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Thread: Ocupy Wall Street?

  1. #101  
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    Return without risk, indexed for inflation of course - funny it never worked before, all those years.
    Very low return for no risk. In one study I remember the ROI was less than 2%. Also it's not evenly distributed. Inner city minorities and the poor ROI has almost always been negative because they don't live to the average age of the general population and can't pass it to the younger generation. FDR's big idea is extremely regressive.

    The ones that invest now just got done watching their returns go negative
    None of index funds, nor the general market are negative over very long and all are positive over the more than 10 years. Of course as one gets closer the general advise is to switch to mix with more bonds, CDs etc. We know how to optimize that mix and most mutual fund companies have offered "retire in 25" type funds which do it automatically. (personally I've made a killing the past few years). Just about anyway you design it, a strong dose of stocks when younger and switching to a more conservative mix would beat social security by a long shot. If you look at just large stocks (say Dow) for a person who retired at the bottom of the recent recession their total return would have been nearly 9% after inflation, and was over such a long period it was about as safe as SS. (very). And we could make it even safer by mixing the ratio of investments like already done by --federal employee thrift savings plans being just one example. Below shows the rolling 20 year returns up until 2009.

    Meanwhile - you planning to cut off the old folks getting benefits now, or are you planning to have the poor and middle class pay both SS and mandatory "investment" costs?
    It won't happen, but if by miracle the "99%er" took on the intrinsic regression of SS and it got repaired, any transition would have to be over at least a generation (20 years).
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; November 11th, 2011 at 11:24 AM.
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  2. #102  
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    None of index funds, nor the general market are negative over very long and all are positive over the more than 10 years.
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average was negative overall from 1964 to 1984 - a twenty year span. It has been negative since around 1998, or maybe 2000, until now - a ten year span and still going. Dow Jones Industrial Average (1900 - Present Monthly) - Charting Tools - StockCharts.com

    People in general don't have ten, twenty year windows in which to adjust their retirement day. They get too old, they can't work - then what, if their investments are down that year, or were down back when it was time to switch to bonds, or the bonds didn't keep up with inflation, or whatever.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Of course as one gets closer the general advise is to switch to mix with more bonds, CDs etc. We know how to optimize that mix and most mutual fund companies have offered "retire in 25" type funds which do it automatically. (personally I've made a killing the past few years). Just about anyway you design it, a strong dose of stocks when younger and switching to a more conservative mix would beat social security by a long shot.
    So? You think everyone can beat the market, all together?

    Because the market is an average, and that average incorporates variations and losses - somebody loses. That's why SS was invented - too many old people in miserable poverty.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Meanwhile - you planning to cut off the old folks getting benefits now, or are you planning to have the poor and middle class pay both SS and mandatory "investment" costs?

    It won't happen, but if by miracle the "99%er" took on the intrinsic regression of SS and it got repaired, any transition would have to be over at least a generation (20 years).
    That wasn't the question. The question was how you planned to manage that transition - you going to have the poor pay double, on top of paying double for the baby boom as looks like the current setup, or what?
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  3. #103  
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    The federal government has just recently had its credit rating downgraded. This should make people very nervous if they are depending on their social security for retirement.
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  4. #104  
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    Here's something interesting about the supposed raising of standards of living in the third world.

    Debunking the Myths in Nike's PR Blitz

    I actually don't know what makes people feel justified in assuming that, just because we open a factory somewhere, the workers are automatically making more money than they would otherwise. It looks like most of them barely subsist in their new professions, and are often forced, point blank, to lie about conditions when surveyed in order to cover for the failure of their employers to meet minimum standards of treatment.

    Our economic models have been omitting that very important force: desperation. It's been causing things not to perform as predicted, yet in spite of those failures we still keep deferring to blind faith and hoping things will get better. Isn't that what these stimulus packages are? Blind faith?
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  5. #105  
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    People in general don't have ten, twenty year windows in which to adjust their retirement day. They get too old, they can't work - then what, if their investments are down that year, or were down back when it was time to switch to bonds, or the bonds didn't keep up with inflation, or whatever.
    You're right they've actually got about 40 years, give or take four or five. I can with pretty good precision tell my kid now, who's not even working yet, the year he'll be eligible, (about 68)--worse case is it might be a year or two later.

    You simply can't approach this problem by only looking at short term market fluctuations nor is anyone suggesting put anyone into vulnerable situations where they are subject to the same. The stock market beats SS by a long shot when average over a persons working life over any period you look at--and that's why virtually every study which objectively looks at it has suggested get some of the market mixed into our retirement planning.
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  6. #106  
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    You realize, though, that SS was put into effect after the Great Depression. I think people in that time realized that what had just happened to them was random, but forseeable. Maybe not every generation will have a Great Depression and what we're experiencing now certainly isn't one. 5 or 10 generations might pass in between, and probably the third will start thinking it's invincible. They're the Titanic and no ice berg can ever sink them.

    The point in having SS is for when the next one hits. It will hit. It's all but inevitable. The question is how bad do you want it to be for that generation?
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    I think people in that time realized that what had just happened to them was random, but forseeable.
    No. What they realized was that what had just happened to them was not random, but caused and preventable, and it would be wise to prevent it.

    So they did. From 1935 until Reagan they avoided the bergs, and didn't sink until 2008.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    People in general don't have ten, twenty year windows in which to adjust their retirement day.

    You're right they've actually got about 40 years, give or take four or five. I can with pretty good precision tell my kid now, who's not even working yet, the year he'll be eligible, (about 68)--worse case is it might be a year or two later.
    Don't be silly. Without something like SS you can't predict the decade of your son's retirement with complete confidence.

    Even with good medical insurance (most people don't have it, in the US) and other luck, the market fluctuations alone can easily push it around more than five years in either direction

    What if the key stretch is a string like what started in '64? Or '98?
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    You simply can't approach this problem by only looking at short term market fluctuations
    Markets fluctuate in all terms - short, middle, and long. If you are calculating retirement, you have to consider them all - you have to time the market.

    And you can't. So somebody will lose - probably, if the behavior of stock market pros continues as always before, most ordinary investors will lose. If you are setting up a waterfall of money the size of everyone's SS contributions into that casino pit, from people incapable of tracking its fate and completely at the mercy of the Lloyd Blankfeins of this world, you are setting up an epic disaster - even bigger than the mortgage derivative one so cleverly set up by same people who want to "privatize" SS.

    But we can't tell: what are you setting up here, and how are you proposing to manage the transition from security to risk, at the expense of the poor, without anyone losing?
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  8. #108  
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    Almost forgot to address this:

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average was negative overall from 1964 to 1984 - a twenty year span. It has been negative since around 1998, or maybe 2000, until now - a ten year span and still going. Dow Jones Industrial Average (1900 - Present Monthly) - Charting Tools - StockCharts.com
    Where you apparently can't tell between stock market prices and total returns. The DOW, (which really isn't a good representation of US stock market because it's only a tiny bit), total returns averaged still pretty well even during that period powered by dividends regardless of their low PEs

    --
    So somebody will lose
    Most confusing about economic arguments come from the assumption it's a zero-sum game--yours included.
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    Where you apparently can't tell between stock market prices and total returns.
    I can. But I don't assume clever investing and the automatic garnering of even "average" total returns via dividends and the like. I posted the fact that stock prices do not, in general, reliably, rise at all over the time span of the typical retirement account's key years - that some people who entrust their retirement accounts to the stock market will suffer the fate of many recent 401-K investors, instead of acquiring for themselves a reliable retirement payback.

    And note that common causes of serious investment loss, such as illness or injury requiring the tapping of one's savings to avoid immediate bankruptcy, are not even figured in yet.

    Meanwhile, about your proposed transition period - the twenty years or so in which you propose to destroy Social Security and establish these retirement accounts instead - are you planning to make the working poor pay double, on top of the Reagan surcharge they have been paying for thirty years now, or what do you have in mind?

    And, relevant to the thread, are you planning to seriously re-regulate that investment market that has destroyed so many people's lifelong investments recently, and get rid of the organized criminals now dominating it as the OWS folks recommend, or are you planning to force people into that shark pit whether or not they are capable of outsmarting Lloyd Blankfein and his cronies?

    The huge sums of money you have proposed should be handed to Wall Street pros, by force - what effects do you anticipate from such unprecedented government mandates and overwhelmingly influential cause?

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Most confusing about economic arguments come from the assumption it's a zero-sum game--yours included.
    I don't share your confusions, such as "average" equating to "reliable" even, let alone your "inevitable" - quit projecting.
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  10. #110  
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    But I don't assume clever investing and the automatic garnering of even "average" total returns via dividends and the like.
    There's nothing too clever about index funds--in fact they are extremely low overhead because they are so simple. For most of us, it's about the best route and historically sure to beat social security's average returns.

    And, relevant to the thread, are you planning to seriously re-regulate that investment market that has destroyed so many people's lifelong investments recently, and get rid of the organized criminals now dominating it as the OWS folks recommend, or are you planning to force people into that shark pit whether or not they are capable of outsmarting Lloyd Blankfein and his cronies?
    My sense is the OWS folks aren't for the most part invested stocks anyhow--and probably never have been. They're just angry and unsatisfied with the their meager job income growth while they've ignored the best way to make money in America which is to invest in America. It's a lot like bitching about an election for which you didn't vote. Seriously how much sympathy should we have for the unskilled who've in so many words put themselves on unemployment and choose to stay out of the stock market when they held a job? I can empathize with their current plight but can't sympathize--as Herman Cain and others have boldly said--in large part they did it to themselves.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    There's nothing too clever about index funds--in fact they are extremely low overhead because they are so simple. For most of us, it's about the best route and historically sure to beat social security's average returns.
    So still yakking about "returns" in a transfer payment setup, eh? Still talking about investment strategies for everyone doing better than other people? Still talking about historical overall averages as future individual reliabilities, "historically sure"?

    Clueless, don't want to take in new info, actually a parrot, or what is the problem?

    Historically, reliance on the stock market without SS or something similar has led to large proportions of the elderly being the poorest people in America - starving, homeless, and miserable.

    Meanwhile, the OWS objections to Wall Street pros crashing the economy with their theft, piracy, and abuse of other people's money, is met with the incredible advice that we force people to give Wall Street more money to make bigger messes with:
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    My sense is the OWS folks aren't for the most part invested stocks anyhow--and probably never have been. They're just angry and unsatisfied with the their meager job income growth while they've ignored the best way to make money in America which is to invest in America.
    A lot of people who invested in America between 1970 and 2008 got robbed - and the pros who robbed America of its investments are still operating.

    A lot of people have lost their jobs, pensions, and retirement savings, in the housing and stock market recently. Many others are facing a future of debt and servitude because of advice like yours, taken by others, that turned out to be nothing but scam for the enrichment of Wall Street pros.

    Let's try this shoe of yours on another foot: let's start by "privatizing" military pensions, veteran's benefits, medical care, and other military related socialist schemes - after bankrupting the country in foreign wars for oil they owe us big time, and all we get out of them is whining about how we don't work hard enough and don't give our money to Wall Street in big enough chunks. Let them pound sand with the rest of us, see how they make out. Sound like a plan?
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  12. #112  
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    Investment is a valuable role to play in society, but it's one of many. If everybody did it it would cease to be valuable. It's like a person who's made their living as a garbage man saying everybody should be a garbage man..... but if everybody was a garbage man then the market for garbage removal would bottom out and they'd all be broke. (The market for investment is capable of bottoming out as well, hard as that may be to imagine.)

    Clearly there is a massive overabundance of unskilled labor world wide (and increasingly an oversupply of skilled labor as well). We haven't felt the effect of this for most of the last few decades because our borders were closed, which meant the supply available to fill local demand was limited to our domestic supply. But what determines demand for labor? Consumption does. If there isn't enough consumption, that puts a cap on how many jobs and/or gainful opportunities can exist. Where does consumption come from? It comes from wages paid to workers who don't invest it but spend it.

    If rich people keep all the money, they'll dump it into investment instead of consumption. And that's not as great as it sounds. In the first place, a lot of forms of investment are little more than big Ponzi schemes. The stock market, for example, only genuinely creates new wealth for investors when a company buys its own stock or pays out dividends. The rest of the increase in the stock's value is due to additional investors deciding to buy in greater amounts/numbers than those selling. (Just like how a Ponzi scheme has to continually expand so it can pay out yields to the earlier investors using the money that comes in from the newer ones.) The real estate market only generates new wealth when a developer decides to develop it, but.... development is production/consumption not investment. The investment aspect of real estate generates no wealth at all. Leave it up to rich people and the entire economy will just spin around chasing its tail.

    Ponzi scheme - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited by kojax; November 14th, 2011 at 01:49 AM.
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  13. #113  
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    Quote Originally Posted by ice
    So still yakking about "returns" in a transfer payment setup, eh? Still talking about investment strategies for everyone doing better than other people? Still talking about historical overall averages as future individual reliabilities, "historically sure"?

    Clueless, don't want to take in new info, actually a parrot, or what is the problem?
    You aren't showing any data. But lets review your mistakes in this thread:

    1) You several times claim dropping wages.....but all the agencies that actually track the data say otherwise--in fact it's gone UP every single year!
    2) When faced with fact that stock total returns grow dramatically better than SS you show a Dow chart of stock prices, which neither shows total returns, nor reflect the US markets, nor even supports your position given the time period of investment. You also ignore that for the unskilled, unemployed crowd you seem to be supporting, there's actually a net loss --because many of the poor, including minorities, don't even survive to break even average age. In the stock market they'd at least get the pass it to their offspring and would get to do so with two to three times more money--it would help there families climb out of the rut many of them are in and help our class mobility.
    3) Apparently unable to find actually empirical evidence you try desperate things like "A lot of people who invested in America between 1970 and 2008 got robbed." Who? How many? We both know they it certainly happened for some in invested in individual stocks--but no ones talked about individual stock picking. The mention about stock prices has been about the average market, which is why several times I've talked about "Index" funds. The vast majority invest in well diversified mutual funds which also have boomed through that period.

