SezWho2 comments

Posted in: GOP presidential field praises health law ruling See in context

High praise. No alternatives.

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Posted in: At Obama's midpoint, an altered State of the Union See in context

Nessie, I agree that it's business common sense. That doesn't exclude greed.

I also agree that corporations are moving to countries with lower taxes and lower labor costs. (I've actually looked at that, you know.) However, lowering the taxes in the US will not lower the labor costs in the US. If anything it will produce an upward pressure on them.

I also agree that executive salaries make a negligible contribution as a line item in the corporate balance sheet. However they make a substantial contribution to the executives who make decisions to sustain quarterly profit projections.

Slicing $100B from the budget is negligible. Attempting to do this, like attempting to repeal the health care legislation, is a show pony that pulls no weight. The main problem is not corporate flight. It is that we have wide and growing income disparity and that we don't darn our socks. They're made too cheaply elsewhere.

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Posted in: At Obama's midpoint, an altered State of the Union See in context

I think it is highly debatable what causes American corporations to leave America. You could say it is because taxes are too high. However, you could also say that it is because investors demand higher profits and executives demand higher performance bonuses in exchange for those profits--in other words, greed.

The US has a real problem in that it has lost its manufacturing base. Manufacturing, construction and agriculture are real. Almost everything else is derivative. The manufacturing base is not coming back. Manufacturers have no incentive to employ people. They have every incentive to terminate them, good times or bad.

Lower taxes, even if they were to lead to an uptick in employment, will much more likely lead to continued and increasing income disparity, gated communities and increasing crime. Wealth does not trickle down. The thing about wealth is that the wealthy do not leave money on the table.

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Posted in: At Obama's midpoint, an altered State of the Union See in context

Cutting redundant services and personnel is good. However, that does not mitigate the need to raise taxes. Corporate profitability has increased, the Dow has flourished, and those who have enough money to be investors are relatively happy while real wages fall.

Business closes people out of jobs solely for the reason of increasing profitability for investors. Government's function is to make sure that there is a tenable balance in society. Lower taxes are not the road to a tenable society.

Americans should have vastly decreased expectations. Consumerism is eating our lunch. Henning Mankell's policeman Kurt Wallander speculated that the reason that Swedish society fell victim to social upheaval was that "people don't darn their socks anymore". I wouldn't compare America to Sweden in many other ways but, generally speaking, it's a good thing not to buy another pair of socks unless your really need them.

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Posted in: At Obama's midpoint, an altered State of the Union See in context

I don't think Republicans have destroyed the country, but I do think they're on the wrong track. Lowering taxes has a psychological appeal to all while expanding government services is easily stained as being the characteristic of the spendthrift. The hue and cry about excessive taxation is clever, but it isn't the right solution.

Top tax rates were lowered from 90% to 70% under the Great Society President Johnson. Under Reagan they were lowered to 50% and then to 28%. During the Clinton years it rose to about 40% and in 2010 it was 35%. Of course, different times necessitate different measures but the point is that the nation has managed to prosper under various high levels of taxation.

Real wages, however, are lower today than they were in the early 70s. The number of Americans slipping under the somewhat arbitrary but nonetheless real poverty line is increasing. Social disparity is also increasing and while illegal immigration is a boon to employers it drives down wages and increases the social disparity. Ludicrous solutions such as denying education to children of illegals only serves to increase class distinctions.

That we can put people back to work if only we will decrease the "onerous" taxes is a fiction--albeit a fiction that resonates with the mythology of the American revolution. The problems of America are much more systemic than taxation. Taxes, particularly taxes on top earners and corporations should be raised, not lowered.

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Posted in: Families reject Blair apology over Iraq dead See in context

The mission of the West should not be to end the rule of dictators. The mission should be to create societies that are so exemplary that people living under onerous dictatorships will end that rule themselves. When the West takes on a crusading posture it ceases to be that exemplar.

Blair may be sincere in his insistence that the West has done nothing to cause Iran to engage in the activities which he finds objectionable. However that claim is laughable and disregards the history of British imperialism and Anglo-American pressure. Idealism does not justify interference.

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Posted in: Silence greets calls for changes in U.S. gun laws See in context

So as you can see, just following the US constitution as it is written would fix the gun problem pretty quick.

Couldn't agree more. However, what the Constitution says is what the Supreme Court says it says. The Court has "established" or "clarified" that the Founding Fathers intended for the individual US citizen to be able to carry enough fire power to do what the shooter has done here.

