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Old 01-15-2002, 07:22 PM   #1
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WHAT TO THINK ABOUT THE UNITED STATES.

Do you ever find yourself reading the latest headlines and wondering what to think about America's latest actions in the war on terror?

Well, I have a three-step solution that couldn't be any easier:


I. Read the following list, matching the current headlines with the sample headline it most closely matches. Repeat the response everywhere, on the forum and elsewhere.

U.S. TO BOMB ROGUE STATE FOR HARBORING TERRORISTS
Bombs kill innocent lives! Besides, killing from a distance is cowardly.

U.S. TO SEND SPECIAL FORCES TO TARGET ROGUE STATE'S LEADERS
Special forces are as evil as the terrorists themselves. Besides, killing from close range is brutal and terrible.

U.S. TO USE LARGE GROUND FORCES TO DEFEAT ROGUE STATE
This is another Vietnam. Will America never learn? Besides, there are plenty of pro-democracy forces that can topple the government; let the people of that country sort themselves out.

U.S. TO LET PRO-DEMOCRACY FORCES TOPPLE ROGUE STATE
The cowards are letting someone else fight their war for them - and those forces aren't even equipped to fight a proper war!

U.S. TO ARM PRO-DEMOCRACY FORCES
In fifteen years, those same forces will be fighting us with our own weapons. Will America never learn?

U.S. SUFFERS MINOR CASUALTIES IN SKERMISH
Another Vietnam! See!

U.S. WINS DECISIVELY AGAINST ROGUE STATE
Bullies! Now that country is in ruins!

U.S. TO SEND AID, REBUILD DEFEATED ROGUE STATE
Imperialists! They just want to enslave the locals with their Big Macs and TV shows!

U.S. TO REFUSE AID TO AVOID LABEL OF 'IMPERIALISM'
Isolationists! They don't care about anybody but themselves!

U.S. NAMES IRAQ AS 'NEXT TARGET'
But Iraq hasn't done anything to provoke anyone! Besides, the Iraqi's are starving because of U.S. sanctions.

U.S. NAMES NEXT TARGET: 'NOT IRAQ'
But Saddam Hussein is a madman, and the Iraqi's are starving. The elder Bush should have finished the job he started a decade ago.

U.S. LISTENS TO CRITICS, PULLS OUT OF WAR
Well, that war accomplished nothing more than boosting Bush's poll numbers.


II. Embelish your statement with any of the following observations:

"G.W. Bush didn't really win the election."

"The U.S. government is run by Evil Corporations."

"Israel is just as evil as the terrorists responsible for 9/11."

"America got what it deserved."


III. Be aware that knee-jerk, ultra-conservative conspiracy theorists will respond, and you should rebut accordingly. Remind the misguided right-wingers that you're not "attacking America". You're merely exercising your right to criticize the government and the middle-class sheep dumb enough to agree with its actions.


This should be more than enough to help you craft an excellent argument against the wickedness of American Imperialism.

If you ever doubt what to say, just keep in mind the following universal truth of human existance:

The United States of America is greedy, lazy, cowardly, and evil. All the actions of its government is wrong, just in different ways.

And we should never, ever judge other countries and cultures.


[This message has been edited by Achtung Bubba (edited 01-15-2002).]
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Old 01-16-2002, 01:06 AM   #2
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I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying that anyone who is in any way critical of the US government is in fact an unreasonable extremist? Just because I occasionally question the decisions made by my country's leaders doesn't mean I think "America got what it deserved" or "The United States of America is greedy, lazy, cowardly, and evil". If you're trying to convince me to always go along with the leaders of this nation, you've missed the entire point of democracy.

But then again, maybe I'm not seeing your point. If that's true, please correct me.

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Old 01-16-2002, 05:15 AM   #3
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i think he's just fed up with the catchy headlines and how people get carried away believing them right away.
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Old 01-16-2002, 08:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Foxxern:
I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying that anyone who is in any way critical of the US government is in fact an unreasonable extremist? Just because I occasionally question the decisions made by my country's leaders doesn't mean I think "America got what it deserved" or "The United States of America is greedy, lazy, cowardly, and evil". If you're trying to convince me to always go along with the leaders of this nation, you've missed the entire point of democracy.

