Rationale

An email sent to Mayor Larry O’Brien on September 6th, 2010 (My apologies to Mr. DeMint and Mr. O’Brien; I was feeling rather mawkish):

Hi,

In the interests of fair play (and to prevent anyone’s filing fee going south unnecessarily:), I’m sending, to you and all the other mayoral candidates with email addresses, the record of my online (Huffington Post) activity since I started posting comments five months ago (I’ll also be sending it to council candidates). While most of it is directed at the United States, it is all descriptive of my views on humanity. And you may rest assured, I have equally well developed views concerning the well-being of the people of Ottawa.

As an introduction, I’ve copied a couple of my favourite posts below; I feel they best summarize who I am, though in re the Morality Quotient, in the commentary, you’ll find posted shortly thereafter,

The good man is the man who, no matter how morally unworthy he has been, is moving to become better. – John Dewey

Good luck (you’ll need it…:) and may the best person win.

Joe

p.s. Just to let you know, if I’m elected, I’ll be pushing the reset button on my own salary; while I will, of course, pay taxes on the full salary, I myself will only be accepting the median income of $40,175 (before taxes). The rest will go into escrow, to be used for the good of the city.

Hmm… An email from Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC). Wonder what he wants – surely he knows I favour Alvin Greene.

from ‘Joseph Furtenbacher on Huffington Post’:

Do We Live in a Meaningful Universe?

Commented Jun 14, 2010 at 04:55:03 in Living

“What’s Your Morality Quotient?

Do you ever ask yourself if you should want another luxury before considering how to get it?

Do you ever think about ways to reduce the need for your job?

Do you devote at least half the time and money to charity that you do to having fun?

Do you grow any of your own food?

Would you pay more for meat from an unslaughtered animal?

Do you think that children should be taught horticulture, self defense, acting and pedagogy?

Do you approve of taxing unsustainable, unhealthy, and antisocial purchases in order to subsidize their opposites?

Do you feel that unions should be expanded by helping people up off their knees instead of climbing on their shoulders?

Do you contemn apathy more than greed?

Is ensuring honest government more important to you than watching television?

Do you feel that professional athletes and entertainers are greater threats to freedom than bankers and CEOs?

If elected to office, would you take an oath to live on the median income of your constituency?

Do you ever think about posterity?

When you look in the mirror, do you see anything besides your face?

If you answered no to more than half the questions, you’re part of the problem. If you’d like to be part of the solution, help expand the Ethical Party.”

World Refugee Day Illustrates Global Refugee Crisis

Commented Jun 22, 2010 at 21:28:20 in Politics

“Dear Huffpo Moderator(s),

Please humor me and publish either all 13 parts of this reply, or none. I write this way to keep from weeping:)

Charity Tooze described part of the poverty/addiction coin:

World Refugee Day is the one day of the year created to draw the world’s attention to the most vulnerable and disenfranchised people – refugees..

Perhaps the world could turn off its stomachs to show its solidarity…

..According to the..UNHCR 2009 Global Trend Report, there are approximately 15m people classified as refugees [worldwide]..

There are, however, approximately 1.4b cattle classified as eating 7-10 times as much as a refugee. Anyone besides me and PETA hatin’ it enough to consider a progressive meat tax?

..This..only represents a portion of the displaced. According to the report, 2009 marked the highest volume of..displaced people – approximately 43m people fled their homes..

Coincidentally, approximately the same number of tourists fled their hotel rooms; perhaps the UNHCR could talk turkey with the IH&RA.

..Refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) bear the brunt of dysfunctional governments and the backlash of geopolitical conflicts..

When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. – Kikuyu proverb

..”No one ever plans to be a refugee. Any of us could be forced from our homes at any time,” said Jesse Bernstein, senior associate at Human Rights First..

Not if any of us besides me would ponder my “use it or lose it” tax on mortgagees. landlords, hoteliers and pastors, with its rental unit yard auctions and commercial/religious progressive spare bedroom/basement tax.

..The challenges facing refugees have grown over the past years; political and economic crises have made it increasingly difficult for refugees and IDPs..

That’s what happens when you don’t have future discount taxes.

..Security and Economic Issues

Since 2001, refugees contend with global fears about terrorism..

In much the same way as earthquakes in China contend with stubbed toes.

..”Many refugees have actually been victims of terrorist groups or other armed actors,” Bernstein said..

Many Americans have actually been victims of the drugs and security provided by those groups and actors. That’s why I prefer groups like the cast of “Blade Runner” and actors like Harrison Ford: their opponents are never actually harmed, and their “victims” are often improved.

..According to the..report the highest volume of refugees in 2009 fled from Afghanistan and Iraq..

That’s what happens when you send in the troops without any bankers, surveyors, and real estate agents as backup. Soldiers by themselves should be reserved for endangered species preserves.

..Following 9/11, the US drastically altered its refugee policy. New systems were set up to screen for potential terrorists..

But not for potential luxury addicts.

..While this made sense given the..attack, increased security concerns have made it difficult for some refugees to be cleared by Homeland Security..

Homeland Security would do well to adopt the Morality Quotient test posted in the command center of the Ethical Party.

..individuals have said they were turned away because of..affiliation with..political parties; others..were refused because the International Organization for Migration (IOM) noted inconsistencies in their account of persecution..

Unfortunately, refusing entry to people earning low wages while harboring a penchant for the good life is not considered by most Americans to be persecution.

..In 2009, I interviewed..families..in Syria and Jordan. One..story..stands out. A mother and her..daughters fled to Jordan after her..son was murdered..because she was a member of the Baath party. When she registered..in Jordan and applied..to the US..she was turned away for belonging to the party. “But many people belong..in order to go to school or get a job,” she said..

Someone (besides me) should start telling people about the Ethical Party platform, which includes guaranteed access to sustainable employment, health care, and education, through UN equalization payments similar to those of the Semiautonomous Provinces of Canada.

..This woman’s oldest daughters have now dropped out of school..

Somehow I doubt that the theory of pedagogy that school was pursuing even vaguely resembled mine, under which children are taught the three Rs, patience, horticulture, self-defense, acting and pedagogy.

..She said..they were working at a..factory and the owner stopped paying them..

I was working at a convenience store and I stopped paying myself by quitting, but that was after I’d had my ethical conversion on the road to Damascus.”

..They had no..way of reporting [it] because Iraqis are not legally allowed to work in Jordan..

Breaking the law is not a good way to become legally allowed to work in America.

..Another alarming trend..is the increase in detention..in the name of..security..

I would “detain” them in Solar Food Production Townhouses at the north(ish) ends of fields; they would be far from the madding crowd, while potentially entering the upper-middle-class through helping that same crowd kick the unhealthy/unsustainable food habit.

..”The use of..detention has increased..and at a substantial cost..” said Eleanor Acer, director of refugee protection programs at Human Rights First..

I put the positive right to self-improvement first.

..it cost the US $300m to detain asylum seekers between ’03 and ’09..

With apologies to Thoreau, there are a thousand eating at the restaurants of America to one who is detaining asylum seekers.

..Acer described..a..woman who was kidnapped by an armed group. “Her..request [was] put on hold because [her machete] training..is considered..”military-type”..” Acer said..

I’d put her to work with a scythe, reaping off-season food for the “unslaughtered free-range chicken in every pot” plank of the Ethical Party.

..Acer says that asylum seekers..are detained..”in prisons and prison-like facilities.. though..not..for violation of any criminal law”..

I’ve heard stories of the same thing happening to Americans of color.

..Acer did note..there had been..improvements.. the Assistant Secretary of ICE and the DHS announced that they would transition from..reliance on facilities modeled on criminal prisons..

Perhaps when the shovels hit the dirt for the first SFPT I’ll be able to take a small vacation… A cabin by a lake, I think.

..”However despite this commitment, asylum seekers are still wearing prison uniforms as they mark World Refugee Day..” Acer said..

Many of our emperors have no clothes at all, and they seem to do okay.

..In addition to security barriers..refugees and the organizations that work with them have been severely affected by the global recession..

You can’t expect people to save the world as much when there’s not even enough money for fun. Even the Romans knew that.

..The recession has affected all of us but it has particularly affected those who rely on the work of the UN and NGO’s to survive..

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. – George Orwell

..”The recession made..inadequacy in the [US]..system more obvious,” said Bob Carey, [of] the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Carey says the US’..system hasn’t changed in 25 years..

Coincidentally, that’s about how long it’s been since Americans changed their motto from “In God We Trust” to “Buy Now, Pay Later”.

..The IRC has a large US resettlement program..

I don’t recall seeing any covered wagons:)

..When refugees arrive..the IRC helps them find an apartment, acquire services, and find employment..

More importantly, it provides them with their first taste of cable TV.

..prior to the recession..90%..of [resettled refugees] had jobs for..two months, working..30hr/wk, many with benefits. Today the numbers are..different. “I was talking with a staff member in Phoenix.. that number is now..40%,” Carey said..

Too bad he wasn’t talking with me.

..Donor contributions have also declined.. services are being cut back [or] discontinued altogether..

Not the Fast Food Stamp program; that one’s guaranteed by the Constitutional Right to (shortened) Life, (straitened) Liberty, and the Pursuit of (unhealthy, unsustainable) Happiness.

..the UNHCRiJ has a..cash assistance program.. refugees [are given ATM cards]..and use the funds [as] they need..

Perhaps if that system existed elsewhere, less people would leave in the first place. Unemployed investment bankers could be drafted to run the system when they weren’t busy microTrumping.

..Primarily they use the funds for..rent, food and [children’s] clothes..

Any hard figures? Mine are (~$Cdn/mth): rent, heat and hydro, 450; food, 120; clothes, 5; children (human): most waking hours times $2/hr; pets, 50; phone and Internet, 30; fun, 150; zero-interest loans, 130; savings, 50; bank fees and insurance, 30; all other, 15.

..”Because of the financial situation the UNHCR has had to cut back its cash assistance program,” Bernstein said..

Have they had to cut back their employee assistance program as well?

..One of the fallouts..is children are pulled from school to help parents cover the rent..

In my schools, homework would include teaching parents how to cover the rent.

..Programs that..enrich the experience of refugees, like music or art..have been discontinued..

How about getting all the other children out of Rome before we start teaching lyricism.

..And..life saving services have been..reduced. “We’ve had to cut tertiary health care programs,” said Arafat Jamal, deputy representative for the UNHCRiJ..

– and those are the very ones we ourselves use!

..Assistance vs. Complacency

Carey said it seems like the international community is comfortable with host countries “warehousing” refugees..

The international community has too many comfortable chairs. And a lot of people went through discomfort last century, too, but they unionized, which led to “mcmansioning”. I’m comfortable with the idea that we can do better.

..According to the..report, 2009 had the fewest number of refugees returning to their country of origin since the ’90s..

Cable…carbombs…cable…

..”Major conflicts such as those in Afghanistan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo show no signs of being resolved..

Neither does the Peter Principle.

..Conflicts that had appeared to be ending or were on the way to being resolved, such as in southern Sudan or in Iraq, are stagnating,” said Antonio Guetteres, the current high commissioner of the UNHCR, during a recent speech in Germany..

I wonder what his bank statement looks like.

..Carey said the Burmese on the border of Thailand and Burma have been there for 20 years..

Please hold; your call is important to us…

..Both Bernstein and Carey noted the lack of returnees from the Bosnian war. “When people do return, it’s Bosnians going to Bosnian areas and Serbs going to Serbian areas,” Bernstein said..

I would return to my apartment if it were still standing.

..The lack of pressure on the international community to push for sustainable peace in post-conflict regions and the gap between peace and development and humanitarian assistance is one of the major problems in refugee returns..

Native Americans found convincing Europeans to return problematic too.

..At a recent conference on IDPs in New York several panelists pointed out that IDPs have to be included in creating policies for the regions they fled from or they won’t return..

Were any IDPs on the panel?

..Carey said they are..see[ing] this problem in the Iraqi..crisis. “If you have..people without..basic human rights it’s more than a humanitarian problem; it’s a security issue.” He said..security concerns should motivate the international community to find..solutions..

Perhaps if the international community lived within walking distance of any refugees, it would.

..New policies

While the situation looks bleak both Bernstein and Carey noted wins in refugee policy reform, particularly in the US..

Both Bush and Cheney noted wins in the US too.

..Historically the US..has allocated $900 for refugees when they enter.. today..this is far from adequate, and in particular cities, it won’t pay one month’s rent..

In particular countries, it will pay one year’s rent. Why not pay them to go there?

..Carey said the U.S. just reformed the policy and has doubled the amount..

Have they doubled the jobs available after the benefits run out?

..In addition, Human Rights First has been working on a policy proposal to create an expedited resettlement process for LGBT refugees..

But not, of course, for pedophile refugees, unless they’re seeking asylum in Antarctica. Personally, I would expedite the resettlement of women and children first – you know, like they did on the Titanic.

..”..when you look at vulnerability..this group stands out,” Bernstein said.. when LGBT..people flee it is often because of persecution [for] their..orientation, and they often end up in countries that prosecute the same..acts..

Perhaps if God could somehow explain away his demand that men who lie with men be stoned, that would change.

..”In Uganda I know a group of men who can’t formalize their stay because they’re afraid to approach the police.”..

I don’t suppose Mr. Bernstein has any spare bedrooms.

..In many contexts, the police are the first point of contact in applying for refugee status and resettlement..

With my system, it would be latter-day Hogan’s Heroes, and the hotel desk clerks who would give them their room keys.

..Bernstein said the US was showing a renewed interest in this group and has held..useful discussions with human rights organizations..

Have they shown a renewed interest in useful discussions with human responsibilities organizations? Inquiring adult minds want to know.

..”There is a perception that refugees are a burden..when in fact they are an asset; they have enormous human capital,” Carey said..

There is also a perception that importing workers during a downturn is, as Horace quipped, as crazy as hauling timber into the woods.

..He went on to say, “for example, the Iraqi population is highly educated..

A few night courses in gender equality and they’ll be good to go.

..They have lots of skills and it’s a wasted intellectual asset that they are not able to work. There are doctors, lawyers, scientists and engineers rotting in Damascus and Amman,” he said..

There simply aren’t enough problems over there to keep them occupied full time. As Marx reiterated, from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs, although I believe he was talking about individuals, not countries.

..He pointed out that two prior Secretaries of State were refugees..

Many refugees try to keep secrets they’re party to even from themselves.

..and said refugees..start businesses and contribute positively to their communities.

Please define “positively”. For my definition, please see my comments page.

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. – John Stuart Mill

>sound of last page of thesis being nailed to Huffpo back door<”

Joseph Furtenbacher on Huffington Post (unabridged version)

The Fed in Hot Water

Commented Apr 2, 2010 at 05:34:04 in Business

“Whenever I hear people complaining about greedy bankers and CEOs, it reminds me of nothing so much as army ants complaining that the ones in the front row aren’t leaving enough for the ones behind.

Have any of you moved your money to microfinance?

Can anyone explain the difference between a profit and a private tax?

How a first round draft pick is different than a corporate bailout, and why professional sports leagues don’t have booms and busts?

Why we’re required to buy liability insurance for our cars, but not our guns?

I’ve seen lots of funny signs, but none saying “will work for food”.

I hear plenty of people talking about the military-industrial complex, but no one talking about war taxes and liberty gardens – maybe because no one really believes their butt is in danger of being kicked?

Lots of discussions about broken health care systems, but none about taxing sugar, salt, fat, or meat in order to subsidize fruits and veggies.

Lots of talk about price-fixing among oil companies, but none about carbon taxes (see profit above).

Fears of the rich fleeing to tax havens, but no mention of blockades.

And many people talking about corrupt politicians, none about starting new parties online.

Theoretically, you could audit my freshly-minted Facebook blog, Wisdom Central, but it would require a fair amount of navigation.”

aflevine on Apr 2, 2010 at 08:29:43

“We see what the Mass Media chooses to let us see, which is too superficial and self-serving. I’m reminded of Jack Nicholson’s line in A Few Good Men, “… YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!””

commented Apr 02, 2010 at 10:56:29

“Yes; I myself have seen their goons dragging people away from the shelves in our local library.”

aflevine on Apr 2, 2010 at 15:09:15

“It’s a very human thing to do that which is expedient, not necessarily right. There is good science around how to maintain an individual’s attention that the networks understand too well. Is that “goonery” or simply maximizing the sales value derrived from the medium?”

commented Apr 02, 2010 at 16:00:07

“Apologies for my facetiousness; I wasn’t sure if Jack was yelling at me or the American people. While certainly not explicit goonery, the unhealthy and addictive quality of the media remind me of people maximizing the sales value of the drugs they sell to schoolchildren.”

bigfro on Apr 2, 2010 at 08:04:57

“That’s communism. A pwerful elite controls everything and rigs the game because they are not smart enough to earn the money so they steal it. SO keep up with the double talk. if you had any brains you’d be building something. Besides the people in the front row of the movie theatre are blinded by the screen being too close.

Why would anyone invests their money with a bank that is trying to make them lose it by recommending bad sticks that the firm has sold short. High school is over loser, time to use your brain and not your bullying skills.

You just said nothing by the way. Just a bunch of gibberish. unlike you I’m smart enough to know it when I get thrown a bunch of BS. RIch people that moved to CHina or tax havens are traitors to our democracies, just like you.”

commented Apr 02, 2010 at 10:27:00

“I think you misunderstood me, my friend. I’m more like an ordinary ant looking around after the army ants have come and gone.

Bigfro said: That’s communism. A pwerful elite controls everything and rigs the game because they are not smart enough to earn the money so they steal it…

Perhaps you could expain the difference between one-person-one-vote and one-person-one-dollar.

…if you had any brains you’d be building something…

I am presently working on a solar greenhouse, but I find it hard to type and hammer at the same time.

…Why would anyone invests their money with a bank…

The only investment I have is a zero-interest loan to a friend going through bankruptcy.

…RIch people that moved to CHina or tax havens…

I would have to put the plane ticket on my Visa.

…are traitors to our democracies, just like you.

Apparently a lot of people thought Socrates’ questions were treasonous too…”

LawTalkingGuy     12:44 PM on 4/02/2010

What? I don’t think you understood Joseph Furtenbacher at all.

There is no doubletalk there. He suggests that most people complain, but keep their money in and get their credit from big banks not microfinance or credit unions.

You ask “Why would anyone invests their money with a bank that is trying to make them lose it by recommending bad sticks that the firm has sold short.”

That is what he is saying. You agree with him. He thinks putting your money in those firms is stupid, and asks why we complain instead of taking our money out. He agrees with you, and you say “High school is over loser, time to use your brain and not your bullying skills.”

What bullying? You’re the one that immediately resorted to name-calling. You are the bully here. And you are trying to bully someone who agrees with you. That’s crazy.

He says things like “Why we’re required to buy liability insurance for our cars, but not our guns?” you say “That’s communism. ” Don’t you relize he may be saying that we should NOT be required to buy liability insurance on cars? That again, he may be the opposite of communist? Do you realize that mandatory auto insurance is not communism?

