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Freedom isn't Free


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#1 Trek Realist

 

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 01:02 PM

This isn't about free speech, free expression, freedom of religion, freedom to vote or freedom to love.

Lately I have been watching the news (and yes, even on Faux News) and this may just be some paranoia, but our freedoms, even those in Canada, are being slowly eroded on two fronts ... religious and economic.

Now, I have done the religious thing before, but I think it is important to look very hard at what is going on in places like Wisconsin and other GOP stronghold states. Why oh why oh why are these Governors working so hard to disband Unions and collective bargaining? Why are they cutting the Public Service sector? Why are they dismantling Education? It is simple really ... they do the bidding of their masters.

What have they got to gain by taking away, or limiting the influence, of these groups? They take away the voice of those people, their ability understand what is really going on around them, and most importantly ... their ability to use the only thing they have to stand against the special interests of the wealthy, their sheer strength of numbers. For most of my life I have been pretty anti-union. Having been in two unions (the Teamsters and the IBEW) I had a lot of money taken from my pay for what seemed at the time almost no benefit, and I am still not unconvinced that the union paradigm has flaws that make it almost as bad as the options insofar as protecting long-time members from dismissal merely on the basis of tenure and not taking into account performance factors. Let's face it, if your union is so strong that you can't be fired for drinking on the job, then it is too strong. Conversely though, if your union cannot protect you from unfair or arbitrary dismissal, then it is too weak.

So, you have Wisconsin trying, and currently failing, to break the unions. You have Florida savaging the budget of their education budget to give tax cuts to the better off in their state. You have Rhode Island wanting to fire all of it's teachers so it may rehire them at a lower rate of pay ... and many more states who are trying to do similar things. Also, there is the the even more heinous attempts to insert "culture war" issues into budgetary bills, like imposing the death penalty on a woman who has a miscarriage or calling it justifiable homicide to kill a person seeking or performing an abortion.

I don't get it ... I really don't. Is nobody paying attention? Can nobody follow the breadcrumbs? The top 10% of the income spectrum (I won't call them wage earners because they hardly do a thing, it's their money that is making their money for them) created the Wall Street debacle that crashed the world economy ... and we bailed them out. Every 40+ hour a week, working 1 to 3 jobs, coming home completely exhausted, sweating the mortgage payment and credit card bills one of us who pay our taxes and provide the manpower that drives the engine of industry are slowly, but surely losing the freedoms that our forebears won for us. People like Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates, or even Mark Zuckerberg are the one in a billion people who actually are able to capitalize on that rarest of convergences ... idea, innovation, and timing ... to actually create their wealth from whole cloth. Even among those of us that the upper classes look upon as the "Great Unwashed" there are very few of us who get to live well off our efforts, or even do what we like to earn that living. But we are being duped into believing that our meager comforts and lifestyles are in dire jeopardy if the Rich, the Very Rich, the Uber Rich, and the WTF Rich pay more taxes?

This is the result of a concerted effort to create as much racket and noise and distraction so that those who have all the money keep us from realizing that we actually have some power of our own. But, they have their expensive mouthpieces screaming "terrorist" and "communist" and "socialist" and every other dogwhistle term out there to distract us from what they are really wanting to accomplish. Ask yourself ... what would happen if they got rid of collective bargaining, fair hiring practices, OSHA, standardized education, social security and medicare? Personally, I think it would create a world that bears too much resemblance to pre-French/American revolution Europe where the common populace was little more than indentured servants to the feudal lord of the land / church.

Honestly, I have nothing against the rich, except when their wealth is being created and perpetrated at the expense of the common good.
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#2 poko

 

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 01:45 PM

Just another fact to add.

Income tax. In the 1950's the top 5% were taxed 91% on their income. Almost their entire income went to the government. (Realize this did not include their property, liquid assets, or stock holdings, just income earned from these items.) In the 1970's it was about 73%.


Today they are taxed like 33%. Take a look at the quality of education and civil services then and now. Note that about 70% of the nonsense that happens in government right now can be traced to the fact that we are broke. Our Fed is broke, our state governments are broke (and selling their state buildings to foreign corporations so they can rent it back) our local governments are broke.

Who needs well paid teachers, properly paved streets, or affordable state colleges, right?
I do. I guess I'm a communist.