But then again, maybe I'm not seeing your point. If that's true, please correct me.

Right, but the negation of the statement "always agreeing with the leaders of the USA" is not "never agreeing with the leaders of the USA."
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Old 01-16-2002, 08:49 AM   #5
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Originally posted by speedracer:
Right, but the negation of the statement "always agreeing with the leaders of the USA" is not "never agreeing with the leaders of the USA."
EXACTLY.

There is nothing wrong, per se, with disagreeing with an individual policy of the United States. But there are those who appear to disagree with EVERY policy, who put the U.S. in a Catch-22 that it CANNOT win. When they criticize everything, they come very close to looking like people who hate America, despite their protests to the contrary.
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Old 01-16-2002, 08:55 AM   #6
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Keeping in mind you could turn it around just as easy like this;

Quote:
Not originally posted by Achtung Bubba but slightly altered by DrTeeth:
There is nothing wrong, per se, with agreeing with an individual policy of the United States. But there are those who appear to agree with EVERY policy, who put the U.S. in a Catch-22 (?)that it CANNOT lose.
the bottom-line would be: Fundamentalists suck?

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Old 01-16-2002, 09:11 AM   #7
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Uh, sure. (Though you probably shouldn't use the label "fundamentalist" here. Maybe "ultra-nationalist" or something like that.)
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Old 01-16-2002, 12:08 PM   #8
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Yes, Dr. Teeth, one could say the same thing about agreeing absolutely with the policies and actions of the federal government.

So?

That doesn't seem nearly as important in this forum because, frankly, I don't know of that many forum members agreeing with every action of the U.S. government.

I'll use myself as a quick example. In general, I believe the government taxes its people far too much - and the tax code ("punitive" or "progressive", depending on your point of view) is a disincentive to generate more wealth. I believe that the government tries to regulate far too much, thus stifling the dynamic power of the free market. And I believe the government goes to far in attempting to regulate morality with things like the silly V-chip.

And in terms of U.S. military history, I thought the conclusion of World War I was woefully mishandled (leading directly to the Great Depression and WWII). We should have entered World War II earlier. Korea and Vietnam were botched by politicians, starting with the firing of MacArthur. And we should have not gone the fast and easy way and help set up friendly regimes; in retrospect, we should have taken the time to help build true democracies - even if that would have been considered "imperialism."

..and I have already expressed many of these attitudes on the forum.

There have been, I think, quite a few acts in the current war that can easily be praised by all, most noticeably:

* the dropping of Afghan aid *in addition* to the bombs,

* the freeing of an obviously oppressed country, as told through the shavings and celebrations, and

* the establishment of a Afghan provisional government that won't be nearly as tyrranical.

These things are worthy of praise from even those who seem hell-bent on pointing the faults of U.S. foreign policy.

And yet... where is the praise?
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Old 01-16-2002, 12:13 PM   #9
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A very histrionic passage. Did you write it yourself or did you copy it from someone you admire? Just curious.

The bottom line comes down to the fact that we have trouble trusting our politicians. It isn't necessarily that we are being blatantly being "lied" to, but the fact that we are often fed carefully crafted lawyer jargon. So, for instance, look at the tax cuts Bush promised in his election. Implicitly, people believed that everyone was going to receive $300 or $600 (individual or couple, respectively). But, in the carefully crafted jargon, it really meant those with lots of taxes get this back. So, in reality, is isn't "lying" many of us are worried about. It is the worry that we are falling for yet another lawyer trick.

Of course, when we are dealing with wars, we open a whole new Pandora's Box. The government has, historically, felt the need to openly lie to the public for "national security" reasons. The public also knows this, and that is why many are skeptical about what the government feeds to us, since U.S. journalists have been banned from reporting from the war zone since after the Vietnam War, and that, obviously, was because the government doesn't like bad press. Regardless of the reasoning, it surely doesn't help to foster trust within your nation, now does it?

