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  #51  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:16 AM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Originally Posted by XT View Post
It's certainly tough. And it's tougher BECAUSE the obstacles are political...which is just another way of saying that large numbers of voters don't see things the way you (or I for that matter) do. The trick is to change peoples perceptions and thinking at the grass roots, as this will cause change on the political scene.



If it was easy then someone would have solved it. That's the real trouble...the American voter EXPECTS easy, quick and painless (to them as individuals...no worries if it's someone else pain) solutions to difficult and complex problems.

I mean look what you wrote here. You are all for cuts...but not of Medicare, because you think that it's important. I'm not saying whether it is or isn't, or whether it should or shouldn't be cut...but translate your attitude into 10's of millions of voters in thousands of districts and towns, hundreds of cities, and the states and you start to see why it's not going to be easy. Everyone has a different idea on what they think could be cut, should be cut...and absolutely can't or shouldn't be cut. Everyone has an idea on what they think their taxes should or shouldn't be...while having a different opinion on what they think their neighbors or fellow citizens taxes should or shouldn't be. I try and explain this to my dad all the time and he just doesn't get it...but it is THE fundamental problem, IMHO in this country. Everyone wants something different, everyone prioritizes differently, is willing to have someone else sacrifice something while not wanting to sacrifice something else that they think is important...and politicians cater and pander to the various groups of folks with similar desires, assuming they constitute enough voters to entice them into pandering to them.

-XT
BUt there is a right answer to these problems and concerns, or several right answers. We should be smart enough to find them. It doesn't matter if opinions are different. What matters is what is right. Cutting Medicare is not right; reducing medical costs and extending Medicare to all is right. Cutting defense is right. Cutting corporate subsidies is right. Ending the Bush tax cuts is right. These things alone would solve the deficit. The problem is not differing opinions. The problem is people are not informed enough and don't care enough to inform themselves.
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  #52  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:33 AM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Originally Posted by Absolute View Post
I am happy to pay for a government program if I think it will actually accomplish those goals.

Simply throwing more money at these problems is not an answer.
There are government programs that work. They are cut because Republicans don't want to pay for them.
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This is a very simple-minded attitude.

When speculators buy a good in the commodity market, they are most certainly not doing so "without any connection to the actual buyers and sellers". Who do you think they are buying it from? There is someone on the market producing bushels of wheat, tons of copper, (or whatever) who is happy to have received a high price for it, and happy for the liquidity the speculators provide.
Why the middle men? Prices are being raised that have no connection to the product or its cost or the demand for it. Prices rise because people want to make more money, using excuses like a disturbance in the Middle East or North Africa that has nothing to do with the cost of the product. These commodity markets did not exist not long ago; there's no reason for cynical conservatives to defend them and to claim that to say we don't need them is simple-minded. It is not simple-minded to point out that just stumbling into doing things a certain way is costly and not needed.
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"Free market policies" are only "causing" prices to rise in the sense that people are free to pay whatever price they want for whatever amount of commodities they need.
Free market policies are claims that the "market" can't be interfered with, so just let an unfair system just keep going.

Not supporting and requiring alternative energy is the main reason for high gas prices. That means is no competition from alternative energy (solar, wind, batteries, etc.) to the oil companies, who get all the breaks and are allowed to keep ruining and spoiling our planet. If consumers had a choice, gas prices would be forced down. We should have had electric cars long before now. Free market policies and delusions forced us to wait for the market to do it. That won't happen. Watch PBS this Monday to see how electric cars are a solution and an expanding industry.
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Regarding "colleges are unaffordable" - there are literally thousands of colleges in the US. The idea that they are all involved in some vast conspiracy to collude to keep prices high is ridiculous. If college is unaffordable, maybe the problem is that a good education is just very expensive to provide. Most colleges are non-profits! Government restrictions on the cost of college would do nothing but force colleges to lower staff salaries and cut spending.
They are making obscene profits, whether they are non-profit or not. The costs are going up to obviously ridiculous levels, and at rates that have no relation whatever even to severe inflation. There is no conceivable rationale for this. College is unaffordable. It should be free, as it basically was before when our country was doing well. It is expensive because they are charging way too much, keeping administrators that aren't needed and paying them too much, and taking tuition and using it to fund corporate research instead of teaching (that's a big one). University of California has raised tuition sky high, cut teachers, and given huge raises to administrators; that's a fact. It is surely not an isolated one either.
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A competitive free market is a very efficient system. Unlike what many libertarians will tell you, it is necessary to regulate the free market in order for it to remain competitive - prohibit monopolies from developing, punishing companies that gain an unfair advantage by breaking environmental laws, etc. And sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice a little efficiency in the market in order to achieve other goals - minimum wage laws, for instance.

But most of the problems that people blame on the "free market" are actually the result of a market that is not free at all, but distorted by a corrupt political and economic system influenced by large, powerful, monopolistic corporations - the total opposite of a free market.
The point is that these corporate influences are JUSTIFIED by free market slogans. That is the problem; the ideology that is dominating our politics, and thus keeping all the regulations from being put into effect, or repealing them so that we have corruption and crashes. We need to return to a time when our country was doing well and moving forward, diverted off track by a charming actor who sold too many people on trickle-down theories.
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  #53  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:36 AM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Originally Posted by elucidator View Post
Barry Goldwater. Its an old fart thing, you wouldn't understand.
He certainly has nothing to do with third party progressive politics. Know him well. I couldn't imagine you would bring him up in this context, so certainly I didn't know what the initials stood for.
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  #54  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:37 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is online now
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It's easy to say what's right, but the actions you've listed above don't just have simple consequences.

