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The Carbon Flame War
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Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 10/15/2010 15:04:44 MDT Print View

Miguel,

I have never posted a "personal" message to you. Although I do not always agree with you, I appreciate the thought and effort you take in your posts.

I think the US is a wonderful place, but cannot criticize other countries or cultures at all (unless they attack us). I would never try to convince anyone that they would be better off here or anywhere else. Nor do I think it is my place, or the place of my government, to dictate or tell another country how they should function.

That is their decision. It is like backpacking... what works for me may not work for you.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: The Carbon Flame War on 10/15/2010 15:09:47 MDT Print View

Nick,

By "personal" I meant your revealing personal information about your wife, even at the risk of displeasing her. That's all. I just appreciate that you shared it; it helped put a few things you said into perspective. It still doesn't mean that I agree with everything you say or wrote, either. But I do recognize and grant that you are speaking from your heart and from your convictions, which, as long as no one is hurt or disadvantaged from what you say, is a good thing. Reading all these comments sometimes rubs me the wrong way, but I also learn from them, most especially the comments that I don't agree with or that force me to think about my own convictions, in part because I have to verbalize them. It's a very interesting discussion.

Edited by butuki on 10/15/2010 15:15:39 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 10/15/2010 15:28:12 MDT Print View

Nick, you're making a distinction between the courts and the government. This is false. The courts of part of the government. Congress makes the laws and the courts enforce them. Laws against fraud, contract law, etc. are government regulations.
-----------------------------------------------------------
Sort of. The courts interpret law and resolve disagreements. Police enforce laws. But do we need so many laws and regulations? One simple law that no one can deprive another citizen of their property (intellectual included) would be simple enough.


You seem very supportive of patent laws. This is another government regulation. It is of benefit by rewarding innovation. But patent law stifles free market innovation which would otherwise seek to deliver the same product at lower cost. What is the real free market solution?
---------------------------------------------------------
We do not need a patent law or regulation. The patent is the property of its creator. No one has the right to take or use my property without my permission. Nor does it stifle innovation. It drives the creative people to develop a better alternative product. And if they can sell it cheaper, they may make their competitors product obsolete. Creative people will develop better alternative products if they can make a profit. I could sell millions of my 5,000 mile per gallon cars at $100,000 each. I could probably sell billions for $15,000 each. It is me who determines what strategy I want to employ, because it is my product. If the public does not want my product, I will sell none. Betamax VCRs is an example. Look at what Apple did in the MP3 market.



It wasn't Fannie and Freddie that drove down loan requirements. It was the commercials. The commercial banks believed they could take a bunch of high risk loans and convert them into a low risk investment. They did this on their own and they were very wrong. Fannie and Freddie came late to the party as they were losing business and made many of the same stupid mistakes.
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Years ago banks, thrift & loans held home loans until maturity. They did not make loans because someone needed a house, they made loans if that person had the ability to pay it off. And they did not take high risks with the depositors money. Standards were pretty tough. They could only loan money that they had on hand. I remember a time that you could not get a loan, if the payment period extended beyond your "retirement" age.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other spin-offs allowed lenders to make loans with money they did not have, and created a system where loans were sold as a commodity, with high risk. But no one cared because the loans were backed by "the full faith and credit of the United States government," and this system the government put in place did not monitor shady deals. The creeps moved in and the rest is history.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 10/15/2010 15:32:07 MDT Print View

Miguel,

I understand. What I meant was a "personal" message that was posted directly to you. It is intended as a compliment.

Most of my posts are meant to convey an idea or opinion, not a personal message to the originator.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 10/15/2010 15:36:04 MDT Print View

Okay,

Last post for today. I must pack up and head out to the mountains. I will let the rest of you continue the war :)

Be nice and share ideas. Do not attack anyone or their beliefs.

See you next week.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 10/15/2010 16:00:52 MDT Print View

"One simple law that no one can deprive another citizen of their property (intellectual included) would be simple enough."

So you do think there shoul be some government regulation. Because even this law is just that.

Of course this law would mean we go back to square one and let the courts interpret a very vague law. This would make virtually every trade go through the court system and make an unelected, unaccountable supreme court into the most powerful branch of government. I don't think that's what the founders had in mind.

