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Aided by cutting edge technologies, governments demonstrate little restraint in tracking their citizens

2006 and 2007 proved to be dismal years for privacy advocates, as governments the world over showed little restraint in their deployments of the latest surveillance technologies.

Privacy International released its 2007 annual International Privacy Rankings on December 28, and the results are chilling. The report is based on the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s September 2007 1,100-page “Privacy & Human Rights” report, which Privacy International called the “single most comprehensive single volume report in the human rights field.”

Among the survey’s 47 ranked countries, not a single nation improved its rating over 2006’s rankings; each country either maintained the previous year’s classification or fell further towards a “surveillance state.” Well over half of the ranked countries were ranked at or below a ranking of “systemic failure to uphold [privacy] safeguards,” with a significant number of countries featuring “extensive” or “endemic” surveillance societies.

The temptations of surveillance seduced even the most stalwart of privacy-supporting countries, with the “adequate safeguards against abuse” ranking dropping from five countries – Greece, Germany, Belgium, Austria, and Canada in 2006 – to just one: Greece.

Concerns over border control and threat of terrorism dominated surveillance-oriented initiatives, with “all citizens, regardless of legal status,” increasingly “under suspicion.” Globalization and technological progress are the biggest enablers, and 2007 saw the rise of a number of international agreements that allow for surveillance outside normal judicial limits.

Most notably, Privacy International named the United States as the “worst ranking country in the democratic world” in terms of statutory privacy protections and enforcement. The United States’ lack of constitutional privacy protections, plus the FTC’s inadequate attention towards privacy matters, the growth of biometric databases, and implementation of ever-more pervasive ID systems, led Privacy International to classify the US as an “endemic surveillance society” with rankings that placed it lower than both India and the Philippines.





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Election
By Murst on 1/7/2008 2:12:47 PM , Rating: 4
This is one of the reasons I'll be voting for either Paul or Obama in the next elections...




RE: Election
By djcameron on 1/7/2008 2:22:24 PM , Rating: 3
Paul would be a good choice for privacy issues, but I'll betcha Obama turns out to be just like all the others.


RE: Election
By Wightout on 1/7/2008 4:17:57 PM , Rating: 2
Amen to that...


RE: Election
By Ryanman on 1/7/2008 6:26:03 PM , Rating: 4
Is this really anything of a surprise?
We constantly have FitCamaro and Mdoggs on here saying that they're willing to sacrifice freedom for security. And they're not the only ones either, just the ones I notice.
When are you all going to understand that you're LOSING more security than you're gaining? Are you really more scared of a religious fanatic with an AK than a power-hungry president? Which one has more power? The terrorist can kill a couple people, while the president can enslave you... tell you what you can and can't do on a wide scale. Those who dismiss an argument like this as conspiracy theories need to read a history book. And, time permitting, the report that's mentioned in the article.

Wake up Americans. Your rights are leaving. They're leaving slowly, they're leaving secretly, and while you have your money you won't care. But once that's gone what will you have left? Everyone needs to think about their priorities when we "elect" our officials, or we're all going to find ourselves singing Newspeak in no time.


RE: Election
By FITCamaro on 1/7/08, Rating: -1
RE: Election
By mdogs444 on 1/7/08, Rating: 0
RE: Election
By FITCamaro on 1/7/08, Rating: -1
RE: Election
By Murst on 1/7/2008 3:35:26 PM , Rating: 2
In all honesty, I'd rather them tax us more and have a balanced budget, than have republicans spend money that didn't exist yesterday.

I hate taxes, but the policies of Bush are much more harmful to the economy / currency.


RE: Election
By mdogs444 on 1/7/2008 3:42:18 PM , Rating: 2
Bush is not a true conservative, or a fiscal conservative. Hes a republican by means of social policy (with the exception of trying to give amnesty to illegals), but he is by no means a fiscal conservative. In fact, he actually spends like a democrat.


RE: Election
By BMFPitt on 1/7/2008 4:05:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In fact, he actually spends like a democrat.
He couldn't help it... That huge Democratic majority in Congress from 2001-2006 kept sending him giant, pork-filled spending bills.


RE: Election
By ksuWildcat on 1/7/2008 4:12:09 PM , Rating: 3
LOL! I always find it ironic that Republicans complain about Democratic spending, while racking up a huge national debt themselves.


RE: Election
By murphyslabrat on 1/7/2008 4:53:15 PM , Rating: 2
The Republican's are right, the Democrats do spend a lot. However, it isn't their fault for being politicians, it really comes down to the United States citizens not being willing to cut expensive social programs. Though, Republican's are not innocent either, they too are politicians.


RE: Election
By Murst on 1/7/2008 4:13:36 PM , Rating: 3
Democratic majority? I think you need to look at who controlled congress before you post.

Also, the republican party has turned away from being fiscally conservative. The only presidents who have had a balanced budget in recent history were all democrats. Record deficits were reached under the recent republicans.

BTW, I'm an independent.


RE: Election
By ksuWildcat on 1/7/2008 4:16:17 PM , Rating: 2
I believe that BMFPitt was being sarcastic...


RE: Election
By Murst on 1/7/2008 4:17:57 PM , Rating: 2
Doh... it sure does sound like it ;)

My bad.


RE: Election
By clovell on 1/7/2008 3:44:24 PM , Rating: 2
> In all honesty, I'd rather them tax us more and have a balanced budget, than have republicans spend money that didn't exist yesterday.


Ideally, we'd like to not have to choose between just those two options.


RE: Election
By FITCamaro on 1/7/2008 4:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
LMAO.

If you honestly think they'll balance the budget by taxing us more, you're sadly mistaken. Universal health care alone will cost hundreds of billions of dollars on top of what we're already spending. Then theres the whole "give a women who's just given birth $5000 for each baby" that Hillary wants to do.


RE: Election
By mdogs444 on 1/7/2008 4:15:14 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah the "baby bonds" - how stupid. So not only do the middle & upper class have to pay the health care and welfare costs for the poor - we always have to give them $5k for each of the 12 kids that they have in the ghetto? how stupid. Good thing that will never get enough mustard to pass.


RE: Election
By clovell on 1/7/2008 4:19:03 PM , Rating: 2
It's not an entirely bad idea - I mean that 5k would cover the per capita CO2 tax the UN is tossing around.

[obligatory monday /sarcasm tag]


RE: Election
By superkdogg on 1/7/2008 4:27:11 PM , Rating: 2
What do you think happens to the health care bills of the poor right now?

The premise of universal care is that prevention is cheaper than acute care. That and that medical professionals are paid way too much, largely because they in turn have to pay malpractice bills that are way too big. Universal care is cost-neutral at worst when compared to the % of GDP that the US currently spends on health care.

People hurt by universal care: those needing non-emergency and elective specialty procedures & insurance companies. Luckily for those opposed, there's enough lobbyists for insurance companies that you'll never have to wait 3 weeks to have that minor surgery in exchange for knowing you and your family will always have health insurance even if you got laid off.


RE: Election
By superkdogg on 1/7/2008 4:37:34 PM , Rating: 3
Just wanted to add really quick that a google revealed to me the "socialized" health care nations in Europe invested 9.1% of GDP in health care for the most recent finalized numbers which were 2006 iirc.

The US: 16% with 20% expected within 7 years.

So, would anyone care to argue the 'cost' of universal care?

The only valid argument against it that I've heard is waiting periods and the counter argument to that is that no nation has the number of doctors and modern facilities that US does. Do we really think that if health care were universal the poor would overrun clinics with demands for surgery?


RE: Election
By TheDoc9 on 1/7/2008 4:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
What those numbers say to me is that the U.S. already has Universal Health Care, we simply don't call it that.