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#3 Russell Crowe

 

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 02:14 PM

everything here is true. also true is the fact that i'm sick of trying 'til I'm blue in the face to talk sense to wacko tea partyers who think that "social justice" is a four-letter word. The people who are aware of the problem presented by income inequity are, well... already aware of it, and I'm not one for preaching to the choir. The people who aren' t yet aware of it are mostly too busy burying their heads in the sand and/or worshipping golden idols of Ronald Reagan. At this point I just don't have the energy to try and persuade all those people who don't want to be persuaded. i'm being more cynical than usual about this, but that's where I'm at right now. if my job and the jobs of all my coworkers (and numerous friends in the same field) weren't on the line right now as a result of Republican budget cuts, I might be feeling a little more charitable... but for now, I'm done trying to change people's minds on this one. Let the chips fall where they may, and maybe if things get bad enough we'll come to our collective senses.
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#4 poko

 

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 02:19 PM

everything here is true. also true is the fact that i'm sick of trying 'til I'm blue in the face to talk sense to wacko tea partyers who think that "social justice" is a four-letter word. The people who are aware of the problem presented by income inequity are, well... already aware of it, and I'm not one for preaching to the choir. The people who aren' t yet aware of it are mostly too busy burying their heads in the sand and/or worshipping golden idols of Ronald Reagan. At this point I just don't have the energy to try and persuade all those people who don't want to be persuaded. i'm being more cynical than usual about this, but that's where I'm at right now. if my job and the jobs of all my coworkers (and numerous friends in the same field) weren't on the line right now as a result of Republican budget cuts, I might be feeling a little more charitable... but for now, I'm done trying to change people's minds on this one. Let the chips fall where they may, and maybe if things get bad enough we'll come to our collective senses.

Golden Idol is right, Regan raised taxes like 10 times, was president of SAG for many years, and once called unions a basic right. The Regan they worship is one they created in their own image.

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#5 Russell Crowe

 

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 02:22 PM

Golden Idol is right, Regan raised taxes like 10 times, was president of SAG for many years, and once called unions a basic right. The Regan they worship is one they created in their own image.


yeah, well... he also sold weapons to terrorists, jacked military spending through the roof, and tried to build space lasers to defend us from the commies.




then again... in all fairness, the last thing on that list is pretty badass :P
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Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?
Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of
all poems...

#6 ensign edwards

 

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 12:30 AM

I like this thread. Can I high five you guys?

#7 sevnson_71

 

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 01:47 AM

yeah, well... he also sold weapons to terrorists, jacked military spending through the roof, and tried to build space lasers to defend us from the commies.




then again... in all fairness, the last thing on that list is pretty badass :P

You forgot he coined the term "Deficits don't matter". :P

To my US friends I have been involved in a non-partisan group called the Coffee Party USA(think like the Tea Party, except for grown-ups who can talk things out and find middle ground). I have become involved to an extent with the core principles which match my own moderate views of social justice coupled with fiscal responsibility that I am restoring my party affiliation to what it was when I first registered; Independent(in my state there is no independent party per se, it equates to undeclared). My reason for this is because I see little difference between the parties now, they BOTH are beholden to corporate funding, they both are more dedicated to political brinkmanship and tit for tat than actually doing the people's business and are more concerned with retaining/growing their power base and telling people what they do or don't need than listening to what people say they WANT. I also don't see third parties as a viable option because they're often inundated with fringers and mainstream party rejects and to gain any headway they'd have to become as Jesse Ventura eluded to as corrupt as the majority parties.
So the only viable option to me is to vote for a candidate based on where the stand on issues individually, not off some dummied up script based off party platforms written by their big money donors.

Check it out if you like and make your own decision;
http://www.coffeepartyusa.com

To my Canadian/Euro friends: Green Party is a global entity, no reason Coffee Party(or at least their principles) can't follow suit. You can't change directions without hopping off the merry-go-round right? :)
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So the combination is 1-2-3-4-5. That's the stupidest combination I've ever heard in my life! That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!- Dark Helmet; "Live free or die. Death is not the worst of evils." - Gen. John Stark; "Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it." -Robert Frost; "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." - Samuel Adams, Brewer/Patriot
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#8 ensign edwards

 

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 01:54 AM

At the risk of being arrogant, we Canadians already have viable alternatives to the two largest and douchiest parties. Multi-party system FTW.

