The Carbon Flame War
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Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Son of Carbon Flame War on 10/14/2010 17:17:51 MDT Print View

Nick, I share your support for our troops wholeheartedly. But, I've got a few questions.

>Our military members risk their lives for us and themselves. They do it because they are not willing to live under the rule of any enemy.

This certainly has been true in the past, and I'm sure that nobody wants to live under an enemy's rule. But I question that being the reason why our troops are fighting now. We weren't in any danger of being invaded or ruled by another country. The Middle Eastern Wars can be debated another time, but the reasons for us being there has very little to do with actually defending our borders. God knows why we're REALLY there. I don't question our troops. I question the people who put them there.


>But infrastructure should be paid by those who use it.

Isn't that everyone? Every day wealthy, middle class, and poor people use roads, public transportation, benefit from our sewer system, water supply, internet cables, etc... Even the homeless use the infrastructure. They may not ride in airplanes and drive a car down the freeway, but they are often found on subway and bus lines, and use the very street as their home.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Son of Carbon Flame War on 10/14/2010 17:36:31 MDT Print View

Travis,

Most of the places we have fought in since WWII are not the proper function of our military. The military is to protect us, not force our will on other countries. Another debate of course. I am a supporter of our military. I also do NOT believe in conscription.

I have only used a bus twice in my life. Once in 1971 and in June of this year. They should be privately run, run for a profit, and paid by the people who use them. Same goes for everything else. If you benefit from it, you pay for it. If the government runs it, it will be inefficient and ultimately more expensive.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Son of Carbon Flame War on 10/14/2010 17:39:13 MDT Print View

"That sounds like a real nice country to live in!"

Which prompted my question about finding people willing to defend it.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Son of Carbon Flame War on 10/14/2010 17:44:33 MDT Print View

Which prompted my question about finding people willing to defend it.

----------------------------------------------------------

"I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

- Patrick Henry

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Son of Carbon Flame War on 10/14/2010 18:17:09 MDT Print View

""I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!""

There are all sorts of flavours of liberty. Henry was referring to the above mentioned revolt against governance by a country that didn't represent his own self-interests. That's fine on the surface, but it's only a very narrow definition of freedom. It's really odd how I *feel* free, even though by Nick's estimates i most certainly am not.

More telling is Nick does not wish to discuss his own ideas, in real terms, of how to deal with American society as it stands now. Perhaps he fears to publically vocalise his feelings that those that can't 100% support themselves in everything they do/need/use would best just rot and die (presumably this would include all the children born to those that are not good providers). Nor does he wish to address how to fund crucial infrastructure such as roads (road tolls presumably), rubbish removal (take it to the dump yourself and pay the dumping fee?), sewage (pay-only toilets, showers and laundries?), all of which would be privately owned and operated at a profit. That's fine as he is, like me, entitled to any point of view. It's just really hard when people complain about what's wrong with the system without providing constructive commentary about how to fix it. If fixing it means "rot in the streets with your no-hoper kids" then just say so!

Edited by retropump on 10/14/2010 18:18:16 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Son of Carbon Flame War on 10/14/2010 19:20:27 MDT Print View

Oh, and to get things back on topic, without taxation or some other kind of governmental interventions, how would you control environmental threats? It wasn't so much of an issue back in Patrick Henry's day...sure, YOU may not be a polluter, but are you just going to round up and shoot people who do (if you can catch them without a centrally funded legal enforcement force)? I'm guessing this would be preferable to incarceration, as someone (the user?) has to pay for incarceration.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Son of Carbon Flame War on 10/14/2010 20:32:08 MDT Print View

"I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

That was 235 years ago, when there was a lot more real opportunity. Fast forward to a time in the near future, when one percent of the population controls even more of the national wealth than they do now(90% at present?), only the rich can afford education and health care, most of the real opportunities have been either outsourced, insourced, or automated, and the few remaining real opportunities require an education affordable only to the rich. How many will rise to answer that clarion call to defend our liberty in some god forsaken land 10,000 miles from home? Or even right at our border for that matter? Freedom comes in many flavors, Nick. I suspect unrestrained personal freedom will come a distant second to freedom from fear, hunger, and disease. There has to be something worth dying for.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Son of Carbon Flame War on 10/14/2010 20:39:15 MDT Print View

>Fast forward to a time in the near future, when one percent of the population controls even more of the national wealth than they do now(90% at present?),

Tom, sadly, that's where we're headed. Not to be TOO much of a doomsayer, but even now, we're living in a Matrix-esque society where the elite give us JUST enough to keep the masses content. EVERYTHING is manipulated.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Son of Carbon Flame War on 10/14/2010 20:45:27 MDT Print View

"Tom, sadly, that's where we're headed. Not to be TOO much of a doomsayer, but even now, we're living in a Matrix-esque society where the elite give us JUST enough to keep the masses content. EVERYTHING is manipulated."

