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Old 02-10-2013, 10:07 PM   #61
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So what happened to the great empires and powers of the past? Were they conquered by invaders from beyond their borders or did they decay into moral decadence, bankruptcy, ethnic polarization and economic stagnation and fall at the hand of civil war and revolution from within?
It's funny to bring up the fall of empires and moral decay. In a little over 100 years after converting the Christianity, the Western Roman Empire crumbled. Is that what you're referring to?
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:20 PM   #62
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faith in God above all else, individual initiative, a strong work ethic, personal responsibility, thrift, pride in the goodness of the country and our unique role in the preservation of liberty (American exceptionalism) and a belief in limited government.
The absurdity is that Barack Obama trumpets all of the above all the time (with the exception of "limited government" but that's probably as much because the right has co-opted the term and corned the definition of what constitutes limited government.) If you're going to promote Obama as the harbinger of the end of America as we know it you have to at least concede that he pays at least lip service to the ideals you mention.

My concerns with the state of the country have more to do with the extent to which we have come to be defined and shaped by entertainment. The highest value is "Is it fun" and "Am I being entertained?" And the right-wing media outlets are chief among sinners in this regard. They have perfected the art of news as entertainment. The appeal to the emotions, the framing of the news like an action movie with "good guys" and "bad guys", the heightened drama, the mining of fears, the manipulation--all of it eclipses rational thought about the important issues of our day. To be fair the "left" tries to do it as well, but they are just not as good at it. As a result we have a whole segment of the country--good, decent, and otherwise intelligent folk--who have completely lost touch with reality, at least in the realm of politics.

I am saddened when I hear conservative friends who I otherwise respect parroting the nonsense they are hearing from these "news sources." They need to hold suspect news reports that "resonate" too strongly. News isn't supposed to "resonate", it's supposed to inform.

This is the standard I hold myself to, and I immediately question sources of news that use inflammatory language and strong appeals to emotion, especially when the source is espousing a view I AGREE with.
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:59 AM   #63
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I agree with most of Digitize's excellent post, though I don't believe we always have to be in the sway of such a corrupt system. The structural economic problems are likely just at their beginning. As has been mentioned automation essentially drives people out of work. What happens if once everything that can be automated is? Everyone can't be an engineer whether software or electronic? How many more baristas and shop sales people could we support? Then again even the retail sector isn't doing great, digital sales and all that. Unemployment is going to become a much bigger problem. growth is predicated on new emerging markets but also keeping labour cheap, hence why China is where Apple and Samsung go. But as standards of living go up in China and India, with expectations of better wages and a more 'western' life style, labour won't be so cheap. Where do they go then? Africa? Then maybe after Africa the economies in the West will have stagnated so much we will be ripe to be exploited ourselves with crap labour laws (another reason companies love these countries) and what we would probably formerly describe as third world conditions. I don't see the emerging economies as a solution to the current malaise just the continuation of a tired unjust system.

I don't believe that's exactly how it will play out as we are not on a continuous stream of progress in regards to technology and what not things do happen that slow progress down or stop parts of the world in it's tracks, but I do believe this is the course we are though I have no idea how long it will take.

Lastly what deeply saddens me is that our political discourse is so deeply and childishly stunted. The various forms of media do not see it with their remit to bring up the level of it within the general population, its why web get antagonistic groups like the tea party and even the occupy movement. They are both dumb but they are both expressions of actual issues with the system, they just both lack the knowledge and political intellect to express themselves adequately or see what they should be lashing out at, instead of things like gun control, homosexuals, or on race ( not exactly occupy issues, they are more just dumb with how childishly they have approached most of the issues I actually agree with them on).
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:28 AM   #64
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To be happy, we must admit women and men aren't 'equal'
By Suzanne Venker
Published February 05, 2013
FoxNews.com


A war on men?

Norman Vincent Peale, author of "The Power of Positive Thinking," once wrote these words: “Change your thoughts, and you change your world.”