#9 sevnson_71

 

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 02:41 AM

Again not to sound douchey, but what is the advantage when alternative parties have to align with larger parties in coalitions to get anything done?
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So the combination is 1-2-3-4-5. That's the stupidest combination I've ever heard in my life! That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!- Dark Helmet; "Live free or die. Death is not the worst of evils." - Gen. John Stark; "Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it." -Robert Frost; "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." - Samuel Adams, Brewer/Patriot
FORUM RULES



#10 ensign edwards

 

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 02:54 AM

Moderation. No one can get too extreme when you have to also get along with parties whose ideology may be very different from yours. It becomes less about us versus them and more about making deals and finding solutions, and compromise becomes the order of the day. I won't deny that it probably makes our government less efficient, but I think it leads to better decisions in the long run. Plus, you have more and different perspectives providing ideas and solutions.

We have multiple parties for the same reason America has dozens of politicians instead of a single, all-powerful king.

#11 sevnson_71

 

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 03:21 AM

So how is that moderated? Independently or through the ruling party? If the latter is the case then they control the course of the moderation same as our Speaker and VP (or pro temps) do so in our Congress, which means ruling party can steer the conversation as it pleases. That is the whole reason our founding fathers rejected the idea after splitting from Britain. Sadly we backpedaled on that bit and ignored Washington's warning.
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So the combination is 1-2-3-4-5. That's the stupidest combination I've ever heard in my life! That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!- Dark Helmet; "Live free or die. Death is not the worst of evils." - Gen. John Stark; "Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it." -Robert Frost; "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." - Samuel Adams, Brewer/Patriot
FORUM RULES



#12 ensign edwards

 

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 03:37 AM

In effect, it's moderated by the Canadian people--at least in theory. It all comes down to what each party thinks they can get away with and the mood of the people and the overall political climate. It's important to understand that the major parties often need support from the minor as much as the other way around.

Take an example that is happening right now. The ruling Conservative Party is about to release their latest budget. Being, well, conservatives, a lot of social spending generally isn't on their to do list. However, the Liberal Party (the chief opposition party) and the Bloc Quebecois have already stated they will not support the budget. This means that the Conservatives need the support of the final major party, the largely socialistic New Democratic Party. Otherwise, they face a vote of no confidence and an election, which they don't want (at least theoretically speaking). The NDP have stated they will not support the budget unless the Conservatives offer more spending and better programs for the elderly (they may other demands as well; I'm not 100% sure).

Thus, if all goes according to plan, the elderly in our country are going to get some better treatment because of our multi-party system, whereas if we just had the Liberals and the Conservatives endlessly bashing each other over the head, they probably would have wound up screwed.

TR could probably explain it all a lot better than me. He's smarter and more politically aware than I.

#13 Apocalypse

 

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 04:32 AM

yeah, well... he also sold weapons to terrorists

I was actually just about to bring that up... :err:
But it was all in the name of anti-communism. So that makes it alright. Fun fact: we are all not dead by nuclear weapons right now, thanks to Ronald Reagan.

In effect, it's moderated by the Canadian people--at least in theory.

Theoretically that's how our government works. Don't you just love theories? And also the political unsavviness of the average person?
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#14 ensign edwards

 

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 04:45 AM

Theoretically that's how our government works. Don't you just love theories?


True enough, and I don't claim our system always works as advertised. However, I do think ours is a little more effective. When one of our parties screws up, we can get rid of them quicker, and we have more alternatives to choose from.

#15 sevnson_71

 

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 05:31 AM

Governments work best when the leaders follow the rules, same with the citizens. Each play a role. But each being comprised of people who generally like to bend the rules to suit is where the problem lies, so the best we can hope for is controlled chaos.
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So the combination is 1-2-3-4-5. That's the stupidest combination I've ever heard in my life! That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!- Dark Helmet; "Live free or die. Death is not the worst of evils." - Gen. John Stark; "Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it." -Robert Frost; "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." - Samuel Adams, Brewer/Patriot
FORUM RULES



#16 trekkin'

 

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 06:00 AM

*dips toe in water...it does not disintegrate....*

WELL....I had sworn off politics threads...but once in a while I feel the need to pipe in here and there.

