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State Killing

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2015 at 10:54
We haven't fully explored the connection between poverty and the death penalty but we can start by examining British history and note that crimes for which the death penalty was employed were   disproportionately directed at the poor.   While Captain Vancouver definitely overstated his case it is important to note that death penalty has never been assigned to careless disregard for the lives of workers.  The death penalty has also never been applied to careless disregard for soldiers lives deployed in imperialist enterprises.   Nor has anyone received the death penalty for industrial pollution that destroyed many lives.  Clearly the old ideas of class structure regarding the relative value of lives is alive and well.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2015 at 19:48
I am sorry that I may have provoked things.  I did enjoy the exchange with Captain Vancouver, and he is right that capitalism has some deep flaws, perhaps eventually fatal.  I was the one who brought up religion, and you are right, perhaps the philosophy and theology forum would have been a better venue.
Next time, I'll remember that.
John

The United States still is based mainly on common law (except Louisiana), and so 'extenuating' circumstances weight heavily in our courts which means lawyers are very powerful, and of course, the rich can afford the best.  I think the Continental European system, however, has a more straightforward basis on Napoleonic code, more do the crime, do the time, and lawyers are more about guilt or innocence, instead of sentencing.  Again, the US system means the rich are well represented, and the poor are not, as Wolfhound referred to. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2015 at 20:02
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

I am sorry that I may have provoked things.  I did enjoy the exchange with Captain Vancouver, and he is right that capitalism has some deep flaws, perhaps eventually fatal.  I was the one who brought up religion, and you are right, perhaps the philosophy and theology forum would have been a better venue.
Next time, I'll remember that.
John

The United States still is based mainly on common law (except Louisiana), and so 'extenuating' circumstances weight heavily in our courts which means lawyers are very powerful, and of course, the rich can afford the best.  I think the Continental European system, however, has a more straightforward basis on Napoleonic code, more do the crime, do the time, and lawyers are more about guilt or innocence, instead of sentencing.  Again, the US system means the rich are well represented, and the poor are not, as Wolfhound referred to. 


You didn't provoke things, and honestly, my last post to CV could have been phrased more charitably. It just really bothers me to see something as serious and pervasive as poverty trivialized into simply another political talking point in the endless -- and pointless -- left-right debate.

-Akolouthos
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2015 at 00:06
When thinking of capital punishment as being a deterrent and concluding that it is not, it makes capital punishment even more appropriate. Consider cases where people are kidnapped, held and tortured before being murdered.

The premeditation by the perpetrator must at some point have included the possibility of being caught. So in fact the killer is so wholly committed to the crime even their own life is a price worth paying.

In that sense life in prison is not an option, in my view. No matter how terrible it is to be in isolation. A killer of this variety has surrendered any right to life of any kind.

It is more and more common to hear from families who do not want the death penalty on behalf of their murdered family members. "Don't kill in my name." In fact the penalty is applied in the name of the state on behalf of the victim. I think it is appropriate for the state to make this finding, not the victim's family. I'm not sure why a victim's family member would object to capital punishment. Even forgiving people must observe rule of law.

I do respect the act of forgiveness but does an individual have the right to influence the jury regarding penalty in capital murder cases after conviction?


133 "Justice O'Connor thought the evidence of contemporary standards did not support a finding that capital punishment was not appropriate in felony murder situations. 458 U.S. at 816-23. She also objected to finding the penalty disproportionate, first because of the degree of participation of the defendant in the underlying crime, id. at 823-26, but also because the Court appeared to be constitutionalizing a standard of intent required under state law.

134 481 U.S. 137, 158 (1987). The decision was 5-4. Justice O'Connor's opinion for the Court viewed a "narrow" focus on intent to kill as "a highly unsatisfactory means of definitively distinguishing the most culpable and dangerous of murderers," id. at 157, and concluded that "reckless disregard for human life" may be held to be "implicit in knowingly engaging in criminal activities known to carry a grave risk of death."


http://law.justia.com/constitution/us/amendment-08/09-proportionality.html
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2015 at 05:38
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

 

If you were drunk when you posted it, that explains it. Wink

My problem, and the point at which I stopped paying serious attention to your post, was your first sentence.

As someone who deals with poverty on a daily basis, and who communicates with people around the world who deal with it, I think that your declaration of victory has the ironic distinction of being both the most hilarious and most tragically illustrative statement I have ever heard, and your designation of the problem as an American one is absurdly counterproductive. My experience dealing with the poor forces me to believe in their reality. My experience dealing with reality forces me to designate as a delusion your implied assertion that the problem is exclusively American.

Expressing one's self in text only can sometimes lead to misunderstanding. If I have been unclear, let me try and express myself more precisely. 

Of course there is an issue of poverty in the world. Who could say otherwise? My response was to a post on the American experience of poverty, and peripherally, with the policy decisions faced by the similarly developed nations of the world. When the per capita GDP of a nation is in the range of 40-50k US$, then I'd submit that the main issue facing such a country is not the amount of wealth available, but what sort of political or philosophical questions should be answered in order to place advantage where it is due. Needless to say, these sort of questions are fraught with all manner of angst. Who should get what? Who deserves what? What happens if we give it to them? What happens if we do not give it to them?

It is not poverty the developed nations of the world need to consider, but the distribution of wealth in a new paradigm, one that is coming whether we like it or not. Wealth is growing, but under the most unequal circumstances. A wise idea in the IT field, combined with getting it in a few days before anyone else, all of said participants being also bright and talented, can lead to huge fortune. Labour, no matter how hard or long, tends to lead to zip today, because of the increasing effect of digitization, and also the outsourcing of labour to desperately poor regions. Hence, the dichotomy grows: a bit of capital can go a long ways, a lot of labour generally goes nowhere.

Poverty today, in the rich segment of the world, is a matter of philosophy and politics. It is not a matter of available wealth. This is not an entirely American experience, but sees similar, if more modest effects, in other countries, notably Canada and the UK, but not limited to these. However, it is in the US that this modern phenomena is most entrenched. It was President Reagan who famously announced: government is not the solution, it is the problem. One could not be much more clear than that. The implication was: let the business community lead us to Nirvana, and we will soon be there. I'd submit to you, Akolouthos, and all here reading, that history has shown that said community has not even lead us to a near miss. The coal choked cities of the industrial revolution, the greed of the robber barrons of the Gilded Age, the disaster of the Great Depression, the savings and loans scandal, the dot-com bubble, the real estate bubble, the derivative swindle, the melt down of '08 (just to mention a few highlights) tells us that the current uber right direction of American politics has, to put it mildly, a few problems.

