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Charles Koch: I’m Fighting to Restore a Free Society

Who’s the Number One enemy of people who thrive on big-government dependence? Charles Koch. He’s the archetypal threat to their prestige and power. Not only does he have the money to actually fund programs to promote free markets, self reliance, and free speech, he could be a bit of a poster boy for the independent free-market way of life. There’s the danger more people might start to aspire to stand on their own two feet, to create 60,000 jobs while producing products other free citizens value. To take pride in their achievements, and to eschew hand-outs. Therefore it’s imperative that only moguls who toe the collectivist line be allowed to be seen to be “good” people.

..more government means less liberty…

Here he explains what he’s fighting for. What’s not to applaud? — Jo

Hat tip to The HockeySchtick.

 —————————————————–

Instead of welcoming free debate, collectivists engage in character assassination.

An Op-Ed in the Wall St Journal

By Charles G. Koch
April 2, 2014 7:47 p.m. ET

I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives. It is those principles—the principles of a free society—that have shaped my life, my family, our company and America itself.

Unfortunately, the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom are under attack by the nation’s own government. That’s why, if we want to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans, we have no choice but to fight for those principles. I have been doing so for more than 50 years, primarily through educational efforts. It was only in the past decade that I realized the need to also engage in the political process.

A truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value. In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so. The same should be true of any government that disrespects its citizens. The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.

More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson warned that this could happen. “The natural progress of things,” Jefferson wrote, “is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” He knew that no government could possibly run citizens’ lives for the better. The more government tries to control, the greater the disaster, as shown by the current health-care debacle. Collectivists (those who stand for government control of the means of production and how people live their lives) promise heaven but deliver hell. For them, the promised end justifies the means.

Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination. (I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.) This is the approach that Arthur Schopenhauer described in the 19th century, that Saul Alinsky famously advocated in the 20th, and that so many despots have infamously practiced. Such tactics are the antithesis of what is required for a free society—and a telltale sign that the collectivists do not have good answers.

Koch Industries was the only major producer in the ethanol industry to argue for the demise of the ethanol tax credit in 2011.

Rather than try to understand my vision for a free society or accurately report the facts about Koch Industries, our critics would have you believe we’re “un-American” and trying to “rig the system,” that we’re against “environmental protection” or eager to “end workplace safety standards.” These falsehoods remind me of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s observation, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” Here are some facts about my philosophy and our company:

Koch companies employ 60,000 Americans, who make many thousands of products that Americans want and need. According to government figures, our employees and the 143,000 additional American jobs they support generate nearly $11.7 billion in compensation and benefits. About one-third of our U.S.-based employees are union members.

“I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors…”

Koch employees have earned well over 700 awards for environmental, health and safety excellence since 2009, many of them from the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. EPA officials have commended us for our “commitment to a cleaner environment” and called us “a model for other companies.”

Our refineries have consistently ranked among the best in the nation for low per-barrel emissions. In 2012, our Total Case Incident Rate (an important safety measure) was 67% better than a Bureau of Labor Statistics average for peer industries. Even so, we have never rested on our laurels. We believe there is always room for innovation and improvement.

Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs—even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.

Koch Industries was the only major producer in the ethanol industry to argue for the demise of the ethanol tax credit in 2011. That government handout (which cost taxpayers billions) needlessly drove up food and fuel prices as well as other costs for consumers—many of whom were poor or otherwise disadvantaged. Now the mandate needs to go, so that consumers and the marketplace are the ones who decide the future of ethanol.

“America is now saddled with a system that destroys value, raises costs, hinders innovation and relegates millions of citizens to a life of poverty…”

Instead of fostering a system that enables people to help themselves, America is now saddled with a system that destroys value, raises costs, hinders innovation and relegates millions of citizens to a life of poverty, dependency and hopelessness. This is what happens when elected officials believe that people’s lives are better run by politicians and regulators than by the people themselves. Those in power fail to see that more government means less liberty, and liberty is the essence of what it means to be American. Love of liberty is the American ideal.

If more businesses (and elected officials) were to embrace a vision of creating real value for people in a principled way, our nation would be far better off—not just today, but for generations to come. I’m dedicated to fighting for that vision. I’m convinced most Americans believe it’s worth fighting for, too.

Mr. Koch is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries.

 There are hundreds of comments on the article at the Wall St Journal.

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Charles Koch: I'm Fighting to Restore a Free Society, 9.2 out of 10 based on 142 ratings

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395 comments to Charles Koch: I’m Fighting to Restore a Free Society

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    Bulldust

    Got to love a straight talker /hat-tip

    Sounds like Mr Koch has ample quantities of that most ironically-named quality called common sense. I scare people at work (Government) frequently with that kind of talk. It is funny to see them become discombobulated by it.

    Thank you again for a breath of fresh air.


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      Streetcred

      Bull, I can empathise with your scary persona to public service types. Indeed I had a similar experience through the GFC times as a very senior manager … they were petrified of my business philosophies on commitment to projects, efficiency, working the time that one is paid for, mutual responsibility to workmates, etc. They even sent a delegate to try and convince me to ‘go with their flow’ … LoL !


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        Bulldust

        LOL streetcred… I think of my work ‘colleagues’ and think of some of the concepts you raised and I have to laugh inwardly. Committment and efficiency … oh you crack me up. There are a few civil servants who are standouts, such as a chap getting a Public Service Award this afternoon (whom I know well), but he is by far the exception and not the rule. And the civil service in this state is still a job for life (the current politicians are trying to change that).

        Government and efficiency… no … still doesn’t compute.


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      Truthseeker

      Now over 3000 comments at WSJ and still going …


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    It’s easy to see why he’s hated by the paralysing forces of creeping government collectivism. With a manifesto like that, he should run for office.

    Pointman


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      DT

      I believe it is creeping socialism.


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        Hasbeen

        I don’t think it’s creeping socialism these days, & reckon it has got to full gallop, & getting faster.


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        King Geo

        On the subject of socialism. We all know the ABC is very left wing. But now radio station 882 6PR here in Perth, the only other talk back radio station here in this fine city, has also transformed into a left wing media outlet. I have just been listening to their morning program – after a few minutes I switched off. The presenter is so blatantly “left wing”. So why has this once neutral, or slightly right wing radio station, gone so socialist? Could it be because the Fairfax Group bought the station from Southern Cross media recently?


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          Bob Malloy

          Could it be because the Fairfax Group bought the station from Southern Cross media recently?

          Rhetorical question, yes?


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          Mattb

          On the subject of capitalism… it is because 6PAAARRRRRRR was strugling in the ratings. Anway I’m sure it’s one of Koch’s golden rules… private media can do what they want.


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    Txomin

    It is a well written essay but simplistic. It says a lot about the intended audience and not much it’s good. Still, the message will get across to some that otherwise do not have the attention span or that do not labor to get information for themselves.


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    Geoff Sherrington

    There is a difference in quality between people who do exceptionally well by their efforts and those who do exceptionally well from schemes that take from others, like average citizens.

    Earned income is in a class apart from unearned income, be it windfall, extortionate or whatever.


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  • #

    When the Athenians became a maritime society coming in touch with
    other social customs and laws,they came to realize that these laws
    and customs were man-made and therefore able to be criticized and
    changed.

    Pericles in a famous Funeral Oration,6th century BC said:
    ‘We do not look upon discussion as a stumbling block in the way
    of political action but as a preliminary to acting wisely. [And]
    ‘although only a few may make policy,we are all able to judge it.’


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    • #
      speedy

      Nice quote. Might borrow from Mr. Pericles sometime.


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      bullocky

      Thanks Beth.
      Pericles’ suggestion of civilised debate in 6th century BC, gives us cause to reflect on the current state of climate politics, where alarmism and the contraction of debate seem to be common-place.
      Here is an excerpt from a 2007 speech by recent Greens candidate, Professor Clive Hamilton;
      -
      “This is because the implications of 3°C, let alone 4°C or 5°C, are so horrible that we look to any possible scenario to head it off, including the canvassing of “emergency” responses such as the suspension of democratic processes.”


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      • #

        You know, it’s funny that there is not a cry that the extreme cold could return (like the last few winters), would be catastrophic and that we should be suspending democratic processes and doing all we can to warm the planet. It’s just as valid an argument based on just as much evidence, which evidence clearly does not matter anyway, yet no one’s out there demanding that we burn more fossil fuels “just in case”. When you abandon all evidence and go with the “seriousness” of the prediction in place of it, it’s easy to both demand the end of burning fossil fuels and a huge increase in burning them.


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      DaleC

      Just for the record, Pericles’ Funeral Oration was delivered in 431 BC, 5th century, not 6th.


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        Rereke Whakaaro

        Ah, so it is much more recent than we thought? I am glad we got that sorted out. ;-)


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        Graeme No.3

        Thanks DaleC;
        saved me a post. Pericles was thought a very wise man in his lifetime, and his reputation hasn’t suffered much since. Like Mr. Koch he seems to have been well endowed with common sense.


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  • #
    tom0mason

    Contrast and compare the Koch brothers as people and their business to say Albert A. Gore’s background and friends.
    Just a hint, search for ‘Al Gore Armand Hammer Occidental Petroleum’

    I think you’ll find that the Koch brothers are shining example of good practice compared to the duplicitous and self-aggrandizing Gore/Hammer clique.


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    • #

      But they are not SORRY they are killing the planet. They are totally unapologetic. It’s not where your money came from, whether or not you keep the dirty money (they all do) but whether or not you are SORRY you pillage the planet. The Kochs are woefull not sorry and for that they are punished. (It’s only words….never action. Yet, failure to say those words makes you evil while saying them exonerates you. Same actions, same money, different labels.)


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        tom0mason

        Killing the world. What rot!
        What a junk idea!
        Save the planet plea always, but always, comes from either the stupid or the greedy. Neither group ever understands the problem.


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        • #

          I just report why the Koch brothers are considered bad and Al Gore is not. I don’t explain irrational thought patterns, the tendancy of people to “want to believe” and the fact that people believe words over actions and can’t do simple logic. That’s way too long an explanation for a comment box. There are a significant number of people who honestly think we humans can hurt the planet–and a large group of people willing to exploit that belief.


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            Manfred

            …and a large group of people willing to exploit that belief.

            Nicely put Sheri.

            Now let’s add some context. While the MSM relentlessly prattles of end-times, the ESA, who obviously believe in a more ‘organised’ future has just successfully launched the first of six satellites, named (most appropriately) Sentinel.
            “European Space Agency is launching the first of six satellites for a new system designed to better monitor climate change, environmental disasters and catastrophes like floods, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.”

            Wikipedia informs us that, “Sentinel-1 is a future space mission from ESA of Copernicus Program.

            The Copernicus Program formerly known as the “Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), is a joint initiative of the European Commission and European Space Agency, which aims at achieving an autonomous and operational Earth observation capacity.”

            Elsewhere: “The European Copernicus programme, previously known as Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) is an EU-wide flagship programme that aims to support policymakers, business, and citizens with improved environmental information.”

            What poetic license, and as Charles Koch nearly put it:
            This is what happens when elected officials European bureaucrats believe that people’s lives are better run by politicians and regulators than by the people themselves.


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              Manfred

              On the 19th May, 1998 a Manifesto was signed by European institutions involved in the development of space activities in Europe known as the
              “Baveno Manifesto.”

              REGULATION (EU) No 911/2010 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

              Re: Global Monitoring for Environmental Security
              Operational actions apart from the environmental and climate change monitoring, sustainable development in Africa programme, the monitoring Sentinel satellites include ‘security’ —
              The regulation requires that security services shall provide useful information in support of the challenges which Europe is facing in the security field, notably border control, maritime surveillance and support for EU external actions;

              In order to achieve this the regulation requires (under section 8) that,
              “The Comission should be responsible for the implementation of the GMES security policy, assisted by the Committee. For that purpose, a specific configuration of the Committee (the ‘Security Board’) should be set up.”

              Question:
              Does anyone know who comprises ‘The Security Board’ on GMES, who determines policy and what oversight exists?

              While Europe was already active in the most advanced areas of global monitoring, its rather uncoordinated efforts (even within the European Commission) lacked visibility and did not appear to fit into a clearly established strategy. The ‘Baveno initiative’ was an attempt to remedy this situation and find a place within a developing ‘European Strategy for Space’, which requires ESA and the European Union to work more closely together. GMES was extended to include the ‘security’ (in its wider sense) aspects of global monitoring, a move that produced a number of questions and misunderstandings, but which allowed many in Europe to realize that monitoring the activities of the Earth’ land masses, oceans and atmosphere do include a security dimension.

              From initial ideas to a European plan: GMES as an exemplar of European space strategy. (2004) Brachet, G. Space Policy 20:1, 7–15.
              http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.spacepol.2003.11.002


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      • #
        KinkyKeith

        Hi Sheri,

        Your comment probably needs to be read in the context of your other comments as it seems incomplete.

        As someone said above: ” Maybe you could have elaborated a bit more?”

        KK :)


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        • #

          Elaborating: tom0mason commented that we should compare the Koch brothers to Al Gore and noted the Koch brothers are shining example of good practice. I commented that the Koch brothers are not expressing sorrow that they are killing the planet in the same way Al Gore has, even though both came by large sums of money through the same industries. A corporation must be sorry to be considered to be on the right side (sorry for what? It doesn’t matter. Just be sorry for something or sorry in general). tom0mason did not appear to like my “killing the world” phrase and stated neither the greedy nor the stupid understands the problem. I replied that I was just reporting why Al Gore is a keen guy and the Kochs are evil (yes, that’s sarcasm). I noted I cannot, in the length of a comment box, cover why people believe words are more important than actions and that there are a significant number of people who believe we can/are killing the planet and that belief is being exploited by numerous groups.

          Summary: In today’s society, it seems that doom and gloom are believed over optimism, words count more than action, and anyone who proudly proclaims they created jobs while protecting the planet is probably lying if they are in the oil or any other business not approved by the environmentalists. This is not to say I hold such beliefs personally but rather this is what I see reported as being the “new normal”.


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            tom0mason

            “tom0mason commented that we should compare the Koch brothers to Al Gore and noted the Koch brothers are shining example of good practice.”

            I said contrast and compare the people.
            The Kochs when compared to Gore (or most rich persons espousing socialist save the planet claptrap) are shining example of good practice.
            My contention is that Gore is a very low standard.
            The Kochs are not hypocrites. They are money-loving capitalist but they are not hypocrites.

            :-)


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            James Bradley

            That seems to be the lefty socialist solution to everything:

            “oops when we were in government we tapped the phone of the wife of the Indonesian President and now a concerned and sympathetic whistleblower has gone and spilled their guts it’s the Australian Abbott Liberal Government that has to apologise or it’ll be World War III.”


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      tom0mason

      Try reading here for some of big Al’s ungreen investing and ripping off the US government.

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/05/21/the-greening-of-gores-bank-account/


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    aussiebear

    If you want to read about how this modern Left Collective movement applies Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” in practice, find the book by Andrew Brietbart, called Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World. In it, he describes his life (indoctrinated as a Left-winger in university) and broke out of it as he became older and mature. His life experience also included tangling with the Democrat-Media-News Complex. Essentially, if you’re wondering why American mainstream news and Hollywood celebrities blindly cheer for Obama, Climate Change, and every other “Social Justice” chasing issue, he’ll explain it. He even outlines his experience in scoring victories against this Collective Complex.

    The Collective Left movement will assassinate character, discredit, undermine, bully, humiliate, etc anyone who threatens their hold on power. They really believe in “the ends justifies the means”. ie: Make up things about you in order to destroy you publicly. Simply because they see you as a threat. It doesn’t have to be true. It only matters if the public believes it.

    In fact, Gillard played this tactic against Abbott when she pulled the gender card. The one thing Abbott should have done was not to be afraid to call her bluff. Put her in a position where she has to prove that he was sexist or misogynist to the Australian public. (She couldn’t, it was a political move to cover her own ass and maintain power. Notice the gender topic suddenly disappears when she and her Director of Communications (John McTernan) are gone?)

    The one thing you do NOT do with these kinds of people is to accomodate them and be their friends. These people want to win by ANY means. There is no morals, honor, integrity, character, etc with these people. Hold them to their own values (political correctness) as they impose upon others. As well, call their bluff on accusations (racist, sexist, etc) they throw on others. Record and archive everything. So they can’t accuse you of something you didn’t do, as well as record their nefarious behaviour. Show it to the world. The objective is to destroy THEIR credibility. So the public doesn’t trust a single word coming out of their mouths!

    These types of people: Obama, Gillard, etc. Believe we are all mugs, and that they (and their pseudo-intellectual buddies), know what’s best for all as they piss away our taxpayer money. They see themselves as Govt is the only all-knowing and all-seeing power that will provide for all…Its a crock of $hit. They know it, they just don’t expect we know it! This is why they’re surprised when they are eventually thrown out of power or resist their BS policies.

    Just look at Climate Change Movement. It behaves the same way! If you pose a threat to their narrative, they try to discredit you or call you names! ie: “Denier”, “Skeptic”, etc.

    This is who they are. This is what they do. The modern Left…And if you fear them and do nothing, it will give them free reign to destroy our societies. (This is their ultimate goal. They want to tear everything down. They don’t care of consequences. And they want to build it up to THEIR utopia…The problem is, they are so good at destroying, they don’t know how to build anything worthwhile that actually lasts! Nothing they do is sustainable!)

    If you thought the Cold War between Capitalistic society VS Socialist/Communist utopia was over, think again. Its not about how many tanks, planes, nuclear bombs, etc you have…Its now a battle of culture, media, education, etc. So if you notice all those “social justice” issues appearing (seemingly out of the blue) in something like our education system, its all part of it. There is a reason why there’s a campaign to keep pushing the “Australia is racist” narrative. They want to tear the country DOWN! To shame it into adopting Left appeasing policies. (This is how sick these people are).

    The good thing about Australia is that Australians don’t tolerate this BS. Most would outright tell these types of people to “bugger off”. To mock them. To point them out and fight them politically.

    America’s problem is that the Republicans are filled with these entrenched politicians who are backed by those really privileged families. They don’t care about the Nation. They have no qualms in spending the country into the ground and appease the Left…And this is where the Tea Party comes in. They threaten both the existing entrenched Republicans and the media/web savvy Democrats. This is why they are constantly labelled racist, homophobe, etc. Because they threaten the Left the most. So much so, the Left created their own equivalent that failed: Occupy Wall Street movement. (Check the backers of this movement…Democrats, socialists, anarchists, etc. This is why they behaved poorly and eventually failed to garner public support in the long run.)

    Australia is lucky. It had sufficient common sense to vote out ALP/Greens before they did any more damage…America? Not so. They must undergo more pain and a multi-trillion dollar inter-generational debt. (US$14 trillion?)

    Those on the Right or Centre-Right in America have to face a double workload.
    ie:
    (1) Clean up the Republican Party so that it actually represents the American people.
    and
    (2) Take back America from the Democrats.

    Now you can see why Australia is the “Lucky Country”.


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      Bones

      Well said Aussiebear,the bulk of your comment would just as applicable if you replace ‘collective left’ with islam.It seems to me it is a competition between the two who gets us first.


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        DT

        A very wise man from Adelaide once posted the comment that the left factions and Islam are fighting a common enemy, Capitalists. And they work together.


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          Truthseeker

          DT actually it is two forms of collectivism – secular collectivism through bureacracy and religious collectivism through theocracy – that are both trying to eliminate individual freedom. They do not work together so much as attack the same “enemy” on different fronts.

          It is all about control. Those with power want more of it. They can only get more by taking it away from others. The easiest target for this power transfer are individuals and the methods that are used are guilt and fear. Dogma is their weapon and truth and rational thought are always the enemy.


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          Gasbo

          He wasn’t too wise,the left support capitalism especially state capitalism,though corporate capitalism comes close and they are able to do DEALS with it,don’t get capitalism mixed up with free market,they are two opposites.Islam is opposed to capitalism but not free market.
          What your wise man from Adelaide(is that an oxymoron) should have said that the left and Islam have a common enemy which is Christianity.


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        aussiebear

        The Collective Left seems to appease radical Islam. (Hardcore Islamists who make regular Muslims look bad), as a way to align with them. This becomes really obvious when the Feminist arm of the Left says and does NOTHING in regards to how women are treated in the Middle East. There is no ‘call to arms’. In fact, didn’t Obama back the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as part of his “Arab Spring”? (…And Egyptians violently resisted them and threw them out because the Brotherhood couldn’t accomplish anything useful for the people and wanted to impose their interpretation of the Quran. Effectively, Egypt is in a financial mess. People want to work and live their lives.)

        …Regardless of Left or those who are Anti-West; they always target the white, conservative man.
        (See Channel 9′s Lisa Wilkinson or Egyptian activist Mona Eltahawy behaviour on ABC’s Q&A in the last two weeks. BOTH sing the same Left-wing script. It is the WHITE MAN that is the problem.)
        …Even Conservative women are targeted.
        Just look at how the Australian Labor Party behaved in Parliament. (Was that 2 weeks ago?) Notice very carefully how Tanya Plibersek (A well-known member of ALP’s feminist group “The Emily List” and Gillard’s “handbag hit squad”) is mysteriously silent when her fellow Left-wing males attack Bronwyn Bishop by acting like thugs.
        …See the double-standard? Abbott is against women if he looks at his watch. But when Tony Burke acts like a tool, there is dead silence.
        All this tells you is Feminism is nothing more than a political weapon for the Left. It is NOT about equality. Its about acquiring power and privilege by expressly targetting conservatives. Women who don’t sing the Feminist narrative are the enemy as well. (Take note anytime someone talks about their wife choosing to be a mother. Watch the online Feminist lynch mob in action.)

        This leads to the topic of women in leadership roles…
        Feminist and Lefties => “Whom do I share genitalia with?”
        Everyone else => “Who is the best for my Nation/Company/Organisation/Team?”
        …See the difference? In fact, ALP has shown Australia that gender quotas are wrong. It puts incompetent women into positions of responsibility. The kind of people who should have NEVER been there in the first place! That is why it has not done any good for ALP as a whole. Then again, the ALP itself has been taken over by the Left faction. Completely doing things that are the opposite of what they supposed to represent. (The Right side of ALP are just appeasing the Left faction. Just look at the way Shorten behaves. Its a clear hint.)


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      handjive

      Quote aussiebear:
      “The good thing about Australia is that Australians don’t tolerate this BS.
      Most would outright tell these types of people to “bugger off”.
      To mock them.”

      The Australian ‘Master of Mock’ is Tim Blair.
      And he is in fine form.
      This is mocking at it’s best:
      I THINK I GOT AN F
      . . .
      The idiots admit he is mocking them, but they plough on regardless.
      I lol’d, and I’m still lol’ing!


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  • #
    Peter Miller

    Well said.

    Government is a necessary evil, especially for defence, police, healthcare, certain kinds of welfare, education and provision of infrastructure, so let’s try and keep it as small as possible and de-bureaucratise it whenever there is an opportunity.

    We should never forget the profound truth in the phrase: The dead hand of government.

    Government environment agencies are a case in point, they have become loaded down with activists and bureaucrats, growing in size and shrinking in usefulness year by year. Most are no longer fit for purpose, peddling scare stories to justify both their continued growth and attacks on economic activity; this especially applies to the US EPA and the UK’s Environment agency.


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      Rereke Whakaaro

      Peter,

      I would agree with you in regard to defense, the police, and the judiciary, because laws and locks make for honest folks. I would also agree with infrastructure, since it is that, that creates a level playing field for everybody.

      But I don’t agree with the rest of your list. Health care, education, and welfare, can all be well provided by commercially orientated competing providers, as it is, in some parts of Asia. The role of Government is to define the rules of commerce, and to monitor standards for quality, and equality of access. The role of Government should never be to provide services, other than the three I mentioned, especially if it brings itself into competition with private enterprise.


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        Peter Miller

        RW

        That’s a new experience for me, effectively accused of being a socialist.

        While the private sector usually provides better and more personal services than the state controlled ones, I cannot imagine how you can have a modern state without the state being a provider of the majority of these services.

        My biggest gripe is with the quasi government organisations, which are hideously expensive, rarely useful and accountable to no one. They always end up being little fiefdoms, headed by a clique of hugely overpaid bureaucrats or activists, posing as professionals.


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          You can look at Obamacare and say the government is needed for healthcare? Really? They lied, cheated, made up numbers and ruined a perfectly good health care system in about 6 months. How long it will take to sort this out is unknown, but the damage will be immense. This is what happens when people who never ran a business and know absolutely nothing about what they are doing try to usurp huge pieces of the private sector. The US government is so far beyond being competent for much of anything that letting them control health care is actually a step down from using leeches and bloodletting. A complete and utter disaster.


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          PhilJourdan

          That is exactly how the old Soviet Union was run – and that ran so well, did it not?

          Socialism is the STATE running things. If they run it all, it is pure socialism. If they just nationalize “some” parts, that is the road to total socialism, but not pure socialism, so it is called socialistic.

          if that is what you are advocating, you are indeed a socialist.


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          Rereke Whakaaro

          Peter, I was not disagreeing with you per se, nor did I intend to accuse you of anything.

          I was merely making an oblique reference to the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

          Sorry, if I offended.


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        Backslider

        Health care, education, and welfare, can all be well provided by commercially orientated competing providers

        Total crap Rereke. Take a look at Finland, where the standard for each of these are the highest in the World. Provided how?

        It is fine to say that all of these should be provided by “commercially oriented competing providers” when you are loaded and can afford them, as you clearly are (although I don’t know where welfare fits in here).


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            Backslider

            Of course you checked the numbers, right Sheri?….. Such as that fact that USA doctors earn twice as much as Australian, yet it is the USA numbers that are used as a comparison.

            How much does a salaried doctor earn in Australia in comparison to Finland?


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              I presented an alternative viewpoint. Considering your original statement about Finland was 100% subjective, the fact that this article actually had some numbers–well, what can I say? I have no idea what doctors in Australia make. I have no idea if they have a comparable education, if their medical school costs them as much as the US, etc. I have no idea what their malpractice premiums are, what their offic space costs, and if they are told where to practice, and so forth. I have no idea how many personal injury lawsuits there are in Finland and Australia, how many drug companies are routinely sued for billions, etc. I have no idea if choices are limited, if procedures rationed, etc. It was not important to you to list the reasons why Finland was so great other than someone said it has high standards for health care. Yet you want me to “check numbers”???


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                Backslider

                I have no idea

                Well said (5 times).

                I am a Finn Sheri, so I actually know.


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                And I an American who believes we have the best system. Except for the personal injury lawyers, of course. (What does happen if a drug kills someone in Finland? Are they compensated? Or do they do like the Canadians and sue the American drug maker? I’m curious.)


