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Sunday, March 31, 2013

OTP: April 2013: Daily Caller: Baseball and the GOP: To rebrand the party, think like a sports fan

This week’s GOP autopsy report, commissioned by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, is a great start in the much-needed task of rebranding the Republican Party. As the chairman acknowledged, “the way we communicate our principles isn’t resonating widely enough” and “we have to be more inclusive.” The report contains 219 recommendations to “connect people to our principles.” To achieve that goal, the party will need a strategic vision of how voters think about politics, which is something that the report lacks. For that, the GOP can learn a lot from another American passion: baseball.

This year, about 75 million Americans will go to the baseball stadium to watch a ballgame, about the same number as those who will vote in next year’s election. We rarely think about why someone becomes a baseball fan, or why they root for a certain team. Nor do we usually think about why someone chooses to vote for a certain political party. But it’s actually a very useful exercise.

When it comes to baseball, fan loyalty has almost nothing to do with the brain, and almost everything to do with the heart. In all of history, there’s never been a baseball fan who rooted for his team because it had the lowest ticket prices, or because it had the most taxpayer-friendly stadium deal, or because its players did the most community service. For the vast majority of Americans, rooting for a baseball team — not to mention, voting for a political party — isn’t really a rational choice; it’s more of a statement of personal identity — a statement telling the world, “This is who I am.” And for most people, defining “who I am” starts with family and community, before branching out into areas like race, age, gender, and class.

Family is pretty straightforward. If your mom and dad are Yankee fans, you’re almost certainly a Yankee fan. The same is true in politics. If your mom and dad are Republicans, you’re almost certainly a Republican.

Community is also pretty straightforward. If you grew up in, say, Philadelphia, chances are pretty great you’re a Phillies fan. Likewise, someone who grew up in Republican territory like, say, suburban Dallas or rural Indiana is much more likely to become a Republican than a nearly identical person from Seattle or Santa Fe.

Cities with more than one baseball team, like New York or Chicago, show revealing breakdowns by race and gender. The racial split in Chicago between Cubs fans on the North Side and White Sox fans on the South Side is well-documented. In New York, there’s an intriguing gender gap between Mets and Yankee fans, with women gravitating a lot more to the Yanks. While there’s a few theories out there trying to explain that, one obvious answer leaps out: Yankees heartthrob Derek Jeter.

In sports, as in politics, people’s convictions can’t be conveniently reduced to who their parents are or what they look like. But those things are an important foundation, upon which more rational sentiments come into being. Once you’re attached to your team on an emotional level — seeing them as a personal reflection of who you are and what you care about most — a rational exterior comes into being through phrases like “the Red Sox are the best team because they have the most heart” or “the Republicans are the best party because they know how to create jobs.”

Tripon Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:52 AM | 6544 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   6301. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 06:22 AM (#4430348)
For all the crimes Obama is accused of committing by the right, not closing gitmo and indicting a couple hundred torturers is not going to be looked on fondly by history. Worse than drones.
First, history is going to think it's bizarre that anyone focuses on "drones," as if the choice of weapons used, rather than what they're used for, is significant. Second, anything Obama dos wrong in these areas will just be excused as something the GOP forced him to do.
   6302. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 06:48 AM (#4430351)
Poverty of course is anything but the normal condition of man. It takes a whole lot of skimming and a whole lot of force to create an impoverished population.
I can't tell whether you believe this or not. It's the kind of thing a conservative would write if he was parodying a liberal. And then everyone else would point out how it's a total strawman, because nobody could be that stupid, and of course liberals have a better understanding of economics and human history than that.

Wealth has to be created. It does not fall like manna from heaven. Nothing can be "skimmed" until someone creates it.
   6303. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 08:15 AM (#4430368)
And yet, some shout 'Huzzah! Look at these uniquely gifted geniuses without whom the world would collapse into dust and despair!' It's like watching a pack of monkeys build a statue of a monkey, paste a nameplate 'great monkey' on it, and holler, 'look! It's a great monkey!'
So in this analogy you'd be the feces-flinging monkey in the corner who had nothing to do with it, jumping around and screeching and saying, "I could have done that."
   6304. Lassus Posted: May 01, 2013 at 08:27 AM (#4430376)
I can't tell whether you believe this or not. It's the kind of thing a conservative would write if he was parodying a liberal.

I'm practically a communist and it doesn't make sense to me either. Jack will be happy to tell you I'm a mongoloid dolt, though, so it isn't much help.
   6305. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 09:06 AM (#4430401)
Poverty of course is anything but the normal condition of man. It takes a whole lot of skimming and a whole lot of force to create an impoverished population.


With nods to David and Lassus, since the vast majority of people in the history of mankind have been poor, I'd think you'd have to say poverty is indeed that natural condition of mankind.

Throughout most of human history population would always expand to the limits of the available food supply, and productivity didn't improve very much. Per capita income was remarkably stagnant. Only the wonders of the industrial and scientific revolutions allowed production to finally outstrip population growth for good..
   6306. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 09:25 AM (#4430424)
Good ol' 'Dim'hofe ...


A conspiracy theory is getting renewed life among Republicans who claim that the Obama administration, specifically the Department of Homeland Security, is buying up ammunition in order to thwart gun owners by taking over the market. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Rep. Frank Lucas, both Republicans from Oklahoma, introduced a bill last week to crack down on the alleged practice.

The Hill reports:

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe and Rep. Frank Lucas have introduced a bill that would prohibit every government agency — except the military — from buying more ammunition each month, than the monthly average it purchased from 2001 to 2009.

The lawmakers say the Obama administration is buying up exceedingly high levels of ammunition in an attempt to limit the number of bullets the American public have access to on the open marketplace.

Inhofe argued that Obama has been “adamant about curbing law-abiding Americans’ access and opportunities to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” and that “One way the Obama Administration is able to do this is by limiting what’s available in the market with federal agencies purchasing unnecessary stockpiles of ammunition.”

On Tuesday, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, had a similar conversation with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council on Sandy Rios’ radio show, noting that he’s been “buying my kids ammo instead of saving bonds.”

“That’s part of the concern is that this is another way for the president to keep Americans from having ammo by having the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies buy it all up,” Perkins said. “Yep,” replied Jordan.

Others, including Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, and Fox Business’s Lou Dobbs, have had related concerns about the government “arming up.”

Similar versions of this theory have been floating around the right for some time. Politifact Texas found it to be “mostly false” when a chain email suggested last year that the DHS was preparing for “massive civil unrest” by stockpiling ammo.

Even the NRA debunked these kinds of conspiracy theories in a press release last summer, saying that the DHS buying ammo is perfectly normal: “Much of the concern stems from a lack of understanding of the law enforcement functions carried about by officers in small federal agencies. These agents have the power to make arrests and execute warrants, just like their better-known counterparts at agencies like the FBI.”

