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politics and culture > Obama's Shame : Drones Killing Innocent Civilians

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message 1: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) This month's book giveaway will be a quiz. This quiz will not be as hard as the previous quiz. Here are the rules:



1) There will be 1 question per chapter of The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart. Each question will have an associated picture(s) and be based on something within the listed chapter.

2) Answers can be submitted to me by e-mail, goodreads message, facebook message, in person, by phone, by mail, by a note delivered through obscure means... any which way as long as it is private. Do NOT post the answers on the forum.

3) To confirm that I received a correct answer I will post your name directly after the question in the topic, like this:(view spoiler). To acknowledge an incorrect answer I will send you a message on goodreads or reply directly to your original message (i.e. by e-mail). You MAY make as many guesses as you want.

4) Each correct answer will be worth 1 point. If only one person guesses the correct answer they will receive an additional bonus point when I tally the totals at month's end.

5) Whoever has the most points at the end of the month will receive a free copy of next month's book selection.

6)Have fun and don't be discouraged. Don't bother asking me for hints. Good luck.


message 2: by Andrew (last edited Jan 13, 2013 10:32AM) (new)

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) As Michelle proofs each question she is giving it a difficulty rating. Questions will be listed as easy, medium, hard, devious, or impossible.

Preface: (Medium) What name adorned this banner?



Correct: (view spoiler)

Chapter 1: (Easy) This is the (swell) coat of arms of what German municipality?



Correct: (view spoiler)

Chapter 2: (Easy) What is the butcher's bill for this chapter including:

+ +

Correct: (view spoiler)


Chapter 3: (Medium) The brothers could run into this rare beast while making their way through the mountains (featured here in a photograph taken by Balkin).



Correct: (view spoiler)

Chapter 4: (Medium) Name the pony.



And a bonus picture to prove I'm awesome and NOT a brony (no question associated, it's just a cool picture of a werewolf drawn around 1512!):



Correct: (view spoiler)

Chapter 5: (Easy) What is the name of this flower (it will be seen less in the village next year since Heinrich is leaving)?



Correct: (view spoiler)

Chapter 6: (Medium) Logically, how could you prove someone is a witch?



Correct: (view spoiler)

Chapter 7: (Easy) What saint had chosen the same profession as the man shown on this Agricola card in an effort to maintain his innocence?



Correct: (view spoiler)

Chapter 8:(Medium) Flying teeth!?! What is a more technically correct term for this annoying type of fly?



Correct: (view spoiler)

Chapter 9:(Easy) Hello kiddies! Can you dismember my name? Hahahahahahaha.



Correct: (view spoiler)

Chapter 10:(Hard) I know that this clue is a bit roundabout but see if you can name this famed cow to win out!



Correct: (view spoiler)

Chapter 11:(Medium) Name the pig. Is he the master? (That second bit is not actually a question, more like a hint. The answer is just the name of the pictured pig.)



Correct: (view spoiler)


message 3: by Ed (last edited Nov 29, 2012 02:27PM) (new)

Ed Wagemann (EdWagemann) | 985 comments Its my opinion that Obama has been one of the best presidents in U.S. history. In terms of being good for this nation he is undoubtably in the Top 5. He has made mistakes, as all Presidents have, but the largest black mark on his presidency has been his use of the Drone program. Calculations show that only one out of every 50 people killed by drones are actually terrorists. The rest are innocent civilians or questionable targets.

There are two very worrisome things about drones. The first of course is that innocent people are getting killed.

If that isn't bad enough, the second worrisome thing is that using drones is a very easy way of killing people. Because now, instead of having to send a squad into an area to do a mission, a commander can send a drone, knowing that he's not going to have to suffer any casualties on his side. None of his boys will be killed. So if there was some mission that might be a little too risky, instead of opting out of that mission, the commander can go ahead with it, knowing there is very little risk.

Also, let's think about what happens when other nations develop drone technology. What right will we have to tell them that they can't attack our innocent civilians with drones, when we have been doing it ourselves all this time?

What are your thoughts as to why Obama has invested in this program so deeply?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic...

http://rt.com/news/pakistan-civilian-...


message 4: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
Ed,
Top 5, really? Ever, in the whole history of the nation?

Ok, I am glad we are talking about the drone war in Pakistan, and lets not forget Libya.

http://rt.com/usa/news/us-libya-pakis...

This is a hard question to answer because at my core as hard as I search for a justification or a reasonable explanation for this, there really is not one. Not one I can think of at least. That is why Obama can not possibly make the top five presidents list in my humble opinion. In the many articles I have read on this there was a quote from a Pakistani civilian where he said that the dropping of drones on their civilians actually causes more hate towards the USA from civilians. We are not "getting the terrorists" in this process, and we are causing more Pakistani people to hate us.

It is also confusing to me that the American public is not outraged about this.

As I have stated earlier, I have read numerous articles on these drone wars before this thread was even brought up. I watch BBC and CSPAN constantly, and I do not for the life of me understand the drone thing.