For example - cutting corporate subsidies - great idea - let's not spend our taxes on keeping private businesses afloat, except cutting subsidies can create unemployment, higher costs to consumers, etc.

The question is not "what do you want to do?" - any idiot can answer that - it's "how will you mitigate the potential negative outcomes of what you want to do?".
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  #55  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:40 AM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
It's easy to say what's right, but the actions you've listed above don't just have simple consequences.

For example - cutting corporate subsidies - great idea - let's not spend our taxes on keeping private businesses afloat, except cutting subsidies can create unemployment, higher costs to consumers, etc.

The question is not "what do you want to do?" - any idiot can answer that - it's "how will you mitigate the potential negative outcomes of what you want to do?".
It is certainly possible to determine which subsidies serve no purpose and which ones do. It's not rocket science; it's good politics, which is in short supply because money runs a lot of it. Sure, don't cut subsidies to companies that help me get elected or that are popular in my district.
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  #56  
Old 04-12-2012, 04:13 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is online now
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Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
It is certainly possible to determine which subsidies serve no purpose and which ones do.
Go on then.
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  #57  
Old 04-12-2012, 07:06 AM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
Cutting Medicare is not right; reducing medical costs and extending Medicare to all is right. Cutting defense is right. Cutting corporate subsidies is right. Ending the Bush tax cuts is right. These things alone would solve the deficit.
Couple of things -
  • How do you propose reducing medical costs? and
  • Saying "I want to eliminate the deficit but not cut Medicare" is saying "I don't want to eliminate the deficit".
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The problem is not differing opinions. The problem is people are not informed enough and don't care enough to inform themselves.
No, the problem is differing opinions.

There's your major problem - you are putting forth your opinions as if they were self-evidently true, and they're not.

For instance -
Quote:
Prices rise because people want to make more money, using excuses like a disturbance in the Middle East or North Africa that has nothing to do with the cost of the product.
Saying that threats to your supply line have nothing to do with the cost of a product shows a breath-taking ignorance of basic economic facts.

Regards,
Shodan
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  #58  
Old 04-12-2012, 07:54 AM
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Why do we need another new movement? There are plenty of groups and parties already working towards these goals, usually with little success.

How would a new movement be formed? How would it be successful? Who would lead it? How would it spread? Why not just empower existing Green Parties and environmental groups instead of further fragmenting current socio-environmental movements?

The problems are easy to identify, but you've proposed no mechanism to enact their solutions. "If only people would vote..." or "if not for the damnable conservatives/republicans/whatever" or "if we had more money and less wars...". How do we even begin to get there from the wasteland of greed and apathy we find ourselves in today?

Ugh.

You know what we need? Fewer dreamers and more doers.

Last edited by Reply; 04-12-2012 at 07:55 AM..
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  #59  
Old 04-12-2012, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by MaxTheVool View Post
I certainly agree that the OP is a bit pie-in-the-sky and rather lacking in details. That said, I think responding to any pie-in-the-sky proposal with a dismissive sneer of "but who decides X, who gets to sort Y, who gets to analyze Z" as if that just defeats the original proposal all by itself is a little facile.
As usual, MaxTheVool has a correct intelligent outlook. I'll subscribe to your newsletter, Max!

My own comments? Rather than Motherhood statements and wishful thinking, one needs to focus on specific problems and solutions. Recent trends in campaign finance law and the repeal of laws against concentrated media ownership are specific abuses that should have Americans "taking to the streets with pitchforks."

I'm surprised that OP doesn't mention, let alone endorse, the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Yes, they have a mess of contradictory ideas -- that's called popular democracy. If OP thinks he'll get uniformity of thought in his new party, I think he's [checks forum] ... misinformed.
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  #60  
Old 04-12-2012, 08:59 AM
Hallucinex Hallucinex is offline
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Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
If consumers had a choice, gas prices would be forced down.
Sounds like the free market to me.
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  #61  
Old 04-12-2012, 09:16 AM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Originally Posted by Hallucinex View Post
Sounds like the free market to me.
Exactly. Something which (at least in the petroleum sector) we don't have now.

And that is the difference between the free market and capitalism. Capitalism we have.

Last edited by BrainGlutton; 04-12-2012 at 09:17 AM..
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  #62  
Old 04-12-2012, 09:40 AM
Tristan Tristan is offline
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Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
Exactly. Something which (at least in the petroleum sector) we don't have now.

And that is the difference between the free market and capitalism. Capitalism we have.
I think you got whooshed. I read that as a response to someone saying gas prices should be FORCED down as being "free market".
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  #63  
Old 04-12-2012, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
Exactly. Something which (at least in the petroleum sector) we don't have now.
How is the petroleum industry not a free market? The price is set globally. There are hundreds or thousands of companies producing oil, hundreds of thousands consuming it directly. It's about as free as you can get.
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  #64  
Old 04-12-2012, 12:52 PM
Chessic Sense Chessic Sense is offline
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Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
That means is no competition from alternative energy (solar, wind, batteries, etc.) to the oil companies, who get all the breaks
But those breaks for oil companies are the only way I can afford to install oil panels on my roof! And if it wasn't for the tax write-off, I couldn't have afforded the new gasoline-powered car I bought this year!

