Monday, June 23, 2008

Our Pretty Corporatist Age

Now with Add On!

President Koch sent me the following over the weekend:

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 19 overturned a California law that prevented employers who get state funds from launching anti-union campaigns with those funds. In Chamber of Commerce vs. Brown, the Court ruled 7-2 that the law conflicted with federal labor law, which permitted employer "free speech."

The state law, Assembly Bill 1889, passed in 2000, said state funds may not be used to "assist, promote or deter union organizing." The first law in the United States of its kind, it was immediately attacked by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the country’s largest pro-business lobby. AB 1889 had been pushed by labor unions in order to remove obstacles from organizing in areas like health care and education ...

For those of you who think we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the Supreme Court was well within its rights in allowing companies who guzzle at the public trough to use some of that money to fight nasty, evil labor unions, consider these few items:

* The Bush Administration has proposed spending 100 times more money to regulate labor unions (which now represents something around 8% of the private work force) to what it spends regulating companies.

* In 2004, the top .1% of the United States' working population made 70.4 times as much annual income as the average working stiff in the bottom 90%. (This compares to 21 times as much in 1979).

* In 1941, the highest paid executive in the U. S. was Louis B. Mayer of MGM. $240,000. In 2007 dollars, Mr. Mayer would have made $3.5 million, which is -- let's face facts -- paltry for a CEO in the 21st century United States. The highest paid CEOs today? Well, most of them aren't in the movie industry. And all of them made waay more than old Louis.

The resulting reality of who owns and controls things shouldn't be super surprising:

America's 112 million families had combined wealth of $50.3 trillion in 2004. When those families are ranked by the size of their wealth, however, the top 1% alone held $16.8 trillion in wealth, more than a third of the United States' total wealth and more than the $15.3 trillion held by 90% of U.S. families. The top 1% had average wealth of $15 million per family in contrast to the $22,800 average wealth of the least wealthy 50% of families or the $313,500 in wealth for families ranked between 50% and 90%.

Now, I'm not here to rail and rant about these happy facts, but merely to point them out. Except for about four decades in the middle of the 20th century, America has always been run by and for the people Gore Vidal calls "the Owners." Income and wealth distribution might be crappy today, but it was crappy in 1928 and 1894 as well. There's always been a chosen few owning a whole lot of our stuff. It's the nature of America ... of the World.

But it's good to write about How Things Are every now and again, if only to metaphorically slap the nitwits who continually whine about the "Death Tax" and how "Unions Are Ruining Everything."

Add On: And to show I'm not a commie ... but the government is definitely corporatist ... National Review online and the LA Times report that a Senate bill attempts to bail out banks who hold bad subprime loans. (Essentially letting them off the hook for bad business practices by underwriting their horrid mistakes):

"National Review Online has obtained an internal Bank of America "discussion document" (PDF here) on the subject of the FHA Housing Stabilization and Homeownership Retention Act of 2008, a.k.a. the Dodd-Shelby mortgage-lender bailout bill .... This discussion document (dated March 11, 2008) would appear to support the contention that BofA essentially wrote the bailout section of the bill."

Faithful readers of the [L.A. Land] blog will remember that Bank of America has been pushing hard for a big federal intervention for months. This was from a New York Times story on BofA's lobbying efforts back in February: "Bank of America suggested creating a Federal Homeowner Preservation Corporation that would buy up billions of dollars in troubled mortgages at a deep discount, forgive debt above the current market value of the homes and use federal loan guarantees to refinance the borrowers at lower rates. 'We believe that any intervention by the federal government will be acceptable only if it is not perceived as a bailout of the bond market,' the financial institution noted. In practice, taxpayers would almost certainly view such a move as a bailout."

In America, being a large corporation means never having to pay the piper or say "I'm sorry." Let's hear it for "the magic of the marketplace!"


Anonymous said...

You're entitled to your opinion, but you should just admit to being a socialist with a sense of entitlement. I would love for you to spend 5 years living in an actual socialist nation and see how that effects you.

"companies who guzzle at the public trough"

What is this "public trough"? It doesn't exist. The whole point of a democratic, capitalist republic hinges on the notion that individuals are just that - individuals. And it is up to each individual to individually make their way through life as best they can.

It's not the government's job to distribute wealth, nor is it commerce's job to make America "fair."

The reason the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow isn't because the government makes it so easy for corporations to get rich, it's because the government, unions and other anti-capitalist bodies make it so hard for the average person to gain more wealth.

But, alas, unions, liberal media and politicians have all of America convinced that they'd never be able to handle their own lives themselves so notions like "hard work" and "entrepenureship" have dwindled away which has left us a nation of fat, lazy, stupid, infantile sloths who sit around waiting for government checks and dreaming of being on a reality show some day.

Anonymous said...

"The reason the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow isn't because the government makes it so easy for corporations to get rich, it's because the government, unions and other anti-capitalist bodies make it so hard for the average person to gain more wealth."

