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Nothing To Fear But Fearlessness Itself? 660

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-that-halloween-is-over dept.
theodp writes "In a post last August, Robert X. Cringely voiced fears that Goldman Sachs and others were not so much evil as 'clueless about the implications of their work,' leaving it up to the government to fix any mess they leave behind. 'But what if government runs out of options,' worried Cringely. 'Our economic policy doesn't imagine it, nor does our foreign policy, because superpowers don't acknowledge weakness.' And now his fears are echoed in a WSJ opinion piece by Peggy Noonan titled 'We're Governed by Callous Children.' She writes, 'We are governed at all levels by America's luckiest children, sons and daughters of the abundance, and they call themselves optimists but they're not optimists — they're unimaginative. They don't have faith, they've just never been foreclosed on. They are stupid and they are callous, and they don't mind it when people become disheartened. They don't even notice.' With apologies to FDR, do we have nothing to fear but fearlessness itself?"
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Nothing To Fear But Fearlessness Itself?

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  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @01:36PM (#29942956)

    ...to really see it in action. The state legislature approval rating was approaching single digits last I heard.

    Do you think a single one of those scumbags give a gnat's fart about it?

    They don't have to- not with district boundaries drawn like fractals and the vast majority of you voting the Party line.

    • by Afforess (1310263) <afforess@gmail.com> on Sunday November 01, 2009 @01:42PM (#29942988) Journal
      No, Come to Michigan.

      We've been in our own self-made depression for over a decade.
      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @02:19PM (#29943288) Journal

        You should have elected the Republican. He was a businessman who, even in Michigan's power economy, managed to succeed and had plans to use his contacts to bring more business to Michigan, so everyone could get jobs.

        Instead you re-elected Granholm, who had done nothing her first four years and hasn't done anything the second four years. She's just perpetuated the "do nothing and government will take care of you like a big daddy" welfare state. She's encouraged sloth not industriousness.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by alen (225700)

      and how many of them will get re-elected? everyone hates incumbents except when its the one who's representing you. I've lived in the US since 1981 and the last time I remember that people voted out incumbents was the Republican Revolution in 1994. 2 years into Bill Clinton's presidency, a tax increase and the defeat of hillarycare

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        That's because the politicians encourage everyone to vote.
        That's because the politicians know most people have no clue - they just pick the name they recognize.
        Most of the time the name they recognize is the incumbent - "Hmmmm. Bush or Kerry. I never heard of Kerry, so I'll just pick Bush."

        What we should be doing is encouraging people Not to vote, unless they feel very strongly about the person. It would weed-out those "I don't know who I'm gonna vote for" persons who really have no clue.

    • by GeckoAddict (1154537) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @01:53PM (#29943078)

      the vast majority of you voting the Party line.

      I think that's the real cause of a lot of problems with our elected officials.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SerpentMage (13390)

      No the fault is with the people themselves!

      Is America a democracy, yes or no? Do Americans not vote who will represent themselves yes or no?

      The issue here is that politicians have learned that it is easier to get people to agree to a hot button issue like abortion and distract them from the issues that matter. People themselves are faulted here! The politicians are only doing what they need to get re-elected.

      Sarah Palin is an excellent example of a nitwit politician who knows how to play the hot button issu

      • by NewToNix (668737) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @05:37PM (#29945036) Journal

        Is America a democracy, yes or no? Do Americans not vote who will represent themselves yes or no?

        America is a Republic. So No to the first question.

        In the second question you seem to miss the Electoral College in both fact and concept. The President is elected by a group that may vote as they please (not necessarily as they were expected to vote by those that elected them). This non direct coupling applies to all levels of government --once elected they may chose to do things much differently then you believed they would when you voted for them. So a yes as to vote, but at best a maybe on 'does who I voted for actually do as I expected him/her to, once in office' --the implied part of the second question.

        These sort of yes/no questions are rarely productive, except to frame the answer in a way the questioner wants.

        Example: "Have you stopped beating your wife? Answer yes or no. --either way you answer you confess to being a wife beater.