RE: Election
By superkdogg on 1/9/2008 9:48:54 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know how figures on cost and % of GDP tell you anything about how health care is delivered. There's not nearly enough information to make that generalization.

I only stated that the US spends twice the percentage on care versus countries that have universal care.

Look at it this way: Health is more important than roads. Does America or any other nation seek to award driving privileges only to those who qualify? Should driver's licenses be a privilege and not a right of a law-abiding citizen with proper training? Presuming you're not arguing that poor people or laid off people, or people who simply were not born with the ability to hold a good job should not be allowed to drive, then you have to admit that roads should remain accessible to everyone.


RE: Election
By BMFPitt on 1/7/2008 4:58:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The only valid argument against it that I've heard is waiting periods
As far as I'm concerned, this should be an invalid argument because you could still buy (or get private insurance for) access to better care. There are certainly people who would want this to be illegal, but that would never actually happen.
quote:
Do we really think that if health care were universal the poor would overrun clinics with demands for surgery?
If by "we" you mean the average posters in this thread, probably.


RE: Election
By clovell on 1/7/2008 4:58:34 PM , Rating: 2
Doctors aren't paid too much. They work hard to get where they are. As for the poor, medicare and medicaid cover preventative medicine. While there are certianly some unfortunate folks that fall through the cracks in the middle class, the majority of those who don't qualify for government health care now need to get a job and make better decisions in life.


RE: Election
By Spuke on 1/7/2008 6:16:04 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if we move to universal health care, if corporations will offer health insurance as part of the benefits package. If they don't, will we get that money back in our checks?


RE: Election
By Ringold on 1/7/2008 5:02:00 PM , Rating: 2
I think the point was, or at least I will make it in to, that there will always be a new government plan to spend revenue that the government does not even yet have. Always.

Small government fought first at Bull Run, suffered a fatal blow at Gettysburg, and finally died at Appomattox.

The only difference, now, is that at least there still exists a sizeable portion of small-government Republican's inside the Republican party, and several of the culprits of the big-spending years recently are either not running for re-election or removed from their leadership posts. Virtually no such wing exists in the Democrat party.

If it were not universal health care, it would assuredly be something else, something else, and then something else after that.


RE: Election
By Murst on 1/7/2008 4:16:31 PM , Rating: 2
I'd take your comment more seriously if the republicans had any sort of plans to have a balanced budget. Ironically, you have to look to the democrats or (not so ironically) libretarians for that (just look at the last 40 years in presidents, and the budget during those times).


RE: Election
By Ringold on 1/7/2008 5:06:48 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, the last projections I saw indicated, assuming the Bush Tax Cuts are not allowed to expire and spending grows at the rate of inflation (I believe), then 2013 or 2014 or so should achieve a balanced state, with surpluses for some time after that -- until the baby boomers start to devastate Social Security and Medicare, at which point, deficits off in to perpetuity. That, however, will be a problem of such a huge scale that the Democrat's have yet to propose a solution, nor are they likely to. It won't be just a tiny "lets stick it to 'em!" few percentage point increase to smooth over, it'll be a class-warfare size tax hike, and I don't think they're ready to completely go Bolshevik yet.


RE: Election
By Ringold on 1/7/2008 5:10:05 PM , Rating: 2
To be fair, too, I want to follow up and point out Europe faces a similar impending budget crisis with their aging, shrinking populations.

The difference is, with our smaller welfare state (comparatively speaking) and stronger economy, it may be possible to tackle it here. Their combination of low growth and already-huge government.. well, economists there appear to be sticking their heads under their pillow and hoping they don't hear or feel the fiscal explosion that'll kill them some decades down the road, or at the very least are content allowing the next generation to take care of it.


RE: Election
By clovell on 1/7/2008 5:08:12 PM , Rating: 2
Bush has plans to balance the budget, which have been executed - they simply won't be finished while he's in office.


RE: Election
By m1ldslide1 on 1/7/2008 6:18:14 PM , Rating: 3
quote:

By clovell on 1/7/2008 5:08:12 PM , Rating: 2

Bush has plans to balance the budget, which have been executed - they simply won't be finished while he's in office.


If by "plans" you mean humiliating the republican party and American people at large while trampling the constitution, creating a foreign policy crisis, helping perpetuate a corporate welfair state, and needlessly causing over 50x the casualties suffered in 9/11 so that the simpletons in this country could eventually elect a democratic congress and democratic president, then I'll have to agree that yes, he did have a plan, and it won't be executed until he's out of office.


RE: Election
By clovell on 1/8/2008 1:28:04 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, that's not what I meant. I was very clearly referring to budget plans. You might try taking another look, and take your trolling somewhere it belongs.


RE: Election
By CheesePoofs on 1/7/2008 2:41:20 PM , Rating: 2
I'll be voting for Obama, personally. I like what Paul is trying to do but I think by eliminating the income tax (or any tax for that matter) he will simply be speeding up the demise of America. Our economy is based primarily around government spending (just look at the economic boom that started in WWII) and without that spending our economy will enter a long-term recession.


RE: Election
By FITCamaro on 1/7/2008 2:54:21 PM , Rating: 1
Who says government spending will stop? His goal is to get rid of the unnecessary parts of the government which will save us billions. He supports a strong military. And would probably create thousands of jobs in border security and the like.

And his goal is not to eliminate the income tax but to eliminate the current system we have now and institute a flat tax. Everyone pays the same. Rich, middle class, and poor. We'll actually take in more in taxes because the wealthy won't be able to get out of it through crafty loopholes. Look at people like John Kerry. He's a multi-billionaire and pays less in taxes than Bush despite making more.

It was the same with Bush's tax cuts. We actually took in more in tax revenues after them than before.


RE: Election
By clovell on 1/7/2008 2:58:32 PM , Rating: 3
Not exactly, Paul's flat tax is progressive. Every American citizen can expect a monthly check from the government refunding their taxes up to the poverty level in their area.


RE: Election
By mdogs444 on 1/7/2008 3:01:50 PM , Rating: 1
Correct - Huckabee is the only one backing the "FairTax" - which I am all for. A high percentage sales tax, and more of my own money to invest as opposed to federal income tax. And everyone gets a "prebate" check up to the poverty level.


RE: Election
By mholler on 1/7/2008 3:18:42 PM , Rating: 2
A high sales tax in anything but a "fairtax". In fact a sales tax is a regressive tax since if a rich person and a poor person buy the same item the poor person pays more tax relative to income. I support a flat income tax rate, but to drop income tax in favor of sales tax would creative even greater disparity between classes than there is now.


RE: Election
By clovell on 1/7/2008 3:42:15 PM , Rating: 2
I understand your concerns, but if you'd been following what we're discussing or knew more a little more about Fair Tax, you'd have realized that a Fair Tax can be progressive, and that is exactly what's being proposed.

The Fair Tax camp claims to have data that shows shifting from a diverse tax scheme to a consupmtion tax would *not* crash our economy or cause riots in the streets. It would also give people incentive to save their money rather than spend it on all kinds of unnecessary stuff, which would decrease the average Debt to Income ratio of Americans.

My only question for Fair Tax proponents is how they plan to track what each person puts into social security. Since the Fair Tax is a consumption tax and only sales of new merchandise are taxed, how would you be able to properly track social security benefits without tracking an individual's purchases?


RE: Election
By mdogs444 on 1/7/2008 3:47:46 PM , Rating: 2
Social Security is taken out of your paycheck separately than Federal Income Tax under the new plan (in fact, i think it already exists this way today, no?).

Either way, the point of the FairTax is basic Reaganomics which are proven to work. The more money you have, the more money you spend. If everyone is taxed at 23% (the proposed FairTax rate) - the people who make $200,000/yr will spend much more than the person who makes $20,000/yr. SO dont start with this whole "progressive" tax system - because the point of the FairTax is to be just that, FAIR. Eliminate the redistribution of wealth, and tax brackets which punish successful people and benefit the low income by paying nothing.