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They are making obscene profits, whether they are non-profit or not.
Whaaaaat?
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  #65  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:06 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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But those breaks for oil companies are the only way I can afford to install oil panels on my roof! And if it wasn't for the tax write-off, I couldn't have afforded the new gasoline-powered car I bought this year!
Whaaaaat?

Tax breaks are not breaks from oil companies.

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Whaaaaat?
Amazing, huge tuitions and high salaries for administrators. and some teachers; and lots of corporations who benefit from the research, to which most students' tuition goes.
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  #66  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:08 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Go on then.
The details need to be looked at by experts, but offhand certainly the oil companies subsidies, many subsidies to agribusiness and ethanol, and of course bloated defense contracts; to name a few.
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  #67  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:15 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
Couple of things -
  • How do you propose reducing medical costs? and
  • Saying "I want to eliminate the deficit but not cut Medicare" is saying "I don't want to eliminate the deficit".
No, the problem is differing opinions.
No it isn't. It's too many people who are wrong about things. And no, reducing medical costs, not cutting medicare. Medicare needs to be extended to all. When all pay, and pay more than the small taxes they pay now, and since most Medicare is used by the elderly, it is financially viable. And it would cut out the outrageous insurance premiums, and control drug and doctor costs. Obama has good plans to cut costs; listen to his recent speech.
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There's your major problem - you are putting forth your opinions as if they were self-evidently true, and they're not.
That's not a problem, since they ARE true. The problem is that there are too many conservatives in this country, like you and Blake. They prefer to keep things as they are, which is not working, to trying new ways that make sense and work in many countries and states.
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For instance - Saying that threats to your supply line have nothing to do with the cost of a product shows a breath-taking ignorance of basic economic facts.

Regards,
Shodan
Not at all. They were non-existent threats that did not have anything to do with actual costs. If supply is cut off, only then does it make any "economics" sense to raise prices. And really, not even then. The costs still have not risen, only demand. But that's another issue. Non-existent threats to supply are no reason to raise prices and force us to pay them; only greed. In 1973, this didn't happen; prices went up only when the actual oil embargo occured, not before. In any case, oil companies made out like bandits. There was never any threat to their profits from threats or actual cutoffs. They make more money than anyone, and more today than ever-- all for harming our biosphere and home we depend on. They ought to be phased out of business and banned.
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  #68  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:17 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Originally Posted by Hallucinex View Post
Sounds like the free market to me.
Good; the right kind of free market is a vital part of a mixed economy. Deceptive right wing trickle-down slogans are NOT a vital part of a mixed economy.
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  #69  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:23 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Originally Posted by Reply View Post
Why do we need another new movement? There are plenty of groups and parties already working towards these goals, usually with little success.

How would a new movement be formed? How would it be successful? Who would lead it? How would it spread? Why not just empower existing Green Parties and environmental groups instead of further fragmenting current socio-environmental movements?

The problems are easy to identify, but you've proposed no mechanism to enact their solutions. "If only people would vote..." or "if not for the damnable conservatives/republicans/whatever" or "if we had more money and less wars...". How do we even begin to get there from the wasteland of greed and apathy we find ourselves in today?

Ugh.

You know what we need? Fewer dreamers and more doers.
Quite the opposite is true. The problem today is cynicism and lack of idealism. Doing only makes sense as carrying out a vision and responding to good information.

The meaning of "a new progressive movement" is to make a bigger one than today, knowing that today many people are too discouraged and think nothing can be done, since right-wing movements are more powerful. Which party or other vehicle is not the issue; the way is to use whatever effective and ethical means exist, just as I said.

And voting IS one of those viable means. What is needed is support for the progressive program, not endless requests for specifics and evidence, or dickering about which party to support or not. We already know what we need to do, what will work, and what does work. We've known it for decades. The problem is resistance by authority, and their deception of too many people in thinking the only important issue is to lower their own taxes in the name of a false "freedom." We need to get on with it. Move-on, as they say.
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  #70  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:26 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
As usual, MaxTheVool has a correct intelligent outlook. I'll subscribe to your newsletter, Max!