        For most people political issues ARE emotional issues. This is possibly regrettable, but one should learn to deal with reality, if you want to change that reality into your own personal version.

        Sarah Palin is an excellent example of a nitwit politician who knows how to play the hot button issues. She is smarter than most people give her credit for.

        If Sarah Palin is both a nitwit, and smarter then most people, then is she not of above average intelligence and therefore as qualified as anyone (and apparently more qualified then most) to have an opine? Just asking --it's rhetorical --and intentionally side steps Palin's actual value or lack thereof.

  • by hachete (473378) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @01:40PM (#29942966) Homepage Journal

    We should stop putting value on the work of those who make money from money, from paper instruments, rather we should value money for goods. As a socialist, I applaud takeovers; they always lose money. As someone who likes to get paid, I want a return to the time before the Masters Of The Universe ruled our financial institutions.

    • by jfengel (409917) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @01:56PM (#29943098) Homepage Journal

      We should stop putting value on the work of those who make money from money, from paper instruments, rather we should value money for goods.

      Easier said than done. If you do, people stop giving loans, which is the most straightforward way of making money from money. That means no new small businesses, no student loans, no mortgages.

      Right now, one of the most interesting ideas in improving life in poor countries is precisely to introduce making money from money. Small loans, with interest, help create vital services. The interest helps fund the continuation as some projects fail.

      Capitalism is not the automatic win that the "laissez-faire" crowd presents it as; the problems are real and do not fix themselves (at least not without harming vast numbers of innocent people in the process). But neither is it the automatic evil socialists imagine it to be.

  • by mellon (7048) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @01:46PM (#29943018) Homepage

    Basically, the thesis of this piece is the same thing the right wing has been pushing since Reagan's time: government can't work. Nothing that comes out of government can ever be good. We might as well just give up.

    Maybe she's right, but history isn't on her side. So this sounds more like sour grapes: Peggy has no hope, because her people have no relevance, and she doesn't like who's in power. So she hopes we will listen to her and lose hope as well, because that way nobody will have hope. Not the Republicans, not the Democrats, not the independents, not the geeks. In that nihilistic world, her folks can waltz in and take over the government and keep pouring our tax dollars into their pockets the way they did under Reagan and both Bushes. Government doesn't work. Might as well send your tax money to Halliburton and Xe.

    • by wizardforce (1005805) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @01:59PM (#29943118) Journal

      I always found it odd that people are pushing for more government when they've just been victimized by the last one. Massive corporate welfare, war and rampant waste. Bush was one of the greatest examples of government gone wrong and people actually believe that more of that is a good thing. These corporations are using the power of government to rob the people. Bush wasn't anti-government. After all, his administration passed the patriot act, instituted torture, started two wars, began a massive trillion dollar bank bailout, increased spending more than LBJ... What did he do exactly that makes people believe that he in any way represented the view that "government doesn't work." If anything, it's one of the examples of government that doesn't serve the people by violating rights and through sheer incompetence.

      • "I always found it odd that people are pushing for more government..."

        People aren't push for MORE government, wizardfarce, but for honest and legal government.

        The prob today is the Corporate Fascist State, i.e., the banksters have taken control of the government. To paraphrase Prof. Taleb from a year or so ago, during the Great Depression there was pushback, but in the present, the sheeple have allowed the banksters to take over. I guess Americans were smarter back then. Certainly, today we the sheeple

  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @01:48PM (#29943040)

    If any employee caused this kind of damage the customers/consumers would sue and employees would be terminated. Yet in this case, we have companies (and hence employees) that are "too big|valuable|important too fail" so they get bailed out.

    If I did this at my company (I manage a large mainframe storage environment at a recognizable financial institution on WallStreet), say by blowing away a ton of customer data, I can guarantee I would be walked to the door before the end of the day.

    People in peer departments of mine (like those than manage the networks, server admins etc) that have no input to the investment direction of this company's holdings, have lost bonuses, haven't been able to purchase equipment and staff has been cut. We had nothing to do with this bullsh!t, and yet us like the rest of American's are having to suffer while the MBAs reap in the dollars that the Federal Gov't is handing out.

