Debate and Discussion

What does America stand for?
imshard at 9:02PM, Sept. 4, 2007
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mapaghimagsik
heh. You really do want to argue what you *think* I typed, which is about a “strong” military. When what I'm talking about is the desperate desire to have the “toughest”. In every situation. Anyone can see how that results in a sucker bet, where all your resources get spent on a military solution, when not all the world's problems get solved with a hammer.

Violence is not the answer to anything.
Yet when they shoot first I like to have a bigger set of guns than they do.
Because at that point we don't really have a choice in the matter do we?
Ergo the desire to have the “toughest” is not driven by a sin of pride, but a measure of self-preservation. The only man who doesn't want to be strongest in every situation admits there are times he'd like to lose. In terms of a military and national survival, that would be a very stupid thing to admit, especially to an enemy.

Besides its much easier to negotiate peacefully when you come from a position of strength.
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mapaghimagsik at 9:07PM, Sept. 4, 2007
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mapaghimagsik
heh. You really do want to argue what you *think* I typed, which is about a “strong” military. When what I'm talking about is the desperate desire to have the “toughest”. In every situation. Anyone can see how that results in a sucker bet, where all your resources get spent on a military solution, when not all the world's problems get solved with a hammer.

Violence is not the answer to anything.
Yet when they shoot first I like to have a bigger set of guns than they do.
Because at that point we don't really have a choice in the matter do we?
Ergo the desire to have the “toughest” is not driven by a sin of pride, but a measure of self-preservation. The only man who doesn't want to be strongest in every situation admits there are times he'd like to lose. In terms of a military and national survival, that would be a very stupid thing to admit, especially to an enemy.

Besides its much easier to negotiate peacefully when you come from a position of strength.

Sure, its important to have a strong defense. At what point do you decide our nuclear arsenal is large enough?

Violence is a good defensive answer to violence, and in that we agree. But declaring yourself “toughest” when anyone who puts some thought into it would realize that toughest is a very complex issue of positioning, timing, equipment, motivation, training, and a host of other issues…

If you're determined to spend 5x your nearest opponent, you're in trouble. They can wear you down economically.

In the Kosevo conflict, we spent missiles worth millions blowing up decoys built with a couple of bucks. Against a foe with more resources, even the richest country in the world can get worn down.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
imshard at 9:56PM, Sept. 4, 2007
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mapaghimagsik
Sure, its important to have a strong defense. At what point do you decide our nuclear arsenal is large enough?

Violence is a good defensive answer to violence, and in that we agree. But declaring yourself “toughest” when anyone who puts some thought into it would realize that toughest is a very complex issue of positioning, timing, equipment, motivation, training, and a host of other issues…

If you're determined to spend 5x your nearest opponent, you're in trouble. They can wear you down economically.

In the Kosevo conflict, we spent missiles worth millions blowing up decoys built with a couple of bucks. Against a foe with more resources, even the richest country in the world can get worn down.

To lead I'd like to say thank you for an intelligent debate.
They are very hard to find these days.

For your first point I like to point out that since the first SALT treaty we've been slowly disarming our nuclear stockpile. Any new weapons made were to replace aging missiles not add to them. And any military man will tell you we should keep enough nukes to toast any and all enemies that may emerge at any given time.

On the second, every nation since the dawn of civilization has sought to be “toughest”. However, I haven't heard any Pentagon officials declare that status. To be sure though the USA is pretty darn close. We have the positioning to be anywhere in the world within a week. I don't think anybody debates the fact we have the best equipment, motivation, and training. You'd have to be more specific on the host of other issues for me to discuss them. Logistics comes to mind but that really falls under local conditions and planning. We have some of the best and most experienced strategists in the world for that.

With your third point I agree. A sustained high drain conflict would require a change in our economic structure or it would collapse. The current human loss is unacceptable. I know that personally. Yet My logical mind cannot ignore what my eyes perceive. In terms of escalation Iraq and Afghanistan combined come in as low to moderate drain conflicts. I live in a state with three bases and a munitions plant. War is good for industry. The economy in my state has boomed from the wartime activity. Our day-to-day lives have seen practically zero impact in the way we conduct business. It would take a much larger and longer conflict to seriously threaten the powerhouse of the US economy.

That sounds cold to me even as I say it but it is true nonetheless.

And yes I know well how ingenious well-educated and formerly well-off Europeans can be. I'm a third Slavic myself, with a large helping of Austrian, Croat, and other Euro-blood. The Balkan wars tore up my ancestral homeland.
The cruise missiles blew up medical plants, residential zones, and commercial parks too. My grandmother still curses Clinton for killing just to get the attention off of Monica's dress. Thousands of enemy combatants were also killed in those various conflicts though. Both by missile and air strike. You can dredge up history if you want and so can I. We're still here as a country and none the worse in budget for the lost missiles. We won. And for those ridiculous expenses only 12 US soldiers died. I'd say that makes it worth the price compared to the alternative ground war.
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mapaghimagsik at 11:04PM, Sept. 4, 2007
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To lead I'd like to say thank you for an intelligent debate.
They are very hard to find these days.