“You just said nothing by the way. Just a bunch of gibberish”

Exactly. Attacking people that agree with you, insulting total strangers, declaring that things are ‘Communism” like it’s the 50’s. You just said nothing.

commented Apr 02, 2010 at 13:56:41

“In an effort to maintain transparency, fanned.”

LawTalkingGuy on Apr 2, 2010 at 18:12:38

“Your transparency in getting his replies to my defence? Just curious – you were entitled to the defence since bigfro is acting like a fool, and I will fan you based on your comments and not out of reciprocity! ;o)”

commented Apr 03, 2010 at 00:40:38

“If you had stepped into the fray with weak arguments, I would have been grateful. If you had responded directly to my post I would have been interested. But anyone who defends looking at both sides of a question, in a highly competent manner, at some risk to himself and with no reward in sight, will be fanned by me. In my book, you did the right thing, in the right way, for the right reasons (a rarity), so I felt entirely comfortable in helping speed your career. After I’d fanned you, it occurred to me that there might be a seeming conflict of interest. Was I patting you on the back because you did good work (merit), or merely because you had patted me on the back (cronyism.) So I decided to take the question public (transparency), and take any lumps anyone felt I had coming.”

Commented Apr 2, 2010 at 14:26:04 in Business

“To me, wishes are just another drug. Think carefully before you come between an addict and his dealer; remember Prohibition.”

Why the Fight for Financial Reform Needs to Get Much More Personal

Commented Apr 6, 2010 at 01:57:41 in Business

“Slightly off-topic, but then, where wouldn’t it be?

What’s Your Wisdom Quotient?

Why are representatives not required to live on the median income of the population they represent?

Why are people allowed to vote for their head of state but not for their head of company?

Why do we have mixed-market workstations but communist polling booths?

Why are votes not earned through attendance at community business and social events?

How does a progressive luxury tax differ from a stable economy?

Why do we have sin taxes but no repentance subsidies?

How does a profit differ from a private tax?

Why are doctors not required to serve as general practitioners before specializing?

How does a tax on medical line jumping differ from a medical investment subsidy?

How does a carbon tax differ from a health promotion and environmental protection subsidy?

Why are we required to buy liability insurance for our cars but not for our guns and televisions?

Why do self-made billionaires never start new businesses in refugee camps?

Why do Christians use medical resources to prolong their lives?

Why does the Pope pay for protection?

How does helping people out of a burning building differ from helping people out of a war zone?

Why are people not required to repay their parents half of what it cost to raise them?

How are children too young to consent to sex able to consent to car rides?

How does obesity accompanying starvation differ from cannibalism?

How do dishonest representatives differ from lazy constituents?

How does constructive criticism differ from love?

Multiply the number of questions you answered without saying “don’t know” or a variant by ten.

Joseph Furtenbacher

p.s. It’s called a wisdom quotient for easy understandability. Why divide if you don’t have to?”

Joseph Furtenbacher on Apr 6, 2010 at 23:59:16

“Dear Arianna, staff and readers:

Congratulations on winning the free speech sweepstakes against the Guardian over in the UK, who for some reason decided the preceding post should be censored, although in their favor, it must be admitted that in a subsequent post they allowed William Wordsworth to say much the same thing:

Rapine, Avarice, Expense,
This is idolatry; and these we adore;
Plain living and high thinking are no more.

p.s. As a latter-day de Tocqueville, I would, if given the chance, ask President Obama what he intends to do about America’s addiction to unhealthy and unsustainable mental and physical luxuries.

Any ideas on what he would say?”

Commented Apr 7, 2010 at 02:08:46 in Business

“Is it the market that tells us to spend, spend, spend, or is it our own thoughtless emotions? Of course, the market may encourage the expression of those emotions…”

Commented Apr 7, 2010 at 03:33:27 in Business

“…the real power left for the Working Class.

What is your position on raising the minimum wage?”

Commented Apr 7, 2010 at 21:39:36 in Business

“There’s a huge problem with regulating a economy, no one really knows how it actually works…

Having studied both economics and evolutionary psychology, I do. But it’s like trying to explain to smokers that their cigarettes will kill them – they don’t care. Americans are addicted to unhealthy luxuries – they want more unhealthy food (preferably cooked by someone else), more clothes (how many outfits does anyone actually need?), bigger houses (I get by with 180 sq ft), more comfortable cars (I use a bike), bigger televisions (I have none; I prefer books), better cell phones (I pay $20/mth for a land line), higher internet speeds (I pay $5/mth for dialup), more money (I manage on $12,000/yr).

I’m happy – are any of you? How much do you save? I could eat for the next couple of months without setting foot outside. I have $20,000 in credit for emergencies like vet bills (my health care is free). I live on a quiet residential street in downtown Ottawa (self-contained, $450/mth, heat and hydro included), with a backyard full of trees. I do whatever I want to do, whenever I want to do it.

…I personally have no idea how to fix the economy and keep it from going belly up again…

You need to implement progressive luxury taxes (with basic personal exemptions) and use the proceeds to fund production of healthy necessities. But when everyone’s addicted to one thing or another, it’s hard to convince anyone.”

RButler on Apr 11, 2010 at 01:44:16

“You’ve got it right. We Americans are wired to equate ‘more’ with ‘happiness’ when there is no correlation and even the richest people keep discovering that after they’ve spent millions on extravagant luxuries and it’s still not enough. You’ve demonstrated that you can be happy with what you have just the way it is.”

tweedledeedumb on Apr 8, 2010 at 07:54:01

“Excellent!”

Commented Apr 8, 2010 at 01:25:38 in Business

“Arianna wrote:

People like Ron Bednar and Mary McCurnin…a loving couple that got divorced last year…because it was the only way to make ends meet. Due to unemployment and a bankruptcy caused by a prolonged illness, they found themselves with only $300 in the bank…

This could never happen in Canada. If people are sick, they are taken care of without having to sell off everything they own. It’s called single payer – we pay our provincial governments, they pay our doctors and others – no insurance companies in sight, as far as I can tell, apart from foreign travel; thus no huge profits being sucked out of everyone’s pockets. Even our system could, of course, be improved by the imposition of a line jumping tax, the proceeds of which could be used to expand existing services.

But is any human actually reading this?”

jtenn on Apr 8, 2010 at 12:54:44

“I read it.
It makes sense to me but you see here in the US we are too civilized or is it self-absorbed to look for the reasons behind what is really going on here. We think the market going up is good when in reality the only money being made is simply the commissions the traders make; they could care less about their fellow Americans. “Its the vic”, to quote Jake of Two and a Half Men.
The Obama administration needs to put their opportunity in its true context. They need to stop wasting time wishing the repubs would act like humans and work towards a consensus, any consensus, because that is not going to happen! The repubs today are so totally out of touch that they are just not paying attention anymore.
The administration MUST get the peoples work done, now while they still can. November will take care on itself if they just do this. The repubs are so full of poop, that as things get better in the coming months if the Dems do their jobs, that the “right” will splinter to the four winds.
Dems, get your —- together!”

Exceptional Democracy

Commented Apr 8, 2010 at 03:29:13 in Politics

“With respect, I don’t think it’s so much your system (you seemed to be doing pretty well back in the fifties); it’s more that being number one after WWII, no one told you no, so you were susceptible to luxury addiction – more pay, bigger homes, better cars, bigger TVs, more shows, more unhealthy restaurant meals, more gadgets – all brought to you by the corporations everyone loves to hate. Meanwhile, of course, everyone eschewed the production of any part of their necessities – easier to bring in foreigners to do the dirty work. I live happily here in Ottawa on $12,000/yr, I have everything I need and want (except world peace and sustainable prosperity), and my time is my own. I realized a while ago that I was better off being addicted to leisure and second-hand books than to keeping up with either the Joneses or the Rockefellers.

p.s. Parliamentary systems are not without their addictions either – we have our tar sands up here in Canada, and in the UK, as the US, many suffer from unrealistic ROI addiction.”

Commented Apr 8, 2010 at 02:40:52 in Politics

“I’ve often wondered why people interested in changing things don’t form an online party, establish geographic bases, and get the vote out. I’ve thought of doing it myself, but I would feel compelled to call it the Sustainable Employment Party, in which case no-one would believe it.”

Commented Apr 8, 2010 at 13:47:02 in Politics

“I’ve often wondered why people interested in changing things don’t form an online party, establish geographic bases, and get the vote out. I’ve thought of doing it myself, but I would feel compelled to call it the Sustainable Employment Party, in which case no-one would believe it.”

HAMP Update: Twice As Many Homeowners Kicked Out Of Obama Foreclosure Program As Given Permanent Relief, New Data Show

Commented May 19, 2010 at 12:41:40 in Business

“Having read through the comments, I have (as usual) a few questions.

If you have successfully weathered the storm, are you willing to admit, like me, that maybe luck played a small part, or do you believe you earned every penny through your hard work in choosing the right birthplace and upbringing? Have you ever thought about German Jews watching their neighbors being led away, convinced it could never happen to them?

If you’re having problems, are you willing to admit that maybe your behavior played a small part, or did you, like me, cringe every time you heard the phrase “shop ’til you drop”? Are you willing to spend some time learning how you can help provide honest government, quality housing and health care, and sustainable employment for every American, or are you convinced that venting on Huffpo is the best way to reform corrupt politicians and greedy bankers?

When’s the last time any of you asked what you could do for your country instead of the opposite?

p.s. Personally, I would have encouraged home ownership by levying taxes similar to Social Security on landlords and tenants, but that may just be my philosophy, psychology and economics talking.”

middlekid2 on May 25, 2010 at 23:34:17

“I am with you all the way down the line – except on the p.s.

In 1989 my husband and I decided to build a duplex. The reason was two fold – a) A place for our aging parents to live if they needed it. b) We nicknamed the property Social Security, because we felt (21 years ago) that whatever amount we ended up paying into the Social Security system, would NOT be there when we were retirement age. So, as long as we have paying renters – we will have some income in our “old greezer years” We were just betting against a government ran program and don’t have plans to ask the government for help. Hope it works out for us.

We have always paid taxes on the income and true – the income is/was not subject to social security. But, just knowing the people that we have rented to over the years – many were not “mortgage worthy”, nor were they even interested in ALL that goes into owning a home.”

Commented May 28, 2010 at 05:51:52 in Business

“I can’t fault you for betting against a government program, given the chronic dearth of statesmen. Perhaps a similar feeling led me to say “I would have”. I would also have sworn an oath to live on the median income (plus security expenses:( of my constituents, for my terms of office plus one for good measure. (I realized years ago that people who do the right thing for the wrong reasons are probably doing many wrong things.) In my world, insurance would be invested in abatement (in this case, condos), but even unmotivated renters could use a “reverse mortgage” to enjoy their retirement more.

It’s good that you pay your taxes and do not ask for help; but do not even the tax-collectors do the same?:) (On my comments page (should you choose to accept your mission), you’ll find I prefer a colorful turn of phrase to a colorless lecture.) In an emergency, even you might find yourself faced with asking the government for help – and hoping they respond in time.

p.s. Perhaps you would be interested in my ideas on a progressive real estate tax, under which owners of mansions would either spend less on getting away from it all or open bed-and-breakfasts:)

p.p.s. Have you ever thought about childless renters being led away to government retirement homes?”

Commented May 19, 2010 at 18:27:10 in Business

“Winston120: But y’all keep dinkin’ that OKoolaid, hear?

What are you dinkin’?”

SPAIN62     07:05 PM on 5/19/2010

Come on people, it’s time to storm the banks and Wall Street! Where is my pitch fork?

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Joseph Furtenbacher   08:56 PM on 5/19/2010

SPAIN62: Come on people, it’s time to storm the banks and Wall Street! Where is my pitch fork?

In your barn, perhaps?

SPAIN62   09:06 PM on 5/19/2010

Yawn…

Go to bed sunshine, you’re out of your league here.

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Joseph Furtenbacher   09:42 AM on 5/20/2010

SPAIN62: Go to bed sunshine, you’re out of your league here.

I’m beginning to agree. In my league, the players aren’t afraid to use their real names.

inonoatama   09:39 PM on 5/19/2010

From Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s First Inaugural, March 4, 1933:

“… the rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failures and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.”

“Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored conditions. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers.”

“Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be values only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit, and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing.”

“I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis. . .broad executive power to wage a war against the emergency as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.”

If only Obama had half the courage of FDR … to deal with greed and arrogance ten times the scale of what Roosevelt was confronted with.

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Joseph Furtenbacher   10:41 PM on 5/19/2010

inonoatama: If only Obama had half the courage of FDR … to deal with greed and arrogance ten times the scale of what Roosevelt was confronted with.

FDR only had to deal with a few bankers, not with a populace addicted to luxuries bought with borrowed money. If President Obama ordered every bank vault emptied and the money thrown in the streets, most people would stop off at Walmart before heading back to their nice McMansion to book that Caribbean getaway they’d been putting off for so long.

inonoatama   01:16 AM on 5/20/2010

Joe:

I think you may be idealizing our “thrifty” predecessors in the 1920s. But I think you make a good point – the people have plenty to answer for in this mess. Still, Obama blew a big opportunity to put in strong financial sector regulation, and is blowing an opportunity to lead the nation into some economic common sense. It’s hard to tell a little kid there’s no Tooth Fairy but you can have a much worse problem on your hands if you don’t.

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Joseph Furtenbacher   10:41 PM on 5/19/2010

inonoatama:

I admit my knowledge of those times is purely hearsay:) As I observed in a previous comment, though, I’ve seen lots of funny signs, but none saying “will work for food”. I agree that the Presidential soapbox has been sadly underutilized; my rather depressing conclusion is that Mr. Obama is just as subevolutionary (controlled by his emotions) as the kids he promised the quarters to.

p.s. I’m fanning you for your final sentence, which pretty much sums up my efforts here on Huffpo. I think most people believe she’s hiding out on Wall Street.

CateManhattan   08:35 PM on 5/19/2010

Kevin, I totally agree. Why do people trust these bankers? They will not stop until they have everything. They assume they have carte blanche to wreck everything and everyone . . . . They fully believe that the person who has the most toys ‘wins’ — and lost their humanity as a result.

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Joseph Furtenbacher   12:19 AM on 5/20/2010

CateManhattan: Why do people trust these bankers? They will not stop until they have everything. They assume they have carte blanche to wreck everything and everyone . . . . They fully believe that the person who has the most toys ‘wins’ — and lost their humanity as a result.

And that makes them different from the average American – how? Inquiring third world minds want to know.

aykhan629     12:33 AM on 5/20/2010

My story:

I wish I would never have to borrow money my whole life. However, I was told I had to build credit history and get a credit card. In 2008, I found myself with a few months of unemployment. I didn’t max out the card, of course. But I figured I would keep a balance, make payments and then use it occasionally, all of which were suggestions to me by people at the bank.

I’ve NEVER missed a payment, and my credit score is very good. I wanted another card to build my credit history. Considering I have my accounts with Chase, I figure I’ll just get a separate credit card from a different provider. I was DENIED because my “recent credit history” showed that I was actually using my card and it didn’t warrant any more credit. I asked how that could be when there are hundreds of people who have several MAXED OUT credit cards who are approved, they said, “Not anymore!” And then made a stupid comment about the economy like I was an idiot.

I am sickened by the fact that I have to take the brunt of bad decisions of other generations. I am not from a family that treated credit cards like free money. I had no intention on maxing out a credit card or defaulting on payments. I wanted to develop my credit history. Why is it I have to lose out because credit companies and people from other generations were irresponsible?

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Joseph Furtenbacher   01:25 AM on 5/20/2010

aykhan629: I wanted to develop my credit history.

The easiest way, intellectually, to develop your credit history, is to save money: if you had half the price of a purchase saved (and a little bit of ongoing income, of course), I don’t think there’s a bank in the land that would fail to lend you the other half. I will admit that emotionally, it’s the hardest way.

…Why is it I have to lose out…?

Because developing a credit history is not generally considered to be a human right.

aykhan629   01:25 PM on 5/20/2010

you say that, but i have a good amount saved up. and i rarely make large purchases. the thing about this situation is that the bank could physically see that i had the money to pay off the card. i chose not to because i was told by someone (back in the day when the economy wasn’t spiraling) that you should keep a balance on the card and make payments to show good faith. not only that, i was going to pay it off this summer. all of which i explained. all of which they said looked possible.

and regardless, what the hell is a credit card for if you can never use it? how can you build a credit history if you can never use a card?

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Joseph Furtenbacher   09:49 PM on 5/20/2010

Sorry for the delay; I’m fairly new to evpsych diagnosis…

You have to realize that most or all of the people you’ve known have unwittingly led you astray. You absorbed the notion that multiple credit cards and a good credit history were an essential aspect of status, even though humanity has managed quite well without either for all but a microscopic fraction of its existence. And apparently no one thought to teach you that life is often unfair.

You say, “I wish I would never have to borrow money my whole life” and “i have a good amount saved up. and i rarely make large purchases.” Do you realize how few people can say that? It’s worth a walletful of cards. As long as your earnings are ethical, and your purchases are sustainable and healthy, you are well on the way to a better life than either your wind-up bank reps or their maxed-out customers.

If you want to improve your understanding of humanity, I recommend “The Moral Animal” by Robert Wright. I devoured it in three days, and three years later retired with a 100% increase in income.

HamletsMill     12:26 AM on 5/20/2010

That is a very real possibility. In the current completely unregulated, anything goes, over-the-top casino economy anything is possible. They own us. And there is no end in sight. It is Las Vegas 24/7 with everyone’s life savings! Every dollar in the economy and every bank account, everywhere , is always at systemic risk now because it is an ABSOLUTE FREE FOR ALL!.

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Joseph Furtenbacher   02:36 AM on 5/20/2010

HamletsMill: They own us.

The banks only own those of you whose intellects are owned by their emotions, which, I will admit, includes most of you. Even then the chain of ownership is often indirect, via the many companies, large and small, who provide the goods and services that you love not wisely, but too well. And try to remember that bankers whose intellects are owned by their emotions are owned by their banks just like you.

“I wept because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” – Persian proverb

HamletsMill   01:27 PM on 5/20/2010

I read you recent comments pages on your profile. I understand what you are trying to say here. I myself live frugally. But I was speaking more along the lines of systemic risk. You are in Canada. Your banking system is in much better shape than ours. Here people could live frugally and still lose their life savings if we hit another September 2008 in the house of cards. Or inflation could take it all. Even those whose “intellects are NOT owned by their emotions” will STILL go down with the ship in steerage. But I do understand what you are trying to say.

suzc   08:59 AM on 5/21/2010

What utter nonsense! Spoken like a man with a lot of money! I have lived frugally. I have seen the coming storms and taken my money out of my S&L before it crashed, left BofA after it raised my rate and changed my due date without telling me, gave up large banks and credit years ago. I even own my home, because that was of utmost importance to me. I should be safe, right? But I also lost my job. And my cash resources. I must live on a miniscule retirement. If my furnace goes out, I will be hard pressed to replace it. If my roof leaks, how will I pay to repair it? I have done everything right for 50 years. It matters not one whit! I’m in better shape than millions. But I’m one “problem” away from destitution.