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


And as for your attacks on "the extreme right", I would submit to you that they are really no different than "the extreme left" as far as the poor are concerned. Their methods may be different, but the result is generally the same: perpetual poverty. Look at the great socialist paradises today, and you will find that their poor are in much the same situation there as elsewhere. Indeed, the only thing that is sure about earthly wealth and power is that it is transient. You and I would, I imagine, share many opinions as far as modern conceptions of capitalism, as it is generally conceived in the West, go; what we do not share is a sense of privileged, leftist naivety. And we do not share a faith in material wealth to satisfy anyone, but that is a conversation for the Philosophy/Theology subforum. That said, I do find a sad sense of amusement in the inability of materialists to improve the material situation of those whom they claim to care about.

I must say I find it amazing to observe the degree of mesmerization going on south of 49 degrees these days. Socialism is usually mentioned in the same light as Stalinism, or worse. But when many Americans talk about socialism, they are actually debating state pensions, unemployment insurance, management of national parks, etc., the type of things taken for granted in most of the developed world. The world is more complex today than it was, and so is government. Where is the problem here? 

What most Americans consider socialism goes on quite intensely in such countries as Germany, France, Australia, Singapore, and others. Many that live there, including recent refugees seeking support, young people finishing a trades training apprenticeship, by way of the state, or learning and growing in university, by way of the state, or living in sustainable communities, built not on the profit and loss estimates of business, but the long term needs of the people, and doing myriad other things that are not based soully on who can make a buck out of it, but what is best for all in the long run, would probably, I'd wager, say that "socialism", if that is what you want to call it, is not so bad. 

When Americans talk about socialism, the distinction between that and communism can seem vague. It is not, at least in the sort of social democracies that I have been talking about here. A crazed, psychotic monarchy such as N Korea is not the same as a liberal social democracy in Sweden, Germany, or New Zealand. This may seem obvious, but I think never the less gets lost on the way. There is nothing naivein German industrial policy, in medicare in Canada, in unemployment benefits in Norway, in transportation planning in Singapore, and we could go on. There are social strategies that have worked, have been proved to work, and still, demonstrably, do work.

I'd submit to you, Akolouthos, that if there is a surplus of naivety around today, it is in the supporters of such as Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, or similar, individuals who have abandoned all human effort, short of self-advancement. 

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

 
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:



Poverty today is in fact easy, much more so than say, one or two hundred years ago.


Spoken like a man who has had no true experience with poverty. I felt the need to quote you directly here. I would suggest to you that you go out and meet the poor, and ask them if any political philosophy ever provided them with shelter, sustenance, or warmth. You are correct that the distribution of wealth is the problem. But no amount of political zeal will fix that. And, frankly, there is no party platform that addresses the problem. If you think the left is any less concerned with power, or more concerned with or able to bring about proper distribution than the right, then well... I'm sorry. I cannot help you.

The issue is, indeed, one of education, and not of economics. I would suggest, at this point, that we all go back to school.

I can assure you that I do have an experience of poverty, after spending 15 years working in social services. And yes, there is a political philosophy that will extend them more in the way of shelter and support than others. In America there are 2 major parties, both fully committed to right wing, business oriented policies, one extreme, the other somewhat less extreme. In other countries, the political spectrum is wider. And there are alternatives on that spectrum that do address the pressing issues of poverty and inequality more directly than others. I can understand the frustration in America, as alternatives are few. This does not mean there are no alternatives.

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

 
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:


Government does not take money, but merely redistributes it. Your tax dollar becomes, say, a bit of a hospital or school. 

So if all these resources are in continual movement and flux, would you rather have at least a modest say in things (ie a vote), or rather leave things to the Waltons?


I quoted this in its entirety too, to show you that we do not disagree on everything. My problem, as I have mentioned before, is naive approaches to modern politics, that oversimplify serious issues. And this is especially so when they are presented in a grandstanding manner.

I do apologize for the bluntness of my observations, but I deal with poverty on a daily basis. It is very real, and it is ever prevalent in all parts of the world. To suggest that the problem is geographical or political is extremely destructive to those of us who are actually trying to help the poor. And it is so often done because those doing so either a) feel that their politics are more important than people, or b) that their egos are more important than the polis. You may now take your towel to the laundry; please try to clean it properly this time.

-Akolouthos

The idea that  politically originated answers to societies problems can only be a naive fantasy is indeed a fantasy, one floated by those that have the most to gain by not dealing with said issues. This is nothing new. Those with power and influence have ever tried to shape national policy in directions that enhanced self-interest. Today this has reached the level of art form. Spin is ascendant. 

In Mali, or the Central African Republic, or similar, poverty is indeed a huge and intractable problem. In the US, Canada, Germany, Australia, and other developed countries, poverty is a political problem, as the solution to it means altering mindset, philosophical belief, and consequent policy. The problem is political, and geographical.

I've washed out my towel, and find it to be clean. How's your's?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2015 at 05:44
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

I am sorry that I may have provoked things.  I did enjoy the exchange with Captain Vancouver, and he is right that capitalism has some deep flaws, perhaps eventually fatal.  I was the one who brought up religion, and you are right, perhaps the philosophy and theology forum would have been a better venue.
Next time, I'll remember that.
John

The United States still is based mainly on common law (except Louisiana), and so 'extenuating' circumstances weight heavily in our courts which means lawyers are very powerful, and of course, the rich can afford the best.  I think the Continental European system, however, has a more straightforward basis on Napoleonic code, more do the crime, do the time, and lawyers are more about guilt or innocence, instead of sentencing.  Again, the US system means the rich are well represented, and the poor are not, as Wolfhound referred to. 

No need to feel bad. This forum is all about lively discussion, and the frank exchange of ideas, all in good humour of course. Your captain has taken (and returned) more than a few cannon balls in virtual exchange.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2015 at 12:44
I have no fundamental "philosophical" disagreement with Captain Vancouver in so far as if my neighbor is poor it impoverishes my soul regardless of my material well being.  It is also true that income inequality destabilizes the economy and social cohesion that is necessary for social progress.  I do have a problem with the idea that US politics provides a meaningful measure of the consequences of capitalism on fostering poverty.  The comparisons he offers make a strong case that the root of the problems is much deeper than political organisation.  I will offer a few examples to illustrate my point but first I want to address the present trend of using relative income as a means to measure poverty.