Likewise. Thanks for your thoughts.

For your first point I like to point out that since the first SALT treaty we've been slowly disarming our nuclear stockpile. Any new weapons made were to replace aging missiles not add to them. And any military man will tell you we should keep enough nukes to toast any and all enemies that may emerge at any given time.

I agree though I don't have exact numbers on how much smaller our current aresenal is. Its my understanding the total megatonnage still has us blowing up the world more than twice. Once would be enough, would it not?

On the second, every nation since the dawn of civilization has sought to be “toughest”.

Here's where I disagree, but only because I think the term “toughest” might not be clear enough – its my own term, I know, and I'm most pleased to cast it aside for someone willing (and able) to talk specifics. I think I'm looking more at “tough enough.” which is still vague. I don't have my Sun Tzu at my fingertips, but there's a general axiom that has to do with “using more force than necessary to win is a waste”. The exact wording is much cooler, but escapes me. Cryptography has a similar axiom – that you want to spend $1 more on your encryption than your opponent would spend getting it, plus the value of the information itself.

But, I can totally see your point below:

However, I haven't heard any Pentagon officials declare that status. To be sure though the USA is pretty darn close. We have the positioning to be anywhere in the world within a week. I don't think anybody debates the fact we have the best equipment, motivation, and training.

It used to be that Israel would argue.

You'd have to be more specific on the host of other issues for me to discuss them. Logistics comes to mind but that really falls under local conditions and planning. We have some of the best and most experienced strategists in the world for that.

Agreed. I won't discuss the nature of my work, but I completely agree with your assessment. Our logistical capacity is the envy of the world – for those that envy logistical capacity :D. Hopefully we can agree that drooling over logistics is slightly below computer programming on the ‘geeky’ scale. :D

I do have to wonder if the movement of support and logistics from the US military to private firms hasn't been problematic for the US forces. Even if KBR and friends is doing the exact same job the Army used to do, they are much more expensive, and I think we're of the same mind that dollars is just as much a military asset as missiles (and can in a certain cold logic, be the exact same thing)

I think we'd also agree that toe to toe, no force in the world can match the US military. However as the US demonstrated in our bid for independence, cheating can beat a superior military. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in the position of the British in this current conflict. However US forces adapt to this cheating faster than the British did and the insurgents et al adapt in response, and we have this interesting circle.

I also think the recent conflict between Israel and Hezbollah (sp?) demonstrated some rather startling facts about perceived military superiority of state vs nonstate actors (one can argue Hebollah is a proxy for Iran, but I think the reality is a bit more complex) In any event, I'm sure there were more than a few analysts sitting around saying “well, crap.”

We're also in the position that military victory isn't necessarily a victory for the conflict, and once again, the hearts and minds aspects escape us. I find this aspect very frustrating, because Iran was *well* on its way to being the kind of country we could work with – and was somewhere around a decade away from nukes. Our current overtures have given the hardliners in Tehran far more presitge than they should have, and they use the possibility to attack with good effect.
With your third point I agree. A sustained high drain conflict would require a change in our economic structure or it would collapse. The current human loss is unacceptable. I know that personally. Yet My logical mind cannot ignore what my eyes perceive. In terms of escalation Iraq and Afghanistan combined come in as low to moderate drain conflicts. I live in a state with three bases and a munitions plant. War is good for industry. The economy in my state has boomed from the wartime activity. Our day-to-day lives have seen practically zero impact in the way we conduct business. It would take a much larger and longer conflict to seriously threaten the powerhouse of the US economy.

That sounds cold to me even as I say it but it is true nonetheless.

War is good for the economy in the short term. However, its only as good as the currency that wages it. There are some interesting aspects to this conflict that affect the economic situation – first of all, we're burning through cash at an extreme rate and getting nothing for it. Not even oil, as far as I know. This is no different than any other conflict, except for the fact that the money is mostly going to contractors, which are spending their money overseas. So the percentage of money being spent on the war going back to the home coffers is smaller.

I'm going to disagree with your statement above, that the conflict has to be longer to threaten the powerhouse of the US economy. I realize its that “dismal science” but economic reactions lag behind that which generate them. I think we have yet to see the full impact of this “wartime economy”, and like Clinton, Bush is playing fast and loose with wartime numbers. In short, and I realize this is going to upset people who are more emotionally attached to American superiority, I think the god is dying, and we don't know it yet. I'm not talking about a Mad Max kind of scenario. But I think the world has passed us by, and once we burn out our Imperial ambitions, we'll be a footnote in someone else's history. I hope we are remembered mostly for Jazz and Swing dancing.

So lets look to the east another fun player – China. The US borrowing rate is *staggering* – and a lot of it is being used to buy Chinese goods, which is why they are 1) willing to keep lending to us and 2) are not sure how to stop this economic dance between the US and China. China has been slowly divesting, but not too quickly, because its US consumers that power this worldwide economy. If US markets suddenly dry up, the world economy will encounter sever doldrums.

