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Author Topic: Remember how NSA-type surveillance would "never be used" for domestic law enforcement
Pyrtolin
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quote:
l. I was drawing a comparison between gangs and governments.
Now you are, more clearly which is good enough for me.
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The Drake
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"Like a criminal"

You may recall from grammar school, this is a simile. The point of a simile is to provoke thought into how the subject of the sentence is in fact similar to a criminal.

Much as

"like a big pizza-pie"

in comparison to the moon is not suggesting that the lunar surface is caked with cheese and tomato sauce, but rather to explore the object's roundness and the happy thoughts it provokes.

If I had meant to say "is a criminal" I would have used those words instead. The fact that the original comparison makes some people uncomfortable is precisely the point, to make them re-evaluate their support for the subject of the comparison.

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KidTokyo
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Drake,

The meme-police are out to revoke your poetic license.

It offends. [Wink]

(Just joshin' pyr).

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
You may recall from grammar school, this is a simile. The point of a simile is to provoke thought into how the subject of the sentence is in fact similar to a criminal.

And it's a bad comparison, because there is no coherence to the point of comparison.

quote:
but rather to explore the object's roundness and the happy thoughts it provokes.
Indeed, because, on average, a basic pizza is round and white, and while there are exceptions- square pizzas, pizzas with cheddar cheese- they''re notable for being exceptions. On average a criminal, on the other hand? Has broken the law. Most likely is poor, if you want to stretch for another commonality, and very likely serving time for a minor drug or other non-violent crime.

If I said "is frozen and mass produced like a big pizza-pie" don't you think that would be a poor simile, given that it implies characteristics of a certain subset of pizzas are common enough that they should be considered to be characteristic of them on average.

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The Drake
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I suspect our disagreement is that you think our government agencies obey the law on average, and I think they don't.

When it comes to the NSA or CIA, I think you'd have to be bat-****e crazy to think they follow any laws of any kind. They have been repeatedly exposed in breaking the law, and not little laws either. They justify it all under the "greater good" concept.

Is torture something criminals do? Our government does. Why we would trust such a morally bankrupt bunch of criminally minded people with our most intimate personal data? That's the incoherent point of view.

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Seneca
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The private sector strikes back.

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/04/this-machine-catches-stingrays-pwnie-express-demos-cellular-threat-detector/

More proof that even the government knows what it is doing is illegal. They are dropping charges on cases using Stingray left and right. Here's another one.
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/04/prosecutors-drop-robbery-case-to-preserve-stingray-secrecy-in-st-louis/

Everyone give a big thank you to Obama, also known as Bush 2.0.

Do any of you seriously believe these unconstitutional practices will slow down or even remain the same and not increase under either Hillary or Jeb? Do you even care about trying to get your civil rights back?

[ April 22, 2015, 09:39 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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TomDavidson
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Who would you like us to shoot, Seneca? Or do you seriously believe that any declared candidate will do something to stop this?
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Who would you like us to shoot, Seneca? Or do you seriously believe that any declared candidate will do something to stop this?

"Who would you like us to shoot" is exactly the problem. Representative democracy is set up with market principles in mind, whereby if there is a demand for a candidate to champion a cause one will emerge. Since we know free market economics actually does not not self-correct in the way we would like it to, we can also know that democracy will have the same problem. There is simply no mechanism for people to 'do something about it', save trying to initiate a grassroots movement. We have to wait around for a hypothetical candidate to come along and offer the thing we want. Until it happens it won't. It's a problem.

I guess protests are a possibility but they seem to be ineffective in general.

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The Drake
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Is it so ridiculous, Tom? In recent history, Ron Paul was a declared candidate and absolutely stood against this activity. The worse conclusion, that the vast majority of the electorate either doesn't care or doesn't know? That's the problem with representative government.