His statement is highlighted at the beginning of my new book, "How to Choose a Husband and Make Peace with Marriage." Its premise is that if women want to be successful in love, they should reject the cultural script they’ve been sold and adopt a whole new view of men and marriage.

As products of divorce, the modern generation has few role models for lasting love. That alone is a problem. But young women have an added burden: they’ve been raised in a society that eschews marriage. They’ve been taught instead to honor sex, singlehood and female empowerment.

Consider this statement by Rebecca Traister in Marie Claire: “The world as we’ve known it for a very long time—one in which a woman’s value was tied to her role as a wife—is ending, right in front of us. It is now standard for a woman to spend years on her own, learning, working, earning, socializing, having sex, and yes, having babies in the manner she—and she alone—sees fit. We are living through the invention of independent female adulthood.”

This message is not an anomaly; the idea that women don’t need men or marriage is palpable. It began in earnest more than forty years ago, with the modern feminist movement. Feminists assured women their efforts would result in more satisfying marriages, but the result is something else altogether. It looks something like this:

1. Women postpone marriage indefinitely and move in and out of intense romantic relationships, or even live with their boyfriends for years at a time. Eventually, their biological clocks start ticking and many decide they better hurry up and get married to provide a stable home for their yet-to-be-born children. Trouble is, their boyfriend’s not willing to commit.

2. Marriage becomes a competitive sport. The complementary nature of marriage—in which two people work together, as equals, toward the same goal but with an appreciation for the qualities each gender brings to the table—has been obliterated. Today, husbands and wives are locked in a battle about whom does more on the home front and how they’re going to get everything done. That’s not a marriage. That’s war.
It’s time to say what no one else will: Feminism didn’t result in equality between the sexes – it resulted in mass confusion. Today, men and women have no idea who’s supposed to do what.

Prior to the 1970s, people viewed gender roles as as equally valuable. Many would argue women had the better end of the deal! It’s hard to claim women were oppressed in a nation in which men were expected to stand up when a lady enters the room or to lay down their lives to spare women life. When the Titanic went down in 1912, its sinking took 1,450 lives. Only 103 were women. One-hundred three.

Compare that with last year’s wrecked cruise line, the Costa Concordia. It resulted in fewer deaths, but there was another significant difference. “There was no ‘women and children first’ policy. There were big men, crew members, pushing their way past us to get into the lifeboats. It was disgusting,” said passenger Sandra Rogers, 62.

The captain of the ship agrees. In USA Today, Francesco Schettino was asked about his New Year’s resolution. He responded, “Bone up on the parts about ‘women and children first’ and ‘the captain goes down with his ship.’”

You see, the problem with equality is that it implies two things are interchangeable – meaning one thing can be substituted for the other with no ramifications. That is what feminists would have us believe, and anyone who contradicts this dogma is branded sexist.

But the truth must be heard. Being equal in worth, or value, is not the same as being identical, interchangeable beings. Men and women may be capable of doing many of the same things, but that doesn’t mean they want to. That we don’t have more female CEOs or stay-at-home dads proves this in spades.

Unless, of course, you’re beholden to feminism. In that case, you’ll believe the above is evidence of discrimination. You’ll believe what feminists taught you to believe: that gender is a social construct.

Those of us with children know better. We know little girls love their dolls and boys just want to kick that ball. This doesn’t mean men can’t take care of babies or women can’t play sports. It just means each gender has its own energy that flows in a specific direction. For God’s sake, let it flow.

The battle of the sexes is over. And guess what? No one won. Why not try something else on for size? Like this: men and women are equal, but different. They’ve each been blessed with amazing and unique qualities that they bring to the table. Isn’t it time we stopped fussing about who brought what and simply enjoy the feast?