    I wish I could get a $200k bonus for blowing away a PetaByte of mainframe storage. Maybe I'll go power off the z10 and see if Obama will bail out my unemployed ass.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by debrain (29228)

      If any employee caused this kind of damage the customers/consumers would sue and employees would be terminated. Yet in this case, we have companies (and hence employees) that are "too big|valuable|important too fail" so they get bailed out.

      It has been observed that companies that are "too big to fail" will, instead of attempting to remedy or avoid their calamity, ensure their own disaster on the basis that the have a guaranteed bail-out. This perverse incentive is one form of the moral hazard [wikipedia.org].

      In essence, being too big to fail has become a form of (unpaid for/externalized) insurance against failure because you can rely on the taxpayer to bail you out. The likelihood (and amount) of a bailout increases with the magnitude of your failure.

  • atlas yawned (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JackSpratts (660957) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @01:49PM (#29943048) Homepage
    i don't buy noonan's premise. most elected officials i know (and i know hundreds) don't come from any so-called privileged "leadership class," whatever that is, they come instead from nearly all walks of life and bring with them the experience of extremely diverse backgrounds, including poverty and marginalization. it's true that the profoundly destitute among us, the homeless, the institutionalized etc rarely make it past the intention to run but this recurring conservative refrain that the country is held hostage by an arrogant and privileged elite (by definition "liberal") is nothing more than a constant whine from a group of philosophically bankrupt extremists who don't have the intellectual firepower to understand why we're not all in thrall to alissa rosenbaum and her fifty year old adolescent fairy tales.
    • Re:atlas yawned (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moryath (553296) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @02:21PM (#29943294)

      Bullshit.

      We have exactly three types of politicians: the ones who inherited money (didn't lift a fucking finger to earn it), the lawyers (the ones who make their living by making contracts so incomprehensibly complex that people have to hire lawyers just to read the damn things), and the racist fucks who get donations everytime they say something stupid (see also: Robert "KKK" Byrd, Sheila Jackson Lee, etc).

      Ok, we have that one guy over there who isn't, but he's a used car salesman. Would you trust a used car salesman either?

    • Re:atlas yawned (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Quothz (683368) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @02:49PM (#29943520) Journal

      i don't buy noonan's premise. most elected officials i know (and i know hundreds) don't come from any so-called privileged "leadership class," whatever that is, they come instead from nearly all walks of life and bring with them the experience of extremely diverse backgrounds, including poverty and marginalization.

      Every presidential nominee since 1988 has graduated from either Harvard or Yale. More than 25% of the 108th Congress was from the Ivy League. Twenty percent of Congress attended private schools before college. Fifteen current Representatives attended community colleges. No Senators did so.

      The average Senator has more than $15,000,000 in disclosed assets; the average Representative, more than $5,000,000; in fairness, the wealthiest in Congress have hundreds of millions, while the poorest have millions in liabilities. (Most also have considerable assets they aren't required to report, such as private home values.) A few Reps come from backgrounds of poverty, and quite a few more are from blue-collar families. All current Senators, as far as I can tell reasonably quickly, have backgrounds of upper-middle-class or higher.

      I'm sure state and local politicians have more diverse backgrounds, but at the federal level there's unquestionably a tendency toward lifelong wealth and privilege.

    • Re:atlas yawned (Score:5, Insightful)

      by demachina (71715) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @03:16PM (#29943810)

      I think she was talking about the Wall Street bankers and stock brokers who disproportionately come from wealthy families, go to prep schools, get degrees from ivy league schools and then go work at Goldman Sachs, Citi and JP Morgan. They also end being treasury secretaries, on the Federal Reserve and New York Fed (which is the body that actually runs Wall Street though its more like Wall Street runs it) and the President's economic advisors.

      If you remember the resignation letter [distressedvolatility.com] of Andrew Lahde after making a killing of the ivy leaguers and quitting rich:

      "The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America."

      The U.S. Senate also tends to be a rich kids club and is also the place that tends to do the most looking out for the rich, since one senator can often block legislation in the public interest to the benefit of special interest. John McCain for instance wasn't really rich enough so once he got out of Vietnam he dumped the wife that had stood by him while he was a POW and married a more attractive women who happened to be an heir to a sizable fortune of an Arizona beer distributor, and who were politically connected enough in Arizon to get him elected to the Senate.