    Let's try this shoe of yours on another foot: let's start by "privatizing" military pensions, veteran's benefits, medical care, and other military related socialist schemes - after bankrupting the country in foreign wars for oil they owe us big time, and all we get out of them is whining about how we don't work hard enough and don't give our money to Wall Street in big enough chunks. Let them pound sand with the rest of us, see how they make out. Sound like a plan?
    You're damned right it's a plan--A DAMNED GOOD ONE. But one for only serious people who look at the numbers--at least about this subject, you aren't in that group.

    On a personal note, if I'd been given some equivalent amount of money to reflect the pension I'm about to collect and followed even the most humdrum investment plan, I'd be many times wealthier. And quite the opposite of bankrupting the nation, the markets flush with new money would boom--those smart enough to invest (I'm raising my hand) would make even more money. I consider myself a patriot and ever since I've been a boy I was taught to get educated and invest my time and treasure in my community and it would pay me many times over--it has. I feel no compunction to join the tiny marches in protest over the successful who give us jobs by people who don't invest in themselves.

    Sorry to say this thread isn't going anywhere. (shrugged)

    I won't comment further unless there's actually relevant data to discuss instead of rhetorical fear and conspiracy.
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  14. #114  
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    1) You several times claim dropping wages.....but all the agencies that actually track the data say otherwise--in fact it's gone UP every single year!
    I posted a link to the dropping wages. I also posted a link to the dropping minimum wage, backing my claim that it was once about $10 @ hr (and the unemployment rate was much lower). You have posted nothing - no data at all, not even your usual bogus stuff - about wage rates.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    2) When faced with fact that stock total returns grow dramatically better than SS
    That was not the claim I faced, if you go back and review - you brought that in later. And it was not the issue at hand, not the argument we were having - I was posting data supporting my completely reasonable assertion that some significant fraction of the people who invest their retirement savings in the stock market can expect to lose money, gain very little, be unable to retire when they want to, etc.

    Your fixation on averaged "total returns" to the stock market as a whole is curious, but I'm not arguing against it - I'm arguing that it is basically irrelevant. SS is not an investment that depends on returns. Why would anyone compare it to an investment that depends on returns?
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Let's try this shoe of yours on another foot: let's start by "privatizing" military pensions, veteran's benefits, medical care, and other military related socialist schemes - after bankrupting the country in foreign wars for oil they owe us big time, and all we get out of them is whining about how we don't work hard enough and don't give our money to Wall Street in big enough chunks. Let them pound sand with the rest of us, see how they make out. Sound like a plan?

    You're damned right it's a plan--A DAMNED GOOD ONE. But one for only serious people who look at the numbers
    The notion that we can all be average, or better than average, and get rich buying stocks, is charming but kind of childish. The stock market is not Lake Woebegone. A plan that is good only for "serious people who look at the numbers" - and never get sick, robbed, etc - is worthless as a replacement for SS.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    And quite the opposite of bankrupting the nation, the markets flush with new money would boom-
    They were flush with new money from Reagan's tax cuts until 2008 - actually, until now - and they bankrupted the nation with their "boom".

    That's what the OWS people are complaining about. You're bizarre characterization of those kids too young to have failed at anything and robbed pensioners and robbed house buyers and robbed taxpayers

    as failures who should have invested in America as you did

    is a really odd and basically irrelevant fantasy with few sources other than the obvious - it's what the folks who have actually been following this call "hippie punching", and point to its prevalence among one political faction and its media shills.
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  15. #115  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ice
    So still yakking about "returns" in a transfer payment setup, eh? Still talking about investment strategies for everyone doing better than other people? Still talking about historical overall averages as future individual reliabilities, "historically sure"?

    Clueless, don't want to take in new info, actually a parrot, or what is the problem?
    You aren't showing any data. But lets review your mistakes in this thread:

    1) You several times claim dropping wages.....but all the agencies that actually track the data say otherwise--in fact it's gone UP every single year!
    Is that inflation adjusted? If you don't adjust for inflation, a drop in wages is very rare. If an employer wants to pay their employees less they just stop giving them raises and inflation gradually eats away at their real income.


    2) When faced with fact that stock total returns grow dramatically better than SS you show a Dow chart of stock prices, which neither shows total returns, nor reflect the US markets, nor even supports your position given the time period of investment. You also ignore that for the unskilled, unemployed crowd you seem to be supporting, there's actually a net loss --because many of the poor, including minorities, don't even survive to break even average age. In the stock market they'd at least get the pass it to their offspring and would get to do so with two to three times more money--it would help there families climb out of the rut many of them are in and help our class mobility.
    Not a bad point. At least assuming the investment market is unchanged by everyone using it instead of a normal retirement plan. It might not be unchanged.

    3) Apparently unable to find actually empirical evidence you try desperate things like "A lot of people who invested in America between 1970 and 2008 got robbed." Who? How many? We both know they it certainly happened for some in invested in individual stocks--but no ones talked about individual stock picking. The mention about stock prices has been about the average market, which is why several times I've talked about "Index" funds. The vast majority invest in well diversified mutual funds which also have boomed through that period.
    Mostly it happened to people who didn't diversify. A lot of companies encourage their employees to buy stock in the company itself. So when you hear about 401k's getting wiped out when a company like Enron collapses, it's because the employees had sunk too much of their retirement into their own company.

    My brother in law works for a company like that, Kiewitt. I hope business stays good for them over the next 20-30 years.

    On a personal note, if I'd been given some equivalent amount of money to reflect the pension I'm about to collect and followed even the most humdrum investment plan, I'd be many times wealthier. And quite the opposite of bankrupting the nation, the markets flush with new money would boom--those smart enough to invest (I'm raising my hand) would make even more money. I consider myself a patriot and ever since I've been a boy I was taught to get educated and invest my time and treasure in my community and it would pay me many times over--it has. I feel no compunction to join the tiny marches in protest over the successful who give us jobs by people who don't invest in themselves.
    Present interest rates say otherwise. The stock market is still doing ok but lending rates are really low. That tells you people aren't in the market for capital, and there's already too much out there. The whole goal of the stock market is to give corporations a way to raise capital, so.....if it's still going up and not by way of being used to generate capital..... then what is fueling that?

    I'm thinking it's just the Ponzi effect of increasing amounts of money getting poured in by new investors. I could be wrong, but at this point the World economy is no stranger to bubbles.
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  16. #116  
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Let's try this shoe of yours on another foot: let's start by "privatizing" military pensions, veteran's benefits, medical care, and other military related socialist schemes - after bankrupting the country in foreign wars for oil they owe us big time, and all we get out of them is whining about how we don't work hard enough and don't give our money to Wall Street in big enough chunks. Let them pound sand with the rest of us, see how they make out. Sound like a plan?
    I think it's kind of wrong to say something like that on a thread when you know you're talking to a military person. But at the same time I do want to comment on how military service could shade a person's view of people who don't invest in stocks.

    If you're in the military, then likely you're getting your food provided for you free of charge. Maybe you even get some kind of on base housing? Free medical care? You could take your whole monthly check, cash it, wad the cash up into a big ball and light it on fire, and by next month you'd still be fine. Poorer, but fine. If an ordinary person did that, they'd be homeless by next month, and likely badly malnourished. I just don't sympathize with being high and mighty from where an military person stands.

    It's easy to put your money away when you know you're not going to need it any time soon. If you're an ordinary person working a minimum wage job, then probably you're about 20 bucks from going over your budget every month. All it takes is some idiot smashing the window on your car in Winter, and you don't make rent. You'd have a different perspective.
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    Ok couldn't resist commenting Kojak....

    It's a valid point and varies a lot by rank, position, duty place and other things that make comparisons difficult. As an enlisted mechanic nearly 25 years ago, I'd say your comments were spot on. While in peacetime, I made something equivalent to what a mechanic on the street was earning and got an additional amount to cover about 80% of my housing and most of my eating expenses and all my medical. Twenty years later in peacetime, I'm Executive Officer for a Cavalry Brigade still getting enough of a housing stipend to cover about 85% of my housing in a small home, all my medical, but earning about 25% of what a manager for the same number of people would be in the private sector. In war time of course such comparisons break down, a Soldier's hours double and more, often living in subhuman conditions and getting attacked on a regular basis. Contractors working besides our soldiers making six figure salaries--mostly based on what the market will bare for the risk. I do agree, its a different perspective.
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    I imagine that a soldier would also be more concerned about what they leave behind for their children or other loved ones. The promise of a good pension at the end of one's career probably doesn't carry as much weight in a field that has a high mortality rate, like military service. At least for soldiers, I think some kind of stock market option would be a very good idea.

    Also, I wonder why the private sector can't be more like the military? A smaller base wage, but with the guarantee of food and shelter built into the compensation package somewhere. Even the idea of supervisors making a closer wage to what their employees make is quite consistent with OWS thinking. The military has the right idea. Yet, ironically the military is not governed by the free market. One of many reasons why I seriously question whether the free market is the panacea people claim it to be.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    "1) You several times claim dropping wages.....but all the agencies that actually track the data say otherwise--in fact it's gone UP every single year!"

    Is that inflation adjusted?
    He hasn't posted any data on wage rates, so we don't know what the problem is with whatever he's looking at, but normally the inflation adjustment is an important location of any sleight of hand involved. There are several different ways to adjust for inflation, and some of them will hand you a slightly increasing median hourly wage overall since 1975 (none of them give you "up every single year", but that's our boy).

    Here's an example of the sort of deception possible and common: Has Middle America Stagnated? - The Region - Publications & Papers | The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Notice how this very high class and official status guy chooses the inflation calculation method (he picks one designed by the Fed to minimize the reported official inflation rate) on the criterion that it agrees with his presumptions?

    But even then, the whole thing falls apart when you subtract the SS rate boost, Medicare, and the increase in health insurance and other benefit costs these guys simply add into the wages - as if increases in health care costs were somehow increases in wage rates. Often you find they have simply divided corporate labor costs by hours worked, and called that the hourly wage received by the employee - no joke.
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    2) When faced with fact that stock total returns grow dramatically better than SS you show a Dow chart of stock prices, which neither shows total returns, nor reflect the US markets, nor even supports your position given the time period of investment. You also ignore that for the unskilled, unemployed crowd you seem to be supporting, there's actually a net loss --because many of the poor, including minorities, don't even survive to break even average age. In the stock market they'd at least get the pass it to their offspring and would get to do so with two to three times more money--it would help there families climb out of the rut many of them are in and help our class mobility."

    Not a bad point.
    It's stupid enough to drool - starting with an apparently deliberate misrepresentation of my post and the argument, which is offensive but I guess standard around here, continuing to the notion that poor people often don't survive to SS age or ever collect benefits, assuming in passing that poor people will have significant money to spare for this investment scheme on top of their FICA withholding, claiming the Dow Jones is not a relevant example when talking about "index funds" (some of them de facto indexed to the Dow), continuing the moronic comparison of welfare with investment returns, and ending with the fanciful presumption that all these poor and minority small time small money unsophisticated investors will have this overall market average gain in their pockets when the time comes. As if we could all be average, as if the market fluctuations were small and averaged over the relevant time intervals, as if the poor were likely to realize the same rate of return as the rich, as if average over decades were the same as inevitable when you need the money.

    "- - - you try desperate things like "A lot of people who invested in America between 1970 and 2008 got robbed." Who? How many? We both know they it certainly happened for some in invested in individual stocks--but no ones talked about individual stock picking. The mention about stock prices has been about the average market, which is why several times I've talked about "Index" funds. The vast majority invest in well diversified mutual funds which also have boomed through that period. "

    Mostly it happened to people who didn't diversify. A lot of companies encourage their employees to buy stock in the company itself. So when you hear about 401k's getting wiped out when a company like Enron collapses, it's because the employees had sunk too much of their retirement into their own company.
    As far as who lost money on their retirement stock recently - pretty much everyone of ordinary sophistication with a 401K or Roth IRA at a key stage in its "growth" who didn't have generous matching fund plans through their employer. It looks like they lost about five years, on average (many a lot more of course), if things have recovered now for good - so that delays their retirement at least five years, presuming they were among the lucky enough to have better than average jobs in the first place.
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    They better not decide to get rid of Social Security until every penny that was borrowed from it is paid back first and not by tax payors money since it was already paid by them already. There should always be an excess of funds in social security since most people do not live pass 65 years old. For example in 2000 there were 281,421.906 billion people in the US and out of that there were 34.9 million that were 65 years and older. I'll let you do the math to figure out what this equates to in funding to social security and Medicare.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    They better not decide to get rid of Social Security until every penny that was borrowed from it is paid back first and not by tax payors money since it was already paid by them already. There should always be an excess of funds in social security since most people do not live pass 65 years old. For example in 2000 there were 281,421.906 billion people in the US and out of that there were 34.9 million that were 65 years and older. I'll let you do the math to figure out what this equates to in funding to social security and Medicare.
    Where do you think the money will come from if not the taxpayer?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    They better not decide to get rid of Social Security until every penny that was borrowed from it is paid back first and not by tax payors money since it was already paid by them already. There should always be an excess of funds in social security since most people do not live pass 65 years old. For example in 2000 there were 281,421.906 billion people in the US and out of that there were 34.9 million that were 65 years and older. I'll let you do the math to figure out what this equates to in funding to social security and Medicare.
    Where do you think the money will come from if not the taxpayer?
    That is not my problem, it is our government's problem to figure that out since they should never have borrowed from it in the first place.
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    They better not decide to get rid of Social Security until every penny that was borrowed from it is paid back first and not by tax payors money since it was already paid by them already.
    Not really. Only the lower income folks paid in very much - the rich who had their taxes cut so drastically to take advantage of the SS surplus can easily afford to pay the booty back.

