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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#10101 User is offline   ldrews 

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Posted 2018-May-12, 08:25

View Posthrothgar, on 2018-May-11, 23:59, said:

Governments exist to coerce individuals into obeying the laws of society. This is one of their basic functions.

The Supreme Court decided that the Obamacare mandates are valid. You might not like this decision, but it is the law of the land.
If you want to ignore this, please, go ahead. Just understand that there will be repercussions.

Personally, I think that it is right and proper for the government to impose fines and lock you up in jail for failure to pay your taxes.
And if you decide to use force to defend yourself, I won't cry a tear if the government guns you down like a wild dog.


I think this was one of the main issues that sparked the American Revolution.
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#10102 User is offline   ldrews 

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Posted 2018-May-12, 08:29

View PostCyberyeti, on 2018-May-12, 03:06, said:

My comment was meant in the context of "before the law". Unfortunately in the US and the UK there is more truth to "A man is considered innocent until proven broke" than I'd like.


And in the US it has evolved into "lawfare", the weaponizing of the legal system to destroy your opponents by bankrupting them with legal costs.
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#10103 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2018-May-12, 10:13

View Postldrews, on 2018-May-12, 08:29, said:

And in the US it has evolved into "lawfare", the weaponizing of the legal system to destroy your opponents by bankrupting them with legal costs.


Not just the US, in some ways it's worse in the UK in that bankruptcy costs you your home.

Celebrities falsely accused of past sexual offences are being forced to sell their homes to pay legal costs even after being acquitted.

Also it's why a lot of Brits fight extradition or plead guilty to offences they didn't commit in the US as they would lose everything on an acquittal.
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#10104 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2018-May-12, 12:37

View Postldrews, on 2018-May-12, 08:25, said:

I think this was one of the main issues that sparked the American Revolution.


Comment 1: I believe that the line was "No taxation without representation" not "We don't have to pay taxes"

Comment 2: Some folks did try to stop paying taxes leading to the so-called Whiskey rebellion.
George Washington raised an army to put it down by force.
Alderaan delenda est
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#10105 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2018-May-12, 14:09

View Postldrews, on 2018-May-11, 12:36, said:

So you see Trump as "other" or "enemy". Exactly what Kenberg is talking about.

No, Trump has been preying on his supporters' fear of "others".

Many people in the country see the economy as a zero-sum game. Immigrants are "invaders", taking away "our" jobs. His protectionist rhetoric hooked into these fears.

He's not the only one, though -- over the past few years we've seen this in much of Europe as well, because of the waves of refugees from conflicts in the Middle East and Africa.

#10106 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-May-12, 14:32

Another example of the Religious Right's Jihad: From Daily Beast

Quote

Oklahoma’s Republican governor, Mary Fallin, has signed into law a bill allowing adoption and foster care agencies to reject prospective parents on “religious” and “moral” grounds—a move critics say legalizes discrimination against LGBT and non-Christian parents.


To clarify, these people view me and others like me as their enemy. I, on the other hand, view them as simpletons, morons, fools, misguided, conned, and childish thinkers - but not enemies.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#10107 User is offline   ldrews 

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Posted 2018-May-12, 17:50

View Postbarmar, on 2018-May-12, 14:09, said:

No, Trump has been preying on his supporters' fear of "others".

Many people in the country see the economy as a zero-sum game. Immigrants are "invaders", taking away "our" jobs. His protectionist rhetoric hooked into these fears.

He's not the only one, though -- over the past few years we've seen this in much of Europe as well, because of the waves of refugees from conflicts in the Middle East and Africa.


Well, with the experience of Sweden, Germany, and other European nations that have admitted large numbers of "refugees" from the Middle East, and the US experience of illegal immigrants competing for jobs, thereby keeping downward pressure on wages, and drains on public services, a certain amount of "fear" seems to me to be justified.

