• Xtrix
    4k
    I don't like deficit spending by Republicans any more than by Democrats. In my view, both parties are utterly corrupted, and all but worthless to us. These two identifiers have become no more than ways to choose your poison, in my view.Michael Zwingli

    This position is now obsolete. May have been valid 10 years ago -- not anymore. Things have changed. The Republicans have gone off the rails. As bad as some Democrats are, the differences in policies are stark. Take climate change as the easy example. What do the parties say about it, and what do they propose to do about it? One party says it doesn't exist and want to take us over the edge (or just delay and do nothing), the other party acknowledges it exists and has modest proposals like what's in the reconciliation bill.

    That's a big difference. There are many others.

    The Republicans spend their deficits on tax cuts for their rich constituents -- the corporate sector. For war, for the military, etc. The Democrats are proposing to spend it on child care, free community college, medicare covering hearing aids and eyeglasses, and climate mitigation programs. If you can't see the differences there, and simply consider it all a big "wash," then you haven't been paying attention.
  • James Riley
    2.9k
    This position is now obsolete.Xtrix

    :100: I used to be a two-party hater. I even wrote myself in because I could not stomach either side. But now there is a distinction with a relevant difference.
  • Michael Zwingli
    417
    I wondered if U.S. alphabet agencies were down there stirring the pot and fucking with the socialist economies. Riling up and funding agent provocateurs and calling them "freedom fighters."James Riley

    This is exactly the type of thing that I resent my government doing; my government too often sticks my American nose in where it doesn't belong. Frankly, I feel the same about Iraq and Afghanistan, save for bringing some pain (killing a few people...mostly the Taliban which sheltered Bin Laden, and of course breaking some shit) to the Afghanis as strictly a punishment, a chastisement in the wake of 9/11 (maybe for two or three months or so, but then get the heck out of there). Generally, I do not pay those in my government for being busybodies all over the world, though, and can't understand where they get off so doing.

    Funny how talk of deficits and the national debt only get pushed by media, and then echoed by people on the internet, when anything that's good for the country is proposed. Never any money for that. Plenty of money for tax cuts for the rich, fossil fuel subsidies, and trillions for wars and defense budgets. Just a reflection of priorities, I guess.Xtrix

    What gave you cause to seemingly put words into my mouth? No, I don't want tax cuts for the rich, I want tax cuts for everybody, right across the spectrum, and for the federal government to shrink by about 40 percent, and state governments by nearly as much. Don't entertain the idea that I am a Republican, or a wacky nationalistic "Trumpist"/"Trumpite", or whatever you might choose to call it. Rather, like @180 Proof and others on the site, I am a libertarian (in actuality, an anarchist who despises the state, but begrudgingly admits that we need it in the present technological climate). I personally envision the best world as one without government or nation states, or being more realistic, as one with as little government as possible. The size of our government doesn't bother you? The fact that it constitutes over one third of our outsized GDP? It does more than bother me, it frightens me...a gigantic monstrous abstraction claiming power over my liberty and even my life. Governments in general frighten me, as I view them to be working in no interest but their own, which is typical organizational behavior. No worry that the government debt to GDP ratio is over 100 percent? You know what happens if I do that? The folks at Equifax, Experian and TransUnion put asterisks next to my name.
  • Wayfarer
    16.3k
    The Government is the only counterweight to The Corporation. It's no surprise that the Right are always harping on about 'the evils of Government', because it's the only institution big enough to hold them to account. Do away with Government and have everything privatized and run by corporate boards for the benefit of shareholders and directors.
  • Michael Zwingli
    417
    The Government is the only counterweight to The Corporation. It's no surprise that the Right are always harping on about 'the evils of Government', because it's the only institution big enough to hold them to account. Do away with Government and have everything privatized and run by corporate boards for the benefit of shareholders and directors.Wayfarer