Do you think it is simply to "get the terrorists"? If so, do you think he really does not realize it has been ineffective?


message 5: by Gary (new)

Gary | 134 comments Jenny wrote: "It is also confusing to me that the American public is not outraged about this."

From my outsider perspective this is because of the bipolar nature of American politics. The democrats don't want to give the republicans a chance to criticise 'their' president while the republicans don't want to lose their angle that Obama is "weak on terrorism", or that they are "strong on terrorism". Hence neither side is willing to have a go and therefore it tends to get buried in the partisan media.

This is the problem with such a system as it promotes ideology over evidence. When every debate comes down to "our side" or "their side" the truth is of secondary importance.


message 6: by Ed (new)

Ed Wagemann (EdWagemann) | 985 comments Gary, I have to agree with you to a large extent. The only break I give Obama here is that he recieves infomration about national security and about terrorism that you and I - nor 99.999% of the world recieves.

His past and his character leads me to believe that he DOES do things for political gain - there is no question about that. But it also leads me to believe that at his core he is a decent human being and that killing innocent civilians is as disgusting to him as it is to us.

---

Jenny, can you name U.S. 4 Presidents who have done more for our nation unders such dire conditions? All in just under 4 years?


message 7: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
I can name four US President's I think have done better than Obama, absolutely because I do not see that he has "done so much for our country." This is painful for me to say because I did vote for him in '08 thinking he would accomplish so much greatness and he has simply been mediocre.

Calvin Coolidge, the whole roaring 20's thing. For his time the idea that he spoke out in favor of civil rights is pretty cool. Refusal to join the league of nations which now as you know simply does not exist. Which is the point, had we joined we would have been primary funders like we are with the UN and really, how many things are we supposed to fund? His isolationist foreign policy was not completely isolationist, but close enough.

Grover Cleveland. The first thing I like about him is that he refused to use the spoils system when appointing staff. We cannot say that about any recent President. Other than that I will only look at his first four years even though I think some great things came out of his second four years also. He held to the gold standard, which made our dollar super valuable. Another non interventionist who did not seem to think the USA needed to intervene in most foreign affairs. He also appointed Fredrick Douglass a position in DC. You might say, so what? One Black guy? But that was a huge deal then.

FDR. Ok, so this seems a bit contradictory from my other two choices because he was the opposite of small government. I can accept big government if it works. With FDR of course we have the new deal. I think this is what I was hoping for under Obama. FDR went into office and right away changed things in a huge and dramatic manner and it worked. Obama was meek his first couple years and barely got anything accomplished, I would have loved to see Obama say Eff you to his critics and get to work right away.

Lincoln. Do I need to point anything out here?

George Washington. He was an isolationist and in numerous speeches he preached that the USA's best course in foreign policy would be isolationism.

When you ask if I can name presidents who have done more in four years than Obama I would like to know what you see that I do not see. Here is what I see under Obama.

-The value of the dollar is worth less now than when he entered.
-Unemployment remains the same sometimes higher sometimes lower, but never significantly lower.
-Were still in Iraq, and even after 2014 Obama has conceded there will still be troops in Afghanistan.
-Wall Street players who assisted in the financial meltdown in 2008 have never been held accountable.
-As this thread points out, we are killing innocent people everyday.
-There has been little attempt to stop spending on things that are ineffective such as the war on drugs.
-There is a media bias that follows him around like he is some sort of God which he uses to his advantage to not discuss things such as the Benghazi incident
-He has caved for his first four years on raising taxes on the rich. I am glad he did because I do not think it will be very effective, but c'mon... he has had plenty of time to just do it like he campaigned that he would.
-Obamacare WILL cause small businesses to close their doors.
-He is backed by corporations as much as any Republican in congress so he will not do much that will harm their profit margin.

I just do not see things much better now than four years ago. Even if things were like 50% better I would let up a little, but maybe at most things are 10% ish better.


message 8: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
I forgot to add Solyndra and Fast and Furious scandal to that list of things Obama has done and somehow gets away with.


message 9: by Ed (last edited Nov 28, 2012 11:51AM) (new)

Ed Wagemann (EdWagemann) | 985 comments I'll reply to your criticisms of Obama in reverse order that you listed them:

The Fast and Furious "scandal" was an idea that was started under Bush and that has been dismissed under the Obama Administration.

I fully support funding for Green Energy - which is what was done with Solyndra. Obama has taken on the unbelievably hard task of ending US addiction to foriegn oil. Investing in Green energy is a very imporatant part of that process.

Obama has been backed my small donatations and grass roots donations more than any other candidate in hisotry. He also accepted backing from large corporations. In this recent election, Wall Street was overwhelmingly supporting Romney over Obama. Obama has said often that his barameter is focused on teh American people - not corporations - and his actions have provided proof for this.

ObamaCare will HELP small businesses compete with large corporations.

Obama is pragmatic. He's not going to rock the boat if it is possible to get to the same destination with a smooth ride. This explains why he has taken his time in getting around to raising taxes on the rich. His honest judgement was that doing so in the midst of the worst economic strife since the great depression would have had too much of anegative affect on the economy. Waiting until the economy got its legs back underneath it was wise.

