This is your President

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Darth_SnowDog, May 10, 2002.

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  1. Thraxwhirl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 14, 2002
    star 5
    I don't believe I said any of that. If I did, it certainly wasn't what I meant.

    I was attempting to address the point of whether or not inequality in wealth can be said to be increasing, and therefore whether or not people who remain at the bottom of the pile(as it were) can truly be said to be better off than when they had less.

    I certainly don't see poverty as an excuse for violence, but what I am saying is that it's easy for us in the West to make such a statement when people poorer than ourselves see that as the only way to battle what they see as an injustice - ie. that of such an inequality which favours us in the West and the USA in particular.

    Furthermore, I don't wish to give the impression that money or material possessions are all there is to life, nor that relationships with other people are not more important. The topic Dathka and I were discussion was economics, hence my thoughts on inequalities in wealth. That's not me simplifying anything. I never said there wasn't more to life.

    Just because I don't talk football at a wedding or whatever, does not mean I'm not interested it.
  2. Thraxwhirl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 14, 2002
    star 5
    Actually, I apologise for that last remark about football and weddings, that was just rude. All I'm saying is that just because I address one particular aspect of the issue, please do not think that I do not accept that there are other facets to the whole picture.

    Again, I apologise for the faceteous remark.
  3. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    No need to apologize- I didn't take that as rude. However, you must admit that you were not just discussing economics, you were using economics to explain (and justify) human behavior, specifically animosity towards the US.
  4. Thraxwhirl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 14, 2002
    star 5
    Hmmm, yeah ok I'll go along with that, but as I say, I hope you do appreciate that I'm not trying to suggest that that's the only important motivation behind anybody's actions.

    Actually, I am in many respectis in total agreemant with you on much of what you say. It's precisely because I do feel there's so much more to life(such as personality, culture, emotional development and intellectual freedom) than money and material acquisition, that means it is possible for me not to feel poorer than Bill Gates in any sense other than purely economic terms.

    Indeed, when one has has more money than gravity(to quote comedian Rich Hall), one is given to wonder what drives him to continue in his relentless pursuit of it. That's his perogative of course, and it's not for me to judge him, but I'd have retired long before now just to have fun quite frankly.

    I confess I'm getting a little off the beaten track here, but there you go. "What makes you tick, Bill?" I sometimes have to wonder.
  5. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    Interesting note on the issue of the ABM Treaty... while it may be said that the ABM treaty is a "relic of the cold war", implicating that a new effort towards nuclear arms reduction need be forged... here's something rather peculiar about the latest nuclear arms reduction efforts between Bush and Putin... particularly the last paragraph:

    A key issue in the negotiations was whether the warheads would be destroyed or just dismantled and put into storage. Russia preferred that they be destroyed, while the United States wanted to put a number of warheads in storage to be available in an emergency.

    Hmm... wonder how logical that is... What kind of emergency? You mean the kind where we're all going to die anyway, but we should at least do our part to help eradicate all life on the planet?

    I love political logic.
  6. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    I was actually at a lecture with Condoleeza Rice and she addressed this item. She said that first, it is almost impossible to safely destroy a nuclear warhead and second, they can be easily retooled to be used as convential missiles.

    But of course, I am sure you will just say that that is either political logic or right wing posturing...
  7. Dathka Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2002
    star 1
    I don't have much time at the moment so I'll give my replies to the economic posts but the deeper philosophical posts will have to wait till tonight when I'm done with classes :).

    I think the best definition of wealth is how much your buying power is compared with previous generations. Money and inflation can really screw up the issue so let's, for now, just say wealth is my ability to purchase 100 loaves of bread or other goods and services.
    As a whole then the purchasing power has risen (at least in industrialized nations) of all the individuals. True costs have gotten higher, but I can still purchase more loaves of bread then my counterpart 100 years ago was able to.
    When you say 'haves' and 'have-nots' what are you refering to? Money, food, clothing, housing, entertainment? Almost everyone in the western world can afford these things now. What do the rich have that the poor don't? They have more money but since the poor can eat, drink, live in warm homes, and go to see movies (I just desribed my weekend :)) what more do the rich really have?
    My point is that in 100 years when we each have a personal droid to do everything for us and we don't have to work, are we still going to bitch about the guy down the street who has two droids? I'm not saying we shouldn't try to better our condition, that's the driving force which has made this civilization so great, I'm just saying things aren't really that bad.

