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December 22nd, 2007, 13:03
There's the rub: the libertarian ideal of minimal government ends up with political power abdicating, which leaves power up for grabs — meaning, economic (corporate) power will step up to fill the vacuum.

The function of political power is to counterbalance economic power, and the function of democracy is to keep political power clean. The answer to a corrupt and dysfunctional democracy is not to abolish the state; it's to clean up the democracy. Reasonably non-corrupt, stable, and well-functioning democracies do exist — Switzerland, for example. That's what you should be working on, not throwing out the baby with the bath water.
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December 22nd, 2007, 14:16
Chris Dodd is the only one out of all of them that would have my vote just for the simple fact that he actually left the "campaign trail" to do his job. He helped stall the FISA bill with Teleco immunity. The fight isn't over but Obama, Hillary and Edwards were too busy pressing the flesh to come back and do something real instead of just talking about how they want to change the government.

I have no opinion on the Republican side other than I hope they nominate Guilani. It will make electing a Democrat president much easier.

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December 23rd, 2007, 17:07
Stumbled across this little article about Hillary Clinton's position on the evils of videogames, and while there are some arguments in there I don't totally disagree with, the methods she proposes seem a bit draconian.

If anyone isn't aware that she is very much into legislative control of the media, this provides some quotes:

Here is CSM’s[CommonSenseMedia's] question on the topic of video game legislation, posed to Clinton and other responding candidates:

To date, nearly 10 states have considered legislation to keep violent video games out of kids’ hands. Would you support this type of legislation at the federal level? What other strategies would you support to keep the video game industry and other media companies from marketing and selling inappropriate content to children?

Here is Sen. Clinton’s response:

When I introduced the Family Entertainment Protection Act [FEPA] two years ago, I did so because I felt that video game content was getting increasingly violent and sexually explicit, yet young people were able to purchase these games with relative ease while their parents were struggling to keep up with being informed about the content.

Sen. Clinton describes what FEPA would have mandated, had it passed:

On-site store managers would be subject to a fine of $1,000 or 100 hours of community service for the first offense and $5,000 or 500 hours of community service for each subsequent offense.

The bill would also require an annual, independent analysis of game ratings and require the FTC to conduct an investigation to determine whether hidden sexual content like what was in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a pervasive problem and to take appropriate action…

Finally, the bill would authorize the FTC to conduct an annual, random audit of retailers to monitor enforcement and report the findings to Congress.

FEPA was prompted by the Hot Coffee scandal, said Clinton:

I was motivated to take action when I found out that there was embedded illicit sexual content in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The [ESRB] was unaware of the embedded content. I called on the FTC to investigate the source of the content and, as a result, the company issued a recall of the game.

When I am president, I will work to protect children from inappropriate video game content.

Sen. Clinton described for CSM her biggest concern about media as a parent:

Research has shown that violent and sexually explicit media contribute to aggressive behavior, early sexual experimentation, obesity, and depression.

Whenever I meet young parents… they tell me that they are worried about losing control over the raising of their own children and about ceding the responsibility of implicating values and behaviors to a multi-dimensional media marketplace over which they have no control…

Studies have found that exposure to TV violence can increase the risk of aggressive behavior in children and may be related to attention problems later in life. And some experts say that time spent watching too much TV or surfing the Internet or playing video games may detract from the time children spend interacting with their parents, participating in physical activity, or using their imaginations.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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December 23rd, 2007, 17:31
One last post before boarding the train

I really despise feel good censorship, regardless of it is of games, movies, or music. But I get the feeling that politicians on both sides feel that it is a harmless way to attract both conservative moralists and soccer moms in one go. We've largely gotten rid of the old nanny statist censorship enthusiasts, and I hope that the US also one day will have politicians who say that "the parents know more about what's good for the kids than we do". Acknowledge that the voters have grown up…

And PJ: Yeah, finding a workable system is about striking a balance where the government interference that does exist cause as little damage as possible. I think that almost all electable parties in developed democracies have realised this, and that the difference of opinion rather is over just where the sweet spot is. But since the entire mainstream accept the same paradigm voters are bound to find outsiders "refreshing"…
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December 23rd, 2007, 17:38
Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
One last post before boarding the train

