The Carbon Flame War
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Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/12/2010 20:14:47 MST Print View

"A group that regulates does not gain from an investment or an operation, because they do not invest or produce anything... they loot from the producers."

Some would call that protecting society.

"The longer it takes the group to approve a product and the more bureaucratic the group becomes, the longer they work and the more job security they have. Their job is not to approve anything if they can. And if they approve something, they get no reward... thus they have no incentive to approve anything. The only incentive is to stay employed and obtain a generous retirement package. That is looting from the producers who provide the goods and services the public wants to purchase."

Gosh, Nick. Substitute money for cheese and you've just reduced the human race to a pack of Pavlovian rats.

"Now if one wanted to start their own agency to review products and SELL their advice to the public, that would be acceptable. Kind of like Consumer Reports..."

Or Moodys and Standard & Poors?

"And yes I have a answer for everything."

Clearly, but are they the right answers? Therein lies the rub. ;]

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/12/2010 20:17:36 MST Print View

"or that the consumer will always stay away from businesses that do wrong by the consumer, is neither rational nor logical from my perspective"

You're in good company, Doug. I've long thought H.L. Mencken said it best: "nobody ever went broke underestimating the American Public". ;)

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/12/2010 21:13:07 MST Print View

"So would you say that the percentage of business people who are immoral or break the law is higher than the general population who are immoral or break the law?"

Not at all, but their actions are liable to have a much greater impact on society, due to their economic power.

A simple example might be the difference between me flushing a quart of used motor oil down the toilet and the Exxon Valdez incident.

"Often business people are deemed guilty until proven innocent, but everyone else is innocent until proven guilty."

In the eyes of the public, perhaps, increasingly with good reason, but not in a court of law. Corporations tend to do well in court proceedings, especially against an individual, if only because they can afford the best justice money can buy, administered in accordance with the best laws money can buy.

"Just because someone wants to make a profit does not make them evil... most often the opposite; they provide things to society that cannot be produced by any other means. And society benefits."

It's not quite that black and white in practice. Sometimes yes, but other times the damage wrought by the product itself or in the process of producing it far outweighs the benefit.

"And we demand that they be nearly pollution free and demand they obtain an average of 35.5 MPG (see Obama's 2016 CAFE unified standards)."

It puzzles me that you would object to these requirements.

"Many of the high profile business crimes are perpetrated by individuals who could not make it on their own. Their "success" stems from being in bed with crocked government agencies, politicians, and the like; which provide favors to them. If they had to stand on their own merit, they would fail miserably."

Large corporations, one of which produced your SUV, exist because individuals cannot produce on their own what corporations produce. Unfortunately, with size also comes influence and power, including the power to elect legislators who will tailor laws to their specifications and an executive who will stack the courts with judges predisposed to interpret those laws in their favor. This sabotage of our system of checks and balances inevitably creates an atmosphere of impunity which, sooner or later, leads individuals in positions of corporate power, usually more than one in collusion, to commit violations in pursuit of more profit or personal gain so egregious that even stacked courts cannot ignore them, lest they finally arouse the American people from their stupor and bring the whole house of cards down on their collective heads. The Founding Fathers saw these dangers very clearly, based on an astute understanding of human nature. Sadly, they could not design a system that would withstand derilection of duty by those entrusted with wielding power, be it for monetary gain or out of lust for power itself. Or both.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/12/2010 21:18:55 MST Print View

Here's something else H.L. Mencken said:

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

How true. We fear collapsing markets, spreading diseases, toasting environments etc etc. Why? Because that's what is being fed to us from the tube every moment of every day.

I threw the F*%$^£*g thing out a couple of years ago, and haven't looked back in anguish. I have more time to think, more time to breathe, and more time to think of ways of insulting the T.V. licensing authority every time they threaten to come and knock my door down for failing to voluntarily purchase my own organ of propaganda.

Whatever happened to the acid rain and the ozone hole and the bird flu anyway? I missed the news. What was Oprah's opinion about it? No, don't tell me.

Some excellent posts on the last page, to a brit, it's powerful to see these fundamental points about the liberty and responsibility of society being strongly debated in clear language.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

-Dwight Eisenhower-

Edited by tallbloke on 11/13/2010 11:10:23 MST.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/13/2010 04:44:53 MST Print View

Welcome to the Jung


Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not.

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.


If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool.