Media bias? Who really takes the mainstream media serious anymore? Its a joke. As for Benghazi, why dont you compare the media coverage of that to the numerous embassy attacks during George W Bush's years, or Clinton's or Reagan's or Jimmy Carters? Every president in recent history has had to deal with embassy attacks. And if you are looking to point a finger as to failures to secure the embassy in Benghazi then you have to point it directly at Congress (House Republicans in particular) who have aggessievley cut spending at the State Department in general and embassy security since taking over in 2010.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Backch...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10...

Cutting spending - I'll have to research this and get back to you on this one.

Drone attacks - we agree on this.

There are no longer any active military operatinons in Iraq, nor will there be any in Afghanistan. Maintaining a small presence in each of these areas is not a bad idea. Afterall we have bases in hundreds of coutnries around the world. These bases serve several important functions, including diplomatic functions that help maintain good relations with these foreign countries.

The unemployment has dropped significantly from 10.5% down to its current level of 7.8. There are many factors for high unemployment - but none of them are Obama's fault.

The value of the dollar was decreasing before Obama entered office - and at even a faster rate.

Basically, what ALL of your criticism underscore is the fact that Obama is at the helm in one of the most tumultuous times in US history. He inherited two unfunded wars, a Bush/Cheny recession that has spiraled our nation into its worse economy since the 1930s, a period of globalization in which the entire control of power in the world are in the balance, and he inherited a nation that was more hated internationally that at any other time in our history. Add to that the corporatization of our politics which is making basic things like education and health care no longer accessible for many AMerican families, then it becomes obvious what a clusterfuck Obama has had to deal with.


message 10: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
Ok, unemployment is at 7.8% does not reflect the number of people who have stopped claiming unemployment because they are no longer eligible and they still are unemployed.

I agree with green energy research also, but solyndra cost tax payers tons of money and was mismanaged from day one. Investing in green energy is one thing, investing in sweetheart deals that go belly up and cost the tax payers billions of dollars is another thing.

The Fast and the Furious Scandal began supplying guns in October of 2009, under Obama. There is no way around that.

http://dailycaller.com/2012/09/22/oba...

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tim...

http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/N...
It is easy for Obama to say that it began under Bush, but investigations have proven otherwise. How do you give him a pass on that? These are just three articles on Fast and Furious and the dates it includes, there us so much documentation out there on Fast and Furious being a part of the Obama administration.

I am saying that the embassy attacks in Benghazi have been covered in lies by the Obama administration. I do not blame him for the attacks, I blame him for how his administration handled it. They lied. Of course all administrations lie, but when do we stop accepting this as a nation? How do we say he is one of the best Presidents ever when he does have just as many scandals surrounding him as other presidents.

Of course, Obama has a clusterfuck to deal with, but he hasn't done much about it. I will not say he is the worst president ever, but to say he is one of the top 5 simply because he inherited such a mess... Plenty of Presidents have inherited messes. He needs to fix the mess.

The outcome on Obamacare cannot be compared yet. I highly disagree that it will help small businesses, but in 2015 after it has been in place for a year we can discuss it then. I know too many business owners who are afraid of what Obamacare will do their businesses to remain confident it will help small businesses, but again, we might as well leave that one alone until 2015.


message 11: by Ed (last edited Nov 28, 2012 12:56PM) (new)

Ed Wagemann (EdWagemann) | 985 comments I'm not aware of any lies that the Obama Administration has made concerning Benghazi. From my understanding his administration answered questions based on the information they had at the time.

It seems to me that this is a faux-scandal that was drummed up by right-wing extremists in the heat of the last few weeks of desperate Presidental campaign. It is not a scandal. A scandal is when you lie about trading arms for hostages (like Reagan did), or when you knowingly mislead the nation into a war for oil (like Bush did), or when you break into an opponents campaign headquarters (like Nixon did) or denying having sex with Ms. Lewinski (like Clinton did).

---

As for fast and furious, it was an extension of a program called Operation Wide Receiver that was started under the Bush administration. Under the Obama administration we saw that the Dept of homeland security analyzed the program and then decided against it.

I'm not giving Obama a pass on this, what I am saying is that he allowed the experts - the Dept of Homeland security - figure out whether this was a good program or not. Eventually they decided it was not. And that's that - I don't see what the big deal is here. Its certainly not a Scandal.


message 12: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
Ok, Ed. So Fast and Furious went well into 2011. I do not think that keeping up with a horrible program under Bush makes him more innocent because he did not start it, but I think you and I have had this disagreement before so lets agree to disagree there shall we?

There were lies told by the administration about Benghazi because it was campaign season. Originally they said the attacks had to do with an online video that went viral. Then later they said it had nothing to do with that. There were also multiple alerts sent to the administration that things did not look good there well before it happened and they were shrugged off. Hillary Clinton has admitted to that.