      And of course the Bush clan are the epitome of the stereotype though they've only been a part of America's new aristocracy for about a century.

      One reason Carter, Clinton and Obama were so skewered in the White House is the rich WASP/Jewish aristocracy considers them to be poor trash and not worthy of running their piggy bank. Clinton and Obama in particular had stellar educations but were born to poverty so aren't acceptable by "the establishment".

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by demachina (71715)

        Another interesting article [miamiherald.com] today about Goldman Sach's role in the subprime mortgage fiasco. A former Goldman exec has a tell all book out coming out "The 88 Biggest Lies on Wall Street". You have to take him with a grain of salt because he is probably a scumbag and has just turned to profiteering through his tell all book but I like this money quote:

        "It's not just unethical," Talbott said of the chain of profiting subprime players extending from real estate appraisers to Wall Street. "It's totally crimin

    • Re:atlas yawned (Score:4, Insightful)

      by k8to (9046) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @03:19PM (#29943850) Homepage

      At the local politics level, what you say is often true. Local politics are often the most useful, anyway.

      However, at the national level, this is almost never true. National politics are popoulated nearly entirely by the priveledged old boys club.

  • V for Vendetta (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @01:54PM (#29943084)

    "And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense."

  • by theodp (442580) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @01:56PM (#29943096)

    Should prayers be covered? [chicagotribune.com]: "As the health care battle moved forward last week, Phil Davis, a senior Christian Science church official, hurriedly delivered bundles of letters to Senate offices promoting a little-noticed proposal in the legislation requiring insurers to consider covering the church's prayer treatments just as they do other medical expenses. Critics say the proposal would essentially put Christian Science prayer treatments on the same footing as science-based medical care by prohibiting discrimination against "religious and spiritual health care."

  • by wytcld (179112) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @02:02PM (#29943138) Homepage

    They are not offering a new path, they are only offering old paths—spend more, regulate more, tax more in an attempt to make us more healthy locally and nationally. And in the long term everyone—well, not those in government, but most everyone else—seems to know that won't work. It's not a way out. It's not a path through.

    Okay, so in pretty Peggy's view anything that government does by way of governing won't work. (Didn't she write Reagan's line, "Government is the problem"?) Since Democrats to some extent believe government can be, and should be, effective - well, we should just give up on this. We should become disheartened as Democrats. If "most everyone else" knows that government - which by its nature involves regulation, and public investment, and yes collecting taxes to pay for those activities - is "not a path through," we're left asking "Who is this 'everyone else'?" Pretty clearly it's the shrinking demographic which still identifies as Republican: prevalently old, white, and living in the Deep South - people who last liked government when it was run by Jefferson Davis.

    Well, I'm middle aged, white, and live in New England. I'm hopeful. The way through looks obvious, and I see an administration with a fairly good vision of it - even if they're not going nearly far enough in regulating Peggy's friends on the street her Journal's named after. It's so brightly obvious, it's almost blinding. It's based on government, businesses, and individuals each doing our part. Yes, government should not go too far in controlling businesses; but in return businesses have to back way off, as they've gone much too far in recent years into endeavoring to control government. Why do people like Peggy never worry when businesses control government too much?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mindbrane (1548037)

      It's based on government, businesses, and individuals each doing our part. Yes, government should not go too far in controlling businesses; but in return businesses have to back way off, as they've gone much too far in recent years into endeavoring to control government.

      In principle, I agree, but practically I think we're up against more intractable, fundamental problems requiring much effort and time to resolve. Historically there's endless material available to quote addressing the incompetence of government, greed and the lust for power, and, IMHO, it's profoundly based in our natures, but we're also up against a new storyline that's changing the way we think, evaluate and solve our problems. Humanism began, IIRC, in renaissance Italy, in a city state (Florence?) that w

    • by demachina (71715) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @03:39PM (#29944006)

      One of the more basic reasons "governing wont work" is that politicians and regulators are easily captured by special interests who have the money, the time, the connections and the motivation to manipulate the government. A few million well placed lobbying dollars and campaign contributions can yield multi-billion dollar windfalls at the expense of the American people.