(all said by Carl Jung - not sure what kind of jungle he lived in)

tiger

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/13/2010 16:54:29 MST Print View

"The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.
-Dwight Eisenhower-"

Words both prescient and wise from our last great president.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/14/2010 20:32:30 MST Print View

but I'm afraid that the belief that business will always do right by the consumer to stay in business or grow the business, or that the consumer will always stay away from businesses that do wrong by the consumer, is neither rational nor logical from my perspective.
-------------------------------------------------------------

No, business will NOT always do right by the consumer. And the consumer does not have to purchase from any business. If a company truly injures someone, we have a legal system to adjudicate.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Producers vs. the Rest of Us? on 11/14/2010 20:43:47 MST Print View

...and you dodged some pretty specific questions about teachers/public employees :)

Are you proud of the quality of high school graduates in the state you work in? I know you take pride in your profession and try to make a difference in the lives of your students. However, I have hired many kids just out of high school who had diplomas. Many could not figure out the sales tax on a $2 quart of oil. They could not make change for simple purchases, and could not compose a simple note. Not a very good return on investment for those who pay the taxes to support public education. It got to the point where I tried to recruit kids from private high schools... only most of them went on to college. But I was able to hire many of these kids for part time work. And I was not paying minimum wage. For example, I paid service station cashiers double the going rate... only they had to be able to accomplish rather simple duties.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Producers vs. the Rest of Us? on 11/14/2010 21:07:37 MST Print View

...and you dodged some pretty specific questions about teachers/public employees :)

---------------------------------------------------------
A couple interesting website reports:

Majority of LAUSD schools among state's lowest performing campuses: http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_15078861

And now check out some LAUSD pensions:
http://database.californiapensionreform.com/database.asp?vtsearchname=&vtsearchemploy=los+angeles+unified&vtquery=1&vttable=calstrs

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/14/2010 21:21:19 MST Print View

"And we demand that they be nearly pollution free and demand they obtain an average of 35.5 MPG (see Obama's 2016 CAFE unified standards)."

It puzzles me that you would object to these requirements.

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

Don't know if you noticed, but most car companies advertise their car gets X mpg, versus brand ABC that only gets y mpg.

Most car companies want to have the best gas mileage, it sells more cars. And if one could build a car that got 200 mpg, the would garner a huge percentage of market share that would create gargantuan profits. They don't need the government telling them to improve mileage, they are working on it every day.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Producers vs. the Rest of Us? on 11/14/2010 21:41:35 MST Print View

"Are you proud of the quality of high school graduates in the state you work in? I know you take pride in your profession and try to make a difference in the lives of your students. However..."

It's pretty hard for me not to take these comments as outright disrespect in so many ways so I think I'm done here.

Suffice to say Nick, I'm pretty well aware of where LAUSD stands, and not from reading an article or two.

Edited by xnomanx on 11/14/2010 21:43:42 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/14/2010 21:52:22 MST Print View

"Most car companies want to have the best gas mileage, it sells more cars. And if one could build a car that got 200 mpg, the would garner a huge percentage of market share that would create gargantuan profits. They don't need the government telling them to improve mileage, they are working on it every day."

C'mon Nick, do you really believe this, or are you just having some fun? If this were true (higher gas mileage automatically equals higher sales) then the Prius would be one of the best selling cars in America.

People buy cars for lots of different reasons, and I'd wager that highest gas mileage isn't even the most important thing for most people, which means it isn't the most important thing for auto companies. The auto companies have been doing everything they can to lobby against any rise in fuel efficiency standards for years, that's pretty well documented.

The top 10 selling cars midway through 2009, as reported by Bankrate, were:

1. Ford F-Series: 179,632
2. Toyota Camry: 150,242
3. Chevrolet Silverado: 149,949
4. Honda Accord: 131,043
5. Toyota Corolla: 121,643
6. Honda Civic: 118,459
7. Nissan Altima: 96,428
8. Dodge Ram: 94,516
9. Ford Fusion: 85,146
10. Honda CR-V: 78,917

Hardly a bunch of fuel efficient vehicles.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Producers vs. the Rest of Us? on 11/14/2010 23:40:41 MST Print View

Craig,

No disrespect meant towards you as I stated that, "I know you take pride in your profession and try to make a difference in the lives of your students." And I definitely do not hold teachers in low esteem. My daughter is a teacher, she just started a couple years ago. She has always wanted to be a teacher. My advice to her was that you will not make a lot of money, but doing a job you love everyday is the most important thing. My comments are directed towards the effectiveness of the public education system.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Producers vs. the Rest of Us? on 11/14/2010 23:49:59 MST Print View

Just remember: In the public education system, it is the buildings and grounds that make up the physical institution, and it is the faculty that makes up the mental institution.

--B.G.--

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/15/2010 00:27:54 MST Print View

Doug,

People vote with their dollars. The majority of the public does not vote for the current line-up of high mileage cars.

The hybrids are expensive, and do not necessarily fit the transportation requirements of the public. BTW for all the advocates of the Prius, The Oct 18 issue of Automotive News quotes Toyota that the vehicle does better than most in terms of exhaust emissions, but it was slightly worse than other vehicles in its class for the "material manufacturing" emissions created. Not a reflection on Toyota, they make great products, but the manufacture of the hybrid components produce more emissions. Seems like few people talk about this aspect.