I really despise feel good censorship, regardless of it is of games, movies, or music. But I get the feeling that politicians on both sides feel that it is a harmless way to attract both conservative moralists and soccer moms in one go. We've largely gotten rid of the old nanny statist censorship enthusiasts, and I hope that the US also one day will have politicians who say that "the parents know more about what's good for the kids than we do". Acknowledge that the voters have grown up…
Well said. I find the attitude very patronizing actually "We know you don't have time (due to your really busy and important life) to interact with your kids, so we'll just take all the nasty games off the shelf for you. "—and in the process fund another huge bureaucracy and provide income for litigators in every state court system….but then we know how I feel about the Hill.

Have a great holiday in the woods, Zaleukos.

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December 23rd, 2007, 18:30
Ok Magerette, You just scared the crap out of this little rat. I had no idea she was into a "big sister" approach to video games. The government defintaly does not always know what is best for me or for my kids (if I had any ) Whatever happened to smaller government? Didn't Regean prove that it can work or am I missing something? I still like Dodd because at least he does what he says he'll do.

Well, I think I'll just keep my little rat butt as far away from the US until it figures out what it wants to be. Does it want to be The Home of the Free and the Brave or does it want Orwell's darkest nightmare?

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December 24th, 2007, 01:12
There seemed to be a lot of talk about Ron Paul. For those interested he was on Meet the press and defends himself when asking for special projects even though he hates federal spending and "earmarks."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22379734/

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December 24th, 2007, 02:51
@Zal, I made no assumption of the sort… Hillary just admit that Nafta was a failure, that all…since her hub and Al Gore were gungho for it. The irony Have a good one, everyone. till Wednesday.

"A strong president, means having the strength to resist the temptation of taking all that power isn't yours" - Ron Paul

"If you think the problems we create are bad, just wait until you see our solutions",- Government
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December 25th, 2007, 08:23
nafta was a wetdream of the republican party (bush sr. and company).
most of the 'left' central/south american governments and their peoples don't like nafta either.

and i'm with prime junta.
any liberatarion is either nieve or lying to someone because the myth of 'small government' being effective is just an open hole that will be filled by the corporations of the rich. a small government can be effective as long as it is efficient, but if it is stripped of the power it needs than it might as well not be there at all.

when there is lots of 'war' spending it is inevitable that other social programs get cut. programs that have spent years building up their effectiveness and instead of being pruned with care along comes a huge cut that cleaves off half the tree and that program will probably struggle years before it can be effective again and that is only if it is not continually subjected to 'cuts' each year.

the state of the economy isn't entirely bush's fault and some recession was probably inevitable, but another republican president now would most likely doom this country to a 2nd great depression which probably wouldn't bother the rich at all as they would profit quite nicely. though their greed would eventually come back to haunt them as within a decade or so a fresh wave of new deals would arrive and maybe future generations would finally start to have a chance again.

a world with so much talent.
its people with so few fruits
of their labours.
Last edited by curiously undead; December 25th, 2007 at 08:39.
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December 25th, 2007, 10:46
Originally Posted by curiously undead View Post
the state of the economy isn't entirely bush's fault and some recession was probably inevitable, but another republican president now would most likely doom this country to a 2nd great depression which probably wouldn't bother the rich at all as they would profit quite nicely.
There's not much anyone can do about the trade cycle, that's for sure. However, the housing bubble was very much a political invention. It would not have been difficult for Greenspan & co to stop it from inflating; in fact, a quite a few economists were screaming bloody murder as the ratio between real estate prices and rents diverged (i.e., the bubble inflated).

The single greatest cause was the Fed's refusal to regulate sub-prime lending, encouraging "financial innovation" instead. This, in an environment that rewards bankers and CEO's short-terms success with huge bonuses, while having virtually no punishments for failure (witness the "golden parachutes" amounting to tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars for CEO's getting fired from companies in flames). The consequence was out-of-control "predatory lending" — bankers selling money to people who (a) couldn't afford it and (b) weren't sophisticated enough to understand the terms of the loans.

