I'm Loyal to Nothing Except the Dream


#291

We lead the free world. And we do it by taking the higher moral ground, choosing to do what is right before doing what is expedient.

Sorry Jeff, I think you’re a great guy, and write inspiring articles (I mean that), but this really makes me cringe.

Regarding freedom
The US has almost 5% of it’s population in prisons, which amounts to almost 25% of all prisoners in the world (https://goo.gl/K2H0ej)
You already wrote that it’s weird that you can only make a democratic choice for two parties, and that the popular vote wasn’t decisive. That’s not freedom. And certainly not seen as exemplary.
If people in the would US feel free, they wouldn’t need that many weapons to protect themselves.

Regarding choosing to do what’s right
I still remember the speech of Powell in the U.N regarding the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to be as misleading as it gets.
As Bernie Sanders rightfully said: the US is the only major country in the world not to treat public healthcare as a right.
The US is considered to be the greatest threat to world safety (https://goo.gl/8vNuQ1)

Bottom line: saying that the US is the leader of the free world couldn’t be more distanced from the truth. It makes me angry, because it does injustice to so many countries which show exemplary behaviour.


#292

Very well put, DD. I think Jeff is an intelligent guy, just clueless outside his area of expertise, yet he thinks that carries over.


#293

Militarily, this is indisputable. One of Trump’s supposed policy points is to require allies to spend more on defense, which I’d welcome. But he’s also promised to pump up military spending, so…

I do agree that some bad things occurred in this country as a result of 9/11, and as I said earlier – when I saw 9/11 happening, one of the first things I thought was how long a shadow this is going to cast on US history. Fifty years at least. We’re not even 20 years in, yet.

Well, let me follow my fifth grade fake news troubleshooter and see…

Not disreputable, but certainly no pretense of objectivity. You can find out more about the author here.

I’m not sure exactly who you’re arguing with at this point. Yourself? Feel free to declare victory in that case.


#294

This is not at all the same thing. Obama did not ‘suspend’ the Iraqi Refugee Program.


#295

I don’t see it as a slippery slope but it is not easily answered either. Do you mean because we are giving government more ability to control things in general? The government has always had the ability and duty to some degree to regulate commerce through the economy via taxation. For me the slippery slope we have been going down is that we have consistently been reducing the taxes paid at the upper end of the spectrum both for business and for people. I’m not a huge fan of taxing business more, but honestly the other day I started to watch that BBC video on the salaries of the top hedge fund guys, and as I mentioned before, the poorer ones were in the 500 Million range and topping out around 1.5 Billion. That is an insane amount of money. I couldn’t keep watching.

You can certainly argue that if they increase their clients wealth by 20% year in year out then they are certainly worth it and I agree from that perspective. From a sheer numbers perspective they are earning their worth. But as a society we also have to stand back and think about what that means. It’s like slavery or the current prison system, sure it worked well for some folk and allows some business people to keep costs down and make a good profit, but is it right and is it the best thing for the society? With all money created from debt, you have to see the relationship between the wealthy and the poor. The poor with the debt are literally indebted to the wealthy with all the money. That money literally came from the debt taken on by people, business and the government. When the poor no longer have any viable ability to earn enough to survive which is where we are going then we will have more problems and more riots. Again this is how Trump is elected. People don’t understand but they do lash out.

We have very effectively proven that tax cuts for the wealthy don’t trickle down to the rest. If it did inequality would be less not more. What I think should be done is that taxation should be changed so that it is proportional to both income and assets at the individual level. For example if like today the top 10% of the population has 90% of the income and wealth, then that 10% should also pay 90% of the tax, whatever level that is. If you earn say 30K per year and pay 20% tax, that hurts you a lot more than if you earn 150 Million a year and pay 50% tax. I mean I think you can still survive ok on 75 Million. The wealthy also have so many tax shelters, foundations etc. that they usually pay less as a percentage than the poor.

There should be recognition that we need consistent deficits that take into consideration the debt to gdp ratio so that we acknowledge the national debt will continue to grow at a certain rate to support the economy also growing at a certain rate.

From the business side of things, business says, tax me less, regulate me less and let me do what I do best make money and provide goods in a efficient manner. What no one says is, yes, but do you also forget that for business to be able to do that, operation in an environment with consumers where they can make their product, there is a cost to that both from the consumer perspective and from the infrastructure perspective. Business doesn’t bear that cost, taxation does. Do business build the roads that they use, or the airports or seaports? Do they pay the full cost of the health care for not just their employees but their consumers? Do they pay the full environmental cost when they pollute, or extract resources from the country? No, and the more they can get those regulations down the less they bear the cost and the more profitable they are. I have a long post on why the debt will not be repaid but you keep sending me interesting stuff to reply to :). It’s good to have a dialog on these issue.