To me the rational solution is obvious: Significantly reduce illegal immigration by whatever means are necessary, and condition legal immigration on merit. One can then establish legal immigration policies and quotas to satisfy/balance social and humanitarian demands. And eliminate the "anchor baby" loophole.
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#10108 User is offline   ldrews 

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Posted 2018-May-12, 18:01

View Posthrothgar, on 2018-May-11, 23:59, said:

Governments exist to coerce individuals into obeying the laws of society. This is one of their basic functions.



Governments exist because one or more people have more power/weapons/malice than others and seek to impose their will on those others. It is the "laws" of that small group that the rest of the society is "coerced" into obeying. It has only been recently in human history that the people have been consulted about those "laws", and not in every society.

So I do agree with you, governments exist to coerce individuals into obeying the laws of society. But this avoids the question of the morality or appropriateness of those laws. It just indicates that some group that calls itself the "government" has the ability to use force on the rest of society.
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#10109 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2018-May-13, 07:19

View Postldrews, on 2018-May-12, 18:01, said:

Governments exist because one or more people have more power/weapons/malice than others and seek to impose their will on those others. It is the "laws" of that small group that the rest of the society is "coerced" into obeying. It has only been recently in human history that the people have been consulted about those "laws", and not in every society.

So I do agree with you, governments exist to coerce individuals into obeying the laws of society. But this avoids the question of the morality or appropriateness of those laws. It just indicates that some group that calls itself the "government" has the ability to use force on the rest of society.


Governments will enforce laws. If they don't, the government would be seen as non-functional. So sure, everyone agrees up to this point.

I suppose that even in this advanced age of snooping, a person can largely avoid government. Most of us don't want to. At 79, I benefit from Medicare. But when young, I benefited from free public K-12 education and from a state supported university. I still support free K-12 education and I hope for affordable college for those that are interested and capable. I also support other programs that are intended to help people of modest means live a reasonably decent and productive life, even if these programs are not part of my own past.

That doesn't mean that there are no problems with government programs. A recent change in rules for prescription drug prices brought an old incident to mind. I had some sort of skin rash, some infection, I was referred to a doc who examined it for all of about 45 seconds. He asked if my medical insurance covered prescription drugs, I said yes, he gave me a prescription. The amounts I will describe are maybe slightly off, it has been a while,but the idea is right. The prescription was for a skin cream that cost $200. I would have a co-pay of $20. But the doc gave me a coupon for $20 off. So, effectively, the cream was sold for $180 and I has no co-pay whatsoever.

You do not have to be an extreme cynic to see what's going on here. The pricing system is rigged so that I certainly had no reason to object to the cost, I paid nothing. The doc? Did he profit from this? I would not drop dead from amazement if he did. And of course the drug company is selling a cream for $180. Maybe it was all on the up and up, but that sounds naive.

So are there problems in trying to set up programs to help people? Yep. But all in all, as both a taxpayer and a beneficiary of some really good programs, I favor working to make programs good rather than working to abolish them

This can be an unresolvable difference in philosophy, but it also can be influenced by reflection on personal experience. Obama's "You didn't build this" was an extremely clumsy way of trying to get at something that I see as real.
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#10110 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2018-May-13, 08:37

View Postldrews, on 2018-May-12, 18:01, said:

Governments exist because one or more people have more power/weapons/malice than others and seek to impose their will on those others. It is the "laws" of that small group that the rest of the society is "coerced" into obeying. It has only been recently in human history that the people have been consulted about those "laws", and not in every society.

So I do agree with you, governments exist to coerce individuals into obeying the laws of society. But this avoids the question of the morality or appropriateness of those laws. It just indicates that some group that calls itself the "government" has the ability to use force on the rest of society.


Well, there is at least one other point that you might want to consider...

This same bizzarre system has been used in EVERY successful human society since the dawn of time...

And, of course, almost all of the attempts to establish Libertarian alternatives have failed miseralbly, on succeeding in separating a bunch of rubes from their $$$
Alderaan delenda est
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#10111 User is offline   ldrews 

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Posted 2018-May-13, 08:39

View Postkenberg, on 2018-May-13, 07:19, said:

Governments will enforce laws. If they don't, the government would be seen as non-functional. So sure, everyone agrees up to this point.