“As most gun owners will agree, skepticism of government is healthy. But today, there are more than enough actual threats to the Second Amendment to keep gun owners busy,” the NRA continued.


   6307. GregD Posted: May 01, 2013 at 09:33 AM (#4430427)
Since droughts and floods are natural and since mankind has relied upon agriculture for thousands of years, I think it's self-evident that poverty is the natural state of man except in a few areas where you could really make a go as a pure hunter/gatherer. And I'm a basic social democrat who has no problem with government ownership of some (not all!) of the means of production.

It takes organization to make wealth, and it takes some form of rule of law to make wealth that has any form of reliability, and it takes tax-supported infrastructure to make most types of modern wealth possible, so that's the reason I'm for high levels of taxation on the wealthy, not because they've fixed the system but because 1) they've benefited hugely from it and 2) it's the price of making it possible for the next generation to have opportunities to make wealth.
   6308. Ron J2 Posted: May 01, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4430454)
Since we've discussed voting irregularities, registration, etc in the past, Here is an article (contains link to full report) on voting irregularities in Canada. (contains estimates of the frequency of various types of problems)

Probably the most important issue: (quoting from the article) Mistakes are happening in ridings across Canada, Neufeld concludes, because the hastily trained army of 200,000 single-day election workers fail to understand the complicated paperwork involved. [IOW, the primary source of error is on the administrative side -- RNJ] Many also don’t want to tell voters, especially older voters, that they have to go to a different polling station when they turn up at the wrong place. [Covered in the article and in more detail in the report. Elections Canada would like to change the system, but there isn't time. -- RNJ]

And (again from the article)

“Serious errors, of a type the courts consider ‘irregularities’ that can contribute to an election being overturned, were found to occur in 12 percent of all Election Day cases involving voter registration, and 42 percent of cases involving identity vouching.”

The auditors estimate that there were irregularities associated with 1.3 per cent of all votes cast in the 2011 election, many involving paperwork errors with the vouching process for voters who need to be sworn in.

(The need to be sworn in comes from people who were either missed in the registration phase or don't have acceptable ID -- or don't have acceptable ID with them)
   6309. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4430463)
Great post here by Ta-Nehisi Coates:

I spent some time talking to a 90-year-old man who'd come up from Mississippi. His family had been reduced to sharecropping after the county government took their land. "In Mississippi, there was no law," he told me. There was no law in Chicago either. The gentleman purchased his home for $26,000. He later found out that the deed-holder had purchased the same home -- only weeks before -- for $9,000.

Above is a picture I took of a chart showing how the scheme could work. The chart was produced by activist lawyers in the late 60s trying to demonstrate the effects of contract buying. There are four columns "Documented Price Paid By Speculator," "Documented Price Change To Negro Buyer," "Markup," "Approximate Additional Interest," and "Total Additional Charges." In that chart you can literally see black wealth leaving one neighborhood and migrating to another. It was not just legal. It was the whole point.
   6310. zonk Posted: May 01, 2013 at 11:03 AM (#4430489)
And even if it was true (Wal-Mart pays taxes too and I wager a truckload of Walmart goods driving on the road brings a lot more revenue than some dude driving to pick up a hamburger), it's a big so what. If the government sells me a fishing pole for $50 and I use it to feed my family and sells my neighbor a fishing pole for $50 and he uses it for firewood, it's like arguing that I'm getting so much more that I'm robbing the government.

As long as Wal-Mart is paying their proportional share of the actual infrastructure used that everyone else does, I couldn't care less. This argument can generally be summed up as "I want them to pay more money cuz I want to spend it on stuff, so they're not paying their fair share!"


FWIW - Walmart paid a total of about 8 billion in taxes (on about 26 billion EBITA), which works out to an effective tax rate of about 31% (baseline rate is 35%). That seems fine and appropriate by me -- the biggest bone of contention I would have with Walmart is that their workforce tends to strain programs like Medicaid (I don't know whether they still do or not, but rather than offer any sort of good health care options, they used to actually conduct training on how to apply for Medicaid, as most hourly employees were well under the qualifying wage limit).

On one hand, Walmart certainly doesn't belong with the GE's of the world when it comes to corporate tax machinations -- in fact, 31% is almost certainly on the high side. On the other, Walmart does tend to disproportionally benefit by essentially 'sourcing' a variety of workforce 'benefits' to state and federal safety nets and poverty programs... Even beyond something like Medicaid, I imagine plenty of Wal-Mart employees (at least, where said employee is HoH) are also on various utility assistance programs, et al.

Personally, I'd be more than happy to see a schema of deductions/IRC revision that would allow WalMart, the corporation, to have a lower effective tax rate -- but to see those savings transferred directly to employee compensation (whether via benefits or salary). At a very basic level, I just think that a company in Walmart's position either ought to be taxed at a rate similar to what they're taxed at now (to cover the 'sourcing' benefits to state/federal programs), or, they need a benefits salary/structure that doesn't have such a large proportion of their employees living at poverty line levels that make them eligible for various programs.

Generally speaking, when you look at corporate taxes -- the companies that end up on the scandalous list of near 0%ers tend to be those large conglomerates that have a wide variety of concerns or touch a large number of industries (like GE, for example, which spans everything from media to manufacturing to finance). Such entities have a lot more room to shift around the books in a perfectly legal but highly tax-advantageous way. Large, single industry companies like Walmart have a harder time weaving shenanigans through the tax code.
   6311. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: May 01, 2013 at 11:08 AM (#4430494)
FWIW - Walmart paid a total of about 8 billion in taxes (on about 26 billion EBITA), which works out to an effective tax rate of about 31% (baseline rate is 35%). That seems fine and appropriate by me -- the biggest bone of contention I would have with Walmart is that their workforce tends to strain programs like Medicaid (I don't know whether they still do or not, but rather than offer any sort of good health care options, they used to actually conduct training on how to apply for Medicaid, as most hourly employees were well under the qualifying wage limit).


But obviously, I'll disagree with that! Some of their *employees* use government services. Walmart offers specific compensation in return for specific tasks - Walmart's not their guardians ad litem.
   6312. Lassus Posted: May 01, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4430497)
Here is an article (contains link to full report) on voting irregularities in Canada. (contains estimates of the frequency of various types of problems)Probably the most important issue: (quoting from the article) Mistakes are happening in ridings across Canada

Maybe Canada should stop using horses and stagecoach to collect votes.
   6313. Mefisto Posted: May 01, 2013 at 11:38 AM (#4430527)
the biggest bone of contention I would have with Walmart is that their workforce tends to strain programs like Medicaid (I don't know whether they still do or not, but rather than offer any sort of good health care options, they used to actually conduct training on how to apply for Medicaid, as most hourly employees were well under the qualifying wage limit).