But lets move on. I think one of the things I am most wondering is what has Obama done to make it to your top 5. Specifically. Not, what he has not done by being pragmatic or whatever, what specific bills has he passed or repealed? What will his legacy leave that makes him top 5? And lets leave Obamacare out of it because there are varying ideas on how that will actually work so until its been implemented for a year or so I do not think it counts. This is what I see.

He repealed Don't ask don't tell. This will have nothing but a positive effect on our military. If we insist on policing the world we need anyone to serve in the military that is willing no matter what their sexual preference is.

I love the Dream Act. I think it is exactly what our country needs in the way of immigration policy right now.

What do you see in the way of a top 5 president ever?


message 13: by Ed (new)

Ed Wagemann (EdWagemann) | 985 comments Why do you think Fast and Furious was a "horrible" program? In hindsight, it didn't turn out great because that agent was killed, but if the guy that killed that agent hadnt gotten the gun through fast and furious or operation wide reciever, he certainly would have gotten it from somewhere else.

My understanding of the program is that it was designed to gather infomration and that they were trying to track how weapons flowed through the system. The program ended up getting some bad PR in the end. We dont how much infomation was gained from the program, but after just over a year, Homeland Security decided to drop the program.

That doesnt make it a scandal, it makes it a program that didn't work. It is fortunate that the Dept of Homeland Sec figured out the program wasnt working well and that theey didn't spend too much money on it. Its unfortunate that an agent died with one of the guns from the program. That's bad PR. Sometimes programs work and sometimes they don't.

No government program can be expected to be successful 100% of the time.


message 14: by Ed (new)

Ed Wagemann (EdWagemann) | 985 comments Jenny, where did the administration say that the video had nothing to do with the Benghazi attacks?

In regard to that video, just remember this: When it comes to fighting terrorism the LAST THING you want to do is show the terrorists your cards. The rave up about the video could very well have been part of the misinformation campaign that the government uses to throw terrorists off balance. Similar ploys have been done before.


message 15: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
Ok, so fast and furious was not a scandal it is a program that again cost taxpayer money, killed an innocent American, and probably killed some innocent Mexicans also.

Like Obamacare, I will wait until everything about Benghazi has been sorted out before we go much further there because really I hear and read different stories about that whole incident everyday.

I am still curious though, what do you see in him that puts him in your top 5? He makes my top 20 probably, but I cannot see him up there with some of the great American Presidents we have had. I only see him as mediocre. What do you see in him that I am missing?


message 16: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
Ok, so fast and furious was not a scandal it is a program that again cost taxpayer money, killed an innocent American, and probably killed some innocent Mexicans also.

Like Obamacare, I will wait until everything about Benghazi has been sorted out before we go much further there because really I hear and read different stories about that whole incident everyday.

I am still curious though, what do you see in him that puts him in your top 5? He makes my top 20 probably, but I cannot see him up there with some of the great American Presidents we have had. I only see him as mediocre. What do you see in him that I am missing?


message 17: by Ed (last edited Nov 28, 2012 02:55PM) (new)

Ed Wagemann (EdWagemann) | 985 comments Jenny writes:But lets move on. I think one of the things I am most wondering is what has Obama done to make it to your top 5. Specifically. Not, what he has not done by being pragmatic or whatever, what specific bills has he passed or repealed? What will his legacy leave that makes him top 5? And lets leave Obamacare out of it because there are varying ideas on how that will actually work so until its been implemented for a year or so I do not think it counts. This is what I see.

There is no doubt that ObamaCare has already saved lives. There are hundreds of testimonies available on-line to attest to that, by folks who would not have been covered if not for ObamaCare. I also have no doubt that in the long run ObamaCare will improve the broken healthcare system immensely which will in turn help the economy.

Beyond that Obama has transformed America.

There are at least a dozen ways that Obama has changed America for the better. Let me just start off with how he has changed America by being a strong COmmander in Chief

Think about what this nation was 8 or 9 years ago - a nation that was breaking international law by making "pre-emptive" strikes and going to war unilaterally and circumventing UN machinations in order to make a power grab for oil rich Iraq. A country that had used the tragedy of 9/11 to misled its citizens. A country that was using chemical weapons containing white phosphorus in a war that was supposedly started to find WMDs. A country that was systematically torturing foreign ciizens and using rendition to break the Geneva Conventions.

Today we have no more combat operations in Iraq and we will soon have no more in Afghanistan. Yes, we will maintain bases there, just as we have with hundreds of other countries around the world - which is wise not only militarily, but diplomatically as well.

Obama has also gotten rid of more terrorists than any other President - including getting rid of bin Laden.

He has kept our borders secure.

He has done a masterful job of leading from behind in regards to the Arab Spring.

He has improved strained relations within the international community, including relations with Europe, Central and South America.

He has used the military to provide humanitarian relief around the world and to help Americans who have been victims of floods, tornados, wild fires and hurricanes.

His one downfall is that he has continued the Drone program that was started before he took office. But other than that, he has been the strongest Commander in Chief since since FDR.


message 18: by Andrew (last edited Jan 13, 2013 10:47AM) (new)

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) Chapter 12: (Undetermined) If the boulder had been pushed down the cliff onto Hegel you could make the following comparison: Father Martyn is to R???? as Hegel is to P????.