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Joseph Furtenbacher   02:39 PM on 5/21/2010

suzc: What utter nonsense! Spoken like a man with a lot of money! I have lived frugally..

You’re the second person who’s accused me of being a closet millionaire:) While I agree that my present disposable income of $580/mth is a huge improvement over the $95/mth I lived on for the five years before that, I won’t be playing poker with Warren and Bill anytime soon…

..I even own my home, because that was of utmost importance to me..

More important than helping those less fortunate than you? (I’m assuming you’re not a Christian.) As Leonardo Da Vinci remarked, “Savage is he who saves himself”.

..But I also lost my job..

Along with millions of other Americans who were taking in each other’s laundry while ignoring a 30-year negative balance of trade.

..I must live on a miniscule retirement..

You’ve never heard of a reverse mortgage?

..If my furnace goes out..

My $30 heater-fan does more for me than my landlord’s furnace, but then I only have to heat a 180 sq ft granny flat.

..If my roof leaks..

Mine leaked for five years till the landlord got around to fixing it…I made do with pots and pans.

..I’m in better shape than millions..

Maybe try counting your blessings?

suzc   05:34 PM on 5/21/2010

interesting, if inaccurate, comments (on not following your own advice to walk a mile in another’s shoes)

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Joseph Furtenbacher   07:30 PM on 5/21/2010

suzc: interesting, if inaccurate, comments (on not following your own advice to walk a mile in another’s shoes)

Since you don’t quote me, I can only assume you are referring to the proverb I quoted, “I wept because I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet”, but that has nothing to do with empathy, one of my favorite emotions; rather, it’s a pretty straightforward translation of the other old saying I quoted, “count your blessings”.

In your case,

“I wept that I had no money to replace my furnace or roof, until I read about Darfurian families being massacred in their homes by government soldiers”.

I have walked a mile in your shoes (or a less expensive version of them), as I tried to explain in great detail.
Have you tried walking a mile in the shoes of a Darfurian?

T4     07:58 PM on 5/19/2010

Do you expect anything else? I find the notion that this is anything but exactly what we deserve to be hilarious. The financial crisis was a myth so these banks could dump bad debt and not suffer any consequences. Their frontmen were Bernake and Tim G and confederates were paulson, bush and Obama and then Mccain. Remember Obama agreed to the bailouts. If he hadn’t Bush would have never gone through with them and when he came to power Obama expanded and added to the giveaways. The banks absorbed all the credit and colapsed the economy while giving themselves bonuses and Obama did nothing – sorry Obamaphiles. Concurrently, Obama nationalized the home lending business and now 95% of all loans go through Freddie or Fannie and they are broke because they absorbed all the bad debt – hence no lending is currently possible. So we stuffed the banks with money and let the funding mechanism go broke. Housing like cars is fundamental to the economy and by destroying it – the economy fell apart. I don;t think people understand what Obama did and how everything links directly to them.So we shot ourselves to reward criminal behavior- what message did this send. Thanks Obama for bringing the change you promised, Ijust thought it would change for the better. My mistake.

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Joseph Furtenbacher   05:07 AM on 5/20/2010

T4: Thanks Obama for bringing the change you promised, Ijust thought it would change for the better. My mistake.

If you want to avoid making that mistake again, you could do worse than check out the comments page of my profile. If you don’t end up bored to tears, convulsed with laughter, or transfixed with rage, there’s an (unpaid) opening for you in the Sustainable Employment Party, which theoretically could lead you to the White House. If that sounds too much like work, feel free to make the same mistake with someone new; there will never be a shortage of candidates willing to tell people what they want to hear.

rockstaradvisor     11:50 PM on 5/20/2010

What does anything you just said have to do with Peter007’s explanation? Totally bizarre.

Banks are hoarding cash, this has been widely reported. If “greedy” banks thought they could make money by lending, wouldnt they do exactly that?! Yes they would. Look at it from a bank’s point of view: we’re in the deepest recession in 80 years and they’re being pressured to lend to risky small businesses, who are always at a highest risk of failure during recessions. Why would they lend money to anyone but the highest quality borrowers? The highest quality borrowers don’t want to borrow more money. In fact, those borrowers are paying down credit with the banks.

Then they have their capital levels to worry about and the toxic assets still on their balance sheets from when this whole meltdown started a few years ago.

It’s a conundrum that has no easy solution.

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Joseph Furtenbacher   10:16 PM on 5/21/2010

rockstaradvisor: It’s a conundrum that has no easy solution.

If you can step back from the banks a bit, and look at the larger picture, in particular, taxes, there may be an easy solution. As HamletsMill said in a response to me:

You are in Canada. Your banking system is in much better shape than ours.

Coincidentally, we also have a national value-added tax, our much-hated GST (the Conservative government that implemented it dropped from a majority to two seats). I read in Forbes a while ago that Americans spent $350 billion on restaurant meals last year. Now include all the other unnecessary purchases Americans make. Even with our current modest rate of 5%, that’s a lot of money that could be applied to good ends. You might even reduce the 60% or so of medical costs involving lifestyle diseases, and improve your balance of trade. Of course, you then have to find either a fair number of people who agree or a suicidal political party, and that, I admit, could be a tough nut to crack.

p.s In my bar band days, I wanted to be a rock star. Then I realized (I think it was Freddy Mercury who helped me out on this point) that it was an awful lot like work.

rockstaradvisor   12:39 AM on 5/22/2010

@ Joseph Furtenbacher –

The best solution would honestly be to stop the bailouts and let things fail. It would be carnage in the short run, but it’s the quickest way to work through it. Bush and now Obama are merely putting a big band-aid on the problem and kicking the can down the road hoping future growth fixes everything. Unfortunately, I have to agree with Paul Krugman and others who think we may be headed for a “lost decade” type scenario like Japan.

Canada’s banks have dodged the bullet so far, but I just saw a story that said they may be headed for trouble. I think a few of them might be into Greece, Portugal and Spain quite a bit.

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Joseph Furtenbacher   12:17 AM on 5/23/2010

Hi,

After reading your accurate observations (apart from describing a ten year drought as the best solution), I decided to refresh my knowledge of Paul Krugman’s views. He is a good person (I may well start posting on his blog), but he is an academic, which means he built a fine house years ago and instead of adding rooms settled for cosmetic improvements.

As a polymath, I have been adding rooms for years – economics, philosophy, psychology, history, theology, sociology, law, architecture, nutrition, etc. Like Francis Bacon, “I have taken all knowledge my province”, with the caveat that during working hours it must have some bearing on improving the human condition.

Please see my comments page for more on my approach to life, which is somewhat off the beaten path.

p.s. When I searched for “paul krugman” “value added tax” I found a(n) nyt article, “Climate of Change” which contained the following snippet:

But America’s really big fiscal problems lurk over that budget horizon: sooner or later we’re going to have to come to grips with the forces driving up long-run spending – above all, the ever-rising cost of health care.

And even if fundamental health care reform brings costs under control, I at least find it hard to see how the federal government can meet its long-term obligations without some tax increases on the middle class. Whatever politicians may say now, there’s probably a value-added tax in our future.

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Joseph Furtenbacher   12:36 AM on 5/23/2010

Sigh. In an effort to squeeze under the 250 word limit (please, Huffpo, increase Reply word limits; you’d get far fewer drive-by postings and more conversations), I mangled poor old Francis’ biggest chance at a comeback in years. The quote should have read, of course, “I have taken all knowledge *to be* my province” Posting online is one of the provinces I’m still exploring.

rockstaradvisor   09:58 AM on 5/23/2010

I didnt say I think the 10 year drought is the best solution. I did say I think that’s where we’re headed because we won’t just let things fail. By bailing out everybody were are setting ourselves up for a long term Japan-like deflationary trap. The similarities are eerie.

Read Krugman’s “Return of Depression Economics.” It’s a great examination of similar crises throughout recent history. Ken Rogoff’s “This Time Is Different” is also fantastic and is THE most comprehensive endeavor into the subject.

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Joseph Furtenbacher   05:01 PM on 5/23/2010

I apologize; I admit I was too distracted by the image of the crowds of angry people that an end to bailouts might entail to give your response the attention I should have.

I understand the concept of creative destruction, but how are all these unemployed people going to come up with the great new ideas that will bring the world back to America’s doorstep? Maybe instead they’ll spend their time worrying about how to stay in their home, or what they’ll do if they’re forced to leave?

We don’t live in a world where people can just roll up their shirtsleeves and invent a better mousetrap, and the sooner Americans realize that, the better off they’ll be.

p.s. I’d rather live in Japan than Greece…

p.p.s. Are the books you recommend available for free download? (The most polite phrase I can think of for well-off copyright holders is “not the brightest dogs in the manger”. Maybe allow people to download one or two of your books as a means of spreading your ideas and combatting video addiction?)

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Joseph Furtenbacher   04:08 AM on 5/26/2010

It seems a few other North Americans agree with me:)

From “Once Considered Unthinkable, U.S. Sales Tax Gets Fresh Look” on wp:

At a White House conference earlier this year on the government’s budget problems, a roomful of tax experts pleaded with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to consider a VAT.. And last month..the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee declared that a VAT should be part of the debate.

The Treasury is borrowing 46 cents of every dollar it spends, largely from China and other foreign creditors..

Yale law professor Michael J. Graetz estimates that a VAT of 10 to 14 percent would raise enough money to exempt families earning less than $100,000..from the income tax.. Graetz’s proposal drew an endorsement from Volcker, who last year called it “a sensible plan for reform.”

“Everybody who understands our long-term budget problems understands we’re going to need a new source of revenue, and a VAT is an obvious candidate,” said Leonard Burman, co-director of the Tax Policy Center.. Most lawmakers are still looking for “a painless source of revenue” to overhaul the health-care system and dig the nation out of debt, Burman said. “Who knows?” he added. “Maybe the tooth fairy will bring that to them.”

HuffPost Business Is Looking For The ‘Innovator Of The Week’

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Commented May 25, 2010 at 02:39:57 in Business

“Ryan McCarthy said,

We’re looking for a few good innovators.

Unfortunately, that promising start was followed by “an argument that dealt in limitless fire and brimstone and thinned the predestined elect down to a company so small as to be hardly worth the saving”.

Otherwise, I would have submitted my own name; there’s more innovation (rather casually inserted here and there, I’ll admit) on my comments page than in the rest of the world combined. And there’s a lot more where that came from (I’m a polymath).

I also have my own philosophy, antiirreversibilityism, with the categorical imperative “minimize irreversibility”, and the definition of “good” as “tending to decrease irreversibility, or the result of such a decrease”. (If anyone begs to differ, I will certainly allow them to speak:)

p.s. Anyone who wants to learn how to fix the economy should start with a dictionary. Mine says:

economy 1. Frugal management of money, materials, resources, and the like; freedom from extravagance; thrift…

Anyone who wants to limit government should start by acknowledging that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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Commented May 26, 2010 at 22:13:58 in Business

“I hear KFC is planning on introducing “Democrat” and “Republican” meals. Democrats will get to consume right wings, while the left wings will be sold to Republicans.”

HAMP Update: Twice As Many Homeowners Kicked Out Of Obama Foreclosure Program As Given Permanent Relief, New Data Show

Commented May 28, 2010 at 15:41:33 in Business

“catriley said,

The chickens have come home to roost, and they belong on a ranch in Crawford, Texas. But as usual, the clean-up staff gets the blame for not getting foie gras stains off the carpet fast enough.

My only concern is they may be spending too much time polishing off the leftovers:)”

Obama White House Defends Itself Against James Carville’s Oil Spill Criticism

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Commented May 29, 2010 at 10:31:39 in Green

“iceage7 said,

Carville keep doing what u are doing..Hold the ADm feet to the fire..Enough of this hero worship..I praise Obama when i agree with him but i criticize him when i dont agree with him..My beef with him is teh response to the containment of the spill. Like it or not bush got hell for his response to katrina..And Obam deserves the same. No hero worship for me here..Like it ornot..Its time we held our elected officials accountable. Period

I’m beginning to believe that my hypothesis, “the better you bash the faster you’re fanned” has some merit; I’ve seen nothing against it so far. If all you have is a baseball bat, by all means use it to good effect. The problem is, you can’t use it to fix what’s in the mirror.”

BP Says So Far, Gulf Well Plug Isn’t Working

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Commented May 30, 2010 at 15:20:21 in Green

“Marcospinelli wrote,

Is it going to be possible to ever cap the Deepwater Horizon oil blowout? Maybe not, says National Geographic:

Such recovery operations have never been done before in the extreme deep-sea environment around the wellhead, noted Matthew Simmons, retired chair of the energy-industry investment banking firm Simmons & Company International..

“We don’t have any idea how to stop this,” Simmons said of the Gulf leak..

Has anyone considered scuttling a few empty tankers above it to staunch the flow?”

Ed Markey: BP ‘Lying Or Incompetent’ About Scope Of Gulf Oil Spill

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Commented May 31, 2010 at 08:30:29 in Green

“goodog identified the true problem:)

It’s man-made, by the way, and he’s stuck dealing with the same shadowy overlords who caused this in the first place…nor do they have Obama or America’s interests at heart more than they have broadly obvious but non-specific self-interests that only they know for certain…Most Americans…

ClassicalGas chimed in:

They’re sure having a wonderful time gleefully shrieking that this is “Obama’s Katrina”, aren’t they? They would sacrifice ANYTHING in order for this administration to fail, anything.

Has anyone ever seen a stranger moral fervor? You who dirty the mirror cry that it isn’t clean. – Juana Inez de la Cruz, 1648 – 1695”

had-enough     12:22 AM on 5/31/2010

LYING! BRITISH LIARS! CORRUPT MONEY GRUBBERS! THEY ARE ANTI-AMERICAN SINCE WORLD WAR 2. THEY THINK WE SCREWED THEM & TEACH THEIR CHILDREN THAT IN SCHOOLS to brainwash early ! FACT!

fromblewit   12:32 AM on 5/31/2010

You can rest assured that children are not tought to be anti american in schools, in fact they are not tought anything at all!

skatoolaki   01:19 AM on 5/31/2010

Especially won’t be now after the farce in Texas.

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Joseph Furtenbacher   11:33 AM on 5/31/2010

Maybe you could send in Teachers Without Borders…

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Commented May 31, 2010 at 12:20:02 in Green

“mcartri said,

McCain’s Great Misadventure(Palin) says, “Drill Baby Drill”. Obama’s response is, “Let’s do it.” See the great difference between corporate owned Republicans & corporate owned Democrats?

Let’s not forget corporate owned Americans, who cheered everyone on with “Drive Baby Drive”, and who would have rioted in the streets if any leader had announced gas was going up by fifty cents to pay for new environmental protection.

I do not know the method of drawing up an indictment against an whole people. – Edmund Burke”

mcartri replied on May 31, 2010 at 19:59:04

“I agree with your comments, Joe. The two-quotes that I find more revealing about our body politics are: “Money ruined Democracy.”(Bill Moyers) “You can’t govern stupid.”(Bill Maher)”

Obama Oil Spill Response: President Visits Gulf Coast Beach

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Commented May 31, 2010 at 14:10:44 in Green

“jamaicalover asked,

Okay…what are you going to spend three hours doing?

I don’t know about suzc, but I’m going to try to find a few more Americans who can’t be summed up by the old saying “You can lead a fool to wisdom, but you cannot make him think”. Know any?”

Sunday Roundup

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Commented May 31, 2010 at 21:06:21 in Politics

“Mij13 gushed,

…[The president] inherited an enormous mess, and the mess in the Gulf is what happens when we let oil companies do whatever they want…

Like sell cheap gas to Americans? How did we let that happen?

I don’t suppose anyone’s ready for a carbon tax yet? (Perhaps not cap-and-trade…)”

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented May 31, 2010 at 23:03:50 in Politics

“Mort Twain wrote,

I am an Obama supporter but not a mindless one. He needs to perform or he’s out. He’ll be fine, will we?

Perhaps if you can put on an honest show for the world, and stop pretending you’re nobility, you can at least avoid the fate that befell the Duke and the King.

p.s. I wonder what Mark Twain would have thought of performing presidents…”

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 01, 2010 at 00:14:14 in Politics

“BenNC opined,

The Military is equipped to save and destroy lives. If lives are at risk, we should expect the Military to be prepared: They are not prepared to be in the oil business..

Neither are volunteers, but they seem to be prepared to be in the oil abatement business.

..If you want the government to control commercial enterprises, then Hello Sweet Soviet Russia..

And here I was thinking that if corporate taxes were paid with stock, it would spur innovation…

..More people will eventually lose their lives to Diabetes from drinking Pepsi –

That’s why I would support a progressive sugar tax.

..go bark up a real tree – this is not a crisis – it is an industrial incident of the first order. Sit down in front, I can’t see.

I prefer “Lead, follow, or get out of the way” myself.”

BenNC replied on Jun 01, 2010 at 09:58:48

“If you really think that the military is best qualified to soak up oil with a towel or a trowel, then you think less of the military than I do.

If you think they are well suited to plugging a 3 mile hole with 6000psi in it – a mile under the surface, then you think a great deal more of the military than I do – given their last few successes, I wouldn’t ask the US military to unplug my toilet, and I think those most displaced by the oil should be first in line for the cleanup jobs.

The fact is there is very little world experience in solving this particular problem. BP and the Industry and everyone is learning as we go – that is fine – that is evolution and the story of human advancement.

With what pray tell do you intend to lead? You want to be the first to misappropriate a metaphor “this is a war on oil”? as if collective punishment of the oil or BP shareholders for that matter is somehow going to mitigate 6000psi of oil? Maybe the oil spill will sue for peace on the deck of the H.M.S. Deep Horizon?

Tough talk, archaic slogans, and false trichotomies are hopelessly useless in solving a purely amoral technical challenge. Science problem here, Scientists only need apply.”

[Censored by Arianna]

Joseph Furtenbacher replied on Jun 02, 2010 at 00:42:43

“BenNC blustered,

If you really think that the military is best qualified to soak up oil with a towel or a trowel, then you think less of the military than I do..

I’m glad to hear that’s possible.

..If you think they are well suited to plugging a 3 mile hole..then you think a great deal more of [them] than I do..I wouldn’t ask the US military to unplug my toilet..

I gathered that when you said they were equipped to “destroy lives”. And how did “best qualified” and “well suited” creep in?

..With what pray tell do you intend to lead?..

My philosophy, antiirreversibilityism, my psychology, supraevolutionism, and my economics, social marketism. Please see my comments page for further information.

..Tough talk, archaic slogans, and false trichotomies are hopelessly useless in solving a purely amoral technical challenge..