RE: Election
By Murst on 1/7/2008 3:50:45 PM , Rating: 3
The proposed fair tax rate is 30%...

The tax turns out to be 23% of the entire purchase price, but it would be incorrect to state that 23% is the rate.


RE: Election
By mdogs444 on 1/7/2008 3:59:36 PM , Rating: 2
The "FairTax" itself i think is 23%, but coupled with the local Tax and what not, - your correct, the total tax will be closer to 30%.


RE: Election
By Murst on 1/7/2008 4:05:56 PM , Rating: 3
It has nothing to do w/ the local tax.

quote:
Say you buy a $1 pack of gum, and then pay 30% in tax, for a total price of $1.30. The extra 30 cents you paid is 23% of $1.30.

Sales tax supporters frequently cite the number as percentage of your spending. They say this makes it easier to compare the sales tax to the income tax.

Critics, including conservative commentator Bruce Bartlett, have argued that people generally think of sales taxes in terms of mark-ups - that's how state sales taxes are expressed - and that FairTaxers are just trying to come up with the lowest possible number to make their idea easier to sell.


From http://money.cnn.com/2008/01/05/pf/taxes/fair_tax....


RE: Election
By mdogs444 on 1/7/2008 4:08:00 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm interesting....I still support it whole heartedly. Because i want more of my own money - to spend or save however i want - instead of it going against my will to social welfare programs.


RE: Election
By Murst on 1/7/2008 4:19:57 PM , Rating: 2
I also would take the fair tax over the current mess. :) Its not perfect (far from it), but its also much better than what we have right now.


RE: Election
By superkdogg on 1/7/2008 4:21:34 PM , Rating: 2
"against my will to social welfare programs."

A. Do you think that a change in how revenue is generated will be at all related to a change in spending? No. Granted, if you don't purchase anything, you won't be contributing to anything, but as the Bush administration has proven, revenue and spending are independent of one another.

B. It might be worth your time to do some research on the value of taxpayer spending. I won't get any more involved than this; seriously, research the investment/return rates of various government-sponsored programs. Hands-on social welfare is one of the smarter things to invest in if you look at the numbers.


RE: Election
By clovell on 1/7/2008 5:02:15 PM , Rating: 2
A. Are you serious?

B. We're worried about individual rights, not the motherland.


RE: Election
By clovell on 1/7/2008 4:12:22 PM , Rating: 2
> Social Security is taken out of your paycheck separately than Federal Income Tax under the new plan (in fact, i think it already exists this way today, no?).

Really? So the Fair Tax plan would still track my income?

> Either way, the point of the FairTax is basic Reaganomics which are proven to work. The more money you have, the more money you spend. If everyone is taxed at 23% (the proposed FairTax rate) - the people who make $200,000/yr will spend much more than the person who makes $20,000/yr. SO dont start with this whole "progressive" tax system - because the point of the FairTax is to be just that, FAIR. Eliminate the redistribution of wealth, and tax brackets which punish successful people and benefit the low income by paying nothing.

I think you misunderstood. The 'prebate' that everyone gets up to the poverty line is considered to be 'progressive' in the sense that it is not regressive - which is what mholler was claiming the Fair Tax to be. In the conventional sense of the word, you're right, a Fair Tax is neither progressive nor regressive - it is what it is - Fair.

As for Social Security, I don't think you're seeing what I'm driving at. The problem, though, with 'Reaganomics', is that its a macro policy:

Let's suppose we have 2 guys who are twins. Each makes the same amount of money over his lifetime, but one lives on a shoestring, and the other likes to spend money. The first guy puts in 20k over his lifetime into Social Security, while the second guy put in 200k - because the Fair Tax is a consumption based tax.

Now, if they both start drawing benefits at age 65, you think they should get the same benefits? That doesn't seem fair to me.

The only way to level it out is to somehow track what each person puts in - which works now because Social Security is an income tax. But a Fair Tax is a consumption-based tax, so to accomplish the same thing, consumption would have to be tracked. The catch is that people have become accepting of the feds knowing how much money they make - I'm not so sure they'd be so accepting of the feds knowing what they spend their money on.


RE: Election
By Murst on 1/7/2008 4:22:22 PM , Rating: 2
When they're both 65, there won't be any social security left from them to draw from...


RE: Election
By drebo on 1/7/2008 4:34:18 PM , Rating: 2
Simple solution: abolish Social Security. It was a bad idea to begin with.

I'd prefer to manage my own retirement funds.


RE: Election
By clovell on 1/7/2008 5:09:58 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, but I don't think it'll happen - not until it's absolutely necessary.


RE: Election
By Christopher1 on 1/7/08, Rating: 0
RE: Election
By PedroDaGr8 on 1/7/2008 8:26:58 PM , Rating: 2
So which libertarian view did you buy into? Since you aren't a fiscal conservate or social liberal?


RE: Election
By barclay on 1/7/2008 9:33:58 PM , Rating: 2
> "Social Security was NOT a bad idea, in fact it was one of the BEST ideas ever!"

The program was fundamentally flawed from the beginning. It requires geometric population growth to remain solvent. Its 'success' so far has been the result of having 3 to 4 paying for every retiree. Once the baby boomers retire, this ratio will drop to 2 employed people paying for each person retired. If life expectancy continues to rise and birth rate remains stationary at replacement rate (2.1/female), the ratio will continue to get worse.

> "The problem is that the government never passed laws saying that Social Security could never be raided for ANY reason"

1) The money has not been "raided." The government borrows from the fund, just like it borrows from individuals, banks, and countries. As such, the fund still owns the money. Whether or not the government will always be able to pay back the fund is the serious issue.
2) Even if the government is able to repay the system, Social Security would still be insolvent in the long term due to the demographic changes I mentioned.
3) The only serious guarantee to stop the government from "raiding" the fund is to switch to individual retirement accounts.

Please listen to this lecture from Duke University -- "The Future of Social Security." It discusses many of problems and misconceptions surrounding Social Security and potential solutions
http://www.learnoutloud.com/Free-Audio-Video/Educa...


RE: Election
By clovell on 1/8/2008 1:37:16 PM , Rating: 2
> You guys are idiots

You are a pedophile. Moving on.

> Social Security was NOT a bad idea, in fact it was one of the BEST ideas ever!

Usually people support ideas like this with facts or reasons.

> The problem is that the government never passed laws saying that Social Security could never be raided for ANY reason, even if our economy was crashing, and that is where the problems came from!

A good idea that is poorly executed is just as useless as a bad idea. Since we haven't yet figured out how to travel back in time, this entire statement of yours is also useless - even if it were valid.

> I swear, either you people are braindead (which I honestly think is the case)

I don't honestly care what a pedophile honestly thinks about me.

> you have bought into the libertarian tax bullshit (which I buy into the other libertarian stuff, but realize that their social policies and taxation plans are braindead, to put it MILDLY!).

You've had the entire article to address specific points of the fair tax idea, and with one sweeping statement you declare it braindead, along with its proponents who have laid out logical arguments. I'll leave it to you to figure out who looks to be 'braindead' now.


RE: Election
By BMFPitt on 1/7/2008 4:14:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Either way, the point of the FairTax is basic Reaganomics which are proven to work. The more money you have, the more money you spend.
I've got a really nice bridge in San Francisco I'd like to sell you...