My own comments? Rather than Motherhood statements and wishful thinking, one needs to focus on specific problems and solutions. Recent trends in campaign finance law and the repeal of laws against concentrated media ownership are specific abuses that should have Americans "taking to the streets with pitchforks."
I agree with that.
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I'm surprised that OP doesn't mention, let alone endorse, the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Yes, they have a mess of contradictory ideas -- that's called popular democracy. If OP thinks he'll get uniformity of thought in his new party, I think he's [checks forum] ... misinformed.
There is no new party, and I support and participate in OWS, but think their concern over not being co-opted and refusing to support good candidates, handicaps the goals. My OP is partly inspired by the OWS statements of purpose, though it is my own.
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  #71  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:28 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is online now
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Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
The details need to be looked at by experts, but offhand certainly the oil companies subsidies, many subsidies to agribusiness and ethanol, and of course bloated defense contracts; to name a few.
So you remove the subsidies on the fuel/petrochemical industries, and there are no negative outcomes downstream? The cost of fuel doesn't increase? The cost of transportation? Manufacturing? Retail distribution? Construction? Plastics? Anything that uses energy?
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  #72  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:29 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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How is the petroleum industry not a free market? The price is set globally. There are hundreds or thousands of companies producing oil, hundreds of thousands consuming it directly. It's about as free as you can get.
If prices are "set," that's not exactly "free." There are only a few dominant international oil companies. They control the market, along with commodity speculators, and they get government support too in many ways.
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  #73  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:31 PM
Dallas Jones Dallas Jones is offline
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How is the petroleum industry not a free market? The price is set globally. There are hundreds or thousands of companies producing oil, hundreds of thousands consuming it directly. It's about as free as you can get.
Exactly. The price of oil is determined the same way that the price of corn, or rubber, or pork, or any other commodity is, by brokers who are buying future supplies to cover the future needs of their customers.

A commodities broker is trying to bet on the future price of a product. If he believes the price may go down in the near future he may only lock in a 6 month contract at the current price and buy more after the price falls. If he thinks the price may go up he will try to lock in a larger amount over a longer time period at todays lower price.

But he MUST cover the needs of his customers. So they look into their crystal ball/industry reports and buy based upon what may happen. They are not buying for today at todays prices, they are buying for tomorrow at the price being offered today.

Doesn't matter whether the broker is worried about a collapse of the anchovy fishing off Peru or the mining of the ship channels off Iran.

The market, and perceived future of that market, determines the price.
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  #74  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:34 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
The meaning of "a new progressive movement" is to make a bigger one than today, knowing that today many people are too discouraged and think nothing can be done, since right-wing movements are more powerful. Which party or other vehicle is not the issue; the way is to use whatever effective and ethical means exist, just as I said.
In other words, we need a real movement, with real energy, willing to support the left and progressives, and not so quick to claim they are moderates or try to please everybody, since they don't think they can win otherwise.

A real willingness to support the causes I listed, rather than calling them motherhood statements and asking for endless specifics, when they have already been known for decades-- and in many cases had existed and were working quite well before the useless Reaganomics delusion took hold.
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  #75  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:36 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Exactly. The price of oil is determined the same way that the price of corn, or rubber, or pork, or any other commodity is, by brokers who are buying future supplies to cover the future needs of their customers.

A commodities broker is trying to bet on the future price of a product. If he believes the price may go down in the near future he may only lock in a 6 month contract at the current price and buy more after the price falls. If he thinks the price may go up he will try to lock in a larger amount over a longer time period at todays lower price.

But he MUST cover the needs of his customers. So they look into their crystal ball/industry reports and buy based upon what may happen. They are not buying for today at todays prices, they are buying for tomorrow at the price being offered today.

Doesn't matter whether the broker is worried about a collapse of the anchovy fishing off Peru or the mining of the ship channels off Iran.

The market, and perceived future of that market, determines the price.
That system is unnecessary and only allows middle men to force us all to pay high prices for no reason. It has nothing to do with the market at all. There is no market between buyers and sellers there. It is a casino. People need to make money from real things, not from speculation. People need to produce things, and not be so eager to go into finance just to make money.
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  #76  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:39 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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So you remove the subsidies on the fuel/petrochemical industries, and there are no negative outcomes downstream? The cost of fuel doesn't increase? The cost of transportation? Manufacturing? Retail distribution? Construction? Plastics? Anything that uses energy?
The good is that taxes are not raised to pay these ridiculous subsidies. Petroleum companies are making fuel hand over fist; that is obvious, so obvious it doesn't even need to be said, and yet you forget. What do we need to give them any breaks for?

What would benefit us all is if they all went out of business! Why the endless excuses for the status quo? We need to change and move forward! Fossil fuels are ruining our climate and our resources.
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  #77  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
Quite the opposite is true. The problem today is cynicism and lack of idealism. Doing only makes sense as carrying out a vision and responding to good information.

The meaning of "a new progressive movement" is to make a bigger one than today, knowing that today many people are too discouraged and think nothing can be done, since right-wing movements are more powerful. Which party or other vehicle is not the issue; the way is to use whatever effective and ethical means exist, just as I said.

And voting IS one of those viable means. What is needed is support for the progressive program, not endless requests for specifics and evidence, or dickering about which party to support or not. We already know what we need to do, what will work, and what does work. We've known it for decades. The problem is resistance by authority, and their deception of too many people in thinking the only important issue is to lower their own taxes in the name of a false "freedom." We need to get on with it. Move-on, as they say.
You're missing the point. Yes, people ("we", if you prefer) have to "get on with it" and actually change hearts, minds, and votes. But whining about it on an internet message board, or at a college campus, or at scattered Occupy movements, doesn't do jack diddly shit.