“We are discussing no small matter, but how we ought to live.” – Socrates

..Science problem here, Scientists only need apply..

Guess you’re not going to get many cleaners, then.”

[Censored by Arianna]

BP CEO Tony Hayward (VIDEO): ‘I’d Like My Life Back’

Commented Jun 03, 2010 at 14:48:42 in Green

“hollybork wrote to Santa,

Tony wants his life back. We want our pristine estuaries, migratory flyways, abundantly fertile swamps and coastal waters back. We want this great food producing natural resource back. We would like to see – IN JAIL – …the entire BP chain of command all the way down to at idiot top manager guy who said drill faster in this pressure troubled well, transition it not with drilling mud but with seawater, and “this is the way YOU ARE GOING TO DO IT” to the dubious drilling crew. That is what we all want.”

Unfortunately, Santa has a “no return” policy on his lumps of coal.

Men will lie on their backs, talking about the fall of man, and never make an effort to get up. – Henry David Thoreau”

hollybork replied on Jun 03, 2010 at 16:40:18

“Yup, you and the benign indifference of the universe (Camus), you got me.

And how is it we both are bloggers, when Thoreau points the way to a private haunt in the woods, on the edge of a small lake, eating ferns and sketching clouds?”

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 03, 2010 at 18:55:42 in Green

“I think even Thoreau realized that no man is an island. That’s why I would prefer to improve my well-being by attending to that of society – by encouraging the formation of a new political party (I thought of proposing “The Sustainable Employment Party” until I realized that most people were more interested in unsustainable paychecks; now I’m thinking of calling humanity’s bluff by suggesting “The Ethical Party”:) I’ve been describing a possible platform through my comments, as a means of both searching for the great minds who think alike:) and ordering my own thoughts. And though trite, “united we stand, divided we fall” still has some truth.

p.s. While I would like nothing better than to be sitting by a lake in the woods right now, with a nice little cabin behind me, if I do move out of my small oasis of nature in the heart of Ottawa, it will probably be to a solar food production unit I’m designing, on a small piece of farmland. But then, if the progressive vacation home tax I would advocate were implemented, time-shares might well be cheaper:)”

hollybork replied on Jun 03, 2010 at 19:12:28

“I like that response. Fanned . The Ethical Party, that is something. I am not sure what to do exactly. I am old enough to be jaded, but hopeful enough to still try working through the party system for change even though it becomes more and more apparent how profoundly flawed our group problem solving is in this democracy. You Canadian have so many things right, I think we in the states can do better. I guess you could say I am a skeptical idealist.

A solar food production could mean a green house, so i don’t know what you are referring to. I am interested in sustainable agriculture and permaculture.”

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 03, 2010 at 20:25:10 in Green

“A solar food production unit is a solar greenhouse that uses insulating shutters, with living quarters below that, mushroom production in the basement, and a water tank below that. I would have apple and pear trees on the north side with chickens and goats, and below their quarters would be carp polyculture with catfish and tilapia. And, of course, a composting toilet. (The production and installation of healthy necessities, such as composting toilets and community rooftop gardens, would be the first things funded (after personal rebates) by the progressive consumption taxes an Ethical government would regretfully have to impose.)

p.s. If you find nothing on my comments page that would be embarassing to you, I will certainly add my name to your list of friends.”

Blueberries and Kale Placed on Most Toxic List

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 04, 2010 at 20:15:11 in Living

“henrypapillon tried his hand at philosophy:

Oh, just have a steak everyday and enjoy life while you can.

Perhaps he can now re-post his findings to the UNHCR website, since not many refugees have Internet access.

Nothing is more fairly distributed than common sense: no one thinks he needs more of it than he already has. – René Descartes”

New Rule: Al Gore Must Come Out With a Sequel to His Film and Call It An Inconvenient Truth 2: What the F*ck Is Wrong With You People?

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 04, 2010 at 23:57:26 in Green

“Bill Maher wrote (with some justification:)

A bunch of depressing new surveys reveal that people in droves are starting to believe that global warming is a hoax – and this time, it’s not just us.. English people don’t believe..either. I thought the English were smarter than that. The home of Newton and Darwin..

You forgot Russell: Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so.

..That’s the problem with our obsession with..seeing two sides of every issue.. It means we have to pretend there are..two truths.. On this side of the debate: Every scientist in the world. On the other: Mr. Potato Head.. There is no debate here..

Exactly. They would fight shoulder to shoulder to prevent the implementation of a progressive carbon tax, or, indeed, any progressive consumption tax. I presume you would be among the freedom fighters?

..This is the fallacy called argumentum ad numeram: the idea that something is true because great numbers believe it. As in: Eat shit, 20 trillion flies can’t be wrong..

That argument doesn’t work so well with fast-food shareholders…

..Devastating, worldwide climate change is happening, whether you phone in and vote for it or not. You can’t vote for rain..

Try telling that to the Brits:)”

Ed Markey: BP ‘Lying Or Incompetent’ About Scope Of Gulf Oil Spill

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 05, 2010 at 16:34:25 in Green

“Hi,

I recently tested my mettle against that of Mr. Maher, and I would value your feedback (I might be biased:)

p.s. Your quotes recalled to mind another favorite:

Gabriel: How about cleanin’ up de whole mess of ’em and sta’tin’ all over ag’in wid some new kind of animal?
God: An’ admit I’m licked?

– Marcus Cook Connelly”

mcartri replied on Jun 22, 2010 at 22:54:14

“Joe, sorry in the response delay. MCC’s quote was written in a boat, floating in a moat, without a remote, learning quotes by rote. I’d toss in “vote”, but don’t want to get your goat. Paraphrasing the ghost of Will Rogers, who never met Rush Limbaugh, and I quote: “I never met a buffet I didn’t like.””

Sunday Roundup

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 06, 2010 at 15:22:39 in Politics

“Arianna wrote,

Isn’t it interesting how so many Gulf state Republicans are anti-big government – until they need its help?..

What I find more interesting is how so many Atlantic state Democrats are big government until someone suggests a VAT – then it’s big government for thee, but not for me.

..You know what they say: a Republican is just a Democrat who hasn’t been the victim of a catastrophic oil spill yet..

You could also say a Democrat is someone who hasn’t been FDRed yet.

..The BP disaster is the inevitable result of the Bush-era habit of filling regulatory agencies with industry lobbyists and cronies. So this is a teachable moment..

Would Upton Sinclair have agreed?

..Just as Reagan put forth his grand, unifying theory that government is the problem, not the solution, Obama needs to seize this opportunity to reframe the debate and show how Corporations Gone Wild are the real problem..

But are they? They weren’t the only ones extolling shopping ’til you dropped.

..What we have now isn’t free market capitalism, it’s corrupt third world cronyism. Tony Hayward would like his life back. Well, Americans would like our democracy back..

Given voter turnout rates over the last few decades, I’d say the law governing abandoned property applies…”

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 06, 2010 at 17:43:02 in Politics

“RoyPiper wrote,

What AH does not seem to understand, even thought she actually MAKES the point here, is that government, not the free-market, is the problem..

Isn’t that a bit like saying laws, not criminals, are the problem?

..Think about it! The problem is that government officials have turned over their power to the corporations via campaign contributions..

Much like Main Street consumers have turned over their power via shopping contributions.

..And this is a GOVERNMENT problem, not a free-market one..

I would have said it was a SPOILED CHILD problem. Americans wanted to have their cake and eat it too, but instead of paying for two cakes, opted to put one on their card.

As the aphorist said, you cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.”

Sarah Silverman Calls Fox News A ’24-Hour-A-Day Racism Engine,’ Fox News Hits Back

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 07, 2010 at 13:30:53 in Media

“cmaglaughlin reported:

Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance.

Where does that leave God?”

The Winds of Change

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 9, 2010 at 21:33:24 in Green

“Ted Danson wrote,

As new estimates show the Gulf oil spill to be the biggest in U.S. history,..the call to end offshore drilling in this country is growing..

How’s the call to end onshore digging doing?

..While images of oiled wildlife..hit us..there’s another reason why it’s time to stop drilling.. The reason is this:

Fossil fuel use not subject to progressive carbon taxes tends to poison as well as enervate us.

..There are several hundred offshore wind turbines..in Europe..the U.S. is..far behind..

Not in lifestyle diseases Þ(

..Driven by studies showing that offshore wind could provide enough electricity to power the entire country, the Obama administration has encouraged the growth of an offshore wind industry..

If Mr. Obama ever said “Progressive carbon tax – let’s do it!”, I’d invest in a corporation supporting him 🙂

..The United States holds ~2% of the world’s oil reserves, yet we generate ~25% of the world’s demand..

And 0% of its national value added taxes. Perhaps there’s a connection?

..This week Obama announced a moratorium on new permits to drill deepwater wells..suspended..exploration in Alaska, canceled lease sale[s] in the..Gulf of Mexico and..off..Virginia..

Maybe now he can move on to mountaintop removal…”

ikkon on Jun 10, 2010 at 04:21:33

“Europe has also left the U.S. behind in nuclear power plants. Should we go there? Cheap clean energy.”

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 11, 2010 at 02:57:56 in Green

“ikkon asked,

Europe has also left the U.S. behind in nuclear power plants. Should we go there?..

Well, you could; but there are strong and fairly steady offshore winds a lot closer.

..Cheap clean energy.

Apparently the people downwind of Chernobyl thought so too.”

spectre64 on Jun 9, 2010 at 22:46:27

“Yeah, a progressive carbon tax, man. Just what the American working class needs right now. Enough with this Eco-fascisim.”

[Censored by HuffBots]

Dear Mr. spectre64:

Heil Bambi!

While the Eco-Fascist Party welcomes your biofeedback, we are unable to respond to every uninformed rant we receive (many of our members lack opposable thumbs, and are therefore unable to hold a pen properly).

We have, however, forwarded your request to the Andro-Anarchist and Corpo-Communist parties, who are currently accepting applications for their Private Prison and Foreclosure Frenzy programs.

Sincerely,

Thumper

Chief Enforcement Officer, Greenshirt Division

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 11, 2010 at 04:45:21 in Green

“spectre64 groused,

Yeah, a progressive carbon tax, man. Just what the American working class needs right now. Enough with this Eco-fascisim.

I don’t imagine he’ll be saying it anytime soon…

The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.

– Samuel Johnson”

Tipsy at the Tea Party: A Sober Look at Proposals to Repeal Portions of the Constitution

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 10, 2010 at 02:29:20 in Politics

“John Goodman wrote for Forbes:

..A flat tax is what America needs..But..we can do..better..

By making it resemble the Rockies.

..we’d get rid of the across-the-board $9g exemption in the Forbes plan..

Ah, the foothills…

..Forbes ignores the 12.4%..payroll tax..it’s [not] fair that a $50g/yr..worker pay[s]..taxes on all his income while a $1m/yr..executive does not..

Does the exec need $340g/yr to survive?

..Under our proposal all wages would face the same income and payroll tax rates..

Both those of tobacco execs and first responders.

..Liberals are more concerned about progressivity..

Except in VATs.

..They want the rich to bear more of a burden than the poor..

Does a rich man’s surgery cost more than a poor man’s?

..The left objects to most consumption tax proposals because they are not progressive..

With exemptions, they’re as progressive as your “flat” tax. Are you sure it’s not luxury addiction?

..instead of people automatically getting the 14% rebate, we would require them to..have health insurance and a retirement pension..

Time for the pitons…

..instead of national health insurance and more..spending on the elderly, we would..urge people to solve these problems on their own..

Is that a crack in your crystal ball?”

Attitude for Aptitude

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 11, 2010 at 01:25:45 in Politics

“Perhaps I should have called myself Socrates’ Heir; he saw ignorance, I see addiction:

And now, Northerners, I am not going to argue for my own sake, as you may think, but for yours, that you may not destroy everything worth having by ignoring me, who am fortune’s gift to you. For if you ignore me you will not easily find a successor to me, who, if I may use such an archaic figure of speech, am a sort of gadfly, given to you by fortune; and you are a great and noble steed who is tardy in his motions owing to his very size, and requires to be stirred into life. I am that gadfly which fortune has attached to you, and during most waking hours and in most places am usually thinking about the most effective way of fastening upon you, arousing and persuading and reproaching you. You will not easily find another like me, and therefore I would advise you to heed me. I dare say that you may feel out of temper (like the person who is awakened from sleep on a Monday morning), and you might easily Churchill¹ me as your emotions advise, and then you would sleep on for the remainder of your lives, unless perhaps extraterrestrial invaders sent you another gadfly.”

“When I say that I am given to you by fortune, the proof of my statement is this: if I had been like other Northerners, I should not have neglected almost all of my own purchase of luxuries or absentmindedly neglected the few I have bought during all these years, and instead have been thinking of you, viewing you as valuable trees in an even more valuable forest, like a true philosopher or statesman, trying to find a way to convince you to practice xenophilia; such conduct, I say, would be opposite that of most Northerners. If I had gained any financial advantage, or if my exertions had been rewarded with increased status, there would have been some sense in my doing so; but now, as you will perceive, not even Fox News dares to say that I have ever exacted or sought pay of any one for my intellectual labor; of that they have no witness. And I have a sufficient witness to the truth of what I say – my weight, woman, friend and physical luxury poverty.

¹Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened. – Sir Winston Churchill”

Remember: In 1930, They Didn’t Know It Was “the Great Depression” Yet

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 11, 2010 at 13:39:21 in Business

“Hi,

I ejaunted over to the Crash Course in Economics 101, where Chris Martenson mentioned his three Es: economy, energy and environment. He seems unaware of the other Es I spend a lot of time thinking about: evolution, emotions, eating, education, entertainment, ethics, and entropy. The first, second, and last terms are associated more with the limits of humanity; the middle four (which, as inonoatama showed me, closely resemble those discerned by Aristotle) can be used to describe the needs of all life from a cell to a civilization.

Perhaps you could email me (I’m on Facebook) your thoughts on these extra Es:)”

HamletsMill on Jun 13, 2010 at 14:24:48

“Thanks for the note Joseph. I may drop you a note in the future but I am currently working very long days on a big software project due in mid July. I only get on HP to rant which relaxes me somehow! But I enjoy your posts immensely and may dialogue a bit in the future!”

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 11, 2010 at 14:22:23 in Business

“RButler argued (and to me that’s a compliment:)

A python doesn’t ‘squeeze’ it’s prey to death. It simply wraps a little tighter each time the prey exhales until the prey can no longer inhale. Isn’t that like what has happened to the middle class in this country? Every time it ‘exhales’ it’s money, the rich and powerful wrap a little tighter while the money eventually goes to them. The python kills its prey but the rich and powerful merely keep the ‘prey’ alive just enough to keep the game going for them.

Doesn’t that pretty much explain the wealth gap?

That, and the fact that Americans are so addicted to “freedom” that they allow pythons to run loose.

In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man may well be king; in the kingdom of the shortsighted, the farsighted man will most likely be a frustrated visionary. But in the kingdom of the addicted, drug dealers can live like kings.”

Do We Live in a Meaningful Universe?

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 14, 2010 at 01:09:53 in Living

“americancolonyinhell wrote,

..I can’t think of another popular filmmaker so concerned, so engaged with the question of meaning as Allen..

He also made one of my favorite movies, Sleeper:)

I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work… I want to achieve it through not dying. – Woody Allen”

americancolonyinhell on Jun 14, 2010 at 02:14:30

“The great Woody Allen is incomparable. Sleeper’s great.”

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 14, 2010 at 04:55:03 in Living

“What’s Your Morality Quotient?

Do you ever ask yourself if you should want another luxury before considering how to get it?

Do you ever think about ways to reduce the need for your job?

Do you devote at least half the time and money to charity that you do to having fun?

Do you grow any of your own food?

Would you pay more for meat from an unslaughtered animal?

Do you think that children should be taught horticulture, self defense, acting and pedagogy?

Do you approve of taxing unsustainable, unhealthy, and antisocial purchases in order to subsidize their opposites?

Do you feel that unions should be expanded by helping people up off their knees instead of climbing on their shoulders?

Do you contemn apathy more than greed?

Is ensuring honest government more important to you than watching television?

Do you feel that professional athletes and entertainers are greater threats to freedom than bankers and CEOs?

If elected to office, would you take an oath to live on the median income of your constituency?

Do you ever think about posterity?

When you look in the mirror, do you see anything besides your face?

If you answered no to more than half the questions, you’re part of the problem. If you’d like to be part of the solution, help expand the Ethical Party.”

UnderTheHedgeWeGo on Jun 14, 2010 at 09:33:44

“”Do you feel that professional athletes and entertainers are greater threats to freedom than bankers and CEOs?”

How would that be?”

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 14, 2010 at 19:10:53 in Living

“UnderTheHedgeWeGo asked,

[..professional athletes/entertainers are greater threats to freedom than bankers/CEOs..]

How would that be?

One of the questions that failed to make the word-limit cut (but is now safely ensconced in my new Facebook group, The Ethical Party) was: “Would you agree that it’s hard to think outside the box when you spend several hours a day immersed in it?” Scientific American’s “Television Addiction Is No Mere Metaphor” describes the newest opium of the people. Unlike bankers and CEOs, who deal in intellect, pro athletes/entertainers deal in emotions, encouraging subevolutionism (emotional slavery). When Lloyd Blankfein suggests he’s doing “God’s work”, apoplexy reigns; when Oprah (a noted God’s-worker) tells graduates “It’s great to have a nice home. It’s great to have nice homes!..It’s great to have a private jet. Anyone that tells you that having your own private jet isn’t great is lying to you”, there’s nary a peep. And people talk about how ordinary Americans (unlike bankers/CEOs) haven’t had a raise in thirty years, but fail to mention that, while Hank Aaron made 200g in ’72, Alex Rodriguez made 33m in ’09. Drug dealers will usually win against war profiteers: you can hide from an external enemy.”

Short Term Thinking Hobbled BP — Will it Hobble the White House?

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 16, 2010 at 02:11:32 in Politics

“Trey Ellis wrote,

By now we all know..how corporate execs..crank out short-term profits..while crippling the long-term health of..[their] companies..Unfortunately the Obama Administration has also made..short-term decisions at the expense of long term..change..

A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman, of the next generation. – James Freeman Clarke

..For [conservatives], deficit reduction and..reduction of government..is a matter of religion..Unfortunately, the president’s religion is finding common ground..he has echoed their deficit hawkishness..

At least he’s no longer a catacomb Mammonist.

..The right..boil their messages down to..mantras like..”drill baby drill”.. democrats..sit back while these..ideas take root..

Nobody likes getting out of a comfortable chair.

..Instead of taking America’s pulse and reacting, the president will have to lead Americans into changing our minds..

Perhaps he could practice first with leopards’ spots.

..He will have to win us over again with rhetoric, charm, and bold, surprising actions..

That doesn’t work so well once you’re married…

..He needs to lead with..more innovative ideas..