Read more: To be happy, we must admit women and men aren't 'equal' | Fox News
For the sake of laughs, I just wanted to post this:

Allison Hope: Fox News Doesn't Know Equality When It Looks It in the Face

Nice research, FNC!
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:33 AM   #65
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Another potential structural issue that seems somewhat more likely to exist to me is globalization. I hesitate to call this an issue, honestly, because I tend to be fairly staunchly pro-free trade. Globalization has actually wrought enormous equality along with growth around the world. The rich have gotten richer, the developing world has actually become closer to the developing world (in past years, that word tended to be much more of a euphemism for "third world" than anything), and the middle and lower-middle classes in the developed world have gotten poorer. So what we see in the US is more inequality, and more economic stagnation for significant swathes of people, but what has happened around the world is somewhat different. For more than half a millennium, European peoples more or less oppressed what is now (for the most part) the developing world, and in the past half century, that has been largely removed. Ironically, Western ideas and believes penetrate the developing world more strongly than they did in colonial days, to an extent, as the developing world plays the game of capitalism to catch up to the West. Perhaps that's a major structural issue in the United States. But there's no inherent reason why Americans deserve jobs and development and people in the developing world don't. I like globalization. Theoretically, in the very long run, things should equal out. The lump of labor fallacy (there are x number of jobs and the world would be better off if there was less competition for them) is generally absurd, and, once the developing world is more developed, international demand should be the source of growth that pulls the United States out of our current economic issues. But that's potentially quite a long distance away.
I think this is a very important point to make. All of these comparisons between the current job market and, say, Ronald Reagan's job market are comparisons that act as if economies are happening in a vacuum. The impact of the global economy cannot be understated.

The ideal American economy is one where US companies are competing against each other to sell to both the US and the world. There is no competition coming from companies outside the US in this scenario. It's a massive market where competition serves the interests of American businesses only. The closest we came to this ideal was in the post-World War II era, when the rest of the world was rebuilding and the US was thriving off of that. I'm not sure we're ever going to see a comparable situation moving forward, which makes the pining for the good old days all the more bizarre to me.

Globalization's impact on the American economy cannot be understated.
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:10 PM   #66
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As has been mentioned automation essentially drives people out of work. What happens if once everything that can be automated is? Everyone can't be an engineer whether software or electronic? How many more baristas and shop sales people could we support? Then again even the retail sector isn't doing great, digital sales and all that. Unemployment is going to become a much bigger problem.
Exactly. A lot of customers who come into the bookstore I work at often comment on how happy they are that a bookstore still exists in the area. So many of the big chains have been closing down partially or entirely. Ours is a small chain strictly relegated to the Upper Midwestern states, and so far we seem to be doing okay. Knock on wood that continues.

I have much respect for technology, and certainly support using it to help make our world better and make things easier and all that good stuff. It obviously does provide benefits to society at large, and besides that, progress in the way we do things in business and in life in general is inevitable.

But I also do worry sometimes about when technology does replace human activity. For example, so many kids today use technology to do math, because that's easier than actually learning how to do it in their minds. I should know, I'm among those who rely on calculators and such. If all our technology failed us in that regard and we have people who can barely add up numbers on their hands, what then?

No matter how up to date or brilliant or whatever some piece of technology is, it's still likely to fail temporarily or permanently. In those cases, if we've relied too much on it to help us and save us, and haven't worked to strengthen our own mindpower as a result...then what? We're going to be in a bit of trouble.
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:18 PM   #67
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Contra Digitize (though I agree with much in that post), I don't think deep automation is a weak or second-order phenomenon. I think it is the elephant in the room. It will shake society and civilisation as presently constituted, to their very bones. The simple fact is that 'knowledge industries' can only ever be the basis for a tiny minority of the livelihoods needed to sustain something resembling mass employment. And that furthermore, a great many people have no aptitude for such careers. Where then shall they find dignity? Serious question.

And that even more furthermore, there is no reason why the high hanging fruit won't fall too. Surgery could be entirely automated. So could legal practice. Given time, and maybe not even all that much. Creative industries I'm more sceptical of the claims for.