      You kind of have to wonder why the conservative Republicans complain so much about big government because for at least the last 10 years, and really a lot longer than that, they have been the most adept at exploiting it for their own gain. Only reason they are complaining about lately is they aren't in power as of 2006/2008. The potency of their vitriol against big government only spikes when they aren't in power. When they are in power they tend to be more OK with it, and their complaining about is empty rhetoric which acts as cover while they are looting it.

      I often shudder to think what this country would be like if the Libertarians won and everything was completely deregulated. Chances are the foxes would devour all the chickens. But, when you see how our government actually works, especially lately, the Libertarians actually have a point. Much of the pillaging and devastation is being aided, abetted or actually initiated by politicians and regulators who have been captured by special interest, so they give legal cover to the pillaging, and trillions of dollars are transferred from unlucky powerless groups to lucky powerful ones. For example, senior citizens are completely looting younger working people to get 20, 30 and 40 years of Medicare and Social Security though they actually paid very little in to the system. Oayroll taxes were jacked up from nothing to 12.5% in the early 80s so most seniors didn't pay anything in but are taking huge sums out.

      It is quite possible things might actually work better under real Libertarianism where Wall Street bankers get absolutely no assistance from the Fed, Treasury, Congress or the President. They get no tax shelters, no government backed loan programs and most importantly NO bailouts when they screw up and should fail. The absolute worst thing done in the last couple years was the complete destruction of moral hazard which is the most crucial foundation of Capitalism. If you know that if you fail the government will bail you out you don't have free market capitalism any more, you have state capitalism(i.e. Fascism) which is what I think we have now.

      Chances are a few banks like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs would still end up running the world under Libertarianism but I have reached a point that I would like to see the government get the hell out of it and let them sink or swim on their own. It couldn't be any worst than what we have now.

      Unfortunately I've come to the conclusion there is NO political/economic philosophy that actually works in practice. Every one devolves in to some small group acquiring all the wealth and power and screwing it out of everyone else. In some systems its party members and bureaucrats, in others it politicians, and in others its bankers and CEO's. As Shakespeare thoroughly outlines a long time ago, we are a species with vicious tendencies that spiral completely out of control in the people who aspire to power and wealth and there seems to be no way to stop those people.

  • by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday November 01, 2009 @02:07PM (#29943176)
    "They don't understand that if they start to tax me so that I'm paying 60%, 55%, I'll stop."

    Who is John Galt?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Sibling poster is fairly accurate. John Gault is an idiotic caricature created by someone with zero understanding of economics or human nature.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by inviolet (797804)

        Sibling poster is fairly accurate. John Gault is an idiotic caricature created by someone with zero understanding of economics or human nature.

        I was going to reply with something along the lines of "You could not have read _Atlas Shrugged_ if you are willing to make that statement publicly -- or if you did read it, it was with a passion to NOT understand it."...

        ...but then you misspelled his name ('Galt'), and so I knew you were talking out of your ass. May the next life you lead be a slightly less dishon

  • by Beowulfs_Ghost (314966) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @02:07PM (#29943178)

    The "top" people in both government and business are spoiled children. From Bill Gates to GW Bush, they had everything handed to them, and when things got tough, their parents bailed them out. In the socio-economic stratosphere of the US, it has never been about merit. It's always been about money, and now we can see what that has bred.

    We hear a lot about the sense of entitlement among the baby boomers, but it's almost always in the context of Medicare and welfare for the relatively poor. Now we see what this sense of entitlement does on the grand scale. It's ridiculous when GM assembly line workers expect health care in perpetuity. It's mind blowing to see the same attitude applied to C level executives who think they are entitled to year over year growth, and bonuses, regardless of how bad things really are.