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                I would also like to know if you have lived in a country without socialized medicine so you can actually make a comparison. I hear Canadians saying how great their system is, but none of them have lived in the US. Plus, can you say that a system that works for less than 6 million people can be applied to 313 million? Are there other differences such as number of illegal aliens, differences in how homogenous the population is (people who are alike tend to want the same thing). Finland is about the size of the state of Missouri. Sure, what works in Finland may work in Missouri, but add in the remaining 49 states and who knows? There is a general trend for people to not take into account the scale of what is advocated. Imagine adding Russia, Sweden, Norway and Denmark to Finland’s health system. Then get back to me on how that worked. Yes, this makes me testy. Comparing success in a country the size of one state in the US is as irresponsible as those model the climate guys use. There is no comparison–none.


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                Backslider

                I would also like to know if you have lived in a country without socialized medicine so you can actually make a comparison.

                Yes, I have. Have you ever lived in a country without poverty or people dying because they cannot get medical care (afford – the USA)?

                I am sure that the health systems in Sweden, Norway and Denmark are significantly better than the USA. That you guys cannot work things out is your problem…. perhaps you need more guns?


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                Streetcred

                Well Sheri … Our Medicare system in Australia is unsustainable. I have lived here in Oz for nearly 30 years and prior to that in a country that had private medical insurance similar to the USA. From my experience, the private medical insurance was superior. I have private medical insurance here now, I’m locked out of the public system, and I have the privilege of also having to pay a government surcharge on top of my taxes and private insurance. That’s how socialism of healthcare works … oh, and now the socialists are trying to get at my retirement investments as well; the fact that I’ve paid for their welfare, childcare, school education, university education, various grants and boondoggles, etc., is not considered.

                I believe that Finland has the highest incidence of male suicide in the Western world … just thought I’d make mention.


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                Backslider–no, I have not. You left out Russia–do you know you cant’ make that work and are avoiding the answer That’s my bet. Can’t do math, can’t figure out economics, so my bet is you can’t integrate Russia into your utopia. I’m sure if we reduced the US to the size of Finland–ie Missouri, we could make it work. Why I don’t know. Again, why is it that socialist morons insist their way is the only way? Are you all Gods and infallible or what? My bet is you’re just really, really good liars and I’m done speaking to a probable liar who cannot do math. Have a crappy day.


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                Backslider

                I’m sure if we reduced the US to the size of Finland–ie Missouri, we could make it work.

                You live in “united states”. Each are an independent entity. So tell me, why isn’t anything working in Missouri? (or elsewhere) What is the crime rate? How many people live in poverty. What percentage lack decent health care?

                It is you who are the moron Sheri and I am far from being a socialist.


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                Mark D.

                Backslider you are way out of line here. List for me the names of any people that died because they were poor and were refused medical treatment in the US.

                As you said, you have no idea.

                The fact is USA had a very strong health care system. Obamacare has economically ruined it. You say we’re better off?

                As you said, you have no idea.

                I’ve sat across a table with Canadians here in the USA getting medical diagnostic tests because in Canada they had a waiting list. Mind you, they would be treated once diagnosed but there would be 6 months or more wait for the tests in Canada. They come to the USA for the tests.

                As you said, you have no idea.

                The biggest problem they USA system had was an insurance problem that Congress could have fixed easily were it not for greedy insurance companies (NOT OVER PAID DOCTORS!) “pre-existing conditions”.

                As you said you have no idea.


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                Mark D.

                Oh and Back slider, FO on the gun slander, FO on anything else you say Dumbass


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                Mark D.

                and I am far from being a socialist.

                Reality checks suck don’t they?

                Stop defending socialism then would you?


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                PhilJourdan

                I hear Canadians saying how great their system is, but none of them have lived in the US.

                Sheri, I have heard it both ways from Canadians. However, the most telling aspect is that when given the resources and the means, they have in the past come to the US for quality health care.

                http://dailycaller.com/2012/07/11/report-thousands-fled-canada-for-health-care-in-2011/
                http://blogs.ajc.com/bob-barr-blog/2010/02/10/canadian-premier-comes-to-us-for-heart-surgery/

                Words are cheap, but these people are not voicing their displeasure, they are demonstrating it.

                And those without the means STILL do not get a choice. They are stuck with the one system, that may or may not be adequate, but apparently is not great. It is like the starving man that thinks a slice of bread is a feast! having no conception of a steak dinner, he has no comparison.


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                PhilJourdan

                @Backslider

                Before Obamacare, the law said that EVERYONE (even illegal aliens) had to be treated if they showed up at the hospital. Period. The hospital could then try to collect for the treatment. But treatment could not be denied. Period.

                So “afford” is not an issue. If you could not pay in the USA, the government (and by extension, the taxpayers) paid.

                So now what was it you did not like about the USA healthcare?


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                PhilJourdan

                How many people live in poverty. What percentage lack decent health care?

                @backslider

                Perhaps you should watch where those other 3 fingers are pointing. Obamacare is a federal law. Missouri cannot exempt itself.

                And none lacked decent health care before Obamacare. As I explained earlier. The ignorance of some foreigners to what the laws actually are in the US is perpetuated by the ignorance of the MSM. If you only get your news from them, you will be wrong a lot more often than you are correct.


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                Mark D.

                I believe that Finland has the highest incidence of male suicide in the Western world … just thought I’d make mention.

                I’ve heard rampant alcohol abuse as well. Maybe public paid health care isn’t so great after all.


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                Backslider

                Before Obamacare, the law said that EVERYONE (even illegal aliens) had to be treated if they showed up at the hospital.

                That is only for cases of emergency. Get your facts straight.


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                Emergency rooms must do an examination regardless, to determine if an emergency exists. If the person has a fever or infection, they will be treated. People with routine medical conditions, such as infections, show up at ERs all the time when it’s after hours for a doctor’s office. Sure, you can’t get a colonoscopy that way, but you do get treatment if you are ill. No one could be turned away due to the “must examine” part of the law. That would be the straight facts.


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                PhilJourdan

                Get your facts straight

                @Backslider – No, the law said NOTHING about emergencies. it said that if someone showed up at the EMERGENCY ROOM, they had to be treated. The law is not competent to judge what is or is not an emergency.

                I have my facts straight. Your hatred is blinding you to any reason.


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              Rereke Whakaaro

              I had a girlfriend once, who was Finnish. She wrote beautiful, and grammatically correct, English that was vaguely poetical. Which is more than most Brits can manage.

              But because of her accent, and mine, we couldn’t understand a word the other said. It was something to do with the Herrings, I understand. She liked Herrings.

              No point to that comment — just being whimsical.


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              Roy Hogue

              The unfortunate thing about socialized medicine is that if you don’t really need it, it’s easy to like. It’s when your health or even your life begins to depend on it that the problems show up. And by then it’s too late.


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          vic g gallus

          The Fins have a good sense of community but once it becomes common practice to skim a bit off the top, you would wish it was easy to discard the public health system and start again. That is the good point of a private health system. You can go somewhere else.

          We have a problem with union officials who think that extortion of large companies is not wrong, or even using union funds for prostitutes is reasonable. We have a publicly funded broadcaster that thinks that a conservative politician needs to be investigated more thoroughly for being on a board of a dodgy company (because of the corrupt behaviour of a Labor politician) than Labor politicians associated with such behaviour.


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            handjive

            Finngenerator
            Finland is a country where things are based on nature and old mythology.
            Even people’s names are inspired by the woods, animals and mythological characters.

            Have a try and find your inner Finn by changing your name.

            Just type your name here and let the generator tell you what you would be called if you were a Finn.


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              handjive

              Finland
              Quote: “Finland introduced the world’s first carbon tax in 1990, initially with exemptions for specific sectors.
              Manly changes were later introduced, such as a border tax on imported electricity.
              Natural gas has a reduced tax rate, while peat was exempted between 2005 and 2010.
              In 2010, Finland’s price on carbon was €20 per tonne of CO2.”


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                I suppose when you exempt wood, give breaks to natural gas, and nuclear and hydro count for a large percent of your energy sector, that works out well. While wood is supposedly carbon-neutral, one must wonder about the particulates and air quality given the percentage of energy coming from burning wood. In other words, Finland had little to lose by implementing the tax. (Even so, there are reports that industries left Finland–guess you really can’t tax business without making them prisoners of the state, lest the little devils leave for greener pastures.)


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            James Bradley

            Go vic g – wish I could give you more that one thumb up.


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        Hasbeen

        I have to agree, the last thing we need, or can afford, is government control of health care.

        Governments are lousy at running anything, even defense. In most of our wars, it is only when the enthusiastic amateurs came in & took over running most of it, & doing the fighting, that we got on top.

        Look at the failing rail transport systems in the UK & Oz, & compare that to the thriving private system in the US, for another example.

        In the UK today, they are trying to wind back public health, as the bill is already sending them broke. Here the forward estimates make it obvious that we can’t fund the current system in the future, just as we can’t afford the NDIS. It will have to be scaled back, but look at the hassle Queensland is having, just trying to get a bit of a handle on costs.

        I come from the 50/60s when I paid a small payment for hospital & medical benefits, & got satisfactory treatment mostly covered. Doctors knew that if they went overboard in things, you would go somewhere else, less expensive. Of course in those days we did not shove hearts lungs & most other replacement parts into people who are often just a waste of space. Sooner or later we are going to have to restrict free or subsidised medicine to the basics, & make the ridiculously expensive replacement parts stuff, user pay.

        I wonder if we will do it willingly & sensibly, or have it forced on us by some calamity. Unfortunately I’m inclined to think it will be the latter.


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        Truthseeker

        RW,

        As far as Health, Education and Welfare, it is valid for government to provide those services at a “catch-all” basic level. It does not preclude private organisations choosing to provide such services to give people a choice, but you need to ensure that everyone can get a basic level of health care, education and welfare regardless of their circumstance. By the way I am very much in favour of “work-for-dole” schemes as they allow people to live without giving them a sense of “entitlement”.


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      Gasbo

      Why do we even have taxation,considering that we have a FIAT monetary system?
      I know the answer to that question,sadly it is one of those cruel hoaxes of modern life like democracy or I should say the type of democracy we now have here in the western world.
      If the people knew what is the real answer every living politician past and present would end up hanging from a tree.

      When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes… Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.” – Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France, 1815

      “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and money system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company

      Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws.” Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812), founder of the House of Rothschild.


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    Janet Thompson

    I’m intrigued by the fact that this post does not have as high a rating as most of Jo’s posts, and yet those downgrading it have not commented. I’m curious as to why.

    As for me, I am uncomfortable with Mr. Koch holding up his many awards from EPA and OSHA as proof of his goodness. I would much rather he talk directly about his own success numbers and programs to deal with safety and care for the area around us. I believe that EPA and OSHA are at best inept, and at worst corrupt. Am I unreasonably cynical?

    The other fundamental ideas put forward in this essay are excellent, and I endorse them whole heartedly.

    Thanks for sharing, Jo.

    Kind Regards to All!
    Janet


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      Janet: I don’t think he held up his awards as proof of his goodness. I think he held them up to shove into the faces of his critics. The climate change people love the EPA and the fact that it awarded anything to Koch is probably an embarrassment the EPA would love to keep quiet. Same with OSHA–it shows Koch’s are not out there damaging their workers and just running in new ones when they need them but rather they value their employees.) I’m not sure it’s a good tactic. We have been conditioned to believe that if we point out a group supported us, that will help with credibility. However, in climate change, that is not going to work in most cases. As you noted, you found the reference problematic because you don’t like the EPA. I agree that leaving them out would have been a better choice.


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        tom0mason

        Just as Al Gore shoves factually inaccurate videos at people to try and make out that he is green while all the while investing in ungreen oil, coal and zinc mining, the selling his failed TV station. He’s worth about 2.2 billion by the time he sold his Carbon Credit scam.
        All Al Gore is about is Al Gore.

        The Koch Brother, in contrast, run industries that employ many, and have shown to date to be good responsible employer – responsible to both their employees and the environment.


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    Janet Thompson

    Oh, now ratings are up. I just viewed too soon! :-)


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      scaper...

      Hi Janet, haven’t seen you around here for awhile. Hope all is good for your family.

      TM


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        Janet Thompson

        Scaper, thanks for asking. We are doing alright… of course, we lost everything in our fight against the enviro-nazis, and so both of us are working now. Hence, not as much time to fight at the level we were before. We miss our close friends with whom we had fought shoulder-to-shoulder for so long. And we are eternally grateful to those friends.

        We still do what we can on the freedom front. My main concern is that people…even people who claim to love freedom… do not really understand what it means. I’ve written a blog piece on it that I kind of like, fyi: http://iloveag.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/freedoms-not-always-fun/

        I am thankful for people like Jo and David, you, bulldust, speedy…the list goes on and on. It’s vitally important that we take the time to count our blessings in the midst of all this insanity (the climate change thing is seeing another resurgence here, too, and Matt and I are in absolute disbelief!). Those blessings certainly include an impressive and formidable group of people who believe in truth and in being able to freely speak that truth.

        Appreciate you lots!
        Janet


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    PhilJourdan

    The Koch brothers are the focal point for the left’s hatred in America – going so far as to slander and libel them on the floors of both houses of congress. Yet how many times have the names of Soros or the Steyer Brothers been raised? These are “Kochs” of the left. But more so. Long before the Koch brothers entered into politics, these hypocrites were funding left causes throughout the world.

    Soros is a particular nasty individual. While funding causes that “promote” the “little person” he does everything in his power to destroy them. His game? Currency manipulation. He loves to short currencies (which hurt the “little guy” who does not have the means to do so).

    And the Steyers? Another stellar example of the pure hypocrisy of the left. They enriched themselves on fossil fuels! Now they fund every effort to ban them from the world (all in the name of CAGW, of course).

    The Kochs are called many things. But one thing I have never heard them called is hypocrites. That is because they live their philosophy. The left on the other hand says one thing, and does the opposite. And that is probably the best example of the 2 sides of the issue. Both in the Climate debate, and in governance.


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      Mark D.

      Phil, “Koch” is now the replacement four-letter-word for “Bush” among Leftists worldwide.

      They had run out of propaganda value blaming everything on Bush.

      You correctly point out that hypocrisy is what all Leftists deny about themselves. They also deny how much harm their policies and precepts bring to the poor and middle class.

      The Left tries to pull up the poor by pulling down the wealth producers……..


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        PhilJourdan

        The Left tries to pull up the poor by pulling down the wealth producers

        Make everyone equally miserable because they cannot make anyone rich or happy.


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      Backslider

      So was Kevin Rudd a working class boy out there for the working classes…. or is he a multi millionaire who never gave a rats?


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        Bones

        Backslider I’ll take option 2.He should be moderately comfy with his pension and perks for life.The wife just sold her business for $220 million so that may help his comfort level.


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        DT

        His father was a sugar can share farmer on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, he and one of his brothers were sent to a non-government boarding school in Brisbane until Kevvie begged Mummy to allow him to go home to a state public school. By all accounts he was born into a middle income range family. Until his father died after a car accident.

        As chief of staff to the Goss Labor government in Queensland he was able to assist his wife to establish an employment business, Ingeus, and former premier Goss was appointed a non-executive director. Connections within the labour movement enabled Ingeus to negotiate a very lucrative contract with the UK Labour government.


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      Streetcred

      Phil, the “little people” are just socialist cannon fodder, too stupid to see beyond their noses and easily abused by the likes of Soros.


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        PhilJourdan

        While I can see why Soros and the left uses “the little people”, what I will never understand is when they expect those with half a brain who see them using it, to not say something! They act like a shot duck when you call them on it (and the language is the worst assortment of “word salad” involving every insult they can think of).

        Their followers are stupid. But the rest of us are not.


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    Colin Henderson

    It becomes clear and clearer to me that the government is my enemy.


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    Rick Bradford

    Pericles would have been very familiar with the Greek term ‘hubris’ — extreme vanity and self-confidence at odds with all reality — which is what a great many people these days suffer from.

    To be honest, we are nothing like as smart as we think we are, which is why most of these vaunted Government decisions “promise heaven but deliver hell”.

    Look at today’s public figures — principally of the Left, but not exclusively — such as Comrade Gillard, Rudd, Cameron, Obama, plus the Klimate Kidz like Lewandowsky, OHG, Mann and Gleick, and you instantly notice the absence of one quality above all.

    Humility.


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    Mark D.

    Charles Koch for President!

    Then rid us of Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer, John Boehner and a few other Leftist pretenders, de-fund the EPA, abolish the Department of Energy, simplify the tax system by moving to a sales type tax, eliminate the IRS. Force the Federal government to balance the budget under penalty of jail time to the leaders of the branches of government and department heads if they don’t get it done in 12 months.

    After that, stand back and watch real economic progress (not destructive “Progressive-ism”).


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    Stephen Richards

    At last, The Koch Bros are fighting back against the green scum on the top of our society. We have to wish Charles well and everyone who suppots him.


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    The Koch brothers may be the reason for the outrage over the Supreme Court ruling lifting the limits on much of campaign financing. Leftists fear money from the right will pay for enough political advertising that people may see through the mist and discover the duplicity and deceit found in our current government. If that doesn’t work, things generally deteriorate to where those who advocated to be taken care of are bitten by those who “care” for them, at which point things get ugly or people just give up. On the other hand, I do wonder about those who claim to be in favor of less government involvement but who will not donate to a political candidate unless they get a tax break, as seems to be the case with the Tea Party/IRS mess. People make less and less sense when you start looking at politics.


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    Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

    If the Koch brothers are looking for freedom fighting opportunities, they could buy Jo some chocoloate. Or maybe create an early retirement home for leftist professors of useless studies.


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    Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

    (continuation of previous).

    Even better: they could buy a bunch of gift certificates for Mark Steyn’s online store. If you value freedom, the ROI of keeping Steyn in the fight is enormous.


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    Jim

    Unfortunately, even the press didn’t get the Koch bros right. This is from a entertainment newspaper for the lightweights of freedom. They do not protect your freedoms by giving money to those who enslave people. They do not give monies to prevent the pollutions of the earth by their companies. Check the piles of sand around Chicago, Detroit, and the other places they are storing their oil sands in the open. Stuff that won’t flow thru pipelines, without the generous use of detergents, which are harmful to the local ecosystems. “will kill all the wildlife ” in that area. And they want to put that stuff thru park lands, hunting areas, with no controls, and cutoff stations per state not local area, where the spill will be like a costal spill rather then just one lake.
    These are birchers who want no control over them, but you as a small business will have massive restrictions, because you cannot prime the pump the way they can. They just got a court ruling for themselfs, that said they can spend as much money as they want on all elections, for their favorite pocket boy, limiting the say by all others. And thats freedom to them, their dollar counts more then my vote, or voice. So how do I get to be heard, or have the freedom I want? Birchers say put up the dollar to their favorites pocket and i may get heard, if it follows their party line. That freedom for all ain’t it.


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    • #

      Jim–tom0mason says Al Gore is worth 2.2 billion. Then there’s Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Soros, Duke Energy. Lots of money out there. Shouldn’t be a problem for the left to match the spending of the right (as in enviros have plenty of money to spend). So are you upset with Gore, Anscheutz, and Duke Energy for investing in oil? Don’t care that the same “evil, dirty” money the Koch brothers have funds billions in enviro causes? Or is it just dirty money when it finances that which you do not like? Duke Energy was fined for slicing and dicing eagles with it’s “ecofriendly” turbines. You know, the ones made mostly overseas because it’s cheaper than here. Hate Duke too? Wait, they gave millions to the Democrats and financed the Democrat Convention in Denver in 2012 (or more correctly, their shareholders did). Now, is Duke evil for having oil money, nuclear plants and so forth or angels for the turbines (never mind the dead birds–who needs eagles anyway?) and the contributions to the Democrats?

      Your vote counts just as much as anyone else’s. The money is spent to convince people who to vote for. Who’s fault is it that Americans vote based on how many ads they saw for Bob the Magnificent for Senator ads? If Americans are too lazy to learn about issues and vote accordingly, then the government is for sale to the highest spender. That’s not the fault of oil companies–it’s lazy stupid people.


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        Roy Hogue

        Oh come on now, Sheri. Surely there’s something in the Koch operation not to like… …at least a little bit not likable don’t you think?

        Well, I think maybe the problem with chronic complainers is that they don’t understand that to make an omelet you need to break an egg or two. To have bacon and eggs you need to kill a pig. Even to have a nice fresh politically correct garden salad you need to eat the greens while they’re still alive. Just imagine that for a moment! Eating your food while it’s still alive. Just horrible!

        And if you want to keep warm in the freezing weather you need to burn something, dam a river or split some atoms. Those are the only ways you can generate heat. Or maybe shivering can warm you up enough to get through the winter. Or you might make it by killing some animal for its fur and make a coat and try to avoid freezing that way.

        Shall I go on or have you complainers seen the light by now? There’s a cost to everything and if you want to complain about it don’t expect to participate in the benefit of what you’re complaining about.


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        markx

        Al Gore is worth 2.2 billion. Then there’s Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Soros, Duke Energy.

        Sheri,

        A capitalist wearing a socialist mask is still a capitalist.

        It just so happens the ultra rich operate by a different set of rules than those of the average man.

        Don’t think for a moment the Charles Koch is fighting this fight for the good of mankind. He is may strongly believe in it, but that is because the system has always benefited Charles Koch.

        His type of capitalism is great … for people in his position. Sure, you may make it up there too, but the odds are against you. (by about 200 million to one I’d guess).

        I am no socialist, but I can sure as hell see that someone promoting the strengthening of a system which has hugely benefited them may be consciously or unconsciously motivated ignore the failings of such a system.

        Where will it lead us? To the world being run by fewer and larger and larger corporations. Good luck with that!

        There are now some 150 multi-national companies, which account for nearly half the total capitalisation of all firms. Three quarters of these belong to the financial sector. http://rwer.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/rwer-issue-64/

        The Four Companies That Control the 147 Companies That Own Everything.
        http://www.forbes.com/sites/brendancoffey/2011/10/26/the-four-companies-that-control-the-147-companies-that-own-everything/


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          So you prefer the alternative where a bunch of guys who took money from those super corporations, kept a slice (a large one) for themselves and then hand it out to the worker bees in a fashion they determine to be equitable? Like it or not, the rich are the ones who give us innovations, jobs, and tax money. They support a huge portion of the country and pay the majority of taxes. Without them, we’d all be equally poor and government handouts would be seriously cut. Most people who complain about the rich seem angry that they didn’t luck out and have rich parents and don’t have to work. Actually, most millionaires did not have rich parents–most earned the money. Even Bill Gates earned his billions–sure, he creamed the computer market, but he did earn it.

          Let me ask you what I always ask people–If you played the lottery and won $100 million dollars, would you write the government a check for all but $500,000 because you didn’t earn the money and having it makes you lucky–probably more lucky than the Koch brothers. Somehow people generally have no problem with lotteries where a person does NOTHING to earn the money, but complain about rich people who did or did not work. Should we shut down lotteries and gambling, since that system is unfair as can be?


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            markx

            “…So you prefer the alternative where a bunch of guys who took money from those super corporations, kept a slice (a large one) for themselves and then hand it out to the worker bees …”

            Nope, but there may be alternatives other than these two.

            I am not entirely happy about where we are headed:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM


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              Roy Hogue

              I am not entirely happy about where we are headed:

              So what is your solution? What will you do to undo what you don’t like and replace it with something you like better?

              And I’m serious with this question. I want to see your answer.


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                markx

                No Roy. I think we need to look hard at the system we now have, and see if it is entirely what we expected and wanted.

                Don’t always take the word of the preacher man, sometimes he is in the church not for the good of mankind, but because he sees an easy life (not to mention the vulnerable devotees and choir boys).

                And whether he truly believes what he preaches or not, the problem is the devotees will believe his every word, and want to stifle debate.


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                Problem is Markx, you’re listening mindlessly to a preacher, too. You just fail to see that.


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                Roy Hogue

                markx,

                See my combined reply below.


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                markx

                Sheri said: “you’re listening mindlessly to a preacher, too. You just fail to see that…”

                Sheri, what you say there is a very telling point. ALL of us have our blind spots, and the very nature of preachers IS that people believe what they say, without thinking about it.

                I have no doubt that amongst all the beliefs and concepts I hold, some are not thought through. And I always appreciate people pointing out my flawed concepts and thinking. I actually get some sort of perverse pleasure out of discovering I had a false concept lodged in there and get great pleasure out of a completely new discovery or bit of knowledge.


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                Markx: You do have more insight than some of your postings would indicate. Most people never realize they are biased in some ways and generally believe everyone else is (a common theme amoung the global warming crowd–everyone who does not believe is a conspiricist, etc.). I note, too, that your conversations are becoming more tempered. Perhaps we can have a discussion.


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                markx

                Gee Sheri, where was I ‘less tempered’ in my conversations?


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          Roy Hogue

          markx,

          I wonder how many job exist today because the Koch enterprises exist. Any Idea? Have you even any idea how many jobs exist because of the money Al Gore has? In both cases the money is not buried in a tin can in the back yard. It’s put to work by investing it some way or another and some of it is spent. Both of those things are opportunities for someone else to take advantage of.

          And there’s this to consider: The Kochs put a lot of their money at risk every time they invest, buy a company, whatever they do. And I put my money at risk in the same way every time my broker makes a trade for me, in fact every day my money is in the market it’s at risk. Both they and I could lose out big time on any move we make. What are you risking to improve your lot in life?

          Yes, life really isn’t fair. So some end up with more of the marbles. But it still works much better for everyone if we can get past jealousy and start working to promote our own benefit. And jealousy is what’s behind this class warfare nonsense that sees the successful as having stolen everyone else’s share, as being evil because, just like you and me, they want to protect and grow what they have.

          The strangest thing of all is that for all the complainers who post here or get any kind of a forum from which to speak, I’ve seen exactly no solutions offered except to tear down the successful by taxing them more and give the money to those who haven’t earned it. Surely at least one of you has more imagination than that.

          You complainers have no idea how an economy works or how money circulates within it. I really wish you’d get yourselves educated and stay silent until you do.


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            Mark D.

            I really wish you’d get yourselves educated and stay silent until you do.

            Well said Roy, I’d add: a real world education not just from a uni or economics ala-Keynes.


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            markx

            “… how many job exist today because the Koch enterprises exist. Any Idea? …”

            Well, the article says that he employs 60,000. That of course does not take into account the supporting businesses/suppliers.

            The question is: Is this “big business” structure the only way these jobs would be created? Would those product, that production NOT exist if he had not convinced the financiers that HE should best meet that demand?

            You may note I have not advocated more tax for anyone. My main issue is far mor esweeping antitrust laws, and to somehow limit the cases of the big getting bigger and holding virtual monopolies.

            But I also differ from much thinking in here with the idea that governments can’t and shouldn’t run anything: You can look at the situation in Singapore as an example of what works, and why it is sometimes desirable. Note that state owned power generation and distribution assets in Australia were sold off because they needed the money now and to hell with the fact we just got rid of a long-term asset it would be more efficient… and they were bought by Singapore government owned companies.