DrTeeth & speedracer: Yes, I would agree that "fundamentalist" would not be an appropriate phrase. "Nationalist" would be better.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 01-16-2002, 12:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
I'll use myself as a quick example. In general, I believe the government taxes its people far too much - and the tax code ("punitive" or "progressive", depending on your point of view) is a disincentive to generate more wealth. I believe that the government tries to regulate far too much, thus stifling the dynamic power of the free market. And I believe the government goes to far in attempting to regulate morality with things like the silly V-chip.
I agree that the government taxes individuals too much, but you are on the wrong ideology if you believe that. During the 1970s, corporations paid 70% of taxes, while individuals paid 30%. During the Reagan Administration, it swapped: corporations paid 30% of taxes, while individuals paid 70%. Bush is contributing to making this ratio worse, particularly since he wishes to eliminate the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT), and, the implicit reality is that *someone* is going to have to pick up the tab, since someone has to pay for the war and all the corporate bailouts, amongst the price of just maintaining a government. That *someone* is individuals.

Secondly, regulation is necessary to prevent unethical and unstable business practice. The regulation of utilities, for instance, was necessary to prevent these utilities from using their monopolistic tendencies to limit output, drive up prices, and prevent parent companies from sucking money out of the utilities. And what happened when California deregulated electric companies? The same thing. What happened when cable companies were deregulated? Poor service and dramatically higher prices. Since America has some severe competition problems, regulation is necessary. Plus, the reality is that business will only do the bare minimum it has to, so without environmental regulation, for instance, we'd have pollution like you'd never imagine. If it weren't for government regulation of automobile efficiency, we'd likely still be driving the 7 mpg gas guzzlers with leaded gasoline.

And I agree with the silliness of the V-chip, but it was conservatives who pushed for it. Once again, you're on the wrong ideology if you believe that.

Quote:
And in terms of U.S. military history, I thought the conclusion of World War I was woefully mishandled (leading directly to the Great Depression and WWII). We should have entered World War II earlier. Korea and Vietnam were botched by politicians, starting with the firing of MacArthur. And we should have not gone the fast and easy way and help set up friendly regimes; in retrospect, we should have taken the time to help build true democracies - even if that would have been considered "imperialism."
MacArthur deserved firing. If it were up to him, for instance, we would have plunged into a nuclear war regarding Korea. Hindsight is definitely 20-20, but I think Truman handled it well considering the circumstances, and he definitely set a precedent that extends up to today that we should never use nuclear weapons unless another side uses it first.

And, once again, I agree that we should not have set up "friendly regimes," but, once again, you are on the wrong ideology. Nixon set up his corrupt governments, most notably Chile, and Reagan completed it, setting up corrupt governments everywhere from Granada to Honduras. Nations were arbitarily labelled "communist" if they had any leftist leaning, and he simply installed tyrannical dictators in their places. The Republican concern is not about installing democracy, but installing "U.S.-friendly governments," which, implicitly, means "U.S.-business friendly governments."

Quote:
There have been, I think, quite a few acts in the current war that can easily be praised by all, most noticeably:

* the dropping of Afghan aid *in addition* to the bombs,

* the freeing of an obviously oppressed country, as told through the shavings and celebrations, and

* the establishment of a Afghan provisional government that won't be nearly as tyrranical.

These things are worthy of praise from even those who seem hell-bent on pointing the faults of U.S. foreign policy.

And yet... where is the praise?
I am still waiting out on Afghanistan. It is not done yet, so I am reserving judgment on the campaign, until the military operatives have been completed. So far, so good. "So far."

Melon

------------------
"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time

[This message has been edited by melon (edited 01-16-2002).]
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Old 01-16-2002, 01:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon:
but you are on the wrong ideology if you believe that.
Melon:

I have usually admired your intellect and debating skills, but I roll my eyes when I see you say stuff like this. You tend to group/categorize/stereotype people into convenient little boxes and allow little, if any, room for dissent from the views aligned with those boxes.

There is much more to politics, religion, society, etc. than "liberal" and "conservative." There are populist views, moderate views, agri-business views, industrial views, the list is infinite.

Just because a "conservative" agrees with you on one or more issues, doesn't mean that he/she is in the "wrong ideology" in general. I could say that you are in the "wrong ideology" for your pro-life views on abortion.