Correct: (view spoiler)

Chapter 13: (Undetermined) I feel much safer knowing that this experienced demon hunter (specializing in eradicating possessed people) lives right near me in Jacksonville, OR.



Correct: (view spoiler)

Chapter 14: (Undetermined) Name two of the three attributes of this saint that are visible in this picture?



Correct: (view spoiler)

Chapter 15: (Undetermined) The Road Popes, if truly popes, would have most likely lived this palace.



Correct: (view spoiler)

Chapter 16: (Undetermined) If only Heinrich had started his new family a few hundred years later, he could have looked forward to annual gifts of manly things. What building would you find this monument on?



Correct: (view spoiler)


message 19: by Ed (last edited Nov 30, 2012 10:09AM) (new)

Ed Wagemann (EdWagemann) | 985 comments Jenny, I was re-reading this thread and I found that your argument for Coolidge being one of the top 5 presidents of all-time to be interesting.
The Roaring 20s was a time of peace and prosperity in the US much like the 1990s.

Which brings up comparison's between Coolidge to Clinton - who were basically opposites politically. Coolidge's philosophy was that of a libertarian. Clinton was of the corporate democrat ilk. The one major thing they had in common in fact seems to be that they were lucky enough to be president during a time of economic prosperity that required very few major foreign policy decisions.


From wikipedia:
Coolidge has often been criticized for his actions during the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the worst natural disaster to hit the Gulf Coast until Hurricane Katrina in 2005.[126] Although he did eventually name Secretary Hoover to a commission in charge of flood relief, Coolidge's lack of interest in federal flood control has been criticized.[126] Coolidge did not believe that personally visiting the region after the floods would accomplish anything, but would be seen only as political grandstanding. He also did not want to incur the federal spending that flood control would require; he believed property owners should bear much of the cost.[127] On the other hand, Congress wanted a bill that would place the federal government completely in charge of flood mitigation.[128] When Congress passed a compromise measure in 1928, Coolidge declined to take credit for it and signed the bill in private on May 15.


message 20: by Jenny (last edited Nov 30, 2012 10:27AM) (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
Ed Wagemann wrote: "Jenny, I was re-reading this thread and I found that your argument for Coolidge being one of the top 5 presidents of all-time to be interesting.
The Roaring 20s was a time of peace and prosperity..."


Ed,
I'll give you that the way he handled the flood might not have been the best. As you have pointed out with Obama, it's not all perfect. What I see in Coolidge is that during his administration he kept the government small. Just because there was money floating around he did not tax it excessively and claim it for the federal government and set up departments or bureaus for the sake of doing so. Money is always better at a local level, (isn't that what the idea of the latest shop local trend is about?).


message 21: by Ed (new)

Ed Wagemann (EdWagemann) | 985 comments I agree that in an idea world, local is best. But we don't live in an idea world. We live in a world corrupted by the corporate consumer culture. This corporatization has ruined out health care system. It has made it impossible for small, local health care to be an option.
Corporatization has also strangled out economy.

Obama has actually spent mush less than most presidents since FDR. The spending that he has done has been in stimulas, which was done in order to combat the problems to the economy that were caused by corporatization. If we really want to see less spending by our government then we need to see a war on the corporatization of our nation.


message 22: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
Ed Wagemann wrote: "I agree that in an idea world, local is best. But we don't live in an idea world. We live in a world corrupted by the corporate consumer culture. This corporatization has ruined out health care ..."

I am aware that Obama has spent less than most Presidents. I do applaud him for that. But we as a nation continue growing our programs every year and eventually we will not be able to pay for things.


message 23: by Gary (new)

Gary | 134 comments Jenny wrote: "But we as a nation continue growing our programs every year and eventually we will not be able to pay for things."

Programs grow because population grows and poverty grows. The first can be relieved by contraception, education and an acceptance of sexuality. All things opposed by a large chunk of the Religious Right. The second is caused by policies that divert more resources from the growing population to ever fewer people.

The growing population should be growing the economy, but while wages for the majority stagnate the wages of the wealthy increase exponentially. This causes more poverty and less growth.

If the wealthiest cannot control their greed then either the democratic majority need to place sanctions on this greed, or they can wait until society collapses into disaster and anarchy.

The US avoided the march to communism or fascism by realising in the thirties that democracy should bring prosperity to the majority not the few. The New Deal helped America survive the great depression without succumbing to communism or fascism that the East resorted to and then enabled the US to climb out of WW2 as a superpower.

Since then the US conservatives have been trying to dismantle the provisions of the New Deal just when history shows you need it most.

China can afford to enslave their population and pay them a pittance for gruelling work for as long as the majority of their customers are mostly foreign. However the US (and UK) markets are mostly our own people, so policies that make the majority poorer will obviously shrink those markets.


message 24: by Gary (new)

Gary | 134 comments Ed Wagemann wrote: "I agree that in an idea world, local is best."

I can't agree there. Just like most things I think a balance is more effective. Local competition can ensure efficiency, but sometimes the economies of scale are also important to a healthy society.