Still, there's been effects: The dollar has been steadily falling, and while many ranted about the exciting close above 14,000 of the Dow recently, little if anything has been said about the boomerang back down to below 13,000, and only some serious pumping of cash, and promises of more by the Fed kept the sub-prime market from sucking hard on the Dow. I don't know what's going to happen there, but I suspect its not going to be the roaring 20's again for quite some time.

Its also my perception we're credit carding this war in more ways than one– as we're not keeping up with equipment losses out in the field, and eating into reserves. You might know more about this.

And yes I know well how ingenious well-educated and formerly well-off Europeans can be. I'm a third Slavic myself, with a large helping of Austrian, Croat, and other Euro-blood. The Balkan wars tore up my ancestral homeland.
The cruise missiles blew up medical plants, residential zones, and commercial parks too. My grandmother still curses Clinton for killing just to get the attention off of Monica's dress. Thousands of enemy combatants were also killed in those various conflicts though. Both by missile and air strike. You can dredge up history if you want and so can I. We're still here as a country and none the worse in budget for the lost missiles. We won. And for those ridiculous expenses only 12 US soldiers died. I'd say that makes it worth the price compared to the alternative ground war.

you won't get much disagreement from me here. However, Clinton (rumored to be the best Republican president we've ever had ;)) Did the same thing Bush Sr and GWB are doing – fighting a war on a credit card. The real cost has yet to be realized. At the same time, I'd rather pay that than pay in soliders' lives. But, the idea that the economy didn't take a hit from war might not be true – its hard to really guage, since we don't have a ‘control US’ to measure against, and the US economy started slumping about then – though the .com bubble bursting obfuscates everything.

Speaking of ingenious europeans, I thought the ‘pulsing’ of the radar stations was pretty darn clever.

Anyway, I've ranted more than enough. Thank you again for your insights, and please forgive my typos.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
TnTComic at 5:43AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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imshard
Having a strong military is essential to the national defense

But that's not what we have. A “strong military”. What we have is a hulking monstrosity that eats up half of our country's resources every year.

What does america stand for? America stands for money, as i've said from the start. Over one trillion dollars per year, pumped into the military. Trumped up bullshit used as a pretext for invading foreign countries, as a justification for pumping a trillion dollars into the military industrial complex. Thousands of dead people, increased threat of terrorism, loss of respect around the world, and lost resources that could be used to help Americans… all lost toward pumping massive amounts of money into the military.

Clinton cut military spending, paid down the national debt, and our economy flourished. Its amazing the “trickle down” effect of fiscal responsibility. Now where are we? The middle class is disappearing, wages are not keeping pace with inflation, the housing bubble is about to burst, and we continue to pump billions into a war that our own people don't want anymore.

A strong military would be fine. But that's not what we have.

What we have is the upper 5% making fortunes off of war while the rest of us worry about whether we can afford to fill our gas tanks. So yeah, you'll have to forgive me if i'm a little less than effusive these days. I'm pretty pissed off at my country.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
mapaghimagsik at 6:39AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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I'm pretty pissed off at my country.

Its easy to be frustrated with the country's direction, which certainly isn't good. But, its the people of the country – or the money – that makes those decisions. So, don't be pissed off at the country, which is just a set of borders.

I save me venting for the policies of our government right now, which need to be straightened out.
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TnTComic at 6:57AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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mapaghimagsik
So, don't be pissed off at the country, which is just a set of borders.

Clearly i'm not pissed off at the dirt that is between our borders.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
imshard at 7:21AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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You guys will get no argument from me that the current war is wasteful.
While I disagree with the “hulking monstrosity” assesment,
I freely offer the opinion that our country is being bankrupted.
Has been for years and several “police actions” have not helped.
I'm a beleiver in fiscal responsibility and federal spending in general needs to be slashed across the board.

mapaghimagsik
I agree though I don't have exact numbers on how much smaller our current aresenal is. Its my understanding the total megatonnage still has us blowing up the world more than twice. Once would be enough, would it not?

Nobody has the true “exact numbers” here in the general public.
I can tell you though that your figures are the fanciful rantings of a certain disarmist from the 60s. The Russians still maintain the tactical superiority in mukes to us. China has ignored non-proliferation treaties and is following the same path we did, and has their own nuke stockpile to prove it.

TnTComic
Clinton cut military spending, paid down the national debt, and our economy flourished. Its amazing the “trickle down” effect of fiscal responsibility. Now where are we? The middle class is disappearing, wages are not keeping pace with inflation, the housing bubble is about to burst, and we continue to pump billions into a war that our own people don't want anymore

Wow, no blatant king-building there. If we wanted to,we could spend weeks breaking down the good and bad points on every president since washington. I can easily point out that Clinton purjured himself and was known by his own secret service agents for routinely dropping the “nuclear football” (that little card of launch codes every president carries around these days). I'm no fan of any politician on general principle so don't jump on my words.

And while it may not be held in the same regard that it held in the 1950s the US military is VERY strong. All that money is not completely lost despite the wasteful spending habits. The DOD took ~580 billion this year, much less than the ~690 billion spent on health and human services. and far less than the “trillions” of dollars most people envision being spent.