Unions....necessary evil. I've worked for the Teamsters and the UFCW. As an educated person, I could probably have advocated for myself in a better manner that the union did for me. BUT...unions protect people who cannot advocate for themselves. People who are ill educated, just plain dumb, new to this country and may not understand the customs and the language. We speak about money and health insurance with unions but often forget that is is the unions that brought about safety in the workplace. Job security is an important factor in unions. Our own gov't. has a non-union job called the Census. They work in general, 6 week "missions". You are asked to do your job to perfection (Any mistake can be a reason for termination.), risk your life entering strange neighborhoods, work up to 70 hours and be paid for only 40. Once the mission has ended...you are let go...and re-hired for the next mission. If you squawk...you do not get re-hired. Simple. What if every job were offered on that basis? It is a real strategy that can happen.

RI....The City of Providence HAS fired all of it's teachers. They will be re-hired at their current rate of pay dependent upon the needs of the reduced size of the school system. Watch out...Providence will have a whole lot of green teachers because you don't think they are hiring back 20 year veterans at twice the pay...do you?

Wisconsin is part of the Republican strategy to goad the Democrats into siding with Labor and appearing as Leftists. The best thing the Dems can do is to let the Republicans hang themselves.

I like the idea of this Coffee Party...but I'm not against a 2 party system any longer. I've seen a 3 party election or two in my lifetime. I'm not really psyched about people being put into such a huge position of power with the backing of only 34% of the vote. It is very easy for one party to trump up a candidate to split the other party's vote. (How the infamous Buddy Cianci, a felon, got re-elected to the mayoral seat in Providence in the '90's)

How we got Bill Clinton (But hey...I voted for that guy)

I dunno...I think people should just pay closer attention to their local politics and work their way up from there.

AND frighteningly enough...I miss Ronald Reagan. I had a lot more rights in the 1980's. I can't believe I've lived to see enough evil to think that Reagan was somehow more palatable than anything out there today. Just shoot me now.

What about that Governor who is trying to eliminate the local town gov'ts in his state? THAT is scary. I also saw posted on one of my NH friend's walls that NH is trying to make it a felony for a teacher to disarm a student who has a firearm.

Edited by trekkin', 10 March 2011 - 06:08 AM.

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#17 trekkin'

 

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 06:06 AM

Oh...Apoco...having been part of the generation that grew up with the threat of nuclear annihilation...I never had any fear about that. If it is over...it is over. I'd be vapor, anyway...I guess in the less populated/non-target areas that would be nerve racking...What we have today is much scarier and volatile.
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#18 poko

 

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 10:06 AM

At the risk of being arrogant, we Canadians already have viable alternatives to the two largest and douchiest parties. Multi-party system FTW.

Unfortunately things are set up on the state level to prevent other parties from being on the major election tickets.

I was actually just about to bring that up... :err:
But it was all in the name of anti-communism. So that makes it alright. Fun fact: we are all not dead by nuclear weapons right now, thanks to Ronald Reagan.

No one came here to say Ronald Reagan sucks or was awesome or anything. I think the point is something like, "Republicans, you keep using that name, I don't think he means what you think he means."

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#19 Russell Crowe

 

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 10:22 AM

Moderation. No one can get too extreme when you have to also get along with parties whose ideology may be very different from yours.




hahahaha. Because multi-party systems never result in extremists being elected. Oh... wait. I seem to remember that Stephen Harper guy being kind of a nut job :P
Have you reckon'd a thousand acres much? have you reckon'd the
earth much? Have you practis'd so long to learn to read?
Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?
Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of
all poems...

#20 ensign edwards

 

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 11:17 AM

No one came here to say Ronald Reagan sucks or was awesome or anything. I think the point is something like, "Republicans, you keep using that name, I don't think he means what you think he means."


I'm pretty sure he was being sarcastic. At least, I hope he was... :err:

hahahaha. Because multi-party systems never result in extremists being elected. Oh... wait. I seem to remember that Stephen Harper guy being kind of a nut job


Show me where I said it stopped nutjobs being elected. My point is that when nutjobs are elected (an inevitable occurrence in any remotely democratic society), our system mitigates the damage they can do.

And yeah, Harper is a nut, and he's been breaking the rules. But nothing works perfectly 100% of the time. Ultimately, the blame lies with the Canadian people, not the Canadian political system, if you ask me. Apparently, the majority of Canadians don't care that their prime minister is a quasi-tyrannical, narcissistic sociopath. If they did, not even his skills of legal manipulation would be able to withstand the wave of ire that would result.



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