    And things are bad. The financial wizards of Wall St. have, almost literally, destroyed trillions of dollar in wealth over the last year. None of them think they did anything wrong, and any who are taken to task for this colossal screw up will cry about how unjust it is. When will people realize that handing the reigns of power to spoiled brats, who have no concept of the consequences of failure, is a stupid idea? Doesn't look like they've learned it this time. Maybe in 10 more years when the next economic crisis is screws everyone but the people who caused it.

    • by nomadic (141991) <[nomadicworld] [at] [gmail.com]> on Sunday November 01, 2009 @02:47PM (#29943488) Homepage
      It's ridiculous when GM assembly line workers expect health care in perpetuity.

      Honestly, no, I don't think it's ridiculous for someone in the modern era, in a first world country, to expect health care in perpetuity.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by smoker2 (750216)
      You are all spoiled children. You only have to look at any topic on this site and read the inane, immature comments, backed up by schoolyard logic, and very little fact. If the govt. does something wrong it's always the other sides fault, if energy gets expensive it's somebody elses fault, if the planet gets fucked it's somebody elses fault. I have yet to see anybody here admit the slightest guilt in any action your govt. takes whether it's at home or abroad.

      Whenever the govt. takes forward looking action
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dcam (615646)

      It's ridiculous when GM assembly line workers expect health care in perpetuity.

      Indeed. We should extend this to all people who are unable to financially contribute to society. Let's start with the mentally disabled. I seem to recall that there was a plan to do this some time ago [wikipedia.org].

      Try to think these things through, fascist. Libertarianism seems attractive when you are relatively self sufficient. That state may change through no fault of your own.

    • by sjames (1099) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @11:23PM (#29947224) Homepage

      Those at the top expect MUCH MUCH more than the lower and middle class. The lower and middle class expect a safety net where they can always eat, always have a place for them and their families to live and always get necessary healthcare.

      Those at the top expect to always make more in a single year than most make in a lifetime. They expect to always have 2 nice houses and to never ever have to think about what anything costs. They expect to be able to fail repeatedly and feel no pain. They expect to be able to do such a crappy job that the company is poised to go down in flames and not only keep their job until ready to quit, but to get a big fat bonus as well. Often a bonus large enough to support a middle class family for a decade or more.

      It's easy to spew economic platitudes like "you win some, you lose some", to treat mass layoffs like they're a gift from heaven, and to proclaim universal healthcare and welfare to be foolish luxuries when you're in a position to never in your lifetime ever wonder how you'll pay the mortgage, buy food, or afford life saving medical care.

    • http://www.conceptualguerilla.com/?q=node/16 [conceptualguerilla.com]
      """
      When you cut right through it, right-wing ideology is just "dime-store economics" - intended to dress their ideology up and make it look respectable. You don't really need to know much about economics to understand it. They certainly don't. It all gets down to two simple words.

      "Cheap labor". That's their whole philosophy in a nutshell - which gives you a short and pithy "catch phrase" that describes them perfectly. You've heard of "big-government liberals". Wel

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @02:09PM (#29943194) Journal

    Psychopaths have the desire to reach leadership positions because that way, they can gain the most profit for themselves (not just monetary profit), and they also have the best tools to reach leadership positions, by manipulating others - something psychopaths excel at.

    Psychopathic executives will not blink to destroy their own company, a whole industry, or cause food poisoning, water and air pollution, lower the standard of living of hundreds of millions - as long as they have profit out of it. Wake up, guys, with the few exceptions of people like Warren Buffet, corporations are run by highly functional psychopaths.

    • #1. we're all psychopathic to some degree or another

      #2. it excuses criminals. rather than start with idea of a human who has erred, you start with the idea there's something special about someone that has made them a criminal. no: good people go bad, and bad people go good, and whatever someone's flaws, you talk about their criminal acts, not this supposed otherworldly quality about them that means they are forever more this cartoonish stereotype of behavior. it also ignore st eh fact that YOU can commit th

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by blind biker (1066130)

        Whether you're comfortable with a scientifically proven, many many times confirmed fact, is, you will certainly agree, irrelevant. In fact, all of your points are irrelevant, because it just happens that there are people who are born with this, seemingly neurological defect.