I much prefer to examine facts before posting ranted opinions, and hasty generalizations. Only one president ever paid off the national debt. The current national debt stands at ~9 trillion dollars.
Mainly because the US routinely doles out loans and never enforces repayments. foreign aid acoounts for another large chunk of it. The rest is mostly trade agreements and loans from other countries that we are actually paying off.

And Yes The capitalist system is the basis of our economy. Many are bitter that they haven't played the game as well as others have. Myself I left home without a penny to my name and now I can pay my own bills and afford some small luxuries. The middle class is disappearing into the black hole of a welfare state, not having their wealth stolen by fat-cats. Hard work still pays off if you still have the resolve to do it. Problem is americans find it easier to sit on their keisters watching tv.

I don't begrudge the wealthy for being sucessful. Neither should you.
So we can continue this discussion but I think it would belong in a different thread.
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TnTComic at 7:41AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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imshard
Wow, no blatant king-building there. If we wanted to,we could spend weeks breaking down the good and bad points on every president since washington. I can easily point out that Clinton purjured himself and was known by his own secret service agents for routinely dropping the “nuclear football” (that little card of launch codes every president carries around these days). I'm no fan of any politician on general principle so don't jump on my words.

So Clinton was a bad president for lying about a blow job (hell, i've done that) and for dropping a card (i did that at the grocery store yesterday)?

Boy what a horrible leader!

And while it may not be held in the same regard that it held in the 1950s the US military is VERY strong.

No man, no. Compared to the 50's we're friggin' supermen. Many nations have nukes, but only one has stealth. Do you know what a strategic advantage stealth is? Its enormous. Combine that with our carriers and nuke-launching subs, and “strong” is far too inaccurate a word for what the United States is.

The DOD took ~580 billion this year, much less than the ~690 billion spent on health and human services. and far less than the “trillions” of dollars most people envision being spent.

http://www.warresisters.org/piechart.htm


I much prefer to examine facts before posting ranted opinions, and hasty generalizations. Only one president ever paid off the national debt. The current national debt stands at ~9 trillion dollars.

I said paid DOWN the national debt. Compare that to Bush's hasty reversal upon taking office. So, you know, hasty generalizations my ass. Address what I say, not what you think I said.

Clinton was a fiscally responsible president and the economy reflected it. Bush reversed policy, ratchetted deficit spending through the roof, and the economy is showing it as well. And you want to blame it on laziness? Man, that's insulting. Yes, insulting. Its insulting to say that people who lose their jobs to a poor economy are lazy. People want jobs. If the jobs move to India or Mexico, it doesn't make the people who had those jobs lazy.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
imshard at 8:22AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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So Clinton was a bad president for lying about a blow job (hell, i've done that) and for dropping a card (i did that at the grocery store yesterday)?

First of all, get over it. I really don't care for Bush, Clinton or any of the other bumblers for that matter so quit reacting defensively.
The big deal over the card is Its loss means anybody who found the card could have access to the most terribly destructive arsenal on the face of the earth. Those lost cards were never found,my bad they were recovered and the country was repeatedly left with no retaliatory power for days as a result. Thats the big deal. And Yes Clinton was a good caretaker of the economy I don't deny that.

I was referring to public opinion and approval rating when I spoke of the military in the 1950s. I'm not sure I understand your logic on the rest. I got my numbers directly from treasury figures. I form my own opinions from the facts instead if taking an analysts word for it. Especially when that analyst has a clear political agenda to portray.
From what I've seen the unemployment rate has gone down. I admire your passion TnTcomic but it seems mis-placed and prone to anger. I work in a call center the #1 most outsourced industry. I'm one of those people who have worked hard and still lost his job to an Indian. I'm not talking about honest hard-working people. I was referring to the 32 million welfare claims that were rejected because they had no basis or need. I'm talking about the billions of dollars in frivolous lawsuits with no factual basis made by people looking to take what isn't theirs. And chiefly I'm talking about the growing number of people who belong to the “entitlement generation” who think that they are owed livelihoods by society, without earning them.
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TnTComic at 8:34AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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imshard
The big deal over the card is Its loss means anybody who found the card could have access to the most terribly destructive arsenal on the face of the earth.

I think they'd need more than a card.
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imshard at 8:45AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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imshard
The big deal over the card is Its loss means anybody who found the card could have access to the most terribly destructive arsenal on the face of the earth.

I think they'd need more than a card.

NO THEY WOULDN'T. Anybody with the resources to find those cards would have the site numbers automatically. The nuclear football gives the Prez the ability to call from a payphone and order WW3. Its called tactical flexibility.
So some guy in a silo gets a call and hears the right number,
then that missile is going up. If a pilot is told to scramble with the heavy one on board, he's gonna drop that puppy anywhere he's told.

That is the gravity of losing the card. Its why you didn't hear about it on the news.
Its also one of the reasons I don't trust ANY president farther than I could throw a tank.
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TnTComic at 8:54AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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hahahah, okay dude

armageddon from a payphone

WEEEEE!

this is fun
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
imshard at 9:06AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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Hehehe
In a sick overly masculine kind of way that kind of power gives me a gleeful feeling.

