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Author Topic: Republican National Convention
DonaldD
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SP, you seem to make the assumption that Obama's speech was mainly an apologia for raising taxes on the wealthy. It is more than that, however: in fact, before he even brings up taxes, Obama addresses the push for further cuts in programs and that there isn't much more room to move in that direction.

Right or wrong,  seen in that light and given that the wealthy are already not paying what they did in the past (alluded to by his veiled reference to Buffet) the response "We already pay taxes for that help. Why are you pretending we don't pay anything for that help when we do?" really isn't a winner; business owners (at least the wealthy ones, who are the ones targeted by proposed tax hikes in the Obama speech) are paying less now than at any other time in recent history, yet some of them are expecting that programs be cut to the exclusion of their taxes being raised.  

And specifically in the speech, he contrasts the people who want "to give something back" with the "people who think, well it must be because I was just so smart" i.e., those people who do not consciously admit that the government facilitates the system that enabled their efforts to flourish. This does not mean that all the wealthy nor all business people hold this opinion (see above). But such people do exist and are vocal.

Does his speech detail every nuance in the argument? No. It's a speech, not a treatise on taxation and public policy.

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seekingprometheus
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quote:
SP, you seem to make the assumption that Obama's speech was mainly an apologia for raising taxes on the wealthy.
It was.
quote:
It is more than that, however: in fact, before he even brings up taxes, Obama addresses the push for further cuts in programs and that there isn't much more room to move in that direction.
This isn't "more than that," this is "exactly that." The lack of room in the budget for cuts in programs is precisely a major component of the apologia for raising taxes on the wealthy.

It's not like he's suggesting that taxes be raised on the wealthy because they just have too damn much and it's not fair: an "apologia" is the set of arguments for a position, and his set of arguments for raising taxes on the rich is that we need the programs (and thus we need the money for them), that the rich use the programs, and that the rich are "doing fine" and therefore don't need the money--and that allowing them to keep more of their money hasn't been shown to be helpful to everyone.
quote:
Right or wrong, seen in that light and given that the wealthy are already not paying what they did in the past (alluded to by his veiled reference to Buffet) the response "We already pay taxes for that help. Why are you pretending we don't pay anything for that help when we do?" really isn't a winner; business owners (at least the wealthy ones, who are the ones targeted by proposed tax hikes in the Obama speech) are paying less now than at any other time in recent history, yet some of them are expecting that programs be cut to the exclusion of their taxes being raised.
Well, sure. In the context of a response to the entirety of the nuanced argument of one side, a counter to a single false dichotomy that side uses isn't a "winner."

But in response to a single false dichotomy, pointing out that it's a false dichotomy is indeed a winner.

Highlighting the fact that there are wealthy folk who are willing to give more back doesn't justify characterizing folks who don't want to give more back as people who not only refuse to give back at all, but also fail to understand that their success was partly contingent upon government programs (into which they have indeed actually been paying taxes).

[ September 02, 2012, 06:34 PM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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AI Wessex
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"I can't remember a time in my lifetime where a politician told the public a hard truth. It is, possibly, a flaw in our system."

It was better before, even up through Reagan, but has gotten progressively worse, and is much worse this year than ever before. Credit that to the inverse relationship between the extreme bloc that has hollowed out the core of the Republican Party and the party's need and sole objective to win the election.

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seekingprometheus
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Contemporary systems are getting better at exploiting psychological "hacks" in the information processing of large populations.

This isn't really just about the Republicans, it's a fundamental flaw of democracy, but damned if the Republicans aren't doing an extraordinary job of taking full advantage, and showcasing the reason why democracy is doomed to fail...

[ September 02, 2012, 08:04 PM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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AI Wessex
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Yes, convergence and acceleration of media, marketing and information technologies. We used to be consumers and citizens, but those things are turning us into commodities and agents.
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Viking_Longship
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
"I can't remember a time in my lifetime where a politician told the public a hard truth. It is, possibly, a flaw in our system."

