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Old 12-01-2010, 09:27 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Five reasons why I occaionally despair.

Five problems I perceive that I simply don't think we're capable of solving.

1. Ever-continual tax cuts for the rich. I believe in the power of capitalism, and that those who do well and produce much deserve to have more. I have been on both ends of that dynamic and I can appreciate its impact on society as a whole. But the widening gap between the rich and everybody else is incredibly disturbing to me.

During a recession in which the rich did well but the middle class was pounded and poverty expanded, I fail to see why the rich deserve ever-continual tax cuts that are increasingly disproportionate to their share of the economy. The constant fight to keep these people from paying more taxes, and putting their fair share into a system from which they've been fortunate enough to prosper is the ultimate triumph usurping of patriotism.

And unfortunately, the rich will win this fight every time. The taxes they are responsible for will forever slide down and down, leaving either one of two things in its wake: a weakened America that cannot pay its bills, or the emergence of an didactic oligarchy in the wake of an American government that was once capable of providing for those who struggle.

2. State secrets. The Wikileaks experience has taught us a few things over the course of the past few months, and it's this: the contempt those in power (governmentally, financially, and in the media) will forever be the greatest against those who expose state secrets, not against those that utilize secrecy to achieve some disgusting ends.

WikiLeaks has shown us some truly startling things, like live-action combat mistakes, tens of thousands of casualties being hidden from the public, and the corrupt dealings of governments as they interact with one another. But for every fascinating revelation, there are a thousand revelations that are ordinary and boring. Ordinary and boring! Why does the government, in its vast commitment to keep everything behind closed doors, need to keep ordinary, everyday dealings in the shadows?

Interpol has issued a warrant for Julian Assange. It will greatly restrict his movement, and he will likely rot in a jail cell for the rest of his life. And yet another great voice in the fight for government transparency will be neutralized by the vast powers of those who run the world. I fear that in the future, voices like his will be forever harder to hear.

3. Cutting down the deficit and debt. On this very forum, somebody posted a link to an exercise where you could cut down the deficit. It was so easy, and so simple, that it's absolutely shocking we haven't been able to do it already. Until you look at where the cutting needs to take place: defense and Medicare.

Our inability to ever figure out a way to cut down on defense is amazing to me. But even our ability to cut the production of things we never use and don't help us -- like "lazer plane" -- was continuously met with opposition. It took a miracle just to get us that far. There's simply no fighting all the districts across the country that cost us a ton of money in manufacturing and shipping. There's no fighting the vast contractor infestation that is excessive, expensive, and destructive.

Medicare is even more vexing, because while it's conservatives that largely resist the necessary vast cuts needed in defense, both conservatives and liberals resist the necessary vast cuts needed in Medicare. It feels as though there is no way to scale this mountain.

4. Our complete disdain for civil liberties. I think the shocking slide of civil liberties, starting with the eroding right to privacy and finally the slow grind into due process has been particularly disheartening. There has been so much said on the subject at this point, I don't have too much to add. Except that our irrational, excessive fear of terrorism has stretched from self-parody at this point to straight on constitutional erosion.

I do not fear terrorism. I don't fear them attacking me. I don't fear them attacking any of you. I don't fear them attacking New York City. I don't fear them attacking the ones that I love. And I have a hard time imagining anybody else here really does. I mean, really. Terrorists?

And yet we live in a society where the laws continue to reflect the understandable paranoia we felt at the turn of the century. And while the TSA flap was encouraging, I suppose, it was just a speed bump in what will be a continuing rollback of civil rights all in the name of protecting us from the Bad Guy Of The Month.

5. The juntas in Iran and Burma. There are few stories I follow more diligently than the international spread of democracy. But in this day of increasing technology which gives individuals the power of communicating better, and increasing one's knowledge of what the rest of the world possesses, governments also gain sophistication needed to fend off any assaults from their citizens, for good or bad.

In the case of Iran and especially Burma, bad. These are two countries starving for democracy that simply can't get it because those power won't give it up.