        As for you saying that

        we're all psychopathic to some degree or another

        , I imagine that you seem to be, marginally at least, and tend to see everyone in that light. That is definitely your problem. You need to cope with it otherwise, than painting everyone with your brush.

        • manic depression, schizophrenia, psychopathology, etc., are all aspect of every human being alive. its just that in most people, its below a certain threshold. above that theshold, and you begin to show qualities which put you in a category of illness

          but everyone, to some degree, exhibits an ability to dampen their human empathy. if you showed parents the body of their dead child, and one retched on the spot, and the other calmly and grimly left, which is the "normal" person? is the parent who exhibited no

  • The "problem" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @02:13PM (#29943228) Journal

    The real problem, is that there is no simple answer. Only a complex one.

    Is capitalism or socialism the answer? Yes.

    Yes, because BOTH are the answer, at the same time.

    Allow me to try to explain this, before you explode.

    There are things government does well and things private individuals do well, but they are NOT restricted each to a field.

    This means that private individuals should be free to engage in business, but not without any controls and limitations. And government should be allowed to interfere if it serves society as a whole better.

    You had a little while ago the laughable story about the US press. You saw several posts commenting that either a state run media or a company run media are the only alternatives.

    How idiotic, everyone knows that in Europe, BOTH exists, besides each other, fighting each other tooth and nail. THAT is how you get progress. If you think a state run media alone can be independent, you are insane, although not nearly as insane as the idea that company run media will be independent. Fox News is company owned. Case closed.

    The US needs to accept that you need a healthy balance between the state and the individual and that this balance can NEVER be achieved, you always will end up with a pendulum swinging back and forth. Things only go wrong if the pendulum is either hanging still or doesn't swing back.

    The problem is that you can't get elected with this policy. You need to pick a side and that means in the US that the pendulum can be pulled to far of the center. That is what happened with the credit crisis, to many administrations, from both sides, who did not excersise the control of the state on the financial institutions.

    We need to get away from the idea that their is ONE ideology that is the answer. Uncontrolled financial markets are clearly not the answer but neither is total control. What you need to have is the right control at the right time but that can't be achieved, so you need to accept the situation that sometimes there is a bit to much control and sometimes to little without going to extremes.

    This middle path is NOT taking the road of least resistance, on the contrary, you will face opposition from all sides, but it is the only one that has been proven to work.

  • by SimBuddha (924737) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @02:42PM (#29943450)
    It took me a long time to figure out why things are going to hell. Then I read http://www.youmeworks.com/sociopaths.html [youmeworks.com] and it all made sense. Sociopaths seek power and winning without conscience and this is why banking and wall street leaders are where they are, because they've changed the system of laws to favor themselves. Like terminators, they don't feel remorse or care if their actions hurt other people. These people are now a large proportion of our international corporate leadership. Until our system collapses, they will stay in power, even though they are the reason for our suffering and downfall as a nation. Not sure what there is to do about the situation except have people come to recognize sociopaths for what they are, broken people who should never be allowed to hold power. From the web site the 12 clues to recognizing a sociopath HOW TO KNOW The big question is, of course, how can you know whether someone is a sociopath or not? It is a difficult question and even experts on the subject can be fooled. If you suspect that someone close to you is a sociopath, I suggest you read both of the books I mentioned and think hard about it. Compare that person to the other people in your life. Ask yourself these questions: 1. Do you often feel used by the person? 2. Have you often felt that he (or she) doesn't care about you? 3. Does he lie and deceive you? 4. Does he tend to make contradictory statements? 5. Does he tend to take from you and not give back much? 6. Does he often appeal to pity? Does he seem to try to make you feel sorry for him? 7. Does he try to make you feel guilty? 8. Do you sometimes feel he is taking advantage of your good nature? 9. Does he seem easily bored and need constant stimulation? 10. Does he use a lot of flattery? Does he interact with you in a way that makes you feel flattered even if he says nothing overtly complimentary? 11. Does he make you feel worried? Does he do it obviously or more cleverly and sneakily? 12. Does he give you the impression you owe him? 13. Does he chronically fail to take responsibility for harming others? Does he blame everyone and everything but himself? Tags: evil, Hitler, anti-christ, sociopath,
  • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @03:30PM (#29943932) Homepage
    Many solutions are listed here: "Why limited demand means joblessness (and what to do about it)" [beyondajob...covery.org]
    """