Income inequality is primarily an economic issue while absolute poverty is a social issue.  Conflating the two is in someways dishonest and is at the heart of the discussion.  Few sane people would agree that a society in which everyone was equally impoverished was ideal.  It is equally clear that being rich will not necessarily make you happy.  If society's goal is for as many citizens as possible to be healthy and happy it is clear that there is a minimum level of material well being required.  Human happiness is elusive however and the means to that end vary from person to person.  It's unlikely that there is any ideal political system that provides for the greatest happiness.  Happiness is an art form that must be learned not something that can be imposed.  Economic equality is likely to prove an insignificant factor in how well people can develop the art of happiness.  With that in mind I will continue to use absolute poverty as the measure of a society to provide the foundation for individual happiness.

Captain Vancouver continues to offer example of political organization that fail to make his case.

 "the rate of poverty in Canada, is among the highest of the OECD member nations, the world's wealthiest industrialized nations."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_Canada#Absolute_poverty_measures
  
Canada may very well be on it's way to formulating a political organization that addresses poverty but it clearly has a long way to go.  Comparing the conditions in Canada to those in the US is a bit of Apples and Oranges in any case.  The social conditions are inherently different due to size, history, and military responsibility.

The key is that the liberal belief in a benevolent nature and a benevolent nature of man is unlikely to produce the results we want.  It is as unlikely as the conservative belief in a self organizing society.  It is time to throw off the delusions of ideology and get down to the hard work of organizing society in a way that is compatible with human nature and reasonably well planned. 

Your towel is never clean if you have been in the fields sowing the seeds.     
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2015 at 03:09
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

I've washed out my towel, and find it to be clean. How's your's?


Still fine, mate. And still, precisely as it was before your response.

You would be surprised as to how many points we agree on, Captain Vancouver. I think we might even be good coworkers. In fact, in a world where we were both representatives, I could even see us collaborating on legislation. Unfortunately we are poor discussion partners. Indeed, you are a man whose conclusions are often right, but whose premises are completely off the mark. It probably makes you a fairly decent citizen -- though one whose vote is always subject to the vicissitudes of the latest populist headlines. I am sure that it makes you an excellent social worker. It, unfortunately, does not make you a good man to productively discuss theory with. I think the matter is best illustrated by the fact that, in your last post, you concluded several positively brilliant analyses of economic inequality with several of the most banal sorts of petty, simplistic political talking points.

The thing that frustrates me is that I see the discussion that we could be having if you'd just throw off the ever-present political echo-chamber. You may say what you like about Americans, but some of the things that you have said indicate that you are as much an abject subject of our 24-hour news cycle as the worst of them. The only thing that annoys me more than the nonsense that we see spouted on MSNBC and Fox News in the United States is when I see Republicans cheering a Tory Victory in Britain, or Democrats lauding the merits of Tsipras and SYRIZA in Greece, both for reasons they do not even begin to comprehend. The simple fact is that the more we try to globalize our local political pettiness, the more petty -- and, consequently, less able to think -- we become as a species.

I am glad that you clarified your earlier simplistic assertion about the "War on Poverty". The fact that you phrased it in the way you originally did shows the very real danger that childish, partisan allegiances pose to even a very keen mind -- and you do have a keen mind, as I have seen many times in your posts in this community. That said, I have neither the desire nor the inclination to respond to your last post point for point; indeed, if I were to do so, it would be with alternating explanations of "Right, mate!", and "Rubbish!". You may accuse me of being lazy if you like. I shall consider it a matter of prudential judgement with regards to my time.

If I could leave you with one thought, it would be this: When the first point which we seek to make is the lesser one, we have all, already, lost.

-Akolouthos

Addendum: franciscoan, building on what CV said, and what I mentioned earlier to you, you should know that he and I have been colleagues for the past five years. We have thick skins, and a wealth of experiences together. There are some things that we can talk about productively, and some things that we cannot. And I should note that, while I am always convinced of the arguments I post when I am posting them, I am realist enough to know that it is quite likely that, on those occasions when we cannot discuss productively, it is just as likely my fault as his. Wink The bottom line is this: He and I will go on as friends and colleagues as long as there is a community here, and you need not fear upsetting the balance. Most of us came here for precisely this sort of thing. So bring up whatever you like, mate... within the bounds of the CoC, of course.  Tongue
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2015 at 03:53
I tend to see income inequality as a social issue for the democrats, and as an economic issue for republicans meaning that republican in a (more) Laissez Faire approach want to limit it to economic concerns, whereas democrats want to bring in the power of the state to regulate the market.  The particular issue that I am thinking of right now is the raising of the minimum wage. 
I think that it is fair to say democrats see the benefits of passing such legislation as outweighing the costs, and republicans see the costs as outweighing the benefits.
I am not sure what you mean, wolfhound, when you talk about "absolute poverty," or _maybe_ I see what you mean?? but it is an awkward phrase.
or to put the R/D divide a more overtly paradoxical way,
Liberals basically feel that people are good, but want to interfere with their lives.
Conservatives basically feel that people are bad, but want to leave people alone.

I think they compliment each other, but don't tell them that. <grin>

I should add that in the US it is only worth talking about the republicans and democrats, because unfortunately, in a society with strong propaganda, there is either one party or two parties.  Two parties, trading off are just as much a symptom of propaganda (propagation of the faith) as a one party state is.

Captain, I said that capitalism has its faults, but I don't see economic inequality to be a fault, as long as things are getting better for everybody (all boats float at high tide).  Capitalism is not necessarily either/or, zero sum game.  The faults that I see are the damage to the social fabric (which legislating it, won't necessarily help), and how capitalism mines culture, eventually ending up in lowest common denominator.  Culture also narrows down to an elite, but that might be an effect of technology.  Once upon a time, if you wanted music at a bar, it was live music.  Now it is Muzak.  But regardless of whether you agree with me on economic equality, please recognize that there are two models for economics, not one.  If I tell you a good story that makes both of us richer, (all boats float at high tide), then there is if you have it, I cannot, if I have it, you cannot, zero-sum game.

Where does this relate to murder and mayhem?  If you have nothing, or believe that you have nothing, you may decide to take from others, and if you go the furthest extent, you may be mad enough that you take _others_, gaining a perverse joy in taking away everything from someone, in other words, their life.
Got a hypothetical question:
I think that Tsarnyaev basically looks himself as a soldier in the fight against Western Civilization.
What would happen if we treated him like a soldier?  I mean as an enemy combatant.  Now of course, spies and saboteurs in a time of war, would get the death penalty anyways.  But, what would be the message both to the American public and the rest of the world, if we recognized him as a combatant, and, maybe, sent him the Get-mo or otherwise detained him, until the war was "over" whatever that would mean?
Recently, there was a cabdriver in Britain who, from some fingerprints on bomb material, was found out to be a bomber in Iraq.  I believe he is being prosecuted in civilian court for some murders.  Is that the way to treat him, or perhaps should he be "treated" as an enemy combatant subject to the rules of war?  I mean although there may be war crimes trials, most combatants on both the winning, but also the loosing side are not prosecuted after a war.  President Obama avoids calling this a war on terror, but might there also be a point in doing so, after the smoke has cleared. 
Just food for thought.


