of anyway! [/quote:1wp9ugyv] That's perplexing in some cases...but totally irrelevant in others. Take me, for instance. I understand implicity what you're saying but I PERCEIVE the end conclusions differently. Just a different lense. Oh...and relative wealth and poverty are not implicitly dependent on each other. That's too open-ended a statement. You're always going to have a hierarchy of wealth in a society but what does that really matter? It doesn't. Regardless of how the bleeding hearts feel, there ARE people who are worth more as individuals than others and these individuals are worth more to society, in general. [quote:1wp9ugyv]This is where the 'blame game' begins, and things become less factual, and more partisan. But does this make sense so far? [/quote:1wp9ugyv] Makes perfect sense. Like I said above, we just see the world through the different lenses of our respective pasts. With that said, when the hell's your next book coming out? I've taken a different job that keeps me traveling a lot and I need something to read. view post


posted 06 Feb 2006, 23:02 by Azcarnoth, Commoner

Wandering the internet I came across this board and post, more specifically the contents of Bakkers post of Mar 8th is what I was most interested in. Though I have no formal education in politics or philosophy (I'm an engineering student) it seems that much of what has been posted in response has rather missed the point. Bakker seems to be suggesting that those who are relatively wealthy are responsible for the rest of society due to the nature of the interdependant relationship between actors in our society/economy. That we are not, in fact, the "rugged individualists" that many of us americans claim to be. If we are truely dependant on others in our society for our own prosparity (of which I have no doubt that we are) then is it not in our best interest see them prosper and, by extention, do so ourselves. If you beleve the we are but one cog in a great machine, it seems painfully obvious that keeping as many of them as you can in repair is to most efficient path to prosperity. From my limited understanding of the "Nash Programme" which seems to suggest that "what is best for the whole is best for the individual" has been mathematically proven, though if someone with a better understanding of that would care to comment on and or correct my broad statment that would be helpful. To create an analogy using a situation I better understand, lets say I'm the engineer in charge of the construction of a large office building. I would think it would be in my best interest to insure that things procede efficiently for all parties involved. Though I have special skills that make me (relatively) unique, the actors that actually build the building do so more efficiently that i ever could... so i need them just as they need me to design and organize the project. Just as well all need the roads, cars and gasoline to get to work in the first place. I could go on and on; food to eat, the gathering and preperation of tar and gravel for the roads, scientists to make better and more efficient materials and methods for us to work with, philosophers and artists that remind us that sometimes we need to look with better eyes at the world around us, etcetera. Howerver, one thing about your argument i wonder at is that its simplified to see money as the only manifestation of power, (influence over the actions of others) the only "wealth." I would argue that there are many types of wealth, and some of them can't be bought or sold on a market, and if wealth doesn't derive soley from material gain than the wealthy arn't necesssarily so at the expense of the poor. Though i believe that the point is that all actors in this society, in some way depend on it. If our decisions affect the society, then arn't we bound to it's consequences? I agree with what I think you're trying to suggest in pricipal, however it's application seems tenuous at best. One would have to consistantly overcome the "shortest path" and take long term prosparity over short term. I just don't believe that humans (the great survivalists) are hardwired that way. Even I ask myself, what good is a prosperous future when I have to sacrafice a prosperous present to achieve it, and likely die before it ever comes about... and of course this requries the cooperation of a vast number of people of which that idea is just as apparent, even if they're not consciously aware of it (as I said, it seems hardwired). Also, I wonder if Capitolism is not itself baised on these hypothesis and consessions to make it practical haven't simply distorted it beyond recognition. Excuse the bit of wandering ramble, I'm truely a novice when it comes to philosophy and politics. I welcome any response to this and especially a clarification of your opinion if I have misrepresented it. view post