RE: Election
By Ringold on 1/7/2008 5:24:14 PM , Rating: 2
Reaganomics is an imprecise way to sum up a whole set of theories that tries to attribute it to the man who brought America under its sway.. but that said, whether you like it or not, supply-side economics is essentially the established modern view of how the macroeconomy works and grows. The alternative, Keynesian garbage, has consistently been shown to be as much, not just in America but globally. It's no mistake or fluke that China pursues the form of capitalism that it does, nor a mistake that some Eastern European nations have chosen Reaganomics 2.0 as a way to try to catch up to their Western European neighbors.

As for "The more money you have, the more money you spend" generally holds true.. The income effect that housing prices increasing provided, for example, is spoken of daily on CNBC. Of course, at some point, while spending continues to go up with income investment also takes place -- but that simply drives further growth in the economy.


RE: Election
By Murst on 1/7/2008 3:45:11 PM , Rating: 2
Although I'm not exactly in favor of the fair tax, its a pretty decent idea (much better than our current tax laws, anyways).

Your argument doesn't really work, since everyone who has made money would automatically get a tax credit at the end of the year (based on the poverty level). Therefore, the poor would actually end up not paying any taxes, or very little taxes.

The fair tax has no way of becoming the law, unless something drastic changes. There's too much influence on congressmen from special interests, who usually tend to get very nice tax breaks. There's no tax breaks in a fair tax. Also, in order for the fair tax to work, it would have to apply to everything, and that's not something that congress is willing to adopt (unless its bundled with a bunch of spending cuts, and that's never going to happen). Finally, congress likes to give tax breaks to different groups of people. They would lose that power if there was a fair tax.


RE: Election
By clovell on 1/7/2008 3:49:40 PM , Rating: 2
> Finally, congress likes to give tax breaks to different groups of people. They would lose that power if there was a fair tax.

That's the nail in the coffin.


RE: Election
By clovell on 1/7/2008 3:30:10 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, did I just confuse Huckabee and Paul? It's not even 3pm yet... o.0


RE: Election
By FITCamaro on 1/7/2008 4:14:15 PM , Rating: 2
Glad someone finally realized it.


RE: Election
By Noya on 1/8/2008 5:38:56 AM , Rating: 2
Huckabee is a cross-eyed religious zealot.

"So, you believe the Eath was created in 6 days?"

"Blah, blah , blah" avoiding answering the question going for the retarded religious vote.


RE: Election
By CheesePoofs on 1/7/2008 3:26:35 PM , Rating: 2
However, despite the fact that much of that spending seems unnecessary, it's still going straight into our economy. In a sense, I think the waste is almost helpful.

Personally I'm in favor of an income tax on a sliding scale where the poor pay almost nothing or a very small percentage of their income and the rich pay a large percentage. After all, they're the people who can most afford it.


RE: Election
By clovell on 1/7/2008 3:46:42 PM , Rating: 2
> Personally I'm in favor of an income tax on a sliding scale where the poor pay almost nothing or a very small percentage of their income and the rich pay a large percentage. After all, they're the people who can most afford it.
Though I disagree with your philosophy, what you're proposing is actually in place right now.


RE: Election
By Murst on 1/7/2008 3:54:02 PM , Rating: 2
There's actually another alternative... don't pay any taxes on the first 50k of your income, or something to that effect. Everything else is a flat tax (no deductions)..

Its just amazing... there's been so many better ways of taxation proposed, and somehow we get stuck with the crappiest one.


RE: Election
By clovell on 1/7/2008 4:13:43 PM , Rating: 2
I thought that's called a Fair Tax?


RE: Election
By Murst on 1/7/2008 4:24:50 PM , Rating: 2
The fair tax is a sales tax. The thing I described is a flat rate income tax w/ a threashold.


RE: Election
By clovell on 1/7/2008 5:14:31 PM , Rating: 2
Oh. I wonder what the universal rate would need to be to cover our budget...


RE: Election
By Rugar on 1/7/2008 6:01:31 PM , Rating: 2
This is a very old set of numbers (1995, http://www.allegromedia.com/sugi/taxes/), but it's what I found quickly and it remains true today (with minor shifts). In the current tax system, the top 60% of wage earners pay roughly 94% of all Federal taxes. Having a flat income tax rate without any exemptions and with an income threshold of ~$30k would most likely reduce the effective tax rate for everyone except the statistically few who have enough wealth to take advantage of all of the exemption loopholes.

That said, I still believe in a consumptive tax rather than an income tax.


RE: Election
By mdogs444 on 1/7/2008 3:52:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
After all, they're the people who can most afford it.

So because they "can afford it" - it gives you the right to take more of their money than someone else? How do you know the guy who "can afford it" works 3x harder than the joe who works at Burger King 30hrs per week, collects a welfare check, and pays no taxes.

All you are doing is punishing people for being successful - and then when they get successful, you take it away from them. So in essence, its like teasing a small child by taking them in a toy store, letting them hold a toy, then rip it out of his hands at the exit door, and give it to the boy behind him.


RE: Election
By ksuWildcat on 1/7/2008 4:09:11 PM , Rating: 2
Or the flip-side of that argument, what about the average Joe working hard 60 hours per week making $45,000/year while the company CEO who contributes less makes $10 million/year? No CEO is worth more than 10x that of the company's most productive/valuable worker.

That being said, the current tax code is just plain goofy. I'm in favor of a flat tax for everyone. I'd also like to see no sales tax on "needed" or essential goods, like groceries for example.


RE: Election
By clovell on 1/7/2008 4:16:25 PM , Rating: 2
Lots of states don't tax food items or prescriptions.


RE: Election
By ksuWildcat on 1/7/2008 4:21:27 PM , Rating: 2
I know, but many still do tax food/prescriptions. Hence, I'd like to see that prevented at a Federal level.


RE: Election
By mdogs444 on 1/7/2008 4:19:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
while the company CEO who contributes less makes $10 million/year? No CEO is worth more than 10x that of the company's most productive/valuable worker.

Chances are the CEO put in much hard time for education, and probably has and does work much more than 40hrs per week as well. In my history, and the few companies ive worked at, CEO's work more hours than the average salaried employee at his/her company.

WHen we get hired at a company, our goal is to move up and make more money - exactly what the CEO did over his career. He put in the hard work and time - and deserves what the company decides to pay him. I wouldnt give it back, would you?


RE: Election
By ksuWildcat on 1/7/2008 4:28:56 PM , Rating: 2
Most CEOs of major companies did not work their way up the ladder in the same company, most are hired from outside. And from what I have seen, executives generally get their jobs because of "good 'ol boy" networks by being in the right place at the right time, rather than possessing any actual skill or knowledge.


RE: Election
By Ringold on 1/7/2008 5:31:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No CEO is worth more than 10x that of the company's most productive/valuable worker.


I'm so tired of hearing this crap.

There was a decent example brought to my attention the other day. Jack Welch. When to took over GE, it was worth less than $10 billion. When he retired from it, it was worth around $500 billion. Instead of the few hundred million he was paid, if he were given just half of one percent of the extra value that the strategic decisions he had to make, day in day out, helped to create, he'd of got a nice $2.5 billion dollar parting gift -- and I for one think that'd be a perfectly valid bounty for what he was able to accomplish.


RE: Election
By ksuWildcat on 1/8/2008 8:17:08 AM , Rating: 2
For each instance of an executive or CEO turning a company around, there are 10 examples of executives either running a company into the ground and/or taking huge bonuses while the company suffers under their "guidance". Just look at major events at various corporations over the last 10 years or so: Enron, MCI Worldcom, Dell, HP, AT&T, Oracle, Micron Tech, Sun, Lexmark, ALCOA, and Kohls. All had highly paid executives/CEOs that were either incompetent and/or crooks, and as a result, the companies suffered and real people lost everything. And this is just the short list.

The vast majority of CEOs and company executives at major corporations are highly overpaid for their work. The employees are the backbone of the company, just as the middle-class is the backbone of U.S. economy and tax-base, not the wealthiest 1%.