    True, but need the government be so large to do this? I don't have any figures immediately available, but all the same, I'm not thinking that the portion of the federal budget dedicated to corporate oversight is particularly large. Rather, I think all the pork is elsewhere.
  • Michael Zwingli
    417
    if corporate officers and board members were made personally responsible and subject to swift arbitrary (this being the key word) prosecution for corporate misdeeds, rather than the current practice of generally impotent financial penalty, then corporate oversight would become much easier. But of course, that will not happen, because politicians are whorish animals by nature, who only bite the hands that feed them when the event is within public view.
  • Xtrix
    4k
    What gave you cause to seemingly put words into my mouth? No, I don't want tax cuts for the rich, I want tax cuts for everybody, right across the spectrum, and for the federal government to shrink by about 40 percent, and state governments by nearly as much.Michael Zwingli

    So yet another small-government libertarian type -- fine. Even worse than Republicans.

    envision the best world as one without government or nation states, or being more realistic, with as little government as possible.Michael Zwingli

    Yes, because government is not the solution to our problems...government *is* the problem. Right?

    The size of our government doesn't bother you?Michael Zwingli

    No. What concerns me is who the government serves. If it served the people, I favor that. If it serves corporations and the wealthiest Americans -- which it does -- I don't favor it. That's what we should be changing, not the existence of the government. Ditto for corporate governance -- do we say we want smaller corporations? Perhaps. Better to look at who the corporations serve: the employees, the community it's in, the customers? Or does it serve the shareholders and top executives (which is actually the case)? I'd be in favor of the former; I'm not in favor of the latter.

    Talk about shrinking the government, cutting taxes, de-regulating industries to "get the government out of our lives," is a complete and utter joke. We've been living under the policies that come out of such claims for 40 years. People see the results. What it has amounted to is the socializing of the corporate sector (bailouts, subsidies, tax breaks, legislation, self-regulation) and the privatizing of profits. That's all it's been. All under the banner of libertarian-type, neoliberal bullshit.

    Sorry if I'm underwhelmed by this position.

    The fact that it constitutes over one third of our outsized GDP? It does more than bother me, it frightens me...a gigantic monstrous abstraction claiming power over my liberty and even my life.Michael Zwingli

    Yeah yeah, I've heard all the slogans. Government is the problem. We get it.

    So your take on corporations is what, exactly? They should be shrunk too, right? By at least 40%? Does Exxon and the fossil fuel industry generally, who knew of climate change in the 1970s but continued on anyway, lobbying and propagandizing to sow doubt and hamstring any governmental action, frighten you as well? It should -- far more than the government, in fact. Since the corporate sector own the government, and mostly both political parties, are they not also the "problem"? Or are they the solution? Because if it's not government, which is at least partially democratic, what is the solution? The problems don't just go away -- decisions still have to be made.

    I anticipate the answer: something about the free enterprise system, the wonders of free markets, etc. Hayak, Friedman, Sowell, Rand, etc. Laissez-faire capitalism as the magic bullet.

    All a complete sham.

    Governments in general frighten me, as I view them to be working in no interest but their own, which is ytpical organizational behavior.Michael Zwingli

    Describes big business very well. That must really frighten you -- assuming you're actually consistent.

    The Government is the only counterweight to The Corporation. It's no surprise that the Right are always harping on about 'the evils of Government', because it's the only institution big enough to hold them to account. Do away with Government and have everything privatized and run by corporate boards for the benefit of shareholders and directors.Wayfarer

    Absolutely right. I wrote the above before seeing this, but you said it more concisely than myself.
  • Xtrix
    4k
    if corporate officers and board members were made personally responsible and subject to swift arbitrary (this being the key word) prosecution for corporate misdeeds, rather than the current practice of generally impotent financial penalty, then corporate oversight would become much easier. But of course, that will not happen, because politicians are whorish animals by nature, who only bite the hands that feed them when the event is within public view.Michael Zwingli

    And not even then. When concentrations of wealth and power want something, they get it. This has been studied very well by Thomas Ferguson and others -- the higher up the income scale, the more you get what you want. Corporations buy off these politicians, and thus the government. They have huge influence through campaign finance (now unlimited thanks to Citizens United) and K street (lobbying), to say nothing of their media (which they own, and which politicians need).

