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Dave_Schuldt

Seymour Hearsh Is At It Again.

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Scary times we are in. Here's a choice tidbit:

 

"These are punitive people. One of the ways - one of the things that you could say is, the amazing thing is we are been taken over basically by a cult, eight or nine neo-conservatives have somehow grabbed the government. Just how and why and how they did it so efficiently, will have to wait for much later historians and better documentation than we have now, but they managed to overcome the bureaucracy and the Congress, and the press, with the greatest of ease. It does say something about how fragile our Democracy is. You do have to wonder what a Democracy is when it comes down to a few men in the Pentagon and a few men in the White House having their way."

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So... the assumption seems to be:

the only reason the current regime exists is that slightly more than half of your countrymen are dumber than dirt.

 

Could there be another explanation?

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That's in simple terms, but true. Maybe unsophisticated would be a better choice of words. Or that the priorities they hold - keep gays out of my neighborhood and make abortion illegal, just rise above all other concerns no matter the larger economic or moral outcomes.

 

I consider myself fiscally conservative and socially progressive. I've had several conversations with friends that voted for Bush and see a basic conflict. They seem to agree with Bush's rhetoric, but not with his policies. So is that "dumber than dirt" or misplaced optimisim I don't know. I do know that this admistration's policies are not in the self-interest of the of most of us, unless you're in the extreme upper income brackets, the oil industry, or a defense contractor. The press is sleeping, the populace is happy if they can still fill up the SUV for under $75. Unfortunately we will likely see better in hindsight, after Bush and his cronies have left us with his mess to clean up.

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Are the homophobes and right-to-life crowd the same people that are pro-invasion? I myself can see some logic in taking the war to the mid-east, but am confounded by the bigotry that seems to be tacked on to these policies.

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And what sound logic might that be? And if there were any why did the administration, rather than have that reasonable dialog with the public, choose instead to use lies and scare tactics. And the results are less than promising. From current polls the public is not happy with the Bushy's Iraq policies.

 

I do think that for many folks abortion and those vague "values" over-ride considerations for other policies they find hard to swallow.

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I think that people haven't been able to get a handle yet on government that says on thing and does another. For the past 20-30 years we have had a government that more or less did what it said. Many of the people who voted this year have not read Orwell's 1984. In a word, they are gullible- not stupid, but gullible.

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I do agree that the lies and scare tactics were used, and that the results of the war are not what was promised. I just wonder if, despite the lies, Bush supporters aren't dumb, just pro-invasion, and that the anti-tolerance values weren't piggybacked along with that sentiment.

 

There must be stats available for anti-gay vs anti-abortion vs pro-war Bush supporters.

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Personally, if I was a Republican, I'd be embarrassed by my party's tactics under the banner of GWB. He's doing everything they purport (as much as I understand the GOP)

to be against. Fiscal discipline, meddling in foreign affairs, taking away personal freedoms, big government, I thought the GOP was opposed to all of this. And in the interest of equal consideration, let me just say if I was a Democrat, I'd be PISSED at how that party rolls over and plays dead. They're toothless. I'm so fucking pissed at the way things are going in this country, and nobody seems to give a fuck that we're leaving a huge mess for our children to clean up. On BOTH sides of the aisle. When's the revolution? I'm gettin there. madgo_ron.gif

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Personally, if I was a Republican, I'd be embarrassed by my party's tactics under the banner of GWB. He's doing everything they purport (as much as I understand the GOP)

to be against. Fiscal discipline, meddling in foreign affairs, taking away personal freedoms, big government, I thought the GOP was opposed to all of this. And in the interest of equal consideration, let me just say if I was a Democrat, I'd be PISSED at how that party rolls over and plays dead. They're toothless. I'm so fucking pissed at the way things are going in this country, and nobody seems to give a fuck that we're leaving a huge mess for our children to clean up. On BOTH sides of the aisle. When's the revolution? I'm gettin there. madgo_ron.gif

 

This about sums it up for me too. thumbs_down.gifconfused.gif

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Who are the parochial ones that favor simple explanations again?