That said, other than voting, there are lots of ways to protest something and get things done, just look at the civil rights movement. That movement worked because citizens were willing to endure physical pain and incarceration.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
That movement worked because citizens were willing to endure physical pain and incarceration.
Visibly. If you're being punished by the NSA and CIA, who knows?
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Seneca
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In the end there is never a candidate that anyone completely agrees with. I guess it remains to be seen what voters will value more, their civil rights or party loyalty. I think we can pretty much accurately label both Jeb and Hillary as anti-freedom candidates, so that should make selecting anyone else easier for anyone who claims to care about our civil liberties.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
I think we can pretty much accurately label both Jeb and Hillary as anti-freedom candidates, so that should make selecting anyone else easier for anyone who claims to care about our civil liberties.
Which specific mainstream candidate do you think cares about civil liberties?
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Seneca
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Some people who care about it more than Jeb or Hillary are Cruz, Paul, Lee, Carson, among others.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
I think we can pretty much accurately label both Jeb and Hillary as anti-freedom candidates, so that should make selecting anyone else easier for anyone who claims to care about our civil liberties.
Which specific mainstream candidate do you think cares about civil liberties?
Rand Paul does, even to a fault. He is sufficiently anti-system that he wants to dismantle systemic artifacts that are actually helpful. But nevertheless his main position in domestic politics seems to be libertarian.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Rand Paul does, even to a fault.
He pays some lip service to them while supporting policies that actively undermine them. He's not anti-system, just anti-government, which means that civil liberties have little to no protection from private plutocratic dictates.
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Seneca
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"Private plutocrats" don't have qualified immunity to conduct no-knock raids and kill people based on illegally obtained information.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Rand Paul does, even to a fault.
He pays some lip service to them while supporting policies that actively undermine them. He's not anti-system, just anti-government, which means that civil liberties have little to no protection from private plutocratic dictates.
Well, that's your opinion. It's true that removing systemic controls can help plutocrats, but at the same time current systemic controls are part of what helps plutocrats in the first place. So do you remove mechanisms that help them and open the possibility that they help themselves? That's a question. But nothing seems to me worse than having the law outright promote oligarchy through corporate contracts and the banking establishment. If removing these benefits to oligarchy leads to the oligarchs doing it themselves then that scenario can be inspected at that time, with the government collusion not being a factor. That would make it much easier to deal with. It's the government/corporate partnership that is currently unassailable.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
"Private plutocrats" don't have qualified immunity to conduct no-knock raids and kill people based on illegally obtained information.

That's amature hour compared to having immunity for massacring hundreds of people, which we only took away from them through asserting strong regulations that prevented it in response to the labor movement.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Rand Paul does, even to a fault.
Yeah, he says that, but I believed Obama more than I believe him. His dad at least had a couple principles, even though he betrayed most of them over the years; I don't get that vibe from Rand at all.

-------

quote:
Some people who care about it more than Jeb or Hillary are Cruz, Paul, Lee, Carson, among others.
Of those four, Seneca, which ones do you think would actually roll back current NSA policy?

[ April 23, 2015, 03:40 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Seneca
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There is more of a chance that Paul, Cruz, Lee, and Carson would veto a renewal/expansion of the Patriot Act, and/or push for and sign its repeal as well as shutter most of the NSA than the possibility that either Clinton or Bush would do it.
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TomDavidson
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Sure. And there's more of a chance that Clinton would successfully communicate with the benevolent alien overminds from Zgorlap who've been trying to get in touch with us for decades to solve all our economic scarcity problems, but I'm not a single-issue voter.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Rand Paul does, even to a fault.
Yeah, he says that, but I believed Obama more than I believe him. His dad at least had a couple principles, even though he betrayed most of them over the years; I don't get that vibe from Rand at all.
Can you provide an example or two of how you think Ron betrayed his principles? I'm not 100% sure either that Rand is what he says he is, but I was pretty sure with Ron that he was. Ron was willing to say stuff in the debates that outright generated boos, and didn't care one whit, but of course if you're speaking about his voting history I'd like to hear what you think.
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Seneca
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In the end everyone is a single issue voter, because no two issues are perfectly, 100% exactly equal in the minds of anyone. Everyone ranks issues. And I have never heard of someone who voted for a candidate that was opposed to their #1 issue.