    I must also apologize because when people start talking about the 'haves' and 'have-nots' the redistrobution of wealth is not far around the corner... and that has ALWAYS led to disaster in the end. So the whole topic gets my in a fit :).
    Most of the economic woe that has been brought on people has been the results of attempts at ?fairness? for everybody. Fairness can really stunt wealth since instead of everyone increasing their productivity to ?get their own? the existing wealth is redistributed and there is no incentive to increase productivity.
    This may sound harsh but think of it like this. You want to go see Star Wars Episode II but you're just a couple of dollars (pounds for you) short. I'm sure it wouldn't be that hard for you to think of someway to trade your goods or services for that amount of money. I don't like to work unless a) I have to (to continue living) or b) to buy a new computer so I can rant on theforce.net with twice the speed ;). So I agree with you that there are 'haves' and a couple of 'have-nots' but that a) just because the 'haves' have, doesn't mean the 'have-nots' must go without (now say that ten times fast... backwards ;)).

    Now to finite natural resources...
    These resources are also largely controlled by the free market. Because there is not enough demand we are not at all pumping all the oil we possibly could (Ouch... I just tried saying that five times fast). So again, just because I fill up my tank doesn't mean someone in Botswana can't have any gass. The only reason I can get gass is because I can give money to the producers so they can cover their costs and maybe make a profit. It's impossible for them to pump oil to sell to people who can't pay because they'd be out of business pretty soon.
    Now natural resources are limited... but we've only scratched the surface. Oil is the only natural resource that perhaps will run out soon (and even the scarcest estimates give us 40-50 years). Metals and lumber, stuff like that, will last us for a LONG time to come.
    And actually the new fuel cells are showing quiet some promise and within thirty years they should be feasible for mass consumption (that's my personal estimate... the manufactueres say 15 years so I just doubled it ;)).

    If I didn't answer any of your points please let me know as this is due to a time constrain and no intentional malice :).


    "Us Americans not only refuse to share our wealth(for the most part), but we also keep people in low conditions."

    This is going to be an easy one :). First, have you ever taken a look at our foreign aid budget? Yowza! A couple of billion alone to Israel.
    And to t
  8. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    But of course, I am sure you will just say that that is either political logic or right wing posturing...

    No, actually, it's possible I may stand corrected and Bush and Putin may be doing a good thing. However, that doesn't preclude my primary point... that I don't trust politicians 100 percent, and it's important to always be vigilant in the interests of protecting one's own freedoms. Just because a Constitution guarantees those freedoms doesn't mean that politicians are always going to act in our best interest. We are their employers, and as such, we are responsible for far more than just hiring and firing them.

    I still do find it typical that America's position would be one of maintaining as much weaponry as possible... when our foreign policy is generally to demand that other countries reduce their arsenals. Basically, we give the world the impression that we think only we are allowed to carry the big stick...

    Why not use those warheads for completely non-offensive purposes... retool the nuclear devices in such a way that their cores can be used for something productive, rather than destructive? There has to be a way.
  9. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    I'm sure there is a way as well, but it still helps to know that if you are going to attack the US we will be avenged. After my last post I remembered that my brother in law who was aboard a Spruance class Destroyer during the Kosovo incident told us that they had used up all of their Tomahawks and were waiting to get more. Unfortunately, the company that made them had gone out of business and retooled some nukes to carry conventional payloads.

    I don't trust politicians 100% either. In fact the first thing I teach my students is that the most important thing to a politician is be reelected. Everything else is secondary.

    Also, one of the main reasons that we want Russia to lower their number of nukes is that they do not have the funds to maintain and secure the ones they have. Therefore, it is necessary to keep them from either cooking off unintentionally or being sold on the black market.


  10. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    I'm sure there is a way as well, but it still helps to know that if you are going to attack the US we will be avenged. After my last post I remembered that my brother in law who was aboard a Spruance class Destroyer during the Kosovo incident told us that they had used up all of their Tomahawks and were waiting to get more. Unfortunately, the company that made them had gone out of business and retooled some nukes to carry conventional payloads.

    War is a clandestine, disgusting business... the ones who truly benefit from war are rarely, if ever, the people for whose freedom we claim to be fighting. Most often, it is the defense industry and the military who benefit.

    Revenge never succeeds in its initiatives... because it does not bring true justice, nor does it bring back the dead. More people get killed, and more fires of hatred get fueled... and the people who truly gain from this rift are those in power who have ever profited from the division of the masses. Divide and conquer, it is the oldest conspiracy in the book.