It was better before, even up through Reagan, but has gotten progressively worse, and is much worse this year than ever before. Credit that to the inverse relationship between the extreme bloc that has hollowed out the core of the Republican Party and the party's need and sole objective to win the election.

If the Democrats were willing to stand up for reality rather than try and prove they were better defenders against the boogeymen you'd have more to go on.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
It's not like he's suggesting that taxes be raised on the wealthy because they just have too damn much and it's not fair: an "apologia" is the set of arguments for a position, and his set of arguments for raising taxes on the rich is that we need the programs (and thus we need the money for them), that the rich use the programs, and that the rich are "doing fine" and therefore don't need the money--and that allowing them to keep more of their money hasn't been shown to be helpful to everyone.
And this, unfortunately, is where he's at the most wrong at the federal level,m at lest; it might be true at the state or local level, since they can't issue currency (except North Dakota, which has it's own bank, thus allowing it to essentially do just that whenever it needs to), but at the Federal level, we never need more money to spend on things, rather money exists because it is spent into existence by the federal government, and the deficit merely reflects the amount of profit and savings (or deleveraging) potential for the non-federal sectors across the same period of time.

Taxes have nothing to do with what we can afford- rather they're incentive tools that should be used it impute the returns on economically damaging activities and redirect investment toward economically productive ones that are tax deductible; taking what Adam smith was actually highlighting in WoN with his use of an invisible hand metaphor and putting it into active practice. Investment moves toward the best risk/reward rations; we all benefit if productive investments provide the best returns in comparison to their risk.

quote:
Highlighting the fact that there are wealthy folk who are willing to give more back doesn't justify characterizing folks who don't want to give more back as people who not only refuse to give back at all, but also fail to understand that their success was partly contingent upon government programs (into which they have indeed actually been paying taxes).
When they're actively arguing that the government was antithetical to success and that the very programs that helped them succeed should be cut away, it's the more charitable interpretation of their position. Because, at that point, making those arguments in full understanding of the implications suggests that their explicit motive is outright economic sabotage to fully protect their position as plutocrats.
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AI Wessex
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"If the Democrats were willing to stand up for reality rather than try and prove they were better defenders against the boogeymen you'd have more to go on."

I agree. The Dems have shown no will of their own. We need a President who can drive Congress to do the hard things that have to get done without forcing the Parties out of their sense of identity. I can't see anyone in public life today who can do that and I don't think that person can come up through the political ranks. I had hopes for Wesley Clark or Colin Powell, but Clark faded and Powell didn't seem to want the franchise.

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DonaldD
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
quote:
SP, you seem to make the assumption that Obama's speech was mainly an apologia for raising taxes on the wealthy.
It was.

No, it wasn't. It was much more a position statement against program cuts as default policy. He made only one reference to taxing the wealthy in order to address the new US shibboleth, the singular (and self defeating) US obsession with balancing the federal budget (spanning 1 and a half sentences out of 5 paragraphs). The rest of those paragraphs, he is positioning himself as the champion of maintaining existing programs.

You could argue that he is talking about maintaining those programs as a rationale for raising taxes, but I really doubt you will [Wink] . Certainly, raising taxes was brought up, but it is in no way the central gist of where the speech was going.