Unfortunately, he has no idea that I even exist.

..sometimes we need a spark from a transformative leader..

Please see my comments page.”

Obama To Demand BP Create Liability Account For Spill Claims

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 16, 2010 at 11:31:06 in Politics

“Sam Stein wrote,

..The White House is set to demand that..BP set up an account [for] claims to those affected by the spill..

I didn’t know they were considering demanding that BP donate all voting shares to the WWF:)

..A White House official emails..: The..focus in our..meeting with BP will be setting up a[n] escrow account for a..claims process. The President..expects..BP [to] set..aside the funds..to pay individuals and businesses damaged by this..spill..

How are they going to pay the surviving wildlife for their damaged homes?

..And..those funds will be paid out..by a..third-party panel..

Will Mother Nature have a seat?

..There were questions..whether [it] could be applied retroactively..

As a philosopher, I would question whether it should be. Does the phrase “toxic assets” mean nothing to anyone anymore?

..The escrow account would..skip the..debate – though..[BP] would..have to agree..and there is no sense..they [would]..

That’s when you hit ’em with a progressive carbon tax:)

..In addition..the president [will] give a[n] ..address..about his upcoming trip to the Gulf. The president is bringing..speechwriter Jon Favreau on the trip [to] get..eyewitness material..

Where’s Dr. Dolittle when you need him?”

Obama’s Fool’s Gold in Afghanistan

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 16, 2010 at 12:58:48 in Politics

“cinoti pointed out,

We are bleeding our country to death with endless wars that serve no purpose!..

hollybork responded ably,

That is it. Destroying the country by picking fights with a new “enemy” every ten years.. Where could all that money have been spent? Gosh, I don’t have enough fingers to count up the list, but I’ll try.. national single payer healthcare.. subsidies for community supported organic agriculture.. cure for diabetes.. solar technology and energy storage R & D.. health, music, literature and art enhanced education for all American students.. free prenatal care for all mothers..

You’ve either been reading my mind or my comments:)

All those who believe in psychokinesis, raise my hand. – Steven Wright”

hollybork on Jun 16, 2010 at 14:26:28

“Joseph, of course I read your comments! I am your fan. You pop up on my Huffpo screen every day for your latest missives.

But as to reading your mind, I would have to be with you and know you to read what I suspect is a very beautiful mind. It is not hard to read people’s mind when you see how they behave, see their expressions and really listen to what they say. Keep up your posts. I like your politics and your wisdom.”

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 16, 2010 at 22:57:32 in Politics

“Joseph Furtenbacher, after he’d gotten his smiles somewhat under control and googled “largest face (Down Arrow)(Enter), posted,

Once again hollybork has made my day. I’d rather sit on pumpkins with my Huffpo friends than on velvet cushions with the largest Facebook group.”

NRA Remains The King On The Hill

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 17, 2010 at 01:19:00 in Politics

“wbthacker reasoned,

The reason the NRA opposes some of those agreements is that they would also outlaw the sale of firearms within the United States. The NRA has never opposed a treaty that only limits weapons sales between nations. You want to ban selling AK-47s to revolutionaries in Africa, good. But if you write the ban so it also outlaws my rifle, I’m against it.

Wearing my psychology/sociology/economics hat (which, I admit, did not come from Savile Row), I can’t help but feel that it would be a good idea to implement a progressive gun liability tax, based on the annual cost of gunshot wounds divided by the number of gun owners willing to stand up and be counted, the number, length (inverse) and firepower of the gun(s), and the proximity of children or community, with an exemption for long-barrelled non-repeating guns in isolated areas.

Here’s to hoping you’ll agree to agree:)

p.s. One of my favorite fictional characters is Jed Clampett, even though he was shootin’ at some food that Granny probably could have raised in the backyard, and became rich off oil: he let neither himself nor his family become drunk on success.

p.p.s. Have you by any chance read Heinlein?”

wbthacker on Jun 17, 2010 at 13:02:18

“Regarding a “gun liability tax”, based on the annual cost of gunshot wounds, you have the denominator wrong. The tax should be paid by everyone who *benefits* from firearms in private hands, right?

There are numerous studies showing that private ownership of firearms reduces violent crime, and that concealed carry laws result in drops in crime. My neighbor might not have a gun, but he gains protection because a potential burglar knows many people in my neighborhood keep guns — in fact, he’s gaining the benefit without having to spend a penny on guns or ammo. So I think he should have to pay this tax, too, or else clearly label himself and his property as “Unarmed”.

You’ll also want a liablity tax on automobiles, which cause a lot more deaths and other damage than cars. And on alcoholic beverages. Drugs, too, I guess, but good luck collecting it. 🙂

You would also support, I assume, a liability tax on religions, to cover damages like sexual abuse, refusal to accept medical care, injuries from snakebite, or violent crime like murdering abortion doctors or acts of terrorism. Every public gathering needs to be taxed, since some of them turn into riots. And think about how much crime is promoted by the fourth amendment, which prevents police from searching homes whenever they want. The 9/11 terrorists enjoyed this protection while their plotted their atrocity. You’ll want to tax privacy, too.”

wbthacker on Jun 17, 2010 at 20:21:39

“Oh, I forgot to respond about Heinlein. Yes, I’ve read some of his books, though I spent more time reading Asimov. From context, I wonder if you’re thinking specifically of “Starship Troopers.””

[Censored by Arianna]

Joseph Furtenbacher on Jun 18, 2010 at 01:51:48

“wbthacker hypothesized,

Regarding a “gun liability tax”, based on the annual cost of gunshot wounds, you have the denominator wrong..

Really? I could have sworn it was on the bottom:)

..The tax should be paid by everyone who *benefits* from firearms in private hands right?..

Theoretically, but try convincing armed robbers, gang members, and rooftop wingnuts of that…

..There are numerous studies showing that private ownership of firearms reduces violent crime..

U.S.A           Canada
90/100          31.5/100        Households Owning Firearms¹
0.027/1000    0.005/1000    Per Capita Murders With Firearms²

..and that concealed carry laws result in drops in crime..

Then why aren’t children armed too?

..My neighbor might not have a gun, but he gains protection because a potential burglar knows many people in my neighborhood keep guns..

Someone in a homicidal rage knows too, and he doesn’t care about going to jail.

..in fact, he’s gaining the benefit without having to spend a penny on guns or ammo..

You should inform all the Mexicans who apparently feel otherwise.

..So I think he should have to pay this tax, too, or else clearly label himself and his property as “Unarmed”..

If there were no guns, there would be no need for gun taxes.

..You’ll also want a liablity tax on automobiles..

Yes, a progressive gas tax with a daily exemption of, say, 5 miles in a 30mpg car.

..And..alcoholic beverages..

A two drink/day exemption.

..Drugs, too.. good luck collecting..

Why? There’s no problem collecting cigarette taxes on tobacco farmers.

..You would also support, I assume, a liability tax on religions..

No, a tithe tax, e.g., Christians would add 10% to all the taxes agnostics and atheists pay.

..damages like sexual abuse, refusal to accept..care..snakebite..violent crime..terrorism..

No, that would be the progressive TV viewing tax.

..Every public gathering needs to be taxed, since some of them turn into riots..

If only some of them do, why tax all of them?

..crime is promoted by the fourth amendment, which prevents police from searching homes..

If there’s less to find, it doesn’t matter so much.

..The 9/11 terrorists enjoyed this protection.. You’ll want to tax privacy, too.

No, just purchased private entertainment, with an exemption for writing.

p.s. Isaac Asimov was my first-year polymathy professor:) Starship Troopers started me on democracy reform.

¹UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Centre for International Crime Prevention 1998 – 2000

²Ajdacic-Gross, 2006; Killias, 1993; Geneva Graduate Institute of International Studies, 2007”

World Refugee Day Illustrates Global Refugee Crisis

[Censored by Arianna]

Commented Jun 22, 2010 at 21:28:20 in Politics

“Dear Huffpo Moderator(s),

Please humor me and publish either all 13 parts of this reply, or none. I write this way to keep from weeping:)

Charity Tooze described part of the poverty/addiction coin:

World Refugee Day is the one day of the year created to draw the world’s attention to the most vulnerable and disenfranchised people – refugees..

Perhaps the world could turn off its stomachs to show its solidarity…

..According to the..UNHCR 2009 Global Trend Report, there are approximately 15m people classified as refugees [worldwide]..

There are, however, approximately 1.4b cattle classified as eating 7-10 times as much as a refugee. Anyone besides me and PETA hatin’ it enough to consider a progressive meat tax?

..This..only represents a portion of the displaced. According to the report, 2009 marked the highest volume of..displaced people – approximately 43m people fled their homes..

Coincidentally, approximately the same number of tourists fled their hotel rooms; perhaps the UNHCR could talk turkey with the IH&RA.

..Refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) bear the brunt of dysfunctional governments and the backlash of geopolitical conflicts..

When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. – Kikuyu proverb

..”No one ever plans to be a refugee. Any of us could be forced from our homes at any time,” said Jesse Bernstein, senior associate at Human Rights First..

Not if any of us besides me would ponder my “use it or lose it” tax on mortgagees. landlords, hoteliers and pastors, with its rental unit yard auctions and commercial/religious progressive spare bedroom/basement tax.

..The challenges facing refugees have grown over the past years; political and economic crises have made it increasingly difficult for refugees and IDPs..

That’s what happens when you don’t have future discount taxes.

..Security and Economic Issues

Since 2001, refugees contend with global fears about terrorism..

In much the same way as earthquakes in China contend with stubbed toes.

..”Many refugees have actually been victims of terrorist groups or other armed actors,” Bernstein said..

Many Americans have actually been victims of the drugs and security provided by those groups and actors. That’s why I prefer groups like the cast of “Blade Runner” and actors like Harrison Ford: their opponents are never actually harmed, and their “victims” are often improved.”

..According to the..report the highest volume of refugees in 2009 fled from Afghanistan and Iraq..

That’s what happens when you send in the troops without any bankers, surveyors, and real estate agents as backup. Soldiers by themselves should be reserved for endangered species preserves.

..Following 9/11, the US drastically altered its refugee policy. New systems were set up to screen for potential terrorists..

But not for potential luxury addicts.

..While this made sense given the..attack, increased security concerns have made it difficult for some refugees to be cleared by Homeland Security..

Homeland Security would do well to adopt the Morality Quotient test posted in the command center of the Ethical Party.

..individuals have said they were turned away because of..affiliation with..political parties; others..were refused because the International Organization for Migration (IOM) noted inconsistencies in their account of persecution..

Unfortunately, refusing entry to people earning low wages while harboring a penchant for the good life is not considered by most Americans to be persecution.

..In 2009, I interviewed..families..in Syria and Jordan. One..story..stands out. A mother and her..daughters fled to Jordan after her..son was murdered..because she was a member of the Baath party. When she registered..in Jordan and applied..to the US..she was turned away for belonging to the party. “But many people belong..in order to go to school or get a job,” she said..

Someone (besides me) should start telling people about the Ethical Party platform, which includes guaranteed access to sustainable employment, health care, and education, through UN equalization payments similar to those of the Semiautonomous Provinces of Canada.

..This woman’s oldest daughters have now dropped out of school..

Somehow I doubt that the theory of pedagogy that school was pursuing even vaguely resembled mine, under which children are taught the three Rs, patience, horticulture, self-defense, acting and pedagogy.

..She said..they were working at a..factory and the owner stopped paying them..

I was working at a convenience store and I stopped paying myself by quitting, but that was after I’d had my ethical conversion on the road to Damascus.”

..They had no..way of reporting [it] because Iraqis are not legally allowed to work in Jordan..

Breaking the law is not a good way to become legally allowed to work in America.

..Another alarming trend..is the increase in detention..in the name of..security..

I would “detain” them in Solar Food Production Townhouses at the north(ish) ends of fields; they would be far from the madding crowd, while potentially entering the upper-middle-class through helping that same crowd kick the unhealthy/unsustainable food habit.

..”The use of..detention has increased..and at a substantial cost..” said Eleanor Acer, director of refugee protection programs at Human Rights First..

I put the positive right to self-improvement first.

..it cost the US $300m to detain asylum seekers between ’03 and ’09..

With apologies to Thoreau, there are a thousand eating at the restaurants of America to one who is detaining asylum seekers.

..Acer described..a..woman who was kidnapped by an armed group. “Her..request [was] put on hold because [her machete] training..is considered..”military-type”..” Acer said..

I’d put her to work with a scythe, reaping off-season food for the “unslaughtered free-range chicken in every pot” plank of the Ethical Party.

..Acer says that asylum seekers..are detained..”in prisons and prison-like facilities.. though..not..for violation of any criminal law”..

I’ve heard stories of the same thing happening to Americans of color.

..Acer did note..there had been..improvements.. the Assistant Secretary of ICE and the DHS announced that they would transition from..reliance on facilities modeled on criminal prisons..

Perhaps when the shovels hit the dirt for the first SFPT I’ll be able to take a small vacation… A cabin by a lake, I think.

..”However despite this commitment, asylum seekers are still wearing prison uniforms as they mark World Refugee Day..” Acer said..

Many of our emperors have no clothes at all, and they seem to do okay.

..In addition to security barriers..refugees and the organizations that work with them have been severely affected by the global recession..

You can’t expect people to save the world as much when there’s not even enough money for fun. Even the Romans knew that.

..The recession has affected all of us but it has particularly affected those who rely on the work of the UN and NGO’s to survive..

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. – George Orwell

..”The recession made..inadequacy in the [US]..system more obvious,” said Bob Carey, [of] the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Carey says the US’..system hasn’t changed in 25 years..

Coincidentally, that’s about how long it’s been since Americans changed their motto from “In God We Trust” to “Buy Now, Pay Later”.

..The IRC has a large US resettlement program..

I don’t recall seeing any covered wagons:)

..When refugees arrive..the IRC helps them find an apartment, acquire services, and find employment..

More importantly, it provides them with their first taste of cable TV.

..prior to the recession..90%..of [resettled refugees] had jobs for..two months, working..30hr/wk, many with benefits. Today the numbers are..different. “I was talking with a staff member in Phoenix.. that number is now..40%,” Carey said..

Too bad he wasn’t talking with me.

..Donor contributions have also declined.. services are being cut back [or] discontinued altogether..

Not the Fast Food Stamp program; that one’s guaranteed by the Constitutional Right to (shortened) Life, (straitened) Liberty, and the Pursuit of (unhealthy, unsustainable) Happiness.

..the UNHCRiJ has a..cash assistance program.. refugees [are given ATM cards]..and use the funds [as] they need..

Perhaps if that system existed elsewhere, less people would leave in the first place. Unemployed investment bankers could be drafted to run the system when they weren’t busy microTrumping.

..Primarily they use the funds for..rent, food and [children’s] clothes..

Any hard figures? Mine are (~$Cdn/mth): rent, heat and hydro, 450; food, 120; clothes, 5; children (human): most waking hours times $2/hr; pets, 50; phone and Internet, 30; fun, 150; zero-interest loans, 130; savings, 50; bank fees and insurance, 30; all other, 15.

..”Because of the financial situation the UNHCR has had to cut back its cash assistance program,” Bernstein said..

Have they had to cut back their employee assistance program as well?

..One of the fallouts..is children are pulled from school to help parents cover the rent..

In my schools, homework would include teaching parents how to cover the rent.

..Programs that..enrich the experience of refugees, like music or art..have been discontinued..

How about getting all the other children out of Rome before we start teaching lyricism.

..And..life saving services have been..reduced. “We’ve had to cut tertiary health care programs,” said Arafat Jamal, deputy representative for the UNHCRiJ..

– and those are the very ones we ourselves use!

..Assistance vs. Complacency

Carey said it seems like the international community is comfortable with host countries “warehousing” refugees..

The international community has too many comfortable chairs. And a lot of people went through discomfort last century, too, but they unionized, which led to “mcmansioning”. I’m comfortable with the idea that we can do better.

..According to the..report, 2009 had the fewest number of refugees returning to their country of origin since the ’90s..

Cable…carbombs…cable…

..”Major conflicts such as those in Afghanistan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo show no signs of being resolved..

Neither does the Peter Principle.

..Conflicts that had appeared to be ending or were on the way to being resolved, such as in southern Sudan or in Iraq, are stagnating,” said Antonio Guetteres, the current high commissioner of the UNHCR, during a recent speech in Germany..

I wonder what his bank statement looks like.

..Carey said the Burmese on the border of Thailand and Burma have been there for 20 years..

Please hold; your call is important to us…

..Both Bernstein and Carey noted the lack of returnees from the Bosnian war. “When people do return, it’s Bosnians going to Bosnian areas and Serbs going to Serbian areas,” Bernstein said..

I would return to my apartment if it were still standing.

..The lack of pressure on the international community to push for sustainable peace in post-conflict regions and the gap between peace and development and humanitarian assistance is one of the major problems in refugee returns..

Native Americans found convincing Europeans to return problematic too.

..At a recent conference on IDPs in New York several panelists pointed out that IDPs have to be included in creating policies for the regions they fled from or they won’t return..

Were any IDPs on the panel?

..Carey said they are..see[ing] this problem in the Iraqi..crisis. “If you have..people without..basic human rights it’s more than a humanitarian problem; it’s a security issue.” He said..security concerns should motivate the international community to find..solutions..

Perhaps if the international community lived within walking distance of any refugees, it would.

..New policies

While the situation looks bleak both Bernstein and Carey noted wins in refugee policy reform, particularly in the US..

Both Bush and Cheney noted wins in the US too.

..Historically the US..has allocated $900 for refugees when they enter.. today..this is far from adequate, and in particular cities, it won’t pay one month’s rent..

In particular countries, it will pay one year’s rent. Why not pay them to go there?

..Carey said the U.S. just reformed the policy and has doubled the amount..

Have they doubled the jobs available after the benefits run out?

..In addition, Human Rights First has been working on a policy proposal to create an expedited resettlement process for LGBT refugees..

But not, of course, for pedophile refugees, unless they’re seeking asylum in Antarctica. Personally, I would expedite the resettlement of women and children first – you know, like they did on the Titanic.

..”..when you look at vulnerability..this group stands out,” Bernstein said.. when LGBT..people flee it is often because of persecution [for] their..orientation, and they often end up in countries that prosecute the same..acts..

Perhaps if God could somehow explain away his demand that men who lie with men be stoned, that would change.

..”In Uganda I know a group of men who can’t formalize their stay because they’re afraid to approach the police.”..

I don’t suppose Mr. Bernstein has any spare bedrooms.

..In many contexts, the police are the first point of contact in applying for refugee status and resettlement..

With my system, it would be latter-day Hogan’s Heroes, and the hotel desk clerks who would give them their room keys.

..Bernstein said the US was showing a renewed interest in this group and has held..useful discussions with human rights organizations..

Have they shown a renewed interest in useful discussions with human responsibilities organizations? Inquiring adult minds want to know.