----

"Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other spin-offs allowed lenders to make loans with money they did not have"

Not exactly Fannie/Freddie buy loans from lenders trading an asset for cash. This allows banks to make more loans with the extra cash they now have. This shifts risk to the government, which is why Fannie/Freddie had significantly higher standards for loans than the no income, no documentation loans which were so popular last decade. The loans that exploded the housing bubble were by and large rejected by Fannie/Freddie standards. This meant the commercial banks had to find another way to shift risk, which they did through the derivatives market. And thanks to Clinton and a Republican congress the derivatives market was completed unregulated allowing massive risk to be taken with hardly any actual asset backing it up.

Smart simple government regulation could have prevented this scenario. Either by doing what was done following the banking collapse of 1929 which was to prevent lending banks from making investments on their own behalf or to regulate the derivatives market and require hard cash to back up each trade. The financial reform bill passed this year took the latter approach.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Son of Carbon Flame War on 10/15/2010 17:08:38 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..."

Increasingly, it does not not consider him/her a human being while he is working, either. "human" has become an adjective in New Speak, as in "human resource", just another consumable to be used up in pursuit of ever greater profit; profit that comes increasingly at the expense of the worker, since most of the gains from increased worker productivity go either to corporate execs or shareholders. Wages definitely do not reflect increased productivity.

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 10/15/2010 17:30:04 MDT Print View

"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."

And your point is?

"The split of total wealth is more like

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

That is why I put a question mark after 90%. I'll be happy to settle for your numbers in making my point. And you're right about wealth not being static. That giant sucking sound is the wealthy vacuuming up an ever greater share with every passing bubble-crash cycle. Any bets on how the percentages will look in the near future I referred to if current trends continue? I say my 90% figure will be looking pretty good.

"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."

I know what you're getting at, but it might not turn out quite like you think, Nick. You seem to be implying that there is a direct correspondence of brains with wealth and drive, to the exclusion of those who are not wealthy. I could as well ask you what would happen if the 2% or whatever low number it is these days who grow our food went on strike. I'll make a flat statement here: The millions of backyard gardners and small local farmers would fare far better than the folks you are talking about. We might even end up with a more equitable society where people worked cooperatively for the common good out of the realization that, ultimately, all we have is each other.

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
The Carbon Flame War" on 10/15/2010 18:47:27 MDT Print View

L Curve, because a picture helps sometimes.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 10/15/2010 19:02:06 MDT Print View

"My wife and I are an inter-racial couple ... I often do not even see the barriers, but she does."

Oddly my experience was the reverse. I'm Australian (of what we call locally Anglo-Celtic background since there's Australians of all kinds of race and ethnicity) and my wife is Japanese. I've spent a lot of time living in Japan and oddly enough it's where I feel that I fit in best. But I have occasionally been discriminated against, less so now than in the early 90s when I first lived there. Apart from having to carry an identity card (which Japanese don't have to carry), mostly minor things - people not sitting next to me on the train, being told to wash twice before entering a swimming pool, being blaimed for other people's mess at the sento, being ignored in shops - and hairdressers refusing to cut my hair. But my wife refused to acknowledge that I ever suffered any discrimination in Japan.

A couple of years ago I was heading off across Tokyo to get my hair cut at the place I'd found that would cut my hair and they also did a fantastic job. My wife said I should get my hair cut locally. I said that they wouldn't serve me. She marched us down to the shopping strip and we went into a hairdressers. It was full of staff: they looked at us, didn't greet us (there's a Japanese phrase which is always sung out when a customer enters a business, but we didn't get it) and when my wife spoke to them they refused to even look at her, let alone respond and literally turned their backs. My wife stood there in shock, then we left and went to my usual hairdresser. At my usual hairdressers she, still in shock, told the business owner about it. The boss just nodded and said, yes, that was common.

Edited by Arapiles on 10/19/2010 05:38:00 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: The Rational Son of the Carbon Flame War on 10/15/2010 20:12:37 MDT Print View

"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."

Without an EPA, how would corporate pollution be controlled? Government pollution? Think Hanford, for instance.

Without an FDA, how would a safe food supply be maintained?
I'm talking here about an FDA better insulated from corporate influence.

Without A CDC, how would public health issues be monitored and hopefully the resources directed to emerging threats to public health? How would epidemics be detected, tracked, and the resources marshalled to counter them?

How would our currency be managed in a global economy? Money supply? Who would keep banks honest, especially investment banks? A conceptual oxymoron, I admit.

Who would manage our relations with other countries in this increasingly complex, multi polar world? The military?

No government role in education? I doubt enough people woud be able to afford private education to cause much investment in education by the private sector, especially with no minimum wage, outsourcing, and insourcing.