Yeah. Depressing, isn't it? If ever there was a country that had it made....

The trouble with elites is that they never know when to quit, and invariably forget to leave enough crumbs on the table for the pee-ons. That's when things start to get messy. As I mentioned to Nick in an earlier post: "they will not go quietly into the night".

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Son of Carbon Flame War on 10/14/2010 20:52:28 MDT Print View

Tom, that's what the bankers did. That's why we're in this mess now. They kept hoarding and hoarding and manipulating the system for their own benefit, until the system just couldn't handle it anymore. Hence, the present day crisis. And the "reports" that say we're finally on the upswing? We're still freefalling and are just about to hit terminal velocity.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Son of Carbon Flame War on 10/14/2010 21:25:57 MDT Print View

"Political Economy regards the proletarian...like a horse, he must receive enough to enable him to work. It does not consider him, during the time when he is not working, as a human being..."
Marx, Wages of Labour (1844)


This is why societies find it perfectly acceptable to let people live in the gutter.

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"The Carbon Flame War" on 10/14/2010 21:46:20 MDT Print View

I don't go in for the the class warfare thing. Unfortunately, we're going to see a lot more of it over the next three weeks.

First - A statistic like "1% of the population controls 90% of the wealth" was just born to be manipulated. 90% of what measured how and by whom?

Second - Who cares?

The "Rich" can only do five things with their money:

1) Stuff it in a mattress.

2) Buy stuff. Buying stuff creates jobs.

3) Buy equities. Investing in companies creates jobs.

4) Lend it. Wise borrowing creates jobs.

5) Save it. Which is really just an indirect form of lending it.

Only number one is a problem for the rest of us. Of course, what people are really talking about is the implication that the rich got that way by exploiting the rest of us.

I just don't buy it, it's not a zero sum game. A dollar someone else has is not a dollar taken from me.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Son of Carbon Flame War on 10/14/2010 22:10:16 MDT Print View

I find the capitalism-based understanding of how people should live together such an antithesis to my own view of how people must work together in order to create a healthy society that it's really hard to know what to say when comments like those of Nick's come along... especially his unwillingness to even nod to any legitimacy of others' way of thinking. The sheer indifference to what others... people who are just as intelligent and capable as Nick... are saying is stifling.

About five years ago a group of tribespeople from the backcountry of New Guinea was invited to spend some time in Britain, to see how the modern world works (my impression was that the TV program's aim was to ooh and aah them with the dazzle of our "superior" world and have the audience goggle at these backward "savages") . The most lasting impression the tribespeople came away with and which they passionately, but humbly, criticized upon their departure was that British people took better care of their dogs than they did of one another. Seeing homeless people on the street or people begging for money or people stumbling about on drugs deeply shocked them. They explained that no one in their society goes hungry, lacks for shelter, or feels abandoned. They couldn't imagine leaving one another uncared for or alone to deal with the world and life's hardships. The sense of community was everything.

In an unexpected reversal of roles, the program's audience was left charmed and deeply moved by these so-called "backward" people.

Personally I see today's world as having gotten the priorities completely backward. Money is important, yes, for survival, but it isn't and shouldn't be the base upon which we interact and form ourselves as societies and communities. First and foremost we should have in our heads that taking care of, being responsible for, and making sure that everyone around us is safe and provided for is the standard from which we start. The money should only come after this, to barter for goods.

Maybe we have come so far down this road that to many of you this will simply seem impractical and outrageous. But I would say that it isn't as farfetched as you might imagine. Most of you do it everyday with your immediate families. All you have to do is extend it to people you call strangers. I would say the only reason most people don't extend their kindness and generosity is fear.

But that's where the line seems to be drawn. You've brought yourself to believe that it is all right to barricade yourself against anyone outside the bubble. Strangers don't need caring for... they're on their own. It all seems so logical.