    Also, one of the main reasons that we want Russia to lower their number of nukes is that they do not have the funds to maintain and secure the ones they have. Therefore, it is necessary to keep them from either cooking off unintentionally or being sold on the black market.

    Yes, it's very important to prevent black market sales of nukes...

    America never puts weapons in the wrong hands... no, never.

    [face_mischief]
  11. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    Yes, the irony is not lost on me. But the general theme of warfare in the US is that when you can have someone else fight your war, go for it. Like in Viet Nam, like in Iran, like in Iraq, etc, etc, etc., we gave weaponry to natives of the countries we were in to fight.

    You are, however, overlooking the main difference between Russia and the US, that we know where all of our nukes are, the Russians don't.
  12. tenorjedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2000
    star 5
    why would anyone need to buy nukes on the black market when they can steal the technology and forgiven like China did?
  13. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    I say we just aim our nukes at ourselves and just blow ourselves up... problem solved. No more worrying about the Commie Boogeyman who's going to push that button and blow us all to hell.

    I mean... Washington is getting pretty close to reinvigorating McCarthyism in a variety of ways. Whether it's this PATRIOT act garbage, or Bush trying to reinstate the Star Wars SDI missile defense program... all because we can't figure out how to immobilize four guys with boxcutters on a plane... come on!

    Surely the pundits in Washington can come up with a better way of dealing with world violence than plunging us back into the J. Edgar Hoover days.

    What the hell's the point if we have to sacrifice our freedoms in exchange for the perception of security? We might as well mulch the Constitution and sell it as novelty toilet paper.

  14. tenorjedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2000
    star 5
    How exactly does the armed forces benefit from going into combat? They still get their neat weapons wether we fight or not. New defense contracts are issued without war. The only people that see a real increase are munitions plants. In a really large scale war larger contracts are issued and some contractors can make some good money, but we haven't seen anything on that scale since Korea (the US didn't really mobilize for Vietnam) and certainly not the gulf war(s).

    I fail to see what your point is. It seemed like you implyed the armed forces create wars for their own benefit but there are no benefits to them, unless you think camo pants turns someone into a brute savage who likes to kill someone of another race.
  15. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    I think you are oversimplifying things here.

    The reason that the hijackers were successful in hijacking the plane is that because prior to that event, hijackers would seize control of the plane, force the pilots to fly to wherever they wanted and then made their demands. Usually they were granted. The conventional wisdom was in a situation like that sit down, shut up and hope for the best. Look at the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. It was delayed prior to take off long enough for the passengers who were on board to find out what had occurred in New York. When the hijackers revealed themselves, the passengers fought back. We don't know what happened, but it is safe to say that the passengers were successful in thwarting the terrorists' goals.

    It is safe to say that hijackers will have a harder time taking control of a plane since the event. Passengers, pilots and crew will be less likely to remain seated when a person tries to take control of a plane. Case in point, the flight to Rio that a man tried to break into the cockpit but was subdued by a co-pilot who brained him with a fire axe.

    I don't think this is all about 9/11. It has been going on before that. Bush ran on implementing a missile defense shield, and if passed, the Patriot act would no doubt be declared unconstitutional by SCOTUS.

  16. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    Oh, my mistake... I must have confused the defense appropriations of hundreds of billions of dollars as a reaction to something other than Afghanistan's refusal to cooperate with the US in the search for Bin Laden. I'm pretty sure we were bombing the hell out of Afghanistan, and had massive troop movements there... but, hey, I could be imagining things...

    I know that we appropriate money whether or not we go to war... but the largest justification for defense expenditures is an impending war. The ability of governments to plan wars for economic purposes is nothing new... it dates back centuries through history. Italian Generals known as Condottieri used to conspire with other Generals to produce economically satisfying wars almost in much the same way the WWF stages scripted wrestling matches for ratings approval.

    Is it really unfathomable that our government has done the same in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan?

    In a really large scale war larger contracts are issued and some contractors can make some good money, but we haven't seen anything on that scale since Korea (the US didn't really mobilize for Vietnam) and certainly not the gulf war(s).