Just look at the US, now look at Africa. Do you really think the US would ever have been a global superpower if they had remained a loose alliance of states?

Look at all the issues the EU has because they lack the political, fiscal and cultural unity of the US.

Ed Wagemann wrote: "We live in a world corrupted by the corporate consumer culture."

This I can agree with, and the irony is that most conservatives do not seem to realise that by focussing on "Small Government" they are not realising that when government shrinks the slack is taken up by "Big Corporations" How is this better? At least government is at least on paper meant to be For, by and of the people. Corporations have no such transparency or mandate. They are For, by and of those who profit from it.

Ed Wagemann wrote: "This corporatization has ruined out health care system. It has made it impossible for small, local health care to be an option."

Again the direct analogy between the Military and Healthcare seems obvious to me. In neither war or healthcare are you selling a product to customers who will compete on price. In both you have a single coherent goal, and that goal is sullied by the idea of people profiting from it.

In war profiteering is considered tantamount to treason, why is it not considered such when the nation faces disease or disaster?

Ed Wagemann wrote: "Corporatization has also strangled out economy."

Indeed. Deregulation destroys capitalism because the entire point, competition, is eliminated by monopolies and corporations using their advantages of scale.

Conservatives in both US and UK seem to be determined to make people forget that this depression was caused by unfettered capitalism and profiteering, not public spending.

The thing I cannot understand is why they are so determined to forget that they need customers, so the poorer the majority is the poorer everyone ends up.


message 25: by Ed (last edited Dec 03, 2012 12:20PM) (new)

Ed Wagemann (EdWagemann) | 985 comments I can't agree there. Just like most things I think a balance is more effective. Local competition can ensure efficiency, but sometimes the economies of scale are also important to a healthy society.

Right, I agree. In general though I think MOST things are best if done locally. Big is bad in my opinion.

~Big means we start dehumanizing people - seeing people as numbers instead of individuals.

~Big also gives more opportunity for accumulating power and abusing it.

~Big also allows uethical behavior to be more easily covered up or to be drowned in red tape and to slip through the cracks.


message 26: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
Ed Wagemann wrote: "I can't agree there. Just like most things I think a balance is more effective. Local competition can ensure efficiency, but sometimes the economies of scale are also important to a healthy society..."

Ed, the policies and programs you seem to support are "big," so what gives?


message 27: by Ed (last edited Dec 03, 2012 01:09PM) (new)

Ed Wagemann (EdWagemann) | 985 comments There are 2 Big programs I support. I believe everyone in America up to the age of 18 should have quality education and quality health care. That is not only the humanitarian thing to do, it is also actually just good policy that will make our nation stronger.

Other than thoses things, off the top of my head, I can't think of any other BIG policies/programs that I would increase spending on.

Most of the changes I'd like to see do not need large increases in government spending in order to implement. They just need some good legislation. Green energy is an example. I would rather see green energy arrise from the ground up. I'd like to see legislation that heavily favors it. I would prefer that insead of having the government invest in green energy - but realistically that might not be possible. If you go back over 100 years and see how oil got its start in the US it is because of government spending. So maybe green energy needs the same leg up to get rolling.


message 28: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
Ed Wagemann wrote: "There are 2 Big programs I support. I believe everyone in America up to the age of 18 should have quality education and quality health care. That is not only the humanitarian thing to do, it is al..."

The idea of a surveillance nation is a Big idea. Bailouts are Big. I would trust government investments in green energy if we had a government that was not controlled by lobbyists, which is why that will not work fairly. Keeping people in Afghanistan and Iraq even after we "withdraw" is big in terms of policing the world.


message 29: by Ed (last edited Dec 03, 2012 01:48PM) (new)

Ed Wagemann (EdWagemann) | 985 comments Here's the tricky thing about politics. Depending on the context and the timing that a program/policy is implemented it may or may not be a good idea.

The banking bailouts and the auto industry bailouts for instance. In general I think bailouts should be avoided. Why should our hard earned dollars go to rescuing corporate fat cats who spent like sailors, made poor decisions - probablly unethical ones - and basically fleeced their customers?

No one should be too big to fail imo. But the fact of the matter is that the banks and the auto industry actually were (arguably) too big to fail because if they would have failed that would have very likely caused a seriously disatrous economic calamity on scale with the Great Depression.

Some folks say, well so what? That's just how it goes. Eventually the economy will correct itself.

But how will it correct itself? Will there need to be a world war in order for us to get out of such a Depression - which is basically what was needed to get us out of the Depression of the 1930s?

And if so, is that really worth it? Or is it better to bail these corporate assholes out for the time being and then start working toward correcting the systemic causes of the failures of these financial institutions and auto companies? With the hopes that we learn from our mistakes?