If we had a sensible health care system -- Medicare For All! -- then Walmart wouldn't gain any competitive advantage this way.
   6314. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 01, 2013 at 11:42 AM (#4430529)
Great post here by Ta-Nehisi Coates:

I spent some time talking to a 90-year-old man who'd come up from Mississippi. His family had been reduced to sharecropping after the county government took their land. "In Mississippi, there was no law," he told me. There was no law in Chicago either. The gentleman purchased his home for $26,000. He later found out that the deed-holder had purchased the same home -- only weeks before -- for $9,000.

Above is a picture I took of a chart showing how the scheme could work. The chart was produced by activist lawyers in the late 60s trying to demonstrate the effects of contract buying. There are four columns "Documented Price Paid By Speculator," "Documented Price Change To Negro Buyer," "Markup," "Approximate Additional Interest," and "Total Additional Charges." In that chart you can literally see black wealth leaving one neighborhood and migrating to another. It was not just legal. It was the whole point.


The sort of pattern Coates shows in Chicago was repeated in neighborhoods in nearly every major northern city during the 50's and 60's. Many of the newly gentrified neighborhoods of Washington DC went from 70% white to 70% black over the course of those two decades, when a deliberate and well-documented campaign by real estate companies---with the active complicity of lenders---took place of scaring whites out of their homes out at fire sale prices and enticing blacks in at inflated prices. Contrary to the apparent beliefs held by some people, the world didn't experience a virgin birth on the days that our modern civil rights laws were passed, and to dismiss this history as "obsessing on racism" says a lot more about the people making that charge than it does about the actual facts.
   6315. zonk Posted: May 01, 2013 at 11:50 AM (#4430535)
FWIW - Walmart paid a total of about 8 billion in taxes (on about 26 billion EBITA), which works out to an effective tax rate of about 31% (baseline rate is 35%). That seems fine and appropriate by me -- the biggest bone of contention I would have with Walmart is that their workforce tends to strain programs like Medicaid (I don't know whether they still do or not, but rather than offer any sort of good health care options, they used to actually conduct training on how to apply for Medicaid, as most hourly employees were well under the qualifying wage limit).


But obviously, I'll disagree with that! Some of their *employees* use government services. Walmart offers specific compensation in return for specific tasks - Walmart's not their guardians ad litem.


The problem is that it's not just "some" -- estimates (certainly, not necessarily from objective sources) put the number near 80% of walmart employees on government assistance and the total program outlays to Walmart employees at around 2.6 billion.

Walmart may not be the 'guardian' -- and I'm not looking to put on my Marx hat here, but in this labor vs capital equation, it seems that labor is being shortchanged... In fact, I don't think you have to even eschew capitalism to agree with that: labor costs are 'what the market will bear' - but the 'market will bear' the below-poverty level annual Walmart employee earnings because other, non-Walmart programs pick up the slack. Of course, as the good liberal -- I don't advocate just eliminating those programs -- but it does bother me that a large corporation uses them to do what amounts to artificially distorting its labor costs.

Walmart needs employees that are at least moderately healthy, employees who won't freeze in the winter, and employees that won't starve... the costs of labor ought to be at minimum, capable of providing those things to employees.
   6316. Lassus Posted: May 01, 2013 at 11:55 AM (#4430538)
What, nothing about May Day?
   6317. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: May 01, 2013 at 12:13 PM (#4430551)
What, nothing about May Day?

That's Loyalty Day, pinko.
   6318. Greg K Posted: May 01, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4430557)
What, nothing about May Day?

I was going to use my time zone advantage to get in some early happy May Day wishes for all you comrades last night. But I fell asleep before midnight.

May all your efforts to subvert the power structures of the bourgeoisie oppressors in the coming year meet with success.
   6319. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: May 01, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4430579)
With nods to David and Lassus, since the vast majority of people in the history of mankind have been poor, I'd think you'd have to say poverty is indeed that natural condition of mankind.


No. You'd have to say oppression (and, regrettably, subservience to that oppression) is the typical condition of mankind. Poverty then follows, but there's nothing 'natural' about poverty on this abundant earth.
   6320. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 12:37 PM (#4430586)
What kind of state of nature are we assuming? Early hunter-gatherers can't be said to have experienced poverty, as they had little ability to amass wealth. Did the Inuit live in poverty before European contact? In what way? Food scarcity was a real problem, but I don't know if I would call a calamity that affected the entire group a symptom of 'poverty'. If food got too scarce you just moved somewhere where there was more food.

Once you get agriculture, you have landed wealth, debt, slavery, beggars, etc. Not sure that counts as a 'state of nature.'

Note that I am not one of those that regret the invention of agriculture and think that things would be idyllic if we hadn't developed technologically, but poverty?

   6321. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 12:39 PM (#4430588)
No. You'd have to say oppression (and, regrettably, subservience to that oppression) is the typical condition of mankind. Poverty then follows, but there's nothing 'natural' about poverty on this abundant earth.

The earth is only abundant due to incredible investments of labor and capital in agriculture and industry, enabled by civilization. In its raw state, the earth couldn't support 1% or our current population.
   6322. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4430590)
What kind of state of nature are we assuming? Early hunter-gatherers can't be said to have experienced poverty, as they had little ability to amass wealth. Did the Inuit live in poverty before European contact? In what way? Food scarcity was a real problem, but I don't know if I would call a calamity that affected the entire group a symptom of 'poverty'. If food got too scarce you just moved somewhere where there was more food.

Yes they were in poverty. They were at a subsistence level, and their population didn't grow very much. They had virtually no surplus production for anything except staying alive.

There's a reason agriculture thoroughly dominated hunter-gatherers, the production and ability to amass surplus is remarkably higher. Civilization exists b/c agriculture allowed the surplus production to support merchants, the arts, gov't officials, religious leaders, etc.
   6323. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4430605)

Apologies for going back 100 or so posts, but I was traveling for work and am just checking back in now.

As I said above, a person should be able to start a company on the $1M or $2M being discussed.

Perhaps one can start a company with $1 or $2 million, but not any company. In more capital-intensive industries it can take much greater amounts -- tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars, for example.

But that's all sort of irrelevant. My point, again, is that the ability to pass wealth onto one's children is part of what motivates people to work and save, which are two activities we should encourage. That motivation does not stop once someone has made their first million, and wanting to leave more than that to your kids doesn't mean you want them to be able to lead a life of leisure; it means that you want to create opportunities for them that would otherwise not be available or would otherwise entail much more risk.

The "start their own companies without having to spend a decade or more acquiring the capital to do so" part is an explicit endorsement of an aristocracy class, or something very close thereto.