It seems that you have found some points of agreement with Achtung Bubba for once, but instead of crediting him for it, you wish to tell him that it indicates that his general beliefs/opinions are wrong. I think if he posted a thread saying "Bono is the lead singer of U2," you would pick a debate on it.

And NONE of this is a criticism, just an observation. I usually enjoy the debates between the two of you (except when they get too ugly), and I hope y'all keep them coming.

~U2Alabama

P.S. And Achtung Bubba, congratulations on beating us in basketball the other night.


[This message has been edited by U2Bama (edited 01-16-2002).]
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Old 01-16-2002, 01:13 PM   #12
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A brief reply, Melon:

I wrote it myself, thank you very much. I do not plaguerize.

I don't believe the issue is whether we're being lied to. Most of the threads that I'm responding to seemed to take the news story (or op-ed) as factually true - and then proceeded to decry the U.S. for killing civilians, using other countries' armies, etc.

I don't want to argue your points from your second reply any further than I have to, because A) arguing with you goes nowhere and B) that wasn't my point anyway.

My point was that there are very few people on this forum (if any) who agree with every action of the U.S. government while there ARE those who criticize EVERY aspect of U.S. foreign policy.

Here are my only real rebuttals to your points are these:

* You can't tax corporations and not harm individuals. Corporations get their revenue (and thus pay their taxes) through the prices they charge consumers, and the individual consumers essentially pay corporate taxes through higher prices. Thus the somehow-magical ratio of coporate-to-personal taxes is irrelevant.

(In fact, corporate taxes may hurt the poor more than income taxes, in which you can lower rates for the very poor. Let's say we raise the taxes on McDonald's, Inc. They decide to pay for those taxes by raising the price of Big Mac's. Since everyone pays the same amount for a Big Mac, a poor man will pay just as much as a rich man - or he'll pay more if you look at the cost as a percentage of income.)


* The ratio is bogus on another level: it doesn't speak on how much is actually going to the government, either in terms of billions of dollars, or as a percentage of the GNP. Either way, conservatives generally believe that the nation is taxed entirely too much, regardless of whether Reagan (and the Democratic Congress; don't deny their importance in this) was able to accomplish.

* While I don't know whether liberalism is the same way (I suspect it is not), conservatism is not monolithic. Even if most conservatives agree that there's too much violence and sex on television, some thought the medium should be legislated (via the V-chip), some didn't. Most are for the free markets domestically; some are for global free trade, a few are isolationists. And many conservatives believe the setting up of Third World dictatorships was wrong, though most believe that the U.S. should have acted one way or another. Disagreeing on the details doesn't make me less a conservative, or somehow "on the wrong ideology".

Finally, I've noticed that, amusingly, when I say something that matches mainstream conservatism, I'm accused of parroting Rush Limbaugh; when I say something that doesn't match, I'm apparently "on the wrong ideology".

Another Catch-22 perhaps?
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Old 01-16-2002, 01:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Bama:
P.S. And Achtung Bubba, congratulations on beating us in basketball the other night.
Thanks.

I was there, actually, on the last night before going back to grad school. The game was well worth it.

And a friend taught me a cheer that, given the officiating that night, would work from the perspectives of both teams and their fans:

We've got a rope, we've got a tree.
All we need is a referee.


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Old 01-16-2002, 01:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
And a friend taught me a cheer that, given the officiating that night, would work from the perspectives of both teams and their fans:

We've got a rope, we've got a tree.
All we need is a referee.

SEC officiating, in basketball AND football, has reached an all-time low; that was evident on both ends of the court Saturday night.

At least Al Ford retired during the Fiesta Bowl.

~U2Alabama
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Old 01-16-2002, 01:56 PM   #15
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I'm going to have to go with Bama on this one, melon. Putting people in neat little ideological boxes hardly fits with the free-thinking, liberal-minded persona that you seem to try to cultivate here. I'm sure you don't appreciate it when people try to tell you what opinions you can and cannot have...so it seems a bit odd to me that you would stoop to that level.
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Old 01-16-2002, 03:02 PM   #16
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Amusing...

