Politics is Stupid


#1542

Unfortunately the established construction companies have found themselves in a neat position to undercut new companies, and yet refuse to actually yield and lower the price unilaterally. A lot of them share board members with leading members of the raw materials producing companies, and fix prices. It’s overlooked because it’s good business practice for the public to overlook this. It’s not prosecuted because that would stymie building progress.

Or, you know, not. Because if the prices get higher, they get richer for doing nothing at all.

Our landlords association recently won a battle in court to lower the legal minimum bedroom size to 8 by 5 feet, because you can fit a single bed in that. Our landlords actively fight any and all building codes. Maybe this is another fundamental difference between our sides of the Pond.

That’s simplified massively. It’s council housing to the extent that the tenants are funded by the social housing scheme, but the property was privately owned. They applied for a tax omission grant to install the fascias claiming that they were for insulation, whereas everyone knows it was to hide the brutalist architecture from the eyes of the sensitive folks living in the more expensive estates in the borough. Similar things have happened all over the UK to buildings deemed “ugly” … a good example would be a school in Morpeth.

Which also burned down.

Marriage itself is a modern capitalist ideal. A legal script that binds two people together? Shares their debt if they’re poor or prevents their money being taken in tax if they’re rich? Perfect! We’re not married, and have no desire to be. We’re happy with the legal protections of a shared household, which is what is actually important. Being recognised as a family unit, not a unit of legal script.

China. Russia. Like literally everyone who intervened by supporting the Cambodian dictator.

Every nation state that refused to help. Oh, including my own. And yours. Every humanitarian disaster is avoidable.

No, but this is an interesting case. This proves that the Dictatorial Communist structure is always doomed to fail because it is stuck in a 1930s mentality of “people can survive off of bread, rice and potatoes and don’t need luxuries” whereas we all know this is utter bollocks. It also proves both our points :slight_smile:

The Left is desperately trying to make it so. They’re diabolical.

Oh of course not, I didn’t mean to imply that! I’m just saying that’s what happens here. It’s revolting.

In response to your closing paragraph, I’m sorry but all I see there is the propaganda of Cold War America, which is perfectly understandable and nothing to be even ashamed of. A bad education isn’t the fault of the student, it’s the fault of the teacher. How Socialism, or rather Social Democracy, actually works in practice is that you have set restrictions that put the benefit of people ahead of the benefit of companies. A Social Democracy in Britain right now would focus on housing, education, health and employment; but not in a corporate manner:

A Socialist approach to housing right now would result in the building of more ‘small family’ houses; one or two bedroom flats and houses. Will this result in more tower blocks? Certainly, but with correct minimum restrictions on room sizes, fire safety, air quality, water recycling, and energy efficiency a tower block can be a penthouse.

A Socialist approach to education right now would result in making education free to use; you want to learn something you go learn it. It would also stop the ruination of Senior School which, as money tightened, started dropping subjects like art, mechanics, and foreign language because they couldn’t afford materials or qualified engineers or even just bilingual teachers. Universities would need massive overhauls, since during the last decade as tuition fees rose from £1,000 to £9,000 per term all they did was put more students into the same small rooms. No extra staff, because it’s expensive.

A Socialist approach to health would be to actually fucking fund health. We have amazing hospitals in the UK, and most of them are either closed or partially closed due to funding cuts. Shortly Bridge Hospital has a 400-bed ward that has been closed since 2007 because they didn’t want to pay cleaners to keep the hospital clean; Hexham General Hospital used to be an all-in-one hospital that could do anything; when it was rebuilt it lost the maternity ward, the emergency ward, the long term care ward, the nurse school, and pharmacy. Yes, the current hospital has no pharmacy. I just… I can’t.

A Socialist approach to employment is something that terrifies a lot of influential rich people. Universal Basic Income¹ would change the workforce forever. It would make jobs more competitive, while at the same time obliterating the bottleneck of having people forced into jobs they hate because they need the money. Automation, as Henry Ford discovered, makes a lot of things really fast and with few workers. This is a problem in a capitalist society because what do you do with the unemployed workers? This is not a problem with UBI. People can choose to do a job that they enjoy, for as many or few hours as they want. Want to be a doctor? Go and see if you’re good enough at free university, and then go and do it. Want to be a miner? Sure, go get that engineering degree for free and go do it.