Cynicism, you say? It's the natural and necessary defense against idealism run amok. Sitting around dreaming of a better world doesn't make it happen, and as generations see the futility of idle hope, they downsize their over-lofty ideals into smaller achievable chunks and begin to effect concrete change -- through careers or lifestyles, politics, science, direct action, yes, on occasion even activism and organization, blah blah blah. But they certainly don't sit around screaming "EVERYTHING IS BROKEN! WE HAVE TO FIX IT!". It's the difference between the Clean Air Act and a cardboard sign, the difference between Sea Shepard and Save the Whales t-shirts, the difference between new civil rights lawsuits and internet conspiracies. Shit gets better because people identify a particular thing in need of fixing and then go on to try to fix it, not because they see all the world's problems and demand across-the-board organized change.

We agree on one thing: "Use whatever effective and ethical means exist." This is not it, and if you are encouraging others to jump on board the feel-good hollerwagon, you're only creating more false hope and wasting everyone's time.

Last edited by Reply; 04-12-2012 at 01:46 PM..
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  #78  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:45 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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How do we even begin to get there from the wasteland of greed and apathy we find ourselves in today?
Begin, (do something, as you say) instead of moaning the wasteland and saying how do we even begin. Help me convince these skeptics who ask for endless evidence and say things can't be done because "opinions differ." What nonsense!

And sharing goals and debunking false ideologies IS doing something.

Last edited by Eric the Green; 04-12-2012 at 01:46 PM..
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  #79  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
Begin, (do something, as you say) instead of moaning the wasteland and saying how do we even begin. Help me convince these skeptics who ask for endless evidence and say things can't be done because "opinions differ." What nonsense!

And sharing goals and debunking false ideologies IS doing something.
I think your skeptics already have a more realistic sense of the problems and the difficulties. They're long past the "something is broken" stage that you seem so far stuck at, and are contemplating the drawbacks of various solutions.

Want to convince them? Come up with tangible, implementable solutions whose benefits outweigh their costs. Screaming "change, change, change, damn you, change!" at them won't do a thing. And if you have to learn that the hard way, good luck...
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  #80  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:51 PM
Dallas Jones Dallas Jones is offline
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If prices are "set," that's not exactly "free." There are only a few dominant international oil companies. They control the market, along with commodity speculators, and they get government support too in many ways.
No. The major oil companies do not set or determine the price of oil, the people buying the oil determine the price by bidding against each other. Again, in an effort to meet the supply needs of their customers.

If today's price is $90 per barrel and the broker is worried that the price is about to spike or the supply is about to be restricted, and he needs 2 million barrels to meet his customers needs, he will suggest a large buy now.

The broker's competitor sees this part of the supply being locked in and begins to fret about when to buy for his customers. So he bids the price up and buys at $95.

Some government yahoo somewhere makes a careless remark and both buyers get spooked and lock in a future order at $102.

The oil companies profit because nothing has actually changed to influence the companies cost. But the oil companies had really little to do with the new higher price of oil.

That is the Econ 101 version.
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  #81  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:52 PM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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If prices are "set," that's not exactly "free."
You really don't understand this stuff, do you? It's OK to admit that.
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  #82  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:54 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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You're missing the point. Yes, people ("we", if you prefer) have to "get on with it" and actually change hearts, minds, and votes. But whining about it on an internet message board, or at a college campus, or at scattered Occupy movements, doesn't do jack diddly shit.
There are many means and places. I didn't "whine," I posted the goals and the need. How is that whining? Occupy Movements are a good start, but the energy needs to be applied in realistic ways.
Quote:
Cynicism, you say? It's the natural and necessary defense against idealism run amok. Sitting around dreaming of a better world doesn't make it happen,
It is a vital part of making it happen. Ideals conceived, can be achieved. Where there is no vision, the people perish. Dreaming is vital, and so is acting.

Quote:
Shit gets better because people identify a particular thing in need of fixing and then go on to try to fix it, not because they see all the world's problems and demand across-the-board organized change.
True, but a larger coherent vision keeps unity and endurance, instead of mere actions for specific things. A movement is needed, a coherent sense of direction and long-term goals, and a willingness to support the progressive side (since there is one), rather than claiming to please everybody.
Quote:
We agree on one thing: "Use whatever effective and ethical means exist." This is not it, and if you are encouraging others to jump on board the feel-good hollerwagon, you're only creating more false hope and wasting everyone's time.
What I did was "identify particular things in need of fixing." I thought it was a good well-written statement of a need, and so I shared it. If you have a different set of goals, then share them. And we can all consider what to do about them. Do you know how to get people on board?
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  #83  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:55 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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You really don't understand this stuff, do you? It's OK to admit that.
People who "understand" in that way, are merely defending the way things are done these days, which rip us all off.
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  #84  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:56 PM
magellan01 magellan01 is offline
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Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
That system is unnecessary and only allows middle men to force us all to pay high prices for no reason. It has nothing to do with the market at all. There is no market between buyers and sellers there. It is a casino.
Not sure I'm following you. As we speak, oil is being bought and sold. How is that being done if there are, as you say no market between buyers and sellers? How does the exchange happen? How are prices agreed to?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
People need to produce things, and not be so eager to go into finance just to make money.
This intrigues me. From your perspective, for what reason should people be eager to go into finance?
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  #85  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:57 PM
Beware of Doug Beware of Doug is offline
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Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
Quite the opposite is true. The problem today is cynicism and lack of idealism.
And (as you're finding out) the tenacity with which cynics and nonidealists will defend their positions.

