I'm Loyal to Nothing Except the Dream


#169

Again, I completely agree, but are we not engineers and technologists? Is computer hardware not cheap these days? Do we not have drones, sensors, and software? Well-designed walls, like a well-designed software security measures, are effectively impenetrable and easily maintainable. Although America’s wall would be bigger than Israel’s, the American economy is also bigger. The relative cost to American taxpayer would be far lower than the relative cost to Israel. If Mexico doesn’t pay for it, that is.

Look, the people who don’t want the wall aren’t opposed to it on economic grounds. They’re opposed to it on principle. They don’t want it under any circumstances. If it were free, they wouldn’t want it. If Mexico paid America $30 billion dollars to build it, they still wouldn’t want it. They just don’t want it, on principle, under any circumstances, ever. There’s no getting around that.


#170

This isn’t relevant. Did Obama order special drone strikes within a week of his inauguration? And you think Trump is gonna turn off drone strikes, which are a normal function of our “protect American interests abroad” agencies at this point? Really? Can you explain to me how any of that will improve under Trump? Because I’m quite sure Trump is perfectly willing to shoot his “bad dudes” with drones, even if there is some collateral damage.

I ask again. Please point me to another president that has made an executive order resulting in controversy enough to cause mass nationwide protests, and internal governmental turmoil such as the firing of the attorney general – something last seen under Nixon – in the first week after inauguration. Heck I’ll open it up to the first month.

I’ll be waiting.


#171

Sure, they’ll be about as effective as the War on Drugs.


#172

That’s a different issue. But if you’re concerned about drugs in America, secure borders can only help. Some nations don’t have any trouble enforcing their drug laws, because they put an incredibly high priority on enforcing the law of the land. Like Singapore. Obviously it’s physically smaller and easier to control the flow. But like you said, where there’s a will, there’s a way.


#173

You’ll be waiting until a future president arrives - until recent history we’ve not had social media networks to organize protests so quickly (from a NY Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/30/technology/donald-trump-social-networks-protests.html)

Where were these folks protesting? Oh liberal democrat country - NYC, SF, DC, and so on. These aren’t country-wide protests, they’re sore loser protests.

It was on January 23rd, 2009. So umm…yeah he did.

The first fatal Obama strike killed between seven and fifteen people, reported initially as ‘foreign militants’. In a later report personally given to Obama by his then-CIA chief General Hayden, the Agency admitted missing its high value target and killing ‘five al Qaeda militants’, but made no mention of civilian deaths (Bob Woodward). However Newsweek reported in May 2012 that the President was made aware that civilians had died almost immediately.


#174

I know, and that’s how I’d always do it. But the idea with an army of little helpers was actually an honest one. You can only keep up with research to a certain point, if you want to actively debate with everyone answering. Then there simply isn’t enough hours left in the day. :slight_smile:


#175

Democracy is a culture, not a system.

Eh, choose another example. Venezuela’s main problem is price fixing, not socialism.

There are many ways to organise health care, and there are nuances too: obviously no system can pay for everything for everyone. But expecting the ‘community’ to pay for chronic conditions in the most individualistic country on earth is a bit of a stretch.

Interesting article on healthcare here:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2017/01/13/of-course-markets-work-in-health-care-just-not-always-and-everywhere

I’m pretty sure that if this drone strike could be signed off so early in his presidency it’s because he inherited it from Obama. That aside, could people please decide whether US interventionism abroad is a good or a bad thing? :slight_smile:


#176

Fair enough, then how about regulating the healthcare industry? Big pharma and hospital networks have zero incentive to control costs. There’s no real competition.


#177

From what I’ve understood from reading on the internet*, regulation is actively preventing competition (i.e. not being able to import cheaper drugs from abroad).

So yes, reasonable deregulation to permit more competition in at least some areas seems like a good idea.

The other elephant in the room is that the US is an over-litigious country. The costs of covering your ass are enormous. A lot of resistance to deregulation probably comes from that too.

