Open thread

All I’m sayin’ is that you won’t ever see a TPM or HA or even a Seattle PI delivery van involved in any high speed chases.

Comments

  1. 1

    uptown spews:

    Just saw a 3rd party anti-Murray ad followed by a Rossi ad on channel 7. Talk about not coordinating ad buys; Rossi couldn’t have timed those any better.

  2. 3

    tienle spews:

    Very interesting post about Wall Street. Of course we can pretty much guess when that Flash Crash will occur…just before the November election.

  3. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2 If that article is supposed to be an ad for bonds, and it sounds like it, don’t believe it. Yes, the herd is stampeding into bonds. They’ll get hosed. Why? Because interest rates are being held at artificially low levels by the Fed due to the recession and will have to go up. When interest rates rise, bond prices fall. Armed with that knowledge, any simpleton can see that a time of unsustainably low interest rates is the worst possible time to invest in bonds if you care at all about preserving principle. Of course, you don’t lose money on bonds if you hold them until maturity. But why would you want to sit on bonds paying 2% or 3% interest for 5 or 10 years if rates go up and everyone else is making 5% or 6%? Either way, you lose. Over the long haul bonds are a terrible investment compared to equity stocks. And they’re not as safe as dummies think. Buying bonds is nothing more than lending money to municipalities or corporations. Guess what, when you lend money, you may not get paid back! Believe me, it happens. When you own stocks, you OWN something. When you own bonds, you’re OWED something. Big difference! I don’t want to borrow, and I don’t want to lend. I’m a owner, not an ower or creditor. Don’t let this guy sell you bonds. I don’t own a single bond.

  4. 6

    notaboomer spews:

    All I’m sayin’ is that you won’t ever see a TPM or HA or even a Seattle PI

    employ anyone as a delivery driver.

  5. 8

    headless lucy spews:

    re 7: You’d be safe from getting your head chopped off in Saudi Arabia. It’s so far up your ass, they’d never find it.

  6. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @6 You won’t ever see a Republican employ anyone as anything if he can outsource the job to China, India, Mexico, or Haiti.

    I guess what I want to know is who the fuck is going to buy from all these Republican business owners and executives if Americans don’t have jobs?

  7. 11

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Yet another DUmmocrat Senate Race moving from Solid Dummocrat…to back in play.
    All thanks to ImamObaMao!
    Monday, August 30, 2010

    In the first Rasmussen Reports post-primary survey of West Virginia’s U.S. Senate race, Democratic Governor Joe Manchin attracts 48% of the vote while Republican businessman John Raese earns 42%.

    Just after state legislators officially approved a special Senate election this year to replace the late Robert Byrd, Manchin led Raese by a 51% to 35% margin. The latest numbers move the West Virginia race from Solid Democratic to Leans Democratic in the Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power Rankings.

  8. 12

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada & California are now all Toss-up Senate Races.
    About 2 months to go.
    Interesting that while many of these Congressional Races are moving more & more toward R’s, ImamObaMao is actually not quite as despised. His Strong Approval Rating is at -14!

    ImamObaMao’s plan is to make sure R’s win the House or Senate or both…so he can be protected from himself and be a beloved Prezdint. It’s sooooo obvious.
    You KLOWNS aka ImamObaMao’s USEFUL IDIOTS have such huge ego’s and are in such denial, you cannot see what he is up to.

  9. 13

    glort spews:

    @5

    and how many people did you employ? oh, thats right, NONE – as you sucked off the public tit for you career….

  10. 14

    rhp6033 spews:

    Cynical seems to keep forgetting that Obama’s approval rating, while having dropped from the unsustainable euphoria following his inaugueration, is still considerably better than Ronald Reagan’s approval rating at this stage of his Presidency.

    I do think we Democrats need to do a better job at reminding people how badly things were screwed up by the Republicans when they were in charge. The Republicans are making headway only because they are counting on voters to have very short memories.

    It must suck to have to have to rely upon people who have memory problems for your support.

  11. 15

    rhp6033 spews:

    Glort @ 13 reminds us of the basic Republican premise: they believe that someone who works hard as a public servant for their career is less valuable to society and has less moral virtue than a corporate CEO who makes tens of millions of dollars a year while running their companies into the ground, or cocain-snorting trust-fund partiers who don’t do anything at all.

  12. 17

    spews:

    The best article I’ve seen on the Wall Street meltdown is this one:

    http://www.portfolio.com/news-.....eets-Boom/

    It’s well worth reading 5 times or more to absorb everything it says.

    If I had to sum it up: there was a mass herd psychosis on Wall Street that deluded everyone who got caught up in it including those (like ratings agencies) who should have known better.

    Only a very, very few bet against the herd and they did very very well although probably not as well as the banksters who did the most outrageous things after 2006 or so until the final meltdown.

    Greed is an extremely addictive drug and they mainline it in spades on Wall Street.

    Investment banking has become a criminal parasite on the economy. There’s plenty of evidence that organized crime, drug cartel types have been heavily involved since the late nineties.

  13. 18

    Zotz sez: Puddybud is just another word for arschloch spews:

    @5 and 16, Roger and John: Definitely not advocating buying corporate bonds.

    gjohnsit’s just documented really well how corrupt Wall Street and the Investment Banks are (in lots of ways) and makes the point that regular folks aren’t buying their shit anymore. When we don’t buy their hyped shit, the Banksters are gonna lose.

    If this holds, I’m convinced the stock market is going to crash — something like a 600 or so S&P.

    Personnally, I’ve been in Treasuries since Shrub was elected in 2000 via the Fed TSP. I’ve beat the S&P over the period without all the heartburn.

    I’m no stock picker and won’t ever be one. If I was to consider stocks, I’d go with a progressive fund like PAX.

    I’m really thankful that I have the really well managed and essentially no load Fed plan. Treasuries via the Fed TSP have actually beat (by a % or so at ~4+%) what you can make buying treasuries via my credit union (~1.5-2%).