    Our efforts at reform should be directed here. Not with claims about big bad government -- which at least we have some say over. Unlike the corporation, where we have ZERO say -- as citizens or employees. There's no vote for your boss. There's no say in where the profits go. They're little totalitarian governments that you can rent yourself to -- and which libertarians have done more to support than almost any other group. All in the name of "freedom" and "individuality" and "liberty," of course.
  • 180 Proof
    9.7k
    Rather, like 180 Proof and others on the site, I am a libertarian (in actuality, an anarchist ["minarchist"] who despises the state, but begrudgingly admits that we need it in the present technological climate).Michael Zwingli
    Libertarian socialist ...
  • Michael Zwingli
    417
    Does Exxon and the fossil fuel industry generally, who knew of climate change in the 1970s but continued on anyway, lobbying and propagandizing to sow doubt and hamstring any governmental action, frighten you as well? It should -- far more than the government, in fact.Xtrix

    They, corporations, do frighten me as well. I'm no lover of the corporate concept...just more power-seeking abstraction, as I see it.

    Corporations buy off these politicians, and thus the government. They have huge influence through campaign finance...Xtrix

    Yep, but that's all politicians, liberals as well as conservatives. Look, when you come right down to it, all of our polls are filthy...it's human nature to tend to being corrupted and using your position to your own personal benefit. I view it as more loathsome, as uglier in liberals though, because of the duplicity involved, what with all their moralizing while corruptly lining their own nest. This started early. Thomas Jefferson was probably the prototype for duplicity in an American liberal politician.

    Since there are very few principled men, there are very few principled politicians. The last of our presidents who appeared to be a man of principle was, indeed, (that liberal democrat) James Carter, and all he got for it was the ridicule of being regarded as a "country bumpkin" (apparently he was not duplicitous enough to inspire credulity in us.)

    Libertarian socialist.180 Proof

    Fair enough. I tend to left libertarianism as well, since a check is needed on those with power and wealth.
  • Xtrix
    4k
    I view it as more loathsome, as uglier in liberals though, because of the duplicity involved,Michael Zwingli

    Fine. But this analysis is fluff. Do we really prefer climate deniers who want to "make coal great again," claiming it's a "Chinese hoax," or do we want someone who acknowledges climate change and does something about it (albeit way too little, like Obama)? Yes, I can't stand Obama, but was he a better president on this issue than Trump? Without question.

    There's also the influence that Bernie Sanders and the progressive wing is having on the Democratic establishment and even Joe Biden, which is a very good thing indeed. If anyone is still "on the fence" about this, I don't know what more they need.

    If you prefer blatantly corrupt corporatists like the Republicans, who smile as they give away a trillion dollars to the corporate sector, jacking up the debt, all while claiming they care about working families (as they try desperately to take away their healthcare), then you're simply a Republican at heart, whatever claims you want to make about being a libertarian and hating "both sides."

    No neutral observer with his head screwed on right would ever prefer the Republicans to Democrats, at this point -- however distasteful they may find Democrats (as I do too, especially establishment/DNC/Obama-Clinton ones). It's simply insanity, in my view.
  • Wayfarer
    16.3k
    But of course, that will not happen, because politicians are whorish animals by nature, who only bite the hands that feed them when the event is within public view.Michael Zwingli

    First thing the Trump administration did was to overturn the Dodds Frank Act which was specifically aimed at preventing the corporate malfeasance that created the GFC. Great friends of business, those Republicans.
  • Michael Zwingli
    417
    man, it's not about faction...ah, forget it....
  • Gary M Washburn
    240
    Socrates refutes libertarianism in book three, I think, of Republic, the passages where Thrasymachus challenges his thesis.