 

This "people-who's convictions-differ-from-my-own-are-gullible-or-dumb" assertion, while providing some solace and comfort to the ego in the face of successive losses at the polls, is hardly a the nuanced, complex, mutlifaceted synthesis one would expect from urbane doyens of the Democratic party.

 

My advice to turn things around: Make Howard Dean the head of the DNC (or Barbara Boxer), keep Keynesian Mercantilism (trade bad, tarriffs and government monopolies good) at the center of your economic policy, and keep the tepid isolationism going strong. This, in combination with the keen understanding of Republican electorate demonstrated above, will guarantee victory in all subsequent elections.

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While another general name-calling horseshoe tossed in the pit, you've managed again to avoid addressing any issue.

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I just find it ironic that there's a chorus of people deriding their opponents as simpletons, while espousing one of the grandest oversimplifications I've ever seen.

 

This notion that anyone who holds a viewpoint other than your own is an idiot is comforting to the ego, and easier than actually thinking about things, but isn't terribly useful if your goal is to actually understand the beliefs of your adversaries.

 

I used to dismiss all Creationists as idiots and leave it at that. They certainly espouse a belief that is anithetical to my own, and it is clear that their explanation for the phenomena that they are trying to address is categorically wrong. But - after doing a fair bit of research in them in pursuit of a history of science degree, I would hesitate to dismiss them all as stupid. Quite a number of Creationists are employed in fields that require a high IQ like electrical engineering and computer science, and many of the public spokesmen have advanced degrees in such fields. Call them what you want, but stupid, at least with respect to IQ, analytical abilities, et al doesn't seem terribly accurate. The best explanation I came away with when trying to understand how intelligent people could be ardent Creationists was that they had ideological commitments at the center of their world-views which pre-empted their willingness to believe anything could undermine them, no matter how strong the factual evidence, the theoretical rigor, or the demonstrable predictive capacity of the theory in question. This seems more defensible in arenas where the evidence is quite a bit more mixed, as in politics, than in matters of science - but so be it. Wrong - yes. Stupid - no.

 

People who believe that Communism could really work if it was just given the chance, the the totalitarian regimes that made up the Eastern Block were the moral equivalents of the US, that mandating a "living wage" will actually reduce net poverty in the long run, that high tarriffs, rigid labor markets, and government monopolies will lead to prosperity, the religious faithful of all denominations, the more vapid advocates of alternative medicine, abstinence only sex-ed, advocates of draconian drug laws, etc, etc - are about as mystifying to me as Creationists but I would hardly argue that smart people couldn't possibly believe such things, (or mock them when I see fit.)

 

What it all comes down to is its not what someone believes, but why they believe it, that determines whether or not they are actually an idiot.

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What it all comes down to is its not what someone believes, but why they believe it, that determines whether or not they are actually an idiot.

And judging by the polls - most Americans are idiots. Voting for a politican based on such silly things as "values" is ignorant of the reality of politics, the position, the government and the world - in my opinion.

 

It's amusing to see someone on the right espouse the "I'm OK, your Ok" "all values are equally wonderful" crap that the left loves. Everyone has a right to think whatever they damn well please - but all values are not created equal.

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I'm not sure how the above ramble applies, but I think the basic question posed was if the majority of folks are voting against their self interest then what are the factors for making their decision. Are there "bigger" issues than their self or children's interest such as "family values", whatever that rehetoric that means.

 

So there is only a couple of agurments to be made: 1) that the orginal premise is wrong and somehow the war and it's costs, the tax cuts to the rich, the history making deficit, and coporate give-aways are good for you (from any logical process this seems doubtful); or 2) that folks are aware of the compromise on other issues but buy the rhetoric and ignore the facts, or have key issues -abortion, protection of marriage, blah, blah, that outweigh the other policies that negatively affect them.