In Iran, you have people that have tried revolting against the government in the most democratic way possible: demonstrations and protests that involve Iranians of every walk of life AND BOTH GENDERS, while doing so without guns and weapons, and getting beaten down every time by the entrenched military government and the thugs they hire to terrorize their neighbors.

Burma is an even more hopeless cause, because the junta there will fire live rounds into crowds, imprison anybody that says the slightest thing against the government FOR DECADES, and they purposefully starve their population while shutting down the internet so they can't reach the outside world.

Both of these countries are international hostage situations, pure and simple. International opinion does not budge them. The options for these countries are seemingly hopeless.
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:03 AM   #46
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:45 PM   #47
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It seems to me you've got 1 item of dispair for each of the 5 green pills you take each month when the white ones are gone.




Maybe you should spend a little of that time learning how to use a hammer and duct tape instead of Ululating for Burma.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:54 PM   #48
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God you are hateful. Probably a racist too. You aren't smart enough to know what is good for you, lucky for you the current administartion is here to do the thinking for you.
I started to reply with , but I realized you were mocking the Obamunists just in the nick of time.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:59 PM   #49
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I started to reply with , but I realized you were mocking the Obamunists just in the nick of time.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:24 PM   #50
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Snooty.
I said I liked their desserts. Geez!
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:40 PM   #51
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High Tech is Sorcery and the people who are really powerful are literally telling people to commit crimes using the psychic interspace created by the WWW and Wireless. They are controlling peoples actions like drones . The two things are deeply intertwined. The more man's brain interfaces with machines the creepier it gets. They use brains separate from a human body in a supercomputer and you have The Image of the Beast. The military has been doing this since the 50s
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:47 PM   #52
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Not to mention the injustice of forcing Iranians to live in a foreign country.
I am all for them keeping more of their money, as long as the Congress pays for it. We simply can't afford to give a tax cut, it will add to the deficit, and they won't have the money to pay for the best job creator, unemployment checks.
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:50 PM   #53
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Wherever your business took you I trust you were treated well. Did you get a chance to visit the Amana's for some excellent german dining and Amish shopping?
Is the 5 Seasons still running? Spent many nights there
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:02 PM   #54
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:20 PM   #55
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Regarding issue #1...

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Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
OH NOES! Rich people are keeping more of the money that they make!
Wrong, it's more than just what the rich bring in. It's that, during a recession, the rich have brought even more in than they have before. Which means they are now bringing in what used to be brought in by the middle class. The middle class is making less, and poverty is greater than before. The money out there hasn't disappeared, it's been reallocated at even greater rates to the rich.

This creates an even greater income gap that is unhealthy for the entire country. It will make accumulating wealth far easier for a small minority and much more difficult for everybody else. That will slow any recovery, and harm the robustness of any economy.

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Originally Posted by 2bikemike View Post
1. The Rich getting Richer doesn't bother me. I do believe we need to simplify the tax code. I am fine with removing tax breaks as long as there is a corresponding decrease in tax rates. I would like to see an end to the IRS how much money would we save on salaries and benefits eliminating that department? Govt is way too big doing way too much that we should be taking care of our selves. IMHO Defense is priority 1 for the Govt.
Simplying the tax code is fine by me.

Eliminating the IRS is unnecessary, however. But I'd be open to it if there was a reasonable alternative.

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Um, if the tax rates have stayed the same for 10 years, and if the top 1% of incomes pay 38% of the taxes, and the top 50% of the incomes pay 97% of the taxes, can you explain how the taxes "they" are responsible for are "forever sliding down and down"?

It sounds more like half of the country is getting a free ride, and even that is not enough.
The top 1% pays 38% of the taxes, but they bring in exactly how much of the wealth? Much, much more.

You could make the rich pay 50% of the taxes and they'd still be bringing in much, much more.

If you want to complain about half the country getting a free ride, the #1 solution to that is to free up as much capital as reasonably possible. Forever lowering taxes on the rich does the exact opposite.