    We didn't really mobilize for Vietnam? Heh, could've fooled me. We sent over 500,000 troops to Vietnam... nearly 50,000 were killed. We sent over 700,000 to the Persian Gulf. My brother was one of them... and for 7 of the 9 months he was there, they basically did nothing except waste taxpayers money... all for little more than a thank you from the Middle East, to whom we are inextricably chained because of our idiotic dependence on petroleum.

    So defense contractors, the military and some Saudi Princes profited... but what good ultimately was done for humanity? What did we accomplish except to give the Middle East yet more fodder to blame us for the Anti-American sentiments which allegedly give rise to international terrorism. Osama bin Laden now uses our troop movements as a scapegoat... We're bordering on economic recession... and we're still hopelessly dependent on the petroleum of the Middle East which helped fund maniacs like bin Laden.

    We have commercials on TV that tell us that buying drugs supports terrorism... but you won't ever see a commercial that says buying gasoline supports terrorism...
  17. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    Actually all of the bombing has pretty much stopped. Not much left there to bomb.

    I'd like to give our leaders the benefit of the doubt on creating wars just for the fun of it.
  18. tenorjedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2000
    star 5
    The number of men does mean that contracts are issued out and that the army or contractors get any more money. The mobilization that occured with Vietnam was the draft, but industrial wise there was no need. We could outproduce and out bomb them in our sleep. Our planes and helicopter loss ratio was low (much lower for planes mind you) and we were producing the choppers and hovercraft before we ever set foot in Nam.

    Yeah it's a shame that we'd never tell someone that a gas guzzler helps Osama, but when you try to tap oil reserves in the US people get in a big fuss about oil spills so we're stuck helping them get rich.
  19. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    And what precisely is so harmful about unisex bathrooms with privacy stalls?

    Nothing. Nothing at all. Just as there is nothing harmful about single-sex bethrooms. Just as there is nothing harmful about single-sex classrooms.
    The only difference between the bathroom situation and the classroom situation is that there are actual benefits to single-sex classrooms. Keep reading, because I go a bit more indepth later.

    Not only do I find the anti-joke sarcasm of your "hot chick" comment to be incredibly stereotypical in terms of the average American response to the "ludicrous notion" of sexual equality, but neither humorous nor sensitive to the issue at hand.

    Don't get all huffy . . . I used that phrase on purpose.

    Objectifying females as something only to "look at" only helps to further my point that we have our mental barriers of perception that tell us that hispanics, blacks and women have absolutely nothing to contribute in a classrom beyond the superficial.

    There's no argument that classes which require discussion pertaining to different cultures and view points--some social 'sciences' classes, for example--would actually lose some of their potency if a blanket policy of single-sex classrooms were implemented, but such is hardly the case.
    A majority of subjects (such as biology, math, computer courses) don't require discussion, or rather discussion which benefits from varying cultural points of view.

    Points to remember:

    - Same-sex classrooms don't deny anyone an education
    - They are an option, not a policy
    - Students in same-sex classrooms do learn better; some (and I have no hard stats either way) actually prefer the environment
    - I'm homeschooled. I don't have classroom discussions. I read books, and discuss philosophy and politics with friends (mostly online). Basically, I don't need to hear someone tell me their problem first hand to empathize with their perspective. Same-sex classrooms, like homeschooling, only stunt personal growth when they represent the limit of one's experiences, but that can hardly be said to be the case in the public school system.

    Sorry I took so long to reply. I see the discussion has pretty much moved on . . . :)
  20. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    Same-sex classrooms don't deny anyone an education

    Neither do same-race classrooms... It's not an issue of denial of education, it's an issue of unnecessary segregation.

    Again, my question essentially is... How does diversity harm the individual's learning experience? How does homogeneity enhance it?

    Several of you have said homogeneity can enhance the experience... well, ok, other than "making it easier to concentrate", how does it? In what way does diversity actually endanger the learning experience, other than forcing kids to learn and work in the same environment of "distractions" that will follow them for the rest of their lives?

    If concentration is the problem... well, everything could be classified as a distraction... why not put each kid in a separate white room with nothing but a pencil, paper and a pair of headphones from which they will listen to the drone of the lecturer? When exactly then does it become the "right" time to stop learning in a bubble, and learn to function as a normal, social being?

    Even areas like math need diverse discussions, I believe... because our kids need to be encouraged to ask questions. Our children have a hard enough time understanding disciplines like math as it is... without discussion, and engaging questions coming from a wide range of students, teachers aren't challenged to explain the whys and hows of fields like math... and all our kids end up doing is learning to regurgitate, not to interpolate, extrapolate, deduce or induce.