            Is the current system of the big getting bigger and absorbing companies ideal? All pretty much driven by share market expectations (so there, looks like it is your fault)) and CEO bonuses. (ya gotta get that growth on paper, and ya gotta find it somewhere: can’t increase margins or sales? Acquisitions!).


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              Roy Hogue

              markx,

              First, thank you for replying. Many complainers wouldn’t do that. So that brings you up considerably in my view.

              Second, I’m more than ever confused about what your real complaint is. I will grant you this point however — we do need to take our antitrust laws more seriously. But you appear to be complaining simply because there are rich who get richer and poor who get poorer. I hate to break this to you but this is the natural outcome of personal and economic freedom. But it’s also a symptom of government programs that try to throw money at poverty in order to cure it. It is also the natural outcome of big government generally and government corruption. It’s even to some extent because of the fast pace of technological progress with which some have been able to keep up but others have not. Then you can add our public education system, where for some inexplicable reason it became more important to teach self esteem instead of personal responsibility and accomplishment (one of the least of education’s problems). It’s also a symptom of lowering moral and ethical standards — something the human race has never been very goo at, by the way. And we have all these things overflowing in abundance right now, April 5, 2014.

              Do not read this to mean I necessarily like the way things are going. Read it instead that I understand why we have such a terrible problem when it could be much smaller.

              I have lived through Camelot, the War on Poverty, the Great Society, the Shining City on a Hill, Compassionate Conservatism and every other BS buzzword since I graduated from high school and started working. None of it has anything to show for it today. Obama has seized on income inequality to distract everyone from his many scandals but he won’t solve the problem either — I’ll make you an ironclad guarantee of that.

              So what to do? I don’t know. And I don’t think you do either. The future depends so much on how soon — and how many — people wake up and realize the problem lies within themselves, that they need to start fighting for their place in this world the only way anyone has ever carved out a place in this world — study, hard work and suffering through getting where you want to be. In short, blood, sweat and tears. I still hope that will happen but the prospect looks pretty dim at the moment.

              And lest you think there’s another way than blood, sweat and tears — that’s the only way I got anywhere. And I know the managers and business owners I’ve worked for over the years and that same story belongs to every last one of them. And every last one was as interested as the Koch brothers are in protecting their place in life and improving it too. If you can’t or won’t do it for yourself you won’t get what you want. There’s a lot of help along the way if you’re doing things right. But no one will ever give you anything worthwhile.

              The door to success is still open to those who will set their goal, prepare themselves for their opportunity when it comes and then go looking for that opportunity.


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              Roy Hogue

              About government owned infrastructure:

              The City of Los Angeles operates a Department of Water and Power affectionately known as the DWP. Both water and electricity are entirely a city monopoly. But far from being efficient and cheaper than the privately owned utilities, both water and electricity are much more expensive in Los Angeles than in surrounding cities.

              I wonder why that is.

              I get my electricity from Southern California Edison which is a well run company as far as I can tell and my rates are lower than Los Angeles. But the interfering hand of government is very evident in their pricing structure too. The state imposes this and that requirement, including a portfolio containing a certain percentage of “renewable energy”, a long list of surcharges and taxes and the bill reads like a nightmare. California’s “deregulation” of electricity was an abomination, a piece of crap I would laugh at if it wasn’t killing me at the meter every day. And now climate change… …which isn’t even happening… … …

              Do you know what the solution to this is? Get rid of the state and federal regulatory monster riding on everyone’s back and put the utilities in real competition with each other. And yes it would easily be possible for me to have a choice of suppliers if the obstructions were taken away.

              Oh, one more thing. Let them build the additional capacity we need to keep the grid from collapsing on hot summer days unless large blocks of homes are shut down for several hours to relieve the shortage. Politicians in Sacramento promised that for years while delivering ever higher bills instead. Now they want me to put expensive solar panels on my roof, largely at my expense. And as soon as the tax rebates end (and they will end) it will be fully at my expense. I won’t go there.


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                Roy Hogue

                PS:

                California runs the CPUC, California Public Utilities Commission, to regulate utilities, precisely because the utilities are monopolies. Now you might think that such a body would be working for the end consumer. But a quick look at how they operate will tell you otherwise. And they aren’t in the utility’s pocket either as far as I can tell. They have been co opted by the same nonsense two-left-arm liberal nonsense that now has a hold of everything else.

                The CPUC is responsible for imposing a lot of the charges on my bill for the benefit of protected classes like the poor. All of which simply encourages behavior contrary to a well functioning and healthy society. So regulation doesn’t hack it either.

                Make them compete with each other honestly and the market will sort out what works. And no matter the fallout from that, it will be better than what the regulators give us.


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                markx

                Hi Roy,

                I appreciate the long reply. The topic is worth debating.

                …My reply to you ended up a few comments below: Sorry!


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              Janet Thompson

              Markx and Roy Hogue, forgive me for jumping into your very good conversation here. But I’m fascinated and feel compelled to comment.

              I beleive that most of the so-called western world is operating within a fascist system of centralized control. (Apologies to Jonah Goldberg for using the undefined term, fascism! :-) This has led people to criticize “big business” without qualifying that criticism. Big businesses, such as the ones fairly pointed out by markx, can only thrive within a system of big government. This is not capitalism at all (unless you define capitalism in another way…apologies to G.K. Chesterton this time!…than I do).

              The effect of increasing regulatory oversight and regulations is an additional tipping of advantage in favour of the big guys. They are the only ones who can afford to pay to play the game.

              We cannot have additional regulation and oversight without additional taxation. Once you decide that government, rather than the marketplace, must deal with things, government goons must force more money from honest producers in the form of taxation. Personally, I’d rather let my customers make the call.

              Cheers,
              Janet


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                markx

                Janet, you make some telling point:

                In truth this debate has not been very well defined by anyone, and probably especially so by me.

                I agree the system is tilted in favour of big business, and somewhat perversely, they ARE as you say, favoured by many types of regulations (health, safety, complex taxes etc) as the structures to manage that are in place and to some extent translate between businesses.

                By less regulation big business usually means less financial regulation, less regulation regarding how they treat and support their workforce, and cessation or limiting of anti-trust laws. They are also the main drivers behind Free Trade Agreements, which generally don’t benefit countries or their people as much as they benefit the big businesses in each country, keen as they are to expand their markets.

                All of that puts us on a course of big business getting bigger. And the financial side is already hugely in their favour.

                To give credit to Charles Koch, he has spoken out against the abomination that is corn ethanol, and counters some other regulations which may favour his operations. But part of the motivation behind that is the idea that the market will sort it all out.

                And, it won’t. The only logical endpoint to the current system, and proposed ‘less regulated’ systems is that fewer and fewer big business will end up owning more and more. It is the logical endpoint of the system, and that we have anti-trust laws is an indication of that fact.

                Sure, it is the ideal that customers will vote with their feet … but eventually they find there is no choice. (Would I keep paying Microsoft if it were at all practical? No.)


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                Markx: You don’t have to pay Microsoft–there’s Apple.


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                Roy Hogue

                Janet,

                It’s no imposition at all to hear from you. No apology is needed.

                Knowing what you and your family went through at the hands of government regulation gone amok, I know that you know whereof you speak. I’d rather let my customers — and anyone’s customers — make the call and take whatever that leads to instead of someone calling the shots for me. And for the same reasons you would.

                I hope you and yours are now doing well. But I suspect that you still find it a battle to stay solvent and prosper. Good luck in all that you’re doing, whatever it may be.


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          PhilJourdan

          Don’t think for a moment the Charles Koch is fighting this fight for the good of mankind. He is may strongly believe in it, but that is because the system has always benefited Charles Koch.

          And thus the short sighted live and never advance.

          Of course he is going to benefit! But just as well, I am going to benefit from his beliefs and actions as well. I do not have $30 billion, but as long as his goals and mine are in sync, I have access to his resources!

          I am not looking at Charles Koch for anything. I am agreeing with him, and working WITH him. He is not using me, and I am not using him.

          If you are looking for a sugar daddy, become a Playboy model (plastic surgery works wonders) and grab one. Anna Nicole Smith did that. Made the old goat happy. I cannot say it made her very happy.


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          Mark D.

          MarkX says:

          Don’t think for a moment the Charles Koch is fighting this fight for the good of mankind.

          Really? What evidence do you have for this slander? What do you know of the man besides his wealth? Does a philanthropist do philanthropy not “for the good of mankind”? Koch gives millions away to better others lives, yet you despise and hate his earned wealth.

          You are a crusted on Leftist that cannot understand beyond the propaganda you’ve been indoctrinated with.


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            markx

            Ha ha, “Slander!” … don’t you mean, “Blasphemy”?

            Sorry, I did not realize that to some he is beyond criticism.

            Look, all jokes aside, I am sure he is a marvelous person, and may quite possibly genuinely believe in his philosophy (philosophies perhaps will always seem more correct if the concept will provide personal benefits).. but that does not necessarily mean he is correct, or that we cannot debate the idea and note the possible shortcomings.

            I may be crusted, but don’t think I am a leftist. The world is no quite as binary as you think. I am just a little further down the scale from you. I was in my younger days very right wing, but have drifted a little following a few decades in international business.


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              Mark D.

              markx, Koch is not beyond criticism and I didn’t say so. I’d be more than happy to criticize him if I find disagreement. So far, I agree with him.

              But you made an unequivocal and unsubstantiated statement that Koch is essentially in it only for the wealth and not at all concerned for mankind. A twisted view that I’ll wager you hold of all wealthy people. Much easier to demonize a group when you ignore details and evidence of their individual concern for humanity. Koch is no god, he’s someone I’d invite over for dinner and probably thoroughly enjoy the evening. Business success and ultimate gains in wealth are but one measure of a person.

              I agree with some of what you’ve said about massive wealth held by very few but I disagree rather vigorously about the measurement and concern over wealth “disparity”. To the extent that wealth exerts control over less wealthy I’m as concerned as you are. Maybe more. Government is manipulated by wealth and the effects of that must be carefully removed when found. Evidence of that would be the success in eliminating monopolies. You’ve said the system needs tweaking, OK fine but do you mean tweaking to eliminate wealth? Or some forced leveling of “wealth disparity”? I don’t think you could do it AND I think it wouldn’t work even if you did so. Society, nay, humanity seems to need its strata from poor to rich. As others have said, some people are voluntarily “poor” so be it. Some choose to be artists and live a Bohemian life again, the freedom to do whatever “floats your boat” is what I’m concerned with. Evidence of what I’ll call wealth aversion in a huge swath of society is found by observing what happen to people that win huge lotteries. Everybody thinks they WANT to be rich but very often when they suddenly get it, they cannot handle it. I assume being extremely wealthy is a hazard and burden of its own but I do not think government or democratic process should be permitted to force wealth leveling.

              Regulate banks and stock markets? ABSOLUTELY! Bail out business “to big to fail”? NEVER! Much like evolution, business failure is a necessary part of improving the ones that survive.

              I understand that things political aren’t “binary” and don’t mind reasonable discussion with Leftists but I’ve not had many. If you can discuss Lefty principles with thought and reason you’re not a Lefty in fact you are on the road to recovery :)

              I’m curious about “international business” especially that which converts Right to Left?


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                markx

                Hi Roy,

                I appreciate the long reply. The topic is worth debating.

                I agree with you that in general, almost everywhere, the government record of running things is abysmal. But it does not have to be: Structure these departments as a corporation, give them very precise missions (and that would have things other than increasing shareholder returns) set up boards and sackable management structure etc …. it works … look at Singapore Airlines … brilliantly run, successful and it was fully owned by Temasak Holdings, a Singapore Sovereign Wealth fund. I have dealt directly with other Singapore companies directly under Temasak holdings ownership, and they too are well run. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore_Airlines

                Another point: Singapore supposedly does not have a welfare system (it does, of sorts, at a ‘grass roots’ level) but they do have (again, government owned) structures in place that regulate who can own a food stall in basic food courts, not allowing big business to get involved, and making sure rental structures for these stalls are low: Result: employment and business for the poor, and more importantly, very cheap food for the poor … and anyone else who wants it … for one of the most expensive cities in the world.

                Another observation: In Indonesia, I pay about 100 times more to get electricity connected to my house, and then ongoing about 100 times more for my usage, than does the poor little guy in the shanty. Government run supplier .. but the welfare to supply an essential need comes from ME and others like me and goes to the small guy, …and the clever part is we don’t even notice it. So food gets kept cold, cooked, kids can read and study, society advances.

                You can’t do THAT with privately owned businesses running in a freely competitive market.

                In this article above Charles Koch does not articulate what the components of his ‘freedom’ are, but they generally involve deregulating all markets, including financial. Taken too far it is in my opinion a recipe for disaster.

                As I state elsewhere in here, the whole wonderful system we now have ONLY operates due to myriad laws and regulations.

                Take that away and you’ve got Ghenghis Khan economics; the biggest guy with the biggest army ends up holding everything.


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                markx

                Hi Mark D,

                Sorry the comment above to Roy got misplaced.

                In reply to you, I’d say I am not really at all left wing, I am simply fearful of the extremes of right wing thinking.

                I DON’T believe the mantra that ‘the market will regulate itself’ … you need some very clear aims and a helluva lot of rules and regulations to make it work. But it is just too easy for some influential person to stand up there and preach simple catchphrases at us; and it is human nature to soak those up and believe in them. (otherwise we would not have religions, right?.)

                My background? Mainly intensive agriculture, a stint working for a couple of multinational pharmaceutical companies, with a fair bit of construction and fabrication work thrown in. Surprisingly with that mix only 2 deliberate job changes in the last 20 years, as most were due to buy ins, takeovers and mergers.

                Coming from a farming background of course I was an extreme right winger! :-)

                But it is was perhaps the “international” bit that was more important than the “business” bit…. just seeing different ways of doing things, both right and wrong, and realizing how pedantic and narrow some of my viewpoints were.


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                PhilJourdan

                I agree with you that in general, almost everywhere, the government record of running things is abysmal. But it does not have to be: Structure these departments as a corporation, give them very precise missions

                And you think they have never thought of this themselves? Again, the problem with government is not ideas. There are millions of them that grow government every day. And there are an equal number of examples of failure. Why? The idea man does not do all the work. Nor is there an incentive to get it right. There is NO incentive for the people doing the work to make it work. They get paid regardless.

                Government has had thousands of years to get it right. And have yet to even come close. They never will. There is no reason for those doing the work to see it succeed. And that is the difference between a company (which goes out of business if they get it wrong) and government.


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        markx

        Here is another viewpoint – and quite funny (extract below for those averse at clicking the link)

        The Libertarian Police Department.

        http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/shouts/2014/03/libertarian-police-department.html?utm_source=tny&utm_campaign=generalsocial&utm_medium=facebook&mbid=social_facebook

        …………… “What kind of monster would do something like that? Bitcoins are the ultimate currency: virtual, anonymous, stateless. They represent true economic freedom, not subject to arbitrary manipulation by any government. Do we have any leads?”

        “Not yet. But mark my words: we’re going to figure out who did this and we’re going to take them down… provided someone pays us a fair market rate to do so.”

        “Easy, chief,” I said, “Any rate the market offers is, by definition, fair.”

        He laughed. “That’s why you’re the best I got, Lisowski. Now you get out there and find those bitcoins.”

        “Don’t worry,” I said. “I’m on it.”

        I put a quarter in the siren. Ten minutes later, I was on the scene. It was a normal office building, strangled on all sides by public sidewalks. I hopped over them and went inside.

        “Home Depot™ presents The Police!®” I said, flashing my badge and my gun and a small picture of Ron Paul. “Nobody move unless you want to!” They didn’t.

        “Now, which one of you punks is going to pay me to investigate this crime?” No one spoke up.

        “Come on,” I said. “Don’t you all understand that the protection of private property is the foundation of all personal liberty?” …………………………..


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        tom0mason

        I loath the hypocrisy of Gore, the Koch brothers are what they say.


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        tom0mason

        Gore, Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Soros, Duke Energy are just so wonderful eh, Sheri? They’ve done much for you?

        The Koch brothers are what they say they are.


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          Didn’t say any of them were wonderful. In fact, I despise Bill Gates for messing up the computer market and then trying to make amends by helping people in Africa to appease his conscience. (Why do millionaires help Africa? Afraid of helping those who actually supported them and made them millionaires? Goes for Angelina and Oprah, too.)
          Also, don’t like Duke energy for lapping up millions in “clean energy” subsidies while pillaging the landscapes with worthless bird-killing, million-dollar “using weather for generating energy” turbines. I don’t like them for helping the Democrats lie about not taking campaign donations from corporations by “loaning” the money to the DNC and then writing off the loan AFTER the election.
          Don’t know that much about Soros.
          Gore–millions of reasons to dislike him. Same for Nanny Bloomberg.
          I believe most million/biilionaires start charities to massage their conciences and trick stupid people into thinking they care so being rich is okay. As long as they hand out tiny tidbits of stuff to people, people are fat and complacent about any bad behaviour on the part of the charities or their “owners”. I have no respect for any of the charities and do not donate to them.

          Now, what were saying about how I thought they were wonderful? I think they are necessary. Economically speaking, they built businesses that employ millions and companies that provide goods (except Al Gore–he just took money and produced nothing but lies and more lies.)


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            markx

            Well, we do perhaps have some common ground in thinking the growth of giants is not a good thing, although I have no idea why you decide to despise these people.

            They are very legitimately working within the system you espouse.

            And you think they will ‘trick people into thinking they care about charity’, but you think there is no chance that their pronouncements on ‘freedom’ are not similarly self serving/deceptive?

            Why do you think they are necessary? What if the system were set up to encourage and finance large numbers of smaller businesses? Why must bigger be better?


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              PhilJourdan

              In the early days of the Auto Industry, there were thousands of car companies. Some made the best cars in the world by hand!

              And they are gone.

              Why do you think that happened? GM and Ford were not created out of dust to be mega billion dollar companies.


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              markx

              In the early days of the Auto Industry, there were thousands of car companies. Some made the best cars in the world by hand!

              And they are gone.

              My very point.

              You think this is a GOOD thing?


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              PhilJourdan

              My very point.

              You think this is a GOOD thing?

              Is a shark eating a seal a good thing? is a dog chasing a cat a good thing?

              Why it happened is an interesting exercise in basic economics. If you want to change the morality of the world and everyone in it, go for it Don Quixote.

              I point out that it happened. And it was not because of government. Government has now stepped in and made sure there will be no more Deloreans. But they did not consolidate the car industry from hundreds to a handful. We did that.

              And since you abhor homework, I will tell you how we did it.

              Greed. We are such evil animals, that we put self preservation and self fulfillment above altruistic ideals. We decided we liked having cars for everyone, not just the rich. We decided we liked being able to afford to get around in reliable transportation that did not poop on the streets. So we bought the cheap well made cars. Not the expensive (albeit some well made) hand crafted ones (although a couple of those companies still exist – and if you have a million dollars you can get one of those cars).

              That stopped 6 years ago when the government decided you were too stupid to decide what car you wanted. So it bought a car company and came out with the greatest thing since the Edsel – the Volt. Kind of like Commissar Obama’s version of the Trabant.


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                markx

                …a shark eating a seal…”

                That sorta sums it up right there, eh?

                This is what you want?


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                PhilJourdan

                This is what you want?

                Do you always get what you want? You seem to live in a fairy tale where if you want it bad enough, you get your wish.

                I live in reality. I know it is not perfect. But I also know that every attempt to change it has met with utter failure and ruin. Why? The system, when allowed to, works because of the self interest of all the people. Any system YOU devise will not be what others want. And any system THEY devise will not be what you want. So how is the dilemma resolved? You or they force your view on others.

                Stalin did that. Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler, Castro, Chavez, Mugabe. The list is long. And the failures equally as long.

                The only other solution is to change the nature of Man. If you change his nature, without enslaving him, you can universally change the system. Good luck with that one. We see the failures from that being the same as the failures above.


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        Backslider

        If Americans are too lazy to learn about issues and vote accordingly, then the government is for sale to the highest spender.

        And, no matter how much you all spout to the contrary, that is exactly what you have. So much for “land of the free”.


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          I would agree completely. At this point, America appears to be full of people who prefer YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to politics. I did not say we don’t have the government we deserve. I just figure we might want to do something about it, unless it’s so far gone we can’t. Then it just has to play out. The time to stop this was before people got so apathetic.


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    Here’s a chronology of Soviet super spy Armand Hammer and his very close financial ties to the Gore family. Apparently Al Jr. gets very touchy when Hammer is mentioned.
    http://www.rotten.com/library/bio/business/armand-hammer/


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    Ross

    I read this and think it is great that Charles Koch is not prepared to take all the rubbish thrown at him by the alarmists, countering with a well written, very clear description of his beliefs.Then I flick over to WUWT and see what the Vice Chancellor of the UWA is up to

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/03/a-stunning-revelation-from-a-uwa-vice-chancellor-paul-johnson-over-access-to-lewandowsky-poll-data/#more-106903

    Could it be any worse for the UWA ??


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    sophocles

    I haven’t seen him campaigning against the lousy, economically damaging, poverty creating and inflationary tax systems most modern governments use. The loss of our freedoms are the direct result of the enforcement and protection of these systems, which enable the few like him to create and hang on to their wealth.

    No, I am not a Socialist. But if he wants true freedom and individual dignity then he would do well to consider the corruption of economics (pdf) which created these tax systems.


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    Roy Hogue

    This paragraph says it all. If I’m incapable of running my life then so are the governing class idiots incapable of running theirs. And that tells us all how much chance they have of running my life by remote control. But Koch has his work cut out for him. Big government will not respect anyone unless forced to do it. Neither will it shrink without force of some kind.

    A truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value. In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so. The same should be true of any government that disrespects its citizens. The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.


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    Bruce

    That this post does not get 10 out of 10 speaks to the problem Australia/Europe has.

    The left/academics/political establishment no longer believe in freedom of speech.

    America may come to the rescue, again.


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      handjive

      In contrast …

      Emeritus Professor and former NASA scientist Les Woodcock:

      Q. But surely most of the world’s leaders, scientific community and people in general can’t be wrong can they?

      Prof Woodcock hits back: “This is not the way science works.
      If you tell me that you have a theory there is a teapot in orbit between the earth and the moon, its not up to me to prove it does not exist, its up to you to provide the reproducible scientific evidence for your theory.

      “Such evidence for the man-made climate change theory has not been forthcoming.”

      “If you talk to real scientists who have no political interest, they will tell you there is nothing in global warming. It’s an industry which creates vast amounts of money for some people.

      “Even the term ‘global warming’ does not mean anything unless you give it a time scale. The temperature of the earth has been going up and down for millions of years, if there are extremes, it’s nothing to do with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it’s not permanent and it’s not caused by us. Global warming is nonsense.”

      “The term ‘climate change’ is meaningless. The Earth’s climate has been changing since time immemorial, that is since the Earth was formed 1,000 million years ago.”
      . . .


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    Backslider

    America may come to the rescue, again.

    You forgot the /sarc tag….


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      Bruce

      With all their faults the Americans are the only ones who believe in freedom. Other countries such as Australia only give lip service to the notion.

      See Sullivan Vs The New York Times: http://billofrightsinstitute.org/resources/educator-resources/lessons-plans/landmark-cases-and-the-constitution/new-york-times-v-sullivan-1964/

      Sorry to confound your prejudices with facts.


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        Backslider

        Sorry to confound your prejudices with facts.

        Oh, I’m sorry to upset your bigotry with humour.

        “Americans are the only ones who believe in spout freedom.” There, fixed it for you…. don’t forget your six shooter.


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          PhilJourdan

          Get with the times. We use Glocks now. And they still give us a LOT of freedom.


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            Mark D.

            Not even half empty at six shots :)

            I’ve been a Ruger fan for years but had some quality Glock time last weekend. Maybe I need one.


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            Backslider

            We use Glocks now. And they still give us a LOT of freedom.

            In what way do they give you a lot of freedom? Explain.


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            PhilJourdan

            In what way do they give you a lot of freedom? Explain.

            Given your nasty attitude towards Sheri, I will gladly explain if you ask me nicely.


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              Backslider

              Please explain.


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                Backslider

                There is no correlation between gun ownership and the crime rate in that city. Try the fact that it’s wealthy.

                Nor does it show that it’s residents all walk around packing heat.


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                PhilJourdan

                You asked me to explain, then you do not even read my link. Awe, more’s the pity. I direct you to the following, from the link:

                Kennesaw Georgia – where gun ownership is mandatory. It’s not the “Wild West” like some people predicted when it passed a mandatory gun ownership law.

                (I included the second line just for you even though it has nothing to do with proving you wrong)

                Also note, I never claimed “packing” all the time. We were talking gun OWNERSHIP. But then I momentarily forgot about your disability when it comes to reading.

                And as far as correlation, do you always plot a line with one point? That would be magic. It is one city, but fortunately, the link talks about TWO cities. Kennesaw Georgia and… (wait for it)…

                In a 25-year period, New York City has had more than 15,000 murders – 2245 in 1990 alone – while Kennesaw, Georgia, had 1.


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                PhilJourdan

                Rats! The formatting messed up. Sorry backslider. I guess that will make it impossible for you to read.


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                Backslider

                I quite like the formatting.

                I do not believe that a comparison between the two cities is legitimate. Kennesaw Georgia with a population of a little over 30,000 and New York City with over 8 million.

                Kennesaw Georgia is a wealthy area, so naturally has a low crime rate, guns or no guns. New York city has everything, from rich to poor, gangs etc.

                You would do well to join the warmist crew with the way you present “facts”.


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                PhilJourdan

                I do not believe that a comparison between the two cities is legitimate. Kennesaw Georgia with a population of a little over 30,000 and New York City with over 8 million.

                @Backslider – you are welcome to your opinion. But you are not welcome to say there is NOT a comparison.

                As far as my presentation, I merely presented the facts. I let them speak for themselves. We have many more cities to compare, that was just the easiest to pull up at a moments notice. Unlike warmists, I do not change the facts before presenting them.

                The comparison, if you do the math, is usually expressed in deaths per 100,000 people annually. Since the figures in the article list only one year for NYC, and a period of several years for Kennesaw, that puts NYC a lot higher.

                As for other factors, you are of course correct. But then we are not arguing those other factors. I did not define the parameters of the debate, you did.


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        James Bradley

        Sadly Bruce is correct. With all their faults, as all cultures have, at least the Americans are prepared to back-up if, when, and where needed, and they are definitely prepared to fight for their freedom against their own government – that’s what the right to bare arms is all about. We gave our rights up years ago and since then the number and type of weapons available in Australia has escalated with all those weapons in the hands of criminals.