Perhaps -- then again, the ability to move up in class certainly has been a strong motivator for people to work and save throughout history. I would encourage people to think about the unintended consequences of draconian tax policies and whether the aims of such tax policies could be better achieved through other means.
   6324. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4430611)
Perhaps -- then again, the ability to move up in class certainly has been a strong motivator for people to work and save throughout history. I would encourage people to think about the unintended consequences of draconian tax policies and whether the aims of such tax policies could be better achieved through other means.

Yes, which is why truly "draconian" rates (>50%) should probably be reserved for very large fortunes and incomes (tens of millions at least for estates). No one sets out to make $200M, that's almost purely accidental, and affects so few people, that the incentive impact is likely negligible.

That's why I also like the idea of making the inheritance tax exemption per recipient, not per estate. That lets people pass on a good amount of wealth, but breaks up the concentrations of wealth. $100 inherited by one person is far more powerful politically than $5M inherited by each of 20 people.
   6325. Rennie's Tenet Posted: May 01, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4430635)
In what way? Food scarcity was a real problem, but I don't know if I would call a calamity that affected the entire group a symptom of 'poverty'. If food got too scarce you just moved somewhere where there was more food.


It was poverty, but combined with the other great advantage of ignorance.

When hunter gatherers moved somewhere else where there was more food, they often encounterd others there, and killed them.
   6326. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 01:18 PM (#4430646)
As I said above, a person should be able to start a company on the $1M or $2M being discussed.

Perhaps one can start a company with $1 or $2 million, but not any company. In more capital-intensive industries it can take much greater amounts -- tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars, for example.
Ask Curt Schilling, for instance.
   6327. zenbitz Posted: May 01, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4430648)
First, history is going to think it's bizarre that anyone focuses on "drones," as if the choice of weapons used, rather than what they're used for, is significant.


I was using "drones" as short hand for "CIA assassinations via high explosive with a substantial probability of collateral damage". I agree that compared to a cruise missile or B52 strike they are no big thing.

Second, anything Obama dos wrong in these areas will just be excused as something the GOP forced him to do.


Not by me.
   6328. Mefisto Posted: May 01, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4430656)
Apologies for going back 100 or so posts


You know, there's an official BBTF term for this: "Dialing the thread".
   6329. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 01:27 PM (#4430660)
That's why I also like the idea of making the inheritance tax exemption per recipient, not per estate. That lets people pass on a good amount of wealth, but breaks up the concentrations of wealth. $100 inherited by one person is far more powerful politically than $5M inherited by each of 20 people.
$100M is a lot of money. I wouldn't turn it down if it were offered to me. Or if the Powerball cooperated tonight. But in the grand scheme of the country, it's pretty small. $100,000,000 is about .0002% of the nation's wealth.
   6330. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 01, 2013 at 01:47 PM (#4430699)
I was going to use my time zone advantage to get in some early happy May Day wishes for all you comrades last night. But I fell asleep before midnight.


The revolution never sleeps, jackass.
   6331. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 01, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4430711)
   6332. Ron J2 Posted: May 01, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4430721)
Oh to get back to Tsarnaev, it looks like the Russians flagged him for the FBI after they lost him while he was in Russia. It's a somewhat confusing account but ... quoting from a CBC article: "Russian agents were watching Tsarnaev, and that they searched for him when he disappeared two days after the July 2012 death of the Canadian man, who had joined the Islamic insurgency in the region. "

At which point they made the vague request to the FBI. If they'd mentioned the timing of his going off the radar, the FBI would probably have triggered greater urgency at the US end, but that's not clear.

EDIT: But there's nothing in the accounts from Russia that says his disappearance is any any way linked to what happened to Plotnikov -- though the Russians, "suspected ties"
   6333. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 01, 2013 at 02:05 PM (#4430723)
I was using "drones" as short hand for "CIA assassinations via high explosive with a substantial probability of collateral damage". I agree that compared to a cruise missile or B52 strike they are no big thing.


The thing is, the technology determines the operative conditions of the battlefield. People talk about "drones" because they are a game changing technology of war. They operate so far above the targets that they are essentially invulnerable. They are unmanned, so even if they do get shot down or crash, no one counts it as a casualty. They are operated from thousands of miles away, completely removing the "pilot"/"soldier" from the battlefield. They are near universally deployable, which means drone warfare is no longer constrained to anything resembling a traditional theater of war.

All of those things makes drones a completely different type of weapons system, and drone warfare a completely different type of war. It's not that drones are just a better means of targeting a bad guy in a city, with less collateral damage than a Hellfire missile would have. It's that the very fact of is more precise targeting fundamentally changes the ways and terms that we will use them, and thus commit acts of war.

The medium is the message.
   6334. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 02:12 PM (#4430739)
The thing is, the technology determines the operative conditions of the battlefield. People talk about "drones" because they are a game changing technology of war. They operate so far above the targets that they are essentially invulnerable. They are unmanned, so even if they do get shot down or crash, no one counts it as a casualty. They are operated from thousands of miles away, completely removing the "pilot"/"soldier" from the battlefield. They are near universally deployable, which means drone warfare is no longer constrained to anything resembling a traditional theater of war.
You haven't described anything different in that paragraph than a cruise missile.

Obviously drones have certain tactical attributes that differentiate them from other weapons systems; if they didn't, there wouldn't be any reason to use them in the first place. But tactical attributes are not moral valence.
   6335. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 02:18 PM (#4430749)

Yes they were in poverty. They were at a subsistence level, and their population didn't grow very much. They had virtually no surplus production for anything except staying alive.

There's a reason agriculture thoroughly dominated hunter-gatherers, the production and ability to amass surplus is remarkably higher. Civilization exists b/c agriculture allowed the surplus production to support merchants, the arts, gov't officials, religious leaders, etc.


I agree with that, but I see poverty as a relative measure, not an absolute one. If you live on a desert island on nothing but coconuts and fish, you aren't impoverished. If neighboring islanders come by in a canoe, and offer to trade you the canoe and some pigs in exchange for yams, and you have no yams, you are impoverished.
   6336. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 01, 2013 at 02:18 PM (#4430751)
You haven't described anything different in that paragraph than a cruise missile.


Cruise missiles must be launched from a ship. Thus, the target must be within range of that launch. Drones are high flying and deployable across the globe.

Cruise missiles aren't reusable. You lob one from the ship, it goes somewhere and blows up. Drones drop precision bombs and then go back home for reloading.

The tactical attributes completely changes the calculus of deployment and use. Practical use case scenarios define moral valence completely. There is no such thing as moral valence outside of tactical attributes at use in the world.
   6337. The Good Face Posted: May 01, 2013 at 02:22 PM (#4430754)
The thing is, the technology determines the operative conditions of the battlefield. People talk about "drones" because they are a game changing technology of war. They operate so far above the targets that they are essentially invulnerable. They are unmanned, so even if they do get shot down or crash, no one counts it as a casualty. They are operated from thousands of miles away, completely removing the "pilot"/"soldier" from the battlefield. They are near universally deployable, which means drone warfare is no longer constrained to anything resembling a traditional theater of war.

