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Is America The Greatest Nation In The History Of The Planet?

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Is America the greatest nation in the history of the planet?

Yes
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29%
No
37
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Total votes : 52

Postby JT » Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:38 am

CatNamedRudy wrote:...having a leader that other leaders respect and want to deal with is a good thing.


I completely agree with that statement as is, in a vacuum. Who wouldn't? But thats not the issue, is it Cat? There are compromises that have to be made. It's a good thing if other countries 'respect' us and want to deal with us. Its a bad thing if we have to behave as they would see fit in order for them to 'respect' us or want to deal with us. Is it just as arrogant of them to expect that we would behave as they see fit as it is for us to 'do what the hell we want'?
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Postby Mr Blue Sky » Sat Sep 27, 2008 7:30 am

Anyone see the McCain/Obama debate last night? I thought they both came off pretty well, despite some fundamental differences on Iraq. I like McCain as a person but I think a new approach is needed on both US foreign policy and the economy.

This Wall St. bailout better go through. This financial crisis began in the US so it's only right they should make the first steps to end it. By 'they', I mean the American taxpayer of course...
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Postby Moon-Crane » Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:36 pm

Mr Blue Sky wrote:Anyone see the McCain/Obama debate last night? I thought they both came off pretty well, despite some fundamental differences on Iraq. I like McCain as a person but I think a new approach is needed on both US foreign policy and the economy.

This Wall St. bailout better go through. This financial crisis began in the US so it's only right they should make the first steps to end it. By 'they', I mean the American taxpayer of course...


Is it impossible for the govt to inject this money as a shareholder in these businesses? - seeing as it's supposed to be a 'free market' and all that jazz.... Maybe then, at dividend time, the govt share could be used as rebate to all the taxpayers whose money is being used to bail these companies out at the moment?

I'm still wondering at where all these multi billions actually come from, that the government manages to find when necessary... surely it can't come out of thin air, and the monetary system is all a giant illusion ;)
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Postby CatNamedRudy » Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:49 pm

I didn't watch the debate last night as I had a pressing baseball game to watch. It was far more important to me since any debate between the candidates will do nothing to change my mind.

As for the bailout, I honestly don't understand any of it. The slates of these companies are wiped clean and they can start all over again. It sounds to me like bankruptcy without the negative consequences.
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Postby Wezzo » Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:13 pm

Moon-Crane wrote:Is it impossible for the govt to inject this money as a shareholder in these businesses? - seeing as it's supposed to be a 'free market' and all that jazz.... Maybe then, at dividend time, the govt share could be used as rebate to all the taxpayers whose money is being used to bail these companies out at the moment?


Spot on. This is what should happen. Of course it never will, the fat-cat bankers have far too many friends in high places..

I thought the debate was alright, a marginal Obama win in my eyes but neither was greatly impressive.
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Postby Mr Blue Sky » Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:02 am

Moon-Crane wrote:I'm still wondering at where all these multi billions actually come from, that the government manages to find when necessary... surely it can't come out of thin air, and the monetary system is all a giant illusion ;)


You may be on to something there... :wink:
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Postby Mr Blue Sky » Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:15 am

CatNamedRudy wrote:As for the bailout, I honestly don't understand any of it. The slates of these companies are wiped clean and they can start all over again. It sounds to me like bankruptcy without the negative consequences.


I know what you're saying, but the consequences of not bailing the banks out are far worse than doing so. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 wasn't the direct cause of the 1930s Great Depression. The direct cause was the government's inability/unwillingness to prop the system up. In the end, the US government managed to haul the country out of deep depression by embarking on a massive public spending plan, injecting borrowed money into the economy. So in the end the result was the same; the government still had to borrow billions of dollars but by taking early action now they can avoid the pain of a 00s financial depression.