My point is that, inasmuch as Bubba parades conservatism, particularly in his own professed and admitted admiration for Rush Limbaugh, these issues go against the core of conservatism in practice. Basically, if I were looking for God, I wouldn't be courting Satan in the process.

That is not to say that I'm not blind to fluidity. I am torn in my beliefs regarding abortion, although I lean towards my disgust. However, I am not naive to believe that I will ever see abortion ended under a Democrat nor any liberal entity. Likewise, if you are looking to see individuals taxed less, if you are opposed to the V-chip, and, in a more unclear extent, if you are looking for the promotion of democracy over business interests, you are barking up the wrong tree with the Republican Party under the current and past leadership. If moderate Republicans in Congress someday get a backbone and speak up, then maybe we'll be able to talk. As it stands, moderate Republicans have a better chance following suit with Sen. Jeffords.

Also, you have to keep my response in mind with the original post, which implicitly strokes the ego of conservatism and paints liberalism as subversive. Talk about painting neat little ideological boxes? And then Bubba goes into the points about individual taxation and the V-chip, and I could only laugh at the irony. If the initial message weren't so obviously meant to provoke extremist responses, then, perhaps, my responses would have been more tempered.

My point is not about ideology. It is about the real state of partisan politics and the ideologies they exploit. Inasmuch as you'll never get abortion ended under a Democrat, you'll never see the points Bubba listed above accomplished by a Republican. That is, unless, a lot of things change, but I don't see these changes coming anytime soon.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 01-16-2002, 03:23 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
A brief reply, Melon:

I wrote it myself, thank you very much. I do not plaguerize.
Like I said, I was just curious. Some of the posts in this forum often look like they were cut-and-pasted, and I wondered about this one. It was not about plagiarizing.

Quote:
I don't believe the issue is whether we're being lied to. Most of the threads that I'm responding to seemed to take the news story (or op-ed) as factually true - and then proceeded to decry the U.S. for killing civilians, using other countries' armies, etc.
True, but I still think that is a valid issue. We assume that certain stories are 100% factually true, but, knowing the source, I question it.

Quote:
My point was that there are very few people on this forum (if any) who agree with every action of the U.S. government while there ARE those who criticize EVERY aspect of U.S. foreign policy.
Agreed, but this contingent is small enough that I would think that posts like these are unnecessary. You certainly cannot convince everyone.

Quote:
Here are my only real rebuttals to your points are these:

* You can't tax corporations and not harm individuals. Corporations get their revenue (and thus pay their taxes) through the prices they charge consumers, and the individual consumers essentially pay corporate taxes through higher prices. Thus the somehow-magical ratio of coporate-to-personal taxes is irrelevant.
Ah, but this I disagree with. The trend of passing on losses, rather than absorbing them, was started en masse during the Nixon Administration. You could easily reregulate this aspect, and prevent this.

But here is what my point was: we have lots of expenses, including military ones. So, let's say that we ended all corporate taxation. The government would still need to amass trillions in taxes to run the government, whether it be social programs or to pay for the hundreds of billions we spent on bailing out corporations for September 11th, the war on terrorism, or the $200 billion in new fighter planes Bush wants to create. And who is going to pay for it? If it isn't the corporations, it is going to be individuals.

Quote:
(In fact, corporate taxes may hurt the poor more than income taxes, in which you can lower rates for the very poor. Let's say we raise the taxes on McDonald's, Inc. They decide to pay for those taxes by raising the price of Big Mac's. Since everyone pays the same amount for a Big Mac, a poor man will pay just as much as a rich man - or he'll pay more if you look at the cost as a percentage of income.)
Well, let's say that the poor were exempt from paying taxes and we raised the corporate taxes proportionately to make it up. Do you really think that the poor will just end up paying more? Not in any stretch of the imagination.

But, just for my personal amusement, when Steve Forbes proposed the flat tax at a flat 17%, while everyone was going to see tax cuts, with the wealthy seeing a dramatic cut, the poorest would actually have seen a 2% tax increase. Republicans...Republicans...