RE: Election
By BMFPitt on 1/7/2008 4:18:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
All you are doing is punishing people for being successful - and then when they get successful, you take it away from them. So in essence, its like teasing a small child by taking them in a toy store, letting them hold a toy, then rip it out of his hands at the exit door, and give it to the boy behind him.
Or like taking a child into a toy store, letting him hold an XBox Elite, and only giving him a Pro. The kid behind him gets a PS2, and the one behind him gets a paddle game to share with his siblings.

Can you please let me know at what income should I start refusing money because I'll be punished for it? Seems based on my math that such a point does not exist.


RE: Election
By FITCamaro on 1/7/2008 4:27:05 PM , Rating: 2
Your "analogy" didn't even make sense or apply.

Now maybe "it'd be like buying an Xbox 360, then having someone take it, sell it, buy a PS2, give it to someone else, and keep the difference" then yes.

It doesn't make people want to turn down more money. But that doesn't mean it isn't punishing those who are successful. Why should one have to pay 35% of ones income to taxes merely because they can afford it while another gets to pay practically nothing because they can't afford to pay as much and they're the one who actually uses the programs that those who pay 35% are actually paying for?

Who is getting the better side of the deal here? Be successful, pay more, get less back than those who aren't successful and pay less. And I'm sorry but the "But they're poor" argument doesn't work on me. I have no pity for those who don't make something of themselves. Sure if you're actually disabled its understandable. Otherwise, you had all the opportunities growing up I did.


RE: Election
By BMFPitt on 1/7/2008 4:52:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Now maybe "it'd be like buying an Xbox 360, then having someone take it, sell it, buy a PS2, give it to someone else, and keep the difference" then yes.
It would be like that if your imagination were reality. In actual reality, the kid got the Pro because his parents earned their money and aren't wasteful - he would have gotten the same regardless of taxes. The second kid's parents make less, but have enough to get the PS2. The kid with the paddle game only has food on the table because his parents aren't being taxed 25% on their poverty-level wages.
quote:
It doesn't make people want to turn down more money. But that doesn't mean it isn't punishing those who are successful. Why should one have to pay 35% of ones income to taxes merely because they can afford it while another gets to pay practically nothing because they can't afford to pay as much and they're the one who actually uses the programs that those who pay 35% are actually paying for?
Because if minimum wage earners were taxed 35%, there would be no incentive to work as you'd barely make up costs. Crime would be a far more attractive option to starvation.
quote:
Who is getting the better side of the deal here? Be successful, pay more, get less back than those who aren't successful and pay less.
Seems to be a pretty good deal all around. Nobody lives in isolation. For every social program you complain about, I could name 2 egregious tax breaks tailored to specific companies that used the money to outsource jobs.
quote:
And I'm sorry but the "But they're poor" argument doesn't work on me. I have no pity for those who don't make something of themselves. Sure if you're actually disabled its understandable. Otherwise, you had all the opportunities growing up I did.
I agree that "But they're poor" isn't a good argument. If you see someone making it, feel free to challenge them on it. But since you're replying to me, you'll have to explain why investing in a minimum standard of living wouldn't have benefits for every member of society relative to the cost to them. It may be difficult for you to understand, but most see a benefit to living in a society with 99% literacy, etc.


RE: Election
By Ringold on 1/7/2008 5:51:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I could name 2 egregious tax breaks tailored to specific companies that used the money to outsource jobs.


The long term economic benefit of moving low-value added jobs overseas and forcing unproductive workers to move up the value chain in what ultimately will be a knowledge based economy, like Englands, shouldn't have to be explained. We're rewarded with lower inflation / lower prices, and incentive to add skills.

quote:
you'll have to explain why investing in a minimum standard of living wouldn't have benefits for every member of society relative to the cost to them. It may be difficult for you to understand, but most see a benefit to living in a society with 99% literacy, etc.


I'll turn it around on you then. You'll have to explain how the Republican-led assault on Welfare in the mid-90s led to a reduction in poverty and higher standards of livings, and you'll have to explain how Hong Kong, for example, has 93% literacy when it has vastly lower taxes and is surrounded by China, with a much lower real literacy rate, and has to deal with uneducated immigrant workers. It may not sound as nice as 99%, but impressive nonetheless.

Incentives are powerful, and many social goals can be achieved without a nanny state. Particularly education; while it's probably necessary to be pushed along with government spending and control early on, once you get to the developed stage (is America a third world impoverished nation?) there are vast amounts of room for privatization and minimalist government.


RE: Election
By BMFPitt on 1/7/2008 7:24:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The long term economic benefit of moving low-value added jobs overseas and forcing unproductive workers to move up the value chain in what ultimately will be a knowledge based economy, like Englands, shouldn't have to be explained. We're rewarded with lower inflation / lower prices, and incentive to add skills.
No argument there. I just don't want to subsidize it as we currently do.
quote:
I'll turn it around on you then. You'll have to explain how the Republican-led assault on Welfare in the mid-90s led to a reduction in poverty and higher standards of livings
Because the system in place at the time was an epic failure, much more so than the current one.
quote:
and you'll have to explain how Hong Kong, for example, has 93% literacy when it has vastly lower taxes and is surrounded by China, with a much lower real literacy rate, and has to deal with uneducated immigrant workers. It may not sound as nice as 99%, but impressive nonetheless.
I don't get where you're going with that. That 100% of our taxes go into literacy/education?
quote:
Incentives are powerful, and many social goals can be achieved without a nanny state.
Yes, water is in fact wet.
quote:
Particularly education; while it's probably necessary to be pushed along with government spending and control early on, once you get to the developed stage (is America a third world impoverished nation?) there are vast amounts of room for privatization and minimalist government.
I'd have to hear your proposals out a little more to respond to that. I would be in favor of some sort of voucher system providing that the school in question held to some academic standard (turns out my Catholic grade school lied about a ton of stuff they were required to teach.) But if I were in charge I would scrap the current system in its entirety and rebuild into something that would take way too long to post here.


RE: Election
By Ringold on 1/7/2008 10:21:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No argument there. I just don't want to subsidize it as we currently do.


Okay, no problem then, though I doubt that's exactly widespread..

quote:
Because the system in place at the time was an epic failure, much more so than the current one.


I was just pointing out that large cuts can take place, and instead of additional people falling through the "gaps", incentive is simply created that spurs people to rise above the situation where they were before.

quote:
I don't get where you're going with that. That 100% of our taxes go into literacy/education?


There seemed to be an argument developing that our "investments" in society were necessary to achieve high literacy, the example you used. I simply countered that a large tax cut with a large spending cut could still in theory achieve socially desireable goals because others have done well with much less. One way would be to introduce competition in to school with some vouchers, like you pointed out. In some places in the US it works great, in some places internationally it works great; we need to look at why it worked where it did and why it didn't where it failed, but competition drives prices lower in the free market.. it can for government as well.

Whatever your idea of scrapping education and starting over would be.. well, you had me onboard at "scrap".