I could go on, but this should do to make my point, which is: In a modern society, certain essential areas require an oversight function and, in some cases, active government involvement if society is to remain viable.

"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."

One of our most prosperous periods, especially in terms of the percentage of the population enjoying it, was in the Post WW II period, not long after the FDR Administration passed some of the most sweeping regulatory legislation in the nation's history.

"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."

We currently have some 25 million people either unemployed or underemployed. Without government assistance, do you seriously believe that their more fortunate brethren would take up the slack? Back to my initial question: What would you do about these 25 million unfortunates?

No minimum wage? In combination with outsourcing of the high skill jobs and insourcing of the low skill jobs, combined with ever increasing productivity, would we not be in a race to the bottom for the foreseeable future? At least until wages reached a world wide equilibrium? What kind of living standard would this result in? How would those who did manage to find employment afford housing, education, health care, educate the next generation of workers/citizens, etc? With diminished consumer purchasing power what incentive would there be to create jobs?

I just cannot comprehend how you think a system such as the one you espouse could possibly lead to a society where the majority of people would have a chance at a decent life. I remain open to being convinced, but what you have posted so far leaves me skeptical in the extreme.

Edited by ouzel on 10/15/2010 20:22:05 MDT.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re:The Carbon Flame War on 10/15/2010 21:53:26 MDT Print View

My condolences to the international readers trying to decipher/tolerate US politics in their current state, as splattered here. These days there's a surplus of noise and less sense than usual (usual=tiny amount of sense).

This is a pretty good summary of where we are this election season. Hope things are better where you are.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR3C0S7yiv8&feature=player_embedded

The good news is, it's fall and I love fall.

Best,

Rick

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: The Carbon Flame War on 10/15/2010 23:06:31 MDT Print View

DW, that's the interesting thing about Japan... it is one of those places where white people, almost always for the first time in their lives, experience what it is like everyday for non-white people in the rest of the world. A huge majority of them never handle it well, and that is why so many of them bunch up in ex-pat groups and never really get to know Japanese people or the culture. You're definitely an exception. Personally I don't like hanging out in ex-pat groups... too much time spent on complaining about Japanese.

Changing someone's worldview is usually a long and arduous process. It can make them feel very vulnerable. After all what should they replace the comfort of knowing who they are with? I guess you wife has to experience enough of the bad things about Japan in order to truly absorb the truth and understand. Unfortunately Japanese have a very hard-headed view of themselves and little sense of humor about it (not unlike Americans). And their adherence to the idea of "the pure race" has to be one of the hardest nuts to crack imaginable. I'm really surprised that your wife, being a right-winger, even agreed to talk to you! That says more about her than any notions she might have about the "right Japan". She's more open-minded than your story suggests... after all, she married you! I often have the same problems with my partner. Trying to explain the anger I feel after having been, for instance, accosted three times in two days by bored police officers asking for my ID, is like trying to catch a fish by hand blindfolded, "But not ALL Japanese do that!" she will protest. (again, sounding very much like Americans). How can I get across to her that, yes, I know, but the thing is that I was accosted, three times! I should never have been accosted at all. Not a single other person in the same areas were even glanced at. Why did they single me out? That's what she never gets, because she's never experienced it. In fact, all the Japanese around me when the police officers stopped me almost certainly thought I was a potential criminal when they saw the events. If I had walked into a store owned by one of those witnesses there is a very high likelihood they would not have served me.

Racism is insidious and destructive beyond the immediately identifiable.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 10/16/2010 00:43:15 MDT Print View

"DW, that's the interesting thing about Japan... it is one of those places where white people, almost always for the first time in their lives, experience what it is like everyday for non-white people in the rest of the world"

I agree with that - it did open my eyes. And it was more so the case because, as you know, the Japanese are very hierarchical and in the game of Japanese status snakes and ladders I went up for being a caucasian English-speaker, but as an Australian I ranked behind an American or Englishman because most Japanese regarded Australia as a third world country.

"I'm really surprised that your wife, being a right-winger, even agreed to talk to you! That says more about her than any notions she might have about the "right Japan". She's more open-minded than your story suggests... after all, she married you!"

Maybe she was desperate?

On a serious note, I know of a few occasions where someone married across cultural/racial boundaries and then spent all their time ridiculing/rejecting their partner's culture and trying to make them conform with their own culture. I cop a degree of that from my parents in law.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 10/16/2010 00:54:23 MDT Print View

I used to work for the U.S. branch of a large Japanese corporation, and I had to go to the factory in Oyama periodically to help teach the engineers there how to build and test products for a North American customer.