What I have a big problem with is all these banking directors who are able to take massive bonuses in times of economic buoyancy. There should be much stricter regulation in place. I like the 'bonus cap' idea the Tories are suggesting, I hope the US follows suit and stops this practice of in effect allowing the directors of financial institutions to gamble with impunity.
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Postby Mr Blue Sky » Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:28 am

Wezzo wrote:I thought the debate was alright, a marginal Obama win in my eyes but neither was greatly impressive.


I thought they were both quite impressive. I just think McCain is misguided in his views on Iraq. He talks about 'victory' and uses military language when describing the situation over there. The military war was won in 21 days back in 2003, since then allied forces have been trying to win the peace, surely? Winning the peace by force seems a misnomer to me. Give the country back to the Iraqi people, provide financial aid to rebuild but get our troops the hell out.
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Postby Moon-Crane » Mon Sep 29, 2008 10:31 am

Mr Blue Sky wrote:
CatNamedRudy wrote:As for the bailout, I honestly don't understand any of it. The slates of these companies are wiped clean and they can start all over again. It sounds to me like bankruptcy without the negative consequences.


I know what you're saying, but the consequences of not bailing the banks out are far worse than doing so. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 wasn't the direct cause of the 1930s Great Depression. The direct cause was the government's inability/unwillingness to prop the system up. In the end, the US government managed to haul the country out of deep depression by embarking on a massive public spending plan, injecting borrowed money into the economy. So in the end the result was the same; the government still had to borrow billions of dollars but by taking early action now they can avoid the pain of a 00s financial depression.

What I have a big problem with is all these banking directors who are able to take massive bonuses in times of economic buoyancy. There should be much stricter regulation in place. I like the 'bonus cap' idea the Tories are suggesting, I hope the US follows suit and stops this practice of in effect allowing the directors of financial institutions to gamble with impunity.


I'm waiting to see twelve months down the line when the boards of these banks continue to get that bonus, in spite of the public bail out. I suspect we'll see violent clashes flamed by various groups spotting an opportunity to whip people up.

To use a well worn metaphor, any 'expert' giving their opinions now is talking about shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. They were all pretty fucking quiet while the debt culture was allowed to prosper.

Can't win votes by telling the masses that they can't really afford to have all those loans, of course.
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Postby Hans the German Butler » Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:30 pm

The crazy thing is that there is actually more money in the international financial system now, as a result of the capital pumped in from state reserves, than there was six months ago. The issue is that none of the institutions are depositing with each other or lending to each other because they don't trust their fellow banks not to default if they have some of the sub-prime debt. The whole thing's falling apart, not because of a lack of money but a lack of confidence.

I agree with BS that as this started in the US, the US has an international responsibility - you can't have globalisation of wealth creation but not globalisation of economic solutions.

Part of me thinks that the greedy bankers, guilty of the most rampant and aggressive capitalism should be allowed to suffer - but since everyone will suffer as a result the best we can hope for is that the bail-out works and that they prevent personal benefit to any of the bankers/traders.

As for horses and stable doors, it amazes me that the idea of knowingly lending money to people who clearly can't afford to pay it back ever passed through any institution's governance procedures. The fact that AIG nearly went to the wall because it insured much of that toxic debt really casts doubt on their continuing viability as a reliable supplier of corporate insurance. It's like Enron and Andersen's all over again but with much bigger sums of money!

The question is, Is this the death knell for global capitalism or just a temporary hurdle until the cycle of madness begins anew?
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Postby Moon-Crane » Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:39 pm

I'm with you about the equity available within the 'system', Hans. i seriously don't know what people are expecting a $700 billion 'bail out' is actually going to do. The institutions have money, but they don't lend to each other at the moment as it's seen as a risk. Is giving these places billions of dollars not a fucking risk? Are we expecting that this money covers all the bad debt from the whole sub-prime thing so they can lend again without worry? You may as well give that money to every person who has a mortgage with these institutions instead, so they can pay of the debts they're actually struggling to keep up with? Should even free up a fair wad of money to dispose of in the economy and save all the struggling shops instead :D

I'm also very uneasy at throwing money at companies who still have the same boards in control. Surely they should all be sacked as a minimum requirement for financial aid? No 'early retirement', no 'standing down for personal reasons', no 'golden parachute pay-off' - straight dismissal. If we're going to play government involvement now, then there's a major flaw in the current free-market model (hardly news). There has to be criminal investigations into every one of the institutions now asking for help. Also, it's basic market sense to sack board members that are pulling in between 200-400 times their average employee salary when they've steered the company into essentially going bust. Where's the value in keeping them?