All of those things makes drones a completely different type of weapons system, and drone warfare a completely different type of war. It's not that drones are just a better means of targeting a bad guy in a city, with less collateral damage than a Hellfire missile would have. It's that the very fact of is more precise targeting fundamentally changes the ways and terms that we will use them, and thus commit acts of war.


Hellfire missiles are the munitions used by Predator drones. /pedant

Otherwise, generally correct. Drones change the paradigm due to their low risk, low cost, and relatively high precision. A Predator drone costs USG ~$4M per unit. That's less than a rounding error. Even the Reaper drone, with its munitions payload of ~1500lbs (7x that of a Predator), only costs around $17M.
   6338. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4430764)
Cruise missiles must be launched from a ship. Thus, the target must be within range of that launch. Drones are high flying and deployable across the globe.
Where exactly do you think is in range of a drone that isn't in range of a cruise missile? (Which do not, contrary to what you claim, need to be launched from a ship.)

True, cruise missiles can't reload and drones can, but so what? Cruise missiles are also cheaper than drones.

Attributes are irrelevant to moral valence; actual use is what's relevant.
   6339. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4430767)
I agree with that, but I see poverty as a relative measure, not an absolute one. If you live on a desert island on nothing but coconuts and fish, you aren't impoverished. If neighboring islanders come by in a canoe, and offer to trade you the canoe and some pigs in exchange for yams, and you have no yams, you are impoverished.

OK, that's probably true psychologically. But in purely material terms, the poor in the US are fantastically wealthy compared to most everyone who ever lived, including several billion people alive today.

It's quite frankly an amazing testament to our wealth, but a beggar off the street has access to medical care orders of magnitudes better than any King had just 100 years ago. An average poor person has household amenities matched only by the very richest 0.01% of people (who could have armies of servants) 150 years ago.
   6340. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 01, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4430770)
Attributes are irrelevant to moral valence; actual use is what's relevant.


And if you were paying attention, you'd note that the attributes _change the use case._ Having changed the actual use, the attributes have changed the moral valence.
   6341. The Good Face Posted: May 01, 2013 at 02:33 PM (#4430777)
You haven't described anything different in that paragraph than a cruise missile.


Cruise missiles must be launched from a ship. Thus, the target must be within range of that launch. Drones are high flying and deployable across the globe.

Cruise missiles aren't reusable. You lob one from the ship, it goes somewhere and blows up. Drones drop precision bombs and then go back home for reloading.


Cruise missiles also carry a much bigger warhead and are less capable of precise targeting. This means more collateral damage and a greater chance of missing the target entirely.

But perhaps the biggest issue is cruise missiles take a long time to, well, cruise their way to their target. They're subsonic and need to be launched from a ship, which makes them almost useless for hitting targets in a motor vehicle, or for reacting to tactical situations as they arise. A drone can loiter around a given area for hours on end, waiting for a good opportunity to present itself, whereupon it can almost immediately move to attack.
   6342. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: May 01, 2013 at 02:40 PM (#4430789)
OK, that's probably true psychologically. But in purely material terms, the poor in the US are fantastically wealthy compared to most everyone who ever lived, including several billion people alive today.

Yes (there's literature about this) and yes (most, most definitely).
   6343. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 02:45 PM (#4430803)
Yes (there's literature about this)

Concur. Just like the happiness effect of increases in income/wealth wear off very quickly.

You might think that if your income went from $100K to $200K you'ld be much happier. You will be for a while, but 5 years later, you'll probably be no happier than you were before the change.
   6344. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4430812)
You might think that if your income went from $100K to $200K you'ld be much happier. You will be for a while, but 5 years later, you'll probably be no happier than you were before the change.
The problem with that argument is that there's no actual way to measure happiness. They do it by conducting surveys, but the questions are impossible to answer in any meaningful sense. Similar surveys show a similar pattern with major injuries, such as amputations -- initially, people are very unhappy, but then several years down the road, the effect wears off and they report a return to previous levels of happiness. That doesn't mean that losing a limb actually has no effect on people's well-being; it means the metrics just don't work.
   6345. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: May 01, 2013 at 03:02 PM (#4430826)
What you're talking about involves expectations and change: the lack of further growth of income / lack of further diminishment in limbs relative to their prior state is why you see some reversion in happiness. With income inequality, people are comparing to themselves v. others over time, instead of themselves now v. themselves then - the effect persists.
   6346. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: May 01, 2013 at 03:14 PM (#4430833)
It's quite frankly an amazing testament to our wealth, but a beggar off the street has access to medical care orders of magnitudes better than any King had just 100 years ago. An average poor person has household amenities matched only by the very richest 0.01% of people (who could have armies of servants) 150 years ago.

Yeah, the whole Occupy thing, though they won't admit it, isn't the 99% vs. the 1% - when it comes down it, it's the 97th percentile of humanity against the 99th. The rich-rich and the regular-rich fighting over riches.
   6347. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: May 01, 2013 at 03:19 PM (#4430840)
I'm not down with wide swaths of the Occupy agenda, but that doesn't make it a fight not worth having.
   6348. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: May 01, 2013 at 03:29 PM (#4430855)
Man, the pro-Syria invasion part of the punditocracy has sure gotten large. While I'm not in favor of involvement and support Obama's reluctance to get involved, who the #### advised him that announcing a red line was a good idea? You can't throw down a gauntlet if you're not prepared for the other guy to pick it up.
   6349. zonk Posted: May 01, 2013 at 03:31 PM (#4430857)
Yeah, the whole Occupy thing, though they won't admit it, isn't the 99% vs. the 1% - when it comes down it, it's the 97th percentile of humanity against the 99th. The rich-rich and the regular-rich fighting over riches.


I agree with Der K -- but I would say that the issue isn't percentiles, it's the disjointed and massively disproportionate allocation of the riches being fought over within those scales...

The dichotomy of two such tables -- measuring people allocating them by wealth but then conversely, measuring wealth and allocating it by people -- is what gets me more than relative percentiles.
   6350. The Good Face Posted: May 01, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4430865)
Man, the pro-Syria invasion part of the punditocracy has sure gotten large. While I'm not in favor of involvement and support Obama's reluctance to get involved, who the #### advised him that announcing a red line was a good idea? You can't throw down a gauntlet if you're not prepared for the other guy to pick it up.


It's apparently OK to make a pig's breakfast of a middle eastern country as long as they don't have vast oil reserves, because that way our hearts are pure or something.
   6351. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 01, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4430887)
That motivation does not stop once someone has made their first million, and wanting to leave more than that to your kids doesn't mean you want them to be able to lead a life of leisure; it means that you want to create opportunities for them that would otherwise not be available or would otherwise entail much more risk.