Personally, I doubt that. My point was that it is unavoidable that the Court "legislates from the bench". So, I'd like to put paid to that whole corrupt argument.

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Posted in: Silence greets calls for changes in U.S. gun laws See in context

You might want to rethink that. My boar gun is a black powder rifle and it's a hullofalot meaner than most bolt actions. Muzzleloaders are cheap, its just the ammunition that's expensive.

I don't think I need to rethink that. The point isn't about power. It's about reloading.

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Posted in: Silence greets calls for changes in U.S. gun laws See in context

People who are upset by the notion that judges might do something called "legislating from the bench" might want to stop and think about what "arms" were in 1789.

I think people should be able to keep and bear all the muskets and flintlock pistols they want to. If reloading becomes burdensome, they could always hire caddies.

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Posted in: Obama, at Arizona memorial service, says polarized nation needs healing See in context

The people may be being misled. However, they are also misleading themselves. The fault does not lie exclusively with the politicians.

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Posted in: Obama, at Arizona memorial service, says polarized nation needs healing See in context

Yes, I think politicians should be held accountable when they succumb to demagoguery instead of attending to the problems of the nation. However, the people elect the politicians.

The human animal is not essentially Platonic and it dislikes being governed by philosopher kings. Give it a good sophist every time. (For example, what was there in Reagan's record from 1980 to 1984 that justified his reelection by a landslide? He wasn't really a rational choice, but, boy, didn't he talk realll gooood!)

The human animal wants the surge of emotion. The surge empowers. And there is little emotional difference between the Nuremberg rally and Martin Luther King's speech, between "yes, we can" and "taking back America". Stripped of the rhetoric, the only thing left is content and the moral choices the content presents.

The human animal, collectively still rooted in tribalism, cannot be counted on to make good moral choices--regardless of religion.

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Posted in: Obama, at Arizona memorial service, says polarized nation needs healing See in context

Hmmm....

I think that at that time Obama said "if". And I think he was talking about the way to respond to threats.

Do you think that Sarah Palin would have the courtesy to retract her statement that "...acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state..."? After all, she is a more or less ardent supporter of the wars we launched in Afghanistan and Iraq in response to the act of monstrous criminality in New York.

I think that the core issue of this matter is whether or not Americans are mature enough for democracy, whether they really do have the maturity to listen to someone's ideas, weigh them and respond to them without resorting to nonsensical counterarguments which indicate a visceral intolerance of other points of view and which, if unchecked, lead to or promote violence.

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Posted in: U.S. defense secretary says China moving fast on new weapons See in context

So, adjusted for our affluence, caution, care and red tape, the US is actually moving at a snail's pace in weapons development, right?

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Posted in: Somali Islamists ban men, women from shaking hands See in context

Heavens to Murgatroyd! Somalia is becoming more and more like Bob Jones University.

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Posted in: 2 packages ignite in Maryland gov't buildings; 2 hurt See in context

mikehuntez:

I think my comment is relevant to your comment. Perhaps you could explain how your comparison of the US to Europe is relevant.

Americans expect to live in a land free of terror. That's the dream. But it is only that--a dream.

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Posted in: Pope stunned by wave of anti-Christian violence See in context

manfromamerica:

Are you complaining about the pronoun or do you just not understand the meaning of the phrase?

Until the recent misadventure in Iraq, Egypt was the number two recipient of US foreign aid, aid which it would not have received absent its recognition of Israel (former number one recipient) and its agreeable position on Palestine and Hamas. Given that US support for Israel is not received with overwhelming enthusiasm in Europe, it is hardly surprising that it might be less appreciated in Egypt--reviled even.

Islam is the state religion of Egypt. It wouldn't even take al-Qaeda provocation to foment resentment against anything associated with Western civilization. Look at anti-Muslim sentiment and consider that many citizens of European nations have a growing sense that they have been much too nourishing to a foreign culture. In other words, "and this is the thanks we get after all we've done for them, too."

England, Sweden, France, The Netherlands--you'll find that "viper in their bosom" there. Why would it be surprising that it shows up in another form in another culture?

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Posted in: Pope stunned by wave of anti-Christian violence See in context

I think that the separation of Church and State tends to obscure the extent to which Christianity pushes its agenda on the world. The intent may be benign but the effect is not always so. It is not so stunning that some people conflate Christianity with The West and regard it as a viper in their bosom.