If these companies are so big, and control so much of the nation's wealth that we can't afford to let them go out of business, then they're surely too big to be in business. Break 'em up. Asset strip them, as they do to the places they buy up.

I can't get past the notion that if these places get public money injected then they should give up a sizeable chunk of ownership based on the percentage of capital that's input compared to total market value (should be pretty good amounts at the moment while shares are down). The taxpayer should get to share in the future dividends and general money making.
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Postby Mr Blue Sky » Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:22 am

Great points made by both M-C and Hans above, I'll reply in more detail when I have time. I'm very relieved the bailout's finally gone through though, with some amendments.
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Postby Mr Blue Sky » Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:26 am

I enjoyed the Biden/Palin debate last night. I think Palin came across as a bit of a lightweight, certainly in stark contrast to her very experienced opposite number.

I have to say I haven't seen much of Biden up until now but having seen him perform tonight I'd say the Democrat ticket is perfectly ballanced. I think there are a couple more debates between the prospective VPs before election time; I expect to see the polls favouring Obama/Biden much more as election day approaches. It's still too close for comfort at the moment, but hopefully these debates will help swing things the Democrats' way.
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Postby Moon-Crane » Sat Oct 04, 2008 10:51 am

Well, you finally got what you wanted last night, Mr BS. The bill was rolled through. I'd still love to know where this $700 billion figure comes from and how it helps - all i can see is a completely made up figure plucked from thin air.

"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."
:shock:

I guarantee one thing: this money ain't going to help one of the millions of people currently losing their homes. It is, however, going to fatten the coffers of people like the repugnant Rudy Giuliani and their consultancy firms, who are considerately offering to manage this money for various institutions.
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Postby Mr Blue Sky » Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:14 pm

Moon-Crane wrote:Well, you finally got what you wanted last night, Mr BS. The bill was rolled through. I'd still love to know where this $700 billion figure comes from and how it helps - all i can see is a completely made up figure plucked from thin air.

"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."
:shock:

I guarantee one thing: this money ain't going to help one of the millions of people currently losing their homes. It is, however, going to fatten the coffers of people like the repugnant Rudy Giuliani and their consultancy firms, who are considerately offering to manage this money for various institutions.


Sorry mate, I knew I had something to reply to in detail last night!

Anyway, I just briefly wanted to say a couple of things about this. Firstly, that 'very large figure' apparently pulled from thin air is in essence to pull off a confidence trick in the truest sense of the term. The banks need to have confidence in being able to get a return on the money they lend out, and prior to this stratospheric injection of cash there was no confidence in the system therefore no one was lending money to each other. Why is this important? Because if companies aren't able to borrow money on the back of prospective future income, payrolls don't get paid and credit agreements on things like new cars, new kitchens, and new houses don't go through. It's easy to see how the whole economy could grind to a halt in those circumstances.

Now, this government money isn't being simply poured into a toxic black hole, they are actually buying these dodgy credit deals up, some of which will yield a return and provide a profit. It's possible all this money may be recouped once confidence returns to the market.