*caveat surfer :slight_smile:


#178

Hi Jeff,

I know exactly how you feel! I had an idea about 5 years ago that I felt could put our democracy back on the right track, but after a first try, took a break. Now, I CAN’T REST UNTIL IT’S DONE!

The idea is on the surface very simple. The more you think about it, however, the more you may see how it can be a game-changer: informed citizens, fact-based journalism, the antidote to online trolls… you name it. The most revolutionary part of this is: FOR ONCE, OUR KNOWLEDGE CAN BE CUMULATIVE (no more fishing around on the internet for a study that shows whether or not immigrants increase crime rates…)

Here’s a quick write-up (and there are other posts on different aspects): https://medium.com/@bigokro/where-is-the-wikipedia-for-debates-eff7b70896df#.izwhhsctz

This is an open source project! If anyone else out there wishes to help, please let me know!

Thank you for the great article, Jeff!


#180

So now people that disagree with an executive order that prevented Americans with valid green cards from returning home to their families, are “sore losers” who were bored and had nothing better to do than surf social media looking for something to protest? Perhaps a policy that singles out immigrants from seven countries based on religion is deeply unamerican. Perhaps a policy which ignores literally every country that sent 9/11 attackers to us is also irrational and ineffective.

That seems like a much more rational explanation than “y’know, those sore losers were just bored.”

And I quote:

In January 2009, when President Obama came into office, he inherited two controversial covert counterterrorism programs from George W. Bush: the rendition and harsh interrogation (including torture) of terrorist suspects, and the use of drones to kill terrorist suspects outside of traditional battlefields

Also

drone strikes (which have killed 3,922 people) occurred under both Republican and Democratic presidents

Drone programs exist not “because Obama made it so”, but because a) it already existed under Bush and b) from 2008-2016 drone technology became ever more cost effective and sophisticated tools of combat, plus vastly lowered risk. Imagine you are a politician, say Trump, or Obama, or Bush. You got a “bad dude” in some foreign country that needs to be taken out for reasons of national security or whatever.

  1. Send in human soldiers with automatic rifles, who being human can and will make mistakes, and sadly become victims in combat, and their deaths are your fault. Because you ordered them in.

  2. Send in a drone, which does exactly what you tell it to do, for better or worse, and if it is destroyed… it’s just equipment. Cheap equipment, at that, and getting cheaper every day.

Is this even a choice? #2 every time, and moreso every day.

I don’t have any particular opinions about drone programs. We’d be covertly killing “bad dudes” one way or another in these countries. And you can bet Trump will do just as much of it, if not more, than Obama – he’s a huge fan of military buildup and fighting “bad dudes”, but my estimate is largely based on drone technology becoming ever more viable and cheaper since 2008. Technology marches on. It’s so cheap now that homemade drones are being used to attack US soldiers:

http://defence-blog.com/army/drone-of-iraqi-militants-strike-abrams-main-battle-tank-in-mosul.html


#181

And expanded upon them, yep that makes killing innocent people OK right? And somehow it’s not quite as terrible for you as barring people from entering this country for 90/120 days?

Given that we’ve descended into a pissing contest I should have been more specific in my definition of “sore losers.” These are liberal democrats who despise Trump, didn’t vote for him, sure as shit didn’t expect him to win and now all he needs to do to induce a protest is sneeze the wrong way.

That doesn’t change the fact that it happened on his watch, within the first 3 days of his presidency and he was fully briefed ahead of time. Why didn’t anyone protest? Well you wouldn’t have known about them without a FOIA, and those details weren’t released until July 2016. How come none of these people protested in July 2016 when the details came out? How come nobody’s up in arms over the secrecy of these programs that by the way also allowed them to drone American citizens overseas (both under Bush and Obama)? The United States Killed innocent people, good intentions or not, our government did it.

To whom? The innocent civilians?

Just because you don’t care, doesn’t make it right.

Not at this scale, not even close.


#182

Yeah I don’t really get the disconnect between temporary immigration bans being the personification of evil and “collateral damage” from secret drone attacks being ‘shit happens’.