    Talk about "the taxpayer" is very deceptive - the rich did not see 15% raked off the gross, to fund Reagan's SS surplus. They had their capital gains taxes reduced, instead, and the SS surplus slid in to cover the deficit.
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    [QUOTE=Barbi;294378]
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    They better not decide to get rid of Social Security until every penny that was borrowed from it is paid back first and not by tax payors money since it was already paid by them already. There should always be an excess of funds in social security since most people do not live pass 65 years old. For example in 2000 there were 281,421.906 billion people in the US and out of that there were 34.9 million that were 65 years and older. I'll let you do the math to figure out what this equates to in funding to social security and Medicare.
    Where do you think the money will come from if not the taxpayer?
    It's all our problems. But you do misunderstand that the money people put in has never really been saved don't you? It's been used to support those already retired--including the rich white women who, on average, collect 14 years longer than the poor black men (IAW with SSA) --all part of a fantastic, amazingly regressive scheme people still argue to keep. (shakes head).
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    It's been used to support those already retired--including the rich white women who, on average, collect 14 years longer than the poor black men (IAW with SSA) --all part of a fantastic, amazingly regressive scheme people still argue to keep. (shakes head).
    Nobody argues to keep the current scheme - an impossibility anyway, as that would involve bankrupting the system by not taxing back the government largesse to the rich that got us into this hole.

    The simplest and easiest way to approach sanity in the setup would be to simply cancel the special breaks for the rich. Start by once again (as in the days of our prosperity) taxing their incomes to pay back the bonds. Then remove the cap and tax all income alike for SS and Medicare, cap the benefits at a level only valuable to the lesser, pay as you go with no more Reaganomic slush fund. At this point the thugrich would find themselves motivated to reduce costs (the Republican and Pharmaceutical industry's robbing of the taxpayer by pumping up Medicare's costs would be suddenly onerous, for example), the poor would get tax breaks on their wages, the regressive aspect of taxing at a constant percentage would be balanced by the progressive aspect of the many getting the money, and we're back in business.

    That would mean some of the goals of the OWS folks would have been met - a political struggle, the central one of the past forty years.
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    Mayor Calls For Budget Cuts To Offset Millions In Occupy LA Costs « CBS Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The City of Los Angeles reportedly faces millions of dollars in expenses brought about by the Occupy LA movement.

    City agencies have been ordered to calculate what was spent on the Occupy LA protests.

    Repairs to City Hall’s lawn where the Occupy group set up camp on Oct. 1 will require an estimated $400,000. The police action to clear out the encampment on Nov. 30 cost more than $700,000.

    Additional expenses are attributed to hauling away debris from the camp, and cleaning up graffiti that defaced City Hall marble walls and trees.

    Mayor Villaraigosa says more budget cuts will be necessary to offset the costs.
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    Additional expenses are attributed to hauling away debris from the camp, and cleaning up graffiti that defaced City Hall marble walls and trees.

    I find this a bit strange. Our city council simply dealt with the protesters (obviously fewer than LA) by allowing them a period of time where they'd initially set up. (Police here are an independent body not controlled by the council, but they just did their normal crowd and traffic control and public safety thing. Nothing terribly exciting there.)

    Then they arranged a move to a more convenient area of the same city square (we have 5 of the things) with toilet facilities and security arrangements organised. Security? So that the group would feel comfortable about not staying overnight. Good deal all round. All very civilised.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    The U.S. should be more like South Australia with OWS protestors. There would have been alittle less hostility from the masses and would have viewed our government as being somewhat fair to our constitutional rights to assemble.
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    I dunno Barbi. I suspect you'd need a wholesale shift in US culture generally. At least in the law enforcement / general bossiness areas.

    I get the feeling both from news services and from fiction that the level of violence that Americans accept (or use) is set too high for the rest of us to really comprehend fully.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    The U.S. should be more like South Australia with OWS protestors. There would have been alittle less hostility from the masses and would have viewed our government as being somewhat fair to our constitutional rights to assemble.
    Come on Barbi. What are you complaining about? They not only assembled, they assembled for months on end and were give special privileges. No other protest groups are permitted to demonstrate without getting the necessary permits, and paying fees to cover cost of police and sanitation workers. So it was not only permitted, it was subsidized, even by those of us who do not share your left wing views.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    The U.S. should be more like South Australia with OWS protestors. There would have been alittle less hostility from the masses and would have viewed our government as being somewhat fair to our constitutional rights to assemble.
    Come on Barbi. What are you complaining about? They not only assembled, they assembled for months on end and were give special privileges. No other protest groups are permitted to demonstrate without getting the necessary permits, and paying fees to cover cost of police and sanitation workers. So it was not only permitted, it was subsidized, even by those of us who do not share your left wing views.
    They assembled for aprroximately 3 months and does our constitution say anywhere that you must pay fees for the right to assemble?
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  32. #132  
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    [QUOTE=Lynx_Fox;294452]
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    They better not decide to get rid of Social Security until every penny that was borrowed from it is paid back first and not by tax payors money since it was already paid by them already. There should always be an excess of funds in social security since most people do not live pass 65 years old. For example in 2000 there were 281,421.906 billion people in the US and out of that there were 34.9 million that were 65 years and older. I'll let you do the math to figure out what this equates to in funding to social security and Medicare.
    Where do you think the money will come from if not the taxpayer?
    It's all our problems. But you do misunderstand that the money people put in has never really been saved don't you? It's been used to support those already retired--including the rich white women who, on average, collect 14 years longer than the poor black men (IAW with SSA) --all part of a fantastic, amazingly regressive scheme people still argue to keep. (shakes head).
    Actually, from a budget perspective, Social Security did save up money. But the other parts of the government spent it.

    Stop borrowing from Social Security - USATODAY.com

    What bothers us the most is the opposing view by Jacob Lew, director of White House office of Management and Budget ("Social Security isn't the problem"). He states, "When more taxes are collected than are needed ... funds are converted to Treasury bonds — backed with the full faith and credit of the U.S. government."

    What he doesn't say is "converted" means the excess is being spent by Congress and replaced with potentially useless bonds. He then says the bonds "are held in reserve for when revenue collected is not enough to pay the benefits due." He evidently didn't have the nerve to say where the money would come from to convert the bonds into cash.

    ...


    The reality: Social Security is not in crisis. The combination of payroll tax revenue and interest earned by the Social Security trust funds will more than cover the difference between money going into the system and benefit payments going out this year. The trust funds are based on the dedicated payroll tax contributions of workers for the purpose of Social Security. These obligations are real, as they are for any other
    U.S. Treasury
    bond holder, and to claim otherwise is irresponsible.
    The
    Congressional Budget Office
    confirms that Social Security can pay full benefits for over 25 years. And, even if nothing is done, Social Security will be able to pay approximately 75% of benefits for the remainder of the century. However, even that shortfall is unacceptable. We agree that action is needed, sooner rather than later, to secure for current and future generations the hard-earned benefits they will be counting on for their financial security.

    The money Social Security have saved over the years is in the form of Treasury bonds instead of cash because for some reason Congress thought it made sense to take all the real money out of its vault and put IOU's in there instead. What is clear is that Social Security has run a surplus which in theory it ought to be able to tap into to support boomers who retire. That is..... so long as the T-Bills get paid.

    Here's some more on the topic:

    Social Security Trust Fund - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Misleading the Public: How the Social Security Trust Fund Really Works


    How the Trust Fund Operates.

    Workers pay their Social Security taxes through their employers. Each employer periodically sends a lump sum payment to the U.S. Treasury that includes all of the income taxes and Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes paid by both the employer and its employees.

    The Treasury both receives the payroll taxes (and income taxes that higher-income retirees pay on their Social Security benefits) and pays monthly benefits on behalf of the Social Security Administration (SSA). The money stays in the Treasury's hands until it is either paid out as Social Security benefits or otherwise spent by the government. In fact, no money ever goes into the trust fund. Instead, the trust fund balance is the result of two accounting entries by the Treasury.

    First, the Treasury estimates how much of the aggregate tax receipts are Social Security taxes and "credits" the Social Security trust fund with that amount. Then the Treasury "subtracts" the total amount paid in monthly Social Security benefits from the trust fund balance. No money actually changes hands; these are strictly accounting entries.

    Any "money" remaining in the trust fund is converted into special-issue Treasury bonds, which are really nothing more than IOUs. In addition, the Treasury pays interest on the trust fund's balance by crediting the trust fund with additional IOUs. These are also strictly accounting entries, and again no money changes hands. After crediting the trust fund with the proper amount in IOUs, the government spends the extra Social Security tax collections just like any other tax revenue--to finance anything from aircraft carriers to education research.
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    Look, I am not for or against OWS but I do believe that people have the right to protest without police brutality.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    Look, I am not for or against OWS but I do believe that people have the right to protest without police brutality.
    Are you calling a little bit of pepper spray "police brutality?"
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    Harold have you been hit with pepper spray?
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Harold have you been hit with pepper spray?
    I'm sure it's quite painful, but the protestors willingly accepted a snoot full of pepper rather than comply with a legitimate police order. So I don't suppose it is all that bad.
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    Which incident are you referring to?
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Which incident are you referring to?
    Occupy Protesters Beaten, Pepper Sprayed - ABC News
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    I get a kick out of how in the video, at the end, the police lady says "It was for the safety of the officers and the arrestees, so they could get out... so they could leave." Honestly how likely is it that those officers would have been in any real danger?

    When Chinese students at Tiananmen Square stood up to tanks that had come to disperse them and got run over, we hailed them as heroes. When fellow Americans stand together and refuse to be relocated (The area, after all, being public land which ultimately belongs to the people) ... they're just dissidents. How do you have a democracy if the government won't keep open lines of communication with the people? When a really really large number of them want to say something in unison, how is it not the government's job to manage logistics for that? How could keeping up a nice lawn matter more than letting the people talk?

    Do you think the Chinese government couldn't have made the same arguments our government is making? Was Tianenmen Square equipped to handle so many protesters?
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    Öccupy Wall St".........Haa haaaa. Ha.

    Like, "where were you, like before the öccupy"was necessary"?

    Like, "how smart are you?"
    Last edited by theQuestIsNotOver; December 23rd, 2011 at 05:49 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    I get a kick out of how in the video, at the end, the police lady says "It was for the safety of the officers and the arrestees, so they could get out... so they could leave." Honestly how likely is it that those officers would have been in any real danger?
    Let's put you in the middle of a chanting mob, and see if you don't feel a little bit threatened.

    When Chinese students at Tiananmen Square stood up to tanks that had come to disperse them and got run over, we hailed them as heroes. When fellow Americans stand together and refuse to be relocated (The area, after all, being public land which ultimately belongs to the people) ... they're just dissidents. How do you have a democracy if the government won't keep open lines of communication with the people? When a really really large number of them want to say something in unison, how is it not the government's job to manage logistics for that? How could keeping up a nice lawn matter more than letting the people talk?

    Do you think the Chinese government couldn't have made the same arguments our government is making? Was Tianenmen Square equipped to handle so many protesters?
    You are the master of absurd moral equivalencies.
    Protesting against the policies of a repressive totalitarian regime is not the same as protesting against the policies of a democratically elected government. Getting pepper sprayed is not equivalent to being run over by a tank.
    Public spaces belong to everybody, not just some protest group who decides to take them over for months at a time, incurring great expense and inconvenience for everybody else.
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    Absolutely.

    The last decade of the social media has almost negated transparent ignorance.

    Occupy Wall St?

    Phf,,

    Occupy a place you worked to get in, and then start throwing stones. Ground up, brother.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    I get a kick out of how in the video, at the end, the police lady says "It was for the safety of the officers and the arrestees, so they could get out... so they could leave." Honestly how likely is it that those officers would have been in any real danger?
    Let's put you in the middle of a chanting mob, and see if you don't feel a little bit threatened.
    "Feeling" threatened isn't an excuse to pepper spray people. Only BEING threatened is.


    When Chinese students at Tiananmen Square stood up to tanks that had come to disperse them and got run over, we hailed them as heroes. When fellow Americans stand together and refuse to be relocated (The area, after all, being public land which ultimately belongs to the people) ... they're just dissidents. How do you have a democracy if the government won't keep open lines of communication with the people? When a really really large number of them want to say something in unison, how is it not the government's job to manage logistics for that? How could keeping up a nice lawn matter more than letting the people talk?

    Do you think the Chinese government couldn't have made the same arguments our government is making? Was Tianenmen Square equipped to handle so many protesters?
    You are the master of absurd moral equivalencies.
    Protesting against the policies of a repressive totalitarian regime is not the same as protesting against the policies of a democratically elected government. Getting pepper sprayed is not equivalent to being run over by a tank.
    Public spaces belong to everybody, not just some protest group who decides to take them over for months at a time, incurring great expense and inconvenience for everybody else.
    That's the Camel in the Tent philosophy talking. The camel has only got his head in so far, so anyone who seriously objects to that is just a malcontent, right? Nevermind that a few years ago it was only up to his eyes (the rest of his head was still outside), and before that it was only his nose.

    Pepper spray certainly isn't as dangerous as tanks. Again, a matter of degree. However, if you tolerate pepper spray, then you'll probably tolerate the next thing, and the next, and the next, and.... eventually it will be tanks. This guy got his spleen ruptured by a baton.