So when I say that the context and timing of implementing policies matters, what that means is that there ARE certain times and situations where even the most terrible policies (which bail-outs are) is what is needed. And again, I put the blame for us even being in such a dire circumstance in the first place on corporatism - and I think most Americans realize this, thus the Obama re-election.


message 30: by Gary (new)

Gary | 134 comments Ed Wagemann wrote: "The banking bailouts and the auto industry bailouts for instance. In general I think bailouts should be avoided. Why should our hard earned dollars go to rescuing corporate fat cats who spent like sailors, made poor decisions - probablly unethical ones - and basically fleeced their customers?"

And then paid out a load of bonuses to the same executives that presided over the collapse...

I can understand a bailout to save the workers in a production industry like the car bailout, but the financial services? That's like bailing out a company that had been making cars out of cardboard to save money and pocket the profits.

What if the banks had been allowed to collapse and the bailout was instead used to forgive the debt of the poorest customers. Instead of money pumping into the pockets and offshore accounts of bankers, money would have been pumped back into the economy. Would it be fair? Perhaps not, but more fair than the people who profited from the practices that caused fiscal chaos having their cake and eating everyone else's...


message 31: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
Gary wrote: "Ed Wagemann wrote: "The banking bailouts and the auto industry bailouts for instance. In general I think bailouts should be avoided. Why should our hard earned dollars go to rescuing corporate fat ..."

Well said again Gary.


message 32: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
Back to the war topic though.

Both parties fully support war.

The only real anti war party:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjuUWr...

Ron Paul. Ok, he's not perfect, but US drones would not be killing innocent people right now under him.


message 33: by Gary (new)

Gary | 134 comments Jenny wrote: "Ron Paul. Ok, he's not perfect, but US drones would not be killing innocent people right now under him. "

I would be more concerned by the rampant poverty and social collapse caused by going back to a wild west mentality of government and then the subsequent handing of power from the government of the people to the richest corporations.


message 34: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
Gary wrote: "Jenny wrote: "Ron Paul. Ok, he's not perfect, but US drones would not be killing innocent people right now under him. "

I would be more concerned by the rampant poverty and social collapse caused ..."


Of course you would, but really now... you and Ed are the ones who keep saying the president is not the one who has the most power and that congress does. so congress could keep us on point with monetary policy and Ron Paul could be in charge of foreign policy. Besides that, like I have said a million times I do not see what we are doing now as working so I really do not think we have much to worry about by trying something completely new and different.


message 35: by Gary (new)

Gary | 134 comments Jenny wrote: "Besides that, like I have said a million times I do not see what we are doing now as working so I really do not think we have much to worry about by trying something completely new and different."

Certainly Ron Paul seemed to be the least insane than the crop of republican candidates and perhaps he would be good at foreign policy.

The real problem though is that since the New Deal the US has tried cutting back on taxes and cutting back on regulation of corporations and the economy has gotten worse and the gap between rich and poor has increased. Trying more of the same isn't new or different.


message 36: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
Gary wrote: "Jenny wrote: "Besides that, like I have said a million times I do not see what we are doing now as working so I really do not think we have much to worry about by trying something completely new an..."


Ok, but one of Ron Paul's major talking points was/is "cutting welfare for corporations" ie subsidies, automatic bailouts, and tax loopholes. Ron Paul was not proposing anything we have done before, yet he did not get the media attention and Obama only has to say "those mean CEO's..." and not do anything about it. Ron Paul could not get backing for his campaign from any major donors because they knew his policies would not favor them. Also, lobbyist after lobbyist after lobbyist has stated how they do not even bother with Ron Paul anymore because he does not sell out to lobbyists. Obama does/has/will continue to.

The idea here in the USA is that this is all the riche's fault, yet we get a candidate who will truly make the rich have to actually compete and work for their profit margin and everyone laughs at him.


message 37: by Ed (new)

Ed Wagemann (EdWagemann) | 985 comments What if the banks had been allowed to collapse and the bailout was instead used to forgive the debt of the poorest customers.

That's a pretty big fuckin 'what if' Gary. First of all you have to convince me that Congress would have passed a bail out for the poorest customers.

There was a stimulas that extended unemployment benefits and program in which people in jeopardy of forclosure got some breaks. But even getting that small stimulas was like pulling teeth.


message 38: by Gary (new)

Gary | 134 comments Ed Wagemann wrote: "That's a pretty big fuckin 'what if' Gary. First of all you have to convince me that Congress would have passed a bail out for the poorest customers."

Aye, I realise that. But that is because of this ideology that poor people are poor because they are lazy and if they just work hard enough they would be rich.

Again though the evidence would suggest that money paid directly to the poor would cancel personal debt and get them spending in the economy again thereby increasing demand and therefore jobs. Instead the banks were bailed out, rich people stored more wealth outside of the economy and the banks then had to be persuaded and bullied to even release a fraction of the bailout money as loans.

This is why evidence based policies would be better than the ideology of either the left or the right.

http://www.badscience.net/2011/05/we-...


message 39: by Ed (new)

Ed Wagemann (EdWagemann) | 985 comments I don't think it is so much a matter that Congress thinks poor folks are lazy - certainly some poor people are, but I think COngress's real concern is that poor folks don't know how to manage their money. They buy stupid things, they buy on credit, they fudge their applications to get mortgauges they can't afford, etc. And not just poor people, but many middle-class folks as well simply arent "spending responsibly".