posted 27 Jul 2006, 04:07 by avatar_of_existence, Peralogue

The one thing I like about Bush is that his opinions are so right-wing that they necessitate a left-wing reaction (and lets face it, the left is simply reaction these days). I have friends who voted for Bush on the platform of 'He pisses people off'. Besides, voting has always been nothing more than a symbolic (ahh yes, the power of a symbol) way of sedating the population by allowing them to believe they are all accountable in this system. Can anyone name anyone in the electoral college? Most Americans can't, but these are the people who select our presidents. view post


posted 27 Jul 2006, 05:07 by alhana, Auditor

Huzzah for ressurecting old posts!! I am an independant voter. I have never registered with any political party because 1) in BFE it is completely pointless to be anything other than a Donkey or an Elephant 2) the party system is broken and was never intended to "run" the government of the US. I vote any and all canidates I chose regardless of political party. If I am anything, I am conservative liberal or a liberal conservative; I am a moderate who wants her Constitution to be free from political bull shit and party mucky muck. I am a deeply spiritual person but I find that the "religious issues" focus on all the wrong issues ie, right-to-life folks usually support the death penality and but not the quality of life of the baby they save. People who want to "save families from abuse" do not support a living wage or giving people real life skills rather than handouts. These are difficult times to vote the decisions that effect not only our futures and the futures of our children, but also the future of the global village where we all reside. view post


posted 28 Jul 2006, 01:07 by Entropic_existence, Moderator

I hate american politics. The whole two-party system that it has become is, in my opinio0n, and affront to democracy. Of course I'd change a thing or two about the political and governmental system here too if I had free reign to do so. view post


posted 28 Jul 2006, 02:07 by Kidruhil Lancer, Auditor

Honestly speaking, I don't vote. *Pause to let those who want to scream do so.* All those ad campains about "vote or die" just piss me off. Voting itself pisses me off. I live in California, which means regardless of who I vote for, the state is going to swing for whatever hippy open-minded morally bankrupt candidate the Democrats decide to regurgitate. So I figure, what's the point? I don't consider myself to be a member of either party. I think of myself the same way Alhana does. (I even used the same term in private conversations. hah! *High five*) I think the liberals (I'm speaking of politicians here, not citizens.) are all reactionary dip sh**s, who are so obsessed with being open minded and tolerant, that they've lost all sense of perspective. While the conservatives obviously don't have enough of an open mind. As for Bush... Yes, the man has made stupid decisions. What pisses me off more though are the dumb asses who scream for impeachment. The man hasn't done anything illegal! A presidant can't be impeached for making foolish decisions, unless those decisions compromise the safety and integrity of the nation and the office. Which they haven't. The whole political system is screwed up these days. Neither party can field a decent candidate because they're both so obsessed with defeating the other that they've lost site of the point of the whole process. However I have to say that I'm more afraid of what liberals would do to this country than I am of conservatives. Standing still or moving forward slowly is better than rushing forward off a cliff face. In my honest opinion (which may very well be wrong, but I have done some reading on the subject.), liberals (Again, speaking of the parties/politicians, not citizens.) have done more to hurt this country than conservatives have. You just never hear about it because they have better PR. view post


posted 28 Jul 2006, 18:07 by Harrol, Moderator

Liberals and conservatives both use the bully pulpit and propaganda. The liberals have mainstream media and the conservatives have the more popular talk show hosts. What irratates me the most is we seldom debate issues any more before we run quickly into defamation of character and shaming of people. i do not mean this in context to this board but general American and even world politics. One fear and shaming tactic used a lot in America is the term intolerant. Most that use that term do not even use it right. It is not intolerance to disagree and think something is wrong. Intolerance is to physically and verbally be uncivil and violent. People that use the intolerant stick because you disagree with them are wrong. You can only have tolerance if there are disagreeing parties. If everyone agrees there is no tolerance because everyone is on the same side. I find that those that proclaim themselves tolerant and say those that disagree with them are intolerant are actually the intolerant one because through embarasment and shaming they try to silence the other opposing veiws. view post


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