It will be interesting to see who values liberty and freedom from oppressive government given 8 years of their recorded complaining about Bush violating those things.

I can't imagine any issue that is more important than this one and also one that Clinton and Jeb are uniquely positioned on in distant opposition to the other 4 I mentioned.

[ April 23, 2015, 04:45 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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TomDavidson
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Seneca, if I think one person is 2% less likely than another person to kill me, but twenty times more likely to maim me, I will -- all else being held equal -- go with the second option. That there are candidates more likely than Clinton or Bush to do something does not mean that those candidates are actually likely tovdo that thing if elected -- as I note you know, based on the very careful way you've been parsing your responses. After all, surely Obama was more likely than Clinton to shut down the PATRIOT provisions, no?
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Seneca
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I understand many libertarians' hopes with Obama the first time he got elected given his campaign promises. However, they knew better by 2012.

However, we have an multi-track record from Hillary that let's us be safe in the knowledge there's no hope with her in the executive branch at all. Scrubbing those emails should have proven that to anyone who doubted it.

[ April 23, 2015, 05:22 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
I can't imagine any issue that is more important than this one and also one that Clinton and Jeb are uniquely positioned on in distant opposition to the other 4 I mentioned.
Any issue? Any issues that have to do with basic access to food, shelter, and health are always going to trump secondary concerns about possible spying.

Without strong programs in place to protect those baseline prerequisites to having any kind of freedom at all, there's no liberty for overbearing intelligence agencies to threaten. Everyone you mentioned aside from Clinton has been pretty clear that they want to remove any number of protections of personal liberty against abuse by wealthy and corporate interests- to allow discrimination in hiring, allow discrimination in access to the public market, to limit access to education, to support the current trend in restricting voter access to the polls. Clinton isn't much better on some points, but of the ones you mentioned, she's the only one that hasn't, at some point or another threatened most of the systems that make at least some effort to provide people with civil liberties and protect their rights in the first place.

That the FBI wouldn't be spying on us under Paul is not much consolation in comparison to his effective promises to hand full control of the economy over to private banking interests, both by undercutting the federal reserve and by trying to balance federal budget

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Seneca
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Sorry, but we've been over this and I'm not going to accept your phony concept of freedom as demanding free stuff from others who worked for it.

That's not freedom at all. It's a type of slavery. Maybe not as bad as what existed here nearly two centuries ago, but still slavery nonetheless to force someone to work to provide resources for someone else without consideration of compensation.

[ April 23, 2015, 06:06 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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TomDavidson
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Seneca, is it okay to demand free stuff from people who didn't work for it? Are they only entitled to possessions by dint of their labor?
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Seneca
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It is wrong and immoral to use force and coercion to take something that rightfully belongs to someone and give it to someone else.
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TomDavidson
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What makes something rightfully belong to someone?
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Seneca
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I won't be baited into the socialistic nonsense that all or even most individual ownership is somewhere back along the "causal" chain derived from the harm of someone else.
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TomDavidson
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Feel free to explain where you believe rightful ownership is rooted, if you like. Or you can just acknowledge that this whole thing is irrelevant to Pyrtolin's point.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
Sorry, but we've been over this and I'm not going to accept your phony concept of freedom as demanding free stuff from others who worked for it.


How about you stop asserting that that's my position, when I have already explicitly said that it was nothing of the sort and have never advocated for such.

Fabricating stuff like that up is a wonderful way of dodging actually addressing points, I'll grant.

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Seneca
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Stop pretending that government spending and taxation are disconnected. The government taxes in relation to spending to avoid run away inflation. In that way taxation is a very real "taking" of people's property/wealth.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
Stop pretending that government spending and taxation are disconnected.


They are related- spending is how the government creates money (transferable tax credit) and taxing is how it redeems/destroys it.

quote:
The government taxes in relation to spending to avoid run away inflation.

