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Author Topic: Our (semi-)balanced former POTUS  (Read 3124 times)
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sonicsilver
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« Reply #40 on: Oct 11, 2017, 05:09AM »

An American living in Europe? Probably not a good way to get a sense of most Americans

A Chinese citizen who lives and works in NY, NY.



And yet if we could honestly tally up all the things he thinks the government should do there would be a ubstantial bill to pay, I suspect

He didn't say anything about that, so I can't discuss what you think he might think. His main point was that he doesn't receive a level of public services commensurate with the tax he pays as a proportion of his income, whereas I do.



The US had a long stretch of free-market economy in the 19th century. A few fabulously rich robber barons, but large numbers of grindingly poor and a middle class that was always getting wiped by the frequent economic crashes. It wasn't until the government began to clip industry's powers to manipulate markets, monopolize resources and treat the labor force as a disposable goods that we began to get stability and the growing middle class.

An alternative perspective is that the problem here is lack of free market. As you say, big businesses, tycoons, robber barons, use their influence to manipulate the market to suit themselves and to the disadvantage of the little guy. Here's an opportunity for government to turn the dials a bit to facilitate smaller scale economic activity. Unfortunately, right wing deregulation policies that are apparently pro-free market are often tainted by big business influence and result only in yet more dubious practices.



The biggest reason for the US tax burden is the cost of the US military which provides security not just to US territory but is also an essential factor in European and our Asian allies' security. On paper, everyone in these alliances pays their fair share, but if you deleted the US's participation, all the other fair shares wouldn't be enough to do what needs to be done.

I agree that powerful NATO forces are essential for peace and prosperity. Imagine what China would think it could get away with if there weren't such a formidable US Navy in the Pacific... Let's not forget the British and French, who are no pushovers.

Federal spending has Social Security way out in front with 24% of total expenditure. Medicare is second at 17% and military spending a close third at 16%. Here's one source, although I'm willing to be corrected if I've misunderstood the figures.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget#/media/File:US_Federal_Budget_Comparison_2016_vs._2015.png



Right wing politicians in the US do not admit this. They can not get nominated if they admit the government has a role in anything beyond banning abortion and gay marriage.

Republicans are usually pro-military, pro-law and order, and sometimes pro-immigration control/enforcement. All these things require government involvement and are costly. But maybe you were speaking in hyperbole?



A "private" citizen who has spent 40 years crying for public attention, plastering his name on buildings, paying ghost writers to pen his self-glorifying autobiographies, starring in reality shows and making his name as a politician with the preposterous "birther" theory.

Exactly. A private (sector) citizen, not a civil servant or elected representative. President Trump obviously has very little experience and understanding of how government works and what it does. Perhaps he saw himself more as CEO of AmericaCorp.



He could be impeached, removed from office and exiled to the bottom of the Mariana Trench and he will still imagine that things should happen just because he says so.

Yet he seems to be receiving advice that he cannot govern like a bull in a china shop, and gradually heeding it somewhat. He's certainly not as slick as his recent predecessors (except perhaps Bush the Son) but I still think it's unfair to judge his Presidency by how he appears on TV and things we dislike about his personality or past business dealings, rather than by an assessment of the actual effects of his policies.
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robcat2075

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« Reply #41 on: Oct 11, 2017, 07:45AM »

A Chinese citizen who lives and works in NY, NY.

Ah... beautiful, low-tax China...






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Federal spending has Social Security way out in front with 24% of total expenditure. Medicare is second at 17%

SS and Medicare are large costs but that is because we have X retired people who get sick Y% of the time. It's not a cost incurred because of dreams of world domination.  Unlike income taxes I pay that go to military spending now and for which the return is some sense of national security (never enough we are told), the payroll taxes for SS and Medicare (a separate budget from the  rest of government) are a more direct in-out thing.  I pay in when I am working and I get paid back when I retire.

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and military spending a close third at 16%. Here's one source, although I'm willing to be corrected if I've misunderstood the figures.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget#/media/File:US_Federal_Budget_Comparison_2016_vs._2015.png


Here's another analysis of how money not explicitly budgeted as "defense" is still spent on military expenses.

The hidden costs of “national security”



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Republicans are usually pro-military, pro-law and order, and sometimes pro-immigration control/enforcement. All these things require government involvement and are costly. But maybe you were speaking in hyperbole?

Yes, those would be among the other idols of conservatism. (Immigration control is really just a flavor of "law and order")

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Robert Holmén

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Baron von Bone
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« Reply #42 on: Oct 11, 2017, 08:01AM »

Ah... beautiful, low-tax China...

Do you think it's willful--the way so many far right winger types are so utterly blind to the commons and the infrastructure?
 
The desperate need to believe in the "self-made man" delusion (validates the nasty anti-poor mindset)?
 
The need to separate anything that might help those they need to believe are just lazy and low so they can ignore it even though they're also dependent upon a lot of the same things?
 
Stuff I've missed/perhaps chosen not to add to give as much benefit of doubt as reason allows ... ?
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« Reply #43 on: Oct 11, 2017, 08:13AM »


The desperate need to believe in the "self-made man" delusion ...