That was just my entire slant. FIT was taking the low-spending road, and I hopped on. :)


RE: Election
By BMFPitt on 1/7/2008 11:15:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I was just pointing out that large cuts can take place, and instead of additional people falling through the "gaps", incentive is simply created that spurs people to rise above the situation where they were before.
The old system pretty much made it impossible to rise above without reducing their quality of life, pretty hard not to improve on that. I'm sure many still fell through the gaps, but probably not many more than would have anyway.
quote:
There seemed to be an argument developing that our "investments" in society were necessary to achieve high literacy, the example you used. I simply countered that a large tax cut with a large spending cut could still in theory achieve socially desireable goals because others have done well with much less.
I was pointing out he flaw in your counterargument. You compared the return on the whole of government spending between the US and Hong Kong based on a single metric. Surely we get more for our money than just a few percent more literate people.
quote:
One way would be to introduce competition in to school with some vouchers, like you pointed out. In some places in the US it works great, in some places internationally it works great; we need to look at why it worked where it did and why it didn't where it failed
Public schools are economies of scale. The problem is the vast amount of money that is utterly wasted on 1) problem students being encouraged to be come cancers to the whole school 2) teachers who either don't care to, or are terrified to be sued for disciplining students 3) No Child Left Behind. Each one of those would be a page long rant if I got started...
quote:
Whatever your idea of scrapping education and starting over would be.. well, you had me onboard at "scrap".
A few highlights: high school as it exists is abolished and replaced with 3-5 smaller career-track schools, students are taught from a young age to think for themselves and do proper research, and students with no interest in learning (and parents that don't want to help) are placed in a system that will aim to give them enough to survive on (reading, math, basic finances) to get by while not poisoning the rest.


RE: Election
By Christopher1 on 1/7/08, Rating: 0
RE: Election
By PedroDaGr8 on 1/7/2008 8:37:24 PM , Rating: 1
People are paid by the VALUE OF THEIR WORK. Not how hard the job is, and it shouldn't be changed. I currently make WELL BELOW THE POVERTY LINE. I average around $11,000 but guess what I still make do WITH LESS. Is it easy? NO! Am I were I am for a reason? YES! I am a graduate student, I pay my health insurance, I don't eat out barely ever. I simply LIVE WITHIN MY MEANS. Basically, when you start out minimum wage is fine, if you are 40 or 50 and STILL making minimum wage. You made some wrong decisions in your life plain and simple, either you aren't striving for better jobs, have attitude and people problems or something like that.

So don't give me this poor bleeding heart oh the poor need our help bullshit. You make choices in life and you either get rewarded or pay for them. People are paid what their jobs are worth, not by their own self worth. THat is something that for some reason anticapitalists have a hard time grasping. When you equate your pay with your worth then you are ignorant and deserve to be where you are. OK maybe thats a bit harsh, but, if you are in a bad situation, rely on your goddamn self, not the government ot give you and handout. A real man(woman) relies on himself and no one else.


RE: Election
By petro on 1/7/2008 10:19:02 PM , Rating: 1
I think you need to understand something. Minimum wage is a "starters wage" is a base that you start out at. I'm tired of hearing about and seeing people (some of which are related to me) doing nothing with their lives except having kids and working in a shit hole minimum wage fast food job or the like. If you raised the minimum wage to 20 dollars, while sounding very nice as i don't make that right now, it will just raise the cost of living for EVERYONE. Prices will go up because it will cost more to employ people. So your aunt's shit 6 dollars now becomes her 20 dollars that will barely get her groceries.

And do you think that they're going to give everyone that was making more than 20 an hour a 20 dollar/hr raise? HELL NO. Yea the poor now make more money, but you just turned the middle class into poor people as well because now they too can barely afford groceries.

What a lot of people don't realize is that you're not supposed to live off minimum wage. Ask for a raise, change to a job that has some growth potential, LEARN A SKILL! But don't bitch about not being able to live off of minimum wage because guess what! you're not supposed to. I'm sure that such a low pull as 6 dollars qualifies you for a vast number of social programs, especialy your aunt being a woman.

Whats the incentive to get out of poverty if you're handing out money to people when they don't work, handing money to girls, who shouldn't be getting pregnant in the first place, money. For what? so that people can stay bums working measley min wage jobs pulling in their money from that and what they collect from the government only to keep having more kids? I'm not saying your aunt falls into this category but i see this all the time when i visit friends in south dallas, or even some relatives of my own sad enough to say.

Not everyone works the system but ALOT of people do. And believe me they are the first to cry out for more, the first to rally for this or for that and then drive to the doctors office in their (this years) Escalade with 22 inch chrome rims and then bitch that they don't have enough money to pay what medicaid (or medicare i dont remember bc i use neither) isn't covering for their kid. This happened just yesterday at my moms job. I wish i could drive a new escalade, much less afford the gas on one of those, but sadly i don't qualify.

There need to be incentives for getting out of poverty. People (big surprise) need to actually do something for themselves, instead of goverment just throwing money at them and pretending that they are going to change.


RE: Election
By Ringold on 1/7/2008 10:29:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Bullshit. The Republicans 'Assault on Welfare' did NOT lead to a reduction in poverty, period and done with.

My aunt STILL lives in poverty, and you know why?


A single example does not prove anything. Not my fault you can't read economic statistics widely available; these aren't debateable fuzzy-headed figures like global warming, but facts. I'm not a weatherman.

quote:
raise the minimum wage from 6.00 to more like $20 dollars!


That would be an economic catastrophe. The value of human labor absent any mental prowess is, according to Neal Boortz, $1 / hour. Don't know if thats accurate, but close enough.

quote:
That is what the REPUBLICANS say


Republicans say to earn it.

quote:
I've worked at those 6.00 jobs, and they are HARDER than my parents laboratory jobs, in all reality!


So did I, when I was younger. However, it was "harder" in terms of labor and tedium, not skills or value added . Learn the difference.

quote:
country have conned money out of the poor


Thomas Malthus died quite a while ago, thank god. The rich get richer because the rich have a variety of successful habits; the poor get poorer because they lack them. I went to an inner city school, and most of them aren't trying to discover them. "Rich dad, poor dad".


RE: Election
By rdeegvainl on 1/8/2008 3:07:21 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, you really want your aunt to be out of a job? You raise the price of minimum wage that much and you just made it economically feasible to outsource just about all physcial labor, or, to use machines to do the work instead of low skilled people. They already had an automatic McDonalds built. But at the same time you will be making more jobs for people with skills, things like maintaining the automatic McDonalds. Your idea will have the exact opposite effect of what you want it too. That is the problem with forcing handouts.


RE: Election
By FITCamaro on 1/7/2008 4:18:58 PM , Rating: 2
That's exactly the way it is now. Why should a poor person be able to pay no taxes, yet they actually draw from the government programs far more than someone who is wealthy? A rich person doesn't pull from welfare, medicare, medicaid, etc. Yet they pay for it. Hell I never went to public schools (nor will my children), but I pay for them.

The idea that the poor shouldn't help support the system when they're the ones primarily using it is ridiculous.


RE: Election
By superkdogg on 1/7/2008 4:33:42 PM , Rating: 2
The reason for the conundrum you're in is that you can't isolate one family or one man from a society.

If you quit contributing to the government things you say you don't want to contribute to, society takes a hit and thus you're quality of life goes down because of increases in homelessness, crime, starvation, etc.


RE: Election
By Christopher1 on 1/7/2008 7:41:35 PM , Rating: 1
They are helping to support the system, by letting corporations and other people make their obscene profits on their corpses.

The reason that I support social welfare programs is because I have worked at those 6.00 a hour jobs, and know how FREAKING HARD THEY ARE.

You ever tried being a cart pusher for Wal-Mart or at one of those other 'low-paying' jobs? I have. I lost nearly 20 pounds in a WEEK of working at Wal-Mart as a cart pusher... let me state that again- 20 FREAKING POUNDS!

It is not a lightweight job, and I finally said "Forget this! This is harder work than I was doing at my warehouse job where I got paid 10 dollars an hour! I'm getting paid LESS here?! Forget this!"

The poor are supporting the system, always have, always will.... because the main reason that people are poor is because they are not being paid a REASONABLE RATE for the jobs that they are doing, while this CEO's and CFO's who do little or nothing are being overpaid sometimes 100 times for what they are doing!

Stop whining about the 'social welfare' programs..... the facts are that WITHOUT them, you would be paying more in dead bodies, hopeless people, children running rampant on the streets selling their bodies for just a hot meal, etc.