The last part of the above, when it includes millions of inherited dollars, is the very essence of an aristocracy.

Perhaps -- then again, the ability to move up in class certainly has been a strong motivator for people to work and save throughout history. I would encourage people to think about the unintended consequences of draconian tax policies and whether the aims of such tax policies could be better achieved through other means.

A person who inherits $1M or $2M had likely already moved up in class — i.e., into the so-called One Percent — simply by virtue of having a wealthy parent or parents while they were alive. (I don't know what the numbers are, but I'm guessing the average person is well into their 40s before one or both parents die.)

Regardless, there's simply no way to reduce or eliminate the aristocracy class, especially an aristocracy class comprised of people who inherited rather than created wealth, while also allowing people to pass on tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to a small number of heirs.
   6352. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4430892)
Happy Mission Accomplished Day everyone! I celebrated by shoveling the snow off half my sidewalk and getting drunk in the bathtub.
   6353. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 04:10 PM (#4430912)
What you're talking about involves expectations and change: the lack of further growth of income / lack of further diminishment in limbs relative to their prior state is why you see some reversion in happiness. With income inequality, people are comparing to themselves v. others over time, instead of themselves now v. themselves then - the effect persists.

Correct, but that's a problem of human perception, and the tendency towards envy.
   6354. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 01, 2013 at 04:16 PM (#4430920)
It's quite frankly an amazing testament to our wealth, but a beggar off the street has access to medical care orders of magnitudes better than any King had just 100 years ago.

Except when he doesn't.
   6355. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 04:23 PM (#4430935)
Except when he doesn't.

Any person can walk into any emergency room in America and get advanced treatment that would boggle the mind of someone 100 years ago.
   6356. Shredder Posted: May 01, 2013 at 04:38 PM (#4430949)
Any person can walk into any emergency room in America and get advanced treatment that would boggle the mind of someone 100 years ago.
Damn socialized medicine.
   6357. Morty Causa Posted: May 01, 2013 at 04:46 PM (#4430954)
It's quite frankly an amazing testament to our wealth, but a beggar off the street has access to medical care orders of magnitudes better than any King had just 100 years ago.


How about a king right now?

(That's kinda the real point, isn't it?)
   6358. Morty Causa Posted: May 01, 2013 at 04:51 PM (#4430961)
An average poor person has household amenities matched only by the very richest 0.01% of people (who could have armies of servants) 150 years ago.


An average poor American person, or person of the western democracies, is not very worried about arbitrary summary executions either anymore. Did this, and the preceding about ER care, just happen to happen? Which trend do you want to further along? And how is done?
   6359. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 04:52 PM (#4430963)
How about a king right now?

(That's kinda the real point, isn't it?)


Not really, no. Comparing yourself against the best off person in the world is a fool's game.

Somebody will always be richer, prettier, healthier, more athletic than you are. Basing your happiness on that is dumb. Materialism is a horrible way to look at life.
   6360. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: May 01, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4430966)
6348: Co-sign.
6353: Sure. We want to promote human success/prosperity/happiness.
One reason why capitalism and markets work is because they're very responsive to what motivates us as humans. This is another aspect of that, we should account for it.
6357: I think so. Not necessarily "the king" but that financial mobility is declining, etc...
6359/Materialism: Agree with that as well. But materials/wealth/and such obviously matters. A lot.
   6361. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 04:56 PM (#4430968)
An average poor American person, or person of the western democracies, is not very worried about arbitrary summary executions either anymore. Did this, and the preceding about ER care, just happen to happen? Which trend do you want to further along? And how is done?

I think we offer the non-working poor a more than sufficient level standard of living. It may well be too high relative to what the working class can earn. I want the trend of giving people more free stuff, regardless of their effort, to stop.

Our problem, as a society, is the stagnant and even decreasing standard real incomes among the working class, lower middle class, and even middle class.

I would happily transfer 25% of "welfare" funds to wage subsidies for low-wage earners.
   6362. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 01, 2013 at 04:58 PM (#4430973)
Our problem, as a society, is the stagnant and even decreasing standard real incomes among the working class, lower middle class, and even middle class.

You wouldn't know it from anything coming out of D.C.
   6363. Dale Sams Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:00 PM (#4430977)
So apparently the Boston suspect was actually well WITHIN the search zone and my initial assessment that Joe Swat Guy is probably just walking right past his hiding spot was dead on.

As usual, history has affirmed me.
   6364. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:02 PM (#4430979)
6361: What do you think of the idea of a guaranteed living wage/income? So, give everyone a stipend, regardless of need, of $X. The indigent get it, the wealthy get it, the working poor get it - everybody.
(I've never researched it, but it's been on my mind with our recent discussions.)
   6365. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:04 PM (#4430984)
Let's hope the Boston "BAG MEN" have a big enough bag to carry the money they'll likely be getting.

Another reason for a settlement: Massachusetts has onerous defamation precedents for News Corp. to contend with.
   6366. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:05 PM (#4430985)
6353: Sure. We want to promote human success/prosperity/happiness.
One reason why capitalism and markets work is because they're very responsive to what motivates us as humans. This is another aspect of that, we should account for it.


Concur. The problem is when "materialism" for want of a better word become the principal value system. If people judge their lives by how much stuff they can accumulate, and how hot a wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend they can acquire, relative to other, many, many more people and going to end up unfulfilled than fulfilled.

The market economy works well when it's embedded in a value system that allows that one can have a good, worthwhile life, without being rich, successful or beautiful.

100 years ago, people who toiled 60 hours a week to raise their kid in a two-room cold water flat, and who's kids became good people, were considered to have led good, successful lives. Today, they're considered to be suckers.
   6367. Rennie's Tenet Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:05 PM (#4430986)
6361: What do you think of the idea of a guaranteed living wage/income? So, give everyone a stipend, regardless of need, of $X. The indigent get it, the wealthy get it, the working poor get it - everybody.


This is probably the best way to go, if it could be contrived to get rid of the other programs (and to assure that recipients had the right to be in the coungtry). Awesome reduction in administrative costs.

Edit: each $1,000 per person would cost $310 billion.
   6368. Dale Sams Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:05 PM (#4430987)
In reponse to "Stop and Frisk"

The fact of the matter is that when police stop and ask a 17 year old a question based on a reasonable suspicion of a crime there is outrage. Yet when a 17-year-old is standing on the street corner near his home at 8:15 in the evening and gets shot and killed, there is silence,” Bloomberg said in remarks that prompted a thunderous standing ovation from the police chiefs and other brass present.


"I for one am not going sit here Dean Wormer and let you trash The United States of America! Gentlemen!"
   6369. Morty Causa Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:06 PM (#4430988)
You might think that if your income went from $100K to $200K you'ld be much happier. You will be for a while, but 5 years later, you'll probably be no happier than you were before the change.