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What it all comes down to is its not what someone believes, but why they believe it, that determines whether or not they are actually an idiot.

 

Excellent diatribe, I agree wholeheartedly. I would add that calling people idiots may not be the best way to try to bring them around to another way of thinking.

 

History of Science, eh? Did you happen to read the article in the recent "skeptical enquirer" about science and ignorance? I didn't get all the way through, it was a bit pedantic, but an interesting notion nonetheless.

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If it's the tradeoff they are after, they have to be a little worried about Bush's schedule lately.

 

He has been stumping vigorously the last month about his vague social security overhaul and even had a surprise press conference taking questions about it yesterday.

 

While at a giant pro-life rally in Washington D.C. Bush made his appearance by telephone. It was pretty funny to see all those people staring intently and cheering, for a couple megawatt speakers. laugh.gif

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Are there "bigger" issues than their self or children's interest such as "family values", whatever that rehetoric that means.

 

 

That was my question, anyway. I suspect that deep down, a great many Americans are all for invading the middle east, whether for good reasons or not. I just wonder about the "values" that seem to be associated with it. Perhaps it is not a given, ie that pro-war equals anti-gay, but rather a political tactic by the anti-war people to paint the pro-war people with a broad brush.

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Some replies:

 

1) Supporting the use of millitary force in particular circumstances does not mean that one is "pro-war" in a global sense. I am sure that the millions of dead in Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, and now Sudan are resting in peace knowing that that at the very least the nasty pro-war people did not succeed in rallying public opinion for armed intervention on their behalf.

 

2)The "Values" canard was dispelled by just about every post election analysis that asked the so called "values" voters meant when they checked the box on the roster of limited choices. Once they parsed the results out the percent that actually meant religious values was relatively small. Most respondents who checked the box meant "convictions," which had it appeared on the surveys in the place of "values," would probably not cast the Left into such a tizzy.

 

3)"I'm not sure how the above ramble applies, but I think the basic question posed was if the majority of folks are voting against their self interest then what are the factors for making their decision. Are there "bigger" issues than their self or children's interest such as "family values", whatever that rehetoric that means"

 

There's no way to look at a given individual and say that voting for X or Y is absolutely in his or her self interest - that implies entirely on the values of the person making the assesment - and this leaves aside the question of whether or not a person voting in his or her true interests, if such a thing could be defined, would make choices that were beneficial to society at large, which would also depend on what one believes is good for society, etc, etc, etc. The bottom line is that for better or worse, for the average decision, each individual is best positioned to decide what is in his or her best interest. I am sure that you would be uncomfortable with a Babtist prison guard from Alabama telling you what's in your best interests, and the said prison guard is would probably be just as enthusiastic about you telling him that contrary to what he thinks - you actually know what's best for him.

 

Take a worker on the low end of the wage-scale deciding whether or not to vote for a "living wage" in the US. For argument's sake let's assume that means $13.50 per hour.

 

I would argue that in voting for that law, he'd be voting against his self interest because if such a law was passed, labor costs would exceed the value generated by a given input of unskilled labor, companies employing such people would see their profits decline or dissappear altogether, and would either shut down, move elsewhere, or lay-off their most marginal contributors in an effort to stay in business. In the absence of a monetary adjustment by the Fed to increase money supply in a static GDP environment, which would drive everyone's real (as opposed to money)wages back down to a level where workers in his wage category could actually produce goods or services equal to the real cost of their labor to their employers, unemployment would skyrocket, the economy as a whole would stagnate or go into recession, tax revenues would fall accordingly - so in the end he'd be out of a job and the nation would have less resources available to help him out. Not to mention the fact that as someone who spends most of his income on necessities, he'd see any real wage increase he got out of the deal (assuming the Fed didn't inflate them away) inflated away into oblivion by increased labor costs amplified at each stage in the supply chain.