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Highlighting the fact that there are wealthy folk who are willing to give more back doesn't justify characterizing folks who don't want to give more back as people who not only refuse to give back at all, but also fail to understand that their success was partly contingent upon government programs (into which they have indeed actually been paying taxes).
When they're actively arguing that the government was antithetical to success and that the very programs that helped them succeed should be cut away, it's the more charitable interpretation of their position. Because, at that point, making those arguments in full understanding of the implications suggests that their explicit motive is outright economic sabotage to fully protect their position as plutocrats.
Or in plain English for the rest of us [Smile] Now that they have climbed the ladder, they want to kick it away so that no one else can climb up behind them.
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threads
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Some Gallup poll numbers related to the convention. There isn't a correlation between these numbers and election results but the 24 (or 34?) point bump mentioned in the OP is a pipe dream.
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velcro
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quote:
The wealthy can't address the argument honestly, because the other side will over-simplify, distort, and play to the dumb, gullible, gut-reactions of the masses too, if it gets the chance.
The wealthy can, and have addressed it honestly. Ask Buffett, et. al.
Over the last 30 years, 80% of the gains for the economy went to the top 1%. That means the average 1% got almost four hundred times more gain than the average 99% (not the lowest 1%, the average of everyone else).

What honest argument can the 1% make that they shouldn't pay more taxes?

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Greg Davidson
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quote:
What honest argument can the 1% make that they shouldn't pay more taxes?
I think a better framing is, what honest argument can the 1% make that they need to keep receiving the tax reductions that they have received in recent decades?

[ September 03, 2012, 05:32 PM: Message edited by: Greg Davidson ]

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threads
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It's not a matter of honesty. An easy, honest argument is they earned their money so they shouldn't have to give it away.
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AI Wessex
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Wouldn't that apply to everyone? Shouldn't corporations also keep their profits?
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seekingprometheus
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DD:
quote:
It was much more a position statement against program cuts as default policy.

...

You could argue that he is talking about maintaining those programs as a rationale for raising taxes, but I really doubt you will . Certainly, raising taxes was brought up, but it is in no way the central gist of where the speech was going.

Fair enough, I can see where you're coming from, and you're right. (Though I'm not sure what five paragraphs you were alluding to, and the fact is that he brought up taxes--and specifically the taxation level at different income brackets--multiple times in the speech.)

In any case, logically, saving the programs is obviously the real political agenda, and raising the taxes on the rich is a way to save the programs, so if we're talking about hierarchies of priorities, "save the programs" is at the top, and "raise the taxes on the rich" is a potential solution subset of the top priority.

So the speech clearly isn't "mainly about" the reasoning for raising taxes on the rich. His speech is actually "mainly about" getting himself reelected. So I'll accept the aptness of your quibble--I was wrong to respond "It was," given the characterization you used.

But while his speech is mainly about getting reelected, the argument he makes does have a revolve around a central conflict. He talks about all the things that are great about America, and all the things we have accomplished, and all the things we like about America, and all the things he wants to help us accomplish--and these are all things that a "reelect me" speech should be about, because it's a political speech, and that's what you do.

But he does actually make an argument too, and it occupies a central place in his speech. And the centerpiece of that argument is a comparison of his plan in contrast with plan of his opponents. And the comparison is explicitly about his opponents wanting lower taxes for the rich, vs his focus on helping out people in lower and middle income-tax brackets. This is the central argument he makes--the fact that I focus on the actual substance of conflict in his speech to the exclusion of the uncontroversial fluff rhetoric is partly an idiosyncratic flaw in my focus, but it's also what we're actually talking about here, right? (And I'm not denying that the importance of the programs is a relevant part of the logic of the argument, I'm just pointing out that his argument wasn't actually about contrasting the relative quantitative value he places on the programs vs the quantitative value his opponent places on the programs, his argument contrasted the quantitative value he places on tax cuts for the rich vs the quantitative value his opponent places on tax cuts for the rich.)

Like I said, calling a false dichotomy a false dichotomy is a winner in response to a specific false dichotomy. I don't know why it would seem necessary to drag together all of the nuances of a complex discourse to deny that, in the grand scheme of the cosmic argument, a specific false dichotomy is what it is...