  14. 20

    Blue John spews:

    @13. glort and how many people did you employ?
    Actually every dime he spent in the local economy employed local people.

  15. 21

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 14

    “Obamas approval rating… is still considerably better than Ronald Reagan’s approval rating at this stage of his Presidency.”

    This is true. And for the same reasons, a poor economy which Obama has been unable to make better in the unreasonble time frames given him by voters and opposition politicians.

    It’s also true that you won’t give Reagan credit for the economic boom under his leadership, but you will for Clinton. How does that work exactly? Particularly considering that Clinton and Reagan are closer in fiscal policy than Clinton and Obama, this seems a bit disengenuous.

    In truth I doubt the president has much influence on economic cycles in the short term. Sure, an optimistic and upbeat president raises the level of optimism for the country. Certainly a president who sponsors good fiscal policy is a help in the long run. Either way he or she will get the blame or the credit for the economy, deserved or not.

  16. 22

    uptown spews:

    @5

    Let’s just keep that little piece of knowledge to ourselves. Anyway, the herd never likes to be told they’re jumping off a cliff.

  17. 23

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 15

    This is the left leaning simplification of Republican beliefs.

    What conservatives actually believe is that government is a necessary evil which inhibits individual freedom. They believe that we accept these limitations conditionally on the rewards received for that acceptance.

    Before you mention it-
    The war in Iraq is a violation of conservative ideas (though not the war in Afganistan, which was provoked by that country.) So are the Bush deficits, and rescue of the financial sector. So is the Orwellian named ‘War on Terror.’

    Liberals (from a conservative point of view) believe that individual good is properly sacrificed to collective good. They believe that, far from being a necessary evil, government involvement in every aspect of my life is desirable.

    Both have points to recommend them. Neither are good stand alone positions.

  18. 24

    spews:

    Liberals believe that individual good is properly sacrificed to collective good. They believe that, far from being a necessary evil, government involvement in every aspect of my life is desirable.

    This is the right leaning intentional misrepresentation of liberal beliefs.

  19. 25

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Jason,

    It isn’t an intentional misrepesentation, but it is the conservative view of it. Which is why I prefaced it with the qualifying, ‘from a conservative point of ‘

    But tell me, how else does one justify the confiscation of one mans property in the form of taxes for the benefit of his less well off fellow citizen?

    How else can the ‘right’ of workers to set the terms of their employment on those who own and run the company be seen?

    How else can the general assumption that one citizen owes society more than another on the premise of his or wealth be viewed?

  20. 26

    rhp6033 spews:

    Lost @ 21:

    “In truth I doubt the president has much influence on economic cycles in the short term. Sure, an optimistic and upbeat president raises the level of optimism for the country. Certainly a president who sponsors good fiscal policy is a help in the long run. Either way he or she will get the blame or the credit for the economy, deserved or not.”

    I nearly choked on my coffee. You made a statement consisting of four full sentences which were not only reasonable, but ones I agree with completely.

    The short-term and the long-term can’t be identified with certainty, as they pertain to many variables. But I generally (but not always) trust Democrats with the long-term outlook. The reason? Reagan’s tax cuts which put us into a huge budget deficit which took thirty years to correct. Bush II’s tax cuts which ignored the realities of economics while fighting two regional conflicts, his dismantling of FEMA pre-Katrina, and near blindness to the dangers of the real estate bubble and the need to better regulate new Wall Street “products” affecting that market.

    Of course, I wouldn’t expect you to agree with me on the application of these principles to specific politicians or programs, but there it is.

  21. 27

    don spews:

    @11

    What’s the matter Cyn, gotta reach and find some bad news at Raz for the Dems? How come no posting Obama’s latest approval numbers? Won’t do it, will ya? Maybe because the Raz has his approval ratings up 2 points in 2 days.

  22. 28

    Blue John spews:

    Lost, you are close, but not right.
    Here is how a liberal defines liberalism.

    Liberals believe that individual good is balanced with the collective good. America is a WE society as much as it is a ME society. It must have aspects of both. And the more people there are in an area, the more WE has to be dominate, so we don’t all kill each other.
    Liberals believe that government involvement is needed in the aspects of life, where individualism is not enough to be effective.

    Here is incomplete list of ways that individualism is not enough
    A individual cannot stop an invading army so WE need to pay taxes to pay for an army to defend our country.
    A individual cannot create and maintain a road and freeway and mass transit system so WE need to pay taxes to pay for transportation.
    A individual cannot stop an corporation from becoming a destructive monopoly so WE need to pay taxes to pay for people to enforce regulations on capitalism.
    A individual cannot make employers not hire illegals so WE need to pay taxes to pay for prosecutors to put the employers in jail.
    even
    (In deference to home school-ers) MOST individuals do not have the resources, the skills or the time to teach their kids at home so WE need to pay taxes to pay for public schools so we can have an educated work force and electorate.
    A individual, through no fault of their own, (IE Enron collapse, huge medial bill, job sent to china) may loose all their money so WE need to pay taxes to give them a safety net till they get back on their feet.

    If we didn’t have a federal government with enforced regulations, would BP have bothered to spend all that money capping the vomiting oil well?
    How as an individual have stopped that?

  23. 29

    rhp6033 spews:

    Lost @ 23 said:

    “What conservatives actually believe is that government is a necessary evil which inhibits individual freedom. They believe that we accept these limitations conditionally on the rewards received for that acceptance.
    ….

    Liberals (from a conservative point of view) believe that individual good is properly sacrificed to collective good. They believe that, far from being a necessary evil, government involvement in every aspect of my life is desirable.”

    Okay, I’ll accept that is the “Conservative” view of liberals. But we have to get past the creation of straw-men in order to get anywhere in this country. What is more true is that, especially when viewed from all the alternatives available, the right believes in slightly less government than the left. Most of the time we are arguing about what type of taxes, what it should be spent on, and varying degrees of percentages.