With so much money on the real estate market, prices inflated just as certainly as a balloon inflates when you pump air into it. Works great until… it pops.

Why did the Fed refuse to regulate? For ideological reasons. Greenspan is an Objectivist — a libertarian — who believes that all regulation is bad. (Well, believed — he is calling for a government bailout now.)

What's the Bush administration's role in this? At least as big as the Fed's. The Fed regulates, but the administration and Congress determines what it regulates. And the White House did all it could to stop anyone from trying to keep corporate power in control, let alone even give a peep about regulating anything.

Lessons learned?

(1) Market outcomes are optimal only when all the costs are factored in. (In this case, long-term costs did not figure into the market outcomes, due to the huge-reward/no-risk system in place for executives.)

(2) Market outcomes are optimal only when information asymmetry is minimized. (In this case, the opposite was true: the banker knew what he was selling to the lender, but the lender often didn't and was, essentially, cheated.)

So there you go: 2008 will suck real hard for America — and the rest of the world will see exactly how important the US economy still is globally. (My guess is… not as important as many people fear. But I could well be wrong.)
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December 25th, 2007, 22:29
The only thing Greenspan refuses to control is the money press and keep it from running rampant…just look at the dollar value decline under his reign. There are so called "pro-war Liberitarian"…So, I don't think PJ is doing a smear on RP connection with the Libertarians The whole central banking system is a scam…FDIC etc… Subprime, These blood suckers know the Fed and Federal Government would step in and bail them out and pass the cost to the taxpayers. PJ, check out this article, something sounds familiar? http://www.lewrockwell.com/anderson/anderson205.html Let live and die just like the rest of small business. NO ONE but RP challenges the FED on capital hill.

The day Greenspan stepped on to become the FED chair…he already betrayed whatever he believed in and became a growing part of statism. Can you believe he was a gold advocate and against Statism/inflation. http://www.usagold.com/gildedopinion/greenspan.html

@PJ, I hope you see this contradition, on the one hand wants a more elastic currency to accomemdate rapid economic growth, on the other favors high taxes. Just more paper money. Anyone know that we as the tax payers have to pay interest to the FED for every single dollar that is printed?

@CD, I don't think you are so naive as to believe that government grows in a vacuum. Money is power, and power is money when the Fed Government is deeply involved in every facet of our daily living. DC is virtually under control of lobbyists. Reducing the current Government size is actually would reduce corporatism control…I hope you would at the least see that as a possiblity. Bill Gates donates billions to charity not because he was forced by IRS agents with guns. Market is a sort of living organism… Feedback is a force to reckon with when Corporatism mask is peeled off.

"A strong president, means having the strength to resist the temptation of taking all that power isn't yours" - Ron Paul

"If you think the problems we create are bad, just wait until you see our solutions",- Government
Last edited by mudsling3; December 25th, 2007 at 22:48.
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December 25th, 2007, 22:54
Originally Posted by mudsling3 View Post
The only thing Greenspan refuses to control is the money press and keep it from running rampant…just look at the dollar value decline under his reign.
If you believe that "the money press" is the only (or even the main) cause of the drop in the value of the dollar, you're mistaken. Again.

There are so called "pro-war Liberitarian"…So, I don't think PJ is doing a smear on RP connection with the Libertarians The whole central banking system is a scam…FDIC etc… Subprime, These blood suckers know the Fed and Federal Government would step in and bail them out and pass the cost to the taxpayers. Let live and die just like the rest of small business. NO ONE but RP challenges the FED on capital hill.
No, mudsling, that's not it either. The "blood suckers" knew that they, personally, would be fine no matter what happened to their banks… *and* I'm pretty sure most of them genuinely believed the "there is no bubble" Jedi mind trick pulled by Greenspan and others. People are really good at believing what they want to believe. You yourself have managed to demonstrate this marvelously with most of your postings.

