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Old 01-14-2007, 02:57 PM   #44
Spider AL
A well-spoken villain...
 
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Help, help, I'm stapled to my workstation.
Posts: 2,162
Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

A black and white view of it, indeed. Various figures in our governments are rather partial to big business, though your statement is far from the absolute truth.
You're wrong. My statement "Our governments are subsidised, elected and formed by heads of business" was effectively correct. Let's take the US as an example: In presidential elections, campaigns are expensive. Massively expensive. And it's a general rule that the best funded candidate will win. One single instance: many people (myself included) accurately predicted the result of the last US presidential election based solely on the fact that the Republican advertising budget was larger than that of the Democrats.

This requirement necessitates (directly or indirectly) corporate financial backing. Until 2002, corporate backing of candidates ran rampant, with so-called "soft money" (indirect, single use) donations easily circumventing upper limits on amounts of corporate backing. And as of 2003, despite legislation the year before to combat abuse, parties were still accepting soft money contributions at a local level even if they were not accepting them at a national level.

You may have forgotten the fact that in 1999, the presidential primaries were called by some analysts the "wealth primary" because of the huge amounts of cash that were raised by both front-runners. The Bush campaign had raised $37 million in hard-money private donations alone.

Without money, your candidacy cannot be advertised. It cannot be publicised. Your opponent cannot be as effectively defamed. Money is the defining factor in the contest to see which clique gains candidacy, and the defining factor in which candidate gains the presidency. End of story.

It is therefore axiomatic that those with money to spend will DIRECTLY exert a greater influence on the path of politics than the bulk of the population. Hence, the wealthy, the higher corporate echelons etcetera, will control the political fate of the nation, through their ability to promote the election of candidates whose policies match their wishes.

Heads of business don't have to phone say... Bush's handlers up every day and tell them what they want done. All they have to do is elect people who already want to appease them, and then the system is pretty much self-perpetuating.

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Now let's move on to indirect financial manipulation. This is far more insidious, and possibly more effective too.

In state-capitalist systems, a "trickle-down" economic model is present. This is a model in which the wealthy are meant to subsidise the society. If the wealthy are happy in a country, they spend more in that country. This means that workers receieve higher wages, and this money then trickles down to the lowest levels, the service industries, entertainment, retailers etcetera. The taxes of the wealthy are also meant to be put back into the system in order to subsidise it.

To the uneducated eye, this model can sound good on paper. But in reality, the wealthy don't like to spend their money, they like to accrue more. So instead of spending lots of money on paying out wages, employing services and dutifully paying their taxes, they hire cheaper and cheaper workers and labourers, and demand huge tax breaks.

And if they don't get these tax breaks? They move to some tax-haven somewhere, or ship a lot of their money out of the country, or whatever. This means that their money is no longer sloshing around in the national economy.

In order to avoid losing the business of the wealthy, governments are forced to hand out the tax breaks and other concessions that the wealthy demand. (The UK is particularly bad for this.)

Which means that less money "trickles down" to the ordinary member of the public. So in the end we have a model in which a homeless person looks at a man riding past in the back of a limo, and is meant to say to himself "If I make that guy happy, my situation might improve". Ha.

So again, the economic policy of the government and therefore indirectly the whole society revolves around the wishes of the wealthy. A great deal of effort goes into keeping business happy.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

You'd think major corporations would run rampant that way.
"Rampant"? No, only a silly person would think so.

Major corporations don't have to "run rampant" when the system is quite literally set up in their favour. They just have to keep chugging along innocuously, happily, while money automatically filters into the pockets of the already wealthy.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

Can you verify this? It's elementary school history that the beginnings of the U.S. government decided to revolt against Britain rather than join them in the plundering.
Ha! Like most elementary school history, the idea that the US was founded as a shining beacon of democracy and equality is pure propaganda.