..”There is a perception that refugees are a burden..when in fact they are an asset; they have enormous human capital,” Carey said..

There is also a perception that importing workers during a downturn is, as Horace quipped, as crazy as hauling timber into the woods.

..He went on to say, “for example, the Iraqi population is highly educated..

A few night courses in gender equality and they’ll be good to go.

..They have lots of skills and it’s a wasted intellectual asset that they are not able to work. There are doctors, lawyers, scientists and engineers rotting in Damascus and Amman,” he said..

There simply aren’t enough problems over there to keep them occupied full time. As Marx reiterated, from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs, although I believe he was talking about individuals, not countries.

..He pointed out that two prior Secretaries of State were refugees..

Many refugees try to keep secrets they’re party to even from themselves.

..and said refugees..start businesses and contribute positively to their communities.

Please define “positively”. For my definition, please see my comments page.

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. – John Stuart Mill

>sound of last page of thesis being nailed to Huffpo back door<”

In Refusing to Hear My Case, The Supreme Court Has Put the World’s Peace and Order in Danger

LawTalkingGuy     04:38 PM on 6/30/2010

“Please enhance your reading comprehension.”
What did I read incorrectly?

“I used my privilege as a citizen several times to stand up against the Arizona immigration law and to defend the pro-life cause.”

That’s great, and I’m surprised someone who would do that would so easily cast of Mr. Arar, who was imprisoned and tortured for a year even though he did nothing wrong, and so happil ysuupport your justice system, that basically said “it’s ok” because Arar was brown and everyone was scared.

“I hope YOU too do the same”

If you mean blame the victim because he holds a foreign passport, then no I most certainly wont.
If you mean actually fight injustice, then I’m a lawyer and yes I do.

“without knowing the full background of who is writing it. ”

Did you not read my joke about the fact that I find your background inconsistent with your views? I’ll repeat it, non-joke: I find it shocking and offensive that a fellow immigrant would feel free to attack an innocent man’s integrity and deprive him of justice because he legally maintained his home citizenship.

You didn’t make that choice, but that doesn’t mean everyone who did is wrong and deserves to be crapped on and abandoned by ‘real Americans’ like you.

How’s my reading comprehension?

Commented Jul 1, 2010 at 00:55:06 in Politics

“Good enough to make your comments page, along with hollybork’s, wbthacker’s and inonoatama’s the first thing I read each day:) If your comments contain any errors, so much is right I must have missed it.

p.s. I’ve been thinking of taking on the Supreme Court confirmation questions. It might be fun:) It’s just that I’ve been having such a good time reading my friends posts. A microvacation, if you will.

p.p.s. I survived the Ontario earthquake (after foolishly posting about earthquakes in China the day before), and all I got was a lousy T-shirt; My computer’s ability to post comments somehow failed to escape unscathed:( Hope it’s not another Window’s reinstall…

Off to fan HamletsMill:)”

Joe Scarborough: John Boehner ‘Not The Hardest Worker,’ Bar Hopper (VIDEO)

Commented Jul 1, 2010 at 01:39:03 in Politics

“Thank you for your hard work, and for the nicest compliment I’ve ever had.

p.s. My computer doesn’t want to let me post at the moment (I’m at a friend’s), but I’ll ‘learn’ it:)”

NYT: We Stopped Calling Waterboarding ‘Torture’ Because The Bush Administration Didn’t Approve

Commented Jul 1, 2010 at 23:19:23 in Media

“I hope this Canada Day finds you as motivated as my neighbors:) I’ve been thinking that my friends, and their friends, would be good seeds for a new grassroots movement, this time an ethical one. If we could locate some ethical programmers (to combine news and comments with intranet email and groups) and websiters (for the spoonful of sugar) willing to volunteer, and some ethical advertisers (with their own blogs) to pay the rent, we could perhaps found an online soapbox of our own. (Perhaps The Ethical Times?, with a quote like “The good man is the man who, no matter how morally unworthy he has been, is moving to become better.” – John Dewey”? and maybe my update of Marx: “From each according to his feast of wealth, to each according to his famine of health.” (at least it rhymes:), with banners like “Poverty”, Wealth”, “Prevention”, “Cure”, etc. I’d certainly read your column; and I’d have a cause I could be entirely happy donating to. I don’t think we’d steal too many present readers, but if we did, Huffpo could use our ethical-advertiser funded free copy permission:)

p.s. I can always be found in my airy aerie high atop Mount Facebook (by those fortunate enough to be bold)… The CondorCave. Good thing I ecommute:)

p.p.s. What would Thoreau do?!?”

flossophy on Jul 1, 2010 at 23:31:18

“Tweet”

hollybork on Jul 2, 2010 at 06:08:33

“Thanks for your reply, Joseph. I like it. Happy Canada Day to you and my humane friends in the North. My brother keeps telling me we should all move to Vancouver (he has a very big house there.) I am a HUGE fan of John Dewey. I wrote my master’s thesis on using Dewey pedagogy (his interactive learning theories and teaching strategies) to interweave environmental science through the whole curriculum from kindergarten through 12th grade. I don’t think we can build ethics in our children without teaching them how to reduce their carbon footprint and protect the health of the earth. Now I don’t even know if there will be a world of human beings in 10 years.

You would like my friend Jonathan Granoff. He is also on Facebook. He is an anti nuke activist/organizer. You cannot have an ethical world unless you have a living world. All the best, CB”

Mayberry Machiavellis: Obama Political Team Handcuffing Recovery

Commented Jul 7, 2010 at 05:10:11 in Business

“flossophy flossed,

Do you need assistance interpreting the CBO’s numbers?..

No, but thanks for asking. I’m used to interpreting the numbers of small animals and children – no imaginaries:)

..Shame on the Republicans for spending so much. Shame x4 on the Democrats for quadrupling [that]..spending..

Have you considered voting Green?

..The only reason the left likes Eisenhower is because he didn’t challenge the Progressive Project. He was a big government Republican..

True; they never even looked into his war record. Because of this, “Historians typically rank Eisenhower among the top ten U.S. presidents.” – Wikipedia

..Where do you get this stuff?..

Sans sagacity, mostly out of books. You?

..Oh great… the government managing health care. What could go wrong?..

Subcontracting everything out to the private sector?

..Conservatives haven’t been in control of Illinois since before Al Capone..

More like before the cotton gin, I’d’ve said.

..Are you in a union?..

A small coalition of friends.

..I guess you forgot the union-induced misery of the 70’s. Low marks for forgetting..

No, I remember school all too well.

..Fannie and Freddie did that. Progressives gave us [them]… and Democrats ran them like a racket..

Who gave you McMansions and ran them like a racket?

..Liberalism is the futile search of a moral justification for spending other people’s money..

What is Preventionism?

..Would you like me to explain to you why jobs have been leaving our shores since the 70’s?..

Actually, I would, if your explanation includes why people shop at Walmart knowing the stuff is made in China.

..Nobody is stamping out worker’s rights..

Shopocrats are doing a pretty good job of stamping out their responsibilities.

..Greece, a social democratic utopia. Germany, economically burdened by an unsustainable welfare state…. and committing demographic su!c!de

..Canada, a very comfortable country, unless you’re not sufficiently fed, clothed or sheltered (partly why I’m considering running for Mayor of Ottawa).

..Wisely? *giggle* Liberals want to spend your money, your kid’s..and your grandkid’s.. Conservatives like to let you keep it..

Why not? They keep the money they print.

..I wanted Giuliani… but the left kn0cked him out early.

I wanted Dion… But the carbon addicts knocked him out on election day.

p.s. Do you have any numbers on how many of the great philosophers ate deep-fried breaded chicken?

p.p.s. A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar. – Lao Tzu”

PolitiFact Embraces Equivocation, the Truth Gets Squeezed

Commented Jul 7, 2010 at 20:58:33 in Politics

“Thank you.

p.s. I don’t suppose you could snag some of Robert Wright’s time from the NYT…he’d come complete with a starter fan:)”

Sharron Angle’s Tea Party Agenda Gets A Drastic Makeover

Commented Jul 9, 2010 at 02:13:55 in Politics

“Watch much TV?

One finds many companions for food and drink, but in a serious business a man’s companions are very few. – Theognis”

Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani, Iran Mother, Could Be Stoned To Death At Any Moment

Commented Jul 9, 2010 at 09:32:03 in World

“AncientPollyanna took on Cassandra,

I think it’s time to get some women into higher positions everywhere pronto..

Ethical men are comfortable with the Cowgirl. If ethical women formed an international union instead of ‘standing by their men’, they, too, might be lifted and separated.

..How about handing me my money back? That would do it for me..

Unfortunately, casinos hear that all the time.

..Religion: A tested and proven form of crowd control..

Father Brown: A tested and proven form of self-control:

“No man’s really any good till he knows how bad he is, or might be; till he’s realized exactly how much right he has to all this snobbery, and sneering, and talking about ‘criminals’ as if they were apes in a forest ten thousand miles away; till he’s got rid of all the dirty self-deception of talking about low types and deficient skulls; till he’s squeezed out of his soul the last drop of the oil of the Pharisees; till his only hope is somehow or other to have captured one criminal, and kept him safe and sane under his own hat.” – G. K. Chesterson

..Actually, I would like to hear from ANYBODY’s mouth what a “win” in Afghanistan looks like.

If you’ll settle for my comments page, you can see what a “Hoganic Victory” looks like.

p.s. What would Mr. Micawber do?”

Steve Jobs On Bill Gates: What The Apple CEO REALLY Thinks Of Microsoft’s Founder

Commented Jul 9, 2010 at 14:22:00 in Technology

“I remember advising my future brother-in-law to buy an Apple clone, and the surprise I felt upon learning that it needed an “operating system” to run; my TI 99 4-A had somehow managed without that luxury:)

I spent many pleasurable hours using Gee Whiz Basic – I was the GOTO guy for spaghetti code, until I learned of the joys of top-down programming, and of the subroutines offered by QuickBasic. And I hope someday C++ will love me as much as I love her;)

Now if only Bill Gates could stop wasting so much time reinventing the Window…”

HamletsMill on Jul 9, 2010 at 17:57:32

“Hey! Get this! One of my BIL’s still has his Northstar Computer sitting in his basement somewhere. But I think the power supply dies in 1985 or so. he actually ordered it when they were still “Kentucky Fried Computer” .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Star_Computers

Those were the days!

My boss walks around to the younger programmers here and says they can “program in freedom” against living under “communism” (he rolls his eyes and they grin) because he was sent to Southeast Asia against his will in 1969. I am also a veteran but I say never to forget that they have jobs in this profession because in 1980 I was out selling Ohio Scientific triple CPU machines that had the first (gasp) hard disks on a micro computer! They just roll their eyes, shake their heads, and grin too. But all this incredible stuff exists today because somebody started out in the humble craft back then. But I guess that is the journey of every profession and every technology. Somebody starts at the airfield in 1912 and then people are born to fly on jumbo jets. That is life. Each in their time. I am glad I still work in it every day, jamming code that controls great feats of commerce.

“Spaghetti code”! Yes I remember it well!

Best to you brother!”

Commented Jul 10, 2010 at 17:48:52 in Technology

“Thanks for the link, SIR!

After some much-needed R&R savoring the thought of a Kentucky Fried Computer (hi, flossophy; ready for a dip in Krugman’s VAT?) I sent a request to HQ for info on the TI-99/4A unit, receiving a rapid response describing conditions on the ground, including the facts that no less a corporation than Texas Instruments lost money on the high-tech machine I issued to myself, and that it has its union of defenders to this very day:)

And to think that with the Editor/Assembler, Basic, Parsec and Tunnels of Doom (I found out why I’d been addicted – *years* ahead of any other D&D game), at the time, I spent a fair amount of time cussing the Counter-Tracked Cassette Backup System it employed… I suppose I should be thankful it wasn’t the 8-Track unit:) Too bad I didn’t run into you!

p.s. Please inform me if I perform any foot-in-mouth maneuvers:()”

HamletsMill on Jul 10, 2010 at 19:11:07

“Very well said! The CIO of where I work started out with his own spiffy new Commodore 64 back in the day! Now what we do sends millions of dollars worth of medical insurance transactions across the Internet every day at the speed of light! The code is in Java and Adobe Flex-3. We are starting to peruse HTML-5 but have an AIR strategy. It is wonderful stuff and i was very glad to right with it from Day One as my earthly journey and contribution to our technological evolution. It appears to be the same for you. What a long, strange trip it’s been!”

Democrats Launch ‘BP Republicans’ Website To Highlight GOP’s Big Oil Sympathizers

Commented Jul 12, 2010 at 01:33:41 in Politics

“atexasdem pointed out,

..we need an opposition group..

JF: “(I thought of..”The Sustainable Employment Party”..now I’m thinking of..”The Ethical Party”:)”

..We need someone to say ” The emperor has no clothes”..

“..asylum seekers are still wearing prison uniforms as they mark World Refugee Day..” Acer said..

JF: “Many of our emperors have no clothes at all, and they seem to do okay.”

..We need to have someone say, “No that’s wrong”..

Let me count the ways…

..We need however someone who says “Here’s why it’s wrong..

Subevolutionism, or emotional slavery.

..and here’s my idea to fix it”..

JF: “progressive personal-exemption spacial and temporal taxes, levied in the coin of the realm, on the consumption (including the consumption of good money known as income) of unsustainable, unhealthy, or antisocial types or amounts of physical or mental goods or services, in order to guarantee the positive right to self-improvement worldwide through United Nations equalization payments, or, in laymen’s terms, from each according to his feast of wealth, to each according to his famine of health.”

..I know I’ve posted..anti republican rants..frustration.. I want..better ideas from [the “loyal opposition”]..

Hear ye, hear ye…the call to my comments page!”

Glenn Beck’s Fingernail Message To MSNBC: No Ratings (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Commented Jul 12, 2010 at 15:12:01 in Media

“I, myself, often wondered how many academics were dancing pinheads:)

Oh well, I guess it’s aca-”

hollybork on Jul 12, 2010 at 15:27:31

“Ha ha. Something about the mental image of this goofy Glen Beck writing on a white board with letters pasted on his nails. A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Commented Jul 12, 2010 at 16:07:29 in Media

“Der General, from his post on Elba Island, missed his target:

You realize that you’re suggesting that a news source be muzzled; I don’t recall anyone this side of Josef Goebbels who promoted this idea any better. Maybe you should slip off the jackboots and be a bit more reasonable!”

Allowing false advertising is never reasonable.

Television is now so desparately hungry for material that they’re scraping the top of the barrel. – Gore Vidal”

Der General on Jul 13, 2010 at 09:49:24

“Josef, the viewers disagree with you. Fox is wildly successful, and is regularly shown as the news network of choice to deployed US servicemen and plenty of businesses here in the US. Those of us who consume lots of news, from var. sources, realize that looking at teh news on ANY of these networks is like looking through a soda straw, only seeing what they want you to see. Fox, and all the other networks, are clearly biased in their reporting, and Fox has opinion pieces on, which most HuppPosters seem he**-bent on pretending is “news”. It’s not…. but this doesn’t prevent panties from getting twisted up, eh?”

Commented Jul 14, 2010 at 14:50:43 in Media

“A memo arrived from Der General:

Josef, the viewers disagree with you.

The Viewers! How many divisions have *they* got?

‘It’s always best on these occasions to do what the mob do.’
‘But suppose there are two mobs?’ suggested Mr. Snodgrass.
‘Shout with the largest,’ replied Mr. Pickwick.

– Charles Dickens”

Der General on Jul 14, 2010 at 15:28:54

“I suppose you have a point… grow some hair and try to cover it up.”

Where the Jobs Went

Commented Jul 12, 2010 at 22:38:31 in Business

“BBackSoon said, in his best Ahnold,

Our jobs were shipped overseas in the pursuit of ever higher profits..

Don’t forget lower prices.

..There was a time that if a company made a solid 3%-5% profit it was a Blue Chip. Now everyone wants 10% return..

Maybe they realize you’re not making Blue Chip products anymore.

..In the pursuit of ever higher profits we GAVE away all of our intellectual property..

I give mine away for higher emotional profits.

..Our Biggest businesses naively set up shop around the world, and taught our way of business not to mention gave them the tools and the tutelage to the local workforce, thinking they would never fully understand..

Perhaps it’s you who don’t fully understand…

..Well now they know how to do every part of our business, from R&D thru to Management..

Not your entertainment business.

..Our big business taught our way of business to the Third World for a few years of cheap products. Short term profits are all business is after..

How the last 30 years have flown!

..Now they have killed the goose that lays the golden egg..

It’s been a while since anyone not in the Becking order has laid a golden egg.

Give us the luxuries of life and we’ll dispense with the necessaries. – Oliver Wendell Holmes”

BBackSoon on Jul 13, 2010 at 09:51:09

“Wow, point by point, I am impresses.

I will only answer a few.

Lower Prices? Really? If you can find an American made product and compare it to one made in China or another low cost country, it is amazing that the price difference is quite marginal. Now some of that is from downward pressure but if there is a lot of money to be saved, I think it is more in the form of Profit than in Consumer Price.

Short Term, 30 years? Well we have been working that way for a while but many businesses are only interested in the next quarter so the Big Dogs get their bonuses. Reduce Labor Costs even if it might cripple the company. Pressure Suppliers to reduce cost. Skimp on Customer Service and R&D. Offer Deals to New Customers but not long time ones.

I say it again, Short Term Profits.”

Nutrition Tips: Folic Acid: Killer or Cure-All?

NickHP     12:03 AM on 6/07/2010

Your body can’t tell you what you need to eat. The feedback is generally non-specific or ambiguous of just non-existent.

As for the genetically specific diagnosis and prescriptions, that is starting to arrive with cheap genetic sequencing of personal genomes and disease cells.

Doctor’s recommendations are supposed to represent the state of the art. And this art will change. That doesn’t make it wrong, just that it expresses the current understanding in science.

[Censored by Arianna]

Joseph Furtenbacher   12:12 AM on 7/13/2010

Do you know offhand the (ballpark) percentage of American doctors who recommend an apple a day?

p.s. fanned for a breath of fresh air from the Great White North to our friends across the border:)

Where the Jobs Went

Commented Jul 13, 2010 at 00:37:34 in Business

“Please see my comments page; apparently others are:)”

Question for the Tea Party: Why the Free Ride for Republicans Protecting Bankers?

Commented Jul 13, 2010 at 16:53:44 in Politics

“KarenT defended her glass McMansion,

The Repubs claim they are the party of fiscal responsibility yet history shows they are biggest culprits to our debt and deficit problems..

History also shows that many foreigners have trouble distinguishing Repubs from Dems – they all look alike.

..Now they want to extend the taxcuts for the wealthiest Americans adding $678 billion to the deficit..

Maybe they have friends in Chinese places, like American shoppers.

..while blocking a vote to help the average American with unemployment benefits because it would add $30 Billion to the deficit..