    Occupy Protesters Beaten, Pepper Sprayed - ABC News

    The big problem with modern protest is there is always a dichotomy. Either

    A: - The protesters are few in number

    or

    B: - The protesters are large in number

    If it's A, then it's a small protest. If it's B then there's going to be infrastructure damage and facilities will always be overrun. Police will therefore have an excuse to go in and try to disperse them or move them out into the countryside where their protest will be unseen. Having the right to protest, but only when you're very far from a public building, is kind of like having the right to free speech, but only when you lock yourself in your closet so nobody can hear you.

    What possible scenario exists wherein a very large number of people could voice their grievances in unison and be seen by the appropriate seats of government without upsetting your sense of propriety? Or is that the point: you don't want them to be able to voice their grievances? Perhaps you're content with the status quo and you think everyone else should be required by law to join you in being content?
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    Ahhh so you are referring to the Cali incident. The clear lack of disturbance from the small group of protesters, coupled with the lack of a large involved crowd, show this to have been a misuse of force on the officers part. In the longer sections of video footage, the "threatening crowd" is shown to be pretty rather sparse, and the clearly nonchalant attitude of the two officers directly involved in spraying the protesters does not indicate the feeling of a threat. Even if they did feel the use if the pepper spray was warranted, the amount uses was not normal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Ahhh so you are referring to the Cali incident. The clear lack of disturbance from the small group of protesters, coupled with the lack of a large involved crowd, show this to have been a misuse of force on the officers part. In the longer sections of video footage, the "threatening crowd" is shown to be pretty rather sparse, and the clearly nonchalant attitude of the two officers directly involved in spraying the protesters does not indicate the feeling of a threat. Even if they did feel the use if the pepper spray was warranted, the amount uses was not normal.
    <Yawn> It was the campus police. Do you want to try to make some huge establishment conspiracy out of this?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    That's the Camel in the Tent philosophy talking. The camel has only got his head in so far, so anyone who seriously objects to that is just a malcontent, right? Nevermind that a few years ago it was only up to his eyes (the rest of his head was still outside), and before that it was only his nose.

    Pepper spray certainly isn't as dangerous as tanks. Again, a matter of degree. However, if you tolerate pepper spray, then you'll probably tolerate the next thing, and the next, and the next, and.... eventually it will be tanks. This guy got his spleen ruptured by a baton.
    Slippery slope fallacy
    What possible scenario exists wherein a very large number of people could voice their grievances in unison and be seen by the appropriate seats of government without upsetting your sense of propriety? Or is that the point: you don't want them to be able to voice their grievances? Perhaps you're content with the status quo and you think everyone else should be required by law to join you in being content?
    The Tea Party managed to get their message out without breaking laws, damaging property, or running up millions of dollars in expenses for the cities.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Ahhh so you are referring to the Cali incident. The clear lack of disturbance from the small group of protesters, coupled with the lack of a large involved crowd, show this to have been a misuse of force on the officers part. In the longer sections of video footage, the "threatening crowd" is shown to be pretty rather sparse, and the clearly nonchalant attitude of the two officers directly involved in spraying the protesters does not indicate the feeling of a threat. Even if they did feel the use if the pepper spray was warranted, the amount uses was not normal.
    <Yawn> It was the campus police. Do you want to try to make some huge establishment conspiracy out of this?
    And at what point in my reply to you did I assert anything along those lines?
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    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    The Tea Party managed to get their message out without breaking laws, damaging property, or running up millions of dollars in expenses for the cities.
    1) They had a simple and well-favored message, which was that attempting to tax rich people was bad and would be punished.

    2) Since they were the Republican Party, with an established organizational hierarchy replete with spokesmen already known to the major media "journalists", and an entire country's worth of billionaires and media moguls and Wall Street firms and think tanks and lobbying organizations and marketing PR professionals at their side for allies, they had no trouble getting that message repeated endlessly and obsessively on every TV station and radio talk show and newspaper front page for months on end - even when nobody was actually showing up a their rallies.

    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The City of Los Angeles reportedly faces millions of dollars in expenses brought about by the Occupy LA movement.
    The LA police and administration have cost the city far more than that over the years, with bad police work and poor decisionmaking in crowd control and event management.

    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    Are you calling a little bit of pepper spray "police brutality?"
    Yep. Similar to such techniques as shaking up a bottle of Coke and forcing it up somebody's nose, during an "interrogation". Or shoving a bamboo splint under somebody's fingernail and wiggling it. Or turning a fire hose on them - little bit of water, what's the big deal?
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    Are you calling a little bit of pepper spray "police brutality?"
    Yep. Similar to such techniques as shaking up a bottle of Coke and forcing it up somebody's nose, during an "interrogation". Or shoving a bamboo splint under somebody's fingernail and wiggling it. Or turning a fire hose on them - little bit of water, what's the big deal?
    Exaggerate much?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    That's the Camel in the Tent philosophy talking. The camel has only got his head in so far, so anyone who seriously objects to that is just a malcontent, right? Nevermind that a few years ago it was only up to his eyes (the rest of his head was still outside), and before that it was only his nose.

    Pepper spray certainly isn't as dangerous as tanks. Again, a matter of degree. However, if you tolerate pepper spray, then you'll probably tolerate the next thing, and the next, and the next, and.... eventually it will be tanks. This guy got his spleen ruptured by a baton.
    Slippery slope fallacy
    The slippery slope fallacy is not a perfect fallacy. It's only applicable when the predicted migration from one event to another is improbable or greatly exaggerated given the evidence. Certainly that is not the case when one discusses politics.

    Historically, the establishment of nearly every totalitarian state ever to exist started small and moved gradually. Some of the biggest totalitarians, such as Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, actually formalized a theory of gradual oppression based on the observation that people would not resist a series of small changes with the same determination that they resist a single large change.

    Consider Guantanimo Bay. When it started, legislation made it clear that American citizens would not be held without trial. One attempt to cross that line was made, and the press got wind of it and it blew up in their face. Now they've gone ahead and done this:


    Senate Votes To Let Military Detain Americans Indefinitely, White House Threatens Veto

    I feel this alone clearly establishes there does exist a pattern. The slope in question exists, and it is slippery.

    What possible scenario exists wherein a very large number of people could voice their grievances in unison and be seen by the appropriate seats of government without upsetting your sense of propriety? Or is that the point: you don't want them to be able to voice their grievances? Perhaps you're content with the status quo and you think everyone else should be required by law to join you in being content?
    The Tea Party managed to get their message out without breaking laws, damaging property, or running up millions of dollars in expenses for the cities.
    The Tea Party has massive corporate support behind them. It would be nearly impossible to fail.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    The slippery slope fallacy is not a perfect fallacy. It's only applicable when the predicted migration from one event to another is improbable or greatly exaggerated given the evidence. Certainly that is not the case when one discusses politics.
    Certainly, it is the case when you discuss politics.
    Historically, the establishment of nearly every totalitarian state ever to exist started small and moved gradually. Some of the biggest totalitarians, such as Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, actually formalized a theory of gradual oppression based on the observation that people would not resist a series of small changes with the same determination that they resist a single large change.

    Consider Guantanimo Bay. When it started, legislation made it clear that American citizens would not be held without trial. One attempt to cross that line was made, and the press got wind of it and it blew up in their face. Now they've gone ahead and done this:


    Senate Votes To Let Military Detain Americans Indefinitely, White House Threatens Veto

    I feel this alone clearly establishes there does exist a pattern. The slope in question exists, and it is slippery.
    If you let one guy crap on a police car, pretty soon everybody is crapping on police cars. It won't be long before the streets are flowing with raw sewage. There, how's that for a slippery slope?
    The Tea Party has massive corporate support behind them. It would be nearly impossible to fail.
    What is your evidence for this?
    The OWS had massive support from Democratic mayors all across the country who waived the usual regulations and let people camp where camping was prohibited, worked their police forces overtime to provide protection for the protestors, and generally failed to enforce the laws.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    If you let one guy crap on a police car, pretty soon everybody is crapping on police cars. It won't be long before the streets are flowing with raw sewage. There, how's that for a slippery slope?
    I've often wondered why people appeal to informal fallacies at all. Surely they are intended as a guide, a compass, something for people to use in formulating or analysing an argument. Accusing somebody of a 'violation' of a fallacy assumes an objectivity in them that doesn't really exist, IMO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
    Yep. Similar to such techniques as shaking up a bottle of Coke and forcing it up somebody's nose, during an "interrogation". Or shoving a bamboo splint under somebody's fingernail and wiggling it. Or turning a fire hose on them - little bit of water, what's the big deal?

    Exaggerate much?
    I compared a fizzy bottle of Coke up the nose to concentrated pepper spray directly into people's eyes - which side of that comparison was the exaggeration?

    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    If you let one guy crap on a police car, pretty soon everybody is crapping on police cars. It won't be long before the streets are flowing with raw sewage. There, how's that for a slippery slope?
    It doesn't work.

    No one has ever "let" people crap on a police car, and there is no mechanism encouraging people to follow such an example.

    So no such slippery slope exists.

    On the other hand, authorities have let police abuse OWS protesters (even, encouraged), and there does exist obvious mechanism encouraging more police to follow that example and intensify the abuse. So there is a slippery slope, there - an obvious and famous one, that many societies have slid down in the past.
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  54. #154  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    The slippery slope fallacy is not a perfect fallacy. It's only applicable when the predicted migration from one event to another is improbable or greatly exaggerated given the evidence. Certainly that is not the case when one discusses politics.
    Certainly, it is the case when you discuss politics.
    Historically, the establishment of nearly every totalitarian state ever to exist started small and moved gradually. Some of the biggest totalitarians, such as Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, actually formalized a theory of gradual oppression based on the observation that people would not resist a series of small changes with the same determination that they resist a single large change.

    Consider Guantanimo Bay. When it started, legislation made it clear that American citizens would not be held without trial. One attempt to cross that line was made, and the press got wind of it and it blew up in their face. Now they've gone ahead and done this:


    Senate Votes To Let Military Detain Americans Indefinitely, White House Threatens Veto

    I feel this alone clearly establishes there does exist a pattern. The slope in question exists, and it is slippery.
    If you let one guy crap on a police car, pretty soon everybody is crapping on police cars. It won't be long before the streets are flowing with raw sewage. There, how's that for a slippery slope?
    That's a good example. Now let's try it a different way.

    If one guy craps on a police car, and you let him get away with it, then he pours 5 gallons of raw sewage on a policeman's foot, and you still let him get away with it, and then he throws a police man into the water at a sewage processing plant, and you let him get away with that also..... how long do you think it will be before someone gets killed?

    Do you see how progressive changes of degree are not "slippery slope falacies"? Real life experience is full of situations where they exactly describe what happens. The difference is that you're sticking with the same entity and describing that that single entity is exhibiting a pattern of escalating behavior. By your argument, it would be a fallacy for me to conclude that a stock that's been consistently rising for 3 months will likely continue to rise for another month. No point in using that kind of logic to invest money, I guess, since escalating patterns are always fallacies.


    The Tea Party has massive corporate support behind them. It would be nearly impossible to fail.
    What is your evidence for this?
    The OWS had massive support from Democratic mayors all across the country who waived the usual regulations and let people camp where camping was prohibited, worked their police forces overtime to provide protection for the protestors, and generally failed to enforce the laws.
    Here's a decent description of their funding base.

    Tea Party - SourceWatch

    Besides that, there's the obvious likelihood that an organization that opposes any form of progressive taxation would get donations from the wealthiest Americans. Just check out this article taken from TeaParty.org and you can tell me how ambiguously they've declared their loyalties.

    The Coordinated Attack on the Rich :: TeaParty.org
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    The OWS protestors have not seen nothing yet in terms of how violent it is going to get for them in the spring since this new law that allows the military to intervene if our government feels threaten.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    The OWS protestors have not seen nothing yet in terms of how violent it is going to get for them in the spring since this new law that allows the military to intervene if our government feels threaten.
    That's hardly new, in fact its been around for 225 years. But of course there are conditions, and severe restrictions on the military taking its own actions.
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    The military already does intervene in politics by paying contractors, who then spend substantial portions of the money they'v received to lobby the government. There's a middle man, but that's nothing new. If a mafia don wants someone dead, he doesn't kill them. He hires someone to do so on his behalf (perhaps even using rather ambiguous sounding instructions, in order to increase his distance from it.) If the DoD wants a senator out of office, they don't pay for TV time to campaign against him. They offer to make a few concessions to a contractor if and when the political winds change in a way for them to be able to afford to do so. The contractor gets the message, and siphons some funds into a political action group, perhaps named "small business owners against senator X" or something like that (there's no legal way to require that the name of the group has to accurately reflect the nature of its sponsors.)

    What's new is allowing the military to carry out the police's role. Good luck to anyone who is innocently accused of being a terrorist. Or hell, for that matter, good luck to anyone who simply makes one of the accusers dislike them. I wonder what that kind of god-like power feels like, to just send anyone you want into a torture chamber?
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    But of course there are conditions, and severe restrictions on the military taking its own actions.
    Not any more, if this law goes through on top of the Patriot Act etc. of recent years.

    Posse Comitatus has been gone for a few years now, for example. Warrants are no longer needed for wiretaps and other intrusive surveillance by military intelligence. Cruelty and unusual punishments are permissable for the military. The new Senate passed law explicitly suspends habeas corpus for military detention. What "severe restrictions" are left? Only practical ones of political support and financing.
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    Specifics Ice..... Specifics. Links....Sources....
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
    Yep. Similar to such techniques as shaking up a bottle of Coke and forcing it up somebody's nose, during an "interrogation". Or shoving a bamboo splint under somebody's fingernail and wiggling it. Or turning a fire hose on them - little bit of water, what's the big deal?

    Exaggerate much?
    I compared a fizzy bottle of Coke up the nose to concentrated pepper spray directly into people's eyes - which side of that comparison was the exaggeration?
    In the case of the UC Davis pepper spray incident, there was no interrogation taking place. The protestors could have avoided the pepper spray simply by complying with the campus police and ceasing their illegal trespassing.