RE: Election
By FITCamaro on 1/7/2008 8:30:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah. I worked at those jobs. As a teenager and in college. Like you're supposed to. You're not supposed to make a good living at those jobs. They're for the youth of America. The problem is that society has decided that an education isn't as important anymore and that you should be able to earn a good living working at a Walmart as a cashier or a cart pusher.


RE: Election
By PedroDaGr8 on 1/7/2008 8:49:16 PM , Rating: 1
Bingo, I am currently making shit because I am a graduate student. Once I have graduated, I will be making much better money. The ideas of the value of education (and its correlary Knowledge is power) and the idea of delayed gratification (I make less now so that I can make more later) have follen out of style. To be replaced with the cult of the celebrity/wine snob/cheese snop etc. Or even more so the wonderful, what is best for humanity. One of my favorite quotes:

The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. [H.L. Mencken]

And one other:
"In general the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to the other." [Voltaire]


RE: Election
By petro on 1/7/2008 10:28:16 PM , Rating: 2
Besides being ridiculously unhealthy, i'm going to have to say there was more involved than just cart pushing if you lost 20 pounds in a week. Oh wait, which one was it "nearly 20" or "20 FREAKING POUNDS?"

So i'm calling you a liar or an anarexic.

Secondly just like you said "forget this?" If people don't feel they're getting paid what they're worth change jobs. Thats the great thing about America you're not forced to do one specific job.

It shouldn't be up to government to decide that every job is worth "x much" because as you've stated they aren't all the same.

Your thought process is seriously flawed. You should seek immediate help.


RE: Election
By Christopher1 on 1/7/2008 7:41:35 PM , Rating: 1
They are helping to support the system, by letting corporations and other people make their obscene profits on their corpses.

The reason that I support social welfare programs is because I have worked at those 6.00 a hour jobs, and know how FREAKING HARD THEY ARE.

You ever tried being a cart pusher for Wal-Mart or at one of those other 'low-paying' jobs? I have. I lost nearly 20 pounds in a WEEK of working at Wal-Mart as a cart pusher... let me state that again- 20 FREAKING POUNDS!

It is not a lightweight job, and I finally said "Forget this! This is harder work than I was doing at my warehouse job where I got paid 10 dollars an hour! I'm getting paid LESS here?! Forget this!"

The poor are supporting the system, always have, always will.... because the main reason that people are poor is because they are not being paid a REASONABLE RATE for the jobs that they are doing, while this CEO's and CFO's who do little or nothing are being overpaid sometimes 100 times for what they are doing!

Stop whining about the 'social welfare' programs..... the facts are that WITHOUT them, you would be paying more in dead bodies, hopeless people, children running rampant on the streets selling their bodies for just a hot meal, etc.


RE: Election
By mdogs444 on 1/7/2008 2:55:40 PM , Rating: 2
Paul is not going to get the nomination, so voting for him will only hurt the Republican nominee since it takes away votes... (unless you are speaking about a primary or caucus, which i doubt).

Also, Ron Paul & Barack Obama stand for completely opposite things - outside of the Iraq war....so not sure how you are saying you deciding between the two - unless you are not sure about any of the issues.


RE: Election
By Murst on 1/7/2008 3:33:13 PM , Rating: 2
I'm actually quite aware of the different issues.

The two most important issues to me in this election are foreign policy and rights in the US (as in, the government shouldn't restrict them, just because they don't like them... the only time a right should be restricted is when it directly threatens a more important right - eg. right to life - of another person).

On these two issues, I strongly agree w/ Paul and Obama's policies (I don't actually agree with their personal views necessairly, but I do believe that they would not try to impose their personal views - such as abortion - into the federal government).

There really aren't any other candidates who I'd agree with on the two issues above.

The third most important issue would be the economy, and although I don't completely agree w/ Paul, I believe his view is much better than Obama's. The most important thing about the economy is a balanced budget, and I think both support that, even if their actual policies are completely different.

The things you claim are "opposite" are not really on top of my priority list. I really care less how illegal immigration is handled. I don't care how people fix social security - just that something be done about it (both candidates expressed plans). Health care isn't going to be fixed, so its really a non-issue anyways.


RE: Election
By eye smite on 1/7/08, Rating: 0
RE: Election
By Murst on 1/7/2008 3:39:16 PM , Rating: 1
Hopefully not the same country as you!


RE: Election
By Polynikes on 1/7/2008 5:17:34 PM , Rating: 2
I'd rather vote Libertarian and not have to worry about what they'll do regarding privacy.


RE: Election
By PWNettle on 1/8/2008 5:58:50 PM , Rating: 2
Anything except for another clinton or bush in the oval office, please.


It's been said before...
By bighairycamel on 1/7/2008 2:18:13 PM , Rating: 2
...and I'll say it again: George Orwell was right, just a few years (decades) off.




RE: It's been said before...
By computergeek485 on 1/7/2008 2:37:32 PM , Rating: 2
BHC "...and I'll say it again: George Orwell was right, just a few years (decades) off."
I don't know how far off you could be from what George Orwell was trying to get across.
His book was suppose to be what it would be like in 1984 if Germany and Japan and Italy had won the war. Not predicting the future 1984.


RE: It's been said before...
By bighairycamel on 1/7/2008 3:09:26 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, if that's what your Lit teacher told you they were wrong also. Orwell describes for himself his inspirations in his essay "Why I write" and it was heavily based on Stalin's government in Russia, who if you remember correctly, were on our side during WWII.

While he favored democratic societies, his viewpoints on serveillance and anti-privacy measures are freighteningly similar to trends we see today. I don't think it will ever go as far as it did in 1984 but it's still a scary thought.


RE: It's been said before...
By eye smite on 1/7/2008 3:16:48 PM , Rating: 3
All the same type of events that lead up to WW2 are happening today, right here in America. It's just a matter of time before everything reaches critical mass. Common sense people see it, naive people don't, and greedy people are all for it.


RE: It's been said before...
By Ringold on 1/7/2008 6:03:58 PM , Rating: 1
I guess you missed the Cold War completely, because a key principle that avoided a real WW3 from breaking out applies now just as much, if not more, then it did then.

Mutually Assured Destruction then referred to mutual nuclear annihilation. There is no "winner" in such a war, leaders of both nations understood this; conflict had to be limited to words and skirmishes by proxy.

Today, MAD comes in the form of a highly integrated global economy. China and the US, perhaps, could have a short war over something like Taiwan's independence, but anything prolonged would wreck both economies -- and go a long way towards wrecking all neutral parties as well. China has more to lose, as it already has a problem with protestors. Likewise, India, some of the Middle East and all of Europe also couldn't afford a world war.

Of course, you could define the struggle against extremist Islamic radicals as WW3, or a real WW3 could come about anyway -- but I just think it'll be 'highly unlikely'.


RE: It's been said before...
By barclay on 1/7/2008 8:16:02 PM , Rating: 2
> "Today, MAD comes in the form of a highly integrated global economy."

I hope you are right. Neo-liberal IR theory argues that more trade results in more peace between countries. However, history has not exactly been kind to this theory. For example, it is important to point out that prior to World War I, Germany's top trading partner was Great Britain, yet this did not prevent the two countries from waging a total war with each other. I am trying to find exact trade figures, but it was not a minor amount. It is often forgotten that prior to WWI, the degree of globalization (percentage of GDP from trade) among the developed countries was quite high, over 20%. During and after the war, these levels dropped dramatically and did not again reach these levels until the 1990s with the renewed wave of globalization.

http://66.102.1.104/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=cache:0jlB...


RE: It's been said before...
By roadrun777 on 1/7/2008 7:18:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
All the same type of events that lead up to WW2 are happening today, right here in America. It's just a matter of time before everything reaches critical mass. Common sense people see it, naive people don't, and greedy people are all for it.