TED talk on happiness that is exactly on point. A really good talk, too.

   6370. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:10 PM (#4430992)
6361: What do you think of the idea of a guaranteed living wage/income? So, give everyone a stipend, regardless of need, of $X. The indigent get it, the wealthy get it, the working poor get it - everybody.
(I've never researched it, but it's been on my mind with our recent discussions.)


This is something people from Milton Friedman to Charles Murray have suggested.

The issue is the level of taxation required to give everyone a $20K p.a. income (to pick a random number) would be very burdensome on the economy. Even $10K per person for 225M adults would be $2.25 trillion a year. That's equal to the entire Federal Revenue today.

The other issue is certain people, e.g. senior citizens, and getting a far larger per capita subsidy. Will you cut them back to the guaranteed income?
   6371. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:11 PM (#4430994)
Edit: each $1,000 per person would cost $310 billion.

And there's your problem.

You also have to be willing to let people who squander their money suffer. And we won't do that.

To make it work, if you choose not to buy health insurance, for instance, and get sick, too bad. Otherwise, you'll build a whole nother parallel welfare system and not get rid of the existing one.
   6372. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:17 PM (#4431001)
The problem is when "materialism" for want of a better word become the principal value system.

Oh, sure. Of course, there's more than one way out of that trap (in this world, anyway).
Religion works for my folks. For me, it might be the self-satisfaction from being "good". (I don't intend that to sound entirely positive.) For a friend of mine, it's doing community service and seeing tangible signs that they've "made a difference".
Thankfully, "values" aren't restricted to political ideology, even if specific positions tend to be.

***

One reason I never really looked into guaranteed income was the presumed expense (though I don't think you'd want to give minors the same $ as adults). I'd also be very curious to see the impact on rates of pursuing employment. You'd need a higher tax rate, too.
I have no plan in mind, don't know that I'd favor it (I didn't back when I read Friedman, way back when, but I don't really remember specific thoughts I had.) Just seemed like something work bringing up.
This would also impact immigration policy, obviously, as well as a host of other things.
It would probably be best combined with some sort of guaranteed minimal health coverage. I'm also assuming that private charity will pick up the slack in places...

   6373. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:23 PM (#4431007)
Oh, sure. Of course, there's more than one way out of that trap (in this world, anyway).
Religion works for my folks. For me, it might be the self-satisfaction from being "good". (I don't intend that to sound entirely positive.) For a friend of mine, it's doing community service and seeing tangible signs that they've "made a difference".
Thankfully, "values" aren't restricted to political ideology, even if specific positions tend to be.


Sure. But our society seems to be moving away from those sorts of values.

More and more the new "gods" we worship seem to be money and sex. You certainly can't derive any other impression from the popular culture.
   6374. Morty Causa Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4431009)
Not really, no. Comparing yourself against the best off person in the world is a fool's game.


That's what you did--only your king was back then. Time warps and half an anachronism tells us more than actual comparisons in real time?

Somebody will always be richer, prettier, healthier, more athletic than you are. Basing your happiness on that is dumb. Materialism is a horrible way to look at life.


Materialism is the only way to go, denial and protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. There is no option. Even pretending there's one doesn't cut it. As in the Red Sox beat the Yankees 5-4, although we know the Yankees are really better and more deserving, spiritual-wise. But they lost the game.
   6375. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4431011)

A person who inherits $1M or $2M had likely already moved up in class — i.e., into the so-called One Percent — simply by virtue of having a wealthy parent or parents while they were alive.

For what it's worth, $1-2 million of wealth makes you well-off, but it puts you in the top 5%, not the top 1%. To get to the top 1% you're talking about somewhere between $7-10 million, based on various sources I've seen. But all of that is just a distraction from the main point.

Regardless, there's simply no way to reduce or eliminate the aristocracy class, especially an aristocracy class comprised of people who inherited rather than created wealth, while also allowing people to pass on tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to a small number of heirs.

Fair enough, perhaps I need to read further back in the thread, because I don't think eliminating the class of "people who inherited rather than created wealth" should be a goal in itself. If you're interested in reducing the disproportionate political power of the wealthy, then there may be better ways to do that IMO.
   6376. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4431012)
Somebody will always be richer, prettier, healthier, more athletic than you are.
Well, not than me.
   6377. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:30 PM (#4431022)
Materialism is the only way to go, denial and protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. There is no option. Even pretending there's one doesn't cut it.

Quite frankly, that's bullshit. Nothing compels us to value possession above all else. It's only a sick culture that directs us to that.

That's what you did--only your king was back then. Time warps and half an anachronism tells us more than actual comparisons in real time?

My point was to show the amazing progress that's been made. If people would reflect on just how damn good we all have it, relative to those who came before us, maybe we'd stop ######## so much and be happy.

I've had seven surgeries in the last 5 years. I could be all "woe is me, life sucks". Or, I can realize that if I were born a century earlier, I would have died a horrible, painful death several years ago, and be really happy to have what I have.

Every 95 degree day we should be down on our knees thanking the entity of our choice for the blessing of air conditioning.

   6378. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:31 PM (#4431023)
I think that the generational rep of millenials is that they're less consumerist, more engaged with their community, etc... In short, that their behavior is somewhat at odds with what is on TV (which they're also watching less, in favor of other media).
   6379. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4431028)
Fair enough, perhaps I need to read further back in the thread, because I don't think eliminating the class of "people who inherited rather than created wealth" should be a goal in itself. If you're interested in reducing the disproportionate political power of the wealthy, then there may be better ways to do that IMO.

Concur. The goal is to eliminate the disproportionate political power of great concentrations of wealth.

The fact that a Jon Corzine or Michael Bloomberg can effectively buy themselves a major political office is a problem. The fact that the Koch brothers or George Soros can buy themselves a small army of lobbyists and politicians to do their bidding is a problem. The fact that Jane Silverspoon inherits $5M and decided to devote her life to amateur theatrics is not a problem.
   6380. Morty Causa Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4431029)
You also have to be willing to let people who squander their money suffer. And we won't do that.


But we do let them suffer. Maybe not to the degree and in the manner you like, but nevertheless. And you might consider there's a reason for this, separate and apart from the benefit to the squanderer. Societies and political systems are not about morality and righteousness. They are about that sovereign (and the powers that constitute it) wanting that peaceable, ordered, kingdom.

All, even sufficient medical care, isn't provided in ERs.
   6381. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:34 PM (#4431034)
I think that the generational rep of millenials is that they're less consumerist, more engaged with their community, etc... In short, that their behavior is somewhat at odds with what is on TV (which they're also watching less, in favor of other media).