    I wonder if your libertaianism doesn't extend to wanting the government to interfere with the interference by others in your life, like your boss, your bank, your neighbor's dog?
  • Xtrix
    4k
    man, it's not about factionMichael Zwingli

    What's not about "faction"?

    Fine, let's leave labels aside. Do we agree that our government should do something about climate change, as the science community is telling us needs to happen?

    If so, as I assume, then there's simply no question as to which political party is more susceptible to being pushed to do something about this issue. We know it's not Republicans, because as a party they either reject it outright as even a problem, have it low on their priorities, or argue nothing should be done about it -- there's almost no climate plan in any major Republican candidate since John McCain in 2008. This is stupid on every count, including financially and electorally. The younger generation, including young conservatives, count this as a major issue in their lives and will vote according.
  • Michael Zwingli
    417
    Do we agree that our government should do something about climate change, as the science community is telling us needs to happen?Xtrix

    Absolutely. Since this slide towards the end of the Quarternary Glaciacion (the climactic period within which we have existed for the past two and one half million years) and into a possible greenhouse period, we can't very well just turn our backs and shrug. The primary mandate of a national government is the protection of it's populace from harm both direct and indirect. The current climactic prognosis certainly has the potential to cause great indirect harm to the populations of every nation on Earth, and so falls within the purview of government interest.

    For my part, I suspect that it might be already "too late" to reverse the trend. The climate of our planet has been alternating between ice ages and greenhouse periods for the past three plus billion years, and it's not going to stop just because a species of up-jumped monkeys holds an autocentric view of the universe. The Quarternary has appeared to be winding down, to be nearing the end of it's life cycle, anyways, and human action since the start of the industrial revolution has given the global climate a stiff nudge towards that transition. This won't necessarily mean curtains for humanity, though it definitely will for some species...the polar bears are undoubtedly done for. The Earth will not turn into Arrakis from the "Dune" franchise, with sandworms and all, but the climate will probably be on average warmer and drier for one or two million years, with more hot and dry periods alternating with less hot and dry periods, just as in the Quarternary which has had glacial periods (ice ages) and interglacial periods. Human population levels will decrease (this is not a bad thing), mostly as a result of secondary factors such as wars over water in the drier parts of the earth. The Earth itself, though, will just keep rollin' along, and a couple million years down the road, will begin to enter another glacial period, which if we survive that long as a species, will be called by humans the Quintary Glaciation. Not to worry, though, apart from the extinction of polar bears, even our grandchildren ×10 won't see any of the truly bad effects of this eventuality. Pardon the pun, but these types of climactic changes occur at a 'glacial pace'.

    Despite all this, I agree with you that we have an obligation to act. Because the agency of mankind has been instrumental in seeming to hasten the end of the Quarternary Glaciacion, it seems incumbent upon us as a species to mitigate, as far as possible, the effects of our own action.
  • Xtrix
    4k
    Things are really heating up now.

    The progressives seem to be standing their ground, which is a great thing to see. How long will it last?

    Will the Democrats get the reconciliation bill passed? I'm not sure at this point. But one thing that has to be included, for climate change, is the CEPP provision. Mr. Coal, Manchin, will be lobbied to take this out -- so his corporate masters will probably get their way. But If that can get through somehow, that's a good start.
  • Xtrix
    4k
    Read again Robert Kagan’s foreboding Washington Post essay on how close we are to a democratic disaster. He’s talking about a group of people so enraged by a lack of respect that they are willing to risk death by Covid if they get to stick a middle finger in the air against those who they think look down on them. They are willing to torch our institutions because they are so resentful against the people who run them.