Some people do think about this stuff, I read occasionally about pie-in-the-sky notions of a Guaranteed Basic Income, and indeed of things like Digitize noted, spreading ownership and equity far more widely. You'd have to think that these ideas are radically at odds with the quasi-feudal society we are presently on the road to becoming.

All this shadowboxing about republican virtue and morality and self reliance is like the first birds scooting inland ahead of a storm front. You want self reliance? Give everyone a couple of acres, give the game away, and become the nation of smallholding subsistence farmers you were at your founding.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:20 PM   #68
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No, INDY. I meant you never once blamed the decreasing marriage rate in America on the poor economy. Copy and pasting those numbers was totally pointless, and it took what I said out of context.

You are now heading toward your usual tricks of playing victim and refusing to participate in a debate..
Only because I thought it was a given and obvious. I can't mention every cause and every symptom plus the usual qualifiers about generalizations, exceptions, etc. Of course people are putting off marriage to pay tuition bills, etc, etc. But marriage clearly is not viewed the same manner that it was 2 or 3 generations ago either.

But the main point about marriage I was making is about the incentives government programs have put in place that actually discourage it in lower income groups. It doesn't matter if it's solar panels or out-of-wedlock children, if you subsidize it you will get more of it. That's not heartless conservatism that's economics 101.

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I thought this would be a good chance to discuss the future of America, but I was wrong
I'm kinda a one man army with very little spare time dealing with very complex issues so I'm gonna:

1) Spend my time arguing points others aren't
2) Have some fun doing it
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:54 PM   #69
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Marriage today is better than it has ever been.

People are doing it for the right reasons as or becomes more and more a partnership of equals.

Also, you can't best your wife and rape her anymore. Plus, she can earn a living with or without you.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:46 PM   #70
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It's been awhile since I've written a long FYM post, so... here we go.
I appreciate your post but its length makes it kinda hard to respond so I'll just comment on a few of your thoughts.

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I tend to believe that the government can't do much to affect structural crises, aside from long-term investment in education and whatnot
What if government policy is a structural impediment? Our corporate tax structure, over-regulation and inefficient labor unions all make us less competitive on the global stage. What if Obamacare and the higher taxes and mandates really is the job killer the GOP has been calling it?

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The subprime mortgage needn't happen, but it did,
The fact that you describe it as a "bubble" tells me you understand the housing market was artificially pumped up, by both parties. Interest rates at historic lows (they still are but they shouldn't be), government guarantees of mortgages and their derivative that were never going to be paid off. No, the subprime fiasco had to happen after the government got involved with the Community Reinvestment Act.

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But the economy still suffers, growing less than it structurally should... or does it? If we assume that the US economy is still cyclically dragging behind, then there are a few (not mutually exclusive) considerations.
You are quite right to talk about cyclical downturns and cycles but if there has always been a truism it is that the deeper the recession the stronger the recovery. It was true in the 40's after the Depression and it was true after the recession in the early 80's. So I'll ask, though it would have been more painful in 2009 and 2010 would we be better off today, would the economy truly be in a recovery, if Barack Obama had not followed his policies of massive spending through stimulus, increased baseline government spending and QE monetary policies? Tarp whatever you think about it predates Obama so I don't buy for a moment that Obama saved us from a depression. Officially the recession was over 6 months into his term yet the recovery barely has a pulse.The workforce participation rate is lower than his first day in office. The whole thing seems to teter on government spending, there is no true private sector recovery.

If there are other factors involved that didn't exist in the 40's and 80's like globalization and our smaller manufacturing base (which are factors no doubt about it) then how is amnesty for 12 million or more largely low-skill workers a boon for our 2013 economy? A boon for Democratic voter roles sure...

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Is the deficit an issue? I'm not really sure. If the economy is in a cyclical downturn, then inflation really shouldn't be an issue of money creation, because newly printed money should be matched by new production in real term.
The money supply is one of the factors I am comparing from Obama's first day in office to now and again in 4 years I guess. You tell me if a 27% increase is warranted? It's doubled the price of gold from his first day in office if that tells you anything.