Edited by franciscosan - 25 May 2015 at 04:00
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2015 at 04:22
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Is that the way to treat him, or perhaps should he be "treated" as an enemy combatant subject to the rules of war? I mean although there may be war crimes trials, most combatants on both the winning, but also the loosing side are not prosecuted after a war. President Obama avoids calling this a war on terror, but might there also be a point in doing so, after the smoke has cleared.

Just food for thought.


I think Obama avoids calling it war since as you have mentioned the 'war' against poverty isn't really going erase poverty. The 'war' against drugs isn't going to erase drug use.

Look at the stats on the "Just say No" campaign of Nancy Reagan or the DARE program. The war against anything is already doomed, wrong approach especially to social problems that manifest as political expression.

Norway is getting very serious about making LSD and Cannabis legal. Or as they say not legal but regulated. They want the government to provide the drugs for a number of reasons.

First to make them safer and also to keep track of users and eliminate illegal drug trade. Also there are (and were 40 years ago), indications that LSD could be very useful in the treatment of depression, alcoholism, improving memory and personality disorders.

As one Temperamnce mother put it "One cannot regulate morality."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2015 at 05:43
When I say that income inequality is an economic issue not a social issue I mean that we see the negative effect on the economy in the data as being more correlative than causal.  The real issue starts when you say that you should measure poverty on relative terms.  Reducing poverty to a floating relative concept undermines the humanitarian reasons for combating it. 

Tying the death penalty discussion to poverty is going to be as nebulous as defining poverty.  I will quote another author who captures the issue very well.

“A large part of the death row population is made up of people who are distinguished by neither their records nor the circumstances of their crimes, but by their abject poverty… and the poor legal representation they received…

There are several interrelated reasons for the poor quality of representation in these important cases. Most fundamental is the wholly inadequate funding for the defense of indigents. As a result, there is simply no functioning adversary system in many states. Public defender programs have never been created or properly funded in many jurisdictions. The compensation provided to individual court-appointed lawyers is so minimal that few accomplished lawyers can be enticed to defend capital cases…

Although the Supreme Court has held that indigent defendants may be entitled to expert assistance in certain circumstances, defense attorneys often do not even request such assistance because they are indifferent or know that no funds will be available. Courts often refuse to authorize funds for investigation and experts by requiring an extensive showing of need that frequently cannot be made without the very expert assistance that is sought.  Many lawyers find it impossible to maneuver around this ‘Catch 22.”


http://deathpenalty.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=001190

I original said that fighting poverty was the best way to prevent crime.  All attempts at fighting material poverty will fail however if spiritual poverty is not addressed.  This is another reason why relative poverty is a bad measure of how a society is doing.  There is a famous experiment in psychology called the "marshmallow test"  that correlates a child's self control with future success.   Teaching self control and the art of happiness should be an important part of the war on poverty.   Despite what the 60s generation thought science can make lives better even the dubious science of psychology.  In many ways the legacy of the 60s is an impoverishment of morality and social cohesion despite the shallow anti war, anti evil establishment rhetoric because self control, hard work and responsibility are all part of the art of happiness.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2015 at 23:06
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:


When I say that income inequality is an economic issue not a social issue I mean that we see the negative effect on the economy in the data as being more correlative than causal.  The real issue starts when you say that you should measure poverty on relative terms.  Reducing poverty to a floating relative concept undermines the humanitarian reasons for combating it. 

Tying the death penalty discussion to poverty is going to be as nebulous as defining poverty.  I will quote another author who captures the issue very well.

<blockquote style="margin: 0 0 0 40px; border: none; padding: 0px;">
<p style="margin-bottom: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; color: rgb38, 38, 40; font-family: Arial; font-size: 13.3333330154419px; line-height: normal; text-align: justify;">“A large part of the death row population is made up of people who are distinguished by neither their records nor the circumstances of their crimes, but by their abject poverty… and the poor legal representation they received…

<p style="margin-bottom: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; color: rgb38, 38, 40; font-family: Arial; font-size: 13.3333330154419px; line-height: normal; text-align: justify;">There are several interrelated reasons for the poor quality of representation in these important cases. Most fundamental is the wholly inadequate funding for the defense of indigents. As a result, there is simply no functioning adversary system in many states. Public defender programs have never been created or properly funded in many jurisdictions. The compensation provided to individual court-appointed lawyers is so minimal that few accomplished lawyers can be enticed to defend capital cases…

<p style="margin-bottom: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; color: rgb38, 38, 40; font-family: Arial; font-size: 13.3333330154419px; line-height: normal; text-align: justify;">Although the Supreme Court has held that indigent defendants may be entitled to expert assistance in certain circumstances, defense attorneys often do not even request such assistance because they are indifferent or know that no funds will be available. Courts often refuse to authorize funds for investigation and experts by requiring an extensive showing of need that frequently cannot be made without the very expert assistance that is sought.  Many lawyers find it impossible to maneuver around this ‘Catch 22.”

<font face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 13.3333330154419px; line-height: normal;">
</span>
<font face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 13.3333330154419px; line-height: normal;">http://deathpenalty.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=001190</span>
<font face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 13.3333330154419px; line-height: normal;">
</span>
<font face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 13.3333330154419px; line-height: normal;">I original said that fighting poverty was the best way to prevent crime.  All attempts at fighting material poverty will fail however if spiritual poverty is not addressed.  This is another reason why relative poverty is a bad measure of how a society is doing.  There is a famous experiment in psychology called the "marshmallow test"  that correlates a child's self control with future success.   Teaching self control and the art of happiness should be an important part of the war on poverty.   Despite what the 60s generation thought science can make lives better even the dubious science of psychology.  In many ways the legacy of the 60s is an impoverishment of morality and social cohesion despite the shallow anti war, anti evil establishment rhetoric because self control, hard work and responsibility are all part of the art of happiness.  </span>


I agree especially the last couple of sentences.
When you look at places in rural India where they are so poor that they don't even know what poverty is, they do not have high murder rates or even high rates of conflict.
Their children's faces are bright and exuberant as they sit on a garbage pile looking for scraps. These are farmers who have always had a simple life. The lack of "items" is not poverty.

