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Is it too early to joke about the Lincoln assassination?: Political Discussion
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Mar 18th 2014

Well, they are if you only count other Amish.

Mar 18th 2014

I went to AmishPeopleMeet.com, that is not a real website ;-)

Mar 18th 2014

I just finished a book about how the Mexican-American War was basically us just saying "yeah, we'll take California, and the Southwest, and some more of Texas." I think we ought to give Arizona back at least, bunch of weirdos.

Mar 18th 2014

I think we ought to give Arizona back at least

There are about a million Indians who think that's a good start.

Mar 18th 2014

It'd be easier to give them New Mexico, from a letterhead perspective.

Sep 16th 2014

I really hate when someone approaches me and starts talking about politics and makes the broad assumption that I share their views. Then again, it's a great opportunity to see just how passive-aggressively quippy I can be.

Sep 16th 2014

starts talking about politics and makes the broad assumption that I share their views.

This is a horrible idea wrapped in bad judgement.

Sep 16th 2014

I really hate when someone approaches me and starts talking about politics and makes the broad assumption that I share their views.

Aww, I hate that! That's worse than that idiot Obumma! Amiright?!? #benghazi #irsscandal

Sep 17th 2014

I really hate when someone approaches me and starts talking about politics and makes the broad assumption that I share their views. Then again, it's a great opportunity to see just how passive-aggressively quippy I can be.

In a lot of the places I've worked, fellow white people have come up to me to complain about minorities, usually black folks (though they sometimes use that other term that's very popular in rap songs, minus the hard "r" sound at the end). I guess I look like a fellow racist to them, on account of me being white...which makes them doubly racist, or self-hating white people

Sep 18th 2014

One nice thing about the ISIS issue is that right now, neither party has solidified on a position or approach to take, so people can be free to form their own judgements without kowtowing to the party line. I heard three conservatives on the radio all arguing for different approaches, and I know plenty of libs who sound like war hawks. It's kind of refreshing!

Sep 21st 2014

What's weird is, if you consider the ISIS "movie trailers" that promise death and destruction to America, in a sense we've already won. They're using something created in the West (film and cinema) against us, showing how pernicious the influence of some forms of Western art is in their part of the world. Whether that's a "victory" for us is hard to say (some aspects of globalization are less savory than others) is up for debate, but in terms of stamping our (or "our") influence on the region, it's pretty compelling evidence to say that we are. This doesn't mean that we won't need to engage ISIS militarily, but I feel like their attempts at scare tactics are as amateur as any indie film-maker with a maxed-out credit card and a digital camera.

Oct 10th 2014 edited

Is it wrong that this was my first thought when I heard Malala had won the Nobel Peace Prize?

Oct 14th 2015

I think I liked Bernie Sanders best of all last night. He's like Trump (who I wouldn't vote for) in how he just says what he thinks and doesn't couch things in "political speak".

I've got a question for my liberal friends here. Why is income inequality a bad thing? I understand that in a small company, if the company makes a half million in profits and the owner takes 400,000 in compensation, that leaves less for the employees. But it's the owner's business, so if they choose to take all or half or none of the profits, it's not our business. I mean it's literally not our business.

For a large company, sure I can agree that it's outrageous what some CEOs earn, but again, it's not my company so I can't say how they should divvy up the profits. And if you cut the compensation of the CEO by 2 million dollars, that doesn't amount to much if you split that among 10,000 employees.

Why would you be angry that your neighbor is a millionaire? Isn't that a good thing for your community? If you have several rich people in your town, they are going to buy things, maybe employ people in their business, and stimulate your economy. We have a really rich guy in our town who started a pizza chain with 50 restaurants, and he paid for our community center, and does a lot of little projects that I wasn't even aware of until recently. We have someone at our store who is in the high school choir, and he paid for their whole group to perform at Carnegie Hall. If everyone in our town was middle class, these things wouldn't happen. The concentration of wealth makes new companies happen, and new initiatives.

I can't help but think that the whole issue people have with income inequality is based in jealousy. So...tell me what I'm missing. I guess if you take it to an extreme, I can say that yes, it would be bad if ten people in the country controlled 99% of the wealth. But I can't tell you what the numbers SHOULD be. Maybe one of you can help articulate your position to me? I trust what you guys have to say.