To me even the euphemism collateral damage is evil Newspeak.


#183

Hi, I see a lot of intelligent people here from the left and the right and would like to engage in a topic of discussion that I think is either overlooked or people simply do not know. This is not a partisan issue. It took me years to figure it out and understand the system to get where I am now. I would like to ask you all a basic question.

Do you all know where money comes from?

I don’t mean “the bank”. I mean do you understand the actual process of money creation? I ask because I think that this election of Trump and this voice of the forgotten rural people is a direct result of wealth inequality based on money creation. Please reply with an answer on how money is created… I’ll reply with what I now know, and why I think that because of this fundamental issue, or lack of knowledge about this issue by both Democrats and Republicans, and the entire electorate we are in one hell of a mess. I would like to get this discussion started with some intelligent folks…


#184

Patients get the money for healthcare by working. People must buy food, housing, electricity ect, (which are arguably more of a basic need than doctor visits) In a free country we get the freedom to decide how we allocate our resources. For younger people just getting started, buy a high deductible plan and save a little each month in an HSA. Slowly build up those funds to eventually offset your high deductible until you need it. Or if you can’t even afford a high deductible plan just save in the HSA and use it when you need it. HSA’s cause healthcare dollars to get competed for and consumers benefit. The older you get and the better you are doing financially, the better insurance you can afford. This is how it should work for the majority. For cases when people cannot afford insurance and God forbid something catastrophic happens to them, Go to the hospital and they will treat you regardless of your ability to pay. They will bill you, but if you can’t pay you can’t pay. Trust me, hospitals eat Billions of dollars from people who cannot pay.

I agree with you that we have a supply problem with doctors. How do we solve that? More completion with medical schools. Right now medical school prices are overinflated because of subsidies. The more money the government or other aid is thrown at Universities the more they raise the prices. Read This Higher education has inflated prices over the years far more than general inflation. Education should not be that expensive. You can learn to program for basically free.

The general theme reoccurs over and over and over. The free market works but people screw it up when we demand products or services as some sort of right and it gets subsidized. Lasik surgery for example is not covered by insurance. What happened to Lasik? The cost went way down and better procedures were invented to compete for those dollars. I digress. The laws of supply and demand can be no more manipulated by government then they can manipulate the law of gravity. Instead of fighting it we should embrace it. In fact America did, and that’s how our economy became the best in the world in a short period of time.


#185

Well, the bottom line is we print it. And this is especially true in the U.S. The U.S. mint designs and prints the money, an amount decided by the U.S. Treasury (it also destroys “old money”), and then it is distributed to banks to make its way into the system. Here’s a light intro: http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/082515/who-decides-when-print-money-us.asp

The thing is that if you print too much, your money becomes worth less (do you want your dollar to be as rare as gold, or as common as sand?), which causes inflation. But the U.S. has a very unique and privileged position by having the dollar as the de-facto universal currency: all our debts are in dollars (as with everyone else’s, for the most part), so there’s never a need to default on our debts. Need a trillion dollars? Sure, we’ll just print some more. What? The dollar is worth less now? That means so is our debt…

Anyway, not sure how this relates directly to your issues with the forgotten rural people… it’s not like the people printing the money just gets to put it in their pockets. Not exactly.


#186

Money comes from the value of the goods or services you can produce.

Wealth inequality is not a bad thing. We should not strive for equality, we should strive for opportunity. The equality gap in 3rd world countries is extremely low, does that make them better off than of them us. Absolutely not.

When the economy grows the pie gets bigger. People have a misconception that there is a finite amount of wealth, this is completely false. I can sit with notepad and develop software that has value from nothing. That value was not stolen from anybody or any place.


#187

I think you need to define money first :slight_smile:


#188

But that’s my point. Nearly as many people felt that voting for Hillary would be betraying the fundamental principles that America was founded on. So if you have to choose between a tyrant who will destroy the country through bullheadedness or a career politician who will make the friends of Bill rich while making the middle class poorer, thus still destroying the country, just more slowly. If you think the Clintons are just harmless politicians you’ve been only reading/listening to one side.