Spoken like a true reagan facist. Trickle down economics doesn't work, never has. The single biggest obstacle to TRUE capitalism is the current republican party. The tax breaks and protections given to big business is most ofetn NOT extended to the individual.

If you don't like America, I suggest you leave.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. If anyone thinks giving BILLIONS in tax and legal breaks to major corporations isn't "SOCIALISM," then they must be nuts.

Anonymous said...

>>And it is up to each individual to individually make their way through life as best they can.

thereby absolving yourself of any responsibility toward anyone besides yourself for your entire life. i can't wait until you end up in the emergency room without enough coverage so you can pass that big fat unpaid wall street hmo balance back onto the government - and me, your friendly neighborhood taxpayer.

you live on fantasy island. have fun going extinct with that dinosaur mccain.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in a socialist nation and I have lived in the USA...and was part of the Guild in L.A.

I moved back to the socialist regime north of you. watch out we might invade, we can shoot hockey pucks at an incredible rate now.

but when are the Bushies going to stop giving welfare payments in the form of tax breaks to the oil companies!!!

I'll be back down in november to vote for that liberal Obama. He rocks!

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you'd pick the most inflammatory phrase in the entire post, ignoring the items like proposed regulation differences and disproportionate pay. But I guess facts can be inconvenient things sometimes...

Anonymous said...

To the first poster:

I'm a conservative and I believe in a free market economy. I am a believer in Reagan's economic policies as well(without being a fascist like the absurd allegation above), but like it or not, one of the necessary jobs of the government is to regulate against rampant greed and yes, to make things a little more fair for the little guy.

Thats why there are anti-trust laws. If you don't think the government has any obligation to level the playing field in corporations against individuals then maybe we should just do away with anti-trust laws and let corporations conspire against the general public at large.

You haven't really thought through your views on a working free market have you...

Anonymous said...

Then you're really not a conservative if you believe that government should play that type of role in society.

Same old tired, wrongheaded, illogical arguments. Not worth dealing with.

Anonymous said...

You're entitled to your opinion, but you should just admit to being a socialist with a sense of entitlement. I would love for you to spend 5 years living in an actual socialist nation and see how that effects you.

I recently had my roommate's friend visit from Europe and he basically said socialism is the greatest thing ever. I asked how he minds losing the majority of his income to taxes, and he talked about how it went to all the great government programs. He sure swallowed the line quick.

Anonymous said...

You aren't a conservative. And if you agree with reagan, you are, indeed, a facist. Shame on you for degrading America with your silly theories.

We live in a liberal, secular country, and we should all be VERY thankful for that. Imagine where we'd be with the bush's, reagans, ted haggarts and pat robertsons of the world running things. We saw how badly THAT turned out.

Trickle down doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

We don't live in a secular nation. Its a nation based on judeo christian values. ""We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator ..."

There's nothing secular about that you dunce. The founding fathers separated church from state, but they wisely did not separate God from stateand they placed a morality based on the bible directly into our founding documents and laws.

Shame on you friend for misrepresenting the tenets of our society as being those of the common atheist. Atheism isn't as pristine and logical as you think it is. Hundreds of millions of people have been killed in the 20th century alone by atheists such as Stalin and Mao.

Anonymous said...

"I recently had my roommate's friend visit from Europe and he basically said socialism is the greatest thing ever."

Wow! Your roommate's friend said so?! What compelling evidence!

Sign me up for socialism! Wheee!

Anonymous said...

Stick to your action figure encrusted cubicles, retarded animating donkeys. This thread is highly naive. Especially that judeo christian half-wit. The American Republic is the best functioning social system that the earth has seen but everything gets wrecked in the long run by human nature which is (civically speaking) Gather together to form order out of chaos...peak...then decline via a stupid mob and the sharks that cynically enslave them. I love you.

Steve Hulett said...

It's not the government's job to distribute wealth, nor is it commerce's job to make America "fair."

Government's job is whatever government decides it is.

For example: When I was twenty, the government decided it would draft my ass and put me in the military. Which ... ultimately .. it did.

Nothing free market about it. The gov't's thinking was: "We're fighting a war in southeast Asia. Yeah, we know you don't like it, but tough shit. You get to be part of it."

So I spent two years in uniform, earning lousy money, the government interfering with my "right of free labor" by taking me out of the job market for 24 months.

For another example: In 1942, the government stripped 150,000 Americans with the wrong ancestry and facial characteristics of their property, their businesses, their right of travel and association and clapped them in desert internment camps.

No hearings, no trial, no nothing. Just "pack the bag and get on the truck."

Like I say, the government can do pretty much what it wants.

And now I'll wait for you to say, "Yeah, but..."

Anonymous said...

As the messiah, I concur. America is all mine, and none of you may worship another but ME.

Anonymous said...

1) Secularism is not synonymous with atheism. It only means that the government doesn't choose religious sides.

2) I'll stack up the religious fanatic body count against the atheist body count any day.