    In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big a difference. Although it’s fun sometimes to poke fun at the other side, the demonization of others really needs to stop. The Democrats aren’t really Marxists/Fascists/Terrorists, and neither are most Republicans as bad as we Democrates sometimes describe them.

    But keep in mind even when we discuss the degree of government involvement, it’s a crass generalization of an overly complex subject. Are we talking about federal, state, or local? Are we talking about economic issues, privacy rights, property rights, environmental rights, or human rights? Despite media attempts to lump every issue into a left/right dichotomy, the real world doesn’t really work that way, and the parties themselves have tended to cross the lines with respect to the degree of government involvement tolerated in different areas.

  24. 31

    Blue John spews:

    @25 But tell me, how else does one justify the confiscation of one mans property in the form of taxes for the benefit of his less well off fellow citizen?

    If you are going to talk in bumper stickers, I’ll respond the same way.

    That’s easy. It’s for the good of American society. America is not just a “Me” society but it’s a “We” society. There must be a trad off, a blend, and right now, it’s tilted too far away from supporting society.

  25. 32

    spews:

    how else does one justify the confiscation of one mans property in the form of taxes for the benefit of his less well off fellow citizen?

    Well let’s see. That’s been done for ages for public education. Benefit? Educated workforce for both public and private sector enterprises.

    Defense? Loads of waste there. Useless wars like Vietnam and Iraq. Occasionally a private sector spinoff like the Internet makes a small slice of the spending worthwhile.

    Ag subsidies? Keeps people farming. Clint Didier can vouch for that.

    Well lookee here…

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/w.....0_ST_N.htm

    All that “theft” is at least keeping the already enormous discontent from completely spiraling out of control. Barely. Just barely.

    I suppose all the “conservative” policies practiced at both the state and federal levels since Reagan couldn’t have had ANYTHING to do with the current state of affairs

  26. 33

    Blue John spews:

    How else can the ‘right’ of workers to set the terms of their employment on those who own and run the company be seen?
    I”ll answer your question with a question:

    Why do people have the right to safe food, free of disease and filth? Why do people think they have the right to set the terms of food creation on those who own and run the farms?

    Workers have right to safe working conditions and they right to negotiate the best possible employment they can. That’s capitalism.

  27. 34

    spews:

    Half a billion eggs were just recalled. That kind of “theft” (in the form of that awful thing right wingers call “regulatory excess”) resulted in a light being shined in how food is produced in this country.

    More knowledge, less ignorance is always a benefit.

  28. 36

    Blue John spews:

    Going off YLBs post in 34,
    Lost, how is an individual supposed to test all the food he gets from the grocery for disease and toxic chemicals? How is an individual supposed to test every toy, every item that comes into his house for toxins?

    We, as a society, pay our progressive share of taxes, so we can pay for regulations and inspectors so our food is safe, so our toys and things are non toxic. It’s a trade off that most but the most most greedy, the most selfish, the most obsessed with ME at the cost of society in general, are willing to make.

  29. 37

    Blue John spews:

    @35. It would suck to be rural if they stopped being socialist and sharing the wealth around.

  30. 38

    spews:

    lost @ 25

    You’ve previously said you’re known for being unflappable. Yea. I’ve seen this before. That’s just your schtick. “Who me? What did I say?” Why’s everyone so angry with me?”

    You know exactly what you’re doing.

    You change your position whenever you get some push back, betraying your lack of intellectual honesty. “Gee, I didn’t mean what I wrote. What I really meant was [blah blah blah].”

    It isn’t an intentional misrepesentation…

    I’ll grant that your worldview is the result of feigned ignorance.

    I’ve been meaning to thank you for the link to the Libertarian Party platform. I scanned it.

    Property has the same rights as people? Full stop. That’s insane. Only people completely lacking in empathy (sociopaths) equate people to chairs.

    I’ve read plenty of personal viewpoints on what a “true libertarian” believes.

    Richard Stallman’s has been my favorite. (Sorry, no link, can’t find it.) Intellectually honest, self-consistent, sincere, selfless, and terribly naive. Stallman’s treatise is a plea for humanity to be better towards each other, to realize its potential. It’s principled. Idealistic because that’s what’s needed. Much like the writings of Confucious, Buddha, the Gospels (e.g. Sermon on the Mount), Ghandi, MLK, etc.

    Stallman’s libertarianism is an ideal. A north star. A goal that can never be reached, but must be pursued any way.

    Oh. Sorry. Got on a rant there.

    Back to your corporate think tank crafted political philosophy:

    Please provide some examples of communities, rotary clubs, nations, societies — past, present, or fictional — that have tried things your way.

    Would you want to live there?

    I’m tired of defending liberal and progressive policies. Our efforts have the proof of existence. The libertarian crackpot ideas are just tall tales.

    Explain to me why your fantasy world is better than my real world, providing examples, then we’ll talk.

    Lastly…

    I love this handy chart for identifying the 24 flavors of libertarians. Charitably, you’re Naive. Perhaps also Denial-Ican and Caveat Emptor.

    These are the least obnoxious mutations. Mr Cynical, Pudge, Puddy don’t fair as well as you.

  31. 39

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    I was, apparently, insufficiently clear. Poor writing style led to misunderstanding, mea culpa.

    None but a few on the fringes argue agaist basic government functions. Local and national security, court systems to maintain order, reasonable regulation of industry and employment, maintanance of infrastructure and so on aren’t at question, for most.

    What is at question for me anyway is the right of one citizen to individually and specifically benefit from taxation at anothers expense. This can come in the form of food stamps, welfare benefits, subsidized housing or child care etc. One citizens poor choices do not give him or her a claim on the assets of another citizen.

    Put it like this. I have two houses and 2 cars. I don’t need more than one of either. Therefore my less well off neighbor can sieze the keys to one of the cars, or my homeless neighbor the keys to one of the houses, right? Of course not.