One last (possibly inflammatory!) thing I have to say, is something no one's actually been mentioning yet. Why is the burden of responsibility solely resting on the shoulders of those who so unwisely lent this money in the first place? Why is no one talking about the idiot who borrowed six times his annual salary in order to clamber onto the property ladder? Why is everyone so concerned with keeping 'main street' happy when this financial crisis has been brought about by those very people bellyaching about not being able to afford their mortgage repayments now? This may sound harsh, but those people who massively over-extended themselves in order to buy something they clearly couldn't afford are simply going to get their comeuppance over the next 18 months or so. The fat cat bankers are being asked to take personal responsibility for their profit first, ask questions later approach and well they should. But where's the personal responsibility on main street?
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Postby Moon-Crane » Sat Oct 04, 2008 7:44 pm

I can't dispute that people were stupid enough to take out loans they realistically couldn't afford to repay - and they should take responsibility for that. However.... the people who couldn't really afford to lend this money to these people in the first place get bailed out financially, and will continue to collect whatever scraps of cash and all the property that squeezes their way from the defaulters. The one's who couldn't afford to borrow the money are still left screwed. Just seems handily selective to me. Nice to be able to pick and choose when you live by those free market rules.

There's also the small point that these financial institutions have caused the overinflated price of things like property, by their shady dealing and willingness to lend left, right and centre - people have to stretch themselves like never before just to try and get a roof over their heads. Artificial prices have to find a way to settle back to their own true value - one way or another.

It was reassuringly heartening, at least, to see so many people feeling some of the same reluctance when the bill failed to pass first time around. If it causes more people to shift their ideology towards how we finance our lifestyles, then some good comes from it.

I hope enough credible media continue to report every development of this event in the next 12-18 months. Track who benefits most from this whole situation.
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Postby Mr Blue Sky » Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:01 pm

Hmm, we're coming at this from different perspectives I think. Forget about 'bailing out the fat cats', if the economy is allowed to flounder people will start losing their jobs very soon. Maybe I have a vested interest working in the financial services sector myself...
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Postby Wezzo » Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:15 pm

Mr Blue Sky wrote:I think there are a couple more debates between the prospective VPs before election time


There are no other VP debates sadly.
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Postby Mr Blue Sky » Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:08 pm

Wezzo wrote:
Mr Blue Sky wrote:I think there are a couple more debates between the prospective VPs before election time


There are no other VP debates sadly.


Yeah, I heard that the other day. I thought there were usually three? I think one was enough to alert the voting public to the perils of voting Republican on Nov 4th though, Sarah Palin being just a 72 year old heart beat away from the Presidency... :shock:
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Postby JT » Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:10 am

Mr Blue Sky wrote:... Sarah Palin being just a 72 year old heart beat away from the Presidency... :shock:


And, interestingly, the fact that an arguably less experienced (than Palin) Barrack Obama is much closer to the Presidency causes no concern. :? :shock:
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Postby Mr Blue Sky » Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:20 am

JT wrote:
Mr Blue Sky wrote:... Sarah Palin being just a 72 year old heart beat away from the Presidency... :shock:


And, interestingly, the fact that an arguably less experienced (than Palin) Barrack Obama is much closer to the Presidency causes no concern. :? :shock:


It's not her lack of experience that causes concern.
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Postby Moon-Crane » Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:20 am

Mr Blue Sky wrote:Hmm, we're coming at this from different perspectives I think. Forget about 'bailing out the fat cats', if the economy is allowed to flounder people will start losing their jobs very soon. Maybe I have a vested interest working in the financial services sector myself...


I think it may well depend on what we each think we have to lose. It's irrelevant that it's fat cats for me. It's more that i feel i'd be going back on my beliefs to see a bail out. If we're happy to take the rewards from a certain way of running our economy then we have to be prepared to accept the risk.

I'm still not sure that this financial injection will have any affect. It's very difficult to see clearly what impact can be had on an economy that runs on invisible money in such vast sums. There's stagnation and still inflation. You're throwing even more money from wherever into a situation that not one expert has any idea about.