#296

When you make exceptions for either, you’re stating, ‘this is a maximum acceptable level of wealth’ or ‘this is a minimum acceptable level of wealth’, the former of which drives people out of your economy or forces them to find the many cracks that do and will exist in the system to squirrel away their wealth, and the latter of which simply inflates your currency to new baseline values.


#297

Yes agreed we are saying that. But if you look at health care in Canada we have said that the government will supply the minimum level of health care for all so we all have the same basic care. AND it does work a lot better than it does in the United States. You can argue that health care in the US is better and believe it, but the vast majority of the world has a system like Canada and people prefer that system to the US system because it works for them, and not for insurance companies and their profit (not to mention the pharmaceuticals).

Where have we said there is a maximum acceptable level of wealth. You are saying that by taxing people we are saying that?

For human rights we also say there is a basic level of decency that we must have. That is why social slavery ended If we left everything to be 100% free then people would start killing each other and taking each other’s stuff so we impose limits. Your argument is that for financial and economic topics there should be no limits on how things work. Do you think the US would be a better place if only 1 individual had all the wealth because you say we should not impose limits on the acceptable level of wealth - so that would be perfectly acceptable? This is about creating a system where there is some sort of balance and equity. If you do not fundamentally believe this then the US will eventually burn when all of those poor are left behind and that is what we are seeing.

If you didn’t notice that in the US the more the wealthy have been allowed to keep, the more they have kept again that nasty rising inequality I was speaking about. The wealthy have already found all of the cracks to squirrel away their money. They also create new cracks on their own - they lobby left and right, and then have them pass more laws to let them squirrel away more money. Trump himself said it. Warren Buffet said it. I don’t understand your argument. You say if we do what I say, people will hoard their money. I say we are doing what you say and they are already obviously hoarding it, and stating themselves that they are hoarding their money. What am I missing? If we continue down this road it will and is leading to fractures in society? How do you propose we confront this issue - I don’t see any suggestions.

So for your answer, do you propose we remove all financial regulations, and reduce taxes on the wealthy to 0%? Remove all business taxes as well to 0%. That can then accelerate your theory that it is better or more efficient and we’ll see where that experiment ends? We are almost there now… What do you propose to be the solution? You present only opinions but not any facts backed by anything. This is the problem the left and right have. The right argues based on ideology and not reality/facts. The right accuses the left of being socialist as if it’s a bad word. The right accuses the left of being liberal again as if it’s a bad word. Have you lived in Canada? It’s not bad actually and we are more socialist and liberal. I heard Sweden is pretty good t0o, and they are also more socialist and liberal. Education is also higher in Canada and Sweden and so are the general populations. If these countries are doing reasonably well, why do you promote the existing system you have which is so obviously failing so many? Oh, we also pay way more tax than you do…


#298

Hi, I think that most of the world sees the US as the leader in the sense that it both has the strongest military and the biggest economy. The military is used to support and maintain its dominant economic position. I think that is beyond dispute. However actual leadership requires followers and I wouldn’t say they are necessarily leading the other countries, as I would say they impose their will on them.

It’s a bit like the NBA where you say the players are role models for our children. It’s not really how it should be. Yes the NBA players make a lot of money and play basketball well so our kids look up to them and want to be like them. But on the moral side of things they aren’t necessarily the best role models, much like how much of what the US does, doesn’t make them the ideal role model. But the truth is, being a role model isn’t part of the NBA job description like the world leadership isn’t the duty of the US. The US does it essentially because they are in a position to do it, and there is some benefit to them to do it, and hopefully because some people there that think that they have a moral obligation to do it.

For the military, rather than the rest of the world spending more to catch up to the US and it’s military spending, I’d prefer that everyone including the US spend less. Do we really need more tanks, planes, missiles, subs, bombers, nukes, guns, etc… or more education, healthcare, and essential services - since the money will be spend anyway. Which will serve the countries future better? BUT that won’t happen because who would benefit from building more weapons vs who will benefit from the population having more education…

Here are a couple of interesting 9/11 links:
http://www.ae911truth.org
http://www.beyondmisinformation.org/#beyond-misinformation


#299

Wait wait wait wait waitwaitwait did you just post a bunch of 9/11 truther links? Seriously?

Yes… yes that is certainly… interesting


#300

Why do they try to insult people seeking the truth by calling them a truther? It’s like calling me a justicer because I want justice? It this the new alternative facts reality or something?


#301

Hi, a nationalist from Poland here :slight_smile:

I get your point, however consider why nationalists gained so much support recently. I wasn’t a nationalist my whole life, well, it was just the opposite.