Oct 14th 2015

I'll take a stab at this, but I doubt I'll convince you of anything. The problem with income inequality goes to something runs underneath your entire post. You have always struck me as a sort of libertarian/conservative (please correct me if I have this wrong). You believe that the "free" market will ultimately work for everyone, that while some folks might make out better than others that overall everything will balance out. The wealthy will spend their money in the community and it will flow back to the benefit of all. The problem liberals have is that since 1980 it has become obvious that we do not have a true free market. In that time almost all of the productivity gains have gone to the top 1% (and really more like to the top 0.1%) rather than earlier when productivity increased everyone's wages. And while some of those gains might be spent on something like a community center or a school trip, the large majority of that money has been moved around in international finance helping hedge funds who rely on currency manipulation or supporting companies looking to offshore their labor costs. And more importantly, much of that money has flowed to politicians to make sure that their tax rates remain low and that offshore bank accounts don't get taxed at all.

You say that you don't want 10 people controlling 99% of the wealth in this country. Things are not that bad, but the NY Times did an analysis of contributions to the presidential campaign so far this year. What they found is that 158 families had contributed almost half of the money collected. The vast majority of this money went to Republican candidates most of whom have put out "tax reform" plans that cut tax rates on the wealthy, eliminate the estate tax and greatly reduce tax rates on capital gains and dividends. Every analysis of these plans has shown that the vast majority of the cuts go to the top 1% and that it will blow a huge hole in the budget, creating even bigger budget deficits. Most of the candidates are also promising to increase defense spending for reasons no one can explain to me. All of this means that to balance the budget, something all these "conservatives" claim to support, they would have to drastically slash domestic spending, but they refuse to say what cuts they favor. And do you know why? Because those cuts would come from Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid and that is not popular. So they make vague noises about "waste, fraud and abuse", but none of that is going to come close to filling the gap. So either the deficit will increase, as it did following the Bush election in 2000 or the poor will take another hit. I just don't believe that the biggest problem facing this country is that the poor have it too good or that the wealthy are an oppressed minority.

The fundamental problem is that the wealthy don't increase their spending enough to cover the costs of keeping the country sound and the returns they get are not indicative of their contributions. Their companies thrive when our infrastructure (roads, railroads, ports) are in good shape, when their workers aren't worried that a health emergency might wipe out their savings or that they won't be able to pay for college for their kids or be able to retire. If the richest were concerned about these things and contributed far more to charity than they currently do then maybe income inequality wouldn't be a concern, but that is not what they worry about. They want to be sure their tax rates are low and that they can squeeze every dollar out of their investments. That is why the contribute to candidates to want to roll back financial regulations and lower tax rates. It's why they favor trade agreements that allow corporations huge profits, but eliminate jobs here for slave wages in Malaysia or Cambodia.

In the end there has to be some way to capture that money so that we don't continue to spiral down to the point we are all fast food servers except for a tiny minority who can afford to jet off to their third home in the south of France on their private jet. While a community center is great, it's not going to help pay for your daughter's college education and a school trip to Carnegie Hall is great, but it won't pay for your health care should you have a serious health problem. Back in the 50's and 60's, that money was taken through much higher tax rates and through unions that fought for higher wages. Now we stumble along with stagnant wages, lousy infrastructure and exorbitant health care costs all the while the rich are telling us "Just one more tax cut and that will get us moving again." Well, we've tried that for 35 years and I don't see any evidence it's helped.

Sorry for the length of this post, but I am really concerned with the direction this country is taking. When Carly Fiorina can be a leading Republican candidate on the basis of getting a huge payout after ruining HP and being fired, then things are not right.

Oct 14th 2015

Thanks for the thoughtful response, DC.

The problem liberals have is that since 1980 it has become obvious that we do not have a true free market.

I actually agree with this, but probably my fix is not the fix you would propose. I think that there are so many government laws and regulations, that it is NOT a free market, and then when it doesn't work, liberals point to where it has failed and say "see, the free market does not work!"

I think the government does have a role, in making sure that things are fair and making sure no one is taken advantage of. However, I believe in NO minimum wage. I believe in almost no safety regulations, NOT because I think that we should be unsafe, but because I believe in today's day and age, the consumer will pick the safest car or whatever. As long as companies don't hide information (and this is where government should be involved...like in uncovering Volkswagen's subterfuge)...then consumers will buy safe products, and work for safe companies. I'm reminded of a John Stossel show, where he points at the moment he became a Libertarian. I think OSHA showed a chart which showed that workplace injuries had declined every year since they started. Then he looked up the data for the 40 years before OSHA started, and workplace injuries were declining at the same rate all along. We created this huge government bureaucracy which takes credit for something that was happening anyways, due to people getting smarter and demanding workplace safety. Just like unions take credit for 5 day work weeks, child labor laws, and higher wages...when those things would have happened anyways.