    Of course everyone knows this is theft. How is it then justified as a national or local governmetn policy?

    What you all have been arguing is what you would call the commons. With this I can disagree on details, but agree on the basic premise. With wholesale theft of the property of prosperous citizens for the sole benefit of less prosperous fellow citizens- not so much.

  32. 40

    spews:

    YLB @ 34

    I wonder how much the egg producers saved.

    If they can stick someone else with costs, like BP is doing, then breaking the law is profitable.

    One fallacy of the anarchist, err, libertarian worldview is that their mythical “invisible hand” will effectively punish freeloaders and cheats.

    If things get too hot for BP/TransOcean, they’ll just change their letterhead or declare bankruptcy.

    BP and Exxon certainly suffered no hardship for trashing Prince William sound (Valdez spill).

  33. 41

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    RE 38

    I didn’t give you a link to libertarian material. I have written that they are, as far as I can tell, closest to the ideas proposed by the founders, but don’t advocate for them or claim to be libertarian. I don’t happen to believe them to be politically viable. And I’d rather focus on a party with some chance at electoral success than waste my votes on idealistic dreams. Republicans are far from perfect, but their sins are more easily recognized and more easily combatted than the insiduous ones of the democrats.

    Call this ” just your schtick. “Who me? What did I say?” Why’s everyone so angry with me?”” Call this intellectually dishonest. happens to be true.

    And if it’s intellectually dishonest to recognize nuance in political systems, so be it.

  34. 42

    spews:

    lost @ 39

    Thank you for clarifying your position. (Ahem.)

    False equivalency for the win.

    Taxation is not theft.

    Now get to work cooking some examples of a libertarian practicing society.

  35. 43

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Jason,

    I offer clarifications. I wrote the same thing I’ve always written.

    For my part I’m tired of being asked to defend Bush deficits or the Iraq war, while consistently writing that both were terrible mistakes.

    I’m tired of defending civil rights violations under Bush, while consistently writing that they were and under Obamas extensions of them, are, abominations.

    I’m tired of having to constantly re-write the same thing. We all have a tax debt to pay for the benefits of our citizenship. When one person benefits directly from the taxation of another, this moves into theft. Taxation on its face is of course not.

    How much clearer do you need this Jason?

  36. 44

    spyder spews:

    What is at question for me anyway is the right of one citizen to individually and specifically benefit from taxation at anothers expense. This can come in the form of food stamps, welfare benefits, subsidized housing or child care etc. One citizens poor choices do not give him or her a claim on the assets of another citizen.

    Really? But the hundreds of billions spread through corporate welfare (far exceeding the amounts spent on your list of “liberal” ideas) are just fine with you. Or once again, are you spewing your immaturity to attack those you don’t like (please try to use apostrophes)?

  37. 45

    Steve spews:

    “When one person benefits directly from the taxation of another, this moves into theft.”

    So are you saying that when I lived on welfare as a kid, that I was a little thief? Or when my Mom had surgeries that were paid for by the state and federal governments that kept her alive, that she stole from other taxpayers?

  38. 46

    Steve spews:

    My Mom’s heart disease was a poor choice. It would have been patriotic for her to have simply died and for me to have tried to survive on the streets of Seattle as a four year-old.

  39. 47

    Steve spews:

    “But the hundreds of billions spread through corporate welfare”

    Better that than keeping my Mom alive and me off the streets.

  40. 48

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 44

    Corporate welfare meaning….?

    If you mean that tax loopholes making a 2 story building in Bermuda the nominal headquarters of 12 multinational corporations worth trillions between them, I don’t recall having ever espoused that.

    Tax policy can be used to encourage American corporations to stay here, keep jobs here, and pay taxes here. And they should. Any government money spent offshore where an American company can provide the same goods or service should be outlawed.

    If you’re asking me to get on the liberal ‘all corporations are evil monsters’ bandwagon, I’ll have to decline though. The power running my computer comes from a large corporation, as does the water running in my pipes. My truck was built, and built well, by Ford, a large corporation. Excesses exist, and should be curbed, but to demonize all business on the basis of the excesses of a few is stupid.

  41. 49

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 45-47

    That is why private charities exist. That is why charitable hospitals have been around for hundreds of years.

    And it’s worse than you or your mother being a thief. It’s society as a whole, so that even someone who disagrees with the policy acquires the same moral culpubility for it.

    Your question is similar to one a war protester would ask. Am I a murderer, because US troops accidentally killed a few civilians in Iraq? Of course that person isn’t himself a murderer, but the reason they protest is that the act is done in their name.

  42. 50

    Steve spews:

    We’ve wondered what era it was that Lost longs for. As I’ve said before, his is a Dickensian vision of downtrodden poor.

    Marat we’re poor
    And the poor stay poor
    Marat don’t make
    Us wait anymore
    We want our rights
    And we don’t care how
    We want a revolution
    Now

    There was once a choice our society made. Would we have a Steve that would slit Lost’s throat for a slice of bread, take what was his and not give it a second thought? Or do we raise someone who would eventually contribute to society?

  43. 51

    Rujax! spews:

    “lostinhisownasshole” posts comments like the above and wonders why I don’t take anything he writes seriously.

  44. 52

    Blue John spews:

    I have tried for the last year to get a conservative here to give me examples of places that are examples of libertarian practicing societies. They cannot do it.

  45. 53

    Blue John spews:

    Lost, I can write as obtuse as you do. Let me try…
    Nobody is advocating that we retroactively take your possessions.
    however If you are a good american and pay your progressive taxes, it’s possible that you will not purchase your seventh car and your fourth house, depends on how much you make.
    These taxes are spent on infrastructure, and day care and education and the military.
    And as a consequence, eight other people making a whole lot less than you can now buy a house and a car. So you don’t get to buy a house, but seven more people do. Part of the trade of the we society. And yet, you still have a truck load more money than the other 8 people.