Edited by butuki on 10/14/2010 22:16:03 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: "The Carbon Flame War" on 10/14/2010 22:21:03 MDT Print View

"The "Rich" can only do five things with their money:"

I think you forgot a small one:
6. Buy and exercise incredible influence (if not outright control) in governments, justice systems, and militaries around the world, thus undemocratically altering the social and economic policies- I'd venture to say even the very destinies- of entire nations to suit the economic interests of a minority.

_________________________________________________

"A dollar someone else has is not a dollar taken from me."

Your probably right...if you're talking about the average chump-change human making a mere 7 figures or less.

But what about the big boys? How about Haliburton, KBR and all of the other war profiteers that have enriched themselves off of no-bid contracts, farmed the work out to subcontractors, and walked off into the sunset with billions of dollars of tax money?
Someone in Haliburton has got at least one of my dollars and I didn't get a thing for it but more debt.

Or perhaps we should talk about Wall Street and all of the white collar crooks of the world?
Is AIG sending you dividend checks to pay back the money you so kindly gave them to stay afloat?
Someone in AIG has got at least one of my dollars and I didn't get a thing for it but more debt.

Maybe agriculture?
Take a look into how Cargill, ADM, etc. do business here and the influence they wield within government.
Someone at ADM had got at least one of my dollars and I didn't get a thing for it but more debt.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: "The Carbon Flame War" on 10/14/2010 22:36:56 MDT Print View

>I just don't buy it, it's not a zero sum game. A dollar someone else has is not a dollar taken from me.

David, with this statement I agree. I don't think the guy down the block that has 10x the money I have has somehow taken money from me. Nor do I think that the rich have exploited me personally.

However, the economic and social "rules" have been and are still being manipulated by the elite. How is it that giant banks can mismanage so profusely, be on the brink of failure because of that mismanagement, yet receive billions in bailout of taxpayer money? How is it that CEOs were receiving bonuses in the millions while the company was defaulting?

And who makes the economic/political/monetary rules? The people we "elect" to do what's in our best interest? Yes, we elect officials, but I don't really believe they're autonomous in their post. What I mean by that is there are stronger forces than Congress, the Senate, and even the White House that are the engineers of policy and markets.

The rich can do many more things with their money. Influence lawmakers. Boost elections. Invest in upper-class serving agendas. Manipulate markets. And so on. The stock market stopped being a "free market" some time ago. Yep, you can buy a stock and be a shareholder. Your investment in the stock "helps" it. But stocks are inflated and manipulated like a cheap blow-up doll you find at the local adult store. The whole market collapse in 2008-2009 wasn't a natural occurrence--everything was rigged! People on mainstreet got the crap scared out of them, many lost their Ass, yet the dividends paid out to the rich investors are increasing.

Not to mention the PPT (Plunge Protection Team). 4 people have access to manipulate the market. Put into action by Regan.


Executive Order 12631--Working Group on Financial Markets

Source: The provisions of Executive Order 12631 of Mar. 18, 1988, appear at 53 FR 9421, 3 CFR, 1988 Comp., p. 559, unless otherwise noted.

By virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, and in order to establish a Working Group on Financial Markets, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Establishment. (a) There is hereby established a Working Group on Financial Markets (Working Group). The Working Group shall be composed of:
(1) the Secretary of the Treasury, or his designee;
(2) the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, or his designee;
(3) the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or his designee; and
(4) the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or her designee.
(b) The Secretary of the Treasury, or his designee, shall be the Chairman of the Working Group.
Sec. 2. Purposes and Functions. (a) Recognizing the goals of enhancing the integrity, efficiency, orderliness, and competitiveness of our Nation's financial markets and maintaining investor confidence, the Working Group shall identify and consider:
(1) the major issues raised by the numerous studies on the events in the financial markets surrounding October 19, 1987, and any of those recommendations that have the potential to achieve the goals noted above; and
(2) the actions, including governmental actions under existing laws and regulations (such as policy coordination and contingency planning), that are appropriate to carry out these recommendations.
(b) The Working Group shall consult, as appropriate, with representatives of the various exchanges, clearinghouses, self-regulatory bodies, and with major market participants to determine private sector solutions wherever possible.
(c) The Working Group shall report to the President initially within 60 days (and periodically thereafter) on its progress and, if appropriate, its views on any recommended legislative changes.
Sec. 3. Administration. (a) The heads of Executive departments, agencies, and independent instrumentalities shall, to the extent permitted by law, provide the Working Group such information as it may require for the purpose of carrying out this Order.
(b) Members of the Working Group shall serve without additional compensation for their work on the Working Group.
(c) To the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of funds therefore, the Department of the Treasury shall provide the Working Group with such administrative and support services as may be necessary for the performance of its functions.