I guess America stands for the ability to vaporize anybody we want, at any given time, from anywhere we wish, in whatever fashion and tonnage we desire.
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mapaghimagsik at 9:15AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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mapaghimagsik
I agree though I don't have exact numbers on how much smaller our current aresenal is. Its my understanding the total megatonnage still has us blowing up the world more than twice. Once would be enough, would it not?

Nobody has the true “exact numbers” here in the general public.
I can tell you though that your figures are the fanciful rantings of a certain disarmist from the 60s. The Russians still maintain the tactical superiority in mukes to us. China has ignored non-proliferation treaties and is following the same path we did, and has their own nuke stockpile to prove it.



On this particular issue, we might be at an impasse. Its my understanding that during the Cold War, the Soviet capabilities were hyped so that we would stay on the wartime budgetary levels we had established in WWII.

From a motive standpoint, I can see where someone would be motivated to overestimate the Soviet threat, if only to keep their job and possibly keep that sweet, sweet defense contract mainlining in.

But, I'm open to references on this one. At the same time, even if we are at a ‘tactical disadvantage’ that would be an interesting area to explore as well. If we could only blow up the Soviet Union 12 Times, and they can blow up the US 22 times, we're all still dead.

TnTComic
Clinton cut military spending, paid down the national debt, and our economy flourished. Its amazing the “trickle down” effect of fiscal responsibility. Now where are we? The middle class is disappearing, wages are not keeping pace with inflation, the housing bubble is about to burst, and we continue to pump billions into a war that our own people don't want anymore

Wow, no blatant king-building there. If we wanted to,we could spend weeks breaking down the good and bad points on every president since washington. I can easily point out that Clinton purjured himself and was known by his own secret service agents for routinely dropping the “nuclear football” (that little card of launch codes every president carries around these days). I'm no fan of any politician on general principle so don't jump on my words.


breaking down the good/bad points of every president since Washington would be far more interesting than the usual “Clinton got a blowjob, and that was the worst thing evar!” meme that we usually get (present company excluded)

But I'll throw the first king-breaking stone. Clinton used the interest from Social Security to offset the National deficit. Its more complex than that, but it was a bit of “cooking the books” that many CEOs have been using to make corporate profits look better. Our current shenanigans make that bookkeeping trick look like the model of honesty.

I'm a fan of a smaller military – you know, spending only as much as our top 3 rivals rather than our top 7 or whatever. The savings could be used to increase homeland security and improve infrastructure. I can think of several multi-billion dollar projects that have been long ignored, like New Orleans, that re-appropriated tax dollars could fix.

I think politicians are a necessary evil, and when they are good, they build consensus and get people around a cause. When they are bad, they are cheap hucksters.

And while it may not be held in the same regard that it held in the 1950s the US military is VERY strong. All that money is not completely lost despite the wasteful spending habits. The DOD took ~580 billion this year, much less than the ~690 billion spent on health and human services. and far less than the “trillions” of dollars most people envision being spent.


Its my understanding the Iraq war is not part of that number, which would push that number up considerably. I could be wrong here, and without sources, its hard to say.

I much prefer to examine facts before posting ranted opinions, and hasty generalizations. Only one president ever paid off the national debt. The current national debt stands at ~9 trillion dollars.
Mainly because the US routinely doles out loans and never enforces repayments. foreign aid acoounts for another large chunk of it. The rest is mostly trade agreements and loans from other countries that we are actually paying off.

There's various good reasons that we forgive debt. Corporations do it all the time. Many times, its because those debts are noncollectable. I don't think the Chinese ever expect to collect on the debt the US has incurred, either. However, they can *sell* that debt, and the interest payments are more than enough to keep the current powers that be wealthy. At the end of the day, the old ‘80s maxim “IBG:YBG” still holds (“I’ll Be Gone: You'll Be Gone”)

And Yes The capitalist system is the basis of our economy. Many are bitter that they haven't played the game as well as others have. Myself I left home without a penny to my name and now I can pay my own bills and afford some small luxuries. The middle class is disappearing into the black hole of a welfare state, not having their wealth stolen by fat-cats. Hard work still pays off if you still have the resolve to do it. Problem is americans find it easier to sit on their keisters watching tv.

Not much argument here, though I'll point out that while markets *can* be efficient, they are not always so. Couple this with the fact we've replaced market forces with croneyism. I cite the pet rock as one example, and Enron as the second. Hard work, provided you have education and skills and are not a complete shit to your fellow man can keep you afloat.

As far as a world economy goes, Americans aren't hungry. Awash in calories and cable TV, people are not quite so eager to improve their lot, and many of those who cannot, *really* cannot. They are either so far behind in education or, well, just can't. Not everyone is born with gifts. What our society chooses to do with these people really says a lot about us.

I don't begrudge the wealthy for being sucessful. Neither should you.
So we can continue this discussion but I think it would belong in a different thread.

Ooh, my favorite topic: capital! Frankly, I think that's a perception issue. I don't think that its people begrudge the wealthy for being successful. I think that many wealthy people begrudge society what it has given them – a free market in which they were allowed to become successful.