Exactly! Intelligent life does exist!
All of our major resources where being imported, jobs where no where to be found. The wealthy had everything that they needed and so no need to produce anything, or invest in factories, or natural resources of any kind. The government became a leech under the service of wealthy Americans, and their short sightedness and greed (or general lack of intelligence), lead this country down a path that could only be solved with massive war. It was a betrayal to the nation, as our leaders only saw their own personal profits and gains above the future of the people whom they leeched it from.
What do you do when your a country that has all it's assets invested in foreign resources?
No one cares about the future of the human race anymore (or even this nation), it wouldn't surprise me if an asteroid slammed into the earth and wiped the slate clean.
There is no one looking out for your interests anymore! The only interest that counts is for the wealthy and it will be at the expense of your branch in the tree of life.


RE: It's been said before...
By FrankM on 1/7/2008 6:46:03 PM , Rating: 2
Makes me wonder if you have actually read the book - it's quite a good read actually - it has IngSoc (English Socialist Party), lots of references to marxism and stalinism (the Inner Party and the personal cult, for example)...

There is some thruth in what you say, however. Both totalitarian regimes shared many common traits. I've seen a very good diagram for this, with an incomplete circle missing the parts 11 o'clock till 1. Communism is at 11, fascism at 1, while democracy is at 6 - communism and fascism are much closer and much more similar, than democracy.

Getting back to BHC's opening comment: it was not off, it was already happening in the technical level of those days. Even in the 20s, the Soviet Union was sealed off to outsiders, and Stalin only showed a fake image, artificial facet villages with actors to prominent foreign communist who were invited. Later, many - including Orwell - started doubting this fake image and started wondering what was going on inside, reinforced by the horror stories of surviving refugees.
The most chilling thing about the book is that even though it was considered a negative utopia and wide exaggeration in the West when it was released, in reality it was all happening. The Inner Party. Orthodoxy and doublethink - doubting party principles often resulted in death. The five-year plans, the work-competitions of the stahanovist movement and the false industrial production statistics. The rewriting of books - although not as extensive as in 1984, but it did happen on many accounts. Getting or forcing people to spy on eachother (Stazi, ÁVH, Securitat, etc). Teaching children to spy on their parents and even denounce them (in the 30s, a small girl, I forgot her name, was the hero of the anti-kulak movement: she denounced her parents to the authorities for not giving in all their food (this might sound strange to you born in a free world, but in communism, there being no private property, you were not allowed to keep what you produce, even if that was your own land and labour); they were executed). The state controll of all media and screening, censoring and falsification of news - all dripping with ideology, of course. False, "conceptional" lawsuit, for executing "traitors". Staging of armies in cities. The constant war effort. Etc, the list goes on.
So for anyone living under soviet opression in that era, the book would only describe what they were already living through. Of course, the book was banned - it's posession would entailing a sentence to a forced labour camp, prison or something similar.
Enjoy your free world while you can.


Obama
By Shwanzig on 1/7/2008 7:30:23 PM , Rating: 2
Obama sounds good, but cmon.

We he goes to the South you honestly think SOUTHERNERS of all people to vote for a Black Muslim...

I think Paul is the best option, wouldn't mind Obama eaither




RE: Obama
By BMFPitt on 1/7/2008 10:56:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We he goes to the South you honestly think SOUTHERNERS of all people to vote for a Black Muslim...

I think Paul is the best option, wouldn't mind Obama eaither
Ron Paul? I like him, but do you honestly think SOUTHERNERS will vote for an Irish Scientologist?


Privacy, or Gov't Spending?!
By QuinoZX on 1/7/2008 7:54:14 PM , Rating: 2
Curiously, this posting rapidly devolved into a discussion about taxes and government spending. Where is the privacy discussion? First, all federal privacy invasion BEGINS with taxation! Posters are debating which tax method they agree with more. Uhhh...how about advocating NO tax, rather than relative taxes? What is the root of interest in increasing privacy invasion and decreasing rights? It is preservation of government control. Millions of dollars are spent every year developing weapons easily used against US citizens, typically non-lethal, but lethal as well. The government uses many effective methods to isolate and separate the people from learning, organizing, and effectively combating concentrated power. The worst of it is that it's all funded with our money! This shouldn't be a discussion about regressive or progressive taxes.




here's what i propose
By inperfectdarkness on 1/10/2008 10:51:10 AM , Rating: 2
eliminate income tax...save for social security. update the program for payouts at age 72 (more in-line with life expectancy), and eliminate the cap on income it contains. the program will then remain viable in of itself for another 100 years or more. (the program remains socially responsible, as i've seen people who use their ssn checks to pay the lease on their jaguars. nothing wrong with that.) let's not forget that social-security is 100% government handled because it's a safety-net. we'd have even more agregious social-problems on our hands if we didn't have it there.

nationwide 5% sales tax on everything up to $50,000 (except homes)--covers everything but essentials (groceries, etc). 10% sales tax on everything but homes >$50,000 (figure to adjust with inflation annually).

enact tarrifs on imported goods from countries that we have long-standing trade deficits with (china, etc). this will help keep us from hemmoraging cash, and weakening the dollar internationally. enact 50% surcharge on all funds being sent out of the country to mexico (effectively stems illegal immigration).

enact 100% estate tax on all estates above a $1,500,000 (per-person: inflation adjusted annually) threshold. don't penalize anyone for getting rich. don't usurp their earned income. tax them fairly on purchases they make. you can't take it to the grave...and eliminating excessive inherited wealth creates incentive for everyone to do well on their own merits.

non-socialized highways don't work. nor would a postal system. nor most utility systems. school vouchers do work in some situations; not in others. socialized medicine works in some situations; not in others. (sweden is a great success story). vouchers should be brought into the medical system as well. the effect on schools and doctors is identical. those who are great do well, and earn much income. those who don't perform are eventually put out of business.

finally, pass a cap on malpractice suit payouts. this will effectively reduce medical practioner premiums--thereby reducing the total cost of treatment. if the Serviceman's Group Life Insurance policy is maxed at $400,000...why are patient families successfully suing doctors for as much as 9-figures in some cases? lost wages? sure. loss of life/ability? sure. loss of future potential? sure. pain/suffering? maybe. punitive damages? hell no! the only people getting rich are trial lawyers.

enact these changes, and the economy will thrive. it encourages people to be fiscally responsible (they pay less in taxes). it eliminates all tax loop-holes. estate taxes allow individuals to amass wealth sufficient to allow their offspring a comfortable "leg-up" but prevent wealth from being permenently "taken off the market".

i'd also like to point out that unless a person is healthy...they cannot work, earn income, and be self-reliant. thus, i see insuring the health of the individual as paramount to a properly functioning democracy. under the existing system of medicine--that is an impossability.

ceo's are extremely overpaid relative to the work they produce. bob nardelli is my textbook case. $500,000,000 in 6 years while the stock, customer satisfaction ratings, and employee feedback ratings all took a nosedive.

i'm not proposing we stop the market factors which make them rich. i'm proposing an estate tax which effectively deals with the issues after they pass on. an estate tax with, ironically, warren buffett and bill gates BOTH support.

i'm NOT voting for ron paul, because i'm not convinced he's actually AGAINST the neo-nazi's who have made compaign contributions to him.

p.s. since we keep seeing "foiled plots" here on our native U.S. soil...how exactly is our war in iraq keeping "the fight over there"? how has that made our borders "more secure" than they were before? i'm all for kicking as much ass internationally with our military as we want--but how are going to pay for it all at the end of the day? any wealthy person will tell you that you don't buy what you can't afford to pay for OUTRIGHT--don't put it on credit.




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