Targeted taxation can control inflation. It has not relationship to public spending though, only to high concentrations of wealth that might bid up prices instead of prompting additional production.

quote:
In that way taxation is a very real "taking" of people's property/wealth.
If taxation controls inflation, such that people can afford the same amount of wealth with less money because prices are lower, then it has not taken any property or wealth away from anyone. However, all of this is completely tangential from the issue of ensuring that people can afford to _ppurchase_ (not appropriate) enough of our wast excess of production to ensure that they have the basic level of wealth and security needed to be able to work productively in the first place.

Forcing people to endure poverty because they can't afford to be productive is, hands down, the worst violation of liberty and basic civil rights you can inflict on them. That is actively and unequivocally forcing people into slavery to whatever private interests might choose to exploit their desperation.

[ April 23, 2015, 11:43 PM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:

That the FBI wouldn't be spying on us under Paul is not much consolation in comparison to his effective promises to hand full control of the economy over to private banking interests, both by undercutting the federal reserve and by trying to balance federal budget

I'm sorry but this has no basis in reality. One reason cited by the Federal Reserve itself against a full audit by the Congress is that they don't want political interference in their activities. They say it will destabilize the economy. Here you are saying that undercutting the Federal Reserve will thrust economic control into private banking hands. You seem to be in disagreement with both me and with the Fed board on this one.

That fact of the matter is that the Fed is an example of both over-regulation and under-regulation at the same time, both verging towards oligarchy. It's over-regulated because it creates an artificial relationship between private banking and the Federal government that allows the private bankers to effectively determine government policy of their own accord, where they would never have been able to do so otherwise. And it's under-regulated because there is no oversight on their activities. Undercutting the Fed and inserting Congressional oversight to the operations of the central bank would serve to increase the politicization of monetary policy, yes, but that should be a political issue anyhow! The citizens elected the Congress, not the Fed board, and if the Congress wants to screw up the economy that's the way the constitution intended it to be screwed up. Allowing bank boards to screw it up to suit themselves is infinitely worse.

And although I'm aware of your school of economics whereby operating under a deficit is not automatically a bad thing, it's another thing entirely to call trying to balance the budget a potential danger of electing someone [Razz]

[ April 24, 2015, 01:00 AM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
One reason cited by the Federal Reserve itself against a full audit by the Congress is that they don't want political interference in their activities. They say it will destabilize the economy. Here you are saying that undercutting the Federal Reserve will thrust economic control into private banking hands.
You're making an unjustified logical leap there from "minutes of certain meetings are kept private" to "private sector control".

The Federal Reserve is a public entity, the fact that Congress is isolated from being constantly involved in it's day to day operations is a matter of law that _Congress_ established and Congress could change at any time by passing new legislation. Being isolated from direct political machinations is no different, in principle than any other regulator under the control of the Executive branch- that's why the president also appoints the majority of its Governors, including its Chair.

Handicapping the Fed does not magically give power back to Congress, it, at best, just takes away the established mechanism for public oversight and lets the biggest banks start effectively calling the shots. At worst, it returns us to 19th century conditions where all private banking was fundamentally unreliable, cash was only as good as the reputation of the bank you got it from, and bank failure was an expected, regular event. Any kind of meaningful savings would become nearly impossible for the average person.

quote:
And although I'm aware of your school of economics whereby operating under a deficit is not automatically a bad thing, it's another thing entirely to call trying to balance the budget a potential danger of electing someone
If you care about economic growth, which would be nearly impossible under a balanced budget, and private debt, which would skyrocket to even greater heights under a balanced budget, then it is a very explicitly dangers. Unless we were running a huge trade surplus- effectively, at our size, colonizing us to whatever market we made ourselves dependent on- the only source of additional money for private income and growth would be from ever larger bank loans. We're already suffering under mountains of private debt and suppressed wages from Federal deficits that are far too small to support our economy and growth, balancing the budget again would just bet guaranteeing another financial crisis like every other time that a strong effort to do so has been made in the past.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
The Federal Reserve is a public entity, the fact that Congress is isolated from being constantly involved in it's day to day operations is a matter of law that _Congress_ established and Congress could change at any time by passing new legislation.