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U.S. money supply, M2, in billions, not seasonally adj. (current = Dec '12)
Beg. of 1st Term
$8,249.3
Beg. of 2nd Term
$10,475.6
% change
27.0%
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our new structural norm, which is much worse than it used to be, and can't really be affected by the government or... anything, really.
We weren't told about "a new structural norm" during the election speeches and debates. When did this happen? When did European-like dismal GDP growth and chronic unemployment become our new norm? I missed that.

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And on top of that, there are more minor structural issues, such as demographic issues in the United States, Europe, and Japan. INDY seems to have a propensity to attribute this to some sort of moral failure. I attribute it more to a lessened sense of reliance on children combined with a stronger need to be educated into ones thirties to be able to pay for a stable household. I'm not sure what to do about that. Immigration is probably a good idea, and it's the best that I can think of, but the issue of not being able to start a household until parents are in their thirties is... formidable. This appears to be one of the larger long-term deficit issues. Deficit spending to deal with cyclical crises doesn't bother me very much, but demographics could be an issue that is much deeper than the deficit, and just affects the deficit in a very negative way.
I can't help where people take a thread and what they wish to ask me about but I never said lower birthrates was solely a moral issue. Education, wealth, urban rather than rural life, a higher survival rate of children all contribute to the birthrate... but so does secularism. Religious people have more children than non-religious people. Europe, Russia and Japan have negative birthrates. Poorer Catholic and Muslim countries have babies. So does America but we're slowing down too.

You may think this is a good thing but Western Civilization has built up these huge welfare states with their wealth that are actually just Ponzi schemes requiring a growing population to maintain and fund. Hence the open borders of Europe and America -- culture be damned.

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Religion... yawn. Peoples' morals don't come with it. Societies' morals have a fairly strong positive correlation between progressiveness and economic activity, regardless of religion.
Explain why Israel prospers while Arab states with more natural resources live under oppression. How a mountain range between Haiti and the Dominican Republic separates a thriving country from a 3rd world country. Why Mexicans risk life to get to Texas but Texans don't leave everything to sneak into Mexico. Who the Berlin Wall was meant to contain.

No, you have it backwards, strong economies don't produce values -- values produce strong economies. Liberal, free societies don't produce values -- values produce free, liberal societies.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:52 PM   #71
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Marriage today is better than it has ever been.

People are doing it for the right reasons as or becomes more and more a partnership of equals.

Also, you can't best your wife and rape her anymore. Plus, she can earn a living with or without you.
Boy!, do you have to leave children out of the equation and believe marriage is primarily about the emotional health and needs of adults to come up with that.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:52 PM   #72
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What if government policy is a structural impediment? Our corporate tax structure, over-regulation and inefficient labor unions all make us less competitive on the global stage. What if Obamacare and the higher taxes and mandates really is the job killer the GOP has been calling it?
The reason companies leave the US is because they employ work forces who get paid way less, is it not? Is your solution to the unemployment rate creating more jobs with wages that people cannot live on? Honest question, because this post seems to avoid a tougher question.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:55 PM   #73
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And I haven't seen one argument in here that actually ties "values" to the economy. And I would argue that donating money to religious organizations so that they can fund bigger buildings and buses to march on Washington against abortion to be very fiscally irresponsible behavior.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:02 PM   #74
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Explain why Israel prospers while Arab states with more natural resources live under oppression. How a mountain range between Haiti and the Dominican Republic separates a thriving country from a 3rd world country. Why Mexicans risk life to get to Texas but Texans don't leave everything to sneak into Mexico. Who the Berlin Wall was meant to contain.
Please elaborate on how religion ties into all of this. I'm dying to hear it
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:21 PM   #75
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Boy!, do you have to leave children out of the equation and believe marriage is primarily about the emotional health and needs of adults to come up with that.

I don't even know what you are talking about. Are you calling me Boy?

Are you remotely concerned about the 1000 gun deaths since Newtown?
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