    Our kids should be capable of learning and understanding calculus by grade 8... instead they don't typically begin to learn it until college. By that time, they should understand applied calculus fluently. In the global marketplace of ideas, if we choose the path of least resistance, we will be left behind.

    This is not progress. My view is that taking the approach of same-sex classrooms as an answer to our teachers' inability to properly understand and disseminate what they teach, and to control the classroom environment, is a copout. Teachers have a lot of things they can do yet that they aren't doing to combat these problems.

    I do not feel that our teachers in public schools make learning compelling, interesting and fun enough for our students... How about striving to improve teacher performance for once?
  21. Thraxwhirl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 14, 2002
    star 5
    TenorJedi,

    War can be said to benefit the armed forces in so far as it a) heightens its political profile and often the powers of its senior commanders, both in the run up to conflict(see the Early Nazi years), and also during(see Soviet examples 1939-1945), and b) it often benefits most effectively from a far faster rate of technological development(consider programmes such as the Jet Engine fighter/bomber of WWII, the evolution of tank design for same period, and the Manhattan Project).

    Indeed in terms of political exercise of power, let us not forget that the RAF and USAF only carried out attrocities such as Dresden and Hiroshima as a way of making a political statement of defiance against the Soviet Union. However, these acts of murder could not have been carried out without a state of war existing between the Western Allies and the German-Japanese Axis.
  22. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    Thraxwhirl,
    Your statement about the USAF dropping the bomb on Hiroshima is incorrect on two counts. First, it was not the USAF that dropped it, the Air Force was not created until 1947, but that is a minor technicallity. The main error is that you state the only reason we dropped the bomb was to make a political statement against the USSR.

    The main reason that we dropped the bomb was that the casualty count for the Allies if we invaded Japan was to be in the hundreds of thousands. It was estimated that it would require at least a million soldiers to capture the nation. Then we would need additional forces to secure the nation. By dropping the bomb, we were able to end the war with less death on both sides as opposed to a full scale invasion.

    I will agree with you that it did have ramifications to our relations with the USSR, but it was not the only reason we chose to drop the bomb.
  23. Thraxwhirl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 14, 2002
    star 5
    But the Japanese had already offered a surrender, with a pre-condition that the US Gov. guarantee that the Emporer remain on the throne. This was rejected out of hand. After the bombs, Japan's Surrender was Unconditional.

    Of course Japan had been keen to conduct negotiations for a mutually-acceptable settlement(ie with conditions) with the US through Russian mediation prior to the final stages of the war, but once the USSR began its astonishing, knockout campaign in Manchuria, the Japanese panicked. It has been suggested even that, a couple of days prior to Hiroshima, the Japanese government even tried to offer Unconditional Surrender to the US, but were refused an audience without a neutral emissary. A delay of this nature could only be maintained for a very short time of course and this, coupled with Western fears raised by the swift and deadly nature of the new Soviet offensive(which showed of course just how much the Red Army had evolved and improved through four years of war with Germany, to illustrate that point in response to TenorJedi's question), made the timing of the bomb critical.

    After Hiroshima and Nagasaka, the Japanese offered Unconditional Surrender as the US(and indeed the other Aliied powers) demanded. Afterwards, the retention of the Emporer was accepted anyway. My point therefore is that this was a Political rather than a Military activity, and to bring about, in a stroke, twice the number of casualties Britain suffered under four years of bombing from Germany, just to score a point about having achieved a surrender not dilluted by conditions America would ultimately meet anyway indicates a desire to drop the bomb, rather than a desire to avoid military casualties.
    I used to accept that argument(the one about avoiding military casualties) until friends of mine at university, where we were reading War Studies, told me I was naive, and presented to me the revisionists view as espoused by historians such as Gar Alpervitz et al.
    I only wish they told me BEFORE I did a presentation in which I had used the 'Mil. Casuaties' argument in defence of Hiroshima, and was given an F on account of having done all the wrong research.

  24. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    You said it yourself, "revisionist history".


    As a non-revisionist history professor, I think you should have appealed that grade.
  25. _Darth_Brooks_ Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 4
    "I do not feel that our teachers in public schools make learning compelling, interesting and fun enough for our students... How about striving to improve teacher performance for once? "




    You do not "feel"...interesting wording.

    Based on what?

    You make a teaching position sound like an entertainers job description.



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