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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
Your class envy is disheartening. The incredibly complex progressive tax system we have in this country, fraught with special tax treatments (i.e. loopholes) and social science experiments is a political nightmare that gives politicians the tools they need to pit one group of Americans against another and to sell favors in return for campaign contributions. Both our economy and our political system would be far better off with a simplified, broad-based, low-rate tax designed only for revenue generation and not for redistribution or economic micromanagement. You don't need to use the tax code to provide for those who struggle.
I'm not going to defend a complex tax system. A basic, progressive tax system can be plenty simpler than the system we have now.

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But, and it's been adressed by others already, there is zero effect on you regarding how much the "rich" get taxed. The problem, IMO, is this perception that the government is the only way problems are solved (regardless of the FACT that the government causes more problems than it solves) and therefore they need tons of money to make everything alright. They already tax the piss out of the "rich", the ones who invest and create wealth and jobs in this country. It's like you think that rich people are just born that way or that at some point they become evil or uncaring once they reach a certain income level, an arbitrary number arrived at by some weird accounting system that makes no sense.

When half of the country pays 0 income tax, and 25 percent pays most of the tax, how is that possibly fair? How many rich people contribute large amounts of their money to charity? How many invest in businesses and create jobs?

Way more than the ones who don't pay a dime in taxes, I can tell you that.
They actually don't tax the piss out of the rich; they pay far less than their fair share considering the massive % of wealth they bring in vs. everybody else. Also there are a myriad of loopholes which are exposed by the wealthy, meaning that the average millionaire, if one were so inclined, could work their tax % down to about half of what they are obligated to pay.

Again, this is an argument raised by somebody else in the thread: "well this is the country's just desserts for having so many people in poverty." That's an assinine, juvenile argument.

If you're really concerned about so many people under the poverty line, create an economic environment where more people can succeed -- and locking up more savings for the rich does the exact opposite of that.
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:30 PM   #56
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Regarding issue #2:

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Originally Posted by 2bikemike View Post
2.Wiki Leaks troubles me because somebody is sharing information they should not be sharing. I also find it troubling how this is being battled. See todays attack on Wiki that shut them down. I don't blame the guy for putting out the information I blame the folks giving them the info. The attacks Wiki demonstrates to me how your freedom of speech can be squashed.
What exactly should they not be sharing?

There are maybe a couple things I can think of, most of them small particulars like the names of local residents in Afghanistan, and a few embarrassing but hardly game-changing assessments in the diplomatic cables. But the Pentagon has not confirmed a single casualty as a result of Wikileaks.

The information revealed has been largely positive for transparency. We've seen visceral battle in motion, read about tens of thousands of casualties that were being hid from us, learned that Doctor Evil in Iran is lying when he said the entire Middle East is behind him except for Israel, and that Britain didn't even try to look into the misinformation that led them into war, despite telling the British citizens that they did. FOR STARTERS.

This is all good stuff for us to know. The fact that so much of this bullshit is being hid from us, the vast majority of which is boring minutae, is why so many in power are able to get away with so much.

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We have secrets for a reason. You wouldn't show everyone your hand in a poker game so why would you do it when life and death are at stake? Hell, you don't even share personal information on ChiefsPlanet because you're afraid it will be used against you.

It's amazing that it comes as a surprise to you that we make mistakes in combat. Where the hell have you been? Bad things happen in war and a lot of relatively innocent bystanders often get caught in the crossfire. The US is probably better than anyone is or ever has been at avoiding that kind of collateral damage but it's still going to happen.

While there's probably a tendency toward overclassification, the reason that ordinary and boring gets classified is because you can sometimes piece together several seemingly mundane bits of information and build a picture that gives you insight into something that is actually worth keeping secret.

People who disclose national defense secrets should be dealt with harshly. The wikileaks leaker should probably be executed unless a plea bargain to life without parole can benefit us in some way (by getting the traitor to give us information, for example). Assange is a piece of shit who is an enemy of our country. If we have a chance to sideline him, we should definitely do it.
Yeah, we have state secrets for a reason alright. So those in power can use the veil of secrecy to pull off all kinds of outrageous stunts without public blowback. This isn't rocket science.

Virtually nothing revealed is going to effect the American ability to get anything done diplomatically on the international scene. Not a single casualty has been reported as a result of Wikileaks.