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    Jim Stewart

    My morning has brightened from reading this post,
    Thanks Jo.
    I learn something new everytime I check
    into your site, so thanks some more for helping me grow.


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    Ralph Woods

    Not quite ready to praise the super-rich monopoly capitalist class. The Koch bros’ inherited their wealth from their dad, Fred. Not saying they don’t have brains, but when you are worth about $30 Billion and change, it ain’t hard make more money (it takes money to make money). They even have enough money to pay for somebody to write their crap and get it in the paper.

    And doing the old, “Al Gore is really a much more evil dude” angle is just stupid. So what? These folks live in a different world than you and me. Trying to side with one or the other, pretending you are on their team, is delusional. They ain’t your buddy and they don’t give a crap about anything but gett’n their own – George Soros too.

    It’s great he has 60,000 employees. How else would he keep his money making empire going? With his own sweat and blood?


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      It’s great he has 60,000 employees who earn money, buy houses, buy cars, buy food, pay taxes, support charities, etc. Without it, there’s no economy. That’s how the government gets money–they tax those 60,000 employees. The fact that you are obviously envious of people whose parents worked hard and handed their money down to their children does not in any way alter the fact that this is how money is generated. Sure, they could fire all 60,000 people, take their money, move somewhere with low taxes and never have another care in the world. So why don’t they? Maybe because they understand how money and business works?

      So your recommendation is they fire everyone, take their money and leave? Sounds like that to me.


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        markx

        An interesting and popular viewpoint Sheri.

        But, I must ask, Why does that money have to come from one individual, or a giant corporation?
        Why not from a whole stack of small and medium businesses? Surely that would work just as well?

        No need to just sit there!… I already know the answer!

        Because Charles and his ilk have two three four huge advantages:

        1. The ability to access almost limitless, cheap finance (much cheaper than you or I can get, and the banks come running after them to give them money).

        I have some experiences working within large organizations, and they know very well that the chance of getting a big loan (US$50 million plus) is much greater than seeking a ‘small’ loan (say US$10 million)… because the whole system is set up that way; for the same amount of work the banks get gigantic multimillion dollar fees, the individual bankers are bonused directly on the value of the deal. AND …. the company may at the time be way in the red, liabilities far exceeding assets, scratching for dollars to pay salaries (I have lived it), when along comes the next loan, and the gravy train heads off again. Roll enough dice under those circumstances, and eventually you get some big winners and look like a genius.

        2. Direct access to government. Bought by cash (likely borrowed!). Favorable laws are created.

        3. Limitless ability to litigate. Bought by cash (likely borrowed!).

        4. The general public (particularly in the US) are now almost completely indoctrinated to believe that THIS is the only way to operate a capitalist system. ie “Free capitalism”, unfettered by laws and government … ignoring the fact that there are a myriad of laws which are necessary to allow the system to operate, starting with property laws and dictates regarding currencies and banking.

        Bottom line: Capitalism is a wonderful thing, but be very careful about whose brand of it you are supporting.

        Lest you become the poor ‘average man’ running after the uber-capitalist to warn him he accidentally left a nickle in your pocket.


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          Mark D.

          Yes MarkX you’d rather he just take the easy route and put his family wealth into the stock market or even US bonds, make a fine living after firing 60,000 employees. That would be less ILK-some?

          More stupidity. Grand stupidity.


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            markx

            Hi Mark D,

            No, that is not necessarily the choice … the system that favours big business has been in place for quite some time; perhaps he would not have such a large fortune or 60,000 employees if it were not for his unfair(?) advantages in financing and lawmaking and the interpretations of law.

            I cannot predict what may be the economic outcomes of a sudden transition to a new system, but I am sure that they would not be good, no matter how good the replacement system was.

            Obviously a gradual transition would be ideal, but I am not sure what we need to transition to!

            It must simplify one’s life to happily believe we now have the best system in the world and there is no need for any changes whatsoever. Sometimes I envy that approach, it would be such a time and stress saver.


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          Interesting Mark–you believe that one day the Koch brother’s parents simply woke up, found the money tree and started buying influence. Fascinating.

          First: Markx–had you worked as hard as you complain, maybe you would have fortune. So much easier to whine that someone else cheated, itsn’t it. Oh, and LIFE IS NOT FAIR. Get over it.

          If you “know the answer”, why are you asking? To appear reasonable while proclaiming you know that money is found under trees and that’s how people get rich?

          Of course the odds of getting a large loan are greater than a small loan. You really don’t understand banking either. Guess loans are under fig leaves, right?

          Interesting–you never borrowed money in your life, and you life completely self-sufficiently where you never need anything from a business that is large. You never need a large surgical center, you buy only from local producers, etc. You would never go to a Walmart or buy energy from your local power company.

          This all sounds extremely envious of people who succeeded. Sorry your life is such a failure you hate those who succeeded.

          (I never advocated for libertarianism or “free capitalism” so please do not drop me into said category. Also, opining that someone said our system was perfect and in need of no changes is a complete misrepresetation–closer to a flatout lie or strawman, indicating you have no valid response. Your behaviour results in what I wrote above–writing my version of who you are with no actual caring about the truth or accuracy.)


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            markx

            No, in the debate this issue it does not matter if someone was born rich, or made it the hard way out of their own sweat.

            And sure, I have borrowed money on my own behalf, and have been involved in borrowing processes for very large companies. I have also been involved in proposing entrepreneurial start ups with some very wealthy (..er … at least with access to huge funding) venture capitalists. The venture capitalists were the guys who really knew how the system worked, and how much it favoured the big guy.

            Nothing to do with envy, and I am doing all right, thanks. It is all about taking all that you are told with a grain of salt, and doing your own thinking and research.

            “…I never advocated for libertarianism or “free capitalism” so please do not drop me into said category…”

            This brings up the point that on a scale with socialism at one end, and libertarianism at the other, you are not at the extreme. And I am a helluva lot closer to the libertarian end than I am to the socialist end, just not quite as far along as you are.

            We are in agreement then that what we have may not be perfect and needs change.

            I am simply stating that we should be aware that the “Freedom” of the brand Charles Koch espouses will undoubtedly benefit him and his type far more than it does the average man. It should be entirely possible to allow entrepreneurial capitalist growth without allowing all to accumulate into the hands of a few gigantic multinational conglomerates.

            The promise that “Anyone can make it” reminds me of the brilliant salesmanship of the Apostle Paul, selling “everlasting life after death” to the Christians;

            By the time you get to the end point, it is too late to realize you’ve been had.


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              Roy Hogue

              I am simply stating that we should be aware that the “Freedom” of the brand Charles Koch espouses will undoubtedly benefit him and his type far more than it does the average man.

              markx,

              No matter how things may turn economically the guy with more at stake loses or gains more money than the guy with less at stake. If the stock market goes up 10% both the guy with a $10,000 and the guy with a $10,000,000 investment in the same stocks get 10% better off.

              You may want to look at it from this perspective. The man with nothing invested also gets 10% better off, 10% of what he put in in the first place, just as the others get. I hope you see my point here because it is the way things rally work.


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                markx

                Roy, you miss the point that the guy with more at stake simply has a FAR better chance of succeeding than does the little guy… because the whole system is tilted in his favour; much better access to finance, access to cheaper finance, far better access to legal help, access to better legal help, far better access to government, access to sympathetic government.

                And the big laugh is, that with all those advantages, he does not even risk his own money! His businesses are always structured so he bears no personal risk. If too many of his type go under, it is the BANKS who are in trouble, and the government then goes and bails them out! The little guy? He has to mortgage his home, and takes all the risk.

                Look, you guys can keep clamouring that it is time to throw the rule book away, ‘the market’ will look after itself, and will look after us; all in the faint hope you too can escalate yourself to the heady heights.

                Just note carefully the ‘freedoms’ you get granted. You may find many benefit the big guy far more than they do the little guy.


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              Roy Hogue

              The promise that “Anyone can make it” reminds me of the brilliant salesmanship of the Apostle Paul, selling “everlasting life after death” to the Christians;

              This statement is simply disingenuous. Life does not come with a written warranty that you can make it. However it does come with an absolute guarantee that if you don’t try you will not make it. At least not unless you have a way to inherit your millions. And if you do, the government wants a big cut from that inheritance.


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                markx

                That’s the point Roy.

                There is no guarantee, just an implied promise and a lot of belief.

                And I absolutely agree that if you do nothing, nothing happens.

                But as big business gets bigger and bigger, doing something more and more often means going and asking big business for a job.

                That will be almost the only choice you have, if you fight for a bit more of that brand of ‘freedom’.


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                PhilJourdan

                And I absolutely agree that if you do nothing, nothing happens

                @markx – If you do “something” and if you have no clue what you are doing, you are twice as likely to muck it up. Which is what governments do best.


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              PhilJourdan

              Just note carefully the ‘freedoms’ you get granted. You may find many benefit the big guy far more than they do the little guy.

              @markx – perhaps you are granted freedoms. The government grants no freedoms in this country. It does not have the power, nor the capability.


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          PhilJourdan

          Why not from a whole stack of small and medium businesses? Surely that would work just as well?

          Work just as well as what? Killing businesses? Sure! Why are people so obsessed with OPM? 2 reasons.

          1. Envy and greed. They cannot stand the thought of someone having more.
          2. Ignorance. They feel that there is a set pie, and if someone gets 2 slices, they get none.

          The first is pure emotion and no reason will change it. The second is totally false, and can be changed with simple education. But only if the horse will drink the water.


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            markx

            Hi Phil,

            Can you explain why you think big business and the great multinationals are essential to the system functioning?

            Is it because ‘they have the money’ or ‘they can get the finance’?
            Is that in itself a necessary state of affairs? Is it a good state of affairs?

            What are the advantages to society in general from such a situation?

            From my side: smaller operations give more choice to consumers, more choice to employees, have less direct political influence, and provide more opportunity for competition to start up. Hell, at the moment you could ‘out-efficiency’ Wallmart for a decade and they’d still bury you in the end, simply on their deep pockets…and you’d tell me it was because they just ‘did it better…’).


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              PhilJourdan

              Why should i do your thesis? Argue your own strawman.

              I will point out that when you start limiting free enterprise, you are not practicing capitalism, you are practicing socialism. The state controls all.

              Add that to what I said before. Then argue with yourself.


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                markx

                Phil,

                The system of free enterprise we now have only works because of thousands of laws governing and regulating it. The most basic of these are property laws and currency regulations. The more recent of these are free trade agreements (making the big bigger, but it is OK if it is in some other country(?)) and anti-trust laws (preventing the big getting too big in our own backyard).

                I think we need more of much more attention to the latter.

                Surprisingly teh big boys see this happening and rather than yell ‘not fair’ (they ain’t gonna win that argument are they?) they immediately start talking about freedom, etc, etc.

                So let me rephrase your statement: When you sensibly regulate free enterprise, you get a sustainable system which will survive, although we may not have foreseen years ago how inevitably wealth would accumulate into fewer and fewer companies, and now may be the time to deal with that.


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                Roy Hogue

                The system of free enterprise we now have only works because of thousands of laws governing and regulating it.

                Is it really working? I don’t think so. Every new law makes it more difficult to find your way through the maze. Perhaps fewer but better crafted laws, don’t you think?

                And it certainly isn’t necessary for there to be such big business enterprises as the Koch’s. But they are here. Do you allege that they got their money illegally? If they did then punish them. But if not, then why are they a problem?

                And yes, we need to deal with the fact that on the poor side of the economic scale people are getting worse off. I asked you for your solution but I haven’t seen it yet. Simply regulating the wealthy isn’t going to help the poor. The haves don’t have enough wealth that if you confiscated every last bit of it, it would solve the problem of the have-nots.


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                PhilJourdan

                @Markx

                The system of free enterprise we now have only works because of thousands of laws governing and regulating it.

                No, it works IN SPITE of those laws governing and regulating it.

                There was a utopian society where government did EVERYTHING. So no big companies to screw people! That society was the old USSR. It did very well, did it not? Government regulation taken to the nth degree.


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                Rereke Whakaaro

                I agree Phil.

                The vast majority of laws are drafted to stop people from doing something, or to coerce people into doing something they would not normally do.

                When did you last see a law passed, that increased personal liberty across the board?

                A useful set of metrics are the ratios between permissive legislation (allowing people to do something), preventative legislation (stopping people from doing something), regulatory legislation (requiring qualification and licensing to do something), budgetary legislation (taking money from society), and corrective legislation (blocking loopholes).

                It varies by country, and the type of society. For example, in some countries barter (the exchange of physical goods, deemed to have the same utility), is illegal because the government cannot clip the ticket, unless money changes hands.

                The difference between the Koch family, and the average Joe, is that the Koch’s understand how to negotiate the maze of legislation that prevents most folks from even trying, and they also understand that the velocity of money is more important than the its face value. They may be worth a lot of money, but that money is moving around, creating stuff, keeping people employed, providing services we all need, and so on. The money only pauses for a while, in the financial accounts, when somebody (like the tax department) wants to count it.


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              markx

              “…Perhaps fewer but better crafted laws, don’t you think?…”

              I can’t disagree with that! Although I’d note the current set-up seems to play into the hands of the Koch brothers, amongst others (In fact, it is another advantage big business has over small business, it is much easier to set up and maintain structures to deal with over-regulation).

              “…And it certainly isn’t necessary for there to be such big business enterprises as the Koch’s. But they are here. Do you allege that they got their money illegally? If they did then punish them. But if not, then why are they a problem?…”

              They are legitimately working within the current system, which advantages them the bigger they get. They are a problem because eventually size stifles competition, or repeatedly gobbles it up.

              “…And yes, we need to deal with the fact that on the poor side of the economic scale people are getting worse off. I asked you for your solution but I haven’t seen it yet. Simply regulating the wealthy isn’t going to help the poor. The haves don’t have enough wealth that if you confiscated every last bit of it, it would solve the problem of the have-nots….”

              True, I don’t advocate taking money off the rich to give to the poor. In fact if you divide the supposed total wealth of the world (US$46.2 trillion) by the number of people in the world (Approx 7 billion) then we’d each end up with about US$6,500. (That spluttering noise you just heard was all the extreme leftists in 1st world countries choking on their lattes).

              Part of the solution to provide wider survival employment IS to reduce the micro-regulations supposedly protecting us but often simply favouring bigger operations. BUT, in some cases you must regulate to restrict business size to get the result that is needed (Case to point, basic food courts in Singapore, reserved for family operations, rents are government controlled, no big business is allowed – it allows setting up of small business, employment for the needy, and access to cheap food for all in a country with a minimal welfare safety net).

              The same is needed for big business: Anti-trust laws, restrict how big they can get. Small to medium businesses distribute their money in the area they are: The owner buys a new car, house, gets a mistress, goes to restaurants, etc etc. Mr Multinational simply sends it instantly offshore.

              I have seen the above very clearly demonstrated in another way in Indonesia. After the Suharto era there was a very sudden transition to regional governance from what was an incredible centralized system. I joked at the time, “Hell, they have just regionalized corruption”. And indeed they had (albeit I don’t judge that corruption too harshly, it is a several centuries old system of user pays to very poorly paid officials who were put into positions on the expectation of all that they would make their own salary).

              The results were astounding: Regional cities are generally barely recognizable from what they were ten years ago.

              I don’t think it was all due to brilliant regional management, simply from regionalized spending.


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                PhilJourdan

                True, I don’t advocate taking money off the rich to give to the poor. In fact if you divide the supposed total wealth of the world (US$46.2 trillion) by the number of people in the world (Approx 7 billion) then we’d each end up with about US$6,500. (That spluttering noise you just heard was all the extreme leftists in 1st world countries choking on their lattes).

                Here’s a homework assignment for you. What was the total wealth of the world in the 19th century? What was the total population? How did the total wealth/total population increase, decrease or remain unchanged?

                Your statement reeks of a set pie. Where everyone gets a small piece. Those who get a bigger piece are stealing from those who get nothing or less than their fair share. You may or may not believe this. But that is the odor of your statement.

                Your homework assignment should give you some data to chew on. Once you have derived those numbers, we can proceed to step 2.


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                markx

                “…Your homework assignment …”

                I don’t usually revert to my school days;

                But; [Snip], Phil. :-)


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                PhilJourdan

                @markx
                April 8, 2014 at 5:13 am

                So you would rather remain comfortable in your ignorance than learn the truth?

                Fine. I am not your parent. The data would have been very telling.


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            Roy Hogue

            I know this is late and may be missed by those who most need to see it. But I’m not a particular fan of “big business”. Walmart is a case in point.

            First, I don’t begrudge Walmart it’s success. It was earned by smart, hard work.

            Second, by now Walmart has far too much economic clout for me (take note, markx). They can come into a city and influence zoning and whatever else they need to do to get their stores put in, even after a lot of resistance. They then drive smaller retailers out of business because they can undercut the price. And worse than that, they sell stuff that’s “worth its price”, cheap, unsubstantial and in every way undesirable to me. They are ripe for application of the Sherman Antitrust act in my opinion.

            I do not shop at Walmart even though I may pay more for things I want and need and even though there’s one within 2 miles of my house and better shopping is twice that far away. I long ago learned the benefit of quality over lowest price. And frankly, if paying for quality leaves me unable to buy something else that I want I’m willing to do without. And it’s too easy to clutter your life with “things” and too easy to lose sight of the fact that the people around you are more important than the things you have.**

            ** That came home to me very personally when recently I learned that a friend I’ve known since 1976 has been diagnosed with dementia. I would give up a lot if it would undo that problem for him.


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              Roy Hogue

              I am a free market capitalist but I’m not a fool.


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                PhilJourdan

                That is the definition of a Free market Capitalist! You do not control through law, but through your patronage. That is why some companies succeed and others fail.

                Just as my experience with Wal Mart is the reason I do not shop them, so to is the opposite true with Amazon. I KNOW I can contact them with a problem and it will be fixed to my satisfaction. They have done this several times with me. And they get most of my discretionary spending.


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              PhilJourdan

              I do not like Wal Mart either. But I do not begrudge them their prosperity. I just think their customer service stinks and I have had bad experiences with them in the past. So I vote with my money and do not patronize them.

              As far as the quality, the same can be said for K-Mart. Indeed, before Wal Mart, K-Mart was the brand name of “cheap”. before them it was Woolco (I actually worked for them).

              But just starting out, people have limited means, so even though “cheap” means shorter life span, that is all they can afford. As they age and acquire more means, then they look at quality over quantity. That is why Mercedes is a thriving company, but most young people do not own them.


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                Roy Hogue

                Phil,

                I don’t begrudge Walmart their success. But it clearly has reached a point where it’s harmful because they can become a virtual local monopoly. At that point healthy competition isn’t working anymore and that’s something we can address by law. And we should. Reasonable people can disagree where that point is but I think you and I both know there is such a point. The original harm addressed by antitrust laws was the ability to charge unreasonable prices because you had no competitor. But it’s equally detrimental to be able to drive competitors out of business because you can undercut their prices.

                Having said that I also have to say that I don’t have any magical solution. I have simply learned that the market place, if it’s allowed to work reasonably, will do the best overall job. It should be the objective of good government to foster good strong competition. And right now I think Walmart works against that objective.


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                PhilJourdan

                The original harm addressed by antitrust laws was the ability to charge unreasonable prices because you had no competitor. But it’s equally detrimental to be able to drive competitors out of business because you can undercut their prices.

                The lowering of prices to below cost is against the law. And it is that mechanism that Monopolies use to restrict competition. They can withstand the losses, the small guys cannot. So the 2 are intertwined, and currently regulated. I see no problem.

                Yes, reasonable people can disagree. And as long as the government (liberals) hate Wal Mart that point will never be reached. For it to happen, they would need government help – as BofA, Lehman Bros. etc. have gotten. Walmart for all its reputation has not eliminated small business or even medium business. Their share of the market is still very small (but people do not see that because there are so many competitors). Where they go into small markets (and I have first hand experience with such a market as my In-laws live there), they do bring down prices – mostly among the other chains. Not the mom and pop shops. The mom and pop shops still thrive because they offer what the chain cannot. Personal touch and service.

                WalMart does not compete with Mom and Pop shops. They cannot. They compete with the other chains. And they are not always first to a market. But are the others vilified? No, because they are not Walmart.

                Walmart is not too big. When it becomes the state store, it will be too big. And you can act unilaterally. Just as I have. Don’t patronize them! That is worse than any jawboning that leftists can bring to bear (or bare for John ;-) ).

                We will disagree on this issue. We both do not like them. But I simply ignore them. I have choices, both where I live (a medium sized metro area) and where my relatives live (they do not go there often).

                One more thought. What will kill Walmart (and they will eventually die) will not be KMart or Target. It will be Amazon (or more generically the Internet). Even in small communities, people now have more choices than ever before.


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              markx

              Hi Roy,

              Yes, the big supermarkets are a perfect example of the simple advantage that comes with ‘being big, very big’.

              In a small town, they drive out the butcher, the baker, (and probably the candlestick maker, but I think I am showing my age).

              Then everyone is happy, because they can just go to one place to shop, and everything is a little bit cheaper (well, at least that is what they are told, but how can they tell?).

              But, that cash which previously circulated within the town now no longer does so – profits all go off to some central coffers, then probably overseas.

              ‘Free capitalist theory’ says that fine, if the big supermarket is not doing the right thing (by who, and by what definition?), along will come a better competitor, who will grow up and take over. But the truth is the odds are stacked against the competitor: the big guy has limitless access to finance, and it is also much cheaper finance, he has the power of branding and advertising on his side, he has more government influence. He can’t be undercut because he can sell at a loss for years in one area, and still outlast a competitor.

              Sure, someone, somewhere will eventually out-compete him in some areas of commerce or of the country, but only after decades (there goes a generation) and the new guy will very likely be the same sort of monster.

              The only logical endpoint of our current state of wide reaching communication technology, and systems of laws and economics, even with less or more ‘rules’, is that companies get larger and larger, and with mergers and takeovers, we MUST head towards monopolies. It is virtually the major REQUIREMENT with the ‘perpetual growth’ expectation of our financial and share-market system that this mustoccur.

              The only way around this is to have governments with an alternative vision, and structures, beliefs and laws to make it work: That of a capitalist system which does NOT become one of huge monopolies.


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                the Griss

                Interestingly, All three of the shopping areas I go to have either a Woolworths or a Coles,

                but ALSO a butcher, and a baker, sometimes two bakeries.

                (no candlestick makers, although one place does have a store that sells scented and pretty candles, plus herbs etc etc)


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                Roy Hogue

                markx,

                See my reply to Phil above.

                I don’t specifically object to the size of Walmart as much as I object to the lack of a similar large competitor being located in cities where Walmart is located. Where there’s real competition I’m going to be satisfied. Where there’s not then I’m not so happy.

                I also object to the quality of much of Walmart’s merchandise because it’s worth what they’re charging for it — lower price, lower quality. I wish that could be an issue to more Walmart customers but when people let the price make the buying decision then quality loses, Walmart prospers and once they’re established there’s no stomach for doing anything about them. And Walmart isn’t the only place you find low quality goods by any means.

                I now understand your complaint much better. I still disagree that more and more regulation is a solution. We could do a lot more benefit for ourselves if we learned how to control our legislators a whole lot better. But in any free society that won’t happen either.

                And by the way, Singapore is far from a free country. The rule there is very authoritarian and while it has so far not become overly oppressive, when you can be fined heavily for failing to flush a public toilet, that’s a problem (I have read the statement of someone who spent time there stating exactly this). I hope that’s exaggerated. But still, Singapore is very authoritarian rule by any measure. There may be many advantages to living in such a place, among them: a high degree of freedom from drug abuse; safe streets, even at night, even for children; low crime rate (they catch you bringing drugs into the country they simply hang you the first time) but there’s far too much you can run afoul of with outrageous penalties if you’re convicted.

                So how much freedom are we willing to give up for some greater safety from failure? How much additional authority do we give government that can be used not just for good but for evil as well?

                In the United States the Constitution specifically enumerates the powers, that is, the rights of the federal government and then explicitly grants all rights not enumerated in the constitution to the states or to the people themselves. And ever since that constitution went into effect every president has chaffed under the limits imposed on his power and has stretched, bent and now broken the constitution’s limits to get his way. Congress has done the same. If big business can get special consideration out of government, no matter how they manage it, then government is what’s broken, not business.


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                PhilJourdan

                In a small town, they drive out the butcher, the baker, (and probably the candlestick maker, but I think I am showing my age).

                Except they do not. Oh they do shake things up. But the very nature of their operation means they will alienate many of people and ensure that the small mom and pop “candlestick makers” still have a job. At least the ones that did not piss off everyone BEFORE the big chain arrived.

                And where did these “huge chains” come from? Almost without exception, at one time, they were the little guys. They just came up with an innovative approach to an issue, and people liked it. in other words, big bankers did not create them, loyal customers did.


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                PhilJourdan

                @Roy

                I also object to the quality of much of Walmart’s merchandise because it’s worth what they’re charging for it

                No argument from me! But as I explained to backslider, some people need cheap versus good. The young couple starting out. Do kids really need clothes that will last years, when they will outgrow them in a matter of months?

                Walmart found their niche. And while they may be the only brick and mortar in a town, they are not the only game in that town. Just ask UPS!


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                Roy Hogue

                Phil,

                Yes, if cheapest is the issue then Walmart is the answer, or one of them. The Internet may or may not be an answer. I get no opportunity to examine what I buy online before I put my credit card down. If I want appliances, for instance our recently purchased TV and speaker system, I won’t go to discounters or online. I’ll go to the store I know has a reputation for quality stuff (a reputation that they have a real interest in protecting) and where I can see what they offer and compare what I see and hear along with the prices. But even clothing… I never just bought for lowest price, not even when I was a stone cold broke young newlywed trying to get along on one income. Maybe I’m some nut case for thinking that way. But I’m always rewarded by opting for quality over lowest price. And quality doesn’t necessarily mean the highest price either.

                And some discounters, those who sell food for one, are selling stuff I simply will not buy. What is the problem when you see tomatoes sitting out for sale that are rotting away before they’re even bought. Complaints to management made no difference. There ought to be an outraged crowd out front with signs. But no, none to be seen.


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                PhilJourdan

                @Roy – We are going far afield with this, so I hope Joanne will indulge us. But you bring up many great points.

                And all are centered around “choice”. You “choose” to not buy high end electronics on line (I really see no problem as I am buying the brand name, not the Vendor name). But, I have bought several flat screen TVs on line – when I saw several, I mean half a dozen.

                No, I do not have them. I buy them for a charity raffle that we support. As we are on one coast, and the Charity is on the other (not too far from you if I remember you being on the left coast), buying on line is not necessarily cheaper (tax rate in CA is very high), but a hell of a lot more convenient! I do not have to transport it. I just change the shipping address.

                But like you, there are items I will not buy on line. Not because I cannot, but because of choice (in my case it is jewelry – and no, I would never buy that from Walmart).