3) In the "Free Market" or "Trickle-Down" model corporations function without accountability. That always leads to corruption greed and exploitation. That's why the founding fathers built a system of checks and balances in government. Why should international corporations, who are often as wealthy and powerful as governments get a free ride.

4) Fat and lazy? Try corporate chiefs giving themselves obscene raises while laying off Americans and sending jobs overseas? Anon #1, I would like to see you in a room with all of the union members desperately looking for jobs and see if you have the nerve to tell them they are fat lazy and stupid and don't WANT to work. (Was that a real person? I can't believe anybody really thinks that way).

5) Socialism is not a disease or the bogey man. It's a way of organizing society so that the average person doesn't a doormat for the greedy and unscrupulous. Statistics show that people who live in these societies have longer life spans. Coincidence?

Anonymous said...

Hey, Steve... you're right... the American government is really awful. YOU REALLY SHOULD LEAVE AMERICA and go to one of the better countries.
Bye bye.

Steve Hulett said...

You choose to miss the point. Fine. I give up.

Anonymous said...

No, I got your point. I chose to ignore it because it had so little validity.
But if you insist: government is what government chooses to be.
Okay, if you want to believe that then I suppose that's your right, but it's basically saying that our democracy doesn't work, never did and we're all just little slaves to the big, bad machine.
I choose to believe that while our democratic system is horribly flawed in many ways, it's still the best system of government in the world.
Of course, I base my judgement on my subjective view of what's important to me: maximum personal freedom. Which is, ultimately, what the founding fathers envisioned. A small government that existed purely to protect to shores from foreign invaders and not much else... the rest was left up to the individual.
Now, if what's important to YOU is that every single person have the same amount of "stuff" as everyone else, then I can see why a capitalist democracy would rankle you. So go move to a more socialist country. But THIS country has always experienced the most growth when taxes are low, businesses boom and the government stays out of our hair.
And by the way, your dreams of "forced equality" are just that... dreams. Socialism doesn't work on any level because there is no such thing as "fair" in the laws of nature. You could literally take every dollar in America and distribute them evenly among every person and there would still be unrest because someone who happened to be born blind would be screaming "Yeah, I have as much money as my sighted neighbor, but I'm blind! Make everyone else cover their eyes!"
Life isn't fair, never will be.
Consequently, I am aware that the government could choose to reinstate the draft and send my ass to Iraq tomorrow and consequently my freedoms would be taken away entirely. But I accept that as the price that I pay for the vast degree of personal freedom I have now and if losing my personal freedom means that I contribute in some tiny way to maintaining the personal freedoms of my loved ones, then so be it.
Look, maybe I'm naive for choosing to believe that votes matter and democracy works, but there really are only two other options: move to another country and accept the consequences of their more socialized government (which, when you cherish individual freedoms, is not a good option) or adopt your cynical, victimized, pessimistic view that the power moguls run everything and we're all their little puppets and there's nothing we can do about it ever... but where does THAT attitude get you?

I'll pass on that. I will choose to maintain the belief that the reason our government is how it is - with all of its flaws - because WE made it that way.
I will also choose to believe that our democracy will work out its kinks when the majority of its citizens choose to take active part in the democracy and not just lay back and reap the benefits from it without ever contributing to it.

All we can do is hope.

Anonymous said...

Consequently, I am aware that the government could choose to reinstate the draft and send my ass to Iraq tomorrow and consequently my freedoms would be taken away entirely. But I accept that as the price that I pay for the vast degree of personal freedom I have now and if losing my personal freedom means that I contribute in some tiny way to maintaining the personal freedoms of my loved ones, then so be it.

Wow. So let me get this straight. You accept that the long arm of big government can revoke your right to freedom and liberty whenever it wants, so long as it's doing it in the name of total authoritarianism. Way to destroy your own argument, dude.

And this jives with your notion of "small governmnet"

So I assume you accept the federal income tax as simply the price to pay for all the wonderful freedoms we have.

Anonymous said...

If revoking my freedom and liberty helps to maintain the freedom and liberty of everyone else, then yes... that's what being a patriot is.
You may argue that cases like Vietnam and Iraq don't serve that purpose, but ultimately that is not for us to judge when it comes to time of war. It's a matter of prioritizing for the greater good.

And, yes, this jives with the model of "small government" because keeping the actual, physical land of the United States safe from foreign threats is the federal government's PRIMARY purpose. Without the ability to defend the system, the system itself is doomed to crumble. This is why the government has provisions like 'martial law' at their disposal... if maintaining the democracy means temporary drastic measures, it is the lesser evil.

All of this is moot, however, since there is no draft, probably won't be one and having a fully volunteer-based military has proven more successful anyway.

The idea is that we elect our officials and then we presumably trust them to make the right calls. If they don't, we don't re-elect them.

I hate the federal income tax and believe that we are generally taxed WAY too much for WAY too many bureaucracies, but it's much worse in other countries so I'd rather stay here and work within the system to fix it than bail out.