So what you call a traitor, I call a whistleblower. And there are times when those two are not that far apart. If the choice is between doing what is best for Americans and what is best for the American government's insatiable quest to keep everything they do secret, the line gets a lot blurrier.
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:34 PM   #57
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Regarding issue #3:

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I like how you place more blame on conservatives for our inability to cut spending than on liberals. That's hilarious and wrong. Conservatives oppose drastic cuts in defense because they understand that defense is the most important job of government. Liberals don't want to cut medicare and non-liberal politicians are afraid to cut it because liberals are quick to demagogue the issue. There are going to be cuts though. If not in the next two years, then after the era of Big Ogovernment in 2012. I think we're at the point where it has to happen.
This isn't a serious reply.

Conservatives oppose defense cuts, because they are concerned about the issue.

Liberals oppose Medicare cuts because they're demagogues.

Right. When you want to get serious, I'll reply.
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:42 PM   #58
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Regarding issue #4:

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Originally Posted by 2bikemike View Post
4. I am also sick and tired of the errosion of civil liberties and the attacks on our rights. I however do not believe that we have an irrational fear of Terrorist attacks. We have many enemies who would love nothing more than to kill a bunch of americans. We will be attacked again and we must not let our guard down. However I do believe we can be ever vigilant without eroding our civil liberties.
Sounds like we're on the same page except for our concerns for terrorism. Why be so concerned about it? A few thousand people die from it, maximum, every year across the ENTIRE PLANET. That doesn't warrant to me what seems to be an absolute freakout by the American people that lead them to tell the government to check their library cards, lest one of us be checking out the Koran.

Terrorists pose absolutely no threat to us. Every now and again, they will luck out and kill a few folks, once every 100 years they'll pull off a 9/11. But for the most part they are a hapless bunch that pale in comparison to disease, car accidents, and domestic violence.

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We're in a war. The more we emphasize defense instead of offense, the more this will happen. Do you think we can just go back to ignoring islamic radicals as if they aren't trying to do as much damage to the Great Satan as possible and cripple our economy? If so, I think you're completely naive.
The choices here aren't "completely ignoring them" and "complete shitfit that arrests our civil liberties by the dozen."

This tension between freedom and order will always be a complicated one, and who am I to say where the pendulum needs to stop. But the extent to which this country goes to sacrifice incredible freedoms to make ourselves marginally more safer (and even less safe in some cases) is evidence of a psychosis in motion.
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:44 PM   #59
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Five problems I perceive that I simply don't think we're capable of solving.

1. Ever-continual tax cuts for the rich. I believe in the power of capitalism, and that those who do well and produce much deserve to have more. I have been on both ends of that dynamic and I can appreciate its impact on society as a whole. But the widening gap between the rich and everybody else is incredibly disturbing to me.

During a recession in which the rich did well but the middle class was pounded and poverty expanded, I fail to see why the rich deserve ever-continual tax cuts that are increasingly disproportionate to their share of the economy. The constant fight to keep these people from paying more taxes, and putting their fair share into a system from which they've been fortunate enough to prosper is the ultimate triumph usurping of patriotism.

And unfortunately, the rich will win this fight every time. The taxes they are responsible for will forever slide down and down, leaving either one of two things in its wake: a weakened America that cannot pay its bills, or the emergence of an didactic oligarchy in the wake of an American government that was once capable of providing for those who struggle.
I believe it was Ronald Reagan who said "A poor man never gave me a job"..or something like that.
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:46 PM   #60
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Regarding issue #5:

Ya'll need some medication.

The responses to the other four issues made a mediocum of sense. The responses to me genuinely worrying about the plight of freedom in a couple foreign countries were assinine.

"I'm sure you want to embroil us in two more freedom exercises."

No, I don't. This is their problem. I'm just concerned over how effectively some governments are able to squash freedom.

"Maybe you should try worrying about yourself/those closer to you/Americans."

WTF. Like caring about people I don't know means I'm not sharing any concerns for the part of the world I actually live in.

"I don't spend any time caring about them, I spend time more productively caring about the things in my life."

Well then power to you, Seymour. I don't know why that makes it a capital offense for me to write about the subject.

Christ.
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