                Online gives you a choice. Walmart gives you a choice. Dan’s TV & Appliance gives you a choice. And Dan is still in business. Why? He is not cheaper than Walmart. But he is local and he shakes your hand with every purchase and backs it. So if it fails, you do not dial an 800 number. You see Dan.

                That is the key. Choice. We have it. You did not buy cheap (my economic education will always make me evaluate quality versus use), but others do. I drank store brand soda starting out. Cheaper. Now I only buy Pepsi (because I prefer it). But I do have the choice.

                Walmart does not remove choice. It expands it. Without Walmart, you have no choice of cheap versus good. With Walmart you do.

                Disclaimer: I use Walmart as the choice of cheap. But Kmart, Target or any discount retailer can cover for them.


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    RoyFOMR

    Money can’t buy me love,
    but Passion can make me shiver

    Shiver?
    Well that’s what Mr Koch’s words made me do.

    I’m still asking myself why, but I think it’s because Charles is in a position that, financially speaking, many Klepto-Klimatic-Katastrophes would sell their grannies to be in!

    I know nothing of Charles Koch but his words reminded me that, in time all heels can be healed.
    Like James Lovelock, of whom I’m reminded, Mr Koch has put down, for posterity, his current beliefs, recommendations and actions.

    I shivered because I believed that he spoke truthfully and that that sentiment jarred with my expectations of his character as described by a never-ending troupe of character-assassinators disguised as journalists.

    I can only hope that some of those Klepto-Klimatic-Katastrophes who achieve the material wealth they crave will be honest enough to admit their earlier mistakes.

    PS – I’d be enormously grateful if someone could suggest a suitable abbreviation for that bit of a mouthful ‘Klepto-Klimatic-Katastrophes’

    PPS – Better late than never – I guess but:
    WELL DONE, the JoanneNova Team for the ‘Bloggie’ Lifetime award.


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    Greg Cavanagh

    The science of Global Warming never interested me enough to keep me reading blogs more than a couple hours.

    It was the psychology behind the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming that had me interested, and has had me hooked ever since.


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    Geoffrey Cousens

    I’m more worried about “those of who we do not speak”.


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    markx

    I am a bit surprised at this naivety from a bunch of intelligent people who can see through all the propaganda and whitewash of the CAGW crowd.

    Charles Koch ain’t gonna be anyone’s savior, people; everything he does will benefit Charles Koch one helluva lot more than it will benefit the average man. (Yeah, I know you think you’re gonna make it too! That IS the American dream. Advertised and promoted by people like Charles…. but don’t worry, trust him, and if it works out real well you may get to hold down a job).

    Don’t think for a moment the Charles Koch is fighting this fight for the good of mankind. He is fighting for a system which has always benefited Charles Koch.

    Where will it lead us? To the world being run by fewer and larger and larger corporations. Good luck with that!

    There are now some 150 multi-national companies, which account for nearly half the total capitalisation of all firms. Three quarters of these belong to the financial sector. http://rwer.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/rwer-issue-64/

    The Four Companies That Control the 147 Companies That Own Everything.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/brendancoffey/2011/10/26/the-four-companies-that-control-the-147-companies-that-own-everything/


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      Name anyone who does not advocate for things they benefit from. Everytime anyone advocates for socialism, I immediately believe they are a taker–one who lives off the work of others, probably never held an honest job in their lives and love not having to actually work for a living. Those who love socialism are those that benefit from it. Those who prefer no Kochs be allowed to exist are those that are angry they lacked the skills, DNA or whatever to acheive that level of wealth. Those who love failure despise capitalism because it allows success and makes them look bad. People advocate for their own self-interest most of the time, be they communist, socialist or capitalist.


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        Mattb

        “Everytime anyone advocates for socialism, I immediately believe they are a taker–one who lives off the work of others, probably never held an honest job in their lives and love not having to actually work for a living.”

        that’s a pretty narrow viewpoint I think… and could easily be applied to the super rich that capitalism produces. Also what do you mean “advocates for socialism”… do you mean actually for socialism, or just for some social welfare.

        I think there are many hard working people who are happy to pay taxes and for the Government to use those taxes to assist people in need.


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          PhilJourdan

          The super rich are not advocating for socialism. You need to work on your clarity.

          However, the science of Economics bears her out. And so does history. The first Plymouth thanksgiving was not about thanking the Indians, but of thanking god for the bounty they produced once they were allowed to keep the fruits of their labor.

          I think there are many hard working people who are happy to pay taxes and for the Government to use those taxes to assist people in need.

          That is the story line. That is not the reality. The reality is that people are made to feel guilty for earning a living, and so they are forced to provide for those who refuse to. Charity is where people are happy to provide for those less fortunate. It is voluntary, and it is a true expression of the giver. Unfortunately it is also not practiced by the left.


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          Mattb–No, hard working people rarely offer to pay more taxes. Why do you think tax preparation places are going to “get you the maximum refund”? How many people file 1040EZ and don’t declare all their dependents, and take no deductions to which they are entitled? Really–show me a guy show could have paid $10,000 in taxes using an itemized form but chose to pay $25,000 using a 1040EZ. That’s all it takes to pay more taxes IF YOU WANT TO. So, some examples here, please. People who passed up deductions so they could pay more to the government. Oh, and you can mail a check directly to the IRS so you pay more taxes. All of that is voluntary and guess what–not really happening on a regular basis. So very few, if any, people voluntarily pay more taxes. They may SAY this, but they don’t DO this–ie, they don’t mean a word of it.


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          James Bradley

          Mattb,

          “I think there are many hard working people who are happy to pay taxes and for the Government to use those taxes to assist people in need.”

          Couldn’t agree more but socialist government thinking is that those that don’t work are encouraged to maximise tax based welfare payments taken from those that do work and socialist governments encourage breaking businesses because that increases their welfare voter base.


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        markx

        Sure Sheri,

        No-one can argue that they (eg, Koch Brothers) don’t deserve it. Whether it is brilliance, hard work or just luck, they still deserve it.

        But that does not automatically mean the system is fair; currently, the more you have, the more the system favours you (see my comments somewhere above on banking).

        The real question is whether those at the other end of the scale deserve what they get: Poverty, daily struggle etc. In some cases, yes (laziness, drugs etc). In many cases, no: personal family disasters, lack of opportunity due to birth, disasters in finance (ie running a successful business until your debtors go bankrupt…)

        Leading to the question as to whether ‘big business capitalism’ is the only way … as preached by Charles Koch et al.

        Perhaps not. I don’t know, but I instinctively think there is something rotten about where we are heading, with a few hundred companies (mainly financial) running everything in the world.

        There are now some 150 multi-national companies, which account for nearly half the total capitalisation of all firms. Three quarters of these belong to the financial sector.

        The Four Companies That Control the 147 Companies That Own Everything
        http://www.forbes.com/sites/brendancoffey/2011/10/26/the-four-companies-that-control-the-147-companies-that-own-everything/


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          LIFE IS NOT FAIR.

          People do not “deserve” poverty–it simply a part of the human condition. At this point in history, “poverty” in the US is luxury everywhere else. It in no way resembles poverty. There are handouts everywhere. Heck, standing at Walmart with a sign can net you $500 a day. Want to see real poverty–try Haiti.

          There is NO way possible to stop poverty. The best way to help curb it is with jobs so people can make a living. The standard of living in China changed when they allowed in Capitalism. It change dramatically. (And there will always be the parasites who would rather steal from those who work rather than actually working.)

          Get over the fact that what you consider to be an unfair number of people hold much of the capitalist firms. That is because other capitalists either failed and sold out or wanted the money more than the business and sold out. Throughout all recorded history, a small number of governments or people held most of the wealth. Again, it’s just the way human beings work. If you can fundamentally change the nature of mankind, then maybe your endless whining about unfairness would solved and we could all be in a utopia where everything is “fair” as defined by you, of course.


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            markx

            Hi Sheri,

            “…poverty–it simply a part of the human condition… There is NO way possible to stop poverty…. Throughout all recorded history, a small number of governments or people held most of the wealth. Again, it’s just the way human beings work. “

            Ah you quite sure of those points? Are they really cast in stone?

            You are really quite sure that the system we have is at the very peak of its possible performance adn efficiency right now? There is no room for any changes, and all development has come only from the few giant capitalists who have enough money to employ us all?

            Bearing in mind ‘money’ is created electronically by the banks when a loan is issued (yes, they pay a fee to the central bank, and then type a number into an account … how many number they can type like that is restricted by regulations taking into account their so called assets, which will include the new factory you just borrowed money for. (Note on this, only 11% of the Euros in existence are notes – teh rest are electronic digits in bank accounts).

            So then: Why is this money best put into the hands of big multinationals? Because they are better managers? Nope, they are holding too many things to really manage them, and in the end it is us, the little employees doing the managing anyway.

            The answers are several: They are ‘too big to fail’. Risk is shared amongst other big financial players who have also lent them money. No-one ever got sacked for ‘following the herd’ and being totally wrong, but being a maverick and getting it even slightly wrong will get you out on your ear. Governments can’t afford the loss of confidence of the big guys falling over.

            Poverty? I have seen some, and I admire the resilience of people just getting by: I have lived in Asia, mainly Indonesia, for twenty years, and in that time work has taken me frequently to The Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh and China, amongst others. In that time I have seen all those places advance mightily, and primarily due to capitalism. Indonesia is thriving and claims an unemployment rate of only 8%… but many of those ‘employed’ are perhaps running a little food stall, running a little compressor at the side of the road to repair tyres (part of the business plan is the handful of nails at the intersection) … setting up a simple massage room etc etc. All very impressive and helping people to eat, and gradually getting them ahead, and almost every time I have a simple conversation it the street someone will ask hopefully for a job.

            I have watched small businesses and big businesses providing these jobs, and then seen big businesses become bigger, and then become gigantic in all of these places.

            I am not sure that ‘gigantic business’ is the essential component of the system.

            I think it need not be if some things, finance in particular, were arranged differently.


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              Hi Mark: Yes, I am absolutely positive that poverty is part of the human condition and cannot be eliminated. Yes, that is cast in stone. (It can be reduced and it can be moved around and often is. But it will always exist.)

              I never said the system we have is at its peak performance. You made that up. I never said all development comes from a few giant capitalists. Again, you made that up. I said these individuals can make contributions on a level small businesses cannot and that these people are in large part responsible for the massive strides forward in the last 120 years or so. I did not say money was best put into the hands of the big multinationals. I said that is just the way it is right now. And the government is certainly too big to be trusted with money–look what they did to healthcare in the US with their complete incompetence.

              You don’t want “big” business yet you don’t want people setting up tire repair stands for work? Pray tell, what do you want? The people with the roadside stands can perhaps move up with hard work. Or earn enough to relocate to a place with more economic opportunities. I cannot understand what it is you want, except for us to take money from the people you call bad and then do something different with it. All I see is class envy. If that’s not accurate, maybe you can fill me in with what it is you actually want.


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                markx

                Hi Sheri,

                It is nice to see we can agree on some things,

                ie “I never said the system we have is at its peak performance. ……. I did not say money was best put into the hands of the big multinationals. I said that is just the way it is right now.”

                Just because “that’s the way it is right now (and it sorta works)” does not mean we cannot examine the system and tease out the flaws, does it?

                What do I think? The system as it now is naturally gravitates towards one big business eventually owning everything (at least in any particular field).

                And by ‘the system’, I mean laws, financing opportunities, and financial/share market expectations.

                I think this culmination is not necessary for the system to work, and it is not desirable; …. except to the entrepreneurs themselves, ‘big finance’, the taxman, who would prefer to deal with a few big businesses rather than thousands of small ones, and the occasional average man who has been convinced it is all for his own good (that’d be you).

                Re the small businesses: (little tyre shops, and little restaurants)? No, I think they are a GOOD thing, but those opportunities will disappear as the bigger guys move in. That in the initial stages is (probably) a good thing, but to me it is a question of regulating how big they can get: Because the opportunities to set up small competing businesses rapidly disappear.

                Take Bill Gates as an example: Brilliant, great visionary, deserves everything he has because he took advantage of a system that was in place, then leveraged on that internationally by influencing regulations, treaties and laws by tying his ill-gotten cleverly negotiated IP rights into so called “Free Trade” agreements. He buys up any competitor, and any peripheral addition which will add an advantage, and then makes us all pay for this now necessary product again and again and again.

                Truly the ultimate rent seeker, and a product of this system as it now is.

                But, has that been a good thing for the world? (Putting his much admired philanthropy aside.


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                PhilJourdan

                @markx

                The system as it now is naturally gravitates towards one big business eventually owning everything (at least in any particular field).

                Only when government steps in and hinders entry into the market. The goal of every company is monopoly. But the natural forces are self defeating. How long was Blackberry the only smart phone? Did the government break them up?

                Keep government out of it, and the market will work. When a monopoly develops, it will eat itself through inefficiencies and higher prices. But when government steps in and decides they need to be protected (too big to fail), the can get away with inefficiencies.


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                markx

                The goal of every company is monopoly. But the natural forces are self defeating. How long was Blackberry the only smart phone? Did the government break them up?

                Nope… the companies replacing Balckberry in the market are bigger: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung

                Sure, the market eventually sorts it all out … except sometimes it takes several generations and decades of dealing with the flaws.

                The question is whether that is the best way to operate the system.

                As a parallel, you can argue the USSR system was an unsustainable failure and this was ‘very quickly’ revealed (was it really just socialism, or more like tyranny?) …. but it took 50 years … there go several generations of wasted lives.


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                PhilJourdan

                Nope… the companies replacing Balckberry in the market are bigger: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung

                So is the market. Sunny how Samsung has a smaller share of the market than Blackberry did. Nokia, Apple, Sony, HG – gee, my exact example demonstrated.

                And blackberry is still around (RIM I should say). Although how long is a mystery.

                except sometimes it takes several generations and decades of dealing with the flaws.

                Generation of products? Yea, that is called patents. Not generations of people. Market forces – in the absence of government interference – will not be denied.

                As a parallel, you can argue the USSR system was an unsustainable failure and this was ‘very quickly’ revealed (was it really just socialism, or more like tyranny?) …. but it took 50 years … there go several generations of wasted lives.

                You could exactly argue that. And you would be arguing my point. Was it the economic prowess of the USSR that kept it afloat for 70+ years? hardly! It was the government.

                You are merely proving my point.


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            PhilJourdan

            There is NO way possible to stop poverty.

            At least not in the US. Poverty is not defined by needs, or even wants. it is defined by a bell curve. They decide, for political reasons, the bottom 13% are in poverty. This figure varies slightly over time as the numbers are not adjusted daily, and of course recessions will temporarily spike it (but recoveries never seem to reduce it much – not even the “boom” years of the 90s).


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              Thank you for pointing this out. I am continually explaining to people that the poverty level has nothing to do with need–it’s a number. It can be adjusted up or down. People “in poverty” can have cars, cell phones, cable tv, etc. They are not in poverty. They have sources of income that is not counted when deciding who is poor. From the Oregon Center for Public Policy:

              Over the years there have been a number of critiques of the way the government measures poverty. One on-going critique is of the types of income that are included in (or excluded from) the poverty measure. By failing to include income that many low-income people receive in the form of public assistance, some critics maintain that the extent of poverty is over-stated. If the value of food stamps, publicly provided health insurance benefits, and cash welfare payments were counted as income in the poverty calculation, many people would no longer be considered poor.


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                PhilJourdan

                By failing to include income that many low-income people receive in the form of public assistance, some critics maintain that the extent of poverty is over-stated.

                Indeed. EBT is PURE money, whereas a salary is not. Salaries are taxed to death, while EBT is 100% useable by the recipient.


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                Backslider

                Oh wow! I never realised there was no such thing as homelessness and poverty in the USA…. it’s just a pretend number!


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                And once again Backslider commits a logical fallacy. Should we be keeping score?


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                Backslider

                It is you who commits a logical fallacy by not recognising sarc.

                The thing is this Sheri. You and you ilk spout a whole bunch of nonsense which is contrary to reality and reveal that your motivations are extremist. You are not happy with your country because you are on the fringe of society. You would be happy living elsewhere.


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                Read your own comment #26, stupid. And no where on any legitimate list of logical fallacies list is “failure to recognise sarc”.

                Excuse me, but if we are checking “reality” here, I’m a long ways up the reality train compared to you. I am not the fringe, which may really frighten you, but it is what it is. My ilk is actually mainstream and always was. As for another country–where can I find one with little government interference, no socialism and no leftists? That takes immigrant?. As for extremists, well, let’s ask who it is that wants to jail climate change skeptics, who is it that complains when the Koch brothers give money to a hospital protests an act of charity? Who is it who wished NRA members would be shot (yes, stupid, but actually uttered my one who is not of my ilk)? Looks like those three fingers are indeed pointing back at you.


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                Backslider

                My ilk is actually mainstream and always was.

                So you are saying that mainstream Americans:

                1. Like to walk around packing heat.
                2. Advocate taking up arms against their own democratically elected government (RPGs no less).

                I think not Sheri. You would be classed by the mainstream as a fringe lunatic.


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                Again, you are demonstrating you are an idiot. I did not say taking up arms against my democratically elected government–YOU DID. Are you really so stupid you don’t know what you say versus other people? And you think I’m not normal? At least I’m not so stupid I confuse who said what and try to heap strawman arguments because I’m too stupid to construct an actual appropriate response. So so so stupid….It’s actually kind of sad. How a brain could run so far amok. And unable to comprehend any rational argument and so full of fallacies…..Oh, I think I hear violins in the background. So so so sad…….Fallacy, Fallacy, fallacy–Oh, I just realized you must love the Wizard of Oz and the straw man scarecrow! And all those cute little munchkins. You poor little thing. Caught in a fantasy, no escape from reality–no wait, that was Queen. Oops, I’m being as whack as you—NOOOOOO! I’m out of here–too much crazy. Save me…………..


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                Backslider

                I did not say taking up arms against my democratically elected government–YOU DID.

                Yes, you did:

                Arms? What arms? Enough to keep the government from taking over–if you can do it with shotguns, then shotguns. If it takes RPGs, then RPGs. Whatever is required to keep the government from becoming a dictatorship. – Sheri


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                “Whatever is required to keep the government from becoming a dictatorship”. Check the dictionary–dictators are not democratically elected. They take over. Until the “duelly” elected government declares itself no longer elected and now ruling by dictatorship, it is not a government taking over. Thus, your interpretation is wrong as always. Pay more attention. No mention of “elected government”–just a government gone rogue and declaring itself in charge. Simple really. Should be understandable to even a 5 year old–well, maybe 10. But still, it’s pretty straightforward. Perhaps you can get someone to help you read the comments and make sure you understand simple concepts like elected and not elected. Dictator versus elected. Might help, might not. Who knows? It could. Wouldn’t hurt to try–well not much anyway. You make the mistakes more privately if you check with someone first. So it might help. Well, if your making mistakes actually has any effect on your future comments, which at this point, seems not very likely. Maybe you’ve dived into the Lew posting on uncertainty and are very uncertain so more desperate to act? That would cool–anticipatory behaviour based on a future post.


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                Backslider

                No mention of “elected government”–just a government gone rogue and declaring itself in charge

                How can a USA government be “gone rogue and declaring itself in charge [dictatorship]” unless it is first democratically elected?

                Which is your view of the Obama administration, is it not? Yes, admit it.

                Only an extremist would talk the way that you do. You talk of taking up arms “to keep the government from becoming a dictatorship”. The expression “to keep from” means “to prevent”, that is, before the fact.

                Perhaps you should be a little more careful with your own speech before berating others?


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              • #

                Wow, you’re the first person to have such difficulty with my language. Maybe it’s you, not me. Yeah, it probably is. Or maybe you are just easily confused?

                “When Hitler was appointed in January 1933, Germany was a democracy. Germany had fair elections; nobody had their right to vote abused; there were numerous political parties you could vote for etc. ”
                “Hitler’s Enabling Law.
                As politicians neared the building, they found it surrounded by SS and SA thugs who tried to ensure that only Nazi or Nationalist politicians got into the building. The vote for this law was crucial as it gave Hitler a vast amount of power. The law basically stated that any bill only needed Hitler’s signature and within 24 hours that bill would become law in Germany. With only Nazis and other right wing politicians inside the Kroll Opera House, the bill was quickly passed into law. The act gave Hitler what he wanted – dictatorial power. What he wanted would become law in Germany within 24 hours of his signature being put on paper.” (Historylearningsite.co.uk)

                Then there was Chavez.


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                Mark D.

                BS, what the Founders meant when writing the Constitution was that armed civilians were the key to defending against tyranny both foreign and domestic. Further at the time, they guaranteed the right to own ANY arms. This including the most technologically advanced firearms at a time when swords were still commonly in use.

                Arms? What arms? Enough to keep the government from taking over–if you can do it with shotguns, then shotguns. If it takes RPGs, then RPGs. Whatever is required to keep the government from becoming a dictatorship

                If you read Sheri with the correct frame of reference, it’s that all the guns in America INSURE prospective dictators are deterred, then you’ll understand what she means. Citizen owned arms equals insurance.

                She is not saying or urging insurrection. You should be more careful about your interpretations.


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                PhilJourdan

                You are not happy with your country

                @Backslider – not being happy with something is not the same as being extremist. That is why people work for change.

                I guess in your mind, the US is filled with a bunch of extremists (about 50%) that change every 4-8 years. Those that were extreme, become mainstream, and those that were mainstream become extreme.

                Your philosophy is interesting. A candidate for a Lew study no doubt.


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                PhilJourdan

                @backslider – might want to show where she said she WAS taking up arms. Vigilance is not closing the barn door after the cow has escaped.


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                PhilJourdan

                How can a USA government be “gone rogue and declaring itself in charge [dictatorship]” unless it is first democratically elected?

                People forget. Hitler was democratically elected too.

                And even when elected, a government can go rogue. Is the president above the law? Since when?


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              PhilJourdan

              1. Like to walk around packing heat.
              2. Advocate taking up arms against their own democratically elected government (RPGs no less).

              #1 – With over 350 million REGISTERED guns in the US, I would say the answer is yes. If you have evidence to the contrary, present it.
              #2 – Please show where that is being advocated outside of the demented minds of Obama and his leftist ilk. Hard facts. Not wild conspiracy theories with no basis in anything except paranoid delusions.

              And document the RPGs.

              I think I see who the extremists is. At least from a mental standpoint.


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                Backslider

                With over 350 million REGISTERED guns in the US, I would say the answer is yes.

                1. That’s firearms sonny. There are not 350 million USA’ans walking around packing heat, nor anywhere near that number who would advocate it.

                2. We only need to listen to how you people talk to know how you think.


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                PhilJourdan

                @backslider

                That’s firearms sonny.

                Sonny? I thank you for the praise, but I have not been called that in 50 years.

                And you are correct since there are not 350 million Americans. By the same token there is not one person with 350 million guns. And there is a reason the “new” third rail in American politics is Gun Control.

                And #2, assumption is the mother of all f-ups. You would do well to read what is written instead of assuming out of ignorance. “you people” is just a code word for “I have no idea what I am talking about so I will make an ignorant generalization”. Favored among the bigots of this nation.


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                Backslider

                The article you posted states there are around 65 million gun owners. How many of those pack heat?

                “you people” is just a code word

                No its not. I have made it abundantly clear the kind of people I am talking about.


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                Mark D.

                BS, The experience of just one State and the numbers of “concealed carry” permits can be found here: http://madfi.org/permitcount.asp

                Permits of this nature are a fairly new feature in that state (Minnesota) and the state population is 5.4 Million. Roughly 3.5% of the MN general population and around 4.5% of the population over age 21 have the permitted legal right to carry a concealed weapon and his number is on a steep upward trend. This does not count people within the boundary of their owned property (they can carry legally without the permit), or police, military or private security. Nor does that number count people “open carry” hunting or sporting on State and Federal land outside of municipalities. Other states have had these rights for a longer time for example Florida has 1.28 million permit holders. Nation wide the total of permit holders is something upward of 6.8 million according to one source.

                States that implemented carry permits on average experience a significant decline in violent crime rates after the right to carry laws take effect. According to FBI crime statistics states implementing right to carry experience:
                An 8 percent drop in murder rates
                A 7 percent drop in aggravated assaults
                A 5 percent drop in rapes
                A 4.9 percent drop in all violent crime
                A 2.2 percent decline in robberies.

                Gun ownership is another matter and a great deal of the population own guns. Interestingly, they’re not always willing to admit it: http://statisticbrain.com/gun-ownership-statistics-demographics/ I disagree with Phil’s statement that these guns are “registered” as there is no Federal registration required for long guns, shotguns or pistols unless they fire full automatic. There is a requirement to pass a background check for firearms sold through licensed dealers and out of state private parties. Within most states, firearms can be sold private party to private party without any paperwork or background checks. I’ve read that the estimates for numbers of guns owned in the USA are woefully under the real amount. This because people are suspicious of motives when responding to polls.

                I’d say that well over half of the population own guns and in states away from the coasts it’s even higher. In Western states, ranch and farm states it’s closer to 80% (my wild guess), in Texas it is 115% :) . Subtract those whom are ineligible due to age (under 18) and previous criminal record and you’d have a significant percentage. When you remark

                “nor anywhere near that number who would advocate it.”

                I’ll agree that the number isn’t 350 million but it’s probably close to 150 million that support permits to carry. (walking around packing heat)

                Now refer to the demographics shown in the link above and yes I agree with Phil a majority of people in the US either already carry heat while away from home or don’t mind that people do so (legally). Further, one can surmise that more people pack heat at home and together they constitute a very mainstream demographic.
                Yeh we’re gun nutty. Ain’t it great!.


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                PhilJourdan

                The article you posted states there are around 65 million gun owners. How many of those pack heat?

                All of them. They are not museum pieces. Do they carry them ALL the time? Do you carry your toothbrush all the time?

                No its not. I have made it abundantly clear the kind of people I am talking about.

                You have not made anything clear. But my statement stands. You are trying to weasel out of the fact you are clueless on this subject.

                There is no shame in admitting that. You do not live in this society, so you have no clue. Just what you read in the papers. The same papers that tell you the world is millions of degrees hot (oops! That is algore, but you get the picture).


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                Mark D.

                Phil, I wonder what BS thinks would be the outcome if we sent firearms and ammo to every citizen in North Korea?

                Pick a place where the average citizen is currently oppressed by their government and apply the same idea as for North Korea. Let’s speculate on what would happen.


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                Backslider

                Within most states, firearms can be sold private party to private party without any paperwork or background checks.

                Don’t tell me… you think this is a good thing…. a part of your cornstitoooshonal rights, yes?


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                Mark D.

                Why are you being such a dickhead?

                YES I do. What part of “shall not be infringed” is hard for you to understand?


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                Backslider

                Which part of the second amendment is hard for you to understand?