Then look at Chad or Somalia and they are not only without "items" they are under enormous stress from violence, instability and most certainly sense the distress among the adults around them.
These are the kids who will turn to violence as they are exposed to the practice of invasion and plunder and murder.
The root of all desires is the one desire: to come home, to be at peace. -Jean Klein
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2015 at 00:40
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

I've washed out my towel, and find it to be clean. How's your's?


Still fine, mate. And still, precisely as it was before your response.

You would be surprised as to how many points we agree on, Captain Vancouver. I think we might even be good coworkers. In fact, in a world where we were both representatives, I could even see us collaborating on legislation. Unfortunately we are poor discussion partners. Indeed, you are a man whose conclusions are often right, but whose premises are completely off the mark. It probably makes you a fairly decent citizen -- though one whose vote is always subject to the vicissitudes of the latest populist headlines. I am sure that it makes you an excellent social worker. It, unfortunately, does not make you a good man to productively discuss theory with. I think the matter is best illustrated by the fact that, in your last post, you concluded several positively brilliant analyses of economic inequality with several of the most banal sorts of petty, simplistic political talking points.

The thing that frustrates me is that I see the discussion that we could be having if you'd just throw off the ever-present political echo-chamber. You may say what you like about Americans, but some of the things that you have said indicate that you are as much an abject subject of our 24-hour news cycle as the worst of them. The only thing that annoys me more than the nonsense that we see spouted on MSNBC and Fox News in the United States is when I see Republicans cheering a Tory Victory in Britain, or Democrats lauding the merits of Tsipras and SYRIZA in Greece, both for reasons they do not even begin to comprehend. The simple fact is that the more we try to globalize our local political pettiness, the more petty -- and, consequently, less able to think -- we become as a species.

I am glad that you clarified your earlier simplistic assertion about the "War on Poverty". The fact that you phrased it in the way you originally did shows the very real danger that childish, partisan allegiances pose to even a very keen mind -- and you do have a keen mind, as I have seen many times in your posts in this community. That said, I have neither the desire nor the inclination to respond to your last post point for point; indeed, if I were to do so, it would be with alternating explanations of "Right, mate!", and "Rubbish!". You may accuse me of being lazy if you like. I shall consider it a matter of prudential judgement with regards to my time.

If I could leave you with one thought, it would be this: When the first point which we seek to make is the lesser one, we have all, already, lost.

-Akolouthos

Addendum: franciscoan, building on what CV said, and what I mentioned earlier to you, you should know that he and I have been colleagues for the past five years. We have thick skins, and a wealth of experiences together. There are some things that we can talk about productively, and some things that we cannot. And I should note that, while I am always convinced of the arguments I post when I am posting them, I am realist enough to know that it is quite likely that, on those occasions when we cannot discuss productively, it is just as likely my fault as his. Wink The bottom line is this: He and I will go on as friends and colleagues as long as there is a community here, and you need not fear upsetting the balance. Most of us came here for precisely this sort of thing. So bring up whatever you like, mate... within the bounds of the CoC, of course.  Tongue

Well, it seems we have folded up our towels, given them a shot of Frebreze, and put them away. Very nice, but..... I still feel at a bit of a loss. There are points we agree on, and points that you find petty, simplistic, and off the mark. However, discussion of them, in our discussion forum, would not be on; not very productive to the questions at hand. Yet the nature of debate is the to and fro of differing opinion, otherwise the dialogue can be very short. 

It could be that we have differing definitions of the term "politics". What I mean is the manifestation (or only attempted manifestation, in many cases) of interpersonal and social belief and values into a pragmatic system of governance. I don't mean tawdry entertainment so often put on by the media, and presented as news. Clearly, views on how society should be organized and run vary through the populace, and my contention is that these have a strong effect on poverty and inequality. For example, some have gone so far as to consider taxation little better than theft, outside of the most basic functions. Inequality is in the balance, if these notions rise to the top, I'd maintain. 

I think we probably are similar in many beliefs. I haven't quite given up on the idea that social change is impossible though, even through the creaky and aging machinery of our democracies.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2015 at 01:40
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:


Income inequality is primarily an economic issue while absolute poverty is a social issue.  Conflating the two is in someways dishonest and is at the heart of the discussion.  Few sane people would agree that a society in which everyone was equally impoverished was ideal.  It is equally clear that being rich will not necessarily make you happy.  If society's goal is for as many citizens as possible to be healthy and happy it is clear that there is a minimum level of material well being required.  Human happiness is elusive however and the means to that end vary from person to person.  It's unlikely that there is any ideal political system that provides for the greatest happiness.  Happiness is an art form that must be learned not something that can be imposed.  Economic equality is likely to prove an insignificant factor in how well people can develop the art of happiness.  With that in mind I will continue to use absolute poverty as the measure of a society to provide the foundation for individual happiness.

Yet both economic and social issues are ultimately political. They will inevitably ask for decisions, which will mean a difference of opinion, and hence political activity. There is no rule book that describes exactly how things must be. Many on this forum may agree, but the variety within a large population can be astounding. I agree with you that happiness is not merely a product of material comfort, but I'd say there are upper and lower limits. It's hard to be happy when hungry, or when the kids don't have shoes. On the other hand, adding another ten million to one's income, when they already have ten million, is not likely to produce unmitigated joy.


Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Captain Vancouver continues to offer example of political organization that fail to make his case.

 "the rate of poverty in Canada, is among the highest of the OECD member nations, the world's wealthiest industrialized nations."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_Canada#Absolute_poverty_measures
  
Canada may very well be on it's way to formulating a political organization that addresses poverty but it clearly has a long way to go.  Comparing the conditions in Canada to those in the US is a bit of Apples and Oranges in any case.  The social conditions are inherently different due to size, history, and military responsibility.

The key is that the liberal belief in a benevolent nature and a benevolent nature of man is unlikely to produce the results we want.  It is as unlikely as the conservative belief in a self organizing society.  It is time to throw off the delusions of ideology and get down to the hard work of organizing society in a way that is compatible with human nature and reasonably well planned. 

Your towel is never clean if you have been in the fields sowing the seeds.     

I should make myself clear here in that I'm not trying for a pissing contest between nations. Many of the sentiments expressed in the US are also found in Canada, and other countries. We will have a federal election here in October, and I suspect we will continue on with a conservative government, although probably in a minority position. If so, equality, and poverty, will take their consequent paths. I've quoted some US politicians, as that is where some of the most strident rhetoric has come from in recent years (whether its originators believe it or not), and it is rhetoric that often goes little challenged in the media.