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Posted in: 2 packages ignite in Maryland gov't buildings; 2 hurt See in context

Why is America become more and more like Europe!!??

If only it were.

It is premature to assign any meaning to this event. It could have been anything from a youthful prank to a fulmination from a Mad Tea Partier to a terrorist test.

By the blessings of geography, America has been fundamentally isolated from the rest of the civilized world. However, it cannot expect to remain so while it stations it military around the globe. The American dream is fundamentally that--an American dream.

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Posted in: WikiLeaks founder turns to Switzerland for help See in context

TimRussert said

"Inducement to create a story line" is an even less provable assertion, though it was thoroughly predictable...

No. It is more provable. The proof lies in the facts of the case. Either there was or there was not an inducement. Whether liberals or conservatives are more susceptible to inducement will always be a definitional proof if made at all.

I don't dispute that the woman's (women's actually, no?) charges may be true. And I don't dispute that if the women's charges are without merit that they may have been motivated by factors other than inducements. However, if you believe that the timing of the charges was merely coincidental and that the government which is jumping through hoops to stanch the flow of information is not only capable of trying to enforce silence by other means but entirely willing to do so, you have failed to grasp the essential nature of politics.

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Posted in: WikiLeaks founder turns to Switzerland for help See in context

TimRussert said regarding the timing of sexual misconduct charges against Assange:

So much willful denial on the topic. The Swedish woman who brought charges against Assange is as far to the political Left as her heart throb Assange.

Whether she is liberal or a conservative has no provable relationship to being susceptible to inducement to create a story line. It's hard to tell whether your argument is that like protects like, which rather flies in the face of history, or that liberals are more principled than conservatives, which--while it might be true--is as yet unproven.

Where is the denial? Do you mean there are those who willfully deny that her story is true? Or do you mean that there are those who deny that his story is true? My point is not about asserting any particular truth. It is that the charges were brought after governmental pressure began to be applied. Or does the willful denial extend to denying that this could possible have any relationship to what is happening here?

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Posted in: WikiLeaks founder turns to Switzerland for help See in context

Assange and WikiLeaks have never been sworn to secrecy. If anyone has put lives in danger--a hyperbolic assertion which remains to be shown--it is the individual or individuals who provide the information for publication.

Once a secret is known, it is--by definition--no longer a secret. Of course the US is quite anxious that people not cast light on matters which in the view of the government may compromise its ability to act. This is true of all governments--China and Iran included.

Had Assange published Chinese or Iranian documents, I doubt that the US and its willing or unwilling allies would be quite so vocal in condemnation. Might they not even seize upon such information to further condemn the governments of these countries? I think it is almost a certainty that they would do so, however guardedly.

When a government of the people, by the people and for the people has risen to the position of the most powerful and most active military in the world, it matters not whether it is a king making decisions or a self-perpetuating democratic Leviathan.

As for the sexual misconduct charges against Assange, he may well be guilty of something. But even the most clueless would have to admit that the timing is highly suspect. In a he-said, she-said scenario it doesn't take a lot of imagination to conceive that it would cost a multi-trillion dollar debtor very little to suborn allegations of wrongdoing against Assange.

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Posted in: GOP says main goal is to deny Obama re-election See in context

I don't think that should be any surprise. Denying Obama re-election has been the number 2 GOP goal for the last two years. Their other goal was to return to Congressional power.

The GOP's only plan to solve any of America's fundamental problems is to do more of what didn't work during the Bush years. All democratic politicians capitalize on the impatience of the electorate. However, nowhere is the electorate more impatient than in America, with its insouciant belief that every problem can be solved lickety-split and that if a problem ain't solved yet it must be the fault of the guy in the oval office. The GOP is highly skilled in creating a good story. The problem is, it ain't a true story.

The truth is, Americans need to learn to live with less--a lot less. Those jobs are not coming back. It's time to stop living in the 18th century and notice that many of the most successful countries in the world today have elements of socialism that are anathema to the followers of Alexander Hamilton and which dwarf any of the Obama plans that have been flagellated by block-voting idiots.

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Posted in: Obama calls GOP 'Pledge' echo of disastrous decade See in context

...our recovery will start when the Democrats are booted out of the House and perhaps the Senate in November...

Democrats are not the problem. The problem is unremitting captiousness and that's not going to stop with a change in Congress. In the current climate the only thing that will lead to recovery is locking the legislators into a room and refusing to let them out until they come up with a coherent plan.