 

You'd probably say that he should vote for the measure if he wanted to vote in his own interest. Is my line of thinking really more simplistic than yours? I bet 9 out of 10 economists would concur with my argument and dismiss the "living wage" idea as masochistic populism at its finest, championed by people who shouldn't be left alone at the till of a 7-11, let alone making decisions that would have global effects on employment costs, competitiveness, etc.

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Jay, you are a supply-sider if there ever was one. The assumption that you make are that if you raise the minimum wage that jobs will be cut. That may be true in some cases, but not in others. Certainly more true in manufacturing than in the service sector. Maybe the solution is not across the board wage supports but targeted ones. Maybe Milton Friedman's idea of a negative Income Tax instead? There's one that never took off.

 

This is where tarrifs come in. The only argument for tarrifs is one of national defense. The supply of certain goods could be cut off in time of war. Propping up a domestic manufacturing helps ensure supply.

 

Getting back to the word "idiot". I don't think anyone here thinks the word is being used in the literal sense. We are using it to describe people who lack the ability think critically. I've always thought that one of America's strong points was that we taught our children to think critically. All the emphasis on test scores and the like is a sign that we no longer value the ability to think, but rather to regurgitate information.

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This isn't so much an issue of supply-side economics versus other theories as it is a reflection of some basic realities. If the price of something increases to the point where you can no longer employ it profitably, you will stop using it.

 

Take the price of gas for example. Assume that you are in the delivery business and you use 1 gallon of gas at $2.00 per gallon to make every delivery, and that this is your only cost. You are able to charge $5 for each delivery. Then assume that legislation is introduced that forces you to pay $6 a gallon for gas. Your competitors are free to purchase gas at the market price. Guess what's going to happen to your business?

 

Swap gas for labor and...

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I'm still not getting any answers that make sense.

 

That's and intresting example regarding hourly wage but why not use an applicable example? What is the logic of going to war in Iraq and spending $1.5 billion per week while at the same time

 

1) lowering taxes for rich

2)passing a medicare drug plan that benefits the drug companys

3)siphoning off 10% of Social Security and going trillions more into debt

 

Seriously. If you're just the normal working stiff, what are you getting out of this besides more debt for you and your kids, making a hornet's nest out of Iraq, with much less to spend on education, housing, and health care at home. It's not logical. That's the confusing part - I see no logical argument on how the Bushies' policies are helping the vast majority who voted for him.

 

Oh - I forgot - Freedom is on the march. Is that the correct response. Does anyone really believe that there will be a productive ending in Iraq?

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All I am saying is that it isn't cut and dry. In many industries, the price of the product CAN be raised to compensate for the higher wage costs. Also, in many cases, labor is only a small fraction of the product cost.

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I've posted quite a few arguments concerning why I think removing Hussein by force was the best option that you are free to look up elsewhere.

 

It is too early to judge whether or not the eventuall outcome in Iraq will justify the costs. Ditto for Afghanistan.

 

In general, armed interventions do not lend themselves very well to monetary cost benefit analysis that you seem to be suggesting as a metric for assesing whether or not an armed intervention is in a given person's interests or not. We surely saved a bundle by not intervening in Rwanda, spent billions on the operation to contain the Serbs - and untold trillions in a decades long test of wills with Totalitarianism. We could have surely saved a staggering sum by making peace with Germany in 1939 - this was quite a popular movement amongst the "peace" activists of the day, BTW - but looking ahead and trying to make decisions based on some sort of objectively verifiable monetary balance sheet would have been impossible then, as it is now.

 

As far as the tax cuts for the rich argument is concerned - every tax cut for whatever constitutes the rich in the Left's eyes has resulted in the people in the top quintile of earners paying a greater share of the total tax burden.

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As far as the tax cuts for the rich argument is concerned - every tax cut for whatever constitutes the rich in the Left's eyes has resulted in the people in the top quintile of earners paying a greater share of the total tax burden.

And has resulted in greater social stagnation in the US "meritocracy" wave.gif

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