  46. 54

    Steve spews:

    “That is why private charities exist. That is why charitable hospitals have been around for hundreds of years.”

    We were recipients of private charity, Lost. Christmas for us was a knock on the door, opened to find a couple boxes of food and a few presents left anonymously. That’s all a church of other poor people could muster. Private charity paid for a violin and private music lessons. Lutheran Family and Child Services helped. Friends of Youth helped. But that wasn’t enough. Without tax dollars, my Mom would have died before I even knew her. If I had managed to survive to this day, I no doubt would be someone that would gladly relieve you of your life and worldly possessions.

    I know where your vision leads, Lost. Do you?

  47. 55

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 52

    Unsurprising, as they represent different political worldviews….

    Re 53

    I have been trying for a year to get a liberal to explain the ethical justification for progresive taxes.

    Granting that a certain level of government service is required, and taxation is required to pay for it-

    Where does the left derive the right to determine how much I can make before the government takes it? Where does one subset of society gain the right to determine the income of another too much, and subject to confiscation at the point of a gun or prison sentence?

    Put more bluntly, who are you to tell me how many homes or cars I own, provided I acquired them legally? Who are you to tell me how much is enough to live on of my income?

    In this country ANYONE can do as well as Steve, or Bill Gates for that matter. Anyone can succeed. We owe societally the maintanance of the opportunities. We don’t owe societally for those who choose not to take them.

  48. 56

    Blue John spews:

    @55 In this country ANYONE can do as well as Steve, or Bill Gates for that matter.
    Really? Then why are there not 200,000,000 billionaires in the country? That’s a myth and you know it. Why are YOU not a billionaire?

  49. 57

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    If you mean will everyone do as well as Bill Gates, of course not.

    If you mean can anyone, the evidence is there in those who have succeeded. People come here from all over and do well for themselves. I was born poor, and have done adequately. I have 2 sisters and 3 brothers, all doing well for themselves from our shared background of poverty.

    RE 54

    I’ll admit that your situation gives me pause. A child born to an unfortunate situation clearly has no fault in it, and shouldn’t suffer for it. Bad luck that gives a person a debilitating illness isn’t a moral failing, it’s just bad luck.

    I’ll honestly say I don’t know how a society retains its claim to civility while letting such unfortunates starve or die for lack of care.

    But somewhere between offering a safety line to the drowning and offering an excuse for a person not to try must exist a reasonable middle ground.

  50. 58

    spews:

    explain the ethical justification for progresive taxes.

    Simple. Utility. Greatest good for the greatest number. Especially for those paying the highest marginal rates.

    There’s butt simple practical reasoning as well but you didn’t ask about that.

  51. 60

    Zotz sez: Puddybud is just another word for arschloch spews:

    @38, Jason: Thanks for the link (and your comments)!

  52. 61

    Steve spews:

    Speaking of Gates, Lost, Lakeside HS was another private institution that helped me out as a kid. I was contending for a scholarship but just missed out to another kid. None-the-less, they still continued to tutor me, telling me there was a chance I could get in at the start of winter quarter. I didn’t know how to tell them that I was homeless, and that the house the tutor dropped me off at after school was just some stranger’s house on a Rainier Valley street. At the end of the quarter I showed the tutor my much improved report card. I had done it! The next morning the police picked me up in first period class. I lost what freedom I had that morning, and wouldn’t regain it for several years. At least I had a roof over my head and food to eat – paid for by your tax dollars. Did I ever mention that I’d once reached a point as a kid where I’d break into a house just to steal some food to eat?

    That other kid, a black kid, who got the scholarship? He went on to Harvard and then returned to Lakeside to eventually become headmaster. With the world at his feet, he chose to return and to serve the school that had made a better life for him a possibility. It was only this last month that I got a note delivered to him, letting him know how proud I was of him and how the right kid had won that scholarship all those years ago.

    I’ve received the benefit of both public and private charity. I can tell you that neither alone would have sufficed. It probably cost your family a couple of pennies taxation, Lost, but it saved my Mom’s life and gave me the opportunity for a better life. I find it disturbing that, for your desire to cling to such a pittance, you would have condemned her to death and me to a far lessor life.

  53. 62

    proud leftist spews:

    lost @ 57: “I’ll honestly say I don’t know how a society retains its claim to civility while letting such unfortunates starve or die for lack of care.”

    Kudos. Isn’t that the dilemma, lost? As a society, a very rich society despite the recent economic downturn, we have to determine how much suffering we will permit amongst us. Once you accept the notion that we cannot maintain a claim to civility when we permit preventable privation, then the difference between our views is one of degrees, not of fundamental incompatibility.

  54. 64

    spews:

    lost @ 55

    I have been trying for a year to get a liberal to explain the ethical justification for progresive taxes.

    We all do better when we all do better.

    We will be judged by how we treat the least among us.

    The rich get richer. Not a value statement. Just mathematics. Progressive taxation is a policy to counteract the natural growth of inequity.

    More equitable societies are happier and more productive.

    I don’t want to live in walled compound with private security forces fearful of the havenots.

    We’re put on this rock together to help each other.

  55. 65

    Rujax! spews:

    Goatfucker @ 63…

    Got back from Tennessee huh…made bail or just skipped? So hey Buddy…where are ya? I’ll come over with a sandwich and the FBI.

  56. 66

    If you're not Dutch, then you're not much spews:

    @65

    you must be confused. I have never been to Tennessee…but I can tell you have a fetish for goats – do they allow them into the bathhouses that you frequent? maybe you can ride one at the next pride parade….

  57. 69

    Rujax! spews:

    @66

    So I hear you’re still fucking goats maxie…seems like it’s your fetish not mine.