Quote:
* The ratio is bogus on another level: it doesn't speak on how much is actually going to the government, either in terms of billions of dollars, or as a percentage of the GNP. Either way, conservatives generally believe that the nation is taxed entirely too much, regardless of whether Reagan (and the Democratic Congress; don't deny their importance in this) was able to accomplish.
Well, where shall we get this money to keep the government running? Shall I plant a money tree? The money has to come from somewhere, and government isn't spending less, regardless if there is a Democrat and Republican in office. So, if corporations pay no taxes, then individuals will have to make up the difference.

Quote:
* While I don't know whether liberalism is the same way (I suspect it is not), conservatism is not monolithic. Even if most conservatives agree that there's too much violence and sex on television, some thought the medium should be legislated (via the V-chip), some didn't. Most are for the free markets domestically; some are for global free trade, a few are isolationists. And many conservatives believe the setting up of Third World dictatorships was wrong, though most believe that the U.S. should have acted one way or another. Disagreeing on the details doesn't make me less a conservative, or somehow "on the wrong ideology".
I should have stated the "wrong party," as in Republican, rather than the "wrong ideology," as in conservative. I was attempting to think of a precise term, and that was the best I could come up with at the time. So, for this muddled argument of mine, I apologize. However, if you substitute "wrong ideology" with "wrong party," I still stand by what I stated.

Quote:
Finally, I've noticed that, amusingly, when I say something that matches mainstream conservatism, I'm accused of parroting Rush Limbaugh; when I say something that doesn't match, I'm apparently "on the wrong ideology".
See above with "the wrong party." I do give you some credit...interesting points on your part.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 01-16-2002, 03:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:


And we should never, ever judge other countries and cultures.


[This message has been edited by Achtung Bubba (edited 01-15-2002).]
Does this include the United States? Everyone seems to judge us...I don't quite understand the arguement. I am a reasonalble, logical person. I am I not free to judge the cultures in Africa that practice female circumcision(sp?) on young girls? I am not supposed to think this is barbaric? Please explain what you mean.
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Old 01-16-2002, 04:53 PM   #19
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Melon:

As is usually the case, I am torn between two desires, the desire to respond in detail to every point I disagree with and the desire to keep the posts short so that I can do other things in the real world.

I will split the difference, and hit three main points:


I. I am a conservative.

My point is that, inasmuch as Bubba parades conservatism, particularly in his own professed and admitted admiration for Rush Limbaugh, these issues go against the core of conservatism in practice. Basically, if I were looking for God, I wouldn't be courting Satan in the process.

And from another post...

Likewise, if you are looking to see individuals taxed less, if you are opposed to the V-chip, and, in a more unclear extent, if you are looking for the promotion of democracy over business interests, you are barking up the wrong tree with the Republican Party under the current and past leadership.

No, my positions on the V-chip, U.S. foreign policy, and taxation do not go against conservatism.

On the issue of V-chips, I remind you that conservatism is not monolithic. Specifically, conservatism seems to be split quite often between libertarians and the Christian Right; libertarians embrace the idea that the institutions that "govern least govern best", and the Christian Right believe that the United States is a nation "under God" and should be governed as such.

(Saying that libertarianism is truly distinct from conservatism simply doesn't hold up. Libertarianism simply idolizes the conservative ideal of limited government at the expense of the other ideals - such as military readiness and Christian ethics.)

While the idea of the V-chip sounds great to the Christian Right, it sounds suspiciously like "big government" and more regulation to libertarians. I happen to agree with them on this point.

I agree with libertarians, and they are part of the conservative movement. Ergo, I'm not "against the core" on this issue.

On the issue of propping up dictatorships, I must clarify my position. I believe that, while supporting friendly regimes instead of building a true democracy is politically and militarily expedient, it ends up being more costly than it's worth. I suggest that if we must deal with a totalitarian government that threatens our existence, we should instead obliterate the regime and help rebuild the country in the Western tradition of political and economic freedom. Germany and Japan of the 1940s, and present-day Afghanistan, are excellent examples of how to deal with tyranny.

Here, I support military actions like the rebuilding of Japan and Afghanistan, actions that most other conservatives also support. Hence, I'm not outside conservatism.