I never contended that our system is perfect, but it has more right about it than it does wrong.

Anonymous said...

"2) I'll stack up the religious fanatic body count against the atheist body count any day."

And you will lose. Again, and again, and again. The body count of communism's authoritative boot on all opposers to the state(i.e. religions and followers) tallies at around 61 million dead. In China, Mao's purging tallied about 70 million dead.

Then there is the killing fields of Cambodia that logged about 8 million dead.

In modern times(past the age of enlightenment), Atheism has a horrific record of murder and intolerance. The former soviet union, Mao Tse Tung's reign, the Khmer Rouge, the brutal regime of North Korea and other efforts to kill those who stand in the way of replacing a belief in a religion over a belief in the man made state proves you to be not only wrong, but totally ignorant of basic history.

Anonymous said...

Why do the right wing nutjobs always confuse communism with socialism? Even America has socialist elements -- the argument is simply what level of socialism do you want.

Many of us want a little bit more socialism than there is now -- it doesn't make us commies. Some clearly want less than there is now. Lots of rich people find a system with less socialism works great for them. But just like the one extreme of communism is bad, maybe it's not outrageous to think that the other extreme of 0% socialism might also be bad too.

It's one thing to state your beliefs, one way or the other, but why do we always hear such tired stupid arguments from the right? It's the same thing about their arguments against unions. Businesses are all about efficiencies and economies of scale. To argue that it's inherently good for businesses to practice economies of scale, but yet it's inherently bad for people to practice the same notion of economies of scale is simply idiotic.

stormko said...

As a side note, it's interesting how all these people with an opinion only do so anonymously. You're showing true "courage" to stand behind your opposing beliefs under the anonymous moniker.


Anonymous said...

Maybe you're not aware of this Stormko, but being a conservative capitalist is NOT very popular right now as you can see from the response we've (myself and I believe the 2 other conservatives posting on this) gotten for even IMPLYING that less socialism would be a good thing.

If liberals were as tolerant of conservatives as we have to be of them, maybe some real conversation could occur. But liberals - the true fascists of America - have made it impossible to debate anything because everyone is choked quiet by political correctness.

"Lots of rich people find a system with less socialism works great for them."

Um, lots and LOTS of rich people support more socialism... say, EVERYONE in Hollywood.

It's interesting that rich liberals are generally people who got rich through things like music, acting or other self-indulgent careers whereas rich conservatives are generally people who have had to build up empires through innovation or industry of some sort.

"Why do the right wing nutjobs always confuse communism with socialism? "

Because they're really not that different. It's not confusion, it's the assertion that they are both equally bad.

And I would be far more inclined to go along with socialist elements in our government if they existed on a state level. But on a federal level it is completely the opposite of what the founding fathers - geniuses all of them - intended.

Anonymous said...

thanks, stormko, you're very identifiable....anyway, here's the deal. If we didn't have a system we'd be competing with other tribes and/or bears and mountain lions. Life will never be anything other than survival of the fittest even with a system. Our current system, in it's uncorrupted state, seeks to create a place where anyone with an idea can prosper. The dark side of that is that it based on funders and slaves (most people's last names are slave demarcations and that is as old as the hills.) Here in this system, if you don't like being a slave, COMPETE! and WIN! Instead of sitting on your low paid bus driver ass and screeching.

stormko said...

Hey, don't cry about something that you allow me to point out.

The internet has given birth to a new breed of coward. One that wants to have an opinion, but doesn't have to stand behind it if it's not popular. I'm all for an open conversation about ideas and thoughts and opinions. I agree that it's healthy not to have that. But how much conviction do you show when you won't stand behind your own words? It's this hit-and-run style comment posting that makes what could be a good comment just look like someone wanting to start some shit with the person who just posted their opinion in THEIR blog.

Anonymous said...

Marvelously put, Anon.3:26PM!

Anonymous said...

Stormko, this repeated insistence that you (and others) make that there is something to be gained by identifying yourself in an exchange of ideas is just tiresome.

A debate is an exchange of opinions backed up by (hopefully) facts. What does it matter if I'm a worm farmer from Idaho or a college professor in Pennsylvania? If a persons arguments are weak, they're weak. If they're strong, they're strong. Identity doesn't change that.

And as for "courage" and all that nonsense, you can call those of us who choose to post anonymously cowards all you want, but my desire to be able to navigate through life without facing the constant discrimination that liberals heap onto conservatives (in most parts of America at this point) outweighs my desire to impress you with my "courage" to back up my posts with my identity.

And no one running this blog is a victim... they could erase all of these posts if they wanted or change the settings so that you CAN'T post anonymously. But they haven't because even they know that sometimes good ideas and compelling arguments can come from an anonymous poster.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous or not is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned. Even before the internet, one could place anonymous pieces of paper anywhere in public.