    These are some ways to deal with increasing joblessness, even if our economy recovers for those who still have jobs or money, which will be explored in more depth over time:

    • temporary measures like unemployment insurance and retraining funds, and when those fail, letting people live with relatives who still have jobs or be homeless (the USA now has one million homeless schoolchildren [upi.com], an amount that has doubled in the last two years);
    • government public works like in the 1930s (infrastructure, arts, research, medicine, etc.);
    • a basic income [wikipedia.org] for everyone, essentially Social Security and Medicaid for all [wikipedia.org] with no means testing [basicincome.org];
    • improved local subsistence like with 3D [reprap.org] printing [wikipedia.org] and organic gardening;
    • a p2p [p2pfoundation.net] gift economy (like Wikipedia and Debian GNU/Linux);
    • a shorter work week (like tried in France);
    • rethinking work to be more fun [wikipedia.org] so it is done as play [whywork.org];
    • alternative currencies or other forms of exchange like barter or more formal rationing;
    • increasing advertising to entice people into more debt (one cause of the current economic crisis as the debt bubble burst [capitalismhitsthefan.com]);
    • intentionally producing shoddy merchandise or things with planned obsolescence, perhaps encouraged by promoting faddism in the culture;
    • more prisons (employs guards and keeps people out of the labor pool);
    • more schooling (employs guards/teachers and keeps people out of the labor pool) while suppressing [newciv.org] true education; and
    • more war (employs guards/soldiers, blows up and wastes abundance, and kills or disables workers to keep them out of the labor pool).

    Likely we will see a mix of all those in the future, and in fact, a mix of all those is what we have now (not that the last five options of advertising, faddism, schooling, prison, and war are recommended, even as our society currently relies on them heavily to destroy abundance and create guarding [whywork.org] jobs). This web site will go into the details of all this over time. That list is defining the landscape of a jobless recovery, showing connections between things that dont usually seem connected. Like for example, why President Obama just suggested the school year should be longer [yahoo.com] while our best [chrismercogliano.com] educators [holtgws.com] say compulsory [wikipedia.org] school [archive.org] as we know it should [youtube.com] disappear [johntaylorgatto.com] entirely [greenmoneyjournal.com].

    The important thing to remember is that joblessness is not necessarily a bad thing. It means people have more time for family, friends, hobbies, and volunteerism. What is bad about formal un

  • by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @05:07PM (#29944792) Journal

    The WSJ article is highly un-balanced. While it talks repeatedly about the "sins" of too much government, it barely mentioned the role that deregulation played in the current mess.

    Here's an exmaple:

    This week the New York Post carried a report that 1.5 million people had left high-tax New York state between 2000 and 2008, more than a million of them from even higher-tax New York City.

    The implication made is that they left mostly because of taxes. However, they never justify that with a reason-for-leaving survey, etc. They simply run with that assumption. The WSJ does this often, as do most Murdock-own publications.
         

  • by ewe2 (47163) <ewetooNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday November 01, 2009 @10:55PM (#29947092) Homepage Journal

    It's not even a specifically American problem. Simply put, our so-called heroic leaders have no idea what to do with their power, a bit of a problem since we have no intention of doing anything to help.

    To quote (as I often do) Voltaire's Bastards [amazon.co.uk]:

    Jefferson put it that men by their constitution were naturally divided into two parts -- those who fear and distrust the people versus those who identify with the people and have confidence in them. Our civilization has increasingly put those who fear and distrust in power over us. Those who have confidence have always argued that consciousness is the key to improvements in the human condition. But power structures have always treated consciousness in the citizenry as a danger which must first be lulled, then channelled towards the inoffensive through the mechanisms of language, mythology and structure.

    We are profoundly conformist and authoritarian, the biggest cowards in history. We wait for a disaster so we can fix it, rather than taking preventative measures, all the while hoping someone else will do it for us.

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal

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