Nationalists gain support when their countries’ interest is threatened. Your country intervened into other countries affairs significantly. This had consequences. But I’m far from blaming USA alone for such practice, most western world countries do so. And not only western. It’s the big picture. Spies and agencies don’t sleep. Big international corporations do that too. Intervene into global policy, corrupt governments, manipulate with public opinion. In my opinion the real villain here is George Soros, a guy playing god (and playing very dirty), trying to manipulate the global policy. Anyone opposing to him seems useful, even for this reason alone. This is why the world changes now. Action and reaction.

TL; DR - why far right now? Because of far left. Simple consequence of far left playing far from fair play. That’s why some people say their radical, very radical “no” to this. That’s why we vote for far right. I’m not personally happy with it. I’m more libertarian than nationalist, really. But in my country I’m called a fascist.

I’m strongly against refusing shelter to REAL refugees, but also against letting ANYONE to my country, yes, I’m talking about terrorists and other harmful people, especially the ones counting on free food and shelter. Those who parasite on hard working people. Those who don’t respect the law of the country they visit. I work hard for my food and shelter and I say no to giving those for free to anyone. Well, not exactly anyone. The socialists will give away resources only to privileged, arbitrary selected group. They have well calculated interest in this. The rest can starve and die, they don’t care. Here people who work hard can barely make the ends meet. And some foreigners get social support on ridiculously high level. And, what’s really important - without any intent to learn our language, to get minimal needed education and getting a job. I deeply respect foreigners who work in my country. They do a really good job.

Think about today policy of most countries, including both our countries. It’s very hard to visit our countries to work there. Those foreigners who seek work in our countries are treated just hostile. Like it was a bad thing to do. Why do I mention it? Because far left wants to support massive migrations of people and provide them social care. Against the will of the majority of the citizens. That’s because you have “nationalists in Poland”. We had communism here. We KNOW it. We experienced it. That’s why we say no to far left.

The only political option which pays any respect to my opinion in this matter is unfortunately far right. The rest of them call me a fascist, racist and other names. Most call me just stupid. Well, it reminds me of most anti-Trump texts on Reddit. No real discussion, just Trump=stupid. Just because. Here, catch this super-funny meme. See? Stupid.

And last but not least: if all Trumps adversaries argument their point of view like you do - Trump wouldn’t stand a chance in recent elections. Dirty and embarrassing campaign against Trump actually helped him win more than anything else.


#302

Parenthood does very little pertaining to prenatal care it’s almost all related to abortion. Link2

Link2: http://liveactionnews.org/new-video-debunks-planned-parenthoods-3-percent-abortion-myth/

Your are using a pro-life organization as your source. Every “source” that they provide in that article links to another liveaction page, which has no sources. Please vet your information.


#303

In addition to the two untenable ideas in the inequality video I outlined above, we have this statement from the narrator:

“I’m sure many of these wealth people have worked very hard for their money, but do you really believe the CEO is working 380 times harder than his average employee? The average worker needs to work more than a month to earn what a CEO makes in one hour.”

This is utterly meaningless.

Let’s look at that number: 380. What difference does it make if the number is 2 or 2,000? If it is unjust or unfair that the CEO earns 100 times more than his average employee without working 100 times harder, then it is unjust or unfair if the CEO earns 2 times more than his average employee without working twice as hard. Under what principle does one pick a number between 2 and 2,000?

Is there any doubt that an exceptionally competent CEO can be worth 380 times an exceptionally incompetent CEO, never mind the average employee?

You would think that entrepreneurs in the tech industry would have an instinctive understanding that “hard work“, whatever it means, and even if measurable, is no way to go about setting compensation or dividing up profits.


#304

The “source” is actually from Planned Parenthood’s own fact sheet so I’m not sure you can get more original then that. It’s just a matter of interpreting the data, which is not hard. Slate, hardly a bastion of conservatism, breaks is down the same way. It show’s how disingenuous PP is with their statistics.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/05/07/_3_percent_of_planned_parenthood_s_services_are_abortion_but_what_about.html


#305

PP on video saying they don’t even offer prenatal care.


#306

@codinghorror surprise for you - MOST OF THE POLAND FULLY SUPPORT RULING PARTY! Don’t spread fake news like that - including fake “protests” supported by foreign countries (Germany).

I’m really happy, at last, the living conditions are improving steadily, thanks to the new government.

Left-wing like you have to learn respect other people choices, such as:

  • we don’t want muslims terrorism
  • we are pro-life
  • we respected your previous left-choices

Learn to respect other people votes!


#307

I am subscribing to support essential investigative journalism such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post.

I recently did the same, purchasing a subscription to WP because I thought their reporting during the primaries and general election was the best of the news sources you listed.

I’d also suggest to all readers: get involved with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. These were the guys that broke the Panama Papers story wide open. It resulted in many corruption scandals and government officials resigning in a few european governments.

Financial help is great, they could also use engineering talent. I attended a talk they gave at a Neo4j conference here in SF about how they built a graph database to triangulate corruption in the dataset they obtained which was the basis of all the stories from Panama Papers. They did all of that with one very tired and overworked engineer.