The jobs have gone away and they are not coming back unless we destroy a major portion of the rest of the world's productive capacity. That is one of the things that made us so great after WW2. Americans have to learn to accept leaner times. But we don't wanna.

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Posted in: Obama calls GOP 'Pledge' echo of disastrous decade See in context

You know a political party is in trouble when their whole reason for voting for them is that they are the lesser of two evils.

You know a country is in trouble when one of its two viable parties is right about saying that the whole reason for voting for them is that they are the lesser of two evils.

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Posted in: Obama, Ahmadinejad trade barbs over 9/11 See in context

MisterCreosote: Word games, dissembling and rephrasing....

Tch. Tch. Tch. Specify.

I have no particular tolerance for the notions that Ahmadinejad expresses, but I do have tolerance for his expression of them. The best way to counter error is not to get all huffy and trade inanity for inanity, but to demonstrate that it is, in fact, error. This is something that you (and SuperLib) consistently refuse to do.

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Posted in: Obama, Ahmadinejad trade barbs over 9/11 See in context

...the seminal tragedy of this generation...

I'm not quite sure what this means, but I guess it doesn't mean the hundreds of thousands killed in Afghanistan and Iraq or in the ongoing violence in Africa or elsewhere around the globe. Wouldn't you know that the we would claim the greater tragedy?

If what Ahmadinejad is saying accurately reflects his views, he certainly has a whimsical view of history. But I don't think he's the only one. Obama chastizes Ahmadinejad for making us hurt the Iranian people. I guess that's one way to look at it, although Ahmadinejad did not really do that. We did what we wanted to do because Ahmadinejad didn't do what we wanted him to do. It comes down to what we wanted--not what Ahmadinejad forced.

Part of the price of hosting the UN, something that is much to our advantage, should be allowing a country's leader to speak freely there without having to worry about the "sensitivities" of the host country.

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Posted in: Seattle cartoonist goes into hiding on FBI advice See in context

WilliB: It seems you missed the world-wide cartoon riots and the serious death threats that dozens of cartoonists live under.

It would only seem like that to someone who was willing to ignore evidence and who substituted his own impressions for actual facts. Perhaps you could quote the leading clerics who endorse al-Awlaki's fatwa.

When you call for loud repudiations of al-Awlaki's fatwa, you put yourself in the position of making up the rules. Your rule: denounce or else! While I think it is fair to ask that moderate Muslims indicate that they do not support this fatwa or the cleric who issued it, I think it rather unfair to ignore those who do so indicate without providing any evidence of prominent Muslims who support it.

I have given you a list of prominent Muslims who have gone on record as saying al-Awlaki's fatwa is not consistent with Islam. This list includes three Imams, none of them Imam Suleiman, whose current opinion regarding this matter you might also wish to seek out. For that matter, you could even ask Imam Rauf.

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Posted in: Seattle cartoonist goes into hiding on FBI advice See in context

WilliB, it seems to me that you are assuming that a public denunciation by big name clerics is exactly what moderate Islam needs to do in order to prevent maverick clerics from issuing a fatwa such as this one on Norris.

There have been denunciations aplenty from the West and a fat lot of good that has done. While you may not have heard clerical criticism of this, I doubt that you have heard a chorus of clerical approbation of it either.

So you demand denunciation. How would strident Glenn-Beck-like denunciation solve the problem? For all we know, it would exacerbate the problem--unless of course you are privy to the Muslim heart and mind.

In the meantime, here is a short list of distinguished Muslims who have spoken out against the fatwa to the extent that they have publically opposed it:

http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/a_defense_of_free_speech_by_american_and_canadian_muslims/0018241

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Posted in: Seattle cartoonist goes into hiding on FBI advice See in context

MisterCreosote: Of the 3 religions supposedly of the Abrahamic line only one featured a prophet/saint/founder who, like the enraged cleric in this article, had a female a women killed for insulting him.

So what? That is still a man--not a religion--ordering someone's death. The prophet did not call for Norris's death, al-Alwaki did. Al-Alwaki no more speaks for Islam than Reverend Wright speaks for Christianity.

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Posted in: Seattle cartoonist goes into hiding on FBI advice See in context

WilliB, it is not the religion that is issuing the death threat. It is a person interpreting that religion. I don't know if all religions have such persons, but Islam is not the only one that does.

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