  58. 70

    Blue John spews:

    If you mean will everyone do as well as Bill Gates, of course not.
    Then you should not use that as an example. Bill gates is a one in a 6 billion chance. There are a lot of people in the states that cannot even find a job at McD and you are telling them they could be bill gates? If they don’t, then what? They weren’t smart enough? Not strong willed enough?

    Are you aware you are dipping into a Social Darwin scenario again? If a person is not rich enough, then they must be lazy and inferior so deserve nothing. Darwin at work.

  59. 71

    Blue John spews:

    A ethical justification for progresive taxes

    Define terms:
    Ethics (also known as moral philosophy) is a branch of philosophy which seeks to address questions about morality; that is, about concepts such as good and bad, right and wrong, justice, and virtue.

    It is unethical to take an equal amount from the people have very little compared to those who have much.
    If a person is spending 90% of everything they make just to cover food, rent, and health care and live at the poverty level, to then take 10% in taxes
    It is ethical to take more from the person who would spend 0.01% of everything they make to cover that cover that same minimal level of poverty level, they can then afford to pay more, BECAUSE THEY CAN. It does not hurt them like it would hurt a poor person.

    Now, I have answered your question. Now where is your libertarian utopia? List a couple of places that are doing it right, in your opinion?

  60. 73

    proud leftist spews:

    Those who benefit the most from a functioning, well-ordered society should pay the most for their continued benefit. The concept seems rather simple to me.

  61. 75

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    This race moved from toss-up to Leans GOP–
    Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    Republican Rob Portman now picks up 44% support while his opponent, Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher, earns the vote from 39% in the latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters of Ohio’s U.S. Senate race.

  62. 76

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Here is another Poll released today–
    Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    Republican Pat Toomey continues to hold a modest lead over his Democratic Challenger, Joe Sestak, in the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania.

    A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the state finds Toomey earning 45% of the vote, while Sestak earns 39% support.

  63. 77

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 73

    “Those who benefit the most from a functioning, well-ordered society should pay the most for their continued benefit. The concept seems rather simple to me.”

    Absolutely, but by your ideals these folks pay less or receive actual monetary benefits from their citizenship.

    That is, those on the bottom who receive assistance with health care, housing, food costs, college tuition benefit most. But these folks pay the least or get paid for being members of the society.

    Those on the top receive education for their children, roads and police and fire departments and all the rest, just as those on the bottom do. But these folks who contribute to society at higher rates are asked also to pay the tax burdens of everyone else.

  64. 78

    manoftruth spews:

    ok, so do any of you retired lawyers, (or those of you who play one on ha), watch bait car? explain to me how thats not entrapment. if your against the war on drugs, you really have to be against this complete waste of resources.

  65. 79

    Steve spews:

    “these folks pay the least”

    These people are also the ones with the least opportunity to share in the benefits of the “commons”. In short, the more money I make, the more I can partake.

  66. 80

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 79

    “In short, the more money I make, the more I can partake.”

    Why?

    Do the police refuse to patrol the streets in poor neighborhoods? Do schools refuse to deliver an education? Are they not protected from foreign enemies by the military? Does the fire department not put out fires in their neighborhoods? Do they not receive water and power, often at discounted rates, from government sponsered utilities?

    On the other hand, do they get cash payments to help with monthly bills and debit cards with which to buy food? Does the federal, state and local government assist with the costs of housing, medical care and child care for the poor? Does the federal government often give grants not needing paid back so that their sons and daughters can attend college and obtain the very opportunities you wish them to have?

    Those who benefit most from the commons are those who pay the least for them. If Blue Johns reasoning holds, this is one thing. But to take this state of affairs and still say the wealthy don’t pay their share doesn’t make sense. If you want to say that we’ll take the money from where it is, without regard to right and wrong, fine. That at least is honest. But don’t try to put a gloss of morality on this kind of behavior.

    And what happens to tax dollars you take from the wealthy? They sigh resignedly, stroke a check and accept that they must pay the burdens for 4 citizens who effectively pay no taxes, right? No, they pass those taxes along in the costs of rent, in the costs of food or shoes or cars or insurance. So the real burden falls right back on the middle class and lower middle class anyway. Only we’ve spent an awful lot of time and money to go where we would have been anyway by doing nothing.

  67. 81

    Blue John spews:

    Lost, your turn.
    Where is the closest thing to your libertarian utopia? List a couple of places that are doing it right, in your opinion?

  68. 82

    Blue John spews:

    That is, those on the bottom who receive assistance with health care, housing, food costs, college tuition benefit most.
    Why doesn’t any one question this statement? Would you trade places with a person at the bottom if it’s so easy for them? Hell no. Cause it’s not.
    Let’s discuss this sometime. How easy is it to be poor?

  69. 83

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 81 and 82

    I never claimed to be a libertarian. I’ve even written that in this thread.

    Utopias don’t exist. Huxley and Orwell wrote about the fate of utopian societies in an imperfect world. Where a system is human it is flawed. The trick is to minimize the flaws by working with folks of different ideological persuasions, and it is a trick. Having said that, I love my country and the great ideas which formed it. I love the beauty of the land, and its variety. I love that we can have this kind of discussion openly without fear of reprisal. The bickering is about tuning the machine, not remaking it, for me anyway.

    I Also don’t recall saying it’s easy to be poor. What I wrote was that the poor get more benefits from their citizenship from their government than the wealthy. The wealthy get more from society and the priviledges wealth purchases. But this latter isn’t a function of government. It is the nature of civilizations. ‘Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.’ If old Will wrote that in the 1600′s and it’s still true, I doubt very much we’ll be changing it any time soon. Dante wrote about ambition and accomplishment in a society much more stratified than ours. It’s just a fact that some people will accomplish more than their peers, no matter how we try to punish such achievement to make it more fair for those who don’t.

  70. 84

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Frankly, the reason I complain about what I perceive as flaws is because we have it mostly right. I suspect if you thought about it that’s the nature of your concerns as well. To see our country so close to where I or you believe would be perfect makes the temptation to tweak it so much more compelling.