Unfortunately for them, they stacked their gold coins too high. Things are going to tumble, and the normal everyday people are going to feel it most.

Edited by T.L. on 10/14/2010 22:43:20 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Son of Carbon Flame War on 10/14/2010 23:41:47 MDT Print View

That was 235 years ago, when there was a lot more real opportunity.
------------------------------------------------------------
You are typing on one item that has untold number of opportunities. Some of the richest people in the world, built their fortunes around these appliances.




when one percent of the population controls even more of the national wealth than they do now(90% at present?),
------------------------------------------------------------
The split of total wealth is more like

Top 1% = 35%
next 19% = 50%
bottom 80% = 15%

Wealth is not static. Ask Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer & Paul Allen (Microsoft); Larry Page & Sergey Brin (Google); or Michael Dell (Dell computers).

Edit: By the way, what if the top 20% went on strike? What would the 80% who own 15% of the wealth do? I know, it is not my idea.

Edited by ngatel on 10/15/2010 00:57:52 MDT.

jeff pfeffer
(kaala) - F
re re re re re etc on 10/15/2010 00:05:57 MDT Print View

quoting karl marx? Really? The father of failure around the globe? Isn't it 2010?

Anyway, lots of humor amidst the babble but I'll just make a few points

1. You are all barking up the wrong tree harping on about big business halliburton etc. Companies either make money on the open market (in which case you can vote with your pocketbook) of they get money from government. They are not taking money from you, your elected officials are giving your hard earned highly taxed dollars to them. Non of these companies steal your tax dollars folks. Your elected officials in congress give them every dime they get.

Maybe we should vote out any and all incumbents and lets set some term limits that are short enough to prevent the problem from developing again?

2. Big govt is way more of a problem and a waste of resources than big business. (Unless some fools like Bush or Obama start meddling and mixing govt with business giving money away as we have recently seen with TARP, Government Motors etc.) ((An obvious major contribution to the recent crises comes from Fannie/Freddie/Franks et al.))Consider just the simple example of taxes. Imagine the savings to be had from a simple flat tax. No more IRS, no more tax accountants, no more tax lawyers. Billions of dollars saved and many people freed from useless/needless/worthless occupations who could actually start to contribute to society. Apply the same to dept of energy etc.

Here in the U.S. we still have the greatest country, constitution, and political experiment the world has ever seen and it is very fixable. We the people just need to take our government back and remind our representatives that that is what they do: Represent us and work for us. Not the other way around.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Son of the Carbon Flame War on 10/15/2010 00:36:12 MDT Print View

Interesting the deafening silence among those here who love their countries and the benefits they give them as much as the Americans here love their country.

Edited by butuki on 10/15/2010 00:37:23 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
The Rational Son of the Carbon Flame War on 10/15/2010 01:31:09 MDT Print View

Without out writing a huge dissertation, which I do not have the time to do, I will condense my thoughts/opinions/philosophy. If I use the term “man” or "he" it means men and women.

In past posts I have included 3 quotes:

“You can’t eat your cake and have it too” – this means man must have the ability to reason. From this ability came the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States of America. Spending more money than you have is not rational or the result of reason. But most of our politicians and Big Government do not possess the ability to reason.

“Give me liberty, or give me death” – refers to politics or the ideal political-economic system, which is laissez-faire capitalism. This is a system where men deal with each other voluntarily in the exchange of goods and services. Not all men can own businesses and create goods and services. But business owners need workers. The workers sell their time to the employer; that is called pay. If a worker has a valuable skill, he can chose who he wants to sell his skill to… that means he can chose what company he wants to work for; assuming he has a skill that someone wants and needs.

“…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” – the foundation of the American system of capitalism, which recognizes the need for a limited government, created by the people to protect the natural rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The function of this government is to protect the individual rights of man, to include his property. There are only three legitimate functions of government:
1. Police to protect individuals against criminals.
2. A military to protect against foreign invaders.
3. Courts to settle disputes according to the laws of men.