If I had a nickel for every person I knew who sneered at welfare and yet got a college loan from the state, I'd be rich enough to sneer down at everyone who didn't think about collecting a nickel from every self-important weenie they met :D

The rails of upward mobility need greasing, and there's some discussion that such greasing improves everyone's lot, even the super wealthy. Without it, the US becomes like the Philippines – which has very little upward mobility except for occasional sweet spots – and the grease people, that make many of the homeless in the US look like Donald Trump. Only close family ties and the crazy way they send huge amounts of cash home (if I was Mexican, I'd be accused of ruining the US economy) keeps many afloat.

Now whether someone deserves the wealth they have or not is a moral and ethical discussion, but I think you'd agree that people like Paris Hilton, for whom “work” is a four letter word (although she did a passable job in the movie, ‘House of Wax’, but I digress) didn't “earn” her money. And people like you and I – forgive me if you are one of those superwealthy and I have prejudged – are actually paying *more* taxes on the dollar than they are. That's right. Capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than your average person making a regular hourly wage. Why is that? Because as the song goes:

Who makes the rules?
Someone else.

But I way digress.

To get back on the thread topic, America is about “he who has the gold makes the rules”. And then, we get into a discussion of whether we should begrudge the person who got the gold by “playing by the rules”. I hope you can see what I'm getting at here – Congress gives themselves a raise *every year*. A CEO, who is closely tied to the board of directors makes sometimes over 1000 times what their workers make. This is done because CEOs are close to the Board of Directors, and in many cases are part of interlocking groups of Boards of Directors. So I'm on Board A, and I vote you a raise. You're on Board B, and you vote me a raise. Better yet, we vote those raises in shares, so we have even more voting power the next time the issue of a raise comes around. Most people own stock in mutual funds, and have no idea how Company A or Company B is doing. And, if you and I are smart, we'll make sure to cut the Fund Manager into the action.

And even if individual share holders get upset, your 10000 shares mean *nothing* in voting rights when there are 10 million shares out there.

This is how Plutocracy is built. Interlocking wealth and relationships which work together to do nothing but generate more wealth, until you reach the second Gilded Age.

Companies pay lobbeyists millions – billions – to make sure that laws are made to make sure they continue make billions. The Pharmaceutical Industry lobbied to make sure that Medicare plan D can *not* negotiate drug rates, even though the whole concept of being able to negotiate drug prices is very much at the heart of what market forces are about.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
mapaghimagsik at 9:30AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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imshard
From what I've seen the unemployment rate has gone down.

Whee, another one of my faves. You know, some of us have got *stuff to do*, and if you keep pressing buttons like this, I will fall further behind!

You are *totally* right, the number that we call the unemployment rate has gone down! Victory! Okay, I'm sure you know that its a metric (love the comic about metrics, by the way) and therefore….prone to evil.

Like I mentioned about the book cooking that Clinton did in my previous rant, when people get concerned about the employment rate, the best thing to do is … that's right, change the calculation!

I can't recite it off the top of my head. Its what bureaucrats are for. But basically, after a time period – I *think* its when unemployment benefits run out, a person is considered no longer seeking work, and “terminally unemployed”

What's this mean?

Well, lets say that the unemployment rate really was what the lay person thinks it is: the number of people working divided by the number of people period.

So in a population of 100, you have 99 people working. Huzzah! 99% employment! Well, there's a downturn in the economy, a disaster, whathaveyou, and 9 people get laid off, fired, quit. Doesn't matter for terms of this simple calculation. Poof! Your employment rate is 90%! Well, I'm an ambitious leader, and this looks bad for me. So, I get with my friends and I say. “look, that one person? They've been off work *forever* they'll never get a job. They are ‘terminally unemployed’. Lets take them off the roles.”

So, instead of 90/100 people we now have 90 out of 99 people or 90/99. Look! We're at 91% and I didn't do *anything* to change jobs. Lets add a time period to this terminal unemployment, and lets say 5 of those people get jobs, but 4 don't. The four fall off, and now we're at 95/95. We're at full unemployment again! And those 5 people? In our libertarian wet dream, they starve because they didn't deserve to live in the first place – or at least that's what the market told us.

So lets say the calculation is good. Or at least hasn't changed that much. Okay, then sure, unemployment went down. But real wages *also* went down. *And* I think it was either 5-10 million more people are not working without healthcare.

At a certain point, the unemployment rate is the “be happy, at least you have a job – but more likely, you have 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet” number. :)

What's that phrase…“there's three kinds of lies in this world: lies, damn lies, and statistics”

Dunno who said it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
TnTComic at 9:39AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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imshard
Hehehe
In a sick overly masculine kind of way that kind of power gives me a gleeful feeling.