                A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

                What does “well regulated militiaa” mean to you? Does it mean that we should let just anybody walk around with guns, or does it mean there should be a “well regulated” militia for the security of the state (eg. the police).

                I think that you are the dickhead Mark and yet another right wing bun totin’ looney who doesn’t understand their own constitution.


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                Mark D.

                SNAP

                That is the sound of the last straw of goodwill.

                You are the [SNIP] .

                You know nothing of the Second Amendment, the fact that multiple Supreme Courts upheld that the “militia” you imagine is us. Regular folk. It’s been discussed and upheld for 150 years and through a civil war.

                NO [snip] is going to make one little teensy weensy bit of difference to me. This thread is proof of your motives and beliefs. you aren’t sceptical, you are a plant, an astroturfer, a shill for the UN.

                Off with you

                [settle down and lets not use such language] ED


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                PhilJourdan

                @MarkD

                Gun ownership is another matter and a great deal of the population own guns. Interestingly, they’re not always willing to admit it:

                And sometimes it is not their choice – as several “do gooder” organizations (Newspapers mostly) have taken to publishing a list of those who own guns. The result? Those houses then become targets for criminals looking to GET guns illegally (stealing them). But do they confront the home owners in the dead of night when the home owner is at home?

                Nope! They wait till the go to work (or away),then break in and steal them.

                The irresponsibility of these “do gooder” organizations, whose sole purpose seems to get more guns into the hands of criminals (that is the result of their actions if not the stated intent), is more crime and more murder. When the criminal does not know if you have a gun, they are much more hesitant to make you a victim.

                One result of the irresponsible actions of the “do gooders” is that several states have passed laws making it illegal to publish those lists. Mine is one of them fortunately.


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                PhilJourdan

                @Backslider

                Don’t tell me… you think this is a good thing…. a part of your cornstitoooshonal rights, yes?

                The word is Constitutional. Look it up if you do not believe me.

                The good news is you can ignore it. You do not have any Constitutional rights.


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                PhilJourdan

                What does “well regulated militiaa” mean to you?

                (BTW – too many As in militia).

                Did you fail grammar 101? just curious. If you read the sentence (and some of the greatest minds in America have done just that – but I guess they do not count to you), you will see the second half is NOT dependent upon the first half. In other words it does not say that only the militia and those in it can have guns. it does not say you have to join a militia to have a gun. It says that they saw a value in militias, and militias (at the time of the writing) were defined as: A bunch of farmers who banded together to fight a common foe. There was no “militia armory”. The farmers mounted their trusty steeds, grabbed their trusted guns, and rode off to fight bears, coyotes, Indians (Native Americans) or the British.

                So yes, we know the amendment by heart. Not all do (I had the “mis?”fortune of being required to take a test on the Constitution to pass the 8th grade – it is not long, so I memorized it).

                And since you think I only present bastardized facts, I will provide you with this link – http://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment2/amendment.html

                DC v. Heller is the defining law of the land.


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          PhilJourdan

          mean the system is fair

          If you peruse the founding documents of the US, you will not find that word anywhere in them. For a very simple reason. It is not objective. it is highly subjective and a child’s word.

          You will find a lot of objective words in the documents. Words that can be quantified and legislated. You cannot legislate fairness.


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            markx

            “… You cannot legislate fairness… . it is highly subjective ”

            Unlike “freedom”, eh? (how free? do whatever you want? no rules? etc),

            “..the right to bear arms..” (or ‘bare arms’ as so many of your compatriots seem to like to type) … what sort of arms? ground to air rocket launchers are fine? How about artillery, mini-guns, concealable sub-machine guns?

            “..free and independent states…” How free? How independent? Raise your own army? Restrict trade? We wouldn’t wanna go to war over that, would we? … Oh, hang on…..

            It seems perhaps you just don’t like that one particular concept.

            Perhaps selfish, entitled, and childish on your part? ;-)


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              Yes, freedom is subjective. That would be the reason for the US Constitution–enumerating said freedoms. Arms? What arms? Enough to keep the government from taking over–if you can do it with shotguns, then shotguns. If it takes RPGs, then RPGs. Whatever is required to keep the government from becoming a dictatorship. “Free and independent states” again, the Constitution covered that one.

              As noted, “fairness” is absent from the Constitution, probably because the founders understood life is not fair and never will be.

              Oh, as for “freedom”, the best explanation for America’s definition of freedom is “everything is allowed unless the law says it’s not” as opposed to other places where the rule is “nothing is legal unless there is a law that says so”.


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                PhilJourdan

                Oh, as for “freedom”, the best explanation for America’s definition of freedom is “everything is allowed unless the law says it’s not” as opposed to other places where the rule is “nothing is legal unless there is a law that says so”.

                The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


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                Backslider

                Arms? What arms? Enough to keep the government from taking over–if you can do it with shotguns, then shotguns.

                Oh, so that’s what bearing arms is all about. It’s to fight the freely elected governement!

                Lew! Lew!…. we definitly have subjects for study here……


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                Can’t you make one reply without showing your utter stupidity? If you are so completely, utterly ignorant of how the US Consititution reads, take a class. Write notes on your hand so you can reference lateer when you actually need to say something that does not sound completely moronic.

                Calling for your equally ignorant pal won’t help. He’s as clueless as you are. However, you would make a lovely study in the psychology of group think, illogical though patterns and failure to be able to follow an argument through without embarrassing yourself. Perhaps some other wannebe psychologist will write one of those up using the trolls and non-thinkers that frequent the science blogs of skeptics.


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                Backslider

                Go on then Sheri. Take up arms against your own government… then see what happens. Then come back and tell me again that I was wrong about you.

                This is not an argument about the USA constitution. It’s about the fact that you are a fringe dwelling extremist.


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                You really need a more creative comeback. “Extremist” is so simplistic and idiotic as to laughable. Besides, you fear the extremists. Otherwise, we would be ignored. And stop with the idiotic strawman fallacies. For pity sake, try posting a rational, logical thought for once. Assuming you have that ability, which is looking doubtful at this point. Wow, you bring “idiot” to a whole new level.


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                Backslider

                Besides, you fear the extremists. Otherwise, we would be ignored.

                There you have it Sheri. Your own words.

                I am not the least bit frightened by pathetic little fringe dwellers.

                try posting a rational, logical thought for once. Assuming you have that ability, which is looking doubtful at this point. Wow, you bring “idiot” to a whole new level.

                Well, we all know what they say about ad hom, don’t we?


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                PhilJourdan

                Oh, so that’s what bearing arms is all about. It’s to fight the freely elected governement!

                Lew! Lew!…. we definitly have subjects for study here……

                #1 – last I checked, we did not elect 535 Obamas to congress.
                #2 – last I checked, the Constitution clearly gave the right to draw up AND pass legislation to Congress.
                #3 – last I checked, Obama has decided to forgo his oath of office by NOT enforcing the laws of the land.
                #4 – Last I checked, Obama has taken to creating laws by fiat, with no input from congress (and even stated he was going to do just that).

                So tell us again, who elected him dictator? Just curious.

                But you did get one thing correct. There is material here for Lew. It is you.


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                PhilJourdan

                Take up arms against your own government… then see what happens. Then come back and tell me again that I was wrong about you.

                Well, it happened before. In 1773. And in other countries, it is happening this century. Egypt, Libya, Ukraine, Syria.

                So what happens when they do rebel against an authoritarian government with no arms? See Venezuela.

                What happens when they do have arms? Seems some of the biggest gun control activists in this country think that Syrian rebels (even those that eat the hearts of their antagonists on live TV) deserve Guns. Whodda thunkit!

                You got a lot of anger there backslider. Perhaps you need to work it out in a non-aggressive way.


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                Backslider

                It is clear Phil that you also are of the same extremist ilk as Sheri. From your own words, you think that your president is a dictator [snip]

                [There has not been any such suggestion that I can find. Since it is potentially illegal to make that kind of threat and since Phil appears to be using a real name, you must not make such a false statement.] ED


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                PhilJourdan

                @Backslider

                It is clear Phil that you also are of the same extremist ilk as Sheri. From your own words, you think that your president is a dictator [snip].

                Better recheck your reading glasses – and skills. I have not stated any opinion on killing the president, so I cannot see how you would think I was for or against it.

                Second, ‘extremist ilk’? let me repeat for you:

                code word for “I have no idea what I am talking about so I will make an ignorant generalization”.

                Next I am sure you are going to say you know where I live and you intend to do me bodily harm. To save the planet no doubt.

                It would be nice to have a conversation with you at some point. If you can ever learn how to read and write.

                [ Source snipped reference snipped. we won't have any such comment here]ED


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              PhilJourdan

              Freedom is not legislated. Not in this country. You start from a position of freedom, and then create a government that limits it. The trade off is service for freedom. So your analogy is all wrong.

              As is your bear (or bare) Arms. Again, that is not in question. Before congress can do thing one, the constitution tells them what they CANNOT do. You may have heard our idiot in chief talking about the “negative” rights. That is because he, like you, fail to grasp what the Constitution is. It is not a document defining freedom. it is not a document granting rights. it is a document limiting GOVERNMENT. So yes, it is negative – on totalitarianism.

              As for the delineation on what a State can do, I suggest you go to this link: http://usconstitution.net

              They spell it out explicitly. And in fewer words than I would use.

              Educate yourself.


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        Mattb

        “Name anyone who does not advocate for things they benefit from.”

        no-one, but some people advocate for societal benefits rather than direct personal benefits, believing they’d be better off “poorer” in a “richer” system.


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          PhilJourdan

          LOL! Yea, ask a Venezuelan that one. That one is rich!

          Societal benefits pertain to the whole of society, not just the part that is on the dole. Common defense, roads, dams, etc. are examples of such things. Food stamps, cell phones, cars and TVs for SOME people are not.


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          James Bradley

          MattB,

          “no-one, but some people advocate for societal benefits rather than direct personal benefits, believing they’d be better off “poorer” in a “richer” system.”

          If that were true the NSW Labor Party would not have been caught with their hand in the Coal Mine Jar, the Federal Labor Party would not have been voted out on a BIG FAT Carbon Tax Grabbing Lie and spending obscene spending to line the pockets of supporters, the union comrades would not have rorted their rank and file brothers and sisters and now face a Royal Commission.

          I can confidently denounce your rhetoric as pure bull crap because 40 years ago I was a comrade in the AMWSU (Amalgamated Metal Workers and Shipwrights Union)- we won the 38 hour week for the nation on the pretext that the extra 2 hours would support extra jobs at a time the Labor Government was breaking the country – but as well as the ability to see clearly through bull crap I was also blessed with independent thought that allows me to question the words and motives of others.


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        Mark D.

        The real question is whether those at the other end of the scale deserve what they get: Poverty, daily struggle etc.

        Oh please!

        WTF is “daily struggle”?


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          markx

          (What) is “daily struggle”?

          You really don’t know, do you?

          It should not need spelling out, but here ya go:

          Not being able to pay for the daily necessities of life, not being able to pay for emergencies, needing to go to others for help, being unable to source reasonable financing and having to deal with disasters by borrowing from high rate money lenders … or the alternative of having to go to welfare agencies and lay your soul and pride on the line…

          Living that life, every day.


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            markx

            …and that is not to mention living in a third world country at the bottom of the pecking order, just hoping to make enough each day to eat.


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              And the way we fix this is through jobs and economic opportunity, not demanding people make less money because “it’s unfair” and “taxing the rich”. Many third world countries’ situations have more to do with politics than economics–surely you don’t want the US or UN overthrowing and defending people against marxist government or dictatorships?


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                markx

                Sheri; You are not thinking it through, perhaps.

                Capitalism is demand driven. The demands for the products don’t disappear, the production does not disappear, the goods don’t disappear…

                Business will go on… the jobs will still be there.

                Why is it you think it is good that they end up under one umbrella, one owner?

                What if instead of 60,000 people working for the Koch brother, we had 1000 people each working for 60 smaller companies? Would that not work at all?

                Sure, there is often politic behind third world problems; and there are politics behind these first world problems too.

                Your utopia is not quite what it seems, whole cities and a generation or two can be laid to waste in some areas by the failures of this system you seem to think is already perfect. http://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1882089,00.html


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                This is pointless. You simply cannot read English. I DID NOT SAY THE SYSTEM WAS UTOPIA. YOU SAID THAT–as part of a strawman argument because you can’t really answer my argument, I guess.

                Since you are not capable of reading English, there’s no point to this discussion. You just make up whatever you want and write about it. Tell you what–you write both sides and save me the waste of time of even trying to answer you since you don’t read what I write anyway.

                I’m finished with this discussion. Argue with your own ideas since that’s all you’re doing any way. You waste my time.


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                PhilJourdan

                @markx

                Capitalism is demand driven.

                That is a fallacy. That is like saying your right hand claps louder than your left hand. Try clapping with one hand.

                Capitalism is based on Supply AND Demand. They are the yin and yang. You can make the best doodle in the world! But if no one wants it, you are not going to live off your doodles. And conversely, you may want the best doodle in the world. But if no one makes them, again you are out of luck.

                I think I see your problem. You have no idea about economics. Basically you have no clue what you are talking about.

                As for the Kochs, answer me this. How much would it cost YOU to make a car. And how long?

                Then google how much a new car costs and how long it takes to make it. THAT is why 1000 Kochs are not the same.


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                PhilJourdan

                @Sheri

                You simply cannot read English. I DID NOT SAY

                No, nor any of us are saying. he is constructing his own straw men to try to find one you will bite on so he can best you. He has not actually addressed anything you, Roy or I have said. he cannot and he knows it.


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                markx

                PhilJourdan
                April 5, 2014 at 5:46 am

                Hi Phil,

                Phil says in reply to mey comment; ” Capitalism is demand driven.” That is a fallacy. Capitalism is based on Supply AND Demand. ..You can make the best doodle in the world! But if no one wants it, you are not going to live off your doodles. And conversely, you may want the best doodle in the world. But if no one makes them, again you are out of luck.

                Nope.

                It is you who is wrong. If there arises a demand for doodles, then someone will start to make them. That is the basic principle.

                Price is set by the balance between supply and demand.


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                Mark D.

                Capitalism is demand driven.

                Get out of junior high school (middle school) economics. Socialism is demand driven. Trump your logic.

                Price is set by the balance between supply and demand.

                Maybe, but what is “price”?

                PS Life is “demand driven”


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                markx

                ” … PS Life is “demand driven” …”

                Nope: Life is needs driven.

                Economies are demand driven, whether they be socialist or capitalist.

                Price? Pretty hard to create a dispute over that definition:
                price prīs/ noun
                noun: price; plural noun: prices

                1.the amount of money expected, required, or given in payment for something.


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                Mark D.

                Markx,

                Nope: Life is needs driven.

                Economies are demand driven…..

                You seem to have a conundrum there.


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                PhilJourdan

                No MarkX. Was there a demand for Smartphones prior to Blackberry? Really? People were demanding what did not exist?

                Your comment shows a gross ignorance of economics. This is not an insult, merely an observation. If you jump up and say “see! Someone demanded a smartphone!”, then I would ask you who.

                And before iPhones there was the Newton. Again, it is BOTH. You are trying to balance on a one legged stool and it will not work


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                markx

                Re smartphones…

                Yes, Phil, sometimes a new demand is created ….seemingly out of thin air.

                And then as far as the economics go the usual laws of supply and demand kick in:

                “Hey, watta great idea, gotta get me one of those!” “Yeah, me too!”

                Whether a whole new manufacturing industry kicks off depends entirely on whether a demand is generated.


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                PhilJourdan

                @markx

                Yes, Phil, sometimes a new demand is created ….seemingly out of thin air.

                Like the auto industry? how about the Plane industry?

                In a narrow sense all 3 are “new industries”. But in a larger sense they are not. People wanted to get around. They walked or rode horses – until the auto was made affordable. The demand was there. There was no supply.

                Same with planes. get around faster.

                Same with smart phones. The internet was there. Telephones/cell phones were there. Someone said “Hey! Why not combine 2 items into 1″.

                The demand for transportation, communication and time (which the above industry all play a key role in) were there. So was the supply. But then some people went out and made a better mousetrap.


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              PhilJourdan

              and that is not to mention living in a third world country at the bottom of the pecking order, just hoping to make enough each day to eat.

              And taking money from Murdoch or Gates is going to help them how?

              You can turn your whole fortune into coinage. Then take that on a charter off the coast and throw it in the water. It will do as much good as trying to send money to tinpot dictators that skim the money for themselves.

              Venezuela is a case in point. Chavez died with over $2 billion dollars (even while he never had a private sector job). And the nation is in poverty. But at least now it is distributed and more widespread, so everyone is happy, right?

              Then why the riots?


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                markx

                And taking money from Murdoch or Gates is going to help them how?

                You can turn your whole fortune into coinage. Then take that on a charter off the coast and throw it in the water.

                Phil, I do not advocate “taking money from Murdoch or Gates” … simply limiting how large they should be allowed to get.

                And you touch on a great truth with your second paragraph …. yep, we don’t need their cash … money is not coins, it is numbers typed into a computer. Only 10% of Euros in circulation are in the form of notes or coins, the rest are digital signals in banks. When you go and borrow a few hundred thousand to buy a house, don’t think a truck zooms around to your bank with a big pile of notes; Nope, a fee is paid to a central bank, then a clerk types a number and a string of zeros into your account.

                Banks create money, and they lend it to big players at very favorable rates: because they are sharing risk with other bankers, because they are following the herd (no one ever got sacked for that) and because they know these guys are too big to fail, and governments will not let it happen.

                Here you go: (below) Big business while preaching about the ‘free market’ and ‘capitalism’ do not hesitate to stick their own hand out:

                This article is all about ‘corporate welfare’, but one of the telling points to me is the sort of financial package that can get put together … by ‘printing’ money for the occasion.

                One of the ‘bottom line’ conclusions there is “I think we need a better version of capitalism,” Mayo writes in his book Exile on Wall Street. “While it has the potential to raise people’s standard of living and reallocate capital more effectively than any other economic system, it also has a lot of room for improvement.”

                http://www.theage.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/gina-rinehart-the-corporate-welfare-queen-20140325-35eq3.html
                Rinehart’s mining group, Hancock Prospecting, last week signed off on a $US7.2 billion debt package for her highly anticipated Roy Hill iron ore project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
                There are 19 international lenders, including Australia’s big four banks, in the syndicate. Government export credit agencies including the Ex-Im Bank in the US, as well as Japan and Korea, were crucial in helping the massive debt-funding deal over the line.


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                You can call it capping income, but it is TAKING money. You will not allow them to earn to their full ability. If you had the ability to save $500,000 for retirement but the government caps it at $100,000 the government “took” $400,000 from your retirement. Blocking earnings takes from people. If potential does not count, then we can throw out all lawsuits that include “lost wages” because they aren’t real. If you’re injured and can’t work, you lose nothing, by your thinking.


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                markx

                ‘Taking’ income?

                No, it is about restricting how many companies these guys can take over.

                You don’t understand how skewed the financial system is in favour of bigger players…
                Jut last night I was talking on the topic to a guy who runs a shipping company. He sais, “Hell yes, my liabilities far outstrip my assets, but every time I have a problem I go to the bank to ask for another million, and they have to give it to me to make sure I don’t go under..”

                A company (conglomerate of companies?) I have worked for over the last 15 years has at times been very deeply in the hole…. the owner simply borrows more money against one or two of the companies, and in comes US$60 or US$100 million .. and so the show goes on. He has done very nicely recently, but if you get to keep rolling the dice on that scale you do get some winners … of the sort the average man can never do.

                What I am saying is that who you are, how well known you are, your perceived worth, your political and financial connections ALL matter more than the bottom line accounts.

                Banks don’t want to lend small amounts, because the bank wants the big multimillion dollar fees, and the banker involved gets a straight out direct bonus related to the size of the loan. So what is the banker going to do when faced with the choice of spending a couple of months working on your excellent, well articulated, clearly planned out 1 million dollar project, or the shady, vague sketchy 100 million dollar project of a known (assumed!) billionaire, who will probably simply take that money and slide it into some other projects not even discussed?

                That decision takes two secs. Your project hits the shredder. I have sat through both of these situations several times.

                THIS is the problem, and it is worsening. And Charles Koch amongst others wants it to go that way. And so would I if I were him.

                The rest of you? Need a little more thinking and a little less lapping up that which you want to believe.

                There are now some 150 multi-national companies, which account for nearly half the total capitalisation of all firms. Three quarters of these belong to the financial sector. This group of transnational corporations, which are strongly interlinked, pose a “too big (or too connected) to fail” problem.

                http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/tesfatsi/RethinkingEconomicsUsingComplexityTheory.DHelbingAKirman2013.pdf

                The growth in America’s financial sector has been amazing, with its share of gross domestic product rising from less than 3 per cent in 1950 to about 5 per cent in 1980 and more than 8 per cent in 2006.

                Its share of total corporate profits grew from 14 per cent in 1980 to almost 40 per cent by 2003.

                Salaries in US financial services were similar to other industries until 1980, but are now on average 70 per cent higher than those elsewhere. This remarkable growth is referred to as the ”financialisation” of the economy.

                http://www.theage.com.au/business/less-fancy-financial-footwork-please-20140330-35rrg.html


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                PhilJourdan

                @markX – you contradict yourself. You state:

                Phil, I do not advocate “taking money from Murdoch or Gates” … simply limiting how large they should be allowed to get.

                So you did indeed just advocate taking money from them. The demand for the product that produces their wealth has not stopped. So what are you going to do, limit supply to stop them from getting more? If you limit supply, then you drive up the cost which gets them even more money! (there is that pesky supply end of the S&D).

                So if you are not going to limit supply (self defeating for your ends), then the only other option is to TAKE any money in excess of what you think is enough (and how made you god to determine what is enough?).

                So you lied. You are indeed advocating taking their money.

                And just as easily as you can create wealth, you can destroy it. I did not say cash. I said

                turn your whole fortune into coinage.

                IN other words, erase that electronic “wealth”. Your inability to understand basic economic concepts and your continued confusion about what is “money” and what is “wealth” is the best indication that you really have no clue what you are talking about.

                I say this with all sincerity. Take a basic economics class. You can even pick a left wing nutcase! As long as he has a basic grasp on economics.

                Then come back to discuss the subject. At this juncture, I tire of giving you an education in basic economics.


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                PhilJourdan

                You don’t understand how skewed the financial system is in favour of bigger players

                You have no clue how the financial system works at all! Big banks were not created. They GREW. And of course they love huge loans! Less paperwork, greater profit! But small banks do not have the capital to make huge loans. So they make smaller ones.

                That is why there is no such thing as “too big to fail”. That is a mythology perpetuated by the big banks seeking protect from competition from the government. And it is the government that grants them that protection.

                Government is the worst enemy of entry into a market and to small business in general. That is why you will find virtually no small business man who is advocating for more regulation. And very few that are not already complaining about existing regulation.

                Government regulation is like medicine. Too much will kill you just as fast as not having the correct medicine will kill you. It is not capitalism that is the problem. It is the socialistic nature of government. And the fact that there is no competition for it. So it grows unabated and with fatal disregard for the people who created it.


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                markx

                • PhilJourdan April 7, 2014 at 11:09 pm

                So you did indeed just advocate taking money from them. The demand for the product that produces their wealth has not stopped. So what are you going to do, limit supply to stop them from getting more? If you limit supply, then you drive up the cost which gets them even more money…..… then the only other option is to TAKE any money in excess of what you think is enough …you are indeed advocating taking their money.
                IN other words, erase that electronic “wealth”. Your inability to understand basic economic concepts and your continued confusion about what is “money” and what is “wealth” …..

                No, Phil. Antitrust laws don’t take money away from them, and believe me the banks will still be chafing at the bit to throw it at them. But prevent the mergers, prevent companies from getting too big, and the banks will be forced to fund someone else, and voila, there are your goods (as long as there is a demand for them).

                Electronic wealth? Erase it? Why? It is created on a whim, it can vanish on a whim…. I am not sure the amount of it makes any difference at all until the day enough people suddenly lose confidence that its value is there and is real.
                Money? Money is a medium of exchange, and as it is today a very tenuous concept based on our belief it is worth something. The system we have may not be the ideal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freigeld

                Big banks were not created. They GREW. And of course they love huge loans! Less paperwork, greater profit!

                Well, that’s all right then. We will all eventually end up working for the same guy.
                And damn right they grew, and they are growing. If you can clearly explain how this is a good thing in the light of the fact money is created on a whim, and most of it is lining the pockets of bankers as they take commissions and bonuses as it goes by, I will be amazed. ( “America’s financial sector …share of total corporate profits grew from 14 per cent in 1980 to almost 40 per cent by 2003…”)

                Government is the worst enemy of entry into a market and to small business in general. … Government regulation is like medicine. Too much will kill you just as fast as not having the correct medicine will kill you.

                Medicine? No, a more apt analogy would be that government regulations are like vitamins .. Absolutely necessary for the system to function, but overdosage of some will be detrimental. The others? We just cope with them and excrete the excess. (both vitamins and regulations!)

                It is not capitalism that is the problem.

                Of course not. Capitalism is the solution to the problem. The trick is to keep it functioning as it should.

                It is the socialistic nature of government. And the fact that there is no competition for it.

                Now, this is a whole separate issue, and I am not sure of the cure. Probably a benign dictatorship like Singapore in the days of LKY, and to a lesser extent now. Capitalism and democracy are not the same thing and one does not beget the other. Part of the rotten system is the party system and the fact that big business bribes funds the election campaigns of the politicians and gets what big business wants.


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                PhilJourdan

                @markx – if there is to be a discussion, you have to participate. Sorry, but you are the one trotting out straw men.

                First you talk about limiting wealth. Then you switch to monopolies. 2 different animals.

                Then I posited a hypothetical about someone throwing away their wealth, and you then interjected about electronic wealth. Again, a non sequitur. I clearly said “turn it all into coinage”. Which is easily done, and just as easily destroyed (or rendered useless).

                Then when it was pointed out that big banks are not created big, they grow, you run off and decide they are the new corporate state, ignoring the basic fact that I stated. Banks are NOT too big to fail. Government arbitrarily decided that. And they arbitrarily decided to penalize the startups and small banks/companies.

                You claim capitalism is the problem (although you did switch tunes in your last statement) and that they must be regulated. yet the problems you see are not from capitalism, but from government interfering with capitalism. And you advocate more government (the benevolent dictator).

                You do not like how things are, and you do not know how to change them. I can understand that. I am just telling you that you are barking up the wrong tree. Since when has the government gotten anything right? Vitamins? Give me a break! The only thing that government acts as a vitamin to is leeches and parasites. It surely seems to breed a lot more of them.

                There is a reason Thoreau said “The best government is that which governs least.” Government is, by nature, design, or default, the worst institution of man. That it is necessary at times is also a given. But the fewer times it is interfering, the better for mankind.