But keep in there punching. Whatever the strength of your particular argument, the idea behind it is good and worthy of honest and open discussion, not just nitpicking and gainsaying.

Last edited by Beware of Doug; 04-12-2012 at 01:58 PM..
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  #86  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:58 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallas Jones View Post
No. The major oil companies do not set or determine the price of oil, the people buying the oil determine the price by bidding against each other. Again, in an effort to meet the supply needs of their customers.
How does a speculator meet anyone's needs? These are useless middle men.
Quote:
If today's price is $90 per barrel and the broker is worried that the price is about to spike or the supply is about to be restricted, and he needs 2 million barrels to meet his customers needs, he will suggest a large buy now.

The broker's competitor sees this part of the supply being locked in and begins to fret about when to buy for his customers. So he bids the price up and buys at $95.

Some government yahoo somewhere makes a careless remark and both buyers get spooked and lock in a future order at $102.

The oil companies profit because nothing has actually changed to influence the companies cost. But the oil companies had really little to do with the new higher price of oil.

That is the Econ 101 version.
That is status quo current situations.

How is it a free market when a few companies dominate it, and get support from governments? And prices are not set by consumers and producers, but by gamblers?
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  #87  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:59 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Originally Posted by Beware of Doug View Post
And (as you're finding out) the tenacity with which cynics and nonidealists will defend their positions.

But keep in there punching. Whatever the strength of your particular argument, the idea behind it is good and worthy of honest and open discussion, not just nitpicking and gainsaying.
Indeed; thank you.
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  #88  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:02 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Originally Posted by magellan01 View Post
Not sure I'm following you. As we speak, oil is being bought and sold. How is that being done if there are, as you say no market between buyers and sellers? How does the exchange happen? How are prices agreed to?
Why do we need a separate institution to set prices? Can't we just have the producers decide what they want to charge, and adjust as the market changes?

Quote:
This intrigues me. From your perspective, for what reason should people be eager to go into finance?
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

This is very well reported. In the past, young people went into productive occupations; now they go into finance because finance companies have been allowed by relaxed laws to make lots of money. So the portion of our economic activity that is finance has increased 2 or 3 fold. Our economy is a stack of cards waiting to fall, because it is based on nothing. This is all well-known; why do you need to ask me?
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  #89  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:05 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Originally Posted by Reply View Post
I think your skeptics already have a more realistic sense of the problems and the difficulties. They're long past the "something is broken" stage that you seem so far stuck at, and are contemplating the drawbacks of various solutions.
Making excuses for not doing what we already know needs to be done and can be done and will work.

Last edited by Eric the Green; 04-12-2012 at 02:06 PM..
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  #90  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:11 PM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
No it isn't. It's too many people who are wrong about things.
Repeating yourself doesn't establish anything. Especially when you are one of those people.
Quote:
And no, reducing medical costs, not cutting medicare. Medicare needs to be extended to all. When all pay, and pay more than the small taxes they pay now, and since most Medicare is used by the elderly, it is financially viable.
I assume by "financially viable" you mean 'heading for bankruptcy".

Quote:
Obama has good plans to cut costs; listen to his recent speech.
You do realize that Obama wants to cut Medicare, do you not?
Quote:
That's not a problem, since they ARE true.
Since you can't seem to prove any of what you claim, it is a problem, especially with those of us who don't fall for the latest moonbeam vendor.

Quote:
The problem is that there are too many conservatives in this country, like you and Blake.
And yet, here we are, and there isn't much you can do about it.

I mean, come on - you spout a lot of vague nonsense, and then when you are challenged on any of it, you repeat the nonsense and get huffy. This is supposed to convince us?
Quote:
Not at all. They were non-existent threats that did not have anything to do with actual costs. If supply is cut off, only then does it make any "economics" sense to raise prices. And really, not even then. The costs still have not risen, only demand.
Thank you for demonstrating again that you do not understand even the basics of economics, but it wasn't really necessary.
Quote:
They ought to be phased out of business and banned.
And this will have a good effect on the economy and tax receipts, to pay for all the wonderful things the government is going to do for you?

Regards,
Shodan
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  #91  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:16 PM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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Quote:
What is needed is support for the progressive program, not endless requests for specifics and evidence...
I think this says all that needs to be said about your prospects with the American electorate.

"Vote for the progressives!"

"Why should I do that?"

"SHUT UP AND DO AS YOU ARE TOLD!!!"

Good luck with that.

Regards,
Shodan
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  #92  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:18 PM
magellan01 magellan01 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
Why do we need a separate institution to set prices? Can't we just have the producers decide what they want to charge, and adjust as the market changes?
You claimed their was no market between buyers and sellers. If buy and selling are happening regularly—and they are—I don't see how you can claim "there is no market between buyers and sellers".


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

This is very well reported. In the past, young people went into productive occupations; now they go into finance because finance companies have been allowed by relaxed laws to make lots of money. So the portion of our economic activity that is finance has increased 2 or 3 fold. Our economy is a stack of cards waiting to fall, because it is based on nothing. This is all well-known; why do you need to ask me?
Huh? To recap, you said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric the Green
People need to produce things, and not be so eager to go into finance just to make money.
And I asked:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magellan01
From your perspective, for what reason should people be eager to go into finance?
So, I asked you about what you said because...YOU said it. Who else should I have asked? I'll ask again: if you are of the opinion that people shouldn't go into finance just to make money, for what reason should they go into finance?