    After all, if I thought the country a lost cause, I suppose I’d move. If I thought my countrymen with whom I disagree a lost cause I don’t imagine I’d waste time discussing issues with them.

  71. 85

    Steve spews:

    “the poor get more benefits from their citizenship from their government than the wealthy”

    You’re wrong, Lost. Unlike the poor, the wealthy have ready access to all of the wealth of the commons. The poor do not have access to the national, state and city parks to the extent of the wealthy. The poor have less access to international airports and customs. The poor have less access to the US and state highways systems. The poor are too often the victims of police brutality, rather than beneficiaries of police protection. The poor have less opportunity to attend state funded universities. The poor have less access to the benefits of the medicines derived from government funded research. The wealthy have more access to justice than the poor. The poor have less access to quality public schools. The military would protect all of us, but that protection includes the estates of the wealthy, who have far more to lose than the poor. The wealthy even derive riches from the commons, as with grazing on public lands. The poor do not. It goes on and on.

  72. 86

    Steve spews:

    “It’s just a fact that some people will accomplish more than their peers, no matter how we try to punish such achievement to make it more fair for those who don’t.”

    Punish? For the poor, taxes take food from the table. The wealthy lose a toy or two. I went from very poor to upper middle class. I now get taxed to the max, but I still have money to burn. Progressive taxation doesn’t “punish” me. It’s a small price I pay, that I can afford to pay, for my increased access to, and use of, all of the commons.

  73. 87

    Steve spews:

    “On the other hand, do they get cash payments to help with monthly bills and debit cards with which to buy food? Does the federal, state and local government assist with the costs of housing, medical care and child care for the poor? Does the federal government often give grants not needing paid back so that their sons and daughters can attend college and obtain the very opportunities you wish them to have?”

    Chickenfeed. Chump change.

    “Those who benefit most from the commons are those who pay the least for them.”

    You apparently do not understand what it means to be poor. To be poor means that there is no money. Without money, access to the commons is limited.

  74. 88

    Blue John spews:

    Correct me if I am mistaken, but lost said, he would like to see America restored back to constitutionalism. He defined that as needing to get rid of the programs that assist with the costs of housing, medical care, education and child care, for the poor. He has said that the only purpose of government is pretty much cops, courts, and the reasonable regulation of business. He is opposed to all social programs from social security on down.

    So he argues that the poor get benefits of government. And he would like to abolish them.

  75. 89

    spews:

    hi lost

    Your concern for the well being of the rich is touching. That story of woe, about those big bad taxes, I admit, makes me a bit teary.

    Steve @ 87 is correct: The rich benefit more from civil society than the poor. For starters, they get to keep their stuff without the need to hire a private army.

    One thing you refuse to grasp (that well honed feigned ignorance) is proportionality (fairness). In a civil society, everyone carry’s their weight.

    Life mimics art:

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Guarding the Room

  76. 90

    Blue John spews:

    It’s just a fact that some people will accomplish more than their peers, no matter how we try to punish such achievement to make it more fair for those who don’t.
    That’s an interesting perspective.
    Do conservatives think that wealthy people have accomplished more, achieived more?
    At the extreme end, what did the Walmart heirs and Parrish Hilton achieve? How did they accomplish more than their peers?
    And is the opposite true? The poor are people who have accomplished little, achieved little?
    Are we punishing those who achieve if we help those who are raising decent honest children into responsible adults?
    Are we punishing those who achieve if we help those who are wiped out in the stock market?
    Are we punishing those who achieve if we help those who are wiped out paying for their spouses medical bills?
    Are we punishing those who achieve if we help those who got an honest job and had that job sent to china?
    Are we punishing those who achieve if we fund quality public education?
    Are we punishing those who achieve if we fund quality public education?
    I could go on…

  77. 91

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 89 and 90

    Well honed feigned ignorance? I would have said that on a number of issues we have a sharp difference in definitions of terms.

    You and Blue John and the rest honestly believe that a person who attains affluence did so on a partnership basis with society. You sincerely believe that their affluence and the priviledge and influence it buys require a payment to society. Conversely, you believe that we collectively owe security against misfortune to citizens not affluent, to be paid for by those whose affluence was made possible by his or her society. These beliefs lie so deep as to reach the level of de facto assumptions that operate without reflection, like the assumptions we make about gravity.

    For my part I believe that the long term gains of a robust and independent citizenry are as important as the short term gains of alleviating suffering. More important actually, as I believe that in treating the symptom we ignore the disease, and ensure further suffering requiring alleviation. I believe that individual affluence is in fact made possible in part by the society we live in. However, since any citizen can do this, the affluent owe no debt for their success to their fellows. I believe that we all benefit fairly close to equally from our government. On this basis I don’t see where one citizen should pay more for the same value as his fellow citizen paying less, or not at all. And these assumptions operate, like yours, on a level that is in the core of my beliefs about government and society.

    So we can disagree, but to assume the other side is malificent because they operate on different beliefs about the world is a bit naive at best, or cynical political gaming (as with politicians) at worst.

  78. 92

    Blue John spews:

    You and Blue John and the rest honestly believe that a person who attains affluence did so on a partnership basis with society.
    - Yes. Yes I do.

    On one hand you say I believe that individual affluence is in fact made possible in part by the society we live in.
    But then you say However, since any citizen can do this, the affluent owe no debt for their success to their fellows.

    You have have argued that before, that anyone can become Bill gates, then you say in the next post that it’s silly to assume that everyone can become bill gates.

    Your argument assumes that any citizen CAN be individually affluent. I will agree that a small celebrated few citizens can do this. But it is illogical to base your entire argument on the statistical few who beat the odds and become individual affluent.
    Your argument is more logically…

    “However, since a very small fraction of citizens can [attain individual affluence] made possible in part by the society we live in, the affluent owe no debt for their success to their fellows. “
    which is a much weaker argument.