    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    If you let one guy crap on a police car, pretty soon everybody is crapping on police cars. It won't be long before the streets are flowing with raw sewage. There, how's that for a slippery slope?
    It doesn't work.

    No one has ever "let" people crap on a police car, and there is no mechanism encouraging people to follow such an example.

    So no such slippery slope exists.

    On the other hand, authorities have let police abuse OWS protesters (even, encouraged), and there does exist obvious mechanism encouraging more police to follow that example and intensify the abuse. So there is a slippery slope, there - an obvious and famous one, that many societies have slid down in the past.
    There has been no abuse. The authorities have been walking on eggshells, and allowing the protestors to get away with widespread violations of the law, and vandalism costing taxpayers millions of dollars as well as disruption of businesses in the areas of the occupations. They should have started cracking heads a long time ago.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Here's a decent description of their funding base.

    Tea Party - SourceWatch

    Besides that, there's the obvious likelihood that an organization that opposes any form of progressive taxation would get donations from the wealthiest Americans. Just check out this article taken from TeaParty.org and you can tell me how ambiguously they've declared their loyalties.

    The Coordinated Attack on the Rich :: TeaParty.org
    There is a lot of innuendo there. Not much in the way of facts. "Obvious likelihood" is not evidence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Here's a decent description of their funding base.

    Tea Party - SourceWatch

    Besides that, there's the obvious likelihood that an organization that opposes any form of progressive taxation would get donations from the wealthiest Americans. Just check out this article taken from TeaParty.org and you can tell me how ambiguously they've declared their loyalties.

    The Coordinated Attack on the Rich :: TeaParty.org
    There is a lot of innuendo there. Not much in the way of facts. "Obvious likelihood" is not evidence.
    Do you have evidence to suggest that things are proceeding contrary to common sense?

    Common sense suggests that most political action groups receive funding from those groups who most agree with them. The Sierra club gets a lot of donations from environmentalists. The NRA gets donations from gun owners and enthusiasts. Extending that logic to a party that supports Corporate America is not a huge logical leap.

    Note that the second link is an opinion article, but one taken from TeaParty.org and therefore an authoritative statement of that group's philosophy regarding wealthy Americans.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    Do you have evidence to suggest that things are proceeding contrary to common sense?

    Common sense suggests that most political action groups receive funding from those groups who most agree with them. The Sierra club gets a lot of donations from environmentalists. The NRA gets donations from gun owners and enthusiasts. Extending that logic to a party that supports Corporate America is not a huge logical leap.

    Note that the second link is an opinion article, but one taken from TeaParty.org and therefore an authoritative statement of that group's philosophy regarding wealthy Americans.
    If you view all of politics as a struggle between economic classes, I can see why you would not understand the Tea Party, or why someone would defend the rights of those who make more money than themselves.

    Some people do believe in property rights, and think that those who have earned their money honestly should get to keep it. They believe in economic freedom, and do not want to live in a socialist system. They do not see a power in the Constitution for the federal government to redistribute wealth.

    I didn't read the whole web site but I doubt there is anything on the teaparty.org site that says "we were paid by such and such rich person to hold a rally."
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    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    I compared a fizzy bottle of Coke up the nose to concentrated pepper spray directly into people's eyes - which side of that comparison was the exaggeration?

    In the case of the UC Davis pepper spray incident, there was no interrogation taking place. The protestors could have avoided the pepper spray simply by complying with the campus police and ceasing their illegal trespassing.
    So we agree that there was no exaggeration, and your innuendo there was rhetorical bs.
    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    There has been no abuse. The authorities have been walking on eggshells,
    The authorities have been allowing their employees to force pepper spray directly into people's eyes while on the job and working for them. That is abuse. The authorities who allowed that should be fired, and the policemen who did that arrested and charged.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx
    Posse Comitatus has been gone for a few years now, for example. Warrants are no longer needed for wiretaps and other intrusive surveillance by military intelligence. Cruelty and unusual punishments are permissable for the military. The new Senate passed law explicitly suspends habeas corpus for military detention. What "severe restrictions" are left? Only practical ones of political support and financing.


    Specifics Ice..... Specifics. Links....Sources....
    That list is specific, and directly refers to common knowledge of recent events well covered by the major media. Must I refer to the Bill of Rights by number?

    To return to the question: you claimed severe restrictions on the military taking its own actions. Can you list any besides the need for political support and financing?
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  65. #165  
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    Ice you made claims and didn't support them with any sources.

    Must I refer to the Bill of Rights by number?
    In short YES.
    THEN you must show that they were repealed, instead of the broad brush comprehensive claims (you all too often resort to).

    In simple terms: Other than the marine force, military commanders cannot take military actions inside the US except in the immediate crisis to save life or mass destruction of property without express permission of Congress and under some very specific circumstances by the executive branch. The specifics of that were modified a few years ago to:
    "The President may employ the armed forces... to... restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition... the President determines that... domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order... or [to] suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such... a condition... so hinders the execution of the laws... that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law... or opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws"
    Bill Summary & Status - 109th Congress (2005 - 2006) - H.R.5122 - THOMAS (Library of Congress)

    See it's not so hard Ice, make a claim and than back it with something or be prepared to answer it with some kind of credible data.

    Now please show where the military can do wireless wiretapping on US citizens in the US?
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    See it's not so hard Ice, make a claim and than back it with something or be prepared to answer it with some kind of credible data.
    It's even easier when somebody else does it for you - thanks for documenting my assertion that the only remaining serious restrictions on military action against US citizens is political support and financing;

    unless the necessity of obtaining a Presidential determination of the existence of a conspiracy by someone to oppose the execution of the laws of the United States, for example, is your idea of a "severe restriction" independent of politics.

    Can you name a major city in the US in which no one is conspiring to oppose the execution of the laws of the United States? Obstructing those laws? Impeding the course of justice? Conspiring to impede the course of justice? Good Lord - I don't think even Pinochet had that blank a check, officially, let alone the Argentine generals.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Now please show where the military can do wireless wiretapping on US citizens in the US?
    That's been famous and public information for several years now, in all the papers:

    President's Surveillance Program - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    NSA warrantless surveillance controversy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Charges Against the N.S.A.’s Thomas Drake : The New Yorker

    The NSA is of course part of the DOD - the military branch of the US government. The CIA, originally and nominally civilian, is currently engaged in military combat operations and has long operated in conjunction with military forces. Other intelligence agencies connected with the military have less flamboyant but no less intrusive roles available to them.
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    military action against US citizens is political support
    So you think even if the president, or Congress thinks there's an national emergency, it shouldn't have the ability to do anything about it? Such a position is basically saying that the President nor Congress should have the ability to protect the nation--and that's just silly. Note that it still doesn't' give the military right to act in the US--they need civilian approval--no matter how you frame it.

    But none of these are really warrentless, they allow the NSA to start monitoring when someone inside the states is in conversation with a suspected terrorist outside the country and seek retroactive warrant. The legal precedent is similar to if a cop drives by your home and see you holding a gun to someone's head--they don't need to get a warrant BEFORE they act.

    --
    It's a separate issue but I agree that the CIA shouldn't be doing military missions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    The military already does intervene in politics by paying contractors, who then spend substantial portions of the money they'v received to lobby the government. There's a middle man, but that's nothing new. If a mafia don wants someone dead, he doesn't kill them. He hires someone to do so on his behalf (perhaps even using rather ambiguous sounding instructions, in order to increase his distance from it.) If the DoD wants a senator out of office, they don't pay for TV time to campaign against him. They offer to make a few concessions to a contractor if and when the political winds change in a way for them to be able to afford to do so. The contractor gets the message, and siphons some funds into a political action group, perhaps named "small business owners against senator X" or something like that (there's no legal way to require that the name of the group has to accurately reflect the nature of its sponsors.)

    What's new is allowing the military to carry out the police's role. Good luck to anyone who is innocently accused of being a terrorist. Or hell, for that matter, good luck to anyone who simply makes one of the accusers dislike them. I wonder what that kind of god-like power feels like, to just send anyone you want into a torture chamber?
    That's what I am afraid of happening since that attitude is already at the local police officers level when they arrest someone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    So you think even if the president, or Congress thinks there's an national emergency, it shouldn't have the ability to do anything about it?
    I think there used to be limits on what they could "do about it" to the citizens they were supposed to be protecting. These were called "Constitutional rights", and the Founders of this country thought they were important.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Note that it still doesn't' give the military right to act in the US--they need civilian approval--no matter how you frame it.
    So the way I framed it - no restrictions except political support and financing - is now agreed.

    Given approval from some unspecified batch of civilians - even just one civilian, if it's the President - the military can do all that stuff Posse Comitatis and the Bill of Rights and so forth used to forbid them.

    In this respect, we're in the situation of Argentina before the generals, Chile before Pinochet, Spain before Franco, etc. And if you really don't know where the political support will come from, read Harold's posts here or review W's and Cheney's behaviors.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    But none of these are really warrentless, they allow the NSA to start monitoring when someone inside the states is in conversation with a suspected terrorist outside the country and seek retroactive warrant.
    The NSA, the military, can now tap the phones of US citizens without a warrant on their own estimation that they are justified in doing so. Agreed?
    Last edited by iceaura; December 26th, 2011 at 05:48 PM.
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    We all witnessed what our government was willing or not in the case of Katrina. I was shocked and embarrassed to be a citizen of the U.S. in the way that catastrophy was handled. Thanks to 9/11 we can have our phones tapped without a warrant, we are treated like terroist whenever we use the airlines, they increased police enforcers by 1% so it is now 2% that is paid by tax payors, they now have passed this new law against so-called terroist that will include american citizens by congress soon, and now they want to censor the internet.

    If the masses still do not have a clue of what our government is doing, then I am shocked at the stupidy of the masses.
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  71. #171  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    Do you have evidence to suggest that things are proceeding contrary to common sense?

    Common sense suggests that most political action groups receive funding from those groups who most agree with them. The Sierra club gets a lot of donations from environmentalists. The NRA gets donations from gun owners and enthusiasts. Extending that logic to a party that supports Corporate America is not a huge logical leap.

    Note that the second link is an opinion article, but one taken from TeaParty.org and therefore an authoritative statement of that group's philosophy regarding wealthy Americans.
    If you view all of politics as a struggle between economic classes, I can see why you would not understand the Tea Party, or why someone would defend the rights of those who make more money than themselves.

    Some people do believe in property rights, and think that those who have earned their money honestly should get to keep it. They believe in economic freedom, and do not want to live in a socialist system. They do not see a power in the Constitution for the federal government to redistribute wealth.

    I didn't read the whole web site but I doubt there is anything on the teaparty.org site that says "we were paid by such and such rich person to hold a rally."
    Property rights, sure, but "Economic freedom" only extends to the point where it becomes a tool to take away someone else's economic freedom. Freedom to use money to lobby congress, for example, takes mere wealth and turns it into disproportionate political power. Why not just bring back noble titles and lordships, if we're going to allow wealthy people to be unequal before the law anyway? At least then we'd be honest with ourselves about it.

    I have no problem with some guy living in a luxurious mansion, gorging himself on the best foods, and hopping a private jet to take him to his other luxurious mansion on the other side of the country when he gets bored. I see no problem with that.

    I just don't like when he takes that money and uses it to write legislation designed to undermine labor laws and thereby deprive his less wealthy peers of what little money they have. Doing that is a declaration of class war, and it's what we're facing right now in the USA. The rich started it. When they surrender, and stop their aggressive assault on the rest of us, it will be over. They can keep their wealth if they give up. Or they can keep pressing the fight and lose their wealth (deservedly). Socialism will likely have to emerge in this country as a tool to deliver that threat. To point out to them clearly that, if they take our wealth (favorable labor laws), we can and will take theirs by way of just retaliation.
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  72. #172  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    Do you have evidence to suggest that things are proceeding contrary to common sense?

    Common sense suggests that most political action groups receive funding from those groups who most agree with them. The Sierra club gets a lot of donations from environmentalists. The NRA gets donations from gun owners and enthusiasts. Extending that logic to a party that supports Corporate America is not a huge logical leap.

    Note that the second link is an opinion article, but one taken from TeaParty.org and therefore an authoritative statement of that group's philosophy regarding wealthy Americans.
    If you view all of politics as a struggle between economic classes, I can see why you would not understand the Tea Party, or why someone would defend the rights of those who make more money than themselves.

    Some people do believe in property rights, and think that those who have earned their money honestly should get to keep it. They believe in economic freedom, and do not want to live in a socialist system. They do not see a power in the Constitution for the federal government to redistribute wealth.

    I didn't read the whole web site but I doubt there is anything on the teaparty.org site that says "we were paid by such and such rich person to hold a rally."
    Property rights, sure, but "Economic freedom" only extends to the point where it becomes a tool to take away someone else's economic freedom. Freedom to use money to lobby congress, for example, takes mere wealth and turns it into disproportionate political power. Why not just bring back noble titles and lordships, if we're going to allow wealthy people to be unequal before the law anyway? At least then we'd be honest with ourselves about it.

    I have no problem with some guy living in a luxurious mansion, gorging himself on the best foods, and hopping a private jet to take him to his other luxurious mansion on the other side of the country when he gets bored. I see no problem with that.

    I just don't like when he takes that money and uses it to write legislation designed to undermine labor laws and thereby deprive his less wealthy peers of what little money they have. Doing that is a declaration of class war, and it's what we're facing right now in the USA. The rich started it. When they surrender, and stop their aggressive assault on the rest of us, it will be over. They can keep their wealth if they give up. Or they can keep pressing the fight and lose their wealth (deservedly). Socialism will likely have to emerge in this country as a tool to deliver that threat. To point out to them clearly that, if they take our wealth (favorable labor laws), we can and will take theirs by way of just retaliation.