The fathers of the republic of the US were extremely opposed to pure democracy... or even true equality. They wanted a system in which the existing elite could be perpetuated, an oligarchy, plutocracy... whatever you want to call it. They were often quite open about this.

For instance, James Madison (fourth President, known as the "Father of the Constitution" and "Father of the Bill of Rights") famously stated at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, that "the primary function of government is to protect the minority of the opulent from the majority."

In other words, to protect the rich, from the poor.

He said lots of other lovely things. And if the history was taught honestly, it would be noted that a pathological fear of democracy ran right through the founding of the US, leading to the eventual decision taken to become a republic, rather than a true democracy.

Ref: http://memory.loc.gov/

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

Of course he is. Pure, raw, capitalism is only compatible without a government.
I can make no sense of this statement, so I'm not sure how to respond to it. Perhaps you should rephrase and/or elaborate. If you're saying that pure capitalism cannot function when we have a system of government the like of which we have now, you're correct. But I can't think what else you could be saying.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

Entirely incorrect, Spider... Capitalism favors those who can make the most money, to put it simply.
On the contrary, I was entirely correct. Pure capitalism would be effectively a meritocracy. Those who work hardest and/or are most intelligent and innovative would receive compensation according to their efforts and skills.

In contrast, our current state-capitalist system favours those who already have money whether by inheritance or by some hard work in the past which they don't care to repeat... and government deliberately supports them, limiting the compensation of consistently hard-working people who by rights should reap greater benefits under a pure capitalist system. This amoral limiting effect is what our state systems were designed to accomplish.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

Those were hardly examples of way to "filter more cash back into the pockets of the already wealthy corporate elite."
Your examples didn't support your assertion that the motives of government are "for the people".

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

Spider, in many of your posts, I have seen you describe those who disagree with you in similar manners. Try and remember that the fact that an opinion differs from yours doesn't automatically make it incorrect.
Oh, spare me the standard cop-out, please.

Not all opinions are equally valid. That's a PC nonsense designed to supply those who hold delusional beliefs with an easy get-out clause. An opinion is valid when it is based on logic and evidence, and the reasoning behind it is sound. Of course there are right opinions and wrong opinions. I hold the opinions I hold because I have come to the conclusion that they are right. So of course I view other, opposing opinions as "wrong".

So if you wish to challenge the validity of my evidence, the presence of my logic or the soundness of my reasoning, feel free. But don't wheel out the squeaky old "It's an opinion, you can't argue with opinions!!11" fallacy, because it won't wash.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

Toppling the Nazi regime was a nice thing to do. Heck, even the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagaskai wasn't too bad. (In retrospect and compared to the alternatives, that is - killing civilians usually isn't the nicest thing to do)

But, my opinion on WWII is quite biased.
I agree... your opinion on WWII is quite biased.

If the reason the US entered the war was to "topple the Nazis", it would have entered it before one of its offshore bases was attacked by the Japanese. So US motives for entering the war were not altruistic. As for the Hiroshima bombings, it's a debate that has been buried a thousand times. The bombings were many things, but they were not moral, nor altruistic, nor were they performed as a last resort. I refer you to this earlier post I typed up specifically on the issue of Hiroshima/Nagasaki.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

The U.S.' interestes were tied with Kuwait's, of course, but repelling an evil regime from taking over another country was far from unethical.
The US didn't "repel an evil regime" from another country, the US invited the "evil" regime into the other country before blasting them.

U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie met Saddam on July 25, 1990. Saddam asked, "We will give up all of the Shatt to defend our claims on Kuwait to keep the whole of Iraq in the shape we wish it to be. What is the United States' opinion on this?"

Glaspie replied: "We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960's, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America."

On July 31 1990, the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs testified to Congress that the "United States has no commitment to defend Kuwait and the U.S. has no intention of defending Kuwait if it is attacked by Iraq."

Three days later, after being assured by the US government both directly and indirectly that they would not interfere if Iraq invaded Kuwait... Iraq invaded Kuwait.