That's not what I was laughing at. I was laughing at the notion that you think anyone can order a nuclear strike with a payphone and some launch codes.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
imshard at 10:20AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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A brief explanation of nuclear warfare is in order. One of the primary targets of nukes are other nukes and their launching mechanisms/facilities. after that comes infrastructure and military targets. Civilian targets are rarely targeted directly. So Lets use the example of Country A launching 22 vs Country B shooting 12 nukes. But even if B manages to launch 12 missiles first 10 of the 22 from A are still gonna waste their targets.
Country A is still alive virtually unscathed outside of the destroyed launch sites.
Plus you're still living under the delusion of how unsurvivable a nuclear war is. Even the Country B would most likely survive albeit with much hardship. The after effects of a blast have been exaggerated for years by radical environmentalists who have an emotional involvement to cloud their judgment. Don't get me wrong I donate to Greenpeace every year. But I prefer to have non-biased views of things rather than swallowing a party line hook-line and sinker.

If you start a thread on breaking down the presidential records I'll gladly contribute.

I don't think politicians are needed. At least not as they are.
There are far more hucksters among them than good men.
Far more than many would like to admit.

And no the total military budget was the 580 bill.
The Iraqi war costs are in there. But the contractor and other Iraqi related expenses aren't. Not everything we're doing over there involves soldiers.

I believe the Chinese are the new soviets. We just won't admit it.
Therefore when they invade We'll be gone they won'. hehe you decide if I was joking.

As for the economy discussion…. I'll cede that debate for now,
I have little more than my opinions on it for having not researched it.
I will say that for all the money we spend on being a welfare state ANYBODY can get the skills and education they need for free. Myself, I paid my own way through college. I didn't ask for handouts, didn't get any wasn't offered any. No scholarships ever came my nor did I want them. My parents were too poor to help me nor leave me anything. I stand as my own proof that anybody can at least give themselves middle class status, if they're willing to work for it.

As for inherited wealth? Well we certainly know how it can spoil a person.
I think that is more a failing of the parents to instill discipline. A difficult task to be sure. Yet it is a failing nonetheless. Perhaps they are to busy protecting their piece of the American pie? Tis simple greed they are guilty of then.

I believe in keeping the fruits of your labor. I understand a CEO's feeling of entitlement to his company's profits. What he forgets is he wasn't the only one who earned it for him. Rockefeller himself earned 10 dollars to every 1 his men earned.
Today executives earn 50:1 dollars against their employees. its no longer about profit but how much they get to take home
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:57PM
imshard at 10:32AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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TnTComic
That's not what I was laughing at. I was laughing at the notion that you think anyone can order a nuclear strike with a payphone and some launch codes.

And here I thought you saw reason.
Look it up yourself. You'll see I'm right.
The keywords are “Nuclear Football”
The briefcase may be have a SATCOM in it but its still little more than a regular phone tied to an unconventional hookup.
Its there in case no other line of communication exists. But if it dials you CAN use it with with the codes and numbers on the card.
Laugh if you want, and dismiss reality just like the ignorant masses.

Someone
You are *totally* right, the number that we call the unemployment rate has gone down! Victory! Okay, I'm sure you know that its a metric (love the comic about metrics, by the way) and therefore….prone to evil.

You'll find no disagreement on that with me.
I mentioned out of a belief our economy is healthy and growing.
Slowly perhaps but growing still.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:57PM
TnTComic at 10:34AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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imshard
A brief explanation of nuclear warfare is in order. One of the primary targets of nukes are other nukes and their launching mechanisms/facilities. after that comes infrastructure and military targets. Civilian targets are rarely targeted directly. So lets use the example of 22 vs 12 nukes. 1 may be enough to accomplish the objective. But even if the 12 manages to launch first 10 of the 22 are still gonna waste their targets.
and the home of 22 is still alive virtually unscathed outside of the destroyed launch sites.
Plus you're still living under the delusion of how unsurvivable a nuclear war is. Even the losing 12 nuke's home country would most likely survive albeit with much hardship. The after effects of a blast have been exaggerated for years by radical environmentalists who have an emotional involvement to cloud their judgment. Don't get me wrong I donate to Greenpeace every year. But I prefer to have non-biased views of things rather than swallowing a party line hook-line and sinker.

First, why are you talking about this?

Second, the survivability of a nuclear war is entirely dependent upon the scale. If we're talking about the good ol' days of MADD, then you're completely wrong. In the event that the US and USSR launch on a massive scale, fallout would be devastating and the cloud coverage that would result would be even worse. If you want to call Carl Sagan a “radical environmentalist”, i'll just jot it down to your building list of wacky posts.


imshard
And here I thought you saw reason.
Look it up yourself. You'll see I'm right.
The keywords are “Nuclear Football”
The briefcase may be have a SATCOM in it but its still little more than a regular phone tied to an unconventional hookup.
Its there in case no other line of communication exists. But if it dials you CAN use it with with the codes and numbers on the card.
Laugh if you want, and dismiss reality just like the rest of the ignorant masses.

Right. I'm the ignorant one. You're making my day, man.

Hey, at least now you acknowledge that there's more to the nuclear football than a simple card. You're getting closer to the truth, keep at it!
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
mapaghimagsik at 11:02AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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Heh. Nuclear War. Survivable. Mmmm I for one welcome my Mad Max future.

“Master Blaster controls barter town!”

I kid.

Hey, on the nuke front its this
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
TnTComic at 11:06AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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I always enjoyed Warlords of the 21st Century.


last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
mapaghimagsik at 11:21AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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Oh the timeliness. Here's a report on poverty in America, and how various groups are spinning it.