Perhaps average Americans could pass their hats around to each other; it’s certainly worked with their laundry these last thirty years.

..They want to protect the oil companies, the insurance companies and wall street but cut social security, medicare and public education..

The thought of foreign children dying to protect American lifestyles never even crosses *their* minds.

..Let me hear the deficit hawks and teapartiers defend this.

Let me hear you defend your annual income. Mine’s twelve thousand.

What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say. – Ralph Waldo Emerson”

The Unemployment Benefits Stalemate: Our Broken Politics on Full Display

Commented Jul 14, 2010 at 10:51:43 in Politics

“silensparvulus related,

So, I’m still trying to figure out why we, the people, argue with each other over the smallest and most insignificant facts yet still clearly miss the obvious sitting right in front of us..

Oh, are you in front of the mirror too? I’m often staggered when I think of how much time people must spend in front of it, and how little they apparently see.

..They, both the Republicans and Democrats, are looking out for themselves and only them..

They have full-length mirrors – one of the fringe benefits that comes with remunerative jobs like public office.

..However, what does encourage me is the sight that all thinking people are starting to expose the fraudalent motives on both sides of the political arena, regardless of political affiliation.

Or even political employment.

p.s. Perhaps that’s why people like TV so much – the same flat, shiny surface, but so much more interesting.

p.p.s. Is it not possible for someone in America, faced with a two-man race, to start running alongside? Maybe with a bit of green tea for refreshment? Or does he need permission? Just askin’:)”

Double Dividend: Make Money by Saving Nature

Commented Jul 15, 2010 at 23:55:55 in Green

“direct democracy cast his vote,

As long as it doesn’t go to Big Nuke, I like it!..

Don’t forget Big Mac.

..That means the ruling crass won’t like it..

I agree; members of the Union of Concerned Drivers would certainly have some white nights if the rest of humanity woke up.

p.s. How is it that all the Huffposters bravely shouting about bankers, lampposts and ropes a few months ago are as silent as the grave on the topic of cars, tires and knives? Perhaps it’s because they own their own “banks”?

p.p.s. Where’s Bard when you need him? With a single arrow, he cleansed Middle Earth’s atmosphere of Smaug:)”

Vegetable Garden Phenomena

Commented Jul 17, 2010 at 05:28:39 in Home

“”We’ve become disconnected from the source of our food, and I hope to change that,” says Camille LaTray, proprietress of Raven and the Spade, a two-and-a-half acre organic vegetable garden on Whidbey Island in Washington state.

A kindred spirit, indeed.

Sigh. It’s hard to teach an old applepolisher new tricks, but from the response I’ve seen from friends in all places, I may manage to do it:) In the short term, however…

Will the chickens be allowed to live to a ripe old age?

No farm is an island; even the protagonist of The Day Of The Triffids admitted in the end that Walden Two provided a better model.

Does the greenhouse have insulating shutters on the roof, east, south and west walls that are opened during the day and closed at night? A Trombe floor over a pond with carp polyculture, tilapia and catfish, aerated by a windmill?

Do you have any orchards or vinyards? Northern Italy has a fascination for me: if I could turn dirt into pizza, I’d call myself a farmer:)

Have you considered a supper-and-bed with ensuite composting toilets?

In my four divisions of provisioners of needs (health, defense, fun and ethics) organic farmers are definitely in the first.

Oh well; time to become connected to the (proximate) source of my food: my fridge:)”

Southern Strategist Sarah Palin Denies the Southern Strategy

Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 12:21:53 in Politics

“After a hard day’s work, the EthiThoughts went home to their hearths, and the AutoBots took over.

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“The astounding thing about a waltzing bear is not how gracefully it waltzes, but that it waltzes at all.” – Robert A. Heinlein”

Alvin Greene Speech: South Carolina Democratic Senate Candidate Makes First Campaign Appearance (VIDEO)

Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 16:20:09 in Politics

“Alvin Greene supported by Sun Ovens International – now there’s some hope for change that I could invest in:)

This age thinks better of a gilded fool
Than of a threadbare saint in wisdom’s school.

-Thomas Dekker”

Jennifer Aniston’s Topless Lolavie Ads (PHOTOS)

Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 21:09:48 in Entertainment

“If ethical women wanted to help both the environment and men, they would limit their clothing (weather permitting) to swim to none:)

If the thought of that sent too many shivers up their spines, and they were single, they could take the plunge and join eharmony, Neil Clarke Warren’s dating website; the best I’ve ever encountered. Full of nosy questions, the answers to which (one hopes) only your soulmate will know for sure…”

Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 21:57:37 in Entertainment

“Jim Pasterczyk Inquired,

Why is this on a news site?

I agree it would have been more apropos in the weather section: Heatwave Expected…

I read the news today, oh boy:)”

CKieffer on Jul 19, 2010 at 22:23:30

“about a lucky man who made the grade?”

Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 23:14:22 in Entertainment

“Say, how did you know?

Is it just me, and/or has there been a leak somewhere? Just when I’d finally got around to fixing the roof…”

Commented Jul 20, 2010 at 00:07:04 in Entertainment

“I seem to remember reading something about not putting headlamps under a bushel basket, but instead letting them stand proud. Half a sec, let me check my sources…”

sexyrexy on Jul 20, 2010 at 00:32:44

“lol”

The 7 Best Railway Trips (PHOTOS, POLL)

Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 20:42:25 in Travel

“Train Set

1. Nice bridge; shame about the train.

2. The most beautiful landscape I’ve seen in a while.

3. Where’re the dragons?

4. ..One ticket will set you back about $4000… Not under my system, it wouldn’t.

5. I see now why Agatha was so enthusiastic.

6. While we all hope for the best, we cannot guarantee Sarah sightings.

7. I hope the shovel’s not for coal.

8. I was hoping for Ontario to New Brunswick, one of the high points of my youth, so I’ll just switch with More Slideshows.

p.s. Does anyone know if the City of New Orleans is still running?”

SaulBloodworth on Jul 22, 2010 at 10:29:13

“Yes, it is. It is a little disappointing, though, because you don’t see much if the Mississippi. Try the Southwest Chief.”

Can We Really Afford to Hire Another Supreme Court Justice in This Economy?

Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 21:39:25 in Comedy

“If they accepted a 75% pay cut, they could all keep their jobs (and what little status they have left:)

p.s. What’s Diana Ross doing these days? Maybe she could fill in.”

The Onion: Jennifer Aniston Adopts 33-Year-Old African Man (VIDEO)

Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 21:54:22 in Comedy

“I didn’t even get a form letter when I applied.”

Fooled Again by Breitbart and the Wingnut Right

Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 09:49:20 in Politics

“A Few Modest Proposals

An easy way to distinguish the journalists from the hacks: they’re not afraid to blog on websites that accept comments.

Failing to move to pay-per-view (with a progressive tax) is like telling alcoholics they have to buy a two-four.

Perhaps Huffpo could purchase some public service announcements disseminating Gutenberg: You have the right to read. If you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used to make you look like a clown.

Bring back SCTV: they solved the conflict of interest by advising their viewers to toss their TVs out the window at the beginning of each show.

Force networks to broadcast what’s being read, instead of the head doing the reading (as a sop, allow them to hire Leonard Nimoy to do the voiceover).

And finally, the number one thing you can do to discourage television addiction: Turn off your TV, and *don’t turn it back on until I tell you to*.

. . .

Dave? Are you there? Can I turn it back on yet?

p.s. How is it that I’ve failed to fan you? I guess it’s because I never expected to see anyone bat a perfect game:)”

Politico’s ‘Age Of Rage’: More Evidence That It Still Hasn’t Figured Out Journalism

Commented Jul 24, 2010 at 13:07:51 in Media

“After your feverish efforts to help us funnybone up on our summer school current events course, perhaps you’re feeling the heat of the global warming and fuzzying kitchen. Allow me to fan you:)”

Teenage Girls Undergo ‘Breast Ironing’ In Cameroon (VIDEO)

Commented Jul 24, 2010 at 16:25:32 in World

“prettykitty10 preened,

Thank god the Suffrage Movement and Feminism gave me the sacred freedom to be myself in a free and open society-here in America

In Ontario, women have the right to go topless, but that doesn’t keep them from bundling up anyway. And for such a free and open society, you sure do come down hard on anyone not represented by a suit.”

Commented Jul 24, 2010 at 16:32:27 in World

“Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin, many ‘civilized’ women continue to feel that their breasts are too small…”

Daisytoo on Jul 24, 2010 at 21:11:20

“That’s actually not the other side of this coin.”

TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 02:13:03 in Media

“An Off Topic Public Service Announcement:

Having taken a further inch off my already slender waist casting swine before pearls in an effort to change the course of human history for the better, and having not received so much as a thank you for having helped many already rich people become even richer than they were, I feel a strong urge for an extended vacation with my notebook and pencils; it’s either that or start studying how to become Secretary General of the United Nations. If there are any objections, please speak now, or be prepared to hold your peace for a good long time.

Joe”

The GOP Plot to Screw the Economy and the Middle Class

Commented Jul 31, 2010 at 04:15:38 in Politics

“Has anyone been bold enough to propose letting all the tax cuts expire and actually raising taxes on the rich? Of course, I’d hate to see people who make as much in one year as I make in ten have their taxes go up – they might miss a meal. But other countries are beginning to point, and not in a good way.”

Citizen Mobilization for Housing in Haiti (The Urgency of Housing, Part IV)

Commented Jul 31, 2010 at 12:01:22 in World

“Never was fair maid more fittingly fanned. Indeed, you have indebted me. But whence this sudden awakening of the commonwealth after years of slumber?”

Diplomacy on Jul 31, 2010 at 21:32:33

“Haiti never was part of the Commonwealth. Haiti has been an independent country since January 1, 1804 & a former colony of France at that time & there continues to be “political interference” by many countries before Independence & since Independence including interference from the USA.

Here’s a little overview:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiti”

Commented Jul 31, 2010 at 23:31:28 in World

“Thank you for your ‘anal’ysis, which was ‘spot on’. After checking my documentation, I discovered my poetic license had expired…”

The War on Terror: Beyond the Military

Commented Aug 1, 2010 at 17:08:49 in Politics

“If the Colonel controlled all the horsepow’r and men,
Uncle Sam could be put back together again.

..The views expressed in this article do not represent the views of the Department of Defense or the United States government..

All the worse for them.”

An International Appeal to Save Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

Commented Aug 1, 2010 at 17:39:29 in World

“I would be happy to help anyone who favors stoning back to that particular age…”

Stoning Sekinah: The Perversion of the Other

Commented Aug 1, 2010 at 19:34:12 in Religion

“It’s one of the peaks of the Ignorance Mountains. Those mountaintops I wouldn’t mind seeing removed.”

Lady Gaga Urges Fans To Protest Arizona Immigration Law (VIDEO)

Commented Aug 2, 2010 at 14:50:20 in Entertainment

“A few months ago, before Hurricane Huffpost hit home, I would have agreed. Now, seated in the peace and quiet at the eye of the storm, I can’t help but feel they may be on to something – the answers are blowin’ in the wind…

Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation. – Susan Brownell Anthony”

Lady Gaga In Vanity Fair: Talks Cocaine & Celibacy (PHOTO)

Commented Aug 2, 2010 at 15:34:15 in Entertainment

“I must admit, intellectually, I have a soft spot for ethical exhibitionists. Emotionally…

You should never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth. – Henrik Ibsen”

Astrazoic on Aug 2, 2010 at 15:52:35

“I REALLY like that quote – thx”

Alan Greenspan: Extending Bush Tax Cuts Without Paying For Them Could Be ‘Disastrous’

Commented Aug 2, 2010 at 20:48:45 in Politics

“The thing I find strange is how the unemployed fight to defend the tax breaks enjoyed by the coworkers who pushed them off the cliff, rather than take a pay cut. Maybe they think they’ll have a job again some day?”

Currency Tax — A Way to Invest in Our Future

Commented Aug 2, 2010 at 21:22:33 in Politics

“Try as I might, I can’t recall any reports of serfs shopping till they dropped with borrowed money. And you really should research the words you use – maybe some conservatives would like to conserve things like the environment, instead of giving people the liberty to turn it into landfills and obesity.

p.s. Please don’t accuse me of being rich without studying my comments.”

Lady Gaga In Vanity Fair: Talks Cocaine & Celibacy (PHOTO)

Commented Aug 2, 2010 at 22:41:17 in Entertainment

“Better than keeping your cash on the barrel.

If I had to give a definition of capitalism I would say: the process whereby American girls turn into American women. – Christopher Hampton”

Our Obligation to Help Other Women

Commented Aug 3, 2010 at 08:39:05 in Chicago

“Sorry it’s just me, but your ideas are too important to be buried. I’ve often wondered if women will ever start using their powers for good, but it seems to me that the odds are against it. Under ordinary conditions, men can increase their reproductive success many-fold by forming alliances, but a woman’s success is usually best assured by keeping other women away from her man. With modern mobility, this discrepancy has only worsened.

Also, one of the few things intelligent women seem to agree upon is their right not to reproduce, but this right, if exercised long enough, will certainly produce a more primitive culture. Yet will any woman advise a coworker seeking advancement to take time off to have children? Will she fight for pay cuts instead of allowing layoffs? In addition, anyone who encourages a coworker to stand on the side of truth instead of that of ease, in the absence of strong systemic incentives for others to do likewise, risks relegating that coworker’s genes to the dustbin of evolution.

I hope, however, that you will continue to promote the idea of women supporting women. I’ve seen evidence lately that grassroots movements may, in the future, contribute more to legislative reform than they have in the past:)”

Women and the Racial Wealth Divide

Commented Aug 3, 2010 at 14:20:20 in Chicago

“Fifteen people have indicated their interest in a Chicago Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/HuffingtonPost/17330/ I can’t help but feel that your presence there would be all good…

Your Recession-Proof Entertainment Guide to Finishing Out the Summer

Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 17:04:38 in Style

“What I long for above all else is conversation, but alas! my friends shun me – and my laughable attempts at humor – like the plague since I went viral. I think I’ll start doing some of the jigsaw puzzles I haven’t even opened yet – beautiful buildings in beautiful landscapes…”

An Open Letter to Lindsay Lohan: You need the right kind of friends

Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 17:42:08 in Entertainment

“If she’s ever in Ottawa, she’s welcome to hang with me. We can be Best Friends (until her boredom lasts) Forever:)

She is one of the few women of fame I’ve seen who looks better without her makeup than with it.”

What You Can Learn From Lindsay Lohan

Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 18:45:13 in Living

“Not to criticize, Dr. Dow, but given the number of comments, perhaps your next article could be on television addiction – a killer hidden in plain sight.

But I sometimes feel like I’m beating a dead House…”

Lessons From Lohan and Gibson?

Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 19:16:39 in Los Angeles

“Implementing progressive alcohol taxes and teaching children self defense would also help people learn, but I’ll understand if no one else really agrees.

In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy. – Ivan Illich”

Becoming a ‘Poet of Uncertainty’

Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 23:58:19 in Living

“If one more person simplifies the difference between necessities and luxuries out of existence, I’m going to start practicing primal scream therapy. Can we not say that certainty is good in the first category and bad in the second?”

Final Deepwater Horizon Flow Rate Estimate Is Likely Too Low, Which Benefits BP

Commented Aug 7, 2010 at 01:06:07 in Green

“You do realize, don’t you, that The Huffington Post is a corporation. You might want to use a narrower brush when you’re portraying their immoral, soulless psychopathic qualities… Personally, I think Arianna has done a stand-up job.”

CarolinaDem on Aug 7, 2010 at 01:32:52

“I do realize that, but the sociological precision necessary to describe the form of incarnate evil represented by the corporation which dwarfs all individuals in its size and inertia seemed unnecessary in this audience. Arianna is the example of what corporate organization can be good for. Given three generations and global scope, I doubt my characterization will prove terribly off.”

Open Letter: Why I Decided to Run for President of Haiti

Commented Aug 7, 2010 at 04:02:54 in World

“The thought that I may be helping people of good will is what keeps me tied to my own small labors.

Respectable men and women content with good and easy living are missing some of the most important things in life. Unless you give yourself to some great cause you haven’t even begun to live.

– William P. Merrill”

The Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness: Where Do We Go From Here?

Commented Aug 8, 2010 at 13:52:18 in Impact

“It seems to me that we could solve all our problems six ways from zero by constructing community trimarans (with community rooftop gardens and mushroom production in the hulls:), large enough to be stable, but not so big as to be impersonal. The implementation of this policy would (obviously) create jobs, help the environment, aid in refugee resettlement and disaster relief, permit weather control, improve health (I, myself, *love* sailing), allow many people to travel the world for free (think Love Boat meets Fantasy Island:)… Well, perhaps you’re beginning to get the picture; my picture, anyway:)

Here’s hoping someone besides me agrees.

p.s. If anyone reading this has the ear of Arianna, please let her know she is entirely welcome to give my email address to anyone who has written for the Huffington Post. Verisigned, Joe:)”

Rachel Maddow Takes On Bill O’Reilly: ‘Stupid,’ ‘Bullpucky’ (VIDEO)

Commented Aug 8, 2010 at 17:06:54 in Media

“Oh, well, as far as that goes, when I tried to register on MSNBC last night, they told me my email was invalid. Maybe they don’t like foreigners? I immediately fired off an email asking them what was up, but I’ve heard nothing back…”

Amondale on Aug 8, 2010 at 17:11:48

“Perhaps you should get over yourself and your inflated sense of self-importance.

IMHO.”

Commented Aug 8, 2010 at 19:42:28 in Media

“Perhaps you should spend twenty years of your life becoming the world’s best polymathic macroethicist – your opinion wouldn’t be so humble.

I wonder if anyone else on this website is conversant with the ‘just so stories’ of evolutionary psychology, and their utility in designing normative economic policies.

<crickets app on>”

Amondale on Aug 9, 2010 at 00:06:05

“Wow. I’ve never had someone enforce my point in such grandiose style.”

[Censored by HuffBots]

Coming from someone who’s posted 17,254 comments since January 2009, I consider that a compliment.

Do you ever actually say anything, or do you just enjoy stringing words together? Any thoughts on evolutionary psychology? Normative economics? Polymathic macroethicists?

Can you explain how the social networking virus I started managed to penetrate even your comments page? Were you talking about ethics four months ago when I started posting? (Hint: no one was…)

As you can see, I’m nothing if not grandiose, but then again, who else but me can enforce anything with nothing but a suggestion and a rhetorical question?

p.s. Please see my comments page before attempting to stick your foot any further in your mouth. And feel free to ‘moderate’ this reply; I’ll simply post it on Facebook with added commentary:)

[Censored by HuffBots]

Coming from someone who’s posted 17,254 comments since January 2009 (and who apparently has nothing much to say about polymathic macroethicists, evolutionary psychology, utilitarianism, or normative economics), I consider that a compliment.

p.s. Please see my comments page before attempting to stick your foot any further in your mouth.

baffledman on Aug 8, 2010 at 17:40:31

“or maybe just stay registered at Fox…and you know you just lied mister Fussbudget”

Commented Aug 8, 2010 at 19:50:38 in Media

“This just in from our man on the scene, baffledman:

or maybe just stay registered at Fox…and you know you just lied mister Fussbudget

Say… are you trying to read my mind, or my comments page? Just curious – I must admit I’m slightly baffled by your reply, although nowhere near enough to adopt that state of mind as my moniker.”