Logical or not is the key issue. Argue logically and people will respect you even if they disagree with you (ignoring the people who are just causing trouble for the sake of it). You might even be able to convince people to change their opinion. My problem with the right wing side is illogic in arguments and inhumanity in feelings. All I ever hear is "socialism equals communism," "unions are inherently evil," and "because God said so."

Anonymous said...

Then allow me to shatter some perceptions...

I'm right-wing and in line with my minimalist government views, I believe that religion should play no roll in government beyond the rights of the individual politicians' beliefs that may sway their opinions. This way, if they act to dogmatic in their work, they are easily voted out.

Secondly, I believe there was a time when unions were necessary and useful... but it was a LONG time ago before everyone had access to LAWYERS. Unions aren't "evil"... they're simply a corrupt, obsolete bureaucracy.

Thirdly, claiming to dislike conservatives because they are 'illogical' and then in the same sentence criticizing them for 'inhumanity' is, ironically, an EXTREMELY illogical statement.

"Inhumanity," whether you choose to believe this or not, IS a very relative and subjective term and therefor logic does not apply to it. Logic applies to objective facts - not the PERCEPTION of facts.

I won't speak for the other conservatives who have chimed in, but all of my arguments have been based on objective facts whereas all of the liberal arguments hinge on what you all think is "fair" - which is yet another EXTREMELY subjective term.

Which, inherently, is what's wrong with socialism and what's right with capitalism: Capitalism is based solely on numbers and mathematics and the law of supply and demand. Very objective.
Socialism is based on the notion that everyone "deserves" and is entitled to the same things as everyone else... but that's a very open-ended philosophy that can be interpreted MANY ways and, consequently, is illogical.

You are not guaranteed happiness in this country, just the freedom to pursue it. And that's how it should be.

Anonymous said...

Finally, some logical arguments being attempted, even if I disagree with them.

I think your characterization is getting to the heart of where we disagree. For people like me, socialist characteristics and capitalist characteristics can live together, because I am both a logical person but also a feeling human, and those feelings must logically come into play. To deny them is illogical.

When I use the word socialism, I may even be bastardizing it, as I think most people do, to mean stuff like social safety nets, and other social practices found in many other top countries of the world. I consider them a necessary cap to place on unfettered capitalism because society is made up of humans, not unfeeling inhuman entities.

I too believe that Unions are unneccessary in a perfect world, but a perfect world wouldn't have extreme imbalances of power. If all lawyers were free, I would accept your argument that people could seek justice that way. The problem, as Steve time and time points out, is leverage and imbalance of power. Unions are a reactionary construct to a real problem caused by imbalance of power. Do we blame the victim, or recognize that there's a problem in the original system that caused people to react?

I believe that the fact that society is made up of humans needs to play some minimal role in the rules of society, to temper the effect of unfettered capitalism. Whereas, it seems like you're basically arguing that society needs to treat people like inhuman robots, and let the chips fall where they may.

Steve Hulett said...

Here's the thing.

George W. Bush (R), working with the Congress (R), has increased government spending and the reach and power of government more than ANY President this side of the socialistic Lyndon Johnson.

So one would think, that small government conservatives would vote against (R).

Some will, undoubtedly, vote for Bob Barr (at least these folks will be ... what's the word? ... consistent with action and belief. But most will vote for Big Government Republican John McCain.

Because, you know, that (R) is magical.

And these folks will go on naddering about how they're in favor of small, limited government and lower taxes and against socialism without ever voting for a candidate who actually did those things that they say they want.

stormko said...

Stormko, this repeated insistence that you (and others) make that there is something to be gained by identifying yourself in an exchange of ideas is just tiresome. A debate is an exchange of opinions backed up by (hopefully) facts. What does it matter if I'm a worm farmer...

First of all, at least you can actually list my name so we all know who you are speaking to.

I never said that posting anonymously invalidates any point you might make. In fact, I haven't commented negatively on anyone's opinions or points in this thread. You can justify posting anonymously all you want, but it doesn't change that you are scared to represent what you believe in. And, true, you have nothing to prove to anyone (especially me), but that still doesn't change the point of what I'm saying.

Besides, I never even said that you have to use your real name. Use some other moniker to represent yourself if need be. I mean, if you think you will be killed or fired from your job, then, by all means, pick some name to represent yourself. That's understandable. But how fair is it that you come to someone else's blog--someone who admits who they are and what they think--but do not return the consideration? I mean, look at this thread: it's almost all "anonymous". Even if someone wanted to respond to someone else, you don't know who to address because there's many people under the same alias. It's called courtesy. You complain about lack of respect for you ideals and feel discriminated against, but you don't want to afford someone the same consideration they give you.

Hey, all of you named "anonymous" can post anonymously and still make valid points. I don't argue that; I don't argue that there are intelligent people writing in this thread. But while being anonymous may not say anything about your point, it does comment on your character--no matter how you want to spin it.

Anonymous said...

I'm on the east coast reading this blog and I found a particularly unsavory tidbit about your union in the thread about emails.