Anyway, just throwing it out there. This post resonated with me and thought I should share.


#308

PP Doesn’t offer prenatal care, they offer to help connect pregnant women with OB/GYNs that offer prenatal services. No one is getting “turned away”, that’s bullshit intended to push a political narrative.


#309

Letter from Khalid Shaikh Mohammad to Barack Obama

Discuss :slight_smile:


#310

Hi, Benjol it may come as a shock to you, but I’m in the western world in Canada, and I agree with most of what is in the letter in terms an explanation of events. There is a lot of anger in the letter and much of it is understandable. Let me give you a true story to explain why first and this is for everyone to understand what I mean:

Years ago my wife and I had a Chinese roommate - we rented her a room in our 2 bedroom condo. She was very nice and likable and we generally got along. I taught her to make pancakes and she made us a chicken feet dish that I couldn’t stomach to eat, but I did try it.

One day the conversation turned to China and the Tienanmen square massacre which to me was basically historical fact. It was fact brought to me by Canadian and American (Western) news of course. I asked her what happened and why the students were killed. She told me that the army was justified in using force against the students because the students were attacking the military and stealing their things. I was a bit shocked but maybe I shouldn’t have been.

Her husband was in the Chinese government and her family had factories so I guess I’d call her part of the Chinese elite. I found it interesting and it opened my eyes to how your local news is basically propaganda for your government, and this is generally true in most countries. Can you imagine what Russian news says about the US? I do think if there is a scandal the news will publish it, but often the news that is put out there is the news your government wants you to hear. To this day after hearing her account I’m no longer entirely sure of what happened since I wasn’t there to see it with my own eyes and that would be the only way we could be sure.

Many people know, and many do not know, that the US uses its dominant economic and military position to further its interests. Divide and conquer has been used by the colonial powers for hundreds of years. Most of the time it is done as you say in secret with horrible consequences, so obviously why would Western media report on it. I do believe that 9/11 and most terror attacks are in response the actions of the US or the groups of colonial western nations (of which Canada where I live is one). Basically if you have an unbeatable enemy, the lesser combatant when faced with overwhelming force will resort to terrorism as it’s last means of resistance and that is what we see. It was also used against the Nazis in Europe with the underground movements before World War II broke out. We are at the start of a similar situation now. We are also seeing as in the US, a democratic government under the weight of it’s own corruption, will use threats like terrorism to strip its citizens rights and justify that as being necessary for their own protection. The problem is that when one side uses violence and the other side responds with violence it becomes a deadly self reinforcing circle where anger and hatred only grow. What do you think happens to a father in Iraq when he holds the broken bodies of his children and wife killed by a drone strike? What do you think happens to an Israeli father who buries his family killed by a suicide bomber on a bus?

I think we all know that the world is run first by money, that much is clear, and that is yet another reason I stress again we must really understand money and its creation to free ourselves from it’s corrupting effects. Wealth inequality around the world, further reinforces that, and sets brother against brother. It creates masters and slaves. It allows wealthy nations to pillage the resources from poor ones. We also know that this world is neither fair, nor just. Those things can only be found in how we each treat one another, in our basic humanity. Justice must be fought for, or it dies. So I ask you this question, really and truthfully, what is the solution? Where do we start? No one seems to have an answer.

For me, our institutions are morally corrupted, from the money and banking institutions, to the governments, to the business and corporations and the religions. That is why I don’t affiliate myself with them, or trust any of them. I believe, however that the only way forward is not to destroy them but reform them from within, or recreate new ones and let the old ones die. A terrorist will not ever win, nor will a corrupt unjust government in response to that terrorism. We currently as a world are suffering from an extreme lack of morality and basic decency toward one another, and toward the planet. This inexhaustible greed is killing us all. We can all see that, we can feel it. AND we are all overwhelmed by the severity of the problem. If we do not reverse this situation it will lead to our extinction as a species, one way or another. For me the way forward must begin with many great leaders and moral people who will create these new moral institutions that will service mankind for the benefit all, it must begin with us.

It has to start with each of us reaching out to one another as I have done on this blog, as you have done, as Jeff has done starting this blog. We each have to break out of our fixed mindsets and listen to each other. In the end everyone’s point of view is correct as it is their point of view. You may not agree but you must understand, really understand, if we are to go forward. This is not a project for a week or a month, but for years and decades, for our generation and the next. We may not see the fruit in our lifetimes or our children’s lifetimes, but our advantage as a species is that we learn and improve ourselves, and pass that onto our children so that they can surpass us. My solution for you would be to have your children live for a year with Donald Trump and Donald’s children to live with you. You can only hate your enemy when you do not know them. When you have walked in their shoes then you can see from their eyes, from their point of view, and only then things will change. But that’s just my opinion…