As for benevolence, I don't think that has much to do with social democracy. The principles espoused by this sort of leaning are pragmatic. They work, and have been proven work. The most successful and content nations today are the ones with  a large middle class, significant government involvement in the economy, relatively high taxes, and relatively high public services. 

To get back to towels, yes I must admit, mine is not squeaky clean. There are a few blotches here and there, which a psychologist could likely assemble into a very nice Rorschach test. I have chucked some seeds around. But I think it has been worthwhile.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2015 at 02:06
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:


Captain, I said that capitalism has its faults, but I don't see economic inequality to be a fault, as long as things are getting better for everybody (all boats float at high tide).  Capitalism is not necessarily either/or, zero sum game.  The faults that I see are the damage to the social fabric (which legislating it, won't necessarily help), and how capitalism mines culture, eventually ending up in lowest common denominator.  Culture also narrows down to an elite, but that might be an effect of technology.  Once upon a time, if you wanted music at a bar, it was live music.  Now it is Muzak.  But regardless of whether you agree with me on economic equality, please recognize that there are two models for economics, not one.  If I tell you a good story that makes both of us richer, (all boats float at high tide), then there is if you have it, I cannot, if I have it, you cannot, zero-sum game.



I have just one small comment here Mr F: "all boats float at high tide". I seem to recall this was another one of Mr Reagan's Hollywood style ejaculations, certainly put in a convincing manner, but one that has not been, IMO, born out by history. 

The implication here is of course, if the corporate and more entrepreneurial segment of the populace is doing well, they will naturally start throwing down crumbs to the peons below them. More Wal-Mart, more Wal-Mart employees. 

How has this actually played out? In recent times, we have seen a vast increase in the wealth at the top, excellent corporate profits, more money floating about on the bources than ever before, indeed so much that it has inflated and seriously interfered with various markets that to date have been considered rather conservative ventures. Yet the crumbs have been minimal. 

I'd put it another way. Capitalism doesn't lift all boats. It lifts some, and without public input we can depressingly guess which ones. Social policy lifts most, hopefully all boats, in a more predictable manner.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2015 at 02:58
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

I've washed out my towel, and find it to be clean. How's your's?


Still fine, mate. And still, precisely as it was before your response.

You would be surprised as to how many points we agree on, Captain Vancouver. I think we might even be good coworkers. In fact, in a world where we were both representatives, I could even see us collaborating on legislation. Unfortunately we are poor discussion partners. Indeed, you are a man whose conclusions are often right, but whose premises are completely off the mark. It probably makes you a fairly decent citizen -- though one whose vote is always subject to the vicissitudes of the latest populist headlines. I am sure that it makes you an excellent social worker. It, unfortunately, does not make you a good man to productively discuss theory with. I think the matter is best illustrated by the fact that, in your last post, you concluded several positively brilliant analyses of economic inequality with several of the most banal sorts of petty, simplistic political talking points.

The thing that frustrates me is that I see the discussion that we could be having if you'd just throw off the ever-present political echo-chamber. You may say what you like about Americans, but some of the things that you have said indicate that you are as much an abject subject of our 24-hour news cycle as the worst of them. The only thing that annoys me more than the nonsense that we see spouted on MSNBC and Fox News in the United States is when I see Republicans cheering a Tory Victory in Britain, or Democrats lauding the merits of Tsipras and SYRIZA in Greece, both for reasons they do not even begin to comprehend. The simple fact is that the more we try to globalize our local political pettiness, the more petty -- and, consequently, less able to think -- we become as a species.

I am glad that you clarified your earlier simplistic assertion about the "War on Poverty". The fact that you phrased it in the way you originally did shows the very real danger that childish, partisan allegiances pose to even a very keen mind -- and you do have a keen mind, as I have seen many times in your posts in this community. That said, I have neither the desire nor the inclination to respond to your last post point for point; indeed, if I were to do so, it would be with alternating explanations of "Right, mate!", and "Rubbish!". You may accuse me of being lazy if you like. I shall consider it a matter of prudential judgement with regards to my time.

If I could leave you with one thought, it would be this: When the first point which we seek to make is the lesser one, we have all, already, lost.

-Akolouthos

Addendum: franciscoan, building on what CV said, and what I mentioned earlier to you, you should know that he and I have been colleagues for the past five years. We have thick skins, and a wealth of experiences together. There are some things that we can talk about productively, and some things that we cannot. And I should note that, while I am always convinced of the arguments I post when I am posting them, I am realist enough to know that it is quite likely that, on those occasions when we cannot discuss productively, it is just as likely my fault as his. Wink The bottom line is this: He and I will go on as friends and colleagues as long as there is a community here, and you need not fear upsetting the balance. Most of us came here for precisely this sort of thing. So bring up whatever you like, mate... within the bounds of the CoC, of course.  Tongue

Well, it seems we have folded up our towels, given them a shot of Frebreze, and put them away. Very nice, but..... I still feel at a bit of a loss. There are points we agree on, and points that you find petty, simplistic, and off the mark. However, discussion of them, in our discussion forum, would not be on; not very productive to the questions at hand. Yet the nature of debate is the to and fro of differing opinion, otherwise the dialogue can be very short. 

It could be that we have differing definitions of the term "politics". What I mean is the manifestation (or only attempted manifestation, in many cases) of interpersonal and social belief and values into a pragmatic system of governance. I don't mean tawdry entertainment so often put on by the media, and presented as news. Clearly, views on how society should be organized and run vary through the populace, and my contention is that these have a strong effect on poverty and inequality. For example, some have gone so far as to consider taxation little better than theft, outside of the most basic functions. Inequality is in the balance, if these notions rise to the top, I'd maintain. 

I think we probably are similar in many beliefs. I haven't quite given up on the idea that social change is impossible though, even through the creaky and aging machinery of our democracies.


On that we can certainly agree, mate. I know that you are probably as frustrated as I am that we seem to agree on so much and yet still be at odds. I think you hit the nail on the head with the statement that "we have differing definitions of the term 'politics'." I would hypothesize that those differences probably have to do with what we each view to be their necessary scope. Either way, I do enjoy reading your analyses of the topics here on the forum, and usually find myself in agreement. It is a sad comment on my pettiness that I have never taken the time to post that agreement in the threads I have read.

There is one point on which we should have a full discussion... or at least full disclosure. I shall start: I have to admit that I was not familiar with the "towel" expression you used, so I have been faking my banter this whole time. LOL Care to enlighten me as to its meaning and origin?