    Again, you are using the Social Darwinist argument where notions of struggle for existence being used to justify social policies which show no sympathy for those unable to support themselves.

    “the affluent owe no debt for their success to their fellows.”
    Yes, they do. The affluent ARE part of society, the affluent owe their success in part to the society around them”, you said so yourself. Only if you are using the Social Darwin idea of “The affluent should NOT be burdened with the cost of helping others potentially become affluent and thus be in competition with them.” could you think the affluent owe no debts to society.

    How many billionaires are there in Somalia without a society to support them?

  79. 93

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    The basic argument you make is that the affluent owe their success to their society. Accordingly they owe society for it.

    I never agreed with that assumption, except to say that society gave them the same playing field as every other person. In this sense they owe for maintanance of the playing field, sure. In in that sense they have the same playing field as everyone else, so owe no more than anyone else for it.

    But whatever success at the game THEY acheived is an individual matter individually rewarded. For this they owe society nothing, and in fact by it have given society much.

    BTW, “You have have argued that before, that anyone can become Bill gates, then you say in the next post that it’s silly to assume that everyone can become bill gates.” was part of a larger argument. ‘Anyone can become Bill Gates’ doesn’t conflict with ‘the vast majority of people won’t’ or even ‘in the nature of things only a very few will become billionaires.’ The first is a statement of potential, which most folks don’t realize. Is this the fault of society or of the individual who won’t make the effort? The second are statements of basic economics. Any system of politics or religion or economics has a few at the top with the numbers increasing radically as you approach the bottom. That’s life, even in a socialist utopia.

  80. 94

    Blue John spews:

    I never agreed with that assumption, except to say that society gave them the same playing field as every other person. In this sense they owe for maintenance of the playing field, sure. In in that sense they have the same playing field as everyone else, so owe no more than anyone else for it.

    Your argument does not make sense.
    Here are some extreme examples
    A single poor woman has same opportunities and support structures as Paris Hilton?
    Steve when he was kid and homeless had the same playing field as a WalMart heir at the same age?

    They owe more because they have have the potential to access so much more. They have access to the commons and everything in the private sector that they can afford.
    What can the poor access? Only the part of the commons they can afford to reach and if they are broke, that aint’ much.

    it’s like a cable analogy. The max plan has access to 2000 channels. Basic cable has 7 channels. The person plays a lot more for the access those 2000 channels. You are arguing that the person who has the 2000 channels should not have to pay more than the person who has basic, because they should have a level playing field. After all, they both have cable, they both should have the same rate and it’s not fair that the expensive plan is playing more and in the process paying some of the infrastructure costs of the basic cable person.

    Again I ask, how many billionaires are there in Somalia without a society to support them?

  81. 95

    Steve spews:

    Jason, “The rich benefit more from civil society than the poor. For starters, they get to keep their stuff without the need to hire a private army.”

    We are unequal beings and yet organized to meet common needs. One need that bring us together is a common desire for a just society. Another need is the one equality that’s truly available to us, equal opportunity and with that, the hope for poorest of us of a better life.

    Lost, “the affluent owe no debt for their success to their fellows.”

    It is not a debt to be paid, it is their commitment to a social contract. If you must think in terms of wealth and ecomomics, consider it as the price the rich would pay to sleep well at night. This is no contract between Rousseau’s fallen angels. This is a contract between rather murderous, though risen apes. Back out of the contract and you risk the unleashing of unimaginable horror.

    “And the poor stay poor”

    Teabagger anger is nothing but a surface emotion displayed by people with the shallowest of surface personalities. You know nothing of what could come of a failed social contract leaving the multitudes with no opportunity and hope.

    Jason, “they get to keep their stuff without the need to hire a private army”

    And yet a private army will not save them. No stockpile of guns and ammo is capable of saving them. They should take care not to spark the wrong fire, for if they do, they will never sleep well again.

  82. 97

    Steve spews:

    @96 Yes, indeed it does. There is no paradise that was ever lost. We attempt to ascend from savagery and we will do it together or we will fail at great cost to all. Lost’s vision is less a social contract than a charter that takes us downhill to the place from where we came, and that place looks an awful lot like Somalia.

  83. 98

    Blue John spews:

    Or at least some sort of Dickensian Upton Sinclare’s The Jungle America.

    What about the likely argument of “That couldn’t happen here! This is America in the 21st century. We would never end up like Somalia. You are just fear mongering!”

  84. 99

    Steve spews:

    While “Dickensian” is how I’ve previously described Lost’s vision for America, that’s really just a brief stop on the downhill slide to the ultimate faux-libertarian paradise destination – Somalia. While even Lost might agree that there’s a shortage of Somalian billionaires, I’m certained he’d at least be heartened that there’s a nation on this earth where the lazy, shiftless poor receive their just deserts.

  85. 100

    Blue John spews:

    Since don’t have a new open thread,
    got this from the Huffington Post
    The comments are very interesting.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....04809.html

    REPUBLICANS AREN’T WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS….OBAMA IS LOSING THEM.

    I don’t believe Obama is dropping in the polls because people are “buying the garbage”. I think Obama’s dropping in the polls because he’s tried to lead from the political center, which has alienated too many liberals, progressives and independents. As much as I hate to say it, Obama’s playing politics to appease Republicans, Blue Dogs and corporate contributors has cost him and Democrats more than he anticipated. Either Obama has made the serious mistake of listening to bad advice or he’s made a hugely self-destructive political miscalculation.
    ————–
    Obama hires a Chief of Staff that doesn’t like unions.
    He hires a press secretary that doesn’t like the “professional left”.
    Less than a month after calling bank executives’ pay “obscene,” President Obama declines to criticize bonuses received by two top Wall Street chief executives, saying he doesn’t “begrudge people success or wealth.”

    The joke is on the folks that that think this guy is out there to represent the working class over Wall Street interests.