You are saying that people should have voted for the lesser of two evils “because that’s the American thing to do”

No, sorry, that’s not the American thing to do. That’s still voting for evil. The right thing to do was to abstain, maybe protest and shout and fight. Maybe next time both parties can do better and give Americans someone worth voting for. Perhaps Trump will be painful enough that both parties will drastically change to keep this from happening again.

Let’s make it more clear. Should I vote for Stalin because I don’t want Hitler?

Would it be more American to vote for Stalin? Should I vote for Mussolini because I don’t want Hideki Tojo to be elected?

Nope. It’s not the voters in the general election who failed. The party system failed us. Both the Democrats and the Republicans failed us. This election was a failure long before November. There was no good outcome.


#189

Cool thanks for the reply. I want to keep this thread positive and non-partisan since I am learning more everyday about this topic. Also it’s taken me a few years to understand so I’m looking to vet my thoughts with you guys.

So for me first I had no real idea how money came about I just earned it, used it, and saved it. You can describe printing it as one way to describe it. For me I first understood money creation to be fractional reserve banking. Then I found out, that this is simply a model they used to teach economy students so they can comprehend a sort of money multiplier effect of the banks based on a fractional reserve. Money printing then begs the question.

So recently I came across an article from the bank of England which describes it in detail:
http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/quarterlybulletin/2014/qb14q102.pdf

This religious site has a simplified story to understand what is effectively the same thing but it has moral undertones so I prefer the bank of England which is from the banks themselves:
http://www.michaeljournal.org/articles/social-credit/item/the-money-myth-exploded

So for me the best way to describe it is this: Money gets created by banks from nothing, in response to the need for loans.

Banks simply credit your account when you need money, provided you are credit worthy. It works this way for people, business, and the government. Banks do it for you and me. The federal reserve (the bankers bank) does it for the government through government bonds, if the government’s need for funding exceeds what investors and governments around the world want to buy. The mint is responsible for creating physical printed money, but about 97% of our money is strictly digital and not printed.

Now for inflation, it’s true that printing too much money causes it, but it’s not just the printing of too much money that causes it. It’s actually the relationship of money to goods and services that are available for that money to buy that is the problem. For example if you simply print a trillion dollars and give it to people who will use it to buy things then you’ll see price inflation. If you give that trillion dollars to investors, then you will see asset price inflation. If however there is a corresponding increase of a trillion dollars of goods and services to correspond to that trillion dollars then there should be little inflation.

Ok, so you think “so what” about the creating of money. Well if you think about it hard, then you realize that this means literally that all of the money that we have and create, comes from debt. It’s logical since money comes into existence in response to loans/debt right? But then you realize what that means… If all our money is literally created from debt, then not all people/business/government can ever pay off their debt. If they did, there would be no money. When you pay back a loan to the bank, you are effectively destroying money - taking it out of existence. The reason this bothered me (at first) is that it means that at the federal level, we can never repay that debt. Since a child I was used to hearing how much the national debt was and how bad it is and what a burden it is on the future generations. Someone has to pay it back right? AND it’s looking like that’s going to be me and my kids… Dems and Republicans both blame each other for increasing the debt. BUT if all our money comes from debt, and our GDP has to keep increasing, there is literally no way to do that except to create more debt.

Think about it, if you balance the budget and have a surplus then the government is effectively choking the savings of business and people - causing them to drawn it down, and a recession is going to follow shortly. What is the response to a recession, the government spends the crap out of the economy to get it growing again, to get the debt growing again. I think it sucks but is the system we have.

SO now I believe that in fact the debt will have to grow if you wish to have a growing economy. Look at how much China’s economy has grown and if you look, then you realize that their debt has also grown to match. Banks control the amount of money that is in our economy, and the federal reserve tries to control that using interest rates.

Let me know what you think so far. Where I am going with this is that politics and politicians are so important because they control a huge amount of spending. We all argue about how much we spend on this and that, and how much we can afford to spend. I’ll continue after your and hopefully others feedback.