    The Democratic spending bills are economic packages that serve moral and cultural purposes. They should be measured by their cultural impact, not merely by some wonky analysis. In real, tangible ways, they would redistribute dignity back downward. They would support hundreds of thousands of jobs for home health care workers, child care workers, construction workers, metal workers, supply chain workers. They would ease the indignity millions of parents face having to raise their children in poverty.

    In normal times I’d argue that many of the programs in these packages may be ineffective. I’m a lot more worried about debt than progressives seem to be. But we’re a nation enduring a national rupture, and the most violent parts of it may still be yet to come.

    From David Brooks of The NY Times.
  • jgill
    2.4k
    Mr. Coal, Manchin, will be lobbied to take this outXtrix

    I wonder how the proposed desalinization plants for coastal California will be powered?
  • Xtrix
    4k


    I wonder how the making of concrete and steel will be powered?

    If renewables can be used, they should be. That’s not feasible for everything.
  • jgill
    2.4k
    I wonder how the making of concrete and steel will be powered?Xtrix

    Evraz steel mill in southern Colorado is constructing a massive array of solar panels to be the first steel mill in North America to incorporate solar power. This is nothing short of amazing. It's about fifteen miles from where I live.
  • Xtrix
    4k


    Fantastic. The technology is progressing all the time, and I’m hopeful about some of it. But whether it’ll be enough is a question.

    Would have been great if we were in this situation 20 or 30 years ago. But now—?
  • Michael Zwingli
    417
    @Xtrix, here below find an article which I have just encountered, pertaining to my above alluded to fears regarding uncontrolled deficit spending by our government. There are real dangers to our collective welfare from this practice.

    https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/28/business/jamie-dimon-jpmorgan-us-default/?iid=ob_mobile_article_footer_expansion
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    646

    Only a few I can think of. Bacon, Saint Augustine if you count Bishops, which I think you can. Marcus Aurelius obviously, the equivalent of a US presidential writing philosophy. I believe Abelard had some serious secular responsibilities at some points.
  • TheMadFool
    13.9k
    Only a few I can think of. Bacon, Saint Augustine if you count Bishops, which I think you can. Marcus Aurelius obviously, the equivalent of a US presidential writing philosophy. I believe Abelard had some serious secular responsibilities at some pointsCount Timothy von Icarus

    Good to know. Thanks for correcting me. Theologians aren't actually philosophers but if we must treat them as such, their focus was on religion and religion has been, for the most part, antithetical to philosophy:

    Having pricked its finger on Christian theology, philosophy fell asleep for about a thousand years until awakened by the kiss of Descartes. — Anthony Gottlieb
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    646

    I feel like that's a very myopic quote. Plato and Aristotle didn't start being forgotten with the rise of Christianity; the process began soon after Aristotle's death. Stoicism and Epicureanism would come to overshadow them soon after, and while both certainly made contributions to philosophy and logic, I think it's fair to say things actually took a step back through antiquity. Plato doesn't come roaring back until he is reintroduced in a religious context himself, with Plotonius as a grand theologian / scholar. Point being, philosophy had already pricked it's finger back in the time of Alexander and only woke up in fits and starts. Hence most philosophy surveys barely skimming the years between Aristotle and Plotonius, then going back to sleep until Decartes- but that's centuries before the rise of Christianity.

    Plato's work itself is also filled with wacky theology, but that doesn't detract from his philosophy. By the same token, it was priests and monks, with their obsession with nominalism versus realism who began seriously unpacking Plato and Aristotle in the West again. Not to mention that they can hardly be seen as zealots given the wide spread influence of Averroestic deism in the academy. In any event, no scholasticism, no Decartes, no Renaissance, and no industrial revolution. The germs of thought and intellectual systems that would become the sea change in Western philosophy that would spur on the Enlightenment and scientific method all started up in the high middle ages with Ockham, the other Bacon , Duns Scotus, Erasmus, etc.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    646

    Potentially a great thing. It's 50/50 that they in fact pass absolutely nothing as progressives vote down the infrastructure bill and then can't get the rest through the Senate. I would say it is trending towards more likely that they get nothing, in which case it is more likely than not that Biden will have no major legislative achievements in his term, as I highly doubt the Democrats hold on to their razor thin margins in 2022.