    I agree 100% with your comments.
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  73. #173  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    We all witnessed what our government was willing or not in the case of Katrina. I was shocked and embarrassed to be a citizen of the U.S. in the way that catastrophy was handled.
    You were also probably unrealistic and had no real idea of the challenges--including those created entirely by the citizens of New Orleans and gross incompetence of Louisiana leadership.
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  74. #174  
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    I wanted to see if there was any merit to that. Turns out there is.


    Timeline of the United States housing bubble - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Basically, in June 17, 2002, GW decided to set a goal of ...

    "increasing minority home owners by at least 5.5 million by 2010 through billions of dollars in tax credits, subsidies and a Fannie Mae commitment of $440 billion to establish NeighborWorks America with faith based organizations."

    In 2003:

    June: Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan lowers federal reserve’s key interest rate to 1%, the lowest in 45 years.

    December: President Bush signs the American Dream Downpayment Act to be implemented under the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The goal was to provide a maximum downpayment assistance grant of either $10,000 or six percent of the purchase price of the home, whichever was greater. In addition, the Bush Administration committed to reforming the homebuying process that would lower closing costs by approximately $700 per loan. It was said it would further stimulate homeownership for all Americans.

    2004:


    • U.S. homeownership rate peaked with an all time high of 69.2 percent.[38]
    • HUD ratcheted up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac affordable-housing goals for next four years, from 50 percent to 56 percent, stating they lagged behind the private market; from 2004 to 2006, they purchased $434 billion in securities backed by subprime loans.[16]
    • October:SEC effectively suspends net capital rule for five firms - Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Morgan Stanley. Freed from government imposed limits on the debt they can assume, they levered up 20, 30 and even 40 to 1.[39]



    Definitely some government complicity here. I wonder who lobbied for it? Certainly the idea of low cost loans would appeal to any American who didn't already own a home, but suspending the net capital rule? Sounds like something the companies themselves would have lobbied for. Is it clear at this point why wealth should not grant disproportionate power in Congress? In theory, wealthy people are smarter than the rest of us and make better choices. In practice, that's clearly hogwash. They make dumber choices than anybody.

    This is also interesting: United States housing bubble - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Land prices contributed much more to the price increases than did structures. This can be seen in the building cost index in Fig. 1. An estimate of land value for a house can be derived by subtracting the replacement value of the structure, adjusted for depreciation, from the home price. Using this methodology, Davis and Palumbo calculated land values for 46 U.S. metro areas, which can be found at the website for the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy.

    Seems I've been right in assuming that the prices were driven primarily by the value of the land alone, not the houses built upon them. It's why the whole initiative was doomed to fail from the start. People took out loans and used them to bid against each other to increase the value of the land, instead of spending it in a way that had the potential to boost production or improve infrastructure. The "free market" managed to make the stupidest decision imaginable with those low interest rates. Hard to imagine the state doing worse.



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  75. #175  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    I just don't like when he takes that money and uses it to write legislation designed to undermine labor laws and thereby deprive his less wealthy peers of what little money they have. Doing that is a declaration of class war, and it's what we're facing right now in the USA. The rich started it.
    What, exactly, are you complaining about?
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  76. #176  
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    Globalization mostly. Tariff free trading with countries like China is just a deceptive means of tearing down basic labor laws. Whenever two countries are trading in large scales, it is inaccurate to speak of them as two economies. (It would be like discussing the economy of California vs. the economy of Texas. --- kind of sort of 2 economies, but really just subsections of the USA economy.) In reality it's just one economy, but in part of that economy there is one set of laws and in the other part there are another set of laws. As long as businesses are free to choose which part of that single economy they want to operate in, they're going to always choose the part that has the more lenient laws.

    It's just a back door way of making the law not matter. But the purpose of the law is 100% unobtained. Laws only work on the basis of uniformity. Break up that uniformity and you might as well just repeal the law.

    Lots of people's wages have been seriously impacted by this, without greatly benefiting the overall economy. All it has created is wage migration, where instead of those workers getting the money it goes to someone higher up. What better definition would you choose for class struggle? It's redistribution of wealth from a lower tier to a higher tier. Such a move is justified if, and only if, it clearly benefits the whole by enough to outweigh the loss to a single faction, but when it doesn't (and it should be pretty clear by now that it doesn't and isn't achieving such a benefit), it's just plain abusive. The workers have put those people in a position of power because they trusted them to use it fairly. Public funds were used to start a lot of these corporations because it was believed they would create good jobs for the guys at the bottom. To use those funds for any other purpose is theft. Plain and simple.
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  77. #177  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    I wanted to see if there was any merit to that. Turns out there is.


    Timeline of the United States housing bubble - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Basically, in June 17, 2002, GW decided to set a goal of ...

    "increasing minority home owners by at least 5.5 million by 2010 through billions of dollars in tax credits, subsidies and a Fannie Mae commitment of $440 billion to establish NeighborWorks America with faith based organizations."

    In 2003:

    June: Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan lowers federal reserve’s key interest rate to 1%, the lowest in 45 years.

    December: President Bush signs the American Dream Downpayment Act to be implemented under the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The goal was to provide a maximum downpayment assistance grant of either $10,000 or six percent of the purchase price of the home, whichever was greater. In addition, the Bush Administration committed to reforming the homebuying process that would lower closing costs by approximately $700 per loan. It was said it would further stimulate homeownership for all Americans.

    2004:


    • U.S. homeownership rate peaked with an all time high of 69.2 percent.[38]
    • HUD ratcheted up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac affordable-housing goals for next four years, from 50 percent to 56 percent, stating they lagged behind the private market; from 2004 to 2006, they purchased $434 billion in securities backed by subprime loans.[16]
    • October:SEC effectively suspends net capital rule for five firms - Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Morgan Stanley. Freed from government imposed limits on the debt they can assume, they levered up 20, 30 and even 40 to 1.[39]



    Definitely some government complicity here. I wonder who lobbied for it? Certainly the idea of low cost loans would appeal to any American who didn't already own a home, but suspending the net capital rule? Sounds like something the companies themselves would have lobbied for. Is it clear at this point why wealth should not grant disproportionate power in Congress? In theory, wealthy people are smarter than the rest of us and make better choices. In practice, that's clearly hogwash. They make dumber choices than anybody.

    This is also interesting: United States housing bubble - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Land prices contributed much more to the price increases than did structures. This can be seen in the building cost index in Fig. 1. An estimate of land value for a house can be derived by subtracting the replacement value of the structure, adjusted for depreciation, from the home price. Using this methodology, Davis and Palumbo calculated land values for 46 U.S. metro areas, which can be found at the website for the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy.

    Seems I've been right in assuming that the prices were driven primarily by the value of the land alone, not the houses built upon them. It's why the whole initiative was doomed to fail from the start. People took out loans and used them to bid against each other to increase the value of the land, instead of spending it in a way that had the potential to boost production or improve infrastructure. The "free market" managed to make the stupidest decision imaginable with those low interest rates. Hard to imagine the state doing worse.



    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is 50% owned by our government and the other 50% is owned by public stock holders. Our government bailed them out to protect their 50% investment and also to protect the public stockholders. They not only received money on those properties before they were forclosed, they now own that land those properties are on and rumor has it they are marketing these properties to foreign investors for a higher profit margin. The tax payor is getting screwed here.
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  78. #178  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kowalskil View Post
    Occupy Wall Street?


    The last issue of Montclarion, a student newspaper at Montclair State University,*published an article of Grover Furr, about the Occupy Wall Street movement:

    The Montclarion » Blog Archive » Letter to the Editor

    Yes, rich people always want to be richer and richer. This is unfortunate; no one knows how to stop this, without taking away constructive motivation. What fraction of Bill Gates' fortune is consumed and what fraction is productively invested? My guess is that the first fraction is much less than 10%, and that he is not a rare exception.

    What does Professor Furr have to offer us? Consider a complex machine which works but not perfectly. Anyone can destroy it; no advanced knowledge is usually needed to accomplish this. But one has to be highly knowledgeable in order to repair it, or to design a better replacement. I am thinking about sophisticated engines, airplanes, TV sets, X ray scanners, computers, airconditioners, oil refineries, etc.

    The same is true for an economic system. No system is perfect; but some are more efficient than others. Trying to destroy US capitalism, without offering something better, is likely to create a lot of misery. I am thinking about what Lenin and Stalin did, as decribed in my two short books. These books are now freely available online; the links are at:

    click here

    Note that even now, one hundred years after the Soviet revolution, standards of living in Russia are much lower than in the US, and in other western countries.

    Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)
    .
    Should one actually think that by adressing the behavior of super rich people their ideology and their life work will change as you wish it to change?

    Lol.
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  79. #179  
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    Quote Originally Posted by re katrina
    You were also probably unrealistic and had no real idea of the challenges--including those created entirely by the citizens of New Orleans and gross incompetence of Louisiana leadership
    The entire justification of FEMA, its reason for existence, is its capacity to handle emergencies and disasters that would otherwise overwhelm local and State governments.

    And in its original setup it successfully did that for many years - the Red River flooding of '98, for example, was on a very large scale and crossed significant political boundaries, and only FEMA's competence forestalled disaster.

    W's administration, in close cooperation with a Republican dominated Congress, reorganized FEMA and all related agencies, dramatically enlarging the bureaucracy involved in emergency response and radically changing their formerly successful modes of cooperation with local governments. The new organizations were then staffed and monitored at their higher levels by political campaign operatives and Republican funders, cronies and sycophants and relatives of political allies, fundies and related emissaries of politically significant Churches, and suchlike management, without regard to experience or competence.

    The ideology behind this kind of governance is familiar, and the results of its employment in governing Wall Street and other areas of the US national economy have been predictably similar. The parallels between FEMA's handling of Katrina and the relevant Federal agencies' handling of the various aspects of the US real estate derivative bubble, say in 2004 and 2005, are there to be drawn and learned from.

    Here, for example of a situation rich with lessons:
    Quote Originally Posted by wiki
    The Banking segment consisted of Countrywide Bank, FSB and Countrywide Warehouse Lending. Formerly, the bank was known as Countrywide Bank, N.A., a nationally chartered bank that was regulated jointly by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve, but it converted its charter to a federally chartered thrift that is regulated by the Office of Thrift Supervision.[11][12] Countrywide Bank is the 3rd largest Savings and Loan institution and is the fastest growing bank in United States history. Assets from deposits are currently approaching $125 billion.


    Countrywide Bank primarily originates and purchases mortgage loans and home equity lines of credit for investment purposes. The majority of these loans are sourced through its mortgage banking subsidiary, Countrywide Home Loans. The Bank obtains retail deposits, primarily certificates of deposit, through the Internet, call centers and more than 200 financial centers, many of which were located in Countrywide Home Loans' retail branch offices as of April 1, 2007.
    Last edited by iceaura; December 30th, 2011 at 01:58 PM.
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  80. #180  
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoReba View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kowalskil View Post
    Occupy Wall Street?


    The last issue of Montclarion, a student newspaper at Montclair State University,*published an article of Grover Furr, about the Occupy Wall Street movement:

    The Montclarion » Blog Archive » Letter to the Editor

    Yes, rich people always want to be richer and richer. This is unfortunate; no one knows how to stop this, without taking away constructive motivation. What fraction of Bill Gates' fortune is consumed and what fraction is productively invested? My guess is that the first fraction is much less than 10%, and that he is not a rare exception.

    What does Professor Furr have to offer us? Consider a complex machine which works but not perfectly. Anyone can destroy it; no advanced knowledge is usually needed to accomplish this. But one has to be highly knowledgeable in order to repair it, or to design a better replacement. I am thinking about sophisticated engines, airplanes, TV sets, X ray scanners, computers, airconditioners, oil refineries, etc.

    The same is true for an economic system. No system is perfect; but some are more efficient than others. Trying to destroy US capitalism, without offering something better, is likely to create a lot of misery. I am thinking about what Lenin and Stalin did, as decribed in my two short books. These books are now freely available online; the links are at:

    click here

    Note that even now, one hundred years after the Soviet revolution, standards of living in Russia are much lower than in the US, and in other western countries.

    Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)
    .
    Should one actually think that by adressing the behavior of super rich people their ideology and their life work will change as you wish it to change?

    Lol.
    We need to change everyone else's ideology about it. Wealth should buy luxury, but never, ever power. In our country we're making a classic mistake many third world countries have already made and regretted by allowing one's bank account to determine how much say they have in politics. It's always going to determine this to some degree, but it's really getting out of hand in our country right now.

    There's a big difference between rich and super rich. Rich people work hard for material things they want like a vacation home, a nice car, or maybe even (at the upper extreme) a private jet. Super rich people couldn't care less about that stuff. For them none of that is in question anymore. All that's left is vanity. For some, like Bill Gates, that vanity takes the form of a large charity organization. That's good vanity. For others, like Rupert Murdoch, it takes the form of the desire to leave an unforgettable imprint on world politics. Those kinds of people are dangerous.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  81. #181  
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    The entire justification of FEMA, its reason for existence, is its capacity to handle emergencies and disasters that would otherwise overwhelm local and State governments.
    FEMA was never meant to replace the roll of local and state governments--nor should the Federal government think it is their responsibility to do so unless those agencies communication capability has been completely shattered (e.g. an EMP pulse). What ever happens, happens at the behest of the State, they ask and approve nearly every action and remain part of the coordination even if the federal government honors their request and tasks charge.

    New Orleans actions in this case were grossly negligent--they didn't plan for a disaster that had been predicted for over a decade. What little plan they did have was done in isolation leaving their citizenry unrehearsed, they even failed to use the significant resources they did have right in the city (e.g. the dozens of buses). Louisiana was very late as well. In recent years, Florida, Mississippi (which was also torn up by Katrina--but had competent staff), Texas, South Carolina and other places have suffered though disasters. Nothing done by FEMA under any president would have made things much better.