Let's see if they stay that way once they start making real money. Also, I have a hard time telling between "less materialist" and "not willing to work very hard b/c they've always had it really good, and Mom and Dad will still subsidize them."
   6382. Morty Causa Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:36 PM (#4431035)
My point was to show the amazing progress that's been made. If people would reflect on just how damn good we all have it, relative to those who came before us, maybe we'd stop ######## so much and be happy.


That is true in some way. But it is irrelevant. That's like telling an African slave in the ante-bellum South that he's better off than what he'd be in Africa. People judge by a context. Everything's relative. You hate to hear stuff like that, but it doesn't make any less true.
   6383. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:36 PM (#4431037)
Heh - I'll grant you that, snapper. Nonetheless, they weren't saying this stuff when I was their age.
(How old am I!! 'When I was their age?' Great googamooga.)
   6384. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:36 PM (#4431038)
But we do let them suffer. Maybe not to the degree and in the manner you like, but nevertheless. And you might consider there's a reason for this, separate and apart from the benefit to the squanderer. Societies and political systems are not about morality and righteousness. They are about that sovereign (and the powers that constitute it) wanting that peaceable, ordered, kingdom.

All, even sufficient medical care, isn't provided in ERs.


Right, but if you want to replace all poverty programs with a guaranteed income, you have to literally be willing to let people die b/c they failed to purchase health insurance. Which we rightly won't do. If you're still going to give them charity care of good quality, then you'd have to be a sucker to reduce your other consumption to pay for health insurance.
   6385. Morty Causa Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4431043)
Quite frankly, that's ########. Nothing compels us to value possession above all else. It's only a sick culture that directs us to that.


That's not responsive, but I'll say anyway that you are just flat out wrong (ah, lovely axiomatic dictum, be still my heart). What we have and what we can call on as reserve is how we judged our place in communities ever since there have been communities. Whether that means the culture is sick or not...see my prior comment about the emptiness of assertions, mere assertions, coming from a moralistic, righteous sense. It's just a way of evading the real issue. You only have to pretend you're better--and, voila, problem solved. Except no one buys it--except as it is to be applied to someone else. As a way or reasoning and arguing to evidence, that's a mug's game.
   6386. Morty Causa Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:49 PM (#4431050)
Click on that link in 6369 and watch it. You won't regret it.
   6387. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:53 PM (#4431055)
On 6369 (which I'll watch later): Please let the graphics be in Comic Sans.
   6388. zenbitz Posted: May 01, 2013 at 06:21 PM (#4431098)
@6333
All that is true of cruise missiles, too. They are just not as precise and generally carry bigger payloads.

COKES. but in response to sam again -- in what way is a ship that launches cruise missiles more realistically vulnuerable than a drone that shoots you. Just bigger and more expensive, etc. They are better by degree but not in practice.
   6389. zenbitz Posted: May 01, 2013 at 06:29 PM (#4431110)
Quite frankly, that's ########. Nothing compels us to value possession above all else. It's only a sick culture that directs us to that.


Must... resist... impulse... to.. .attribue... source.... of sickness..... not ... worth... it
   6390. zonk Posted: May 01, 2013 at 08:26 PM (#4431239)
And there's your problem.

You also have to be willing to let people who squander their money suffer. And we won't do that.

To make it work, if you choose not to buy health insurance, for instance, and get sick, too bad. Otherwise, you'll build a whole nother parallel welfare system and not get rid of the existing one.


Thomas Paine advocated this -- at the age of 21, everyone got £15 and at the age of 50, everyone got an annual pension of £10. He paid for it with a combination of inheritance taxes and 'land rent' (feeling no one could 'own' land, just the improvements upon it) paid by landholders.

Not directed at Snapper in particular - I just never tire of musing over Thomas Paine given his oh-so-ironic herodom in the Revolutionary War costumed faction of the Tea party set.
   6391. Lassus Posted: May 01, 2013 at 09:14 PM (#4431312)
Nothing compels us to value possession above all else. It's only a sick culture capitalism that directs us to that.
   6392. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 09:20 PM (#4431320)
Lassus, do you think I don't agree with you? "Capitalism" is a huge part of our problem. I don't favor capitalism, I favor the market. Modern capitalism is nearly as big a perversion as socialism.

Bill Gates and George Soros have as much to do with free markets as Marx and Engels.
   6393. Lassus Posted: May 01, 2013 at 09:37 PM (#4431337)
I don't favor capitalism, I favor the market.

Do I dare ask?
   6394. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 09:38 PM (#4431338)
I don't favor capitalism, I favor the market.

Do I dare ask?


Go ahead. Live dangerously.
   6395. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: May 01, 2013 at 09:49 PM (#4431348)
Do I dare ask?

Short answer: Capitalism through a filter of Pat Buchanan's preferences.
   6396. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 09:52 PM (#4431353)
Short answer: Capitalism through a filter of Pat Buchanan's preferences.

Short accurate answer, a free market economy without the distortions caused by inordinate power granted to large corporations, and a complete refusal of the Gov't to enforce anti-trust laws.

The market is about many small firms engaged in fierce competition. Capitalism is about a few giant firms engaged in oligarchic practices, and capturing the gov't regulators to enable their anti-competitive practices.

To pick an example, the fact that Microsoft was allowed to bundle word processing, spreadsheets, and internet browsers (among other things) with its OS, and drive myriad competitors out of business, is an atrocity against the free market. And the "Justice" Dept. did nothing.

Microsoft should have been broken up 25 years ago. Google should be broken up now; the search utility separated from everything else. Banks should be prevented from offering "tied" services; e.g. loans to secure investment banking business.
   6397. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: May 01, 2013 at 10:28 PM (#4431378)
Ted Nugent honors our unsung freedom quitters:

"We have an epidemic, an unprecedented increase in heroes of the U.S. military committing suicide, and I'm going to tell you why. And I'm sure the leftist blogs are going to attack me, misquote me, but I'll tell you why more and more warrior heroes of the military are killing themselves: Because they are in absolute frustration and heartbreak that their boss, their Commander-In-Chief violates the Constitution that he has made an oath to, while their hero warrior blood brothers are being blown to smithereens and blown up while executing their oath to the same Constitution that the president, the vice president, and the attorney general violate. There is a heartbreak in the warrior community."
   6398. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 10:31 PM (#4431380)
Let's just say that snapper's definition of the market is... idiosyncratic.
   6399. Mefisto Posted: May 01, 2013 at 10:37 PM (#4431383)
Actually snapper's definition is a reasonable short summary of the way actual economists define markets. See, e.g., here.
   6400. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 10:38 PM (#4431384)
Let's just say that snapper's definition of the market is... idiosyncratic.

Monopolies and oligopolies have as little to do with the free market as socialism.

The fact that conservatives and libertarians won't address that is the reason they have zero credibility on economic issues with the American people.
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