The day Greenspan stepped on to become the FED chair…he already betrayed whatever he believed in and became a growing part of statism. Can you believe he was a gold advocate and against Statism/inflation. http://www.usagold.com/gildedopinion/greenspan.html

@PJ, I hope you see this contradition, on the one hand wants a more elastic currency to accomemdate rapid economic growth, on the other favors high taxes. Just more paper money. Anyone know that we as the tax payers have to pay interest to the FED for every single dollar that is printed?
You know, mudsling… I used to know, and still know, a quite a few deeply committed Marxist-Leninists. You sound exactly like them, with the trivial difference that your party line is a bit different.

@CD, I don't think you are so naive as to believe that government grows in a vacuum. Money is power, and power is money when the Fed Government is deeply involved in every facet of our daily living. DC is virtually under control of lobbyists. Reducing the current Government size is actually would reduce corporatism control…I hope you would at the least see that as a possiblity. Bill Gates donates billions to charity not because he was forced by IRS agents with guns. Market is a sort of living organism… Feedback is a force to reckon with when Corporatism mask is peeled off.
Do you know what's the central problem with the libertarian screed that "market forces will solve everything?" Other than that it fails empirically, that is.

I'll give you a hint: a guy called Karl Marx pointed it out a quite a while ago.

You still don't know?

OK, it's this: left to itself, the free market will tend to concentrate wealth.

Concentrated wealth equals concentrated power, which will then use this power to entrench itself in social/political structures. Any system based on pure free-market capitalism will lead to a seizure of the political apparatus by concentrated, corporate wealth.

Marx's proposed cure (socializing the means of production by means of a revolution by the proletariat) was arguably worse than the disease. (I say "arguably," because I have some idea of the living hell that was the lot of the factory laborer in 19th century laissez-faire capitalism; as bad as life was in Stalin's Russia in the 1930's, you can make the case that for most people on average it wasn't quite as bad.)

However, his diagnosis of the disease was perceptive, and still stands. The interesting thing is that since Marx, we have discovered ways of counteracting this effect of the market. Namely, democracy, which empowers citizens equally regardless of their wealth, yielding a political system that redistributes wealth down the ladder, through taxation and social services.

America pioneered this with the New Deal — which led to an unprecedented explosion of productivity, wealth, prosperity, and power, that lasted until the late 1960's at least. America was also the first to start dismantling it somewhere around the 1970's — and sure enough, we're again seeing corporate control of government, robber barons, predatory lending, concentration of wealth, shrinking of the middle class, and a general drying-up of the American dream of having your children do better than yourself. Just like in the Roaring Twenties, that is.

Anyone who believes that the solution to problems caused by dismantling the New Deal is further dismantling of the New Deal is either a hopeless fool, someone completely blinded by ideology, or a sheep following a charismatic snake-oil salesman who may or may not be buying his own snake-oil. And if you believe that America's ills are best solved by dissolving the IRS, the Fed, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education, and most of the other Departments, you're throwing out the baby with the bath water, in a big way.

IOW, if Ron Paul does get elected, and if his policies won't run into a brick wall in Congress (both of which are pretty big ifs), times will get really, *really* interesting. For Americans, I mean — his foreign policy would make him relatively harmless as a global player.

(As a matter of fact, the reason I'm only speaking out against Ron Paul now is that his foreign policy is exactly what I'd like to see, and being a foreigner, my self-interest is mostly about it. However, I didn't have the strength of character to stick to it: I have a really hard time letting complete bullshit go unchallenged.)
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December 25th, 2007, 23:02
PS. The crux of my argument is this:

Premise: America's political system, as it currently stands, is dysfunctional. For example, corporate power in government is much too strong.

Proposed solution: America's challenge is to reform the political system, so that the political power seized by corporate interests is returned where it belongs — to representatives that answer to the voters.

This wouldn't be easy to do. You would need to fundamentally reform all kinds of things, from campaign finance to earmarks, the lobby system, health care, social security, and so on. What Ron Paul is proposing is at least as big a job, however — but with the downside that his system has never been shown to work in practice, anywhere, ever. And it surprises me somewhat that you "RP" supporters appear to care about this detail so little.
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December 26th, 2007, 00:22
Simple solution:- America should determine that the 1776 revolution was a BIG mistake and place itself back in the British Empire under Queen Elizabeth, so she can sort it all out!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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