I suppose that even in this advanced age of snooping, a person can largely avoid government. Most of us don't want to. At 79, I benefit from Medicare. But when young, I benefited from free public K-12 education and from a state supported university. I still support free K-12 education and I hope for affordable college for those that are interested and capable. I also support other programs that are intended to help people of modest means live a reasonably decent and productive life, even if these programs are not part of my own past.

That doesn't mean that there are no problems with government programs. A recent change in rules for prescription drug prices brought an old incident to mind. I had some sort of skin rash, some infection, I was referred to a doc who examined it for all of about 45 seconds. He asked if my medical insurance covered prescription drugs, I said yes, he gave me a prescription. The amounts I will describe are maybe slightly off, it has been a while,but the idea is right. The prescription was for a skin cream that cost $200. I would have a co-pay of $20. But the doc gave me a coupon for $20 off. So, effectively, the cream was sold for $180 and I has no co-pay whatsoever.

You do not have to be an extreme cynic to see what's going on here. The pricing system is rigged so that I certainly had no reason to object to the cost, I paid nothing. The doc? Did he profit from this? I would not drop dead from amazement if he did. And of course the drug company is selling a cream for $180. Maybe it was all on the up and up, but that sounds naive.

So are there problems in trying to set up programs to help people? Yep. But all in all, as both a taxpayer and a beneficiary of some really good programs, I favor working to make programs good rather than working to abolish them

This can be an unresolvable difference in philosophy, but it also can be influenced by reflection on personal experience. Obama's "You didn't build this" was an extremely clumsy way of trying to get at something that I see as real.


I live in Mexico. A good portion of the country is controlled/run by cartels, not the official government of Mexico. So then the question is, in those parts of the country, who is the real government? From a functional point of view it must be the cartels. They are the ones who have the force to impose their views. Do the people have any say? Only by tacit consent.

Many people see government as a good thing. I see it as a necessary evil. Without some form of "government" we would live in anarchy and be unable to live peacefully with each other. But sometimes the cure is worse than the disease (See Venezuela, Pol Pot, Nazi Germany, etc.). So you may be able to get prescription drugs at a reasonable price, but at what cost overall?
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#10112 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2018-May-13, 14:57

View Postldrews, on 2018-May-12, 17:50, said:

Well, with the experience of Sweden, Germany, and other European nations that have admitted large numbers of "refugees" from the Middle East, and the US experience of illegal immigrants competing for jobs, thereby keeping downward pressure on wages, and drains on public services, a certain amount of "fear" seems to me to be justified.

To me the rational solution is obvious: Significantly reduce illegal immigration by whatever means are necessary, and condition legal immigration on merit. One can then establish legal immigration policies and quotas to satisfy/balance social and humanitarian demands. And eliminate the "anchor baby" loophole.

Trump wants to change to a "skills-based" immigration system. While on the face of it this sounds logical, it ignores the fact that many immigrants take the jobs that Americans don't want to do. Without Mexican immigrants, especially the illegals who are willing to work for slave wages, the California agriculture industry would not exist, or we'd all be paying much more for our produce.

In general, Trump ignores downstream effects of all his policy changes. For instance, protectionist tariffs might help the particular industry that the tariff is placed on, but all lthe industries that purchase their products get hurt because the cost of these raw materials rise. So if we put a tariff on forign steel and aluminum, it costs more to build buildings.

#10113 User is offline   ldrews 

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Posted 2018-May-13, 16:24

View Postbarmar, on 2018-May-13, 14:57, said:

Trump wants to change to a "skills-based" immigration system. While on the face of it this sounds logical, it ignores the fact that many immigrants take the jobs that Americans don't want to do. Without Mexican immigrants, especially the illegals who are willing to work for slave wages, the California agriculture industry would not exist, or we'd all be paying much more for our produce.