    The media made things appear worse than they actually were--for example the crime rate in the mist of the Katrina disaster were actually among the lowest in its history--most Louisiana citizens are civil and remarkably resourceful under distress (poverty does that). Their only fault is they keep electing incompetent idiots. With regard to that "leadership," as General Honore used to say "you can't fix stupid."

    I worked as part of a defense coordinating element for two years. If you don't know that the DOD team which works as liaison with FEMA and local authorities.


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  82. #182  
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    FEMA was never meant to replace the roll of local and state governments-
    It was meant to function as it did up until the W/Cheney administration pranged it.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    What ever happens, happens at the behest of the State, they ask and approve nearly every action and remain part of the coordination even if the federal government honors their request and tasks charge.

    New Orleans actions in this case were grossly negligent
    That stuff was all supposed to be coordinated in advance, by FEMA. Nothing is supposed to depend on an overwhelmed State acting in a coordinated and competent manner.

    In the '98 Red River floods, US disaster relief coordinated by FEMA was first on the scene, right at the borders of Canada and even places inside. They had maps, advance criteria for National Guard permission, dedicated lines of communication, priority of response, set trigger criteria for the response levels, etc. In Katrina, Canadian disaster response teams beat the FEMA coordinated teams by a couple of days in places along the Gulf coast - from 1500 miles away. And it was the Canadians with the maps and competence.
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  83. #183  
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    Like many in the media you're making a false comparison.

    1) As you point out Red River flooding is international--which is by definition a FEDERAL matter.

    2) Floods impacts are far more predictable than Hurricane impacts. Hydrology models and risk areas are run against many scenarios, even in the 90's and project the crest and river heights sometimes weeks in advance.

    You also fail to address the competence of the state governments. If you like we can catalog all the disasters by FEMA in the five yours surrounding Katrina (there's over a dozen)--you'll find there are many handled competently; most because they weren't in places stupid enough to leave huge transportation capacity to be destroyed, fail to notify their citizens of the plans, or ask for help too late.

    --

    I'm just wondering what you think FEMA should do? As as the issue are tightly bound up and Federal versus State rights you're response should be well thought out.
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  84. #184  
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    1) As you point out Red River flooding is international--which is by definition a FEDERAL matter.
    So was Katrina - affected oil rigs in international waters, affected other countries, NO is a major international port, etc. So? FEMA's mandate is and was domestic - handling emergencies within the US.

    FEMA's coordination of the three US states affected in '98 was completely under its normal mandate, and exactly what it was set up to do at the time - before W&Co trashed it along with so many other Federal agencies.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    2) Floods impacts are far more predictable than Hurricane impacts. Hydrology models and risk areas are run against many scenarios, even in the 90's and project the crest and river heights sometimes weeks in advance.
    The disaster in New Orleans was a flood fully predicted many years before it happened. The hurricane had been tracked for more than a week, and hurricanes are well known weather phenomena in that part of the world. The predictions in the Red River in '98 were accurate at most a week or so in advance (they depended on the weather) - but FEMA had already set up the response efforts, weeks, months, sometimes years before that.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    You also fail to address the competence of the state governments
    It's irrelevant. FEMA was set up specifically to handle stuff that overwhelms local and State governments, and incompetence on the part of those governments was assumed. That was all supposed to be handled in advance, under the pre-W FEMA setup, and was.

    When key trigger levees were overtopped in '98, FEMA was watching them with the response readied at the scene - no sitting around waiting for phone calls from politicians, no wandering around mapless hoping some locals would show up and tell them which nursing homes were in trouble. The National Guard rolled within a few minutes, as set up in advance, and we had pictures of Guardsmen carrying old folks who hadn't evacuated through waist deep snowmelt to safety - instead of body counts and lawsuits against nursing home management.

    The Canadians that beat FEMA to the scene of emergency arrived in Louisiana with accurate maps, adequate gear, and solid priorities, saving many lives and helping many people; they were not prevented from beating FEMA to the scene (by days), or arriving with adequate preparation, or knowing what to do, by incompetence in the Louisiana statehouse.
    Last edited by iceaura; January 2nd, 2012 at 03:50 PM.
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  85. #185  
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    [qutoe]So was Katrina - affected oil rigs in international waters, affected other countries, etc. So? FEMA's mandate is and was domestic - handling emergencies within the US. [/quote]
    Completely irrelevant, you know we're not talking about the Coast Guard and other Federal agency responsibilities offshore.

    Floods effects are far more predicable than Hurricanes--because they include flood damage as well as wind and tidal surge destruction to the mix.

    FEMA was set up specifically to handle stuff that overwhelms local and State governments,
    When they ask for it in time with a well coordinated plan and a population that knows that plan.

    And you never answered my question. Where does the individual, city, county, state responsibilities end....and where does the federal responsibilities begin? Do you have a clue about the divide between Federal and State responsibilities? Or the role of FEMA?

    Other than what appears to be some emotional bleeding heart liberal response to all the deaths...do you really want to answer those question? And while you seem to dismiss the vital importance of the lower levels of government, have you bothered to ask yourself while other hurricane tear up the coast in other states without all the problem--including in Mississippi which was actually more seriously ravaged by Katrina than Louisiana? Have you even been part of a FEMA exercise? How about a local disaster drill? Do you know what the plan is for your own place? Do you have an emergency kit---because it really starts with you! I'll share with you that I know the answer to all those question...I did when I lived on the Gulf coast and other than involvement with FEMA I do where I live now--whether that is a severe wind storm, major earthquake/tsunami or volcanic eruption. I get most of that information from my country and local authorities, who in most states, actually have a plan which they exercise and well publicize.

    My last point is the Feds biggest failure was not having a good mechanism to spend the huge dollars ahead of the storm "just in case" the state ask for more troops, logistical support, or communications. The Federal response has never included that component and still doesn't. It wouldn't help much during the event (that's completely on the local level), but improves response after the fact. My other quip, which I've not seen many other sources about the dramatic effect of keeping mostly combat units in the National Guard. Louisiana National Guard infantry, armor, and combat engineer units are not well equipped to handle natural disasters as logical units more typical of the reserve. Battle tanks look great in parade, but a water tanker or grader is a lot more attractive after a hurricane's gone through.

    When the population and local authorities fail to plan for disasters--almost nothing any other agency does is going to be well coordinated or very effective. Also, at least for most Americans, that last thing we want is the Feds deciding what our local response will be.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; January 2nd, 2012 at 04:57 PM.
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  86. #186  
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    FEMA was set up specifically to handle stuff that overwhelms local and State governments,

    When they ask for it in time with a well coordinated plan and a population that knows that plan.
    No. FEMA is - or was, before W - supposed to plan and coordinate in advance, as part of its mandate. It was originally set up to handle emergencies in which local and State governments had been completely incapacitated, and were incompetent in the first place.

    When the dike breaks, there is no time to waste sitting around waiting for politicians to evaluate the situation. That has to be set up in advance - and it was, by FEMA, in the Red River Valley, in '98.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    When the population and local authorities fail to plan for disasters--almost nothing any other agency does is going to be well coordinated or very effective.
    Seeing to it that major foreseen disasters are planned for is FEMA's mandate. Or was.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Also, at least for most Americans, that last thing we want is the Feds deciding what our local response will be.
    The local response is not at issue. FEMA's response is the topic, and it is supposed to be coordinated with whatever local response was set up and is still - in the wake of large scale disaster - capable. In the '98 floods, it was. In Katrina, it wasn't. That is an indictment of the reorganization and restaffing of the Federal agencies involved - the formerly effective agency was incapable of even barely adequate response, and thousands of people died in consequence.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    And you never answered my question. Where does the individual, city, county, state responsibilities end....and where does the federal responsibilities begin? Do you have a clue about the divide between Federal and State responsibilities? Or the role of FEMA?
    FEMA's role is to manage emergencies too large for local or State governments to handle - floods that cover parts of three states and a foreign country, hurricanes that take out major ports in the middle of stormblasted areas covering thousands of square miles, etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    My last point is the Feds biggest failure was not having a good mechanism to spend the huge dollars ahead of the storm "just in case" the state ask for more troops, logistical support, or communications. The Federal response has never included that component and still doesn't.
    And my point is that the Federal response did have that component in '98, and earlier, right up until it was reorganized by W&Co.

    When the dike broke in '98, they were ready. When it broke in 2005, they weren't even monitoring it. They were still sitting around waiting for the hurricane blasted clown box Louisiana government to tell them what to do, three days later. They had a flotilla of fishing boats from different States and even countries queued up for permission to help, and no organizational way to employ them. They had a fleet of helicopters and a couple of Navy ships at hand, and didn't know where the vulnerable nursing homes etc were located - no maps. They had thousands of people holed up in the Superdome, and didn't know about it.

    Although improving, it doesn't have it even now, and it's anyone's guess whether it will ever return to its former adequacy and reasonable competence after W&Co's trashing; just as we still don't have as competent and well-run financial regulatory agencies, or as competent and well run a Justice Department, or anything else we used to be able to count on from the Feds. It's a lot harder to fix things like that than it is to break them, and W&Co had eight years.
    Last edited by iceaura; January 3rd, 2012 at 12:16 AM.
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    Another issue:
    My other quip, which I've not seen many other sources about the dramatic effect of keeping mostly combat units in the National Guard. Louisiana National Guard infantry, armor, and combat engineer units are not well equipped to handle natural disasters as logical units more typical of the reserve. Battle tanks look great in parade, but a water tanker or grader is a lot more attractive after a hurricane's gone through.
    One of the affected area National Guards, Louisiana's or Alabama's or one of them at least, had some very useful gear for getting stuff in and people out through flooded landscapes. Unfortunately, 1) there was no FEMA plan in place for employing them and 2) they were in Iraq, covering for the fact that - as Cheney put it - W&Co decided to launch a war with the army they had, not the army they needed.
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  88. #188  
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    It was originally set up to handle emergencies in which local and State governments had been completely incapacitated, and were incompetent in the first place.
    Lets review the facts from FEMA's page about it's history:
    "The Federal Emergency Management Agency coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror. FEMA can trace its beginnings to the Congressional Act of 1803. This act, generally considered the first piece of disaster legislation, provided assistance to a New Hampshire town following an extensive fire."

    Local and State have clear responsibilities that touch every aspect of the Federal Response--if effects the planning, rehearsals, training and ultimately the population's response to any crisis. While other states have plans, evacuate their people, train them to know where to go and when and use their transportation assets, Louisiana completely failed even before the storm arrived. You refuse to acknowledge that, don't seem to understand the role of the different levels of government, nor seem to have enough specific knowledge about the subject beyond your blind hatred of G.W. to even engage in meaningful discussion. Even if Katrina had the perfect Federal response, there still would have been thousands at the super dome because LA was too stupid to make it a collection point or put assets there or actually train their folks to go to the civic center, hundreds dieing trapped in the roofs because the Mayor piddled around deciding on whether to make it mandatory or voluntary, and more thousands stranded because the major didn't' have the balls to use his own buses due to liability concerns. After the fact, with the number of people effected many times what was projected assuming LA actually could do their part, it still would have taken days to weeks to clear the roads to get good support into the area--and that's best case.



    (shrugs).

    And sorry your absolutely wrong about spending the money. Virtually no money is authorized to be spent before the declaration of a disaster, and that is almost always in close coordination and timed with the State's request so there is a coordinated response.
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  89. #189  
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    And sorry your absolutely wrong about spending the money. Virtually no money is authorized to be spent before the declaration of a disaster, and that is almost always in close coordination and timed with the State's request so there is a coordinated response.
    And the State's request is coordinated and timed with the need for the Federal response - the whole thing takes less than an hour, if it's set up to go as in '98. FEMA is supposed to be capable of immediate response in a situation in which the local and State governments have been overwhelmed or incapacitated.

    Or was, until W&Co got hold of things and reorganized the Federal government.

    Again, the parallels with the Justice Department, the banking regulators, the military contracting, etc, are there to be studied.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    While other states have plans, evacuate their people, train them to know where to go and when and use their transportation assets,
    The only plans like that in '98 in Minnesota and North Dakota were the ones coordinated with FEMA. Do you think North Dakota planned to evacuate hospitals and nursing homes through waste deep freezing water on a few hours notice using the National Guard? That was emergency response, planned as emergency response and rolled out quickly when the dike failed.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Even if Katrina had the perfect Federal response, there still would have been thousands at the super dome because LA was too stupid to make it a collection point or put assets there or actually train their folks to go to the civic center,
    If FEMA had had even barely adequate competence and the sketchiest of coordinated plans for dealing with a major levee break, the thousands of people at the Superdome would have been known to exist and in need of food, water, emergency medical, transport, security, electricity, fuel, etc. And those things would have been supplied, by FEMA if necessary, within hours of the levee break. And the necessity would have been determined according to criteria established in advance. That's how it worked in the past, and there's no reason it couldn't have worked like that in 2005.

    FEMA's ignorance and incompetence and lack of coordinated preparation were not consequences of Louisiana's failure to train its own people. Louisiana's plans may have been bad, but that doesn't explain FEMA's failure to coordinate with them, or even know what they were.