[ September 03, 2012, 08:07 PM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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velcro
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quote:
It's not a matter of honesty. An easy, honest argument is they earned their money so they shouldn't have to give it away.
A certain unnamed presidential candidate structured a financial deal so he and his investors took $5M, and got another $50M or so in loans and took control of a company. (I don't remember the exact numbers, but it is something like that). Then they had the company take out hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, which they used to pay dividends to the investors. They charged millions of dollars in fees to do this, and to direct them in cutting jobs. Oh, by the way, they gave huge bonuses to the managers who implemented this. So then they walk away with their 500% return on investment, and the company goes bankrupt because of the debt they incurred to pay the dividends. They created nothing but profits for themselves and their investors, and destroyed a company. Oh, by the way, the interest that they paid on the loan was tax deductible, just like your mortgage. And they paid 15% taxes on their salaries and bonuses because of loopholes, where you would pay 35%.

If you think they earned that money, I have no response.

It comes back to who got the benefits. That's who ought to pay for the system that created the benefits.

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DonaldD
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sp, did you read the speech in question? That portion of the speech was 5 paragraphs in length: ABC News
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seekingprometheus
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DD:

I read the entire transcript before I entered any discussion of the matter at all. And I re-read it several times during the course of this discussion. But I still don't know which specific 5 paragraphs you are referencing, or why you're making it sound like these unspecified paragraphs contain the only reference he made to taxing the rich in the entire speech.

For instance, these two paragraphs:
quote:
No, no, look -- I mean, we’re having a good, healthy, democratic debate. That’s how this works. And on their side, they’ve got a basic theory about how you grow the economy. And the theory is very simple: They think that the economy grows from the top down. So their basic theory is, if wealthy investors are doing well then everybody does well. So if we spend trillions of dollars on more tax cuts mostly for the wealthy, that that’s somehow going to create jobs, even if we have to pay for it by gutting education and gutting job-training programs and gutting transportation projects, and maybe even seeing middle-class folks have a higher tax burden.
...and...
quote:
And I understand why they (the wealthy) wouldn’t want to pay more in taxes. Nobody likes to pay more in taxes. Here's the problem: If you continue their (the wealthy) tax breaks, that costs a trillion dollars. And since we're trying to bring down our deficit and our debt, if we spend a trillion dollars on tax cuts for them (the wealthy), we're going to have to find that trillion dollars someplace else.
...are explicit references to taxes for the wealthy that are 15 paragraphs apart in the format of the transcript I read (and that's excluding the audience interjections, of course). And the intervening paragraphs are all part of the same argument, and contain multiple other references to taxation on the rich.

And that's not where it ends, btw--those are just two arbitrarily chosen references, and we haven't even gotten close to comment Republicans took out of context.

Here's another two paragraphs later:
quote:
I don’t think those are good ideas. So what I've said to the Republicans is, look, all right, let's have this debate about the tax cuts for the wealthiest folks. I don’t mind having that debate. But in the meantime, let's go ahead and do what we agree on, which is give 98 percent of Americans some certainty and some security.
Here's another reference, five more paragraphs down the page:
quote:
But that’s not why I went to Washington. I went to Washington to fight for the middle class. (Applause.) I went to Washington to fight for working people who are trying to get into the middle class, and have some sense of security in their lives. (Applause.) People like me and Mr. Romney don’t need another tax cut. You need some help right now to make sure your kids are living the kind of life you want for them. And that’s why I'm running for a second term as President of the United States.
If I had to guess, I suppose that it would make the most sense that you were referring to some sequence of these 8 paragraphs, when he returns this central issue much later in the speech:
quote:
Now, one last thing -- one of the biggest differences is how we pay down our debt and our deficit. My opponent, Mr. Romney’s plan is he wants to cut taxes another $5 trillion on top of the Bush tax cuts.

Well, first of all, like I said, the only way you can pay for that -- if you’re actually saying you’re bringing down the deficit -- is to cut transportation, cut education, cut basic research, voucherize Medicare, and you’re still going to end up having to raise taxes on middle-class families to pay for this $5 trillion tax cut. That’s not a deficit reduction plan. That’s a deficit expansion plan.