However, I agree with a lot of what you said about how big money is controlling a lot in this country. The biggest problem I see with socialism is that it KILLS productivity and initiative. If we all made middle class wages and no one could advance by working harder, I doubt we'd have people like Steve Jobs that start companies and invent new things.

Of course it's not stark choice between communism and free market anarchy. There is a huge sliding scale where maybe I'm further on the right and you're further on the left, but we can agree on a lot of things. You know that communism causes lack of productivity and initiative. I know that wealth concentration causes abuses of power. There must be solutions that satisfy both sides.

the large majority of that money has been moved around in international finance helping hedge funds who rely on currency manipulation or supporting companies looking to offshore their labor costs.

I admit I don't know much about this. I wish I knew more.

I think if I heard a politician talk like you, DC, with logical reasons, I'd be more inclined to support them. So thanks.

Oct 14th 2015

I believe in almost no safety regulations, NOT because I think that we should be unsafe, but because I believe in today's day and age, the consumer will pick the safest car or whatever. As long as companies don't hide information (and this is where government should be involved...like in uncovering Volkswagen's subterfuge)...then consumers will buy safe products, and work for safe companies.

But here is where your solution breaks down. If there are no safety regulations, who monitors products for safety? No one would have caught Volkswagon if it wasn't illegal to tamper with the pollution controls. Same with a factory polluting the local water supply. If there is no regulation against it, then no one is going is going to be checking. It makes no economic sense for the factory to not pollute in the absence of regulatory control. Who will hold them accountable? And is the alternative that the government collects data on who is dumping poison into the rivers so that every time you make a purchase you have to check if it came from a green factory?

Just like unions take credit for 5 day work weeks, child labor laws, and higher wages...when those things would have happened anyways.

No, they wouldn't have. It requires political power to get changes like that, power that unions supplied. Even after the workplace disasters like the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, it required political pressure to get work safety regulations installed. Many of those regulations predated OSHA by the way, which is why the workplace injuries were declining. Not through the beneficence of corporations. And notice that wages haven't really been rising in recent decades as unions have declined and the wealthy have been able to increase their donations to politicians. I'm not saying they are evil people, but to retain their economic success requires that the political system serve their needs and not those of the poor or middle class. I'm not saying everyone has to make the same salary, but there is little need for someone to earn $2 billion a year. They aren't going to start enough companies to distribute that money efficiently. Far better to take it as tax revenue and build bridges and subways.

Oct 14th 2015

I want to contribute, but I haven't seen last night's debate yet, and also I have no time. So, instead, I'll encourage you both to keep posting, so I can read it all eventually. :-)

Oct 14th 2015 edited

Same with a factory polluting the local water supply.

This is where I'm different from most stock Republicans. I believe environmental protection is one of the few areas where the government SHOULD be active, because of course it's in no company's interest to NOT pollute. It just seems like a lot of environmental controls nowadays are a cover for anti-capitalism. Probably because they're RIGHT...industry and human progress have ruined the environment. But I think that educated capitalism, at least as Americans practice it in 2015, is much better for the world than the other systems out there. And I'm not going back to the Stone Age to save the environment, that's not realistic.

No, they wouldn't have. It requires political power to get changes like that, power that unions supplied. Even after the workplace disasters like the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, it required political pressure to get work safety regulations installed.

I disagree that we'd be working in sweatshops today without unions. Hey, I'm not against unions. It's just people organizing, and anyone should be able to form any union they want to. And perhaps what I call the will of the people, you call unionizing. But it's the same thing. Safety would have increased, whether via public outcry or via unions, but the trend was undeniable.

I'm not saying everyone has to make the same salary, but there is little need for someone to earn $2 billion a year.

That's probably true, but no one makes that much...the problem is that right where people start getting useful with their money and starting businesses is where they get socked.

What do you think about a consumption tax? It seems more fair to me. It does not put a damper on hard work, but it does tax WEALTH...which is different than INCOME. With income tax, Donald Trump could stop working today, live off his wealth, and never pay income tax again.

I want to contribute

Please do. DC and I are rewriting the tax code over here.

Oct 14th 2015

I will, but I have had a very busy/stressful day. :-) Maybe in the morning. I think you're both making good points, and I'd probably land right in the middle of you both.

Uh, politically.

Not, uh, physically. :-)

Oct 14th 2015

I'd probably land right in the middle of you both

Woo hoo! I call top bunk!