-Akolouthos
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2015 at 03:01
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

I'd put it another way. Capitalism doesn't lift all boats. It lifts some, and without public input we can depressingly guess which ones. Social policy lifts most, hopefully all boats, in a more predictable manner.


This! This! A thousand times this. And very eloquently phrased as well.

I think, on this at least, we are in full and unqualified agreement... so long as we are not adding any qualifiers. Tongue

-Akolouthos
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The US despite it's gross lack of public services has done fairly well in terms of poverty compared to other Western European nations.  I find this fact shocking and must point to serious flaws in social organization in the other nations.  If planned economies can't do better than the chaos in the US it shakes my faith in the ability of humans to organize themselves.  What is needed is a radical new approach to understanding how economies function and how they interact with the political landscape.  I'm at a loss to explain this apparent discrepancy.   



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2015 at 05:35
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

<span style=": rgb231, 228, 216;">The US despite it's gross lack of public services has done fairly well in terms of poverty compared to other Western European nations.  I find this fact shocking and must point to serious flaws in social organization in the other nations.  If planned economies can't do better than the chaos in the US it shakes my faith in the ability of humans to organize themselves.  What is needed is a radical new approach to understanding how economies function and how they interact with the political landscape.  I'm at a loss to explain this apparent discrepancy.   </span>

<span style=": rgb231, 228, 216;">
</span>
<span style=": rgb231, 228, 216;">
</span>


See Woodrow Wilson on the Federal Reserve or go back to the Civil War. Andrew Jackson, President (1829-1837)

Strongly opposed to a central bank, Jackson stated it exposed the government to control by foreign interests.

Upon assuming office, he called a delegation of bankers into the White House and told them:

"You are a den of vipers and thieves! I intend to rout you out, and by the grace of the Eternal God, will rout you out!"

And if you think there are better public services elsewhere please enlighten me. Did you just wake up in Mexico?

Didn't you just say that spiritual poverty was the reason that people end up in prison?

http://www.wealthdaily.com/articles/banking-and-monetary-system/3519



Edited by Vanuatu - 26 May 2015 at 05:47
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2015 at 05:42
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

The US despite it's gross lack of public services has done fairly well in terms of poverty compared to other Western European nations.  I find this fact shocking and must point to serious flaws in social organization in the other nations.  If planned economies can't do better than the chaos in the US it shakes my faith in the ability of humans to organize themselves.  What is needed is a radical new approach to understanding how economies function and how they interact with the political landscape.  I'm at a loss to explain this apparent discrepancy.   




America has an extensively planned economy. From the military, to the air traffic control system, to social security, to medicare and medicaid, to highway building, taxation, water supply, national parks, and on and on, planning is rampant. And so it should be- so it must be, in today's complex world.

Planning in Europe differs only in degree. The so-called "market" still runs roughshod there as well.

The difference in degree is, I'd put it to you here,  reflected in sociological indicators. There is poverty in Europe, although not as bad. There is inequality, also, usually, not as bad. This is not really rocket science. If an attempt is made to avoid something, odds are the region that makes the effort will be slightly different. 




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2015 at 05:46
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:



There is one point on which we should have a full discussion... or at least full disclosure. I shall start: I have to admit that I was not familiar with the "towel" expression you used, so I have been faking my banter this whole time. LOL Care to enlighten me as to its meaning and origin?

-Akolouthos

It originated just a few posts back, when I played off your suggestion that I was just spewing foam.

Which I was, to an extent.
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Reagan could have used that analogy of "all boats rise at high tide."  I wouldn't reject it just because it was Reagan.  Or do reject if you think that somehow it is soiled by the association with him.  But the notion dates back to the Pseudo-Platonic dialogue, "the Hipparchus," so it is not just a dream of capitalism.

Think of vaccines.  The fact that you're vaccinated is good for me.  If you don't want to get a vaccine, well IMO okay, but for me it would be better if you did.

Personally, I feel that good artists borrow, great artists steal.  I usually try to give credit if I know the source.  Also, when you steal, steal well.

Or, to put it another way, to me a diamond found in a dung heap is still a diamond, not that Reagan ever was a dung heap, but if you reject a good saying because he said it, then to me your cutting off your nose to spite your face.  
I am not sure why planned economies should be better, although there is no such thing as a completely unplanned economy or a completely planned economy, just as John Lukacs says there is no such thing as totalitarianism, meaning that tyranny is never total.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2015 at 05:58
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:


Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

<span style=": rgb231, 228, 216;">The US despite it's gross lack of public services has done fairly well in terms of poverty compared to other Western European nations.  I find this fact shocking and must point to serious flaws in social organization in the other nations.  If planned economies can't do better than the chaos in the US it shakes my faith in the ability of humans to organize themselves.  What is needed is a radical new approach to understanding how economies function and how they interact with the political landscape.  I'm at a loss to explain this apparent discrepancy.   </span>

<span style=": rgb231, 228, 216;">
</span>
<span style=": rgb231, 228, 216;">
</span>


America has an extensively planned economy. From the military, to the air traffic control system, to social security, to medicare and medicaid, to highway building, taxation, water supply, national parks, and on and on, planning is rampant. And so it should be- so it must be, in today's complex world.

Planning in Europe differs only in degree. The so-called "market" still runs roughshod there as well.

The difference in degree is, I'd put it to you here,  reflected in sociological indicators. There is poverty in Europe, although not as bad. There is inequality, also, usually, not as bad. This is not really rocket science. If an attempt is made to avoid something, odds are the region that makes the effort will be slightly different. 





From your Washington Post article.
"To be clear, this data only reflects developed countries; it tells us nothing about how children in the United States or Europe compare to, for example, children in sub-Saharan Africa. But looking at how developed economies compare can help give us a rough approximation of how these countries are doing at child welfare. And UNICEF is using its own "poverty line" here; the more typical international definition is a family that lives on less than $1.25 or $2 per day. Almost no Americans qualify for this definition. Internally, the United States defines the poverty line as a family living on less than about $22,000 per year, which includes about 15 percent of Americans."

Still, UNICEF's data is important for measuring the share of children who are substantively poorer than their national average, which has important implications for the cost of food, housing, health care and other essentials. Its research shows that children are more likely to fall below this relative poverty line in the United States than in almost any other developed country."

The standard of living and actual records have influenced this data.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2015 at 06:16


“The official poverty measure does not provide the accurate information policymakers need to measure the success of anti-poverty programs – nationally and at the state level,” said Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Relying on this tool alone prevents policymakers from gauging the effectiveness of government programs aimed at reducing child poverty. Given that child poverty costs our society an estimated $500 billion a year in lost productivity and earnings as well as health- and crime-related costs, the SPM is an important tool that should be used to assess state-level progress in fighting poverty.”