I was shocked when I found out their hierarchy in the factory... it was purely by skin color, with pasty-faced Americans at the top, Asians second (well, Japanese, then Chinese), Latin Americans, and then Afro-Americans last. I didn't think that was quite right, but my boss told me to follow the Japanese customs when in Japan. They saw a completely different hierarchy in California where ranking was based completely on who produced.

Then the one Japanese woman engineer married the Canadian guy. Oh, eyes rolled over that!

--B.G.--

jeff pfeffer
(kaala) - F
re re re redux dux ducks on 10/16/2010 01:02:54 MDT Print View

at the end of the day the united states constitution and bill of rights stand as the greatest political documents, the sources of the most successful political experiment, the basis for the creation of the largest increase in standards of living worldwide and the guiding light for the future of mankind.

All we need to do is stick to it.

It is why even those who badmouth the USA want to move here.

For all its imperfections there is still nothing that compares

simple fact

like it, or not

as history has, and will continue, to show

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: re re re redux dux ducks on 10/16/2010 01:43:02 MDT Print View

at the end ... continue, to show

Purely out of curiousity - are you serious or just trolling?

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
re redux dux ducks on 10/16/2010 01:49:02 MDT Print View

Jeff,

o_O"

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: The Carbon Flame War on 10/16/2010 02:07:22 MDT Print View

Bob, sadly the hierarchies like that do exist here. The only thing wrong with your assessment is that it is very highly unlikely that the Japanese thought of themselves as below the white Americans. They probably showed that to keep any tiffs from occurring, but Japanese very much consider themselves as separate from the rest of the world. That's why the word "gaijin" is so pervasive here. Even people who were born and raised in Japan, have Japanese citizenship, and speak perfect Japanese, if they do not have "pure" Japanese blood, they are "gaijin".

They're attitude towards southeast Asians, even worse than towards Chinese and Koreans, is contempt with a capital "C".

African and African-Americans? They are not really considered human. Black Sambo books are openly and defiantly, in spite of worldwide protests, sold in children's bookstores throughout the country. Often they are used as class materials in kindergartens and elementary school classes.

That said, it is curious here. A great number of Africans and African-Americans find inter-racial marriages here and their kids do fine in the schools. I once met an African-America who was married to a Japanese and had kids who told me this: "It's strange. There is racism here, but it's out in the open, not insidious and usually hidden like in the States. Racism is more "honest" here. You know what you're dealing with. I much prefer that to the insipid "tolerance" of the States. Tolerance is not acceptance"

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: The Carbon Flame War on 10/16/2010 02:19:48 MDT Print View

Maybe she was desperate?

Oooooh, DW, have you taken out insurance on your dignity or male prowess?

Yeah, cross-cultural relationships, especially across borders, are not easy. Expectations are often so different that trying to explain why you feel something lands on uncomprehending ears. For instance, in my family cursing has always been a part of our culture (Brooklyn, New York). We are loud, talk over each other when we sit together discussing things at the table, and often get quite passionate about what we are saying. Cursing often comes in, but never with an intention to hurt the other. It is merely used as an intensifier in the conversation. Here in Japan, where listening intently is part of the game (though maybe less so in the Kansai area) and there aren't even any real curse words in the language, how do explain to a Japanese partner that the passion you are showing and the curse words you are using is not disrespect? I don't know how my partner would survive an evening with my relatives in New York!

as an Australian I ranked behind an American or Englishman because most Japanese regarded Australia as a third world country.

I'd say that Americans pretty much think of Australians the same way. After all, all those people carrying huge bush knives and wrestling saltwater crocodiles all day long can't be quite civilized. You do eat your meals out of Dinky cans, don't you? Just think about it... just about every popular movie to come out of Australia on the international market revels in the swagman image: Crocodile Dundee, Mad Max, Picnic At Hanging Rock, Walkabout, The Man from Snowy River, The Year of Living Dangerously, Gallipoli, Young Einstein, My Brilliant Career, Coca-Cola Kid (I fell in love with Greta Scacch), even Bliss! The only movie I can think of that completely took place in an Australian City was "Malcolm".

I gues that really reveals the extent of my ignorance of Australia, a country I VERY much want to visit!

Edited by butuki on 10/16/2010 02:51:55 MDT.