Electric cars are SUPER expensive, and have a very small range. The Chevy Volt will have a MSRP of $41,000 and the Nissan Leaf will be around $32,000.

The government will offer subsidies to electric car buyers, though. We will see affluent purchasers for the most part, and the rest of us will probably contribute around $7,500 per vehicle. And if you live in California or Georgia, you might get to contribute up to $5,000 in state tax breaks per vehicle. That means the poorer people who cannot afford a new car will see some of their tax money benefit the electric car purchasers.

But the car makers are shifting their emphasis towards more fuel efficient models. Your list showed the F150 as the #1 seller. I follow Ford very closely, as I am a stockholder. Their 2010 line up has changed with more fuel efficient models they have a new Festiva and are moving to phase out the Crown Victoria in 2011. We will see more fuel efficient models from Ford (and other manufactures), as it is part of their strategy. But they will continue to build large trucks and SUVs because people want and need them. But the government does not necessarily care what people want, they will try to force us to buy what they think is best for us.

I threw out the 200 mpg figure, because buying habits would change if a reasonably priced vehicle could achieve that.

The CAFE standards really will not matter, if no one will buy the higher mileage vehicles. The auto makers will just pay the penalties and tack the cost onto all their models and the consumer will pay for it.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/15/2010 00:41:45 MST Print View

Tom said,

Large corporations, one of which produced your SUV, exist because individuals cannot produce on their own what corporations produce. Unfortunately, with size also comes influence and power, including the power to elect legislators who will tailor laws to their specifications and an executive who will stack the courts with judges predisposed to interpret those laws in their favor. This sabotage of our system of checks and balances inevitably creates an atmosphere of impunity which, sooner or later, leads individuals in positions of corporate power, usually more than one in collusion, to commit violations in pursuit of more profit or personal gain so egregious that even stacked courts cannot ignore them, lest they finally arouse the American people from their stupor and bring the whole house of cards down on their collective heads.
----------------------------------------------------------
I have no respect for businesses that manipulate the government. They can do so because government is out of control and engaging in activities that our Founding Fathers would not consider legitimate functions of government. Both are wrong. The so-called businessmen who gain riches by political pull or special favors are not businessmen but looters of the worse degree. Seeking influence is evil and those who seek power are the most immoral of all.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Producers vs. the Rest of Us? on 11/15/2010 01:07:43 MST Print View

Just remember: In the public education system, it is the buildings and grounds that make up the physical institution, and it is the faculty that makes up the mental institution.
----------------------------------------------------------

Just to clarify... I do not think all or even the majority of teachers in public schools are bad or incompetent. Unfortunately I have seen too many teachers become disillusioned and just give up on a system that is often driven by political agendas and crazy policies. A couple of my favorite movies are based on true stories, "Stand and Deliver" and "Coach Carter." I do not know how closely, if at all, the stories are to the truth. They depict a lot of teachers that think they are wasting their time teaching or trying to make a difference. Probably a little too much literary license. But over the years I have seen too many teachers just give up, and focus on their careers and pensions. I have also seen too many incompetent teachers remain employed because of a public system that protects them.

I think that my comments about the LAUSD really upset Craig. That also was not my intention. For the record, one of my brothers is a teacher in this district, and has been for many, many years. He teaches in the absolute worse neighborhood; by choice. He is a bilingual elementary teacher, with no aspirations for administration or transferring somewhere else. He believes he can make a difference. And this second language is something he learned so he could help... not a language that was part of our lives, ethnicity, or race. I have a lot of respect for him.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/15/2010 02:04:09 MST Print View

Nick says:
"I have no respect for businesses that manipulate the government. They can do so because government is out of control and engaging in activities that our Founding Fathers would not consider legitimate functions of government."


The government is the biggest business of them all. And it can be manipulated because it is stacked with the dumbest offspring of the cleverest business families. They used to send them into the clergy. I doubt Bush Jr could work out the sales tax on a quart of oil either. This is the outcome of a system which doesn't limit political funding, and doesn't look too closely at the provenance of the cash. If Obama believes chopping the energy industry off at the knees will create more jobs, then he's a couple of sandwiches short of picnic too. The situation in Britain isn't any better, so don't think I'm just having a bash at the U.S. here either.

It suits the ruling class to have a population sufficently well educated that they understand advertising, but not so clever they start reading and understanding political philosophy or international investment economics. This is the reason they hamstring the education system and its teachers with rubbish curriculae. This is the reason we end up with a bureaucracy which believes the man made global warming story is a 'useful narrative' with which they can steer society, and that they can get away with foisting it on a society too illiterate to see through it.

We'd all better wake up from this situation pretty sharpish, or the Chinese, Brazilians and Indians are going to start laughing at us. If they haven't already.