The Supplemental Poverty Measure, created by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2011, factors in the impact of a number of social programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and takes into account rising costs and other changes that affect a family’s budget. The SPM also provides a more accurate assessment of poverty levels on a state and regional basis. It helps illustrate, for instance, the variations in the cost of living and the impact of federal programs from one state to the next.

Measuring Access to Opportunity in the United States provides national and state-by-state data using the SPM to show the effect of a variety of resources to help low-income families. In a striking departure from official poverty rate data, the SPM shows that California has the highest child poverty rate, followed by Arizona and Nevada.

Similar to the official poverty measure, the SPM shows that poverty rates among Latinos (29%) and African Americans (29%) were approximately three times higher than that of white children (10%).

In every state, anti-poverty programs tracked by the SPM have led to a reduction in the child poverty rate. Because federal benefits are not adjusted for differences in regional costs of living, they are likely to have a more significant impact in states where the cost of living is relatively low. States and localities also vary in their contribution to the safety net programs and tax policies that can help move children out of poverty. These federal and state programs and policies helped cut the child poverty rate by more than 20 percentage points in Kentucky, Mississippi and the District of Columbia. States where government intervention has had a lesser effect on decreasing child poverty include North Dakota, New Hampshire and Alaska.
http://www.aecf.org/blog/official-poverty-measure-fails-to-provide-an-accurate-assessment-of-anti-po/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2015 at 12:25
I don't have time today to respond but thanks for your thoughts.   I will be out of communication for a few days and respond when I return.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2015 at 01:55
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:


Think of vaccines.  The fact that you're vaccinated is good for me.  If you don't want to get a vaccine, well IMO okay, but for me it would be better if you did.


Yes, well it would be better if everyone got one, but no, it would not be OK if some decided to opt out. And here is the very crux of the matter.

We have, so many times in sociological questions, a classic dichotomy between self and community. That is, what may be perfectly reasonable for an individual can sometimes be problematic for the wider community (and visa versa). 

If one is a capable adult, and judge that their risk of contracting the disease in question is minimal, and they take responsibility for that risk, then philosophically, there is nothing wrong with that stand, as far as it goes.

Fast forward to the larger community, whether it be a neighbourhood, state, nation, or the world. If vaccination were left up to everyone, we would inevitably have a diversity of decisions, some sound, some skewed, some misinformed, some absent, some dysfunctional. Whatever one thinks of individual choice and freedom, from a collective standpoint, large numbers of people forgoing public health measures such as these could well mean disaster. There is the group; there is the individual. Different standards apply, and this is a point so sorely missed by such as the Tea Party, and similar intellectual travelers. 

And in reality, these standards apply all the time, and indeed, are enforced in the strictest manner. Try running red lights because you are sure you are OK, and there is no conflict in traffic. Try getting on a plane without going through security, because you know you are safe, and so don't need such bureaucracy. 

You've said you are not so sure about the benefits of planning. "Planning", or if I might put it more succinctly, committed and full spectrum involvement of the government in the economy, is not only mandatory these days, but it is a fact in almost all major nations, including the US.

The essential argument today is, IMO, not for or against social programs or state planning, but between the populace at large, and those special interest groups hoping to maintain wealth and privilege through the ideological spin put out by the far right, and those that imagine they belong on the far right.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2015 at 15:36
Vaccines against Measles, Polio or Whooping cough have been tested tried and true. We know they work, yet they do effect a segment of the population in a negative way. When you change the biology of a toddler, with Measles, Mumps, Rubella all at once that is an invasive biological onslaught.

When new vaccines are developed doctors have no idea how every individual will react. After a couple of years pharmaceutical companies are pandering vaccines for Shingles, HPV, Bird Flu and changing the Influenza Vaccine as if the viral adaptations can be predicted accurately.

In fact scientists are "playing the piano with their elbows." They have no idea how these new vaccines are going to effect people at large. They don't even know what the unintended consequences will be biologically speaking.

Prevention is great but why not focus on treatment more than vaccination? Pharmaceutical companies want to make money, doctors want to prevent disease but viruses are smarter than we are. In 2013 & 2014 the "new" Flu vaccine did not work as expected, the Virus mutated and people have been harmed.

Flu Vaccine is the most Dangerous Vaccine in the U. S. based on Settled Cases for Injuries - See more at: http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/flu-vaccine-is-the-most-dangerous-vaccine-in-the-united-states-based-on-settled-cases-for-injuries/#sthash.rnDYrMJV.dpuf


http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/flu-vaccine-is-the-most-dangerous-vaccine-in-the-united-states-based-on-settled-cases-for-injuries/
The root of all desires is the one desire: to come home, to be at peace. -Jean Klein
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2015 at 15:55

whoa, what you know that last post actually could relate to the subject of this thread.
The root of all desires is the one desire: to come home, to be at peace. -Jean Klein
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2015 at 23:34
Live with it, Captain, or send the science gestapo after them.  
Planning has its place, but it cannot forecast everything, in fact I am not sure that it can forecast very much at all.
Nothing really gets done without the concentration of resources, whether it is renting an apartment and getting together first and last month's rent, or building a company like Microsoft.  Personally, being from a fairly mountainous area, I like terrain, mountains and valleys.  But, what you seem to like is having everything flat, enforcing "equality" through bulldozing anything that sticks up.  It sounds like you want to go after people (or maybe it is just certain kinds of people), not because they're breaking the law, nor even because they are immoral, but because they have wealth and dream bigger than being a cog in the machinery.  I wonder if you are like the dog who lies in the horse's manger out of sheer spite, the dog cannot do anything in the manger, it doesn't eat hay, but it sure can prevent the horse from eating at the manger.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2015 at 23:51
"The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them."

  Mark  Twain

The human race has made considerable progress in elevating the standard of living over the last several centuries and much of that progress is due to redistributing the wealth of nobility and kings to those who produce wealth.  The values so dear too today's conservatives such as free trade and the right to work were radical liberal ideas not long ago.  What is lost in the rhetoric today is that the concentration of wealth in a few hands reestablishes the concentration of wealth of centuries past with the same negative consequences.  To maintain a liberal democracy the concentration of wealth must be managed by the state.  

When wealth can easily be concentrated in the hands of a few based on manipulation and not added value then the system is broken and free markets must be artificially reestablished.  The ideological divide between socialism and capitalism paints a false picture of what in the end amounts to practical necessity.  The practical necessity of capitalism to motivate productivity and socialism to prevent chaos.     

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