Here's the thing - it isn't a public entity. It was brought into being by an act of Congress and therefore was created by a public entity (the government), but the Fed itself is a private corporation owned by its undisclosed shareholders. We can more or less assume these consist of various banks but we don't know specifics. It is not a branch of government, and under current law does not answer to government.

You're quite right that the Congress willingly signed away its powers over monetary policy to the Fed and so it is operating within its rights at the moment. You may even believe that it's better for the Fed board to conduct this kind of work than the Congress (I don't). But for right now the setup consists of a private company influenced or run outright by the major banks that decides national monetary policy, and does other very significant things besides (such as the infamous $13 trillion bailout for foreign interests).

Some central banks (not many) actually are public entities. The Bank of Canada, for instance, is officially a public institution. It would be far better in my opinion if the Fed was nationalized and became one as well. Needless to say there would be major resistance to this ever happening.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
but the Fed itself is a private corporation owned by its undisclosed shareholders.
This is completely false. Banks to have to buy a "share" in the fed to be able to use its services (and thus also subject themselves to regulation by it) but that's effectively putting down a baseline reserve deposit that they can't touch. It conveys absolutely no ownership. The fed is structured in a way that resembles a corporation, but that doesn't actually make it a corporation, it just makes legal terminology more consistent. IT is a public entity, and Congress can change its operating rules at any time (and has done so a number of times in the past.

You're reciting anti-fed propaganda here that has no actual basis in reality, just in conspiracy theories drummed up to scare people into making political choices that are otherwise against their own interests.

quote:
You may even believe that it's better for the Fed board to conduct this kind of work than the Congress (I don't).
If I had to choose between a a large number of poorly informed politicians and a panel of well trained and empirically minded economists making monetary decisions, I'd take the risk that at times I'd disagree with some of them in exchange for overall stability and predictability, instead of returning our economy to the complete basket-case night that it was prior to the establishment of the Fed.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Banks to have to buy a "share" in the fed to be able to use its services (and thus also subject themselves to regulation by it) but that's effectively putting down a baseline reserve deposit that they can't touch. It conveys absolutely no ownership. The fed is structured in a way that resembles a corporation, but that doesn't actually make it a corporation, it just makes legal terminology more consistent. IT is a public entity, and Congress can change its operating rules at any time (and has done so a number of times in the past.

You're reciting anti-fed propaganda here that has no actual basis in reality, just in conspiracy theories drummed up to scare people into making political choices that are otherwise against their own interests.

Here's a nice quote from Wikipedia:

quote:
In Lewis v. United States,[8] the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit stated that: "The Reserve Banks are not federal instrumentalities for purposes of the FTCA [the Federal Tort Claims Act], but are independent, privately owned and locally controlled corporations." The opinion went on to say, however, that: "The Reserve Banks have properly been held to be federal instrumentalities for some purposes."
That being said, I'm not saying the Fed operates totally separately from government. On the contrary, it has a very close partnership with parts of the government (not the Congress) and is the nexus between the banking community and the Federal Government. The whole mechanism is private/public intertwined, just as the military industry has become as well.

I doubt anything could come of speaking more about this, since we'll never agree, but if you are taking the Fed's own statements about how it's operated at face value then I think you're making a mistake. Its use as an instrument for private banks to conduct transactions is so apparent that I actually can't see how it could be perceived as having any other serious function. I even read the book the Fed released about itself:

http://www.federalreserve.gov/pf/pf.htm

The book is designed not to be read. Every page is useless tedium regurgitating the same things said at the turn of the century about why a central bank is needed. Needless to say its current function is not limited to (and is barely even relevant to) its initial stated function back in 1913.

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