I’ve got a different idea. I do believe we can cut -- we’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts. We can make some more cuts in programs that don’t work, and make government work more efficiently. (Applause.) Not every government program works the way it’s supposed to. And frankly, government can’t solve every problem. If somebody doesn’t want to be helped, government can’t always help them. Parents -- we can put more money into schools, but if your kids don’t want to learn it’s hard to teach them. (Applause.)

But you know what, I’m not going to see us gut the investments that grow our economy to give tax breaks to me or Mr. Romney or folks who don’t need them. So I’m going to reduce the deficit in a balanced way. We’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts. We can make another trillion or trillion-two, and what we then do is ask for the wealthy to pay a little bit more. (Applause.) And, by the way, we’ve tried that before -- a guy named Bill Clinton did it. We created 23 million new jobs, turned a deficit into a surplus, and rich people did just fine. We created a lot of millionaires.

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.

There is a lot in there that explicitly references taxes, maybe you just mean that he only used the words "wealthy" and "taxes" together in a sentence once within five paragraphs of the line the Republicans seized and misinterpreted.

*shrug*

In any case, whatever you meant, your point doesn't seem to be valid. The whole speech is loaded with references to taxing the rich, and it really is the central contrast Obama is establishing between his position and that of his opponent.

(Did you read the whole thing?)

[ September 03, 2012, 11:02 PM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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DonaldD
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I was only able to find the portion that linked to in the previous post. My google-fu is not strong.
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threads
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quote:
Originally posted by velcro:
quote:
It's not a matter of honesty. An easy, honest argument is they earned their money so they shouldn't have to give it away.
A certain unnamed presidential candidate structured a financial deal so he and his investors took $5M, and got another $50M or so in loans and took control of a company. (I don't remember the exact numbers, but it is something like that). Then they had the company take out hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, which they used to pay dividends to the investors. They charged millions of dollars in fees to do this, and to direct them in cutting jobs. Oh, by the way, they gave huge bonuses to the managers who implemented this. So then they walk away with their 500% return on investment, and the company goes bankrupt because of the debt they incurred to pay the dividends. They created nothing but profits for themselves and their investors, and destroyed a company. Oh, by the way, the interest that they paid on the loan was tax deductible, just like your mortgage. And they paid 15% taxes on their salaries and bonuses because of loopholes, where you would pay 35%.

If you think they earned that money, I have no response.

That's a total red herring. You asked:

quote:
What honest argument can the 1% make that they shouldn't pay more taxes?
Mitt Romney's actions at Bain aren't relevant to the answer to that question. Furthermore, justice, ethics, morality, w/e has no bearing on whether or not he earned the money. Earned Income.

Also, with respect to your question, it doesn't matter if I think he earned the money. All that matters is if he does (and I bet he does).

[ September 03, 2012, 11:44 PM: Message edited by: threads ]

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seekingprometheus
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You've got to be kidding me, D.

That was supposed to be a sarcastic rhetorical question.

I wouldn't say one has to read the entire speech to completely understand the context of the misrepresented sentence, but what are you doing trying to correct my interpretation of the fuller context of the entire speech (much less asking if I bothered to read the whole thing) if you haven't read the full speech yourself?

You do get that this entire issue is about examining the full context of what somebody else meant rather than matching a small, isolated segment of what was said to your prepossessions and insisting that this is what was meant?

Blorg. The tactics in these partisan context wars never cease to amaze.

EDIT: Sorry for the snarkiness. Probably partly due to the aftertaste of saying "I was wrong" regarding my response to your previous quibble. I'm willing to admit that I'm wrong when I see it, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Still, you should read the whole speech. Some of it very much supports your valid point that the political issue does go back to the value of the programs. But the argument he is making against his opponents is about what it's about.

[ September 04, 2012, 12:05 AM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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velcro
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threads,

You said that an argument for not taxing the wealthy is that the wealthy earned the money, so they should not have to give it up.