Not, uh, physically

Oh. I knew that.

Oct 14th 2015

Safety would have increased, whether via public outcry or via unions, but the trend was undeniable.

You have much more faith in the strength of progress than I do. There are politicians today who think our child labor laws should be eliminated.

That's probably true, but no one makes that much.

True, the highest paid CEO only made $156 million last year. Poor guy.

What do you think about a consumption tax?

Not much. It's basically a flat tax which hits the poorest hardest. You pay 10% of $20,000 you're out of money you really need. The CEO would pay $15 million (presuming that he spent every penny of his salary) and he'd have spent $140 million. What seems far more likely is that he'd pay some fraction of his salary well below 10%. So basically the poorest would pay the highest percentage.

I'd probably land right in the middle of you both

This is a family blog.

Oct 16th 2015

I am holding out hope for a Biden run. Simply because he is the least polarizing candidate out there. My Facebook page and e-mail inbox can't handle a Hillary/Trump presidency.

Nov 22nd 2015

There must be solutions that satisfy both sides.

Thank you for this thoughtful discussion. It has landed straight in the middle of why I am so frustrated with current batch of candidates (both "right" and "left"). Where is the candidate who is moderate in all these areas, and finds a middle ground? I have voted in every presidential election since I was 18, but I have yet to see a candidate in this bunch (either Dem or Rep) who I can vote for.

Why can't a Democratic candidate propose moderation in financial issues, or why can't a Republican candidate propose moderation in social areas? For years people have been willing to compromise. Why not now? Is the nomination process broken, so that no moderate candidate can win?

Nov 23rd 2015

Why can't a Democratic candidate propose moderation in financial issues, or why can't a Republican candidate propose moderation in social areas?

I think those are called Libertarians, and I keep thinking that I'm one of those, then I realize that I don't like any of the Libertarians. Rand Paul, ugh.

Nov 23rd 2015

I have voted in every presidential election since I was 18, but I have yet to see a candidate in this bunch (either Dem or Rep) who I can vote for.

Depressing, isn't it?

Nov 30th 2015

think those are called Libertarians, and I keep thinking that I'm one of those, then I realize that I don't like any of the Libertarians.

I'm not sure Libertarians are exactly what I'm describing, but I agree with your sentiment.

Depressing, isn't it?

Damn depressing.

Dec 1st 2015

I'm a Bernie supporter myself, mostly because he's at least talking about the things that I think are the most wrong with our system. However, I don't know if he'll gain the momentum to get over the Hilary hump.

I'm finding myself wishing there was more movement towards to the middle, too. Just about the only thing I feel there should be 'extreme' measures towards is the removal of the influence of money from the whole system. Unfortunately, I think that is the least likely of all to happen.

Mar 1st 2016

So, Trump.

As you all know, I'm very conservative, and I don't like Trump one bit. I think he is going to destroy the Republican Party as we know it, which might make a lot of you happy, but all he's going to accomplish is to make Hillary the president, which is also not a good thing.

Here are the good things about Trump. I do believe we need an outsider, someone who has owned a business and understands how to make a budget and manage people. He really excels here. Yes, you can point to a dozen business and ventures that failed, but he's got hundreds of businesses. He would be the best ever at hiring the right people, and holding people accountable. He is very smart and goes for things that work, instead of being beholden to party principles.

Now the bad. He really is a clown. Even though everyone says that he called Mexicans rapists, he clearly did not do that. He said Mexicans were sending rapists and criminals across the border, which is true. However, he lost me with his comments on Megyn Kelly and Carly Fiorina. He just says whatever he wants, which works fine in business when you own the business and have people who you have hired and who are going to listen to you and do your bidding no matter what...but this does not work in politics. I am scared to have someone like that talking to world leaders and with his finger on the nuclear trigger.

I look at the latest poll and see that he is at 49% nationally among Republicans. I kind of wonder what they are all thinking...HOWEVER, I think that he would do just as well if he had declared Democrat. He would change his positions to match Democrat ones, and do just as well. So I'm not disappointed in Republicans...I'm disappointed in people in general that they can't see through this.

Who knows. Maybe it's what the country needs. I'm certainly not moving to Canada, like many of my liberal friends. I probably will vote for him over Hillary, not that my vote counts for anything in New York.

We certainly do live in interesting times.

Mar 1st 2016

I'm disappointed in people in general that they can't see through this.

This.

Mar 1st 2016

He said Mexicans were sending rapists and criminals across the border, which is true.

No, it is not.

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