Last edited by magellan01; 04-12-2012 at 02:19 PM..
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  #93  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:18 PM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
People who "understand" in that way, are merely defending the way things are done these days, which rip us all off.
Things cost more than you like, and there are inefficiencies in the system, that's granted. Can you demonstrate a different method that would end up with things costing less, fewer inefficiencies, and no unintended consequences? There may be changes to the system that would do that, but until you come up with concrete examples you're just selling vaporware.
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  #94  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:20 PM
Reply Reply is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
There are many means and places. I didn't "whine," I posted the goals and the need. How is that whining? Occupy Movements are a good start, but the energy needs to be applied in realistic ways.
It's whining because you're essentially parroting the 70s. The world is long past the stage of identifying issues. We're in dire need of solutions.

Quote:
It is a vital part of making it happen. Ideals conceived, can be achieved. Where there is no vision, the people perish. Dreaming is vital, and so is acting.
Yes, but the balance has swayed far enough in one direction that now is the time for action, not more dreaming.

Quote:
True, but a larger coherent vision keeps unity and endurance, instead of mere actions for specific things. A movement is needed, a coherent sense of direction and long-term goals, and a willingness to support the progressive side (since there is one), rather than claiming to please everybody.
This is the crux of it. I think you're making the perfect the enemy of the good, dreaming of some sort of utopian pan-national, multi-front progressive cause the likes of which the world has never seen, yet you're proposing no way by which to bring it about.

Is there a charismatic leader? An imminent coup? An opportunistic war? A disruptive technology? A Borg brainwashing? What is going to suddenly enable this drastic, massive shift in popular belief and governmental policy that hasn't been tried in the last 30-40 years of people working on most of those same issues?

In combining a vast swath of arguably relevant but ultimately discrete and individually difficult topics, you've defined the problem out of the realm of ambition and well into the realm of fanciful daydreaming.

Fine if you can back it up with some sort of strategy, but you haven't.

Quote:
What I did was "identify particular things in need of fixing." I thought it was a good well-written statement of a need, and so I shared it. If you have a different set of goals, then share them. And we can all consider what to do about them. Do you know how to get people on board?
See above. The goals are obvious. They were obvious thirty years ago. The solutions are not, and the line of thinking posited by this thread -- that we just need to band together and dream together -- bring us no closer to realization of solutions.

No, I don't know how to get people on board, but I'm looking into it every day. If I ever find out, I'll be sure to report back, but in the meantime I hope people keep looking instead of idly bemoaning the state of the world. It's cathartic at first, perhaps, but ultimately that's what leads to cynicism because eventually they just give up altogether in the face of this giant, hopeless wall off all the world's woes.

Anyway, I'm going to leave this thread for a bit, but I owe you an apology first. Looking back at my last few posts, I was clearly ranting emotionally. I think your post just really hit a nerve because I'm surrounded by this kind of talk all day, every day, and it's just irritating and depressing because every. single. person. is yelling about all the fucking problems but so very few of them are doing anything about it.

But, hell, at least you want the same things I do, and you probably didn't deserve the vitriol. So, good luck. Sorry I lashed out.
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  #95  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:20 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
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I agree with Eric, we do need a new progressive party in America. The Democratic Party has co-opted some of the progressives, but the ultimate result of being co-opted has been to render them impotent. Any attempt by progressives to criticize Democratic policies, and especially Obama's, are met with repeated responses that "Sure, it's not exactly what you want and may be much closer to what Republicans want, but hey, if you don't like it your only choice is to vote Republican, which you know is a lot worse, so sit down and shut up."

The result: the 2012 election will be between Obama, who is essentially a Reagan Republican and is totally owned by the finance industry, and Mitt Romney, who's an actual Republican and is a PART of the finance industry. And the leaders represent their parties well, overall, though I think Romney is a "best case" conservative who is well to the left of many in the Republican Party, especially the Tea Partiers. While Obama is not a "worst case" Democrat ... that would be any blue dog Democrat ... he is pretty much normal for the Democratic Party as we know it now ... a bunch of gutless Reagan Republicans on most issues.

The progressives need to establish their own party outside the Democrats with candidates at the local and state level as well as the Federal level. This will hurt the Democratic party, but frankly, the Democrats need to be beaten pretty hard with the lefty stick, they are WAAAAAY out of line with their constituents and they need to know it. Here's a nice analysis of a recent Gallup poll that shows that the vast majority of Americans (even a majority of Republicans) embrace many progressive viewpoints, from The Young Turks.