Is it true that union studios in Los Angeles send out job opening emails to union members?

A friend that i worked with here in NYC relocated to LA and was telling me how impossible it was to crack in to the business out there(which surprised me because he is super talented). I was confused by his grim predicament and it weighed on me because i was hoping to move out once he got situated.

If job openings are only revealed to union members... well, not only does that suck for any artists who aren't union, but its a good case for someone to sue those studios and the union for unfair labor practices. Last time i checked, policies that unfairly favor union labor for job consideration are illegal.

Anonymous said...

Yeah!! That's the reason your friend can't find a job. We keep all the jobs secret and don't tell anyone except union memebers!!! The jobs belong to us not you East coast carpetbaggers!!! Mwahahahahahah!


Anonymous said...

Yes, Steve, Bush did lots of things while in office that true republicans are not happy with, but you can't possibly try to argue that John Kerry or Al Gore wouldn't have made government even MORE intrusive in our lives and raised taxes and pushed us that much further towards socialism.

Republicans haven't had a good candidate to back since Reagan, but we've been forced to pick the lesser of evils.

Again, it becomes a matter of priorities. Small government is important to me, but keeping terrorists from attacking U.S. soil is a bigger priority and the democrats have absolutely ZERO plans for fighting the broad scope of this war (call me a paranoid nut job all you want, but maybe if everyone's hero Bill Clinton had been a little more paranoid 9-11 could have been prevented). With the economy as bad as it is now, can you imagine what would happen if America got hit again right now? Forget recession, we'd be facing another depression.

So as much as I would love to "punish" my own party for their hypocritical behavior, I'm just can't stomach this new breed of hyper-liberals that infest our government these days.
I would vote for a John Kennedy because he would be fighting the war exactly the way Bush is - on many fronts.
But we don't have any more John Kennedys. His is a lost breed of conservative democrat. They are missed.

And to address the notion of compassion and humanity's role in government, it is an absolute fact that when taxes are lower, people give more to charity. The idea behind capitalism is that it gives citizens the freedom to do more good with their money.

For every dollar you feed into the welfare system about a half of a penny of it actually truly literally goes to a poor person. The rest is gobbled up in the inefficient government bureaucracy.

And I'm not entirely against social programs, but they should be governed at a state or county level. The notion that social needs for a nation as diverse and huge as the U.S. can be handled on a federal level is pure insanity. And clearly it does not work.

And as for unions, I can guarantee you that if they disappeared tomorrow, good workers would get paid a lot more, fewer jobs would be shipped overseas, bad workers would be fired or forced to get their shit together and companies that mistreated employees would get the pants sued off them by the millions of lawyers who would jump at the chance to work for free until their client got their payoff.

Anonymous said...

Whenever you union people rail on and on about how evil corporations are and how horrible it is that the government gives them breaks, does it ever occur to you that maybe, just maybe, it's because CORPORATIONS EMPLOY PEOPLE?!
If companies can't make a good buck, then they close down. Then people are unemployed. Then the economy suffers.
Look, I'm pro-union, but at the end of the day, corporations put a roof over my head... not a union. And the adversarial attitude many unions have towards companies is, in my humble opinion, counter-productive.

Anonymous said...

And to address the notion of compassion and humanity's role in government, it is an absolute fact that when taxes are lower, people give more to charity.

So you're saying that the extra amount given freely by the population will be larger than the taxes collected from the population? I don't buy that for a second. Do you have anything to support that "absolute fact"? I can see that statement possibly holding true for a specific individual here and there, but certainly not across an entire population. More likely what happens is that if someone pays $x less in taxes then they give $y more to charity. But for most people y is a lot less than x.

In my opinion you're using "absolute fact" and "clearly" way too loosely.

Personally I (and probably most others) could care less if things were done at state level or federal level, as long as they get done. A lot of these things though do apply to people across the country so federal does seem more appropriate. And it works just fine in many other countries so I'm not sure where the "insanity" and "clearly" comes from.

Finally, if only it would work that way if there were no unions. Since there are many industries where there are no unions, we can actually prove or disprove your theory. Hmmm... somehow I can't seem to find even one industry where it works that way. On the other hand, there's a ton that sure seem like one step above slavery.

Anonymous said...

Wow. There was so much fact-free, alternate-reality, 'black is white' nonsense spewed in those last couple rightwing posts that all I can do is chuckle.

Yes, if unions disappear, workers would be paid more. Of course, he doesn't explain how or why this would be, or why it wasn't true in the times before unions. But somehow it would magically come to be.

And yes, perhaps if Clinton had been a little more paranoid, 9-11 wouldn't have happened. But at least he tried (read Richard Clarke's book for the extensive list of things they tried). Bush wasn't paranoid at all, having never even heard of Al Quaeda, and thus did absolutely nothing in the nine months he had prior.