There must be a separation of Government and Religion; Government and Economics.

Man’s right to his own life, property (this was in the original draft), liberty, and pursuit of happiness = man’s right to exist for his own sake; not for the sake of others. The moral code that defines this is capitalism. The anti-thesis of this moral code is altruism, which is living for the sake of others. Altruism’s political systems include Fascism, Nazism, Communism, and Socialism among others.

The rights of one man cannot violate the rights of another man.

America has never known pure capitalism, but it is the closest any country or society has gotten. American capitalism has been on the decline since 1890 (you figure out what happened).

But our form of government does allow us to change our current situation to laissez-faire capitalism, although in practicality it will be pretty darn tough to do, with so many citizens hoping for the government to take care of them.

It is not the government’s role to delve into the realm of trade or production. Nor is it the role of government to provide an economic standard of living or benefits to its citizens. These things are the responsibility of the individual. It is the government’s role to protect its citizens from invaders, killers, thieves, and the like. Government should not be involved with production or distribution. Government should NOT be involved with, build or set up:
- Price controls
- Minimum wages
- Regulatory Agencies
- Price supports for any industry or segment of the population
- Build or manage schools
- Social Security Insurance
- Health Care or Health Care Insurance
- Trade Tariffs
- Hospitals
- Roads
- Parks
- Post Offices
- Manufacturing Plants
- Banks
- Bus transportation
- Rail Roads
- Airports
- Provide subsidies
- Etc, etc., etc.

America revolutionized the world and created a standard of living second to none. What appears to be the decline in America is the result of its mixed economy, which is accelerating from capitalism to socialism. It is almost a runaway train, but we can stop it.

Tom and Lynn want to know what my solution would be. So the question is, can we fix 100 plus years of the sins of Big Government in a short time? I can provide some suggestions, but I cannot address every single detail in this post. So here is the “view from 10,000 feet.” These solutions would have to be accomplished in stages.

The goal would be to move the government to the three essential functions presented earlier: police, military, and courts. Our legislative and executive branches handle the last two, and local governments the first.

Privatize all public infrastructures. This would have to be done in gradual steps. They would be sold to the highest bidders. There would be no exclusive franchises. I could choose between competitors to provide me utilities, trash disposal, roadways, trains, buses, airport terminals, etc. I would pick the companies that provide me the best service and value for my money. Could you imagine driving the 140 miles from Palm Springs to LAX using either the 60 or 10 freeway, and the owner of each freeway would have to compete for my business? We could probably generate more than enough revenue to pay off our national debt, and the surplus could be refunded to the taxpayers. We would pay back the money stolen from us in taxes. Probably best to start with the 2010 income tax and pay it back. If there is money left, we would pay back each year until all the money generated from the sale of infrastructure would be liquidated. Only those who paid income tax would receive any money.

If we eliminated all the government agencies except our 3 critical functions, Americans would have to pay almost no taxes at all on a per person basis. They would have money for health care and retirement. They could afford a quality education. Schools would have to compete to attract the best teachers. Good teachers could command higher pay. Businesses would have more surplus money to invest, which will create more jobs.

And what about the minority who truly cannot work or take care of themselves. They would have to rely on the charity of those better off. And Americans do give to others, only we prefer to do it of our own volition, not at the point of the tax collector's gun.

The only losers might be some government workers, because we will eliminate their jobs and they may not have a saleable skill. If the services they provided in government work are of any value, then they could sell them to the people. If no one is willing to pay for them… oh, well.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: re re re re re etc on 10/15/2010 01:58:29 MDT Print View

quoting karl marx? Really?
-------------------------------------------------------
I will refer to Will Wilkinson's response below... :)

"Even for those of us who came of age after 1989, Marxism, like cigarettes, remains linked by association to the idea of the intellectual, and so, like cigarettes, shares in the intellectual's glamour. I don't know if cigarettes or Marxism have killed more people, but it's pretty clear cigarettes are more actively stigmatized. Marxists, neo-Marxists, crypto-Marxists, post-Marxists, etc. have an enduring influence on intellectual fashion. So it is not only possible proudly to confess Marx's influence on one's thought, but it remains possible in some quarters to impress by doing so. It ought to be embarrassing, but it isn't. Being a bit of a Marxist is like having a closet full of pirate blouses but never having to worry."