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5j7nIuvwPoTTCKavkGk2OKKmUE-Fg
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
TnTComic at 11:28AM, Sept. 5, 2007
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WASHINGTON (AFP) — More than one in ten Americans, or 36.5 million people, live in poverty in the United States, with children and blacks the worst hit, an annual report by the US Census Bureau showed Tuesday.

Damn you, child labor laws!
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
SpANG at 12:00PM, Sept. 5, 2007
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I just got done listening to Rush Limbaugh (I like to listen to the rantings of an idiot occasionally), an he says that there are so many Americans at the poverty level because so many people are TOO LAZY to work more than 16 hours a week! That's gotta be it! People would rather live in poverty than work a little harder. As always, what a great pulse you have on the country, Rush!

How many hours do you work again, Rush? Two a day?

“To a rational mind, nothing is inexplicable. Only unexplained.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:52PM
TnTComic at 12:12PM, Sept. 5, 2007
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Send the people who want to do drugs to London and Zurich, and let's be rid of them.
– Rush Limbaugh show, Dec 9, 1993

We're going to let you destroy your life. We're going to make it easy and then all of us who accept the responsibilities of life and don't destroy our lives on drugs, we'll pay for whatever messes you get into.“
– Rush Limbaugh show, Dec. 9, 1993

”What this says to me is that too many whites are getting away with drug use. Too many whites are getting away with drug sales. Too many whites are getting away with trafficking in this stuff. The answer to this disparity is not to start letting people out of jail because we're not putting others in jail who are breaking the law. The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too."
– Rush Limbaugh show, Oct. 5, 1995



Rush is a hoot.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
imshard at 12:13PM, Sept. 5, 2007
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TnTComic
First, why are you talking about this?

Second, the survivability of a nuclear war is entirely dependent upon the scale. If we're talking about the good ol' days of MADD, then you're completely wrong. In the event that the US and USSR launch on a massive scale, fallout would be devastating and the cloud coverage that would result would be even worse. If you want to call Carl Sagan a “radical environmentalist”, i'll just jot it down to your building list of wacky posts.

Um, because I was answering a question by using an example?

mapaghimagsik
But, I'm open to references on this one. At the same time, even if we are at a ‘tactical disadvantage’ that would be an interesting area to explore as well. If we could only blow up the Soviet Union 12 Times, and they can blow up the US 22 times, we're all still dead.

I am glad you find me amusing, everybody else does after all.
And who said anything about Carl Sagan?
Panicky over-hyped fears about fallout have been around a long time.
Certainly I wouldn't want to breath it in fresh after a blast or walk around in a cloud of it for a couple years. At the same time fears of a 300 year winter, and the strength and endurance of radiation were proven to be greatly exaggerated a long time ago. The Mutual Assured Destruction era ended with the Berlin Wall.
Besides I wasn't even the one who brought the subject of nukes up in the first place. Its an entirely irrelevant side discussion completely unrelated to my original point. lol!

Don't be a stick in the mud traditionalist! Support global warming!

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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:57PM
mapaghimagsik at 12:16PM, Sept. 5, 2007
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I brought up the subject of nukes as an example of how don't seem to know what kind of upper limit we want on defense spending, because we have to be “the toughest”, and that being “the toughest” was some sort of weird American “good” when in fact measuring military might and morality are two different things.

well, here's a starting point:

Newsweek
According to an article in the June 25th edition of Newsweek, President Bush was stunned when he was told in May of the size of the US nuclear arsenal. Bush was quoted as saying, “I had no idea we had so many weapons.”

Like Bush, most Americans might be surprised to learn that, “The U.S. nuclear arsenal today includes 5,400 warheads loaded on intercontinental ballistic missiles at land and sea; an additional 1,750 nuclear bombs and cruise missiles ready to be launched from B-2 and B-52 bombers; a further 1,670 nuclear weapons classified as ”tactical.“And just in case, an additional 10,000 or so nuclear warheads held in bunkers around the United States as a ”hedge“ against future surprises.” (Newsweek, 6/25/01)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
TnTComic at 12:23PM, Sept. 5, 2007
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imshard
more stuff!

Right, and Clinton dropped the football and central america is a continent. Yeah.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
imshard at 12:31PM, Sept. 5, 2007
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mapaghimagsik
“The U.S. nuclear arsenal today includes 5,400 warheads loaded on intercontinental ballistic missiles at land and sea; an additional 1,750 nuclear bombs and cruise missiles ready to be launched from B-2 and B-52 bombers; a further 1,670 nuclear weapons classified as ”tactical."

That sounds about right to me. We have a lot of treaties that prevent us from using them unless somebody uses them on us first. (thanks to bush sr.)
That amount is suitable for beating down any nation with the resources to attack us in such a fashion. And their allies too. >:)

Our nukes are no longer an issue to the world.
They we're slowly dismantling them all anyway.
Don't be a stick in the mud traditionalist! Support global warming!

Tech Support: The Comic!! Updates Somedays!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:57PM

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