To rephrase:
Assumption: they earned the money
Conclusion: therefore they should not have to give it up

I challenged your assumption, and explained why.

How is that a red herring? How can you say "it doesn't matter if I think the assumption is valid, only if the wealthy think it is valid"

I can take a car from the parking lot if it is mine. I think it is mine, so it is ok, even though it is in fact yours. It doesn't matter what you think only what I think. Did I get that right?

As far as red herrings, earned income can be from illegal sources, (see Al Capone) so it is completely distinct from the normal definition of "earned" that I assumed you meant. If you meant the legal definition, then it makes even less sense.

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Aris Katsaris
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velcro, you asked about *honest* arguments, not about *correct* arguments.

In evaluating whether an argument is honest, it indeed only matters what is believed by the person making said argument -- NOT whether their beliefs actually correspond to reality.

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DonaldD
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sp, you do realize that, being ignorant of the very existence of the rest of the speech, it would have been difficult to incorporate that content into my argument, right?

BTW, I thought you enjoyed being called wrong... [Wink]

[ September 04, 2012, 08:43 AM: Message edited by: DonaldD ]

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seekingprometheus
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quote:
sp, you do realize that, being ignorant of the very existence of the rest of the speech, it would have been difficult to incorporate that content into my argument, right?
[LOL]

Well, I'll happily reassemble my skull if you were kidding, but honestly, I'm not sure what you were incorporating into your argument--or why you were insisting that there were limited references to taxation in the speech.

And I still don't know what 5 paragraphs you were referring to--the link you posted doesn't navigate to any such thing for me...
quote:
BTW, I thought you enjoyed being called wrong...
[Big Grin]

I do like a good ornery game. But when it's me calling myself wrong, it somehow just isn't the same...

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
Hey Watts,

Did you miss my long-ass post?

If you just don't have any response, that's fine, but I did point out (again) that I never made any bigoted comment about men of average intelligence

Sorry SP, but it was a long ass post and I got side tracked. Sunday and Monday were family days, so I wasn't online much. But here is a comment you made in response to my original condemnation:

quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
I'm the guy that put down the intelligence of your average man

So, yeah actually you did make a "comment about men of average intelligence". Granted, whether a particular "put down" is bigoted or not is a matter of opinion. But I think when you unfairly generalize about a group that's tantamount to bigotry.

I still think the original posts were bigoted. I accept that you didn't mean them that way, but that's the way they read. I apologize if it sounded like I was continuing to pound you. I was just trying to respond to another posters comments and the threads tend to tangle. [Wink]

However, you weren't the only one that made comments. This comment was made and it's pretty direct:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
I don't believe that the average person is as gullible and stupid as you seem to think they are.
Sadly, the average person is probably more stupid.
I don't believe this poster has backed away from his stance at this time.

To summarize, I think the original comments as written were bigoted. However, I'm not blaming you for statements that you've clarified. I've made plenty of comments in the past, that when I re-read them I realize they were across the line even though that's not the way I meant them and I've then posted clarifications. Usually the clarifications have been ignored. So I want to assure you, I don't think you are a bigot and I don't believe you meant the comments that way. [Crying]

My response was meant more to apologize to GregD for not recognizing his comment for what it was. And to point out that he was the only other poster that spoke out against them.

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DonaldD
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What definition of bigotry are you using, JWatts? Because neither Tom's nor sp's statements were clearly bigotry.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
JWatts, I actually do appreciate you pointing out where you believe I may have fallen short of my standards, but I don't believe I have done so in this case. The position described here is extremist, it's real, and those who hold it are involved in a meaningful way in the national Republican party. Theirs is not a majority opinion in the Republican Party - it's only a small minority that gets that extreme, and thus I qualified my remarks to focus on "extremist" Republicans.

So any comment I make about "extremist" positions within the Democratic party are fair game, eh? You won't object to them in the future as a mischaracterization of the party in general, as long as I put the qualifier "extremist" in front of Democrat. So then, there's nothing wrong with making the following statement.