(Also, the spread of freedom, both democracy and capitalism, DOES help business interests - if not an individual industry, than American business interests in general; larger markets for producers, lower prices for consumers. So the choice is not an either-or.)

Finally, on the issue of tax cuts, you suggest that "if you are looking to see individuals taxed less... you are barking up the wrong tree with the Republican Party under the current and past leadership."

That's frankly absurd (and another instance where you jump from the ideals of conservatism to the political realities of the Republican Party). Reagan, Buckley, Limbaugh, and both Bushes have been for lower taxes, PERIOD. Reagan and the elder Bush have both made the mistake of agreeing with Democrats to raise taxes later in their terms, but they were agreeing with liberal Democrats first.

Hell, look at the events of the past two weeks: Daschle (a liberal Democrat) has said that Bush's tax plan (which involves lower taxes, not higher taxes) is a mistake, and Ted Kennedy has now proposed repealing them, essentially re-raising our taxes.

You need to let go of the fallacious mantra of "tax cuts for the rich" and accept the fact that lower taxes across the board are part of the conservative ideology.

And again, on this issue, I'm right in the middle of conservatism.


II. Basic economic analysis tears your "corporate tax" idea to shreds.

Essentially, corporate taxes DO and MUST harm individuals.

The trend of passing on losses, rather than absorbing them, was started en masse during the Nixon Administration. You could easily reregulate this aspect, and prevent this.

First, "reregulation", in this instance can ONLY be price fixing, keeping the price at some arbitrary low level so that corporations can't "pass on the losses". Price fixing is, in a word, bad. In two words, very bad.

* It's against the principles of capitalism and the invisble hand of supply and demand, a force that maximizes consumer satisfaction.

* It's a disincentive to suppliers, since they can only make so much money selling their wares, and an incentive to buyers, since prices are artificially low. The result? Invariably, a shortage.

* It pays no mind whether the corporations want to raise their prices to account for tax increases or other reasons (inflation, higher operating costs, etc.). It ignores the fact that there are legitimate reasons to raise prices.

Beyond that, how the FUCK do you think they "absorb costs"? Some magical pencil-pushing in the accounting department?

No, they absorb costs by hurting other individuals - maybe not the consumers, but others involved in the industry.

* They could return a smaller profit, which hurts individual investors, including middle-class investors and those who depend on investing for the IRA's (retirement benefits).

* They could cut wages, which hurts individuals who work for the company, from the CEO all the way down to the guys who scrub the toilets.

(Hell, even if the CEO was the only one hurt, he/she was going to do SOMETHING with that money; now that he can't, that hurts the companies he was going to invest in or buy a yacht from, and that IN TURN hurts the individuals who work for THOSE companies.)

* They could cut other operating costs, which hurts individuals who work for those related companies.

And so on.

Ultimately, all taxes harm individuals. It is unavoidable.


Finally, the government doesn't need so much of our money.

In response to the question of "where does the government get the money?", I say, they shouldn't, at least not the trillions they take out of our pockets. They should learn to be responsible with their cut of our money, as we are responsible with ours.

To say that conservative Republicans don't want to cut spending is again absurd (and I don't know how listening to moderates - that is, those who are relatively more liberal - will help).

It didn't take *that* much to balance the budget, if you recall. The Republicans pushed (and the Dems resisted the effort) to cut the rate of increase on government spending from THREE TIMES the rate of inflation to just TWICE the rate, and that was enough to balance the budget.

Beyond that, we have a surplus. That means that, even with all the spending government does, it still got too much of our money. It is, after all, our money, and the fuckers should give it back - as conservative Republican George W. Bush is suggesting.
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Old 01-16-2002, 04:54 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by WildHoneyAlways:
Does this include the United States? Everyone seems to judge us...I don't quite understand the arguement. I am a reasonalble, logical person. I am I not free to judge the cultures in Africa that practice female circumcision(sp?) on young girls? I am not supposed to think this is barbaric? Please explain what you mean.
I was being ironic, mocking the people who simultaneously villify the United States and suggest that we shouldn't judge other countries.
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