Spending responsbiliy is subjective of course. But the US is dominated by the corporate consumer culture - a culture that ABSOLUTELY promotes spending in a way that is not responsibile.

Which brings up the notion that Wall Street is not spending responsibly either. In fact almost no one is America spends responsbility. We really don't.

So there is plenty of blame to go around.


message 40: by Tanjlisa (new)

Tanjlisa Marie (TanjlisaMarie) | 234 comments Our government feeds us crap and tells us its candy and we keep taking it. That's all there is. The Wall Street bailout still upsets my stomach to this day. Timothy Geithner, first the NY Federal Reserve President who later became The Department of Treasury had intimate ties with Wall Street. Actually, several Federal departments pull their executives from the Wall Street CEO pooling. Why there wasn't a bigger uproar about handing out billions of dollars to frat buddies is beyond me...


message 41: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
Tanjlisa wrote: "Our government feeds us crap and tells us its candy and we keep taking it. That's all there is. The Wall Street bailout still upsets my stomach to this day. Timothy Geithner, first the NY Federal R..."

My future VP running mate, your always on message and say it perfectly Tanj


message 42: by Ed (last edited Dec 06, 2012 11:50AM) (new)

Ed Wagemann (EdWagemann) | 985 comments I heard something interesting on the radio yesterday.
Technically the dollor notes that we all carry around are owned by the FED, while the coins we carry - dimes, nickels, quarters, etc are owned by the Dept. of Treasury.

This means if Congress or the President would call for the Dept of Treasury to start making 20 dollar coins, 50 dollor coins, 100 coins, etc. that eventually coins Could take over and we wouldnt use dollar notes as often and if it continued to the point where we didnt use dollar notes at all, then we could get rid of the FED.

This is what I heard at least on the radio. Not sure if that is actually possible or not. I mean even if i were Technically possilbe, I doubt that it would be realistically possible since most money changes hands electronically now days.


message 43: by Gary (new)

Gary | 134 comments Ed Wagemann wrote: "I don't think it is so much a matter that Congress thinks poor folks are lazy - certainly some poor people are, but I think COngress's real concern is that poor folks don't know how to manage their..."

"Spending responsibly" is actually part of the problem. Because the west is a capitalist and therefore consumer economy, the recovery is not happening fast because of cuts to the majority which are making them save their money instead of spend. This actually causes a loss in wealth because if people are not buying then people are not earning and therefore the whole economy goes down the pan.

In real terms the US has exactly the same resources and production capacity it had before the crash, the problem is that economics on the scale of societies does not work the same way the economy of a house works.

As for the poor being at fault for bad spending and loans they could not afford, it was the unregulated financial services industry that hard sold them these products advising them that they could afford it and that they were actually being sensible because it was an investment.

Normally such products are shielded from disaster because they have higher interest rates which pays for the insurance in case the borrower defaults. However, then the financial services industry, to maximise profits, bundled these high risk loans and sold them as low risk thereby saving money on insuring them against default and pocketing the difference.

Then people found out and the confidence went out of the market, the value of the bundles collapsed and the holders demanded foreclosure to minimise their losses.

Out of all this the poor people had taken bad advice from people who wanted to profit on them, took a path which seemed to promise the "American Dream" of a wealthier future and the security of a home that was increasing in value.

like it or not, the west is a consumer economy, so all this talk of "sensible spending" will actually cause more economic hardship, not less. The only answer is to either do what it takes to get people the confidence to start spending again, or abandon the current economic model and replace it with a sustainable model economy, which unfortunately will require the significant re-engineering of the "free market" and the end of the type of markets that lead to this cycle of boom and bust.

I doubt the latter will happen without a major precipitating socio-economic disaster of epic proportions, almost certainly a massive war, civil or otherwise.


message 44: by Ed (last edited Dec 07, 2012 08:17AM) (new)

Ed Wagemann (EdWagemann) | 985 comments There is no need to replace the current economic model. It is possible to tweak it, so that it organically grows into a better version.

My idea of a better version would be one in which is based on small businesses generating the economy instead of huge multi-national conglomerates generating it. We should declare war on corporatism. Tax the hell out of them. Take away all the advantages that they have over small businesses. Make it so that small businesses are no longer at a disadvantage.

Our current large multinational corporation based economy encourages a lack of sensibile spening. It encourages a lack of taking responsibility for one's own actions. Consumers rely on the big corporations to tell them what is right and wrong. To tell them what they could do or not do. That's frickin assinine!


message 45: by Andrew (last edited Feb 18, 2013 02:57AM) (new)

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) Here is the scoreboard, I'll add each person's name once they submit one correct answer. Bonus points (for being the only person to answer a question) will not be added until the contest closes.

Michelle F*: 17
Chris: 16


* Michelle F is not eligible to win the contest due to her unique relationship with me (i.e. my wife). Her answers also do not count when figuring the bonus points. Michelle does quality checking to verify all the questions are answerable.


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