It's actually pretty ironic that you bring up both things together. You're obviously worried about a future terrorist attack. I assume you believe that, now that 9-11 is long over, we should continue to be vigilant and protect our borders, because you know that if we dropped our defenses, more attacks could happen.

And yet, you lack the ability to transfer the lessons of that to the union issue. Yes, unions have accomplished much of what they set out to do, and workplace abuses are nothing like they used to be. But unions act as a continuing shield--they are our "homeland defense". Take them away, and watch the return of the abuses. Without a watchdog, legislative protections would be rolled back.

Your assertion that lawyers would work for no upfront fee for smalltime employment issues is laughable. You have little understanding of the legal profession.

Anonymous said...

This boils down to what you choose to believe would happen if things were different, and it's clear (as it is most of the time with liberals) that you're not even open to conservative ideas - so what's the point?

It seems as though there are two types of people in the world... those who are ruled by their emotions and those who are ruled by their intellect. Liberals tend to use their emotions as the cornerstone for their ideas for government.

I could spend the day citing the sources of my statistics and facts, but I have all too often found that to do absolutely no good with people who are so steeped in the dogma of their beliefs that they're not even open to considering a different opinion. They just wind up saying things like "Oh well that statistic doesn't count because it came from a source I don't trust." It'd be a lot of work for nothing. If you're really truly interested in the validity of my statements, look 'em up or just go study the history of U.S. government and finance some more and apply the philosophies to today's world and you'll see what I mean.

But you won't.

I spent the better part of my life as a card-carrying liberal... but I grew up and realized that the world doesn't run on my subjective terms. You can either accept that and work with it, or constantly and bitterly rail against it. But ultimately the laws of the jungle always win out.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah!! That's the reason your friend can't find a job. We keep all the jobs secret and don't tell anyone except union memebers!!! The jobs belong to us not you East coast carpetbaggers!!! Mwahahahahahah!"

Who wrote this? - and what the hell is your problem. I was asking a simple question.

and BTW, from what I've read in here there is a whole contingent of you that are a bunch of spoiled brats who don't know how good you have it. Clearly some people appreciate what their union gives them, but there are also many that bitch and moan to no end. Come to NYC and work out here and you'll find out very quickly how sweet a deal you have. I'd kill to be paid scale and have health insurance and you guys piss and moan like babies.

Yet, without any of these amenities, we still have a thriving animation scene that produces quality independent work better than 90% of the garbage the Hollywood studios make.

Anonymous said...

As if you're open to liberal ideas!

Everything criticism you just labelled as a "liberal" fault is easily also seen in conservatives. We all cling to our ideologies, cherry-picking evidence and ignoring inconvenient facts. It's human nature, and knows no ideological boundaries.

Conservatives are just as prone to make bad decisions based on emotion--usually fear. Look under war, Iraq.

But ultimately, it seems that you've conceded the argument, and now are simply making blind generalizations about liberals.

I agree that the "rules of the jungle" do tend to skew more conservative. Liberalism is the ideal of greater civility. Over time, we have seen a slow, steady march toward greater and greater liberalism in our society, and the championed issues of conservatism are whittled away over generations.

Steve Hulett said...

I'm on the east coast reading this blog and I found a particularly unsavory tidbit about your union in the thread about emails.

Is it true that union studios in Los Angeles send out job opening emails to union members?

Be of good cheer. It's true that TAG e-mails job information to members, but none of the info is some kind of closely guarded secret.

The studios also post the information in a variety of other places.

Here's another secret: you mainly get jobs on the strength of your talent, NOT whether you're a union member or not.

TAG has no hiring roster, so it's every artist pulling himself up by his own paint brush or mouse.

Nothing at all unsavory about it.

Steve Hulett said...

... there is a whole contingent of you that are a bunch of spoiled brats who don't know how good you have it.


Since a large group here posts anonymously, who knows HOW good they have it? Of how spoiled they are?

They might be commenting from Rwanda (though I doubt it).

Anonymous said...

I think Tim is right on the money. It's conceding the argument when you just say "I know better than you, but you'll never believe me anyway." You didn't have to cite an exact reference if you didn't want to look it up, but how about describing your "absolute fact" in a little more detail to counter the argument brought against you, or provide counterexamples.

You said people give more charity when they are taxed less. I then countered that some people may give more in charity than they normally would, but that the net still would be a lot less than all the lost taxes, so the overall help to the poor would still be a lot less.

I would argue that I am being way more logical than you. I want all the hard facts and studies done. I simply want any studies and mathematical models to take into account the fact that people are part of the real-world equation. That's only logical. If your models aren't taking humanity into account in any way, you haven't even begun doing the right study yet.

Anonymous said...

Not only is the dollar amount given to charities greater when people are taxed less, the poor actually see more of it and more quickly because it doesn't have to filter through the bloated bureaucratic system. THAT'S logical.
The average citizen is a lot more kind, generous and anxious to help their fellow citizens than liberals give them credit for. Liberals assume that if government doesn't FORCE people into giving to the poor that the poor will literally be dying in the streets but I've read many, many studies from varying sources that when people - especially the middle class and upper-middle-class - have more money, they spread it around more.
AND they spend more on themselves which keeps the cycle of finances going and growing.