In general, Trump ignores downstream effects of all his policy changes. For instance, protectionist tariffs might help the particular industry that the tariff is placed on, but all lthe industries that purchase their products get hurt because the cost of these raw materials rise. So if we put a tariff on forign steel and aluminum, it costs more to build buildings.


Well, yes, changing to a skills/merit based immigration system will reduce the availability of cheap labor. Wages will rise until someone is willing to take the job. So we will exchange cheap tomatoes for livable wages. Seems like a bargain to me.

Right now the US runs significant trading deficits with major trading partners. This is unsustainable in the long run. The new tariffs are an attempt to force renegotiation of those trade agreements, and to eliminate the back-door dumping of, in particular, Chinese production. In addition, the US needs certain basic industries to be viable from a security standpoint.

If the cost of products and services rises by 20% while wages and prosperity increase proportionally or more, then all is good. This is the target of the new policies as I understand them.
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#10114 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2018-May-13, 17:43

View Postldrews, on 2018-May-13, 16:24, said:

Well, yes, changing to a skills/merit based immigration system will reduce the availability of cheap labor. Wages will rise until someone is willing to take the job. So we will exchange cheap tomatoes for livable wages. Seems like a bargain to me.

Right now the US runs significant trading deficits with major trading partners. This is unsustainable in the long run. The new tariffs are an attempt to force renegotiation of those trade agreements, and to eliminate the back-door dumping of, in particular, Chinese production. In addition, the US needs certain basic industries to be viable from a security standpoint.


If these unilateral tariffs result in a trade war that severely damages the economy, I'm sure Comrade Dennison (#TheManchurianPresident) will be the first one to let the clueless know that it wasn't his fault because no one knew that international trade could be so complicated.

View Postldrews, on 2018-May-13, 16:24, said:

If the cost of products and services rises by 20% while wages and prosperity increase proportionally or more, then all is good. This is the target of the new policies as I understand them.


For many of those at the top whose earnings and investments may rise many times your estimated 20%, life will indeed be very good. For those on limited fixed incomes, many of them will be driven into poverty by increased inflation (or even further into poverty for a good percentage of them). And for those making close to minimum wages, raise your hand if you think minimum wages will keep pace with high inflation.
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#10115 User is offline   Al_U_Card 

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Posted 2018-May-13, 18:26

View Postjohnu, on 2018-May-13, 17:43, said:

If these unilateral tariffs result in a trade war that severely damages the economy, I'm sure Comrade Dennison (#TheManchurianPresident) will be the first one to let the clueless know that it wasn't his fault because no one knew that international trade could be so complicated.



For many of those at the top whose earnings and investments may rise many times your estimated 20%, life will indeed be very good. For those on limited fixed incomes, many of them will be driven into poverty by increased inflation (or even further into poverty for a good percentage of them). And for those making close to minimum wages, raise your hand if you think minimum wages will keep pace with high inflation.

Inflation? A chimera created to fool the rubes. The CPI has lost all relation to the needs of real people which explains the current dire economic conditions (middle class heading south .... and not for vacation) and the lack of criticism of FR monetary policy if running the printing presses could be called a policy. :(
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#10116 User is offline   ldrews 

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Posted 2018-May-13, 18:47

View Postjohnu, on 2018-May-13, 17:43, said:

If these unilateral tariffs result in a trade war that severely damages the economy, I'm sure Comrade Dennison (#TheManchurianPresident) will be the first one to let the clueless know that it wasn't his fault because no one knew that international trade could be so complicated.



For many of those at the top whose earnings and investments may rise many times your estimated 20%, life will indeed be very good. For those on limited fixed incomes, many of them will be driven into poverty by increased inflation (or even further into poverty for a good percentage of them). And for those making close to minimum wages, raise your hand if you think minimum wages will keep pace with high inflation.


As Trump has pointed out, when you are running a $500 billion/year trade deficit it hard to lose a trade war. And so far Trump's negotiation approach seems to be producing results.