Robert Rubin Argues Against ‘Major’ Stimulus And For Deficit Reduction

Commented Aug 8, 2010 at 17:35:58 in Politics

“No one can control what they did in the past. I’m only glad that a lot of men have been moving to become better lately. Perhaps some day women will respond with improved incentives for the rest of us;)”

KermitKnowsBest on Aug 8, 2010 at 17:39:50

“Huh?”

Commented Aug 8, 2010 at 20:19:57 in Politics

“I admit, my post was filled with insiderisms explained on my comments page. If Kermit is interested in knowing the best way to help his real-life cousins, he should check it out:)”

Tweet Medvedev: Stop the Destruction of the Future of Food!

Commented Aug 9, 2010 at 05:35:53 in Green

“I’ll have to see if there’s anything my new Russian friend Natalia can do. She seems to be very ethical and intelligent, and she works in law enforcement… This sort of situation (extinction) is one of the things my categorical imperative, minimize irreversibility, refers to directly.

I hope it’s not too late…

p.s. Does anyone know why Twitter won’t allow people to sign up unless they own a cellphone?”

Krugman’s Takedown of Ryan Demonstrates How Conservatives Are at War With the Middle Class

Commented Aug 9, 2010 at 18:55:29 in Politics

“What’s your take on all the Americans who voted for them, expecting change without having to change themselves?”

sixchair on Aug 9, 2010 at 19:33:01

“what kind of change do you refer to?”

Commented Aug 9, 2010 at 20:20:53 in Politics

“Let’s see… Top of the list would probably be a national progressive carbon tax with personal exemptions paid in periodic rebates (much like our GST here in Canada). A progressive meat tax, ditto. Oh, and sugar, salt, fat, television, and similar well-known contributors to the ~60% of your health care costs that are due to chronic care. Progressive property tax, so owners of mansions would pay a higher rate than owners of bungalows on busy streets…

Considering income as consumption of good money, insisting that corporate taxes be paid in voting shares, and that businesses that are trying to make the world a better place be intelligently aided…

Please see my comments page for further suggestions, including subsidies for things like fruits, veggies, books, bicycles, sporting equipment, preventive health care, actual education, etc.

Yours,

Joe”

sixchair on Aug 10, 2010 at 09:26:07

“I can go along. You would think good health would be a motivator, wouldn’t you?”

Commented Aug 10, 2010 at 23:28:05 in Politics

“It’s a comfortable slope…”

Jannsmoor on Aug 9, 2010 at 19:43:43

“It’s the choice between evil and not that good. You can never choose evil so you end up supporting something that is not that good.”

Commented Aug 9, 2010 at 20:25:36 in Politics

“If you can point out a comment in which I have ever supported something that could reasonably be described as ‘not that good’ (apart from obviously humorous remarks), I will be deeply in your debt, and will be glad to publicly acknowledge that fact.”

HuffPost Thursdays: Meetup to Talk About the News

Commented Aug 12, 2010 at 03:25:27 in Politics

“Rebecca Harrington, Associate Social News Editor at the Huffington Post, hoped,

It has been a very interesting week for news, so hopefully these links will make for good conversation starters:

* Wikileaks, a shadowy media organization dedicated to government transparency, leaked scores of government documents about the War in Afghanistan to varied reactions.

Here in Ottawa I was thinking of proposing Huffieleaks, in the hope that someone might be able to explain how fifty-six of my one hundred and sixty-six comments have disappeared from my comments page. I can’t help but feel it might be the next big story…

Any thoughts on this topic?”

Kucinich Hits Back At Gibbs: You’ve Read Liberals Wrong

Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 07:11:48 in Politics

“You can also support people by convincing them to cast aside their props, as Gandalf did with Theoden. It is, of course, harder if they’ve never been in shape in the first place.”

Gibbs Stands By His ‘Professional Left’ Critique, Expects Liberals To Vote In 2010

Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 08:25:38 in Politics

“In my book, criticism by people who don’t even care about themselves is illegitimate – that would seem to include most Americans. Also criticism by people who are afraid to reveal their income, let alone try to justify it.”

hp blogger Dr. Jonathan David Farley on Aug 13, 2010 at 19:50:07

“Assassinating U.S. citizens without trial is wrong whatever my salary is.”

Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 22:23:59 in Politics

“Careful… As a Canadian, I find your comment has disturbing implications.

And since I find that each new comment I post erases an old one off my comments page, I’m afraid I won’t be replying.

p.s. Perhaps if you made twelve thousand a year like I do you would worry less about people on Main Street and more about people on the wrong side of the tracks – or the ocean.”

White House Ethics Initiatives At A Crossroads

Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 13:36:23 in Politics

“HuffPost ‘explained’,

HuffPost Pundits are our most engaged and thought-provoking commenters. Pundit Badges are awarded based on a strong history of insightful comments.

Perhaps they can now introduce ‘HuffPost Pariahs’, to let people like me know that the insightful, engaging and thought-provoking comments they spent weeks composing will be stored on the null drive. It will go perfectly with their policy of allowing community moderators to delete replies they don’t like.”

AncientPollyanna on Aug 13, 2010 at 13:51:36

“I put so many “insightful” ideas on these threads and many of them never show up. I guess some of them might muddy the waters even more.”

Thousands Crowd Atlanta Area Housing Authority For Section 8 WAITING LIST, Fights Break Out (VIDEO)

buckfalcon   08:47 PM on 8/12/2010

It’s amazing to me how people can get SO upset when someone suggests that an indivdual/group of individuals take accountability for their circumstance.

To me it suggests that you think these people are incapable of determining their own destiny – that somehow they need to be led around others. There are millions of people that have elevated themselves from much worse circumstances with a lot less assistance.

hgovernick   06:01 AM on 8/13/2010

I normally don’t wish misfortune on others, but I think a good healthy dose of desperate poverty combined with ego-busting humility would be good for you.

So I wish this misfortune upon you, for your own good.

Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 16:20:38 in Politics

“Careful… A lot of people around the world feel the same way about America.”

The Jobs Emergency

Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 18:30:50 in Politics

“Does anyone outside the Coalition ever think about tax rationale? Given the existing crazy quilt, it’s hard to see how.”

Memo to America’s Middle Class: Obama Is Just Not That Into You

Commented Aug 18, 2010 at 22:08:00 in Politics

“I only wish more people like you would happen to the country:) Have you checked out Ezra Klein and Matthew Yglesias? In practical knowledge, focus and ethics, they have both the White House and the American public beat hands down.”

Keep The Faith

Commented Aug 22, 2010 at 03:48:42 in World

“An interesting article from Executive Intelligence Review,

France’s Jacques Cheminade: Why I Am Running for President

http://www.larouchepub.com/other/interviews/2010/3730jacques_why_president.html

Also,

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1465887868&v=app_8826748878”

Sunday Roundup

Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 04:14:36 in World

“Perhaps this will help you decide.

http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-politicians/democrats/arianna-huffington-net-worth/”

Real Estate Boom-Time Won’t Be Returning Anytime Soon

Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 13:56:13 in Business

“I’ve tried to avoid building my houses on sand. Too much of that and you start seeing mirages and looking for oases.”

Zillions for Wall Street, Zippo for Barack’s Old Neighborhood

Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 16:40:00 in Politics

“Please don’t give up.”

Paul Krugman: Bush Tax Cut Debate Is Proof Of Our ‘Dysfunctional And Corrupt Political Culture’

Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 19:50:20 in Business

“How is it that no one on this website ever gives a price range for the middle class? If I made $30g, I’d consider myself that.”

Mishmashthots on Aug 24, 2010 at 06:03:17

“In some areas of the country, you would be hard pressed to house and feed a family of 3-4 on $30k. One of the problems with the numbers is they are averaged across the country. There are extremely low cost of living places and higher cost of living places. It used to be that the higher cost of living places tended to have a great number or jobs, nice climate, or both. But, by averaging them, it’s easy to say that someone who makes $50k is well off, but it’s not always the case.”

maninal on Aug 24, 2010 at 05:07:09

“In the US 47% make less than 25k Reasonable estimates rank the middle class between 25-50k”

Katy Perry In Adorable Childhood Glamour Shot (PHOTO)

Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 22:32:33 in Entertainment

“It’s publicity for her next movie, The Stepford Daughters”

Paul Krugman: Bush Tax Cut Debate Is Proof Of Our ‘Dysfunctional And Corrupt Political Culture’

Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 23:46:34 in Business

“Care to explain how $240K is ‘middle class’ when the median income is about $50K?”

Dave Thinkster Paulson on Aug 24, 2010 at 14:14:07

“On the theoretic side, it’s because the academic models define it as such. Both Gilbert and Thompson define the upper (capitalist) class as the top 1%. The middle class is then the next 45% to 47%, depending on the model, and the working class, and under or lower classes fill in the remainder.

In more practical terms, it’s largely based on income and wealth distribution. If you consider the fact that the top 1%, those making over $500K each year, has more wealth than the bottom 95%, it becomes apparent that those in the low six-figure range are not really amongst the economic elite. If you also consider that that same top 1% holds more than 40% of the total wealth, then it becomes clearer still.

The $250K line is roughly the division between the top 2% and the bottom 98%. It’s also a line delineating roughly 50% of America’s wealth on either side. You might argue that those at the top of the “middle class” don’t really belong there, but the truth is that the same policies that help them are those that help the working class and below.

The Bush tax cuts are just one example of the commonality, the reason being that those making around $250K are in the top tax brackets – they’re already paying their fair share, and as a result helping all Americans. What’s needed are additional brackets for those who make more – but they are the elite who control the government.”

Commented Aug 26, 2010 at 23:19:09 in Business

“Dave Thinkster Paulson thoughtst,

On the theoretic side, it’s because the academic models define it as such..

‘Academic’ cuts no ivory with me.

..Both Gilbert and Thompson define the upper (capitalist) class as the top 1%..

*Both* of them! Sorry, I was getting ahead of myself… I didn’t realize that both of them had defined it that way… I would’ve defined it as ‘the highest paid third of the labor force’, and let the paystubs fall where they may.

..The middle class is then the next 45% to 47%, depending on the model, and the working class, and under or lower classes fill in the remainder..

It sounds like your middle class is off center. Have you had it aligned lately?

..In more practical terms, it’s largely based on income and wealth distribution..

Are you sure you’re not confudiating income and wealth?:) While I’m used to converting stocks into flows, I also realize that it’s possible to live a very good life with a high income and almost no wealth.

..If you consider the fact that the top 1%, those making over $500K each year, has more wealth than the bottom 95%, it becomes apparent that those in the low six-figure range are not really amongst the economic elite..

Yes, but we were talking about income taxes, not wealth taxes.”

“..If you also consider that that same top 1% holds more than 40% of the total wealth, then it becomes clearer still..

What becomes clear to me is that you’ve wandered off topic.

..The $250K line is..the division between the top 2% and the bottom 98%. It’s also a line delineating..50% of America’s wealth on either side. You might argue that those at the top of the “middle class” don’t..belong there..

I might indeed, since I live a fairly middle class life myself on $12K.

..but the truth is that the same policies that help them..help the working class..

Anyone besides you able to verify that truth? (Any thoughts on raising the minimum wage?)

..The..tax cuts are just one example of the commonality..

Ah, yes; the commonality that *we’re worth it*.

..those making ~$250K are in the top..brackets – they’re already paying their fair share..

I believe there are many people who would take issue with your definition of ‘fair’ – perhaps even FDR himself.

..and as a result helping all Americans..

Glad to hear someone is. I’ve been trying to, but it’s an uphill battle.

..What’s needed are additional brackets for those who make more – but they..control the government.

And as long as you continue to identify with the ‘unrich’, that’s how it will stay.”

Jim Clyburn Won’t Vote For Fellow S.C. Democrat Alvin Greene

Commented Aug 26, 2010 at 16:50:27 in Politics

“Seattlelite told us,

How in hell’s name did this guy end up the democratic nominee is what I want to know. The DNC ought to be asking themselves that very question and coming up with some answers.

My theory is that he stumbled across my Huffpo comments page early on, since preserved un’edit’ed at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1465887868&v=app_8826748878 (and, of course, buried among the Permalinks)

Then again, it could be that I’m as crazy as my ‘real life’ friends apparently think I am when I talk about social networking viruses, though in fairness to myself, I must admit that none of them have the foggiest idea of what a ‘social network’ is…”

The Moral Landscape: Thinking About Human Values in Universal Terms

Commented Aug 27, 2010 at 23:11:29 in Books

“Dan Jighter observed,

That is a crucial part of the tall order, to precisely define “better” or “well-being” or “moral good”

For that, you’ll have to see my comments page, the same as Sam did.

p.s. I prefer cats that aren’t *too* hard to herd… they usually come around to my way of moralizing:)”

Nouriel Roubini: Double-Dip Odds Now Greater Than 40%, GDP To Be ‘Pathetically Lousy’ (VIDEO)

Commented Aug 28, 2010 at 01:46:13 in Business

“shanker suggested,

If we want to get out of the economic/political mess we are in perhaps someone should phone Canada and have them takeover our failing country.

Though I’ve finally decided to run for Mayor of Ottawa (my friends are free to offer encouraging remarks at this point), I’m used to working long hours, and I’m in the book.”

Civic Responsibility

Commented Aug 28, 2010 at 11:36:50 in Chicago

“Sigh. I hope you’ll still think well of me when I pays my money and takes my chances with the other fourteen men lined up against Jane Scharf in the race for Mayor of Ottawa. While I greatly admire Ms. Scharf’s efforts on behalf of the homeless of Ottawa, I can’t help but feel that she has no chance whatsoever of mounting a creditable challenge to the frontrunner, Jim Watson, who in a recent statement described his unrecycleable lawn signs as “an exercise in grassroots democracy”.

And I would question whether any of them have spent as much as five minutes thinking about helping women per se…”

American Democracy (the Lack Thereof)

Commented Aug 29, 2010 at 04:16:54 in Politics

“Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally: Thousands Expected To Attend, Civil Rights Leaders Protest Event: 36,731 Comments

American Democracy (the Lack Thereof): 73 Comments

Republicans too?

Cake and Circuses! Getcher Cake and Circuses!”

Can Religion Save the World?

Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 01:22:20 in Religion

“Back when societies were more sharply defined, the word ‘religion’ was useful, though it usually combined ethics and metaphysics: anyone outside your group could reasonably be assumed to be pondering wiping you out and taking your women. Today, atomized as we are, and connected in so many dimensions, it makes more sense to concentrate on people’s ethics, whatever comforting ideas they may otherwise hold. But if you want any large number of people to support a particular ethos, you cannot achieve it by saying ‘pretty please’; you have to find enough rational people to implement ‘mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon’, as Garrett Hardin put it. In other words, taxes, something religious people should like, but hardly ever do.

That said, I usually like people with soft heads and soft hearts better than those with hard heads and hard hearts – easier to correct.”

mansterEZ on Aug 30, 2010 at 13:52:25

“Isn’t identifying those with soft heads/hearts as opposed to those with hard ones completely subjective depending on one’s perspective and current circumstance? Rational people are those who respond to posts like this. Understanding the philosophical meaning of religion is an intense mind exercise requiring focused attention and passion. That, unfortunately, escapes those who go to church on Sundays hoping that by doing so increases the likelihood for salvation. There is in reality practically no escape from the consequence of practicing religion as a collective in this society unless one can divorce oneself from the trappings of self satisfaction through aggrandizement. Concentrating on ethics is a real good starting point. Unfortunately the modern view of ethics is drowned by the reality of embracing greed, graft, fraud, & corruption promoted by mysticism, fabrication & misrepresentation driven by innuendo, distortion and lies. Facts are very stubborn things to avoid.”

Commented Aug 31, 2010 at 21:34:45 in Religion

mansterEZ had some toughies,

Isn’t identifying those with soft heads/hearts as opposed to those with hard ones completely subjective depending on one’s perspective and current circumstance?..

Well, no (they are side by side if you consider soft heads/hard hearts on the bottom, and hard heads/soft hearts on the top). S/s’s are small-time kind-hearted people, like Ike Godsey from ‘The Waltons’; they do their best to live an ethical life, but they never consider the bigger picture: taxing bad behavior and subsidizing good behavior. So nothing ever really changes, because most people won’t change until they’re forced to. H/h’s are big-time, cold-hearted individuals, like Scrooge: very good at controlling people, not very good at helping them – their power puts them on the opposite side of the fence.

..Rational people are those who respond to posts like this..

True, but have you ever considered the implementation of progressive national sales taxes on things like carbon and meat?

..Understanding the philosophical meaning of religion is an intense mind exercise requiring focused attention and passion..

That’s why I prefer to treat it evpsychologically: the emotions winning the battle against the intellect, or subevolutionism.

..That, unfortunately, escapes those who go to church on Sundays hoping that by doing so increases the likelihood for salvation..

It escapes just about everyone except me and a few evolutionary psychologists, and most of them escape applying it to their own lives.

..There is in reality practically no escape from the consequence of practicing religion as a collective in this society unless one can divorce oneself from the trappings of self satisfaction through aggrandizement..

The Amish, and here in Canada, the Mennonites, come to mind.

..Concentrating on ethics is a real good starting point. Unfortunately the modern view of ethics is drowned by the reality of embracing greed, graft, fraud, & corruption promoted by mysticism, fabrication & misrepresentation driven by innuendo, distortion and lies..

That’s where intelligent people like you can help. The more the merrier.

..Facts are very stubborn things to avoid.

People can be pretty stubborn too, if they want something badly enough.”

Moving Beyond Washington’s Stale Economic Debate

Commented Sep 1, 2010 at 22:30:15 in Business

“Any ideas on what they’re going to do about the Ottawa, Ontario Mayor’s Race, in which I’m a candidate? I’ve already had two reporters and one volunteer call, and I’ve been referring them to my comments page…”

Commented Sep 1, 2010 at 23:30:54 in Business

“Jeffrey Sachs’ ‘Moving Beyond Washington’s Stale Economic Debate’ is the best article I’ve ever read. To kickstart these programs, I’d recommend installing a desk and chair (with necessary infrastructure) for Mr. Sachs in the Oval Office, to be paid for by a mandate on legislators:)”

President Obama Speaks to New Orleans From Planet Zarg

Commented Sep 2, 2010 at 01:28:31 in Politics

“Whatever planet he’s from, it must be pretty cushy – you can make millions during a downturn by selling your wit and wisdom to the very people who voted you into office…”

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About josephfurtenbacher

World's Best Polymathic Macroethicist
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