Anonymous said...

And conservatives believe that the poor got that way because of their own bad life choices, and it's all their own damn fault, so why should we help them anyway? How many times have we heard conservatives give their usual defeatist arguments that the poor can't be helped, it's no use, it's just a waste because the poor slobs will just squander it all with their usual poor life choices...etc, etc.

And yet we find that when concerted efforts--even government efforts--are made, the lives of the poor DO improve, sometimes dramatically.

Anonymous said...

I do grant (and did from the beginning) what you're specifically saying -- that charities will receive more if people were taxed less. And I'm not even questioning peoples ethics in this argument -- I imagine people die in the streets (which they actually do by the way) because people don't know exactly what to do, not simply because the average person doesn't care.

The only part I've been trying to clarify (and I'm still not sure if you've clarified it or not) is if these studies you're describing are an accurate picture of the total or not. To simply say charities would receive more is not an accurate complete picture because charities don't currently provide many services that are currently provided by the government. Would the extra charity money now be enough to cover the lost medicare and welfare services, etc., which presumably were cut because of the lower taxes? That's the point I've been trying to make. Either the studies you're citing are taking that into account or not, and that's what I've been questioning. And if they do take it into account, then did they study what is a good tax rate? Are they saying that a zero tax rate will mean people will give tons to charity and we'll all live in peace and harmony, or is there a tax rate that gives us the best bang for the buck?

Anonymous said...

"I do grant (and did from the beginning) what you're specifically saying -- that charities will receive more if people were taxed less."

That was W's plan too. I sadly disagree with this basic idea. SOME people might give more to charities and help their fellow man if they had money, but for every Bill Gates there's probably more Dick Cheneys in the world who would rather shoot the poor in the face with birdshot.
You can argue all you want about whether it's Socialism or Communism or whatever, but the fact remains that the Gov't has to not just protect us from outsude invaders, but to help the weakest of us as well. Just as Unions have to worry about the lowest paid member to the detriment of the highest paid memebers so does the gov't.
The GOP can claim all they want that they believe in smaller less intrusive Gov't, but they've never pulled it off and usually it just turns itno the 180 degree opposite of what they claim. At least when the Dems increase the size of Gov't it's usuually to help the little guy. When the GOP increases the size of Gov't it's to help the big guy.

Anonymous said...

The previous poster makes an excellent point--pure conservatism suffers from the same problem that pure communism does.

They sound great as theories on paper. In practice, human nature (greed, power-hunger) gets in the way. Small government sounds good. But, by definition, any person who goes through the immense amount of pain, trouble, humiliation, and exhaustion to get elected to national office, has some level of power-hungriness. You have to really, really want that office to put yourself through the ringer of campaigning.

They can spout all the high-minded principles they want. As the Republicans of the last 15 years have shown, once you're in a position of governmental power, and have access to the levers of power, it is irresistible not to pull them.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:50, you didn't read the rest of my post. We're in agreement against the conservative argument. I'm saying that that statement made by the conservative poster most likely is a meaningless statement. It may strictly be true in the sense that some people will give more to charity, but it means nothing because it isn't the complete picture in terms of lost services.

In other words, so what if some rich guy gave ten grand more to charity if he paid a million less in taxes. The million in taxes provides way more in services to the poor than the ten grand to charity.

Anonymous said...

Talk about missing the big picture...
No - that million paid in taxes does NOT help the poor more because it gets distributed to more than just welfare programs... it goes to a hundred other social programs and is filtered through the humungous bureaucracy of government employee salaries until it is whittled down to almost nothing.
Look it up and do your math.

Anonymous said...

Maybe. But this is not always the case, nor does it have to be. In terms of overhead costs, government-run Medicare is the gold standard for low, low administrative costs, beating virtually every private-sector health provider in the country. While for-profit health providers run an overhead cost of 15-30%, Medicare's is 3%. That's not a typo. Three. Frikkin. Percent.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, because Medicare is shitty. You get what you pay for.

Anonymous said...

You really have no clue, do you? Seriously, keep posting. I hope you speak for all conservatives, because you validate my opinion that they are truly the stupidest people on the planet. Medicare gets extremely high marks from its participants. Seniors love medicare, and the quality of coverage is the reason why so many people would like to see the program expanded.

Find a clue, dude. Really.

Anonymous said...

The ones at the top aren't stupid. They've figured out how to get huge masses of people to consistently FREELY vote against their own self-interest and serve the interests of the super-rich and powerful.

Anonymous said...

"You don't have a clue"... great argument dipshit.
The debate has officially eroded.

Anonymous said...

great argument dipshit.

Yeah, almost as good as "Medicare is shitty."

Make uninformed arguments not supported by the evidence, expect to get called on it.

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