Personally, i don't think they believe it.  It's just an effective talking point.
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #44 on: Oct 11, 2017, 08:21AM »


Here's another analysis of how money not explicitly budgeted as "defense" is still spent on military expenses.

The hidden costs of “national security”


An example of how little is understood about the cost of the military... Our Secretary of Energy, former TX governor Rick Perry, was surprised to find out that his department was primarily about managing the nuclear weapon stockpile and not about helping oil companies find oil.
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #45 on: Oct 11, 2017, 08:48AM »

Chinese income tax rates and bands are comparable to the USA, although the monetary amounts are lower. Actually paying income tax in China is... flexible.

The desperate need to believe in the "self-made man" delusion (validates the nasty anti-poor mindset)?

This is part of the deal in America though, right? If you work hard and smart with a minimum of barriers and impediments to your efforts, you can enjoy the fruits of your own labours, rather than being a tenant farmer in Ireland toiling to make money for your absentee landlord, or a tobacco sharecropper in Virginia toiling for a tobacco exchange in Glasgow, or some other kind of peasant from what are now Poland or Germany toiling to enrich your local Count. How realistic and genuine is this deal? That's for another thread. One implication of the deal, which is not necessarily correct, is that those who are poor haven't worked smart or hard enough and are therefore stupid or lazy or both. These are qualities that are regarded negatively. Another fallacy is that The Great American Success Guy is 100% self-made. He achieved success in a social context and it's unlike that he never received any kind of tax-funded services at all to help him along his way: even street lighting.

The need to separate anything that might help those they need to believe are just lazy and low so they can ignore it even though they're also dependent upon a lot of the same things?

I think it's more that people are mainly motivated by self interest. We don't like to have our income appropriated by government and spent on things where there isn't a readily apparent benefit for us. There is also a distinction to be made between tax-funded activities that facilitate socio-economic advancement and those that perpetuate stagnation. An example of the former would be business advice services and subsidised community college courses. The latter would be unlimited unemployment and child benefit with no personal responsibility conditions attached. Where I live, it's quite possible for a single mother with three children to receive a state income of around 2000 Euros, plus the value of her rent. This is nearly double the salary of a full time retail or McDonalds job. I don't want my tax money or yours to be used to give people a free ride, but rather to give people a boost up from a low period.

Funny about other US government spending being Shanghai'd (is that the right word?) into military service. It's like the opposite of North Korea where the very large numbers of military personnel are mainly used as menial farm and building labour.
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« Reply #46 on: Oct 12, 2017, 07:22AM »

Fun fact...

The panorama in the White House Diplomatic Room is not actually a painting but a commercial wallpaper, 'Vues de l'Amérique du Nord', designed in 1843 by the French firm Zuber & Cie (still in existence). It was installed during the Kennedy years after being salvaged from a house about to be demolished.



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Robert Holmén

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robcat2075

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« Reply #47 on: Oct 12, 2017, 02:08PM »

4K view...

(right-click and choose "view image" to get full res)

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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #48 on: Oct 13, 2017, 04:29PM »

National Portrait Gallery Announces Artists Commissioned to Paint Portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama

Hold on to your pearls.  These aren't going to be portraits with a dark bookcase in the background.

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The publication noted that, far from being lesser-known names in the art world, as is often the case with presidential portrait painters, both Wiley and Sherald have “major followings.”



LL Cool J by Kehind Wiley:



Moton Britho III by Kehind Wiley:




Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance) by Amy Sherald:




(title not known) by Amy Sherald:





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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #49 on: Oct 18, 2017, 03:47PM »

Obama’s Name to Replace Jefferson Davis’ on Mississippi School

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A public elementary school in Mississippi named after the president of the Confederacy will be renamed to honor the first black president of the United States.

Davis Magnet International Baccalaureate Elementary in Jackson, which is named for Jefferson Davis, will be renamed Barack Obama Magnet International Baccalaureate Elementary beginning next school year, the school's PTA president, Janelle Jefferson, said at a Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night.

Out with the fake President, in with the real President.
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #50 on: Oct 19, 2017, 07:25AM »

Oh, oh...

Obama Letters To Ex Girlfriend Made Public

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The nine full letters, sent by Obama to his college girlfriend, Alexandra McNear, are being made public to researchers through Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library...

Written in the 1980s, the letters give a peek into Obama’s psyche as he sought out the path that would eventually land him in the White House as the United States’ first black president, Emory University officials said Wednesday.

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The letters span 1982 to 1984. During that time, Obama was at Columbia University in New York City, in Indonesia, and finally working at Business International Corporation, “with everyone slapping my back,” in a job for which he had no passion...

“Salaries in the community organizations are too low to survive on right now, so I hope to work in some more conventional capacity for a year, allowing me to store up enough nuts to pursue those interests next,” Obama wrote in 1983.

Note to Sarah Palin: Turns out, Obama did have a real job before the community organizer thing.


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He wrote them on stationery as well as ripped-out yellow and white, college-ruled notebook paper. At least one was sent in Business International Money Report envelopes with the business’s address crossed out and “Barack Obama” written above it.

FOX headline: "Obama stole office supplies from employer"

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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #51 on: Nov 11, 2017, 07:26PM »

jus' plain folks...

Enjoy some video of Barack Obama sauntering into jury duty like it's not a big thing

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Robert Holmén

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