Democrat Jim McDermott, backed by other extremist Democrats have held congressional hearings covering the extremist theory of nationalizing future 401Ks by forcing savers to buy T-Bonds. Extremist Democrat Jim McDermott has characterized the idea as "intriguing" and "part of the discussion.".

It's always good to know what the rules are. [Wink]

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TomDavidson
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Yeah. I would say I'm an elitist, and that I hold the intelligence -- or, rather, the active knowledge; I think they're capable of intelligent, informed action, but they do not engage in it -- of much of the population in deep contempt, but I wouldn't say that's bigotry by the definitions of the word with which I'm familiar. It's still plenty worthy of concern, though, if you believe that it is somehow immoral of me to think that I (and others) am better in some ways than the majority of Americans.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:
What definition of bigotry are you using, JWatts? Because neither Tom's nor sp's statements were clearly bigotry.

Previous Post


quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
No, I didn't object to "characterizing stupidity as stupid". Heck, I do that all the time. What you said (paraphrased) was that the "average person is stupid". Which is a bigoted and completely untrue comment. Do you see the difference?

First, it's technically untrue. The average person is by definition average. Now, I'll grant you an average person will probably make more stupid decisions than the average smart person, but it's a matter of averages. There are plenty of smart people that excel at stupid.

quote:

Definition:
Stupid - lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull.

Secondly, it's arrogant and elitist snobbery and bigoted.

quote:

Bigot - a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group with hatred and intolerance



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velcro
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JWatts, you missed an extremist in front of the first use of Democrat. Otherwise, its perfectly fine with me.

I do take exception to the characterization of "forcing" someone to invest in a purely voluntary program, but I don't want to derail the thread.

threads, AK,

Yes, I understand that it can be an honest argument and be wrong. Someone can make an honest argument that taxes should be lowered because the aliens said so. I amend my question.

What honest, factually substantiated, and logical argument can the 1% make that they shouldn't pay more taxes?

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DonaldD
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quote:
Bigot - a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group with hatred and intolerance
Taking that definition word for word:
  • "obstinate": are either of them unable to accept they are wrong, when presented with a clear argument or evidence illustrating their error?
  • "intolerantly": I don't see either of them being intolerant to the people they consider stupid: they seem to simply accept that stupidity as a fact of life.
  • "members of a group": which specific group would that be? From their words, this is not an identifiable group so much as a general "most of the population" group. It's not like they said only Democrats or Republicans or some other specifically identifiable group.
  • "hatred": neither displayed hatred in their posts.(possibly pity)
So no, that previous post of yours really doesn't accurately describe either of their positions (at least, not how they wrote them in this thread.)
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:
[*]"obstinate": are either of them unable to accept they are wrong, when presented with a clear argument or evidence illustrating their error?

A bigot would certainly be obstinate, but a bigoted remark need only be a one time statement, so that's not really applicable. Furthermore, the actual post contained multiple references not just one. I certainly don't think the original poster was a bigot, just that his original comments without clarification were across the line.

quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:
[*]"intolerantly": I don't see either of them being intolerant to the people they consider stupid: they seem to simply accept that stupidity as a fact of life.

Railing against their stupidity is pretty intolerant. Particularly when they aren't stupid. Stupid implies below average. An average person by definition is not smart or stupid, but average.

quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:
[*]"members of a group": which specific group would that be? From their words, this is not an identifiable group so much as a general "most of the population" group. It's not like they said only Democrats or Republicans or some other specifically identifiable group.