    And this is a general pattern with W&Co's administration and legacy. It extends to every Federal agency, every Federal responsibility and action. For a while there they couldn't even renew passports on time.
    You refuse to acknowledge that, don't seem to understand the role of the different levels of government, nor seem to have enough specific knowledge about the subject beyond your blind hatred of G.W. to even engage in meaningful discussion.
    When a simple description of physical reality is enough to incur an accusation of blind hatred, we should recognize that the situation described is pretty bad.
    Last edited by iceaura; January 3rd, 2012 at 01:50 AM.
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  90. #190  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post

    My last point is the Feds biggest failure was not having a good mechanism to spend the huge dollars ahead of the storm "just in case" the state ask for more troops, logistical support, or communications. The Federal response has never included that component and still doesn't. It wouldn't help much during the event (that's completely on the local level), but improves response after the fact. My other quip, which I've not seen many other sources about the dramatic effect of keeping mostly combat units in the National Guard. Louisiana National Guard infantry, armor, and combat engineer units are not well equipped to handle natural disasters as logical units more typical of the reserve. Battle tanks look great in parade, but a water tanker or grader is a lot more attractive after a hurricane's gone through.
    That would also be good because it's in keeping with the idea of a military that's willing to "beat its swords into plowshares" if it runs out of bad guys to shoot. The more peaceful applications the military is capable of taking on, the less it will depend on aggressive politics to maintain its funding. We should expand the core of engineers and have them constantly building infrastructure somewhere (maybe not just in the USA) when there's no war to fight.

    One constant thing that every friend of mine who's been in the military complains about is the grinding boredom during peace time or when not deployed in Iraq. One friend ruined his knees on a drunken binge and had to be discharged, because his base was so boring that was how he (and I believe his whole unit) were passing their time. It seems beyond silly that we can't tap into that. The soldiers would be less bored, and it's more-or-less free labor since we'd be paying them either way.

    Also at some point, we may be lucky enough to live in a world that is sufficiently peaceful that we can finally dismantle our war machine. When/if that day comes, I wouldn't want all those soldiers entering the private sector with no training in anything other than combat. It would be a mess instead of a blessing. I think every soldier, without exception, should be trained in something that is useful during peace time (and not just working as security guards, because that market will fill up.)
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  91. #191  
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    <p>
    One constant thing that every friend of mine who's been in the military complains about is the grinding boredom during peace time or when not deployed in Iraq. One friend ruined his knees on a drunken binge and had to be discharged, because his base was so boring that was how he (and I believe his whole unit) were passing their time. It seems beyond silly that we can't tap into that. The soldiers would be less bored, and it's more-or-less free labor since we'd be paying them either way.
    He was probably in a bad unit. As a commander I had my unit in the field doing training one full day a week and one month a quarter and that was on top of a huge garrison maintenance mission. They were anything BUT bored.</p>
    <p>
    &nbsp;</p>
    <p>
    And you're right, the Guard needs more engineers as well as medical units, fuel supply and water units, military police, transportation units, and signal--most of those types of units are in the US army reserve which is unavailable to governors and under strict regulations not to get involved with State and local affairs with very few exceptions (I know I was an Battalion Executive Officer for one--some are active duty). That kind of stuff matters during an emergency. And consider the LA National Guard, or reserve in that state is larger than ALL of FEMA; in fact FEMA is a relatively tiny organization with less than 3000 full time employees and another 5000 or so part time on-call employees. FEMA is most of all, a coordinating element; they aren't' designed to do any heavy lifting. What they do is set up communications and coordinate with the state, local, other federal agencies (such as the DOD), and write contracts to commercial companies to provide services according to that coordination plan. Unfortunately as displayed in this thread, too many people don't seem to know what their role is.</p>
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; January 3rd, 2012 at 03:48 PM.
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  92. #192  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by JoReba View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kowalskil View Post
    Occupy Wall Street?


    The last issue of Montclarion, a student newspaper at Montclair State University,*published an article of Grover Furr, about the Occupy Wall Street movement:

    The Montclarion » Blog Archive » Letter to the Editor

    Yes, rich people always want to be richer and richer. This is unfortunate; no one knows how to stop this, without taking away constructive motivation. What fraction of Bill Gates' fortune is consumed and what fraction is productively invested? My guess is that the first fraction is much less than 10%, and that he is not a rare exception.

    What does Professor Furr have to offer us? Consider a complex machine which works but not perfectly. Anyone can destroy it; no advanced knowledge is usually needed to accomplish this. But one has to be highly knowledgeable in order to repair it, or to design a better replacement. I am thinking about sophisticated engines, airplanes, TV sets, X ray scanners, computers, airconditioners, oil refineries, etc.

    The same is true for an economic system. No system is perfect; but some are more efficient than others. Trying to destroy US capitalism, without offering something better, is likely to create a lot of misery. I am thinking about what Lenin and Stalin did, as decribed in my two short books. These books are now freely available online; the links are at:

    click here

    Note that even now, one hundred years after the Soviet revolution, standards of living in Russia are much lower than in the US, and in other western countries.

    Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)
    .
    Should one actually think that by adressing the behavior of super rich people their ideology and their life work will change as you wish it to change?

    Lol.
    We need to change everyone else's ideology about it. Wealth should buy luxury, but never, ever power. In our country we're making a classic mistake many third world countries have already made and regretted by allowing one's bank account to determine how much say they have in politics. It's always going to determine this to some degree, but it's really getting out of hand in our country right now.

    There's a big difference between rich and super rich. Rich people work hard for material things they want like a vacation home, a nice car, or maybe even (at the upper extreme) a private jet. Super rich people couldn't care less about that stuff. For them none of that is in question anymore. All that's left is vanity. For some, like Bill Gates, that vanity takes the form of a large charity organization. That's good vanity. For others, like Rupert Murdoch, it takes the form of the desire to leave an unforgettable imprint on world politics. Those kinds of people are dangerous.
    Go ahead and explain in realistic terms how wealth and power can be kept apart. Please make it very clear how this can happen. You might start with how to make "vanity" a crime.

    Lol.
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  93. #193  
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    in fact FEMA is a relatively tiny organization with less than 3000 full time employees and another 5000 or so part time on-call employees. FEMA is most of all, a coordinating element; they aren't' designed to do any heavy lifting.
    And coordinating is what they failed to do at Katrina. Exactly. It was an uncoordinated clusterfuck starting weeks before landfall, and dramatically exposed when the levee broke.

    So we aren't talking about big government here - we're talking about bad government. FEMA didn't fail so badly and dramatically during Katrina because they were some kind of huge, moribund, unwieldy Federal agency of the kind that never works - although W&Co had immured FEMA in the Patriot Act bureaucracy, that probably could have been handled by the competently staffed and competently organized agency FEMA was in 1998.

    FEMA failed during Katrina, after succeeding in '98 and other times, because it had since been ruined by incompetent reorganization and restaffing in the early 2000s. In this FEMA followed a path already worn in and soon to become a sort of chute, for the W&Co administration and its areas of responsibility - and so we come to the thread topic, the protests against the beneficiaries of this incompetence. Blackwater made good money during Katrina. So did Halliburton. Cheney saw personally to the health of the oil industry in the nearby Gulf, and its dibs on Federal help - he was on the scene. The royal visitor the 9th Ward got was a flyover by W on his way back to Washington from a Party fundraiser, followed by a visit in which this grandson of Nazi collaborators and CEO of the emergency response that had not happened stood on a podium overlooking the flooded homes and still floating bodies

    and made jokes about partying and drinking too much in his youthful visits to New Orleans.

    And this pattern is visible throughout - when the Justice Department and Financial regulators and Mineral exploitation and contracting oversight agencies failed, the Republican benefactors of the administration got away with cheating the Tribes and scamming the Trade Zones and colluding at corporate frauds and rigging the mortgage market and rigging the military contracting and pissing all over any attempt at banking regulation and so forth. They made hundreds of billions of dollars. They got to keep that money, because Federal tax rates had been specially lowered for them and offshore banking abetted and the enforcement of accounting rules suspended. They did not go to jail, because they were not prosecuted unless absolutely nothing else could be done.

    Still aren't.

    So the OWS folks are nothing if not justified, in almost any form of protest they choose to their purpose.
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  94. #194  
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoReba View Post
    Go ahead and explain in realistic terms how wealth and power can be kept apart. Please make it very clear how this can happen. You might start with how to make "vanity" a crime.

    Lol.
    You're invoking the fallacy of perfect results. It's like if I said crime should be kept at a minimum and someone chimes in and asks me "how can crime every be perfectly eradicated?" The answer is that it can't, but there are practical measures that can be brought to bear that can keep it to a minimum.

    Until 1978, it was illegal for corporations to buy TV spots to influence political matters. They were expected to stay out of it because it was the exclusive domain of people. Then that rule was reversed. We've been sliding downhill ever since. But nothing said we *had* to reverse it. We could have left it how it was. If corporations couldn't buy TV spots to influence political matters, their power to lobby congress would be seriously crippled. Problem - solved (or as close as it gets.)

    If we broke up the 5 networks into smaller bits, separately owned and always in competition with each other, it would be harder for a small number of wealthy people to control the news. As it stands, all 5 networks are owned by conglomerates with interests and investment in other industries, which have thereby become nearly immune to critical press, because the press arm of the conglomerate would be harming the industry arm of the same conglomerate. (Kind of like a person using their right arm to attack their left arm - unlikely to happen.)
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  95. #195  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by JoReba View Post
    Go ahead and explain in realistic terms how wealth and power can be kept apart. Please make it very clear how this can happen. You might start with how to make "vanity" a crime.

    Lol.
    You're invoking the fallacy of perfect results. It's like if I said crime should be kept at a minimum and someone chimes in and asks me "how can crime every be perfectly eradicated?" The answer is that it can't, but there are practical measures that can be brought to bear that can keep it to a minimum.

    Until 1978, it was illegal for corporations to buy TV spots to influence political matters. They were expected to stay out of it because it was the exclusive domain of people. Then that rule was reversed. We've been sliding downhill ever since. But nothing said we *had* to reverse it. We could have left it how it was. If corporations couldn't buy TV spots to influence political matters, their power to lobby congress would be seriously crippled. Problem - solved (or as close as it gets.)

    If we broke up the 5 networks into smaller bits, separately owned and always in competition with each other, it would be harder for a small number of wealthy people to control the news. As it stands, all 5 networks are owned by conglomerates with interests and investment in other industries, which have thereby become nearly immune to critical press, because the press arm of the conglomerate would be harming the industry arm of the same conglomerate. (Kind of like a person using their right arm to attack their left arm - unlikely to happen.)
    It looks like you want to be the referee for who has freedom of the press and who does not. If a corporation is not "people" with freedom of the press, then why should unions or special interest groups like the Sierra Club, NAACP, National Rifle Association, etc. be able to buy campaign ads or otherwise influence elections? The news media are corporations and they probably influence public opinion more than any others. I don't think you want too much government regulation of the news media. That's too fascist for my taste.
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    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    If a corporation is not "people" with freedom of the press, then why should unions or special interest groups like the Sierra Club, NAACP, National Rifle Association, etc. be able to buy campaign ads or otherwise influence elections?
    Because they are organizations of people. Corporations are organizations of capital.

    But if you want to bring everything to the same line, and put caps on all campaign spending alike, and require that everyone sign their names to their attempts at public political influence, you will find lots of allies.

    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    The news media are corporations and they probably influence public opinion more than any others. I don't think you want too much government regulation of the news media. That's too fascist for my taste.
    It becomes fascist when it's government backed corporate dominance of the news media - like we see with Fox and increasingly with the other major "news" sources.

    They were less fascistic a couple of decades ago, when they were more government regulated but less corporate dominated.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    If a corporation is not "people" with freedom of the press, then why should unions or special interest groups like the Sierra Club, NAACP, National Rifle Association, etc. be able to buy campaign ads or otherwise influence elections?
    Because they are organizations of people. Corporations are organizations of capital.
    Corporations consist of investors, management, and employees. That's people.
    But if you want to bring everything to the same line, and put caps on all campaign spending alike, and require that everyone sign their names to their attempts at public political influence, you will find lots of allies.
    I don't want to do that. It would leave the overwhelmingly left leaning news media with absolute control of information. How are you going to prevent the news media from having political influence?

    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    The news media are corporations and they probably influence public opinion more than any others. I don't think you want too much government regulation of the news media. That's too fascist for my taste.
    It becomes fascist when it's government backed corporate dominance of the news media - like we see with Fox and increasingly with the other major "news" sources.
    How do you figure that Fox is government backed?

    They were less fascistic a couple of decades ago, when they were more government regulated but less corporate dominated.
    I disagree.
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    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    Because they are organizations of people. Corporations are organizations of capital.

    Corporations consist of investors, management, and employees.
    They don't. If they did, they couldn't be sold.

    Bulldozers do not consist of owners, drivers, and mechanics, either. They are machines, and they don't have any rights of citizenship. The have no right of assembly in the public space, peaceable or otherwise, for example.
    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    That's people.
    No people are necessary, even, let alone constituent. The "investors" can be pension funds, the "management" a software app, and the "employees" nonexistent - replaced by contracted services, at need if any.
    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    I don't want to do that. It would leave the overwhelmingly left leaning news media with absolute control of information.
    They have that now, by definition.
    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    They were less fascistic a couple of decades ago, when they were more government regulated but less corporate dominated.

    I disagree.
    You have no basis for disagreement. You don't know what the word "fascist" means, for starters.
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  99. #199  
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    Because they are organizations of people. Corporations are organizations of capital.

    Corporations consist of investors, management, and employees.
    They don't. If they did, they couldn't be sold.

    Bulldozers do not consist of owners, drivers, and mechanics, either. They are machines, and they don't have any rights of citizenship. The have no right of assembly in the public space, peaceable or otherwise, for example.
    Bulldozers don't take out political advertisements.
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    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    Bulldozers don't take out political advertisements.
    If they were to start, say via a newfangled computer chip and app, they would not have any right of free speech.

    Nothing that is bought and sold has any legitimate Constitutional rights, in a sane world. The pretense that it does is a cover for something - probably something that benefits by being covered up.
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