    In retrospect, letting Progressives pack their wish list into the House bill was a mistake, since it seems to have given them the sense that they can make policy with just 25% of the seats in the legislature by threatening to tank everything, and what is more likely is that they get nothing.

    But this is less of a problem for true believer progressives because the worse things get for the people, the closer some glorious revolution is to coming, where a great utopia will be swept in by popular discontent. In reality, it will increase destablization and make everyone's lives more shit.

    The Democrats are at risk of proving they share Republicans inability to actually govern due to their own unrealistic base.
  • TheMadFool
    13.9k
    I feel like that's a very myopic quote.Count Timothy von Icarus

    I suppose so but why would anyone in his right mind say such a thing unless...there's a grain of truth in it.

    Plato and Aristotle didn't start being forgotten with the rise of Christianity; the process began soon after Aristotle's death. Stoicism and Epicureanism would come to overshadow them soon after, and while both certainly made contributions to philosophy and logic, I think it's fair to say things actually took a step back through antiquity. Plato doesn't come roaring back until he is reintroduced in a religious context himself, with Plotonius as a grand theologian / scholar. Point being, philosophy had already pricked it's finger back in the time of Alexander and only woke up in fits and starts. Hence most philosophy surveys barely skimming the years between Aristotle and Plotonius, then going back to sleep until Decartes- but that's centuries before the rise of Christianity.Count Timothy von Icarus

    Plato & Aristotle would probably have preferred to stay dead than be resurrected in Christian theology. Perhaps not! Who wouldn't like one's words, ideas, teachings rise to such prominence, even if only among closed-minded folks?

    To be fair, as regards the relationship between philosophy and religion, the outcome was a win-win: philosophy received some degree of patronage and survived long enough to make a comeback and religion acquired some semblance of rationality.


    Now there's a guy who has a place in the modern world (Ockham's razor). So, not all doom and gloom. Great!
  • Xtrix
    4k
    Potentially a great thing. It's 50/50 that they in fact pass absolutely nothing as progressives vote down the infrastructure bill and then can't get the rest through the Senate.Count Timothy von Icarus

    You think a coin flip? You may be right -- but I hope you're wrong. Maybe I'm too hopeful.

    I think it's far more likely it'll be a watered down bill. However, there's an option the progressives could attempt, that the Wall Street Journal editorial page has picked up on (so you know it must be threatening): since all the talk is about the number "3.5 trillion," they could simply cut the time from 10 years to 5 years, and keep the same amount of annual funding: $350 billion dollars.

    I think that is the absolute best move possible: it satisfies what these pathetic "moderates" have been screaming for, and bakes in real policies which, after 5 years of implementation, will then be hard to overturn mid-stream once the public is accustomed to them. Much like Obamacare -- despite that being pretty crappy. Still a popular program years later.
  • Xtrix
    4k
    I would say it is trending towards more likely that they get nothing, in which case it is more likely than not that Biden will have no major legislative achievements in his term, as I highly doubt the Democrats hold on to their razor thin margins in 2022.Count Timothy von Icarus

    Fine, but what are you basing this on, exactly?

    In retrospect, letting Progressives pack their wish list into the House bill was a mistake, since it seems to have given them the sense that they can make policy with just 25% of the seats in the legislature by threatening to tank everything, and what is more likely is that they get nothing.Count Timothy von Icarus

    It's not only the progressives -- these are policies that Biden supports and that most of the Democratic party supports as well. The progressives are the only ones playing hardball, however -- and that's simply a good thing. It's about time they do. They've played it very smart, and I think there's a good chance they prevail by getting something passed (less than $3.5 trillion, but something).

    You seem to have an anti-progressive bent. I think that's a mistake.
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