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                markx

                Hi Phil,

                You, and Charles Koch, and quite a number of ‘the indoctrinated’ in here, think that all will be right with the capitalist system, if only we got rid of ‘the rules’. It is simply not so. No rules of property ownership, no rules governing currency, trading, no rule telling us that “Gimme that or I’ll stick you with this sword” is NOT actually a fair trading method?

                Oh, you mean only SOME rules? Well, now we are getting somewhere.

                Thoreau said “The best government is that which governs least.” … Well, define the bits of govern you DO want, and that which you don’t. It is a complete falsehood by both Thoreau and James Koch to come out with a sweeping statement that we ‘simply need less rules’. Some of the ‘rules’ big business don’t want are which dictate publication of or limits to political donations. (That’s odd. Why does big business make most of the political donations in the world if they don’t like governments?)

                Sure, there are myriad rules and systems we could do without, but many we need. Having spent decades in 3rd world countries, I think the west’s focus on food hygiene is a case of over-regulation in the pursuit of the unattainable; the less challenge our enteric immune systems receive, the more vulnerable we become to any food pathogen that we encounter. We must have some standards, but some basic education in the practicalities of food preparation and less pedantic food hygiene standards (ie, less focus on the minute details of stainless steel sinks placed a certain distance from the prep area etc etc), means any little entrepreneur can set up a roadside stall, provide employment for himself and his family, and much cheaper food for everyone. On the other hand, we ALL want government to ensure that no-one is adding toxic substances to our food or preserving it in a way that fills it up with botulinum toxins.

                Similarly with our regulations of trade and commerce laws/regulations. Some are important, some not: You need a clear purpose and an understanding of the outcomes of changes and who will be the beneficiaries. It isn’t simply a matter of ‘get rid of the rules’.

                Business wealth and monopolies don’t go hand in hand? They are entirely different things? Our whole market system of demanding ‘constant growth and that the big get bigger and takeovers are good for us all’, is an illusion of mine?

                Turning money into coins and throwing them away? I don’t see your point. ‘Money’ is created on a whim as it is needed so it makes no difference if you throw it all away or suddenly call it clam shells, something will arise in its place. (Unless you advocate changes to our entire monetary system, but that is a another matter) But right now money is primarily and most easily created for the projects of ultra-rich big business. My point is: why does this need to be the case?

                I have never said capitalism is the problem. It is a wonderful system and has done us much good! I simply argue that the idea that unregulated capitalism is the answer is an illusion. And that most of the changes made so far under our current systems have always ended up favouring big business.

                Here; deregulating international trade is a great case to point. Sounds simple, everyone wins, right? Well, how can that possibly be so? Only if we both make widgets and gadgets and you turn out to be better at one, and I am better at the other. And we both have similar populations. And similar levels of unemployment. And similar levels of education. And in both cases the workforce can easily be retrained to do the new job. And our financial systems are on an equal footing. And our currencies remain stable in relation to each-other. And a third party somewhere does not crop up and compete with one of us. And we have the required raw materials, topography, rainfall and soil fertility….

                So, if both countries don’t always (and yes, sometimes they do) prosper from these deals, who always does? Well, who always accompanies politicians on these trade negotiation jaunts? Big business leaders. International trade deals always benefit the big businesses involved on both sides as they all expand their markets and customer base. Less tariffs and regulations, less obstruction, less rules. All killing the little man, whether he be a farmer or a manufacturer.

                And a lot of the perceived benefits and the perceived end points of this sort of deregulation are an illusion: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ralph-gomory/the-innovation-delusion_b_480794.html

                My argument is not anti-capitalism. It is not pro-socialism. It is not that we need more rules and regulations. It is that this simplistic concept that we simply need less rules to make the whole system work is a falsehood, and that promotion of this ideal by big business is primarily deliberate misinformation.


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                Backslider

                I think the west’s focus on food hygiene is a case of over-regulation in the pursuit of the unattainable; the less challenge our enteric immune systems receive, the more vulnerable we become to any food pathogen that we encounter.

                Agree entirely. I have spent the last 7 1/2 years in a Third World country. When I first arrived I was very strict with food hygiene and only drank boiled water. I still suffered Montezuma’s revenge for around six months.
                Nowdays I can drink straight from the faucet, practice the three second rule and eat at any restaurant etc. I’m sure that now I have far stronger resistance and that is a good thing.


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                Mark D.

                Markx, in the US, commerce (what shores up capitalism) is governed by state and some federal laws tied to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). The UCC doesn’t change much because it is pretty well thought out.

                When talking about “reducing regulation” I doubt anyone means removing sensible rules for how we conduct business. The kinds of regulation I’m thinking of relate easily to recent “wetlands” regulations or other onerous “environmental” laws restricting use of lands, mining, water resources, increasing animal “rights” over human etc.. Locally, a resident recently had to fight a lengthy court battle and faces jail time because he filled in a small part of a low slightly wet area (not a stream or lake mind you) on his own property with a few cubic meters of soil so that he could build a garage. This in my opinion is insane irrational government intrusion and needs to be halted and reversed.

                Similarly, construction sites are now required by law and with stiff penalties, to install erosion protection barriers with the hope of stopping silt entering streams and watersheds from even the smallest of construction projects. Even though nature regularly does flood and silt her waterways regularly! Some of these silt barriers get installed in the most hilarious locations where water would never be a problem just because the contractor is being over cautious. Everyone pays more for new construction because of these ridiculous laws, and in fact a huge industry now exists to design, build and inspect these stupid erosion barrier setups all because of Green influence on politics.

                Then taxation and pseudo-taxation (fees, licenses, fines) are at an all time high and the SIZE of government has never been greater. The number of bureaucrats, lobbyists, and NGO’s has never been greater.

                Banks and access to capital is the third problem small business faces although there are also venture capital resources and they counter the financing power you’ve assigned solely to banks. I don’t know for sure but I’d speculate that Koch Bros. has little need for banks as a funding source. All this enriches the way free markets work though.

                You correctly identify and support small business because they are the prime movers and innovators in any economy but the large businesses add a different kind of stability I think both are needed. Small business is squeezed by regulation and taxes on one side and a variety of challenges from big business on the other side.

                There is more that could be done to restrain big business from their undue influence on politics and markets and I agree with a need to do that. There is also over regulation in both our personal lives and in the vulnerable small business side. This too needs to be relaxed in order to have a viable small business culture.

                Neither of the two would require nor would it be desirable to move away from the sensible regulations that the UCC provide and I don’t think anyone is calling for total deregulation of business.


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                PhilJourdan

                @markx – are you capable of actually reading what is written? Or remembering what was written?

                Your long soliloquy indicates otherwise. You set up your straw men and then attempt to knock them down. Congratulations! You are master of scare crows. But you are hardly participating in a dialog. That requires you to respond to what is written!

                case in point – the money. That was in response to your amusing idea that a person could not destroy their wealth. yes they can. Your “get rid of all the rules” was never stated by anyone. But you sure slayed that one, right?

                Your diatribe is anti-capitalism. And pro-socialism. I am amused you reference the Puffington host! A perfect example of slavery that exists in modern times, devoted solely to socialism!

                I never said “Business hates government”. Indeed, I even said that “big business” loves government! It is a ready made bar to entry of other companies so they can continue to exercise their monopolistic tendencies. What they cannot do in the market place, they get government to do!

                Small business (and I was careful to label that as such) hate government. Because the better mousetrap never gets built due to a snail darter or a life element being mis-labeled.

                You want more government (or something – since you did not say government, only that something had to supplant capitalism) to do what? Make more big banks that cannot fail? More GMs that are now immune from liability because they are government owned (granted the last is merely a legal opinion at this time, but they are arguing that their latest fiasco is not a adjudicable matter for that reason)?

                Government is NOT the solution. It is the problem. It is the reason that Bear Stearns is no longer, but Lehman Brothers lives. It is the reason that a couple, on their own property, are being evicted because their house interferes with a “view”. It is the reason small farmers are dying out because a contrived fish is more important than humans.

                Until you decide to address the issue instead of your straw men, there can be no dialog. Even then, I doubt you will be swayed. You have done everything you can to avoid the written word and instead relied on your talking points (or prepared answers to generate straw men) to decide to hijack the thread into something no one but you is discussing.

                Frankly, I do not argue other people’s points. SO will I not argue your straw men. Should you decide to address what is said, I will be happy to respond. But constantly telling you to lay off the straw men is getting monotonous.


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                Backslider

                My argument is not anti-capitalism. It is not pro-socialism.

                Here here. I was chastised as being a socialist simply because I think that a social health care system (I used Finland as an example) is a good thing.

                That is NOT socialism. If you think it is [Sheri et al], then I will argue that your public schools, law enforcement, highways, public transport, defence forces etc. etc. also are socialism.

                It beggars belief that extreme right wing loonies jump up and down for the sake of insurance companies when the concept is mentioned.

                To me it is clear that there are nutters on both sides of the climate debate.


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                PhilJourdan

                @Backsllider

                It beggars belief that extreme right wing loonies jump up and down for the sake of insurance companies when the concept is mentioned.

                So I take it you are against Obamacare as well since all it does is force people to BUY insurance form {gasp} Insurance Companies?

                Just curious.


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                Backslider

                So I take it you are against Obamacare

                I really do not care one way or the other, I do not live there and have no say.

                I spoke of the health care system in Finland, for which I was promptly classed as a socialist and an idiot. I am sure that is a long way from Obamacare.


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                PhilJourdan

                I really do not care one way or the other, I do not live there and have no say.

                So why should you care if we like to carry guns? You have a weird sense of priorities.

                How about this. Be as honest with guns as you apparently are with Obamacare.


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                markx

                Hi Mark D,

                To keep it short; Yes, we are largely in agreement on all your points (especially so in regard to what a punitive self-righteous monster your EPA has become. I have read some of these woeful cases of ‘declared swampland’ and ‘silt runoff is now pollution’). Those are insane laws, enforced by arrogant, righteous, power hungry people, and backed up by pendantic plodding judicial systems.

                But Koch Bros and fiance? The difference between us and big business is the banks are always knocking on their door trying to set up business deals. We want money? Gotta go beg for it. I’d be very surprised if they financed everything out of cash flow.

                And as regards regulation ‘winding back’; I am pointing out that the big business idea of which regulations are un-needed, and our version, may not necessarily be the same thing. And I support the idea that there needs to be a clear intent (regulations?) as to restrict how big ‘big business’ is allowed to get.


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                markx

                Hi Phil,

                Well, you and I are certainly mired in a forest of arguments and words here. I have trouble reading your meaning because of the phrase “straw men” popping up everywhere, while at the same time you state what my meanings are. And you see false arguments everywhere in my text.

                Well: Bottom lines from me.

                Forget about destroying cash, can’t see the point of that, or the argument about doing so.

                Beware men offering to play shell games, or selling you bridges, or big business telling you they ‘hate regulations, lets get together and get rid of the them’. (At least ask ‘em which ones) :-)

                Don’t supplant capitalism. It works. Think about the value of small and medium business to our capitalist system, and whether there is some justification in preventing monopolies and limiting how big ‘big business’ should get. (might need ..gasp … regulations).


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                PhilJourdan

                @markx

                Beware men offering to play shell games, or selling you bridges, or big business telling you they ‘hate regulations, lets get together and get rid of the them’. (At least ask ‘em which ones) :-)

                Don’t supplant capitalism. It works. Think about the value of small and medium business to our capitalist system, and whether there is some justification in preventing monopolies and limiting how big ‘big business’ should get. (might need ..gasp … regulations).

                I will say we are mostly in agreement. Let me clarify how I see the last one (and that is one of those, er, um – scarecrows I was talking about). I never advocated the abolition of all regulations. I have said there were far too many (in another response to someone else, you agreed with that, vis-a-vis the EPA).

                Ergo, while you think that “BIG” business should be destroyed (downsized or whatever), I do not see that as a reason in and of itself (being big). Microsoft is big. Should it be broken up? (not that I particularly like them, but their products are very useful). Apple is huge! Should they be broken up? Big does not mean bad. it does not mean “not bad” either.


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                markx

                Interesting take on where we might be going (… where I think we are going):

                In America in particular the share of national income going to the top one percent has followed a great U-shaped arc. Before World War I the one percent received around a fifth of total income in both Britain and the United States. By 1950 that share had been cut by more than half. But since 1980 the one percent has seen its income share surge again—and in the United States it’s back to what it was a century ago.

                Why We’re in a New Gilded Age by Paul Krugman (review of;

                Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, translated from the French by Arthur Goldhammer

                Belknap Press/Harvard University Press, 685 pp., $39.95
                http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/may/08/thomas-piketty-new-gilded-age/

                Thomas Piketty, professor at the Paris School of Economics, isn’t a household name, although that may change with the English-language publication of his magnificent, sweeping meditation on inequality, Capital in the Twenty-First Century.


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                Mark D.

                I don’t believe I’ve ever agreed with anything Krugman says.

                I also don’t know why there is such a fascination with tallying “inequality” in wealth distribution. You’ve already brought it up so explain. Just so you know, forced re-distribution of wealth is something I abhor.

                As for the book if Krugman likes it, I probably won’t. I don’t think I’ll shell out 40 bucks to get my blood pressure up.


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                PhilJourdan

                @Mark D -

                I don’t believe I’ve ever agreed with anything Krugman says

                So you do not agree with companies screwing employees and customers alike – ala Enron?

                Neither do I. ;-)


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                markx

                Mark D.

                We are in a situation of forced wealth redistribution. Except it is not government doing it; it is your beloved big business. The pretty well have the system gamed;

                Here are a couple of timely stories/links:

                http://www.theage.com.au/comment/beware-stings-in-tail-of-free-trade-agreements-20140413-36lkl.html

                http://herinst.org/BusinessManagedDemocracy/

                Whether this is against your religion or not, these things are worth a read. Sometimes we find we have been sold a pup. I was a great believer in the power and ‘automatic self regulation’ of the marvelous free market, free trade theories …. until I started to read up on them, analyze them and do a bit of my own thinking.

                Now, I still respect the power of markets, I just realize they need a little more careful direction, and NOT by big business.

                Note my words well, brethren, for I speak the truth, as ye shall one day discover! :-)


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            PhilJourdan

            It is called starting out.


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              markx

              Hi Phil,

              Starting out; Exactly.

              I have spent 20 years in SE Asia, mostly Indonesia. Indonesia has pretty well had 7% growth year on year, and you can see the transformation of towns visited only 10 years ago.

              Big business plays its part, but there are also the thousands (millions!) of small (tiny!) businesses that bring help the majority survive and bring people out of poverty. All it takes is for to start flowing (thanks, big business, and politics, and financiers)…

              But, all those small businesses will gradually disappear (thousands of tiny restaurants? move over, here comes KFC and McDonald’s).

              That end point ain’t necessarily the ideal.


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                PhilJourdan

                And yet there are still thousands (millions) of those little restaurants even though McDonalds has been around for over 60 years.

                The issue is ‘daily struggle’. And indeed in 3rd world countries that is a life long struggle. But not in the developed nations. Why? Capitalism.

                The poor are not a permanent class. They are very transitory for the most part. There is a reason the vast majority of wealth is held by the aged. They have had the longest time to accumulate it.


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                Phil: You have a talent for explaining economics. Thanks for taking time and posting.


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            Mark D.

            MarkX, Why do people like you show up whenever there is an election pending? I think you are a paid agitprop here only to spew propaganda.

            “Daily struggle” is a completely useless expression without context. I struggle daily with many things. I want you and the government to help me out with my struggles.

            The “poverty” in USA is exceedingly rare if compared to impoverished in Africa. You are lying by omission when you make such broad (propaganda) statements.


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              markx

              I am not sure where you come from, Mark D, but have you ever driven around the US? Try getting lost on the fringes of perfectly respectable looking towns, as I have done. I was shocked (and worried) at the sorts of poverty and places I found myself in.

              Where is this election you speak of, by the way? I am in Indonesia, they have a presidential election coming up next year….. but no one has offered me any money. (By the way, I usually am accused of being in the pay of ‘big oil’ when I discuss climate issues). :-)


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                Markx–drove all over the place, looking for people “eligible” for government programs. Most had nicer cars than I drove. “Low-rent housing” recipients routinely have newer cars. The only place the poverty is highly evident is in the inner-city DEMOCRAT areas. People served by Democrats are routinely the poorest, always. Detroit, California in some places, New York. All bastions of caring socialists and all broke and living in a mess. (I believe your idea of poverty is very different from anyone else’s–like house needs paint, kids not wearing shoes. Yeah, that’s poverty. One of my siblings lives like that–BY CHOICE. Perfectly capable of working and earning a living. Chooses not to.)


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                PhilJourdan

                @Sheri – another factor he fails to mention. If you own something, you are more likely to maintain it. So when you buy a home, you spend money painting it and maintaining it. When you are “given” something (you have nothing vested in it), you see no reason to keep it looking nice. There is no ROI for you.

                So they do have nicer cars. They “bought” them since they did not have to pay rent. And that is also why they live in hovels. They did nothing to maintain them.


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                Mark D.

                Phil, it’s worse than that, they are prohibited from owning much or making wages otherwise they would not be able to stay in the subsidized housing. Government “help” is, by design, going to keep people hooked.


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              Mark D.

              Zoom ahead to the next thread and you’ll find that there is an upcoming election in OZ.

              Driven around USA? Yeh I live here. Define poverty like you have price. I’ve never seen what you imply. Poverty is an arbitrary term not defined by those living in it. Poverty is defined by the politicians wanting to exploit differences in what they perceive to be acceptable standards of living and the living actually EXPERIENCED by those living it. Tell me exactly where you were when you found “sorts of poverty” in the US and define it.

              By any modern comparison my immigrant grandparents lived in poverty here in the US. They were happy, productive and prospered without wealth. My parents lived a very austere life raising me and four siblings with no monetary wealth to speak of but happy and healthy. Again by today’s political definition, in poverty. I’ve raised 3 myself 1 of them now through college with grants because we qualified as “low income” Basically in poverty, while owning two houses, cars boats and all kinds of comforts. I employ people and have done so at competitive wages for over 15 years yet today I could probably obtain welfare food if I wanted to apply. This is your modern Left world view of poverty. It is insane.

              You think I’m an “acolyte” for Koch? You’d be dead wrong. I’m an acolyte for the freedom to one day become as successful as the Kochs.


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    handjive

    O/T
    Amazing.

    A Norwegian man narrowly avoided being hit by a meteorite while skydiving and has captured the first ever video footage of a meteorite travelling through the air after its flame has gone out.


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    Its a hopeless fight. As John Galt discovered in the fiction “Atlas Shrugged”, you can’t stop people acting in their own short term self interest, even when that interest leads to ruin. All you can do is stand back and watch them fall, while finding a way to preserve what is important to you.

    As Koch himself observed, even after decades of campaigning, his was the only ethanol producer which objected to ethanol biofuel tax credits. Every other ethanol producer prized the short term profit from the tax credits, regardless of the damage those tax credits did to ordinary taxpayers.


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      I agree with you. People rise to a level of affluence that allows them to behave in purely selfish, stupid ways (often claimed to be “charitable” but not charitable in any way) and then that behaviour destroys the affluence and we start over. This is not something you fix, just that you postpone for a period of time.


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    pat

    will Lord Krebs continue to praise The Economist (reference Krebs’ recent interview with ABC’s Robyn Williams)?

    5 April: The Economist: In the balance
    A new report from the IPCC implies that “climate exceptionalism”, the notion that global warming is a problem like no other, is coming to an end.
    The new study synthesises 73,000 published works (a quarter of them in Chinese). This represents a 100-fold increase in about 30 years. But consensus remains elusive…
    Behind such scares, though, lies a subtler story, in which the effects of global warming vary a lot, climate change is just one risk among many, and the damage it causes—and the possibility of reducing that damage—depend as much on other factors, such as health systems and rural development, as they do on global warming itself…
    Until now, many of them have thought of the climate as a problem like no other: its severity determined by meteorological factors, such as the interaction between clouds, winds and oceans; not much influenced by “lesser” problems, like rural development; and best dealt with by trying to stop it (by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions). The new report breaks with this approach. It sees the climate as one problem among many, the severity of which is often determined by its interaction with those other problems. And the right policies frequently try to lessen the burden—to adapt to change, rather than attempting to stop it. In that respect, then, this report marks the end of climate exceptionalism and the beginning of realism.
    http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21600080-new-report-ipcc-implies-climate-exceptionalism-notion


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    pat

    3 April: Bloomberg: Edward Robinson: Britain Confronts Gas Mother Lode With Fracking by Lord Browne
    Browne, an independent member of the House of Lords and a nonexecutive director in the U.K. government’s Cabinet Office, is lamenting how the protests may slow his efforts to bring America’s shale boom to Britain…
    “Shale gas could be very, very important for this country; it could be transformative,” says Browne, 66, who’s now chairman of Cuadrilla Resources Ltd., a British exploration firm that plans to frack the English countryside…
    Even as evidence mounts that fracking operations drain aquifers and spew methane into the air, energy firms are fanning out across mammoth shale deposits in China, Russia, India, South Africa, Australia, Argentina and elsewhere.
    Royal Dutch Shell Plc, based in The Hague, has joined forces with Beijing-based China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, in central and southern China to exploit the world’s largest shale gas–laden formations…
    Even relatively small Britain is sitting on a gas mother lode. The Bowland-Hodder formation, a belt of shale that stretches across England’s midsection, holds more than 37 trillion cubic meters (1,300 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas, according to estimates from the British Geological Survey.
    That’s almost the same size as the Marcellus deposit under the Appalachian Mountains, the No. 1 shale gas find in the U.S. The mineral is so impermeable that it yields only a fraction of its hydrocarbons to producers…
    ***Later this year, the U.K. government plans to issue a new round of oil and gas exploration licenses for an area covering about 60 percent of England, Scotland and Wales…
    U.S. coal exports to Brazil, Germany and other markets have doubled since fracking took off in 2005, as American utilities have opted for cheap natural gas, according to the DOE. Spencer says the influx of shale gas may have the perverse effect of forcing coal producers to lower prices to compete…
    That, in turn, will make coal more attractive to burn, increasing carbon dioxide emissions, the No. 1 cause of atmospheric warming, according to the EPA.
    “Even though gas is a cleaner fuel, the growth of shale runs a locomotive through our attempts to limit climate change,” Spencer says. “If shale gas development isn’t accompanied by a constraint of coal, then it’s going to be a disaster.” …
    Today, Browne, an elegant man with wavy brown hair and amused eyes, is a partner at Riverstone Holdings LLC, a New York–based private-equity firm with $27 billion invested in energy companies ranging from biofuel makers to pipeline operators…
    In 2010, a Riverstone fund acquired a 41 percent stake in Cuadrilla for $58 million, and Browne joined its board…
    Browne broke from industry orthodoxy in 2000 by pledging to address global warming with investments in renewable energy projects. He shortened the company’s official name to BP, adopted the slogan “beyond petroleum” and replaced the company’s shield logo with a sunburst in green, yellow and white…
    Finding oil remained paramount, and in the early 2000s, Browne — abetted by his friend Tony Blair, then–U.K. prime minister — negotiated one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin to open Siberia in a big way to Western petroleum companies.
    That led to the formation in 2003 of TNK-BP, a joint venture that has since unwound and left the British company with a 20 percent stake in OAO Rosneft, Russia’s No. 1 oil concern…
    By 2006, Browne had become one of the most influential oilmen of his era and a member of the British establishment. He was ennobled by Elizabeth II in 2001, when Blair was in office, as Lord Browne of Madingley, after a village near Cambridge where he lived.
    He served as president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, became a director of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and was a regular at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. His green credentials got him heralded as “the Sun King” in a 2002 Financial Times profile…
    In his new business incarnation, Browne will seek to overcome the opposition of many Britons who find unconscionable his plans for their densely populated island kingdom, which is only slightly larger than Minnesota.
    Because gas output from shale typically falls 70 percent after the first 12 months of operation, Cuadrilla and other operators would have to drill 2,000 to 3,000 new wells a year to match the annual volume of imported natural gas, says David King, a former U.K. government chief scientific adviser who’s now the Foreign Office’s special representative for climate change…
    In one stratagem organized by Greenpeace, homeowners are asking the courts to block Cuadrilla and other operators from drilling horizontally under their land, a key maneuver in fracking…
    Unlike in the U.S., British property owners don’t hold title to the oil and gas under their land — the Crown does. So drillers such as Cuadrilla can’t win grass-roots support by paying out royalties in exchange for drilling rights, which is a crucial instrument U.S. operators have used to lock up sites…
    In 2010, Cuadrilla’s operations in the Fylde got off to a shaky start — literally — when its drilling triggered two tremors registering 2.3 and 1.5 on the Richter scale. The events alarmed local residents, and the national government declared a moratorium to evaluate seismic risk, which has since been lifted.
    If the company eventually moves to full-scale production, the Fylde will become a less tranquil place, according to a strategic environmental assessment released by the U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change in December. Tanker trucks hauling water and equipment will make dozens of trips every day to the well sites, which will teem with rigs and chemical storage tanks.
    Up to 18,750 cubic meters of water pumped into each well to frack the shale will come back to the surface as mud and wastewater, enough to fill about eight Olympic-sized swimming pools for each well…
    What’s more, the U.K. Environment Agency found in 2011 that the flowback water from Cuadrilla’s fracked well contained high levels of radium, a naturally occurring radioactive byproduct of uranium that can cause cancer.
    “I’m not a bloody tree-hugger, but if I have to raise cows on radioactive grass, who’s going to buy my milk?” Pemberton, 57, says. “I’m out of business.” …
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-02/britain-confronts-gas-mother-lode-with-fracking-by-lord-browne.html

    ***from above Browne article: “Last year, Cuadrilla sold a 25% stake in its Bowland exploration licence to Centrica, the company that owns British Gas”. & where is Labor’s Martin Ferguson now?

    31 March: ABC: Breakfast: Martin Ferguson slams CSG deal
    Former (Labor) resources minister Martin Ferguson has slammed a new deal to give NSW farmers the right to veto coal seam gas operations on their properties.
    Mr Ferguson, who is now a director of ***British Gas, said the agreement would cost NSW jobs and royalties, and lead to higher energy prices…
    ‘Guess who’s going to pay: ordinary consumer households, because the price of gas is going to go up,’ the former Labor MP told RN Breakfast.
    Gas companies Santos and AGL reached the deal with NSW farmers last week, with Santos CEO David Knox saying his company would not commence drilling operations on farms without the permission of landowners…
    ‘You can’t say to me that the precedent of last Friday is going to be confined to well heads. The NGOs will now run a campaign not only in terms of the gas industry, [but] the pipeline industry, then we’ll have community run campaigns about solar farms.’
    ‘What we now have done is not only created difficulty for the gas industry, but the whole of the Australian economy in terms of this precedent,’ he said, describing the deal as a ‘lawyer’s delight’.
    ‘This is now saying to the legal fraternity go and knock on the door of the farmers.’
    Mr Ferguson said that the national interest was at stake, and that Australia would have to ‘front up’ to hard decisions over development and landholder rights.
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/martin-ferguson/5355678


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    pat

    sorry, the Centrica/British Gas quote was from BBC:

    Last year, Cuadrilla sold a 25% stake in its Bowland exploration licence to Centrica, the company that owns British Gas…
    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26440101


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    Look, I know this is off topic, but I just want you all to have a laugh at dear old Tony Jones from Lateline last night.