The theory of helping to stabilise by financial aid is all very noble and well-intentioned. If we're going to use it then we really need to see transparency to how this money is used - make sure it's not taken by people who speculate further with it (as has been mentioned in some places), or managed by private paid 'consultants', etc, etc. If it's all about confidence, then we need to simplify all these complex economic ideas for playing with money. We need something where the majority of people can understand what is happening with their money in the system. If we're not going to play by the rules of risk/reward, then we can't allow wealth to be created in the riskiest of ventures.
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Postby Moon-Crane » Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:22 am

Mr Blue Sky wrote:
JT wrote:
Mr Blue Sky wrote:... Sarah Palin being just a 72 year old heart beat away from the Presidency... :shock:


And, interestingly, the fact that an arguably less experienced (than Palin) Barrack Obama is much closer to the Presidency causes no concern. :? :shock:


It's not her lack of experience that causes concern.


On that note...

I wondered how long i would be before someone on the Rep side used the 'T' word.

Is Palin certain she really wants to go down the path of digging up potentially dubious people from her opposition's dim and distant past? Really? Things like that usually open up some pretty unfortunate floodgates. Regrettably smells of desperation when i hear things like that. I hope she's got something for the next bite she's likely to get on her ass.
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Postby Hans the German Butler » Tue Oct 07, 2008 10:58 pm

Moon-Crane wrote:
Mr Blue Sky wrote:
JT wrote:
Mr Blue Sky wrote:... Sarah Palin being just a 72 year old heart beat away from the Presidency... :shock:


And, interestingly, the fact that an arguably less experienced (than Palin) Barrack Obama is much closer to the Presidency causes no concern. :? :shock:


It's not her lack of experience that causes concern.


On that note...

I wondered how long i would be before someone on the Rep side used the 'T' word.

Is Palin certain she really wants to go down the path of digging up potentially dubious people from her opposition's dim and distant past? Really? Things like that usually open up some pretty unfortunate floodgates. Regrettably smells of desperation when i hear things like that. I hope she's got something for the next bite she's likely to get on her ass.


I don't know whether you've seen the Palin and Biden answers on Roe v. Wade on YouTube but it explains why the swing voters now seem to be registering as Democrats.

Palin did not have a clue - she knew she was against Roe v. Wade but was trying her best to avoid making it out as a federal issue and ended up suggesting that personal privacy and self determination were issues that could be legislated on by individual states. When asked for other Supreme Court decisions she didn't agree with she couldn't name one - even though she was sure there must have been one!

Biden's answer was fantastic - demonstrating clearly how to chart the middle ground on such an emotive issue. He didn't suggest he was anti-abortion or pro-choice, just that Roe v. Wade was probably the best possible decision in the circumstances and the closest thing to consensus that's ever likely to exist.
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Postby JT » Fri Oct 10, 2008 2:05 am

I'll say a few things about Obama, 1. I like his pro-death penalty stance ('for the most egregious of crimes) and 2. Despite Republican attacks over his pronouncement about a less-than-supportive Pakistan, that if necessary he would order an incursion into Pakistan to further American interests (to kill Bin Laden) - I likes. Both saying and doing it.
This flies against his overall circus-Left affiliations.
But Obama, despite his even temperament and articulateness, is very thin on experience and his grasp on issues is really paper thin. This does not come across adequately in these public debates - it mostly highlights his ability to communicate within that thin spectrum. But you wouldn't know this by watching the main stream media. He is the Messiah as far as they are concerned. Palin's experience is somehow an issue for VP but Obama's experience is somehow of no concern for PRESIDENT!
The interviews of Palin by the lib-stream media have been abysmal - and I mean the performance/behavior of the interviewers. 'Gotcha' questions out of the blue designed to undermine Palin. Why don't they ask Obama about someones 'regulatory history'? Like one fair and balanced pundit said, how the hell is she supposed know that? And the liberal interviewers know this. Catie Curic my ass. I bet I could make Obama look like an idiot on TV if I wanted to. The point is the main-lib-stream media only want to make one side look like an idiot. Can't stop the Messiah of progressive ideology. That wouldn't be progressive.

Interesting history regarding causes of the Great Depression and their relevance to today are being written about. Someone - I think it was Bernecke - has written on his theory of the significance of the lack of trust caused by lack of information as the primary causal factor in the Great Depression.
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