And all that minimum wage does is to drive out less qualified workers. It the product or service cannot sustain a higher wage, then the company simply cannot pay the higher wage, or else they go bankrupt. Then no one has a job.
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#10117 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2018-May-14, 05:19

View Postldrews, on 2018-May-13, 08:39, said:

I live in Mexico. A good portion of the country is controlled/run by cartels, not the official government of Mexico. So then the question is, in those parts of the country, who is the real government? From a functional point of view it must be the cartels. They are the ones who have the force to impose their views. Do the people have any say? Only by tacit consent.

Many people see government as a good thing. I see it as a necessary evil. Without some form of "government" we would live in anarchy and be unable to live peacefully with each other. But sometimes the cure is worse than the disease (See Venezuela, Pol Pot, Nazi Germany, etc.). So you may be able to get prescription drugs at a reasonable price, but at what cost overall?


It sounds suspiciously like you are making a claim that - absent a strong central government - society collapses into a system of strong man rule in which bands of armed criminals operate freely.
(The only thing that I find surprising about this is that you are advancing said claim since it is so antithetical to you inane utopian vision)

I understand that you are trying to used said cartels as a metaphor for the government itself. However, this breaks down almost immediately.

Yes, governments are able to coerce their own populations. However, this typically isn't sufficient to exist as a sovereign nation.
You also need to get recognized by your neighbors. (Some of whom can be much larger / stronger than you)

For example, if the Juarez cartel were to successfully secede from Mexico and claim that it is the sovereign government of Chihuahua I suspect that the United States would intervene rather quickly.
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#10118 User is offline   ldrews 

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Posted 2018-May-14, 07:32

View Posthrothgar, on 2018-May-14, 05:19, said:

It sounds suspiciously like you are making a claim that - absent a strong central government - society collapses into a system of strong man rule in which bands of armed criminals operate freely.
(The only thing that I find surprising about this is that you are advancing said claim since it is so antithetical to you inane utopian vision)

I understand that you are trying to used said cartels as a metaphor for the government itself. However, this breaks down almost immediately.

Yes, governments are able to coerce their own populations. However, this typically isn't sufficient to exist as a sovereign nation.
You also need to get recognized by your neighbors. (Some of whom can be much larger / stronger than you)

For example, if the Juarez cartel were to successfully secede from Mexico and claim that it is the sovereign government of Chihuahua I suspect that the United States would intervene rather quickly.


If the desire to live in a society where coercion is minimized is an "inane utopian vision", then yes, I am guilty. Apparently you do not subscribe to such a vision.

However, that is irrelevant to the discussion. I thought we were discussing how to recognize what is a government. In Mexico in some regions it is the cartels. The Federales are nowhere to be seen, except for special missions.

And existing as a sovereign nation is not the same thing as having a government. The cartels are not recognized as an official government, yet they control significant portions of the country. In those portions of the country the local politicians pay more attention to the cartels than the Federales. To me that is the practical definition of government.
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#10119 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2018-May-14, 08:38

View Postldrews, on 2018-May-13, 18:47, said:

As Trump has pointed out, when you are running a $500 billion/year trade deficit it hard to lose a trade war. And so far Trump's negotiation approach seems to be producing results.

And now you're falling for the propaganda that trade deficits are bad.

I have a huge trade deficit with supermarkets and department stores -- I buy lots of stuff from them, they never buy anything from me. But my life is much better off because of this -- I don't have to grow my own food or make my own clothes.

#10120 User is offline   WellSpyder 

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Posted 2018-May-14, 10:15

View Postbarmar, on 2018-May-14, 08:38, said:

And now you're falling for the propaganda that trade deficits are bad.

I have a huge trade deficit with supermarkets and department stores -- I buy lots of stuff from them, they never buy anything from me. But my life is much better off because of this -- I don't have to grow my own food or make my own clothes.

Exactly. In many cases people make up for such a deficit by selling more (their labour) to their employer than they buy from the employer. But if you can persuade people to go on lending to you so that you don't need an offsetting trade surplus with your employer then you are even better off as far as your standard of living is concerned.
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