    He had Ross Garnaut and Clive Palmer on for what was loosely termed a debate.

    It went for 26.14, and I’ll link to it, and there’s no need to watch the lot. You can scroll forward to the relevant part, or just read the text of the interview. Professor Ross was his at his usual waffling best, and Clive actually made a few good points.

    However, the relevant bit comes right near the end of the, umm, debate.

    Link to Lateline segment

    Scroll forward to the 25.45 mark.

    Clive mentions how New Zealand has a fart tax on sheep because sheep give out the most Methane.

    Tony interrupts him and says this:

    Yeah, that’s not – well that’s not carbon, that’s methane.

    Methane CH4.

    You’d think that Australia’s best journalist would be across this, eh!

    Methane is one of the 24 Greenhouse Gases costed in the Legislation. It is costed at CO2 X 21 or around $600 per ton.

    Clueless.

    Tony.


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      Yes, well. Uncle Helen did try to bring in the fart tax, but as far as I know it didn’t happen.

      NZ does, however, have an ETS in place and, although most people I talk to don’t realise it, we are paying 4 cents a litre on fuel and 5% of our electricity bill to the the blasted ETS. The tax was supposed to double in 2013, but I don’t know if this took place.

      Correct if I’m wrong, but I think 10% goes the UN. :(


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        ANY Country which has a form of ETS recognises those 24 GHG’s.

        The image at this link is taken directly from the Australian legislation, and look at Note 1 at the bottom of the GHG list.

        It specifically mentions the UNFCCC.

        Every already Developed Country has been ordered by the UN to pay ALL the costs for still Developing Country, and to do this, they must set up legislation to introduce a form of ETS, as listed by the UNFCCC, containing all 24 gases and costing them at the multipliers of CO2 as they have detailed.

        From that ETS, a percentage is then to be sent to the UN for distribution among those Developing Countries to pay all their costs associated with Climate Change minimisation in those Countries.

        For some more details, I have my own Post on just this, first written after Copenhagen and prior to Cancun, that Post from 2010.

        The UN And Climate Change – Ten Fateful Words

        Tony.


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          One thing becomes clear, Tony, when commenting on any of your comments, is that one must do one’s homework. As it is a good 50 years since I left school, this be a bit of an ask!

          Your link to your article an the “Ten Fatefull Words” is excellent and very informative.

          I must however stand by my remark about the fart tax (or more correctly, the belch tax), as I have been unable to locate any specific mention that it has indeed been legislated. I did, however, find this on Wikipedia :( :

          In 2004, whilst the Labour Party’s coalition still led parliament, New Zealand’s livestock farmers agreed to contribute to related scientific research, and to fund an unspecified portion of the costs of the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium.[3][6][7]

          So it would appear that although livestock farmers ‘agreed’ to contribute to related scientific research I can’t find out if this is current. A quick search brings up so much twaddle, I haven’t the heart to delve any deeper.

          Rather OT, I know, but I would far rather, as I am sure you would, given your air Force background, watch something like this. I am proud that the restored Mosquito was given 487 Sqdn letters EG-Y as on the 12th of April it will be 70 years since my father completed his 64th op (he finished up with 82 ops in total)in EG-J. His logbook entry states, “Bombing railway workshops in Belgium. Returned 200 mls on one engine.”

          Turn the sound up!

          Cheers


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            Bones

            Thank you,the only thing that sounds better than a merlin is TWO merlins and a fine piece of timber too.


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            Roy Hogue

            Dave,

            You and Tony aren’t the only ones who’d rather be watching those old war birds strutting their stuff. This from the cockpit is even better. He’s flying slow for that airplane and the stall warning horn comes on several times during turns.

            And here’s perhaps the most historically significant airplane to come out of WWII and also most hated in the world by many, even now, as seen from the bombardier’s position being put gently on the runway at Long Beach California. The B29.


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              Roy: Thanks for the links. I used to enjoy listening in when Dad was discussing the relative merits (or otherwise) of B17s, B25s, B29s, Wellingtons, Lancasters and Mosquitos with the many American (and sometime) German visitors we used to have. Great stuff!

              Bones: Never a truer word!


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                markx

                Hi Dave, I think I can imagine how that conversation might have gone. It is a little known fact that a Mosquito could deliver the same tonnage of bombs to Berlin as did a B17! And it could (mostly, and under most circumstances) outrun any aircraft who tried to shoot it down. (Over shorter distances of course, the B17 had the higher maximum loading capacity).

                The Lancasters could carry substantially more than the B17s, but even that may not have been the best strategy: Freeman Dyson noted that removing two turrets from the Lancaster would have increase the top speed by 50 mph, as well as putting two less crewmen at risk. (See? Not OT … Dyson, a climate connection right there!)

                I saw part of a Mosquito restoration project in Christchurch many years ago. I was amazed at how complex the wooden structures were. Very impressive.

                http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/602999-Freeman-Dyson-operational-research-and-the-night-bomber-offensive-Forums


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                Markx. A seriously good article by Freeman.I’m still reading it and must only be about a third through it.

                Dad used to frequently comment on the bomb load of the Mozzie and that only two men could take it and deliver it to the opposition. He had good reason to be impressed as his 64 ops in Wellingtons provided outstanding empirical evidence that he was onto a good thing when he got into a Mozzie! His job in Mozzies, however, was mainly trying to wreck the V1 sites – “Noball” targets, and during and after D-day, disrupting German traffic behind the lines.

                Freeman says that “Window” was strips of paper coated with aluminium paint. That is the first I’ve heard of that as I’d always read that it was aluminium foil – and Dad thought so, too. Something new every day, eh.

                He also mentions Schräge Musik or “Crooked Music” – Galland in his autobiography called it “Jazz Music”.

                Dad, at a Reunion in 1978 at Winnipeg (where he was made an honorary citizen)was pouring Adolf Galland a drink, when Douglas Bader said,

                “What are you pouring him a drink for, Popeye? He’s the bastard that started it all!”

                To which the old man replied, “Well, if he hadn’t of started it, we wouldn’t all be here having this booze-up.

                “Quite right!” said Bader, “Make it a big one!”

                They were actually good friends.

                I’ll leave it at that or Jo will give me the sack.


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                Roy Hogue

                Dave, markx,

                The B17 earned itself an enviable reputation as probably the toughest and most likely bomber to get you home from a mission during the war. But in the early years of the bombing of Germany they suffered tremendous losses. Because there were no fighters capable of escort duty all the way to target and back the losses over the target were so bad that the first one of them to complete the required 25 missions so the crew could rotate home was quite a milestone. Its name, Memphis Belle, was so well known among the bomb groups that it became legend. It was the subject of a movie maybe 10 years ago.

                When the P51, which could stay with the bombers all the way, entered the war the losses dropped dramatically. The B17 being armored and armed to the teeth also contributed to their ultimate success. It’s probably my favorite war bird.

                But no matter the ship, a bomber can’t dodge like a fighter, so they had to sit there and take whatever was thrown at them. I don’t envy any bomber crew in a combat situation. Those are the real Iron Men. I wonder if I could do it.

                Knowing that a pilot learns quickly that his life depends on his machine and learns to love it when it gets him through a mission, I’m not going to dispute anyone’s opinion about which aircraft was the best. I’ll leave it at this. Any landing you walk away from is a good landing and the plane that got you back down again is a good one.


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                Roy Hogue

                I found this Army Air Corps documentary about the Memphis Belle. If you’re at all interested in what the conditions were for the air crew, note the maximum time of useful consciousness at 25,000 feet without supplemental oxygen, 1 minute; and the maximum time you could expect to live without O2, period. Also note the temperature at that altitude, about a constant -40 F (-40 C). The B17 was not pressurized like the B29 so you had to work in the ambient conditions at that altitude. Near the end you can see that not even near total loss of the vertical fin, including all rudder control could stop several 17s from getting home.

                And here’s one more.


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                markx

                Thanks for the video link, Roy. Amazing to be able to view all that now with the Internet.

                By the way, I remember reading about the B17 crews laughing at the term “flying fortress” and pointing out they were in a very thin skinned aluminium can; I looked it up and came up with this:

                B-17’s had surprising little protective armor. Besides the armored seat backs, only the metal surrounding the waist gun cutouts and the bulkhead dividing the top turret gunner’s compartment from the bomb bay were reinforced with steelplate. The firewall dividing the cockpit from the navigator’s station was slightly reinforced but the nose section did not even have a steel deck for the bombardier.

                http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~josephkennedy/German_Pilot_Perspective.htm (very interesting too).


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                Roy Hogue

                By the way, I remember reading about the B17 crews laughing at the term “flying fortress” and pointing out they were in a very thin skinned aluminium can; I looked it up and came up with this:

                That is the unvarnished truth. Even had there been more armor, every crew member but the navigator had to have as extensive outside visibility as possible in order to do his job. And an airplane’s windshield or gun turret was nothing capable of stopping a bullet. The waist gunners stood at open “windows” so they could use their guns freely (can you imagine the wind chill at 200 MPH and -40 degrees?). So the B17 was a sitting duck all the time on a mission.

                Fortunately the German fighters had fuel constraints after climbing as fast as possible to their target’s altitude, then using high power during their attack and had no more than a few short minutes to do their job. They made up for the short time by sending eight to a dozen or more at once. But even so, being under attack for only a short time was a great benefit.

                I think the term Flying Fortress referred a lot more to the fact that it was heavily armed, more so than anything previously in the war, than to the fact that they had some armor. Even the bombardier, an officer, had front facing machine guns and used them except during the actual bomb run.

                As I said, those were the real Iron Men.


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                Roy Hogue

                I just looked at that last comment again. It should read,

                Even had there been more armor, every crew member but the radio operator had to have as extensive outside visibility as possible in order to do his job.

                Sometimes you can look right at your mistake and not see it.


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          Roy Hogue

          Every already Developed Country has been ordered by the UN to pay ALL…

          They do have that much unmitigated gall too, plain old hubris, self-righteousness arrogance, call it what you will. But they have it.

          This is an organization formed to provide a forum to resolve disputes between nations, not to run the world. They’ve put their original charter in the Secretary General’s executive washroom in case there’s none of the standard stuff available when he needs it.


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      ianl8888

      When I described Jones in an earlier thread as irascibly ignorant, I believe I chose the phrase carefully. The alternate explanation is that he is quite deliberately lying to try and keep his audience confused

      I’ve also heard a Greenie politician in relation to this same issue, state that “there’s gas and then there’s gas”. In both cases he was talking about CSG and CH4 as if they were completely separate and discreet chemical compounds


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      PhilJourdan

      Yeah, that’s not – well that’s not carbon, that’s methane.

      LOL! This is a great example of repeating a meme without understanding it. Methane is INDEED Carbon! It is not Carbon dioxide. So the meme goes “carbon” and then the sheep repeat it without understanding a thing they are saying.


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      Say, I wonder how many of you actually knew this little snippet.

      You know Tony Jones, long term host of Lateline.

      He’s married to Sarah Ferguson, now the host of 7.30.

      Now, surely there’s no nepotism involved in this, surely not!

      Oh dear!

      Nice one Aunty!

      Tony.


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    pat

    3 April: Bloomberg: Nick Leiber/Todd White: Foreign Frackers Now Find Comfort in Water-Hungry Spain
    These days, energy companies from Texas, Canada and Ireland are going after exploration and drilling permits in hopes of capitalizing on geology that indicates Spain has a sizable chunk of the 883 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in shale estimated to sit under Europe.
    What’s changed? A sluggish economy for one — the energy industry estimates fracking could eventually create tens of thousands of jobs in a nation with an unemployment rate of 26 percent. Unlocking gas deposits might ease what consumers pay for the heating fuel. It’s about triple the U.S. price…
    In December, two years after ousting the Socialists, the People’s Party-led Parliament changed a law to foster shale exploration with new environmental safeguards. Since then, the PP government sought Supreme Court approval to wrest control over land use from regional authorities who try to block fracking. And it’s kept intact a tax break for explorers established in the final years of the dictatorship in the 1970s…
    Europe is dividing into fracking camps. On one side are mostly conservative-leaning governments like those in the U.K., Poland and Spain that court shale explorers. On the other are those that have banned them such as France. Germany temporarily won’t allow toxic chemicals mixed into fracking water…
    Spain is also Europe’s most water-stressed nation. Fracking is a water-intensive drilling method that can consume 2 million to 4 million gallons of water per well…
    Most prospectors working in Spain have foreign support or ownership. They include Canada’s R2 Energy Ltd. and BNK, George Soros-backed San Leon Energy Plc in Dublin and a unit of closely-held True Oil LLC of Wyoming…
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-02/foreign-frackers-now-find-comfort-in-water-hungry-spain.html


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    pat

    VIDEO: 3 April: Bishop Hill: Ward versus Tol
    I am somewhat in awe of Channel Four news. I mean, Bob Ward writes a post criticising Richard Tol on an obscure page on the LSE website and Jon Snow, Cathy Newman et al leap into action to interrogate Tol on air. Not only that, but Ward is invited on to put his own case to Tol and Newman repeatedly accuses Tol of “having an agenda” because he is an unpaid adviser to GWPF while Ward, the paid mouthpiece for a wealthy environmentalist, is given a free ride. All that from a blog post!…
    ***COMMENT BY RICHARD TOL: This was not the debate as recorded.
    (CHECK ANTHONY WATTS’ CRITICISM OF TOL’S PERFORMANCE IN THE COMMENTS)
    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2014/4/3/ward-versus-tol.html

    ***am presuming Tol is referring to the editing of the discussion that was shown on Ch4.

    funny how the following transcript is headed “ward & newman” versus tol, given newman is ch4 journo!

    Transcript: Ward and Newman versus Tol
    https://sites.google.com/site/mytranscriptbox/home/20140402_c4


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    pat

    2 April: UK MailOnSunday: Peter Hitchens Blog: Beware of the Green Rapture. It May Not Happen
    But isn’t the problem here that there are so few scientific facts about the future? And that there are not very many more about determining the causes of the measurable changes in climate which have taken place. The mere fact that the climate zealots are reduced to using formulations such as ‘not accepted by 97% of scientists’ actually establishes that this is a matter of opinion….
    So I’ll stick to this. I think that those who wish to command vast quantities of public money, who wish to place severe and damaging restrictions on our economy, who in many cases make a great deal of money out of ‘alternative energy’, carbon credits and similar schemes, are the ones who must bear the burden of proof. Those of us who think they may be mistaken are not merely entitled to say so without being smeared or roughly elbowed aside by or elected representatives and by the BBC we help to pay for. We should be welcomed, as being the only force capable of causing these zealots to make their case properly and scientifically. As any scientist knows, no scientific question can be decided by majority vote or popularity test. That is the whole point of science and the reason why we revere it – it seeks the truth, though the heavens fall ( and also in the face of sneers and derision).
    As soon as scientists become lobbyists, politicians and shouters-down of opponents, they lose any right to assert that they have some special advantage in argument…
    I’d just like to add a small point, that my views on this are influenced by nothing other than observation and judgement. I counted myself an environmentalist before the term was invented. I loathe the pollution and rape of our countryside, and indeed of much of the planet. I wince with something quite like pain whenever a tree is cut down. I am nobody’s secret lobbyist. I ride a bicycle , and have done so since long before it was modish, because I believe motor cars to be wasteful, dirty and over-used.
    http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2014/04/beware-of-the-green-rapture-it-may-not-happen-.html

    for those who can access The Monthly – i heard the whole piece on radio for the blind today – and it’s left versus right from start to finish. so many false assumptions, so much of what i detest about tribal politics:

    March Issue: The Monthly: Don Watson: Presenter envy
    http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=115310642751607;res=IELLCC


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      Roy Hogue

      But isn’t the problem here that there are so few scientific facts about the future?

      Actually, there aren’t many facts of any kind about the future. But that will certainly not stop anyone from proclaiming they know exactly what will happen and that it will be bad unless we follow their advice.


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    pat

    can u believe this?

    4 April: Brisbane Times: Cameron Atfield: Research set to protect beer from climate change
    Facing the possibility climate change could significantly increase the price of beer, a Queensland researcher is on mission to drought-proof the amber fluid…
    The incorporation of the so-called “stay-green” traits first identified in sorghum could mean a more stable supply of carbohydrates for the brewing process, University of Queensland researcher Peter Gous said.
    Mr Gous said a changing climate could affect grains “horribly”, with the amount of starch in non-stay-green samples put under water stress in a pilot study fluctuating more than those with the stay-green genetic traits.
    “If it pushes normal starch in the grain to the point that it becomes resistant starch, the cost of producing your XXXX is going to increase,” he said.
    “So rather than paying $5 for a beer, for example you’re going to be paying $15 or $20 for the same quality and quantity of beer.
    “I’m not saying they’re the actual values, but the amount of energy and water and things that have to go into the brewing process will increase.”
    The pilot study, published in the Journal of Cereal Science, examined how the presence of the stay-green group of genes could assist grains deal with water stresses, such as drought and how their expression affects starch structure…
    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/research-set-to-protect-beer-from-climate-change-20140403-361lt.html


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    pat

    can’t get more dumbed down than this:

    VIDEO 2.08: The Furry Facts about climate change
    Every six years a lot of attention is focused on the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. John Shakespeare and Nicky Phillips explain why.
    http://media.smh.com.au/featured/the-furry-facts-about-climate-change-5319734.html


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    pat

    martin (global warming swindle) durkin has a new docu on uk politician, nigel farage:

    Nigel Farage, Who are you ? – Channel 4 documentary
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fV-TbeGoQcs


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    Rogueelement451

    Power delegated to the few will always involve appeals to the masses in a democratic system.
    The fact that there are more people who want than people who have involves the transfer from top to bottom.
    Any politician knows that increasing the tax burden on the poor is not going to win votes , they also know that if the tax burden on the wealthy is too great then the wealthy up sticks and move to a more beneficial habitat, so the balancing act.
    Everyone knows that cigarettes are harmful so tax them to the hilt, same with alcohol, but then you reach a stage where there is insufficient tax collected to fund the election promises so what to do? Along comes Global Warming , a life saver for Governments, a new form of tax they can rack up at will to disperse amongst the prols. and appear to be saintly whilst ripping the guts out of manufacturing with exorbitant charges direct and indirect.
    When this particular Ponzi Scheme collapses ,the burden of collecting more taxes will fall on the lower paid as per usual, whilst the illusion of a Green Nirvana disappears up its own fundamental orifice.


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    John Brookes

    I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives. It is those principles—the principles of a free society—that have shaped my life, my family, our company and America itself.

    Oh so noble! I’m guessing he has actually devoted most of his life to making money. More money than he could possibly ever spend.

    Indicentally, I saw a TV show once about a building in New York where as well as a lot of other people, one of the Koch brothers lived. They interviewed one of the people who worked there, employed to do stuff like load up the residents cars when they went on holidays. He said that Koch was a lousy tipper, giving just $50 at Christmas – and buy cheque, so that he could get the tax deduction.

    Koch is just a rich arsehole who wants the rules skewed in his favour. Why would anyone think otherwise?

    And while I’m at it, does anyone think that Clive Palmer is acting out of anything more than pure self interest? Surely the greatest bullshit artist to have graced our TV screens in many a year.


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      Wow! Class envy rears its ugly head again. Again, do you send extra money to your government or not file for deductions on your taxes (assuming you actually pay taxes)? Only class envy says a rich guy should tip more than everyone else and forego tax deductions “because he has more money” (translation–if you have more money than I think you should, you better share or else). Every single socialist/leftist/Democrat/progressive out there does the same thing. Energy companies use their tax breaks to pay for NG power plants, the tax break from wind plants. They take every single tax deduction out there and since much of their money is in investments, they have low taxable income. They get tax breaks for political donations. Class envy does bad things to people brains–removes rational thought.


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      Bite Back

      He said that Koch was a lousy tipper, giving just $50 at Christmas – and buy cheque, so that he could get the tax deduction.

      So John, is that the criterion by which we judge each other now? I guess I need to rethink what I’m doing because my standard 15% tip to the waitress after receiving no more than standard service is too low by your reasoning. So tell me, what should it be instead?

      You should also learn something about tax law in the USA. Tips, even those given at Christmas are not tax deductible. Not even in New York City.

      Why do people expect the wealthy to pave their way through life?


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      PhilJourdan

      When was the last time you gave a $50 tip? When was the last time you earned a tip?

      In short, Sheri is correct. You hate them because you cannot be like them. They have never done anything against you, nor deprived you of anything. But because you are too lazy to work for a living, you begrudge others that do.

      Typical. I do not know either brother and would not recognize them if I saw them on the street. But they never tried to steal from me (and call it a tax or a carbon something). Al gore has. George Soros has. And so have a lot of other rich hypocrites (Arianna Huffington – The plane was going there anyway).

      I respect them for their integrity, honesty, work ethic, and the fact they do not want to run my life. None of which can be said of the left. That is enough for me.


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      James Bradley

      John, this is not the Communist Utopia – the spin off from a few people making really big money is that many people get the opportunity to make decent money, pay tax, have families, enjoy life and the world goes round – unlike our previous Australian Labor Government that spent big on projects on a pretext to support the “working class” because of the Global Finacial Crisis while activeley assisting the syphoning of funds into the deep pockets of a select few of their union hierarchy comrades and leaving an almost insurmountable booby-trap debt that the ‘worker’ now has to pay off because your utopian ideal allows for voluntarily non-productive parasites to continue to suck the blood from the system.


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      James Bradley

      John – I do agree with you on Clive Palmer, you nailed him fairly and squarely.


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      markx

      Dang, this is a dreadful situation I find myself in … Brooksey and I are almost on the same side in this debate ….

      But not quite: Koch is not an ****hole just because he is rich … he is simply a man who has taken advantage of the ‘rules of the game’ as they now stand … he shows some integrity in condemning the abomination that is corn ethanol, and his success indicates that he undoubtedly looks after his workers very well.

      Although granted, efforts like this essay are all about maintaining that status quo or further increasing any advantages.

      It is not up to him to proclaim the ‘rules of the game’ may be wrong, it is up to the rest of us to note; “Hey, is this really panning out the way we expected? Was not this great capitalist system supposed to allow natural competition from any small start up, not just competition from another giant multi-national?”

      The Koch brothers are working within the system, and part of that is convincing lawmakers the system is going swimmingly, (easy enough, you give them money make political donations, and promise to look after them and their families for life offer them boardroom seats when they retire to leverage the last drop out of their connections and favours owed in the horsetrading deals we call politics to take advantage of their brilliant business minds to advance your businesses.

      We can note that they also work within the system by programming their clamouring acolytes with their explanations of why the masses should fight to the death for this great society where some have all the systems gamed in their favour where any man can succeed if only he works hard.


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        Mark D.

        The Koch brothers are working within the system

        So you aren’t working within the “system”?

        We can note that they also work within the system by programming their clamouring acolytes with their explanations of why the masses should fight to the death for this great society

        Conspiracy theorist! Yet offer no alternative to solve any problem.

        You are a ratbag nutter. It is just that simple.


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        Mark D.

        Dang, this is a dreadful situation I find myself in … Brooksey and I are almost on the same side in this debate ….

        Dreadful indeed and you have good sense to notice.


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        Mark D.

        PS, ratbag nutter MAY have been a bit strong. I’ll withdraw that for at least the moment. :)


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          markx

          Mark D.

          Working within the system is a good thing. We all should do it, and take any advantage we can get.

          My question is whether the system needs a few adjustments.

          Sorry, “programming acolytes” is just another (nastier) way of saying they are promoting belief in a system they like, by (falsely, in my opinion) trying to convince everyone that as it is now it the best system for everybody, and the only system that will work.

          Alternatives? Nay, modifications. And putting forward the idea to carefully examine that which you are preached, and that which you believe. It ain’t necessarily so.

          You are a ratbag nutter. Well, there are plenty who would say you got that bit correct! :-)


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    Backslider writes at 32.1.2.1.9,

    What does “well regulated militiaa” mean to you? Does it mean that we should let just anybody walk around with guns, or does it mean there should be a “well regulated” militia for the security of the state (eg. the police).

    I think that you are the dickhead Mark and yet another right wing bun totin’ looney who doesn’t understand their own constitution.

    Here is what the FOUNDING Fathers thought of gun ownership and the second amendment many of them help create.

    From a climate skeptic no less,he he he:

    Real Science

    What Is A Militia?

    EXCERPT:

    The founding fathers were pretty clear that a militia has nothing to do with an army.

    “[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”

    –James Madison, The Federalist Papers, No. 46

    “No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”

    – Thomas Jefferson, Proposal Virginia Constitution, 1 T. Jefferson Papers, 334,[C.J. Boyd, Ed., 1950]

    ” … to disarm the people – that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.“

    – George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 380

    “And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress … to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms…. “

    –Samuel Adams

    That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided, as dangerous to liberty; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

    Virginia Bill of Rights

    “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.”

    — George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788

    LINK for a LOT more

    I think you need to retrench on this one bub.


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    Backslider incredibly writes at post 32.1.2.2.4,

    Go on then Sheri. Take up arms against your own government… then see what happens. Then come back and tell me again that I was wrong about you.

    This is not an argument about the USA constitution. It’s about the fact that you are a fringe dwelling extremist.

    They did back in the 1770′s and won against one of the most powerful armies in the world at the time.

    It has happened many times with success in various parts of the world through out history.I think you need to slow down on the shooting in the foot practice.

    He he he…..


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    Roy Hogue

    If you remember my saying I occasionally get something at least interesting by keeping the NewsMax email newsletter coming, here’s an example and it pertains to this thread which is still getting attention today.

    That the attack on the Kochs is coming from Mother Jones says it all.


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      PhilJourdan

      You know why there is not a book called “targeting the Soros dynasty”?

      Conservatives do not care.


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        Roy Hogue

        I’m not sure they don’t care. Some may not but a lot of conservatives do. But simply attacking an opponent with ad homs isn’t productive. And that’s all that will come out of Mother Jones. It’s just more election year spin.


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          PhilJourdan

          Do you really care what Soros thinks? I guess how I meant it was that we do not “begrudge” leftists their side of the debate. That they want to believe it is fine. We do not have to destroy them just because they are wrong.


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