Edited by tallbloke on 11/15/2010 02:19:42 MST.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Producers vs. the Rest of Us? on 11/15/2010 02:06:13 MST Print View

Even more so than businessmen, teaching, in the States, is a truly under-appreciated profession. Most people have never taught and have no idea how much energy and understanding of both the subjects and the minds of the people they are trying to instill the knowledge of the subjects into it takes to become a truly good teacher. It is exhausting work, because you have to give so much of yourself in order to connect with the students. If the students are unmotivated or resistant to the teaching it is especially hard, because so often it involves getting emotionally involved with them. When the school system itself does absolutely nothing to support the teachers, the extent to which the teacher must put themselves out on the limb, to scrutiny by the students, scrutiny by the parents, scrutiny by other teachers, and scrutiny by the education board gradually eats away at your ability to function as both a professional and often as a person. SO many teachers give up because they feel they are on their own and in spite of the amount of responsibility they are asked to carry and results they are expected to get, they are paid woefully inadequate salaries and usually given crap materials and equipment. It's absurd, because teachers are not meant to produce results for now, but are an investment in the future. Those who dole out the money to the school institutions need to understand what planning for and training for the future means; if they don't then of course a school system and a teacher's abilities will go right out the window. Nick, you complained about many high school students being unable to do even basic tasks. I'm wondering how much money you put into training higher level employees. Do you put considerable investment in them with the hope that they will learn how to be a big asset to the company, or do you let their training slide and hope that those who train them can get the best results by skimping on what is needed to train these employees? It's all the same... teaching is teaching whether it is in a classroom or in an office... you still have to get the information and abilities across and to get the learners to grow. Unfortunately the States has this disdainful attitude toward education, as if it is something only tolerated for decorum. This very conversation is possible only because of education... whether that came out of self-study of books, or out of a classroom with a teacher. Too many people in countries where life is good and few are lacking for any of the basics of survival truly understand how powerful education is. And as long as no one takes education seriously you will get clowns who disparage it as useless, almost always pointing to a lack of concrete results. Thing is, there are millions of people in developing countries who would give their whole lives for the opportunities to get an education and improve their lives.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no light either. on 11/15/2010 11:20:53 MST Print View

"The government will offer subsidies to electric car buyers, though."

The government also gives subsidies to big oil, big agribusiness, cotton growers, etc. etc. We taxpayers subsidize so many things, we don't have a clue (that's the generalized we) of the extent of it all.

"But the government does not necessarily care what people want, they will try to force us to buy what they think is best for us."

Many businesses, and I'll include car companies in this, only minimally care what people want, they instead use marketing to convince us of what we want (since we're rather incapable of critical thought ourselves) and then sell that to us. Not all that much different than 'government' really.

"The so-called businessmen who gain riches by political pull or special favors are not businessmen but looters of the worse degree. Seeking influence is evil and those who seek power are the most immoral of all."

I thought you were a business supporter.... There are more lobbyists in Washington than there are politicians. Even small businesses group together to pay lobbyists to seek influence on capitol hill. Big businesses also group together and buy an army of lobbyists. These lobbyists often write the laws for the politicians. It's the way business is conducted in America. And you can't just blame this on politicians (though I have little regard for many of them myself).

"Unfortunately I have seen too many teachers become disillusioned and just give up on a system that is often driven by political agendas and crazy policies."

A huge problem in many schools today, both public and private, have to do with parents and economics of the home. A teacher can only do so much. Having been married to an exceptional teacher, I got to see first hand the constant struggles caused by a breakdown in parts of what I'd call the educational triad: teachers, students/parents, administrators. In this ever complex world, if the three legs aren't working together, it becomes that much more difficult for the educational system to operate as effectively as it can. And in this triad, in my experience, teachers are rarely the root of any problem.

From Rog: "The government is the biggest business of them all. And it can be manipulated because it is stacked with the dumbest offspring of the cleverest business families."

As a government employee, I'm growing a bit weary of this constant bashing of the faceless, nameless 'government.' Perhaps as tired as you seem to be, Nick, of people bashing the faceless, nameless businessman. If you mean politicians, say so. The servicemembers fighting and dying overseas are government employees. The FBI employees working tirelessly to prevent attacks throughout this country are government employees. For all their faults, I can mail a package today and have it arrive in California in two days for very little cost thanks to government employees. And a lot of important scientific advancement has come about because of government employees. The folks who risk their lives every day to catch criminals and put out fires and such are government employees.

Since I'm retired military, I've been a 'government employee' most of my life. I can tell you, from my personal experience, that government employees are some of the hardest working, ethical, caring workers you'll find anywhere. Many of them believe deeply in the work they do. I'm quite proud to be one of them, and quite proud to work with them.