Two groups "intelligent" vs "average" are explicitly stated in the original post. Have you even read the original post? It's pretty hard to not interpret it as contrasting the difference in thinking between "intelligent" vs "average" people. And just for the record, I don't dispute the difference. I dispute the implicit argument that:
NOT Smart = Stupid
when referring to the average person. It's not a binary state, It's a scale. Indeed, we have a vast amount of literature regarding the topic: IQ

I think it's a common failing of Smart people to automatically classify people of less intelligence as Stupid. But you need to ask yourself the question, if you have an IQ of 140 and you refer to a person of IQ 100 as Stupid, is it ok for a person of 180 IQ to refer to you as Stupid?

quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:
[*]"hatred": neither displayed hatred in their posts.(possibly pity)

Agreed, I detected no hatred. However, the definition clearly doesn't depend on hatred. The text specifically uses the word "especially" as an example of the worst form of bigotry.

quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:
So no, that previous post of yours really doesn't accurately describe either of their positions (at least, not how they wrote them in this thread.)

Ok, we disagree.
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JWatts
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I'm going to stop commenting on this topic, because I feel that it is unfairly dragging the original poster into the middle of the topic. I've already accepted his clarifications on the intent, I don't feel that he meant anything harmful and we are beating a dead horse at this point.
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Greenmanwest
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In college, I had a professor teaching Shakespeare who used to call me the perverse one, because I always insisted on finding odd readings of Shakespeare's words. For example: He explained to us that the line "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes." from Macbeth meant that the witches thumbs felt like they were being pricked, which told her something wicked was approaching. I told him he was wrong, that she was saying that she would prick her thumbs, and that the act (a simple blood ritual) would attract something wicked. So: because I deliberately misread the line, I was being perverse.
Although such perverse thinking is fun, when we are talking about political candidates, no matter what we think of them, it is important when their meaning is clear, as it is with Mr. Obama's speech, that we don't create our own meanings to derail that thought. One thing that is wrong with our system right now is that people an both sides of every question are being deliberately perverse. Instead of seeing the point and disagreeing, or agreeing, we instead deliberately misread, and so mislead, which eliminates the possibility of clear and deliberate dialogue about the issues.
If I were to similarly apply perverse thinking to the signs around the Convention hall, I could easily say that the signs had missed their own point because they say "We did build this" (we - implying, not individual accomplishment, but collective accomplishment). Of course, I won't say that is what the sign makers meant, because I know that it is not.
SImilar parsing of the Bible is what caused the vast and destructive divides in the World's religions.
In this case, Mr. Obama knew exactly what he was saying, and he did in fact clarify the statement later in the speech. We all know what he really meant. So stop being perverse.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Particularly when they aren't stupid. Stupid implies below average. An average person by definition is not smart or stupid, but average.
Just as a quibble: this is not the case. There are some words that at one point had attendant official definitions ("idiot," for example, was once tied to a certain measurement of IQ), but there is nothing preventing the entire population from being stupid.

Consider: if everyone in the world except you were no more intelligent than a particularly cheerful dog, would you say that -- because they would all be "average" -- that they could not be stupid? Of course not. They remain stupid; stupidity is simply the norm.

And stupidity is the norm.

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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Particularly when they aren't stupid. Stupid implies below average. An average person by definition is not smart or stupid, but average.
Just as a quibble: this is not the case. There are some words that at one point had attendant official definitions ("idiot," for example, was once tied to a certain measurement of IQ), but there is nothing preventing the entire population from being stupid.

Consider: if everyone in the world except you were no more intelligent than a particularly cheerful dog, would you say that -- because they would all be "average" -- that they could not be stupid? Of course not. They remain stupid; stupidity is simply the norm.

And stupidity is the norm.

Yup, the belief in AGW alone is enough to demonstrate that!
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Wayward Son
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Although disbelief in AGW is a far better example. [Wink]
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Aris Katsaris
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Actually stupidity can be best determined by how much people assign stupidity to others based on belief or disbelief in a single scientific theory, and a politically polarizing one at that.

So both of you are bloody stupid. A factual scientific matter, you both make into a shibboleth of political allegiance; thus ensuring on both sides that you will never actually resolve it.

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