The points you listed are all good ones, and arguing about them on the Dope repeatedly with conservatives can be helpful in certain respects, because they tend to ask hard questions that can help you craft winning arguments and discard bad ideas, but the ultimate result of arguing points with conservatives on the Dope is that you argue points with conservatives on the Dope .. this is not a forum that I think will ever lead to direct action. (Not that this is a flaw in the Dope or a problem, it is what it is.) But if you want to start a new progressive movement, you should probably seek other outlets that are more action oriented ... and tell the rest of us about them when you find them, if you do.
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  #96  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:35 PM
XT XT is offline
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While I generally disagree with anything Evil Captor says, and mainly disagree with his post here as well, from an ideological perspective he's probably right...if you think the current progressive movement and Progressive Party are flawed or wrong, your best bet is to either found or join a group you DO believe in and who's ideology more closely suits your own world view...and, perhaps, is more action oriented. From a practical perspective it's pretty foolish to dilute the rather fringe progressive movement further by doing something like this (taking away your support for them is not a trivial blow to their numbers ), and if you want real change the best thing to do is work through the current Democratic party and the system as it works in reality, as opposed to how you think it should work. But maybe the best way to effect real change is to join or found a better progressive movement or Party, one that attempts a more grass roots oriented and focused campaign to get progressive ideas and ideals out to the masses, yearning to vote in a brave new world.

There is nothing wrong with political activism and pushing for change you believe in.

-XT

Last edited by XT; 04-12-2012 at 02:36 PM..
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  #97  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:40 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evil Captor View Post
I agree with Eric, we do need a new progressive party in America. The Democratic Party has co-opted some of the progressives, but the ultimate result of being co-opted has been to render them impotent. Any attempt by progressives to criticize Democratic policies, and especially Obama's, are met with repeated responses that "Sure, it's not exactly what you want and may be much closer to what Republicans want, but hey, if you don't like it your only choice is to vote Republican, which you know is a lot worse, so sit down and shut up."

The result: the 2012 election will be between Obama, who is essentially a Reagan Republican and is totally owned by the finance industry, and Mitt Romney, who's an actual Republican and is a PART of the finance industry. And the leaders represent their parties well, overall, though I think Romney is a "best case" conservative who is well to the left of many in the Republican Party, especially the Tea Partiers. While Obama is not a "worst case" Democrat ... that would be any blue dog Democrat ... he is pretty much normal for the Democratic Party as we know it now ... a bunch of gutless Reagan Republicans on most issues.

The progressives need to establish their own party outside the Democrats with candidates at the local and state level as well as the Federal level. This will hurt the Democratic party, but frankly, the Democrats need to be beaten pretty hard with the lefty stick, they are WAAAAAY out of line with their constituents and they need to know it. Here's a nice analysis of a recent Gallup poll that shows that the vast majority of Americans (even a majority of Republicans) embrace many progressive viewpoints, from The Young Turks.

The points you listed are all good ones, and arguing about them on the Dope repeatedly with conservatives can be helpful in certain respects, because they tend to ask hard questions that can help you craft winning arguments and discard bad ideas, but the ultimate result of arguing points with conservatives on the Dope is that you argue points with conservatives on the Dope .. this is not a forum that I think will ever lead to direct action. (Not that this is a flaw in the Dope or a problem, it is what it is.) But if you want to start a new progressive movement, you should probably seek other outlets that are more action oriented ... and tell the rest of us about them when you find them, if you do.
The kind folks over at FoxNews will be more than happy to assist you in this worthy endeavor.
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  #98  
Old 04-12-2012, 03:25 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Here's a theme song for most people recently posting to this thread:

http://youtu.be/3BDyFuDxA-I
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  #99  
Old 04-12-2012, 03:34 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
Repeating yourself doesn't establish anything. Especially when you are one of those people.
I assume by "financially viable" you mean 'heading for bankruptcy".
I meant the plan of medicare for all is financially viable.
Medicare taxes are too low now, and the price of drugs and medicine is too high, so no wonder Medicare causes debt. But there's no use having a program if it does not provide benefits.
Quote:
Since you can't seem to prove any of what you claim, it is a problem, especially with those of us who don't fall for the latest moonbeam vendor.
It is a matter of supporting what we already know is right. I don't know what you mean by "proof;" these aren't scientific issues, but moral and political ones. The data are out there and I can post some of it as I have time. The principles I posted, if they were so obvious, why haven't they been adopted after all these years? We seem to need to be reminded and focused on them again. All that is needed to implement them, is to vote Republicans out and support legislation most of which has already been worked out in all its details. For the rest, we can work on it.
Quote:
And yet, here we are, and there isn't much you can do about it.
I can wait for you to go away.
Quote:
I mean, come on - you spout a lot of vague nonsense, and then when you are challenged on any of it, you repeat the nonsense and get huffy. This is supposed to convince us?
Who's getting huffy?
Quote:
Thank you for demonstrating again that you do not understand even the basics of economics, but it wasn't really necessary. And this will have a good effect on the economy and tax receipts, to pay for all the wonderful things the government is going to do for you?
Economics is a dismal science. We need the government to do things for us, and we need to pay for it. Pretty simple; not complicated or vague at all.
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  #100  
Old 04-12-2012, 03:37 PM
Eric the Green Eric the Green is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan01 View Post
You claimed there was no market between buyers and sellers. If buy and selling are happening regularly—and they are—I don't see how you can claim "there is no market between buyers and sellers".
There does not NEED to be middlemen beetwen buyers and sellers.

Quote:
So, I asked you about what you said because...YOU said it. Who else should I have asked? I'll ask again: if you are of the opinion that people shouldn't go into finance just to make money, for what reason should they go into finance?
They should NOT go into finance; that's the point. At least fewer of them than today. Wasn't that obvious? More productive work; less gambling with money the producers generate.
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