The rest is history. These things are a matter of public record, and to call US entry into a conflict they effectively helped to start at all "altruistic" is quite nonsensical.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

I've been interested and studied a good deal of them for years.
Well so far it would appear that your sources have been biased. Perhaps you should read some dissident literature and then go and fact-check the statements therein for yourself. It's easy to be hoodwinked by the mess of propagandistic nonsense that pervades the mainstream media. A focussed eye is necessary to pierce through to the truth.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

If you'd like to discuss them, at least start with a specific one. I don't have time to give a lengthy explanation on the effects of every single one to you in one sitting.
I've already started with two specific examples. We'll move on to the rest shortly.

As for the "effects" of your examples, the "effects" are not strictly relevant to the original question of whether the motives behind their enactment were purely altruistic/humanitarian. Nice try though.

In brief, a selection of responses to several other examples you gave:

Theodore Roosevelt's Square Deal: Essentially a policy of mollifying those who were campaigning against the burgeoning dominance of proto-corporations, without truly fulfilling their desires. These policies effectively locked business and government into a stable and symbiotic relationship of the type I described in my first paragraphs. Therefore, hardly "for the people". If there were any positive aspects intended in this, the sizeable public pressure can account for them.

Antitrust laws: Antitrust laws are not anti-wealth, they're pro-system. They are a weighted substitute for a truly free market. As long as the system chugs along as it currently does, the existing elite will have their positions maintained, by and large. So the financial elite as a whole have no interest in corruption or other unfair practices. In fact, when a single member of the elite steps out of line, it's the elite who have the most interest in curbing their activities.

Great Society: Once again, there was great public pressure in the sixties. The US was undergoing social upheaval at the time. Some of the civil rights / welfare reforms enacted during this period are indicative that popular movements CAN pressure government into abiding by their wishes, at least partially. It does not show that government VOLUNTARILY performs actions purely for the good of the people, as you initially opined.

Add to this the fact that successive governments in both the US and the UK have been doing their level best to destroy whatever reforms public pressure forced into being half a century ago... and it adds up to a confirmation of my opinion on the nature of governments. Not "by the people, for the people", but "by the wealthy, for the wealthy".

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

A common label given to Bush these days.
What, "a substanceless figurehead"? The concept of US/UK political "leaders" as substanceless figureheads is not common, I've only ever heard it used within dissident circles. If it's breaking through to the mainstream somewhere, I'm ecstatic. However, it's undeniable that most people are still deluded into thinking that the public facade of politics is of any importance when compared to the inner workings.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

I'd study some more about the U.S. government if I were you. The role of our Presidents is far different from your Kings and Queens.
Hah! On the contrary, I think you should study more about the US government, if you genuinely believe that doctrine or policy changes in any meaningful way when parties in office switch over, let ALONE when presidents within the same party switch over.

GW's regime is enacting the same policy that Clinton's regime enacted before them, that Bush Sr.'s regime enacted before, that Reagan's regime enacted before that.

Take Iraq as an example. Reaganite policy as regards Iraq was enacted by Bush Sr.'s regime, Iraq happened to become a target thereafter, and later Clinton's lot put regime-change in Iraq on the agenda, and finally GW's handlers (who in the main were Reagan's/Bush Sr.'s handlers) eventually enacted that "Clintonite" policy.

What changed there between Democrats and Republicans? Nothing of note. Georgie Bush is notable because he and his regime are so outspoken about their neoconservatism, but they're effectively no more authoritarian than previous US governments.

Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor Devon:

Things are rarely so black and white. Hard work does not always equal lots of money.
Not in state-capitalist systems, but in a pure capitalist system it would. And since that's what TK was apparently referring to, he was correct.


[FW] Spider AL
--
Hewwo, meesa Jar-Jar Binks. Yeah. Excusing me, but me needs to go bust meesa head in with dissa claw-hammer, because yousa have stripped away meesa will to living.
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