A lot of what Americans fear about Socialism is made up, and a vast, vast majority of the things that Social Democracy could bring to the USA are things that the overwhelming majority of people would be both happier and richer for having.


¹ Universal Basic Income is a tax-funded structure by which everyone receives a payment per month from government which ensures that they have the bare minimum amount of income to feed, shelter, clothe, heat, power and transport their households. This would be household dependent, so a household of five would get a larger UBI credit than a household of three. Notice household not family, so as to not end up with a bunch of students living together making more money than a family with the same number of people. UBI also means the abolition of minimum wage, as it already provides that same minimum safety net. While it would also rely on you being a tax-paying citizen to receive it, it should probably be pointed out that in Britain at least, the poorest create way, way more money in taxes proportionately than the rich; if you’re poor, your priorities are food, fuel, and shelter. Food is taxed at 20%, fuel between 20 and 80%, and shelter is taxed by Council Rates which where I am are in the region of £110/mo, or approximately 14% of my income after income tax.

I’m just happy I don’t rent anymore.


#1543

I simply don’t understand a lot of what you are saying here. I think the way things like this work is too different. In the US if the local government isn’t controlling the housing/rent market someone will build new housing. It will generally be cheaper, or demonstrably better than the current housing. People will buy it, and that will drive down the costs of the remaining housing to it’s true market value.

It’s not good practice to ignore price fixing and monopolies. That crap would get you thrown in jail, eventually, here.

I think you took me the opposite way here, again probably cultural, in the US established firms push for more regulation to keep new competitors out of the marketplace. This also allows them to pretend that they care about protecting the people, when they really care about their market share. Most new businesses in the US are fighting red tape and nonsensical regulations every step of the way.

I don’t see the problem here, if someone wants to live in that they can. Of course it sounds like you have a real issue with no competition in the marketplace. Because, again, if people wanted something else here someone would build it.

I meant council as in there was a council of a dozen people that included tenants that voted to do this instead of putting in the proper smoke detectors. The air gaps at the back of the insulation that turned them into mini chimney flues were for insulation purposes in order to hit the proper “green” rating.

The state gets what the state subsidizes, if the incentive for “green” insulation wasn’t there then this could have been different.

No such thing as legal protections of a shared household here. The only way to have legal standing is with a pile of paperwork and legal fees, or getting married. But, your statement there is exactly opposite to what the research is showing in the US, married couples are wealthier than singles here. Regardless of cultural or racial or geographic conditions, take person X here and compare them to their married twin brother and the married one will be more stable and wealthier… Often even after a divorce.

The new President took the farmlands from the families that had been running them for decades and “socialized” them and kicked the current owners off. Land was broken up into parcels and given to individuals based on economic hardship and/or relation to the ruling class. Most of the displaced people took their remaining money and left, and no one knew how to farm. In less than two years they went from being the breadbasket of Africa to having to have aid sent to them. But at least the government controlled the means of production.

I would take the cold war education argument and reverse it in your case, as a member of a country that mostly lost that war. Socialism doesn’t work, and Democratic Socialism is the mice belling the cat. In the US at least 40% of the population gets more in state money than they pay into it, so I guess that the VAT at work for you.

We still live in a world of scarcity, and I don’t see this being viable. Many horrible jobs pay well because they are horrible, without enough incentive not enough people do them. See Canada’s off and on brain drain on medical professionals. The prestige is also a reason people do these things, and that’s also tied to money.

And all you have to do is give up your ambition, pride, individuality, free will, and a half a dozen other things. The countries most often pointed at as examples of successful socialism lite in Europe are also places with little to no economic movement, class issues, depression, and until recently monolithic cultural blocks. And most of them haven’t accomplished all that much of meaning on the global stage for a century or more, and the rest haven’t since WWII. They are also under breeding and being replaced by immigrants of one kind or another.

If it’s so successful why has it never worked, ever. And why would you even want to risk it since the usual result is death for millions?


#1544

You’ve hit the nail on the head there; this is where we are at opposites. I’ll use examples from my town, since it’s handy and I know it. In the semi-detached street I live in, you can rent a two-bedroom house that was built in the 1920s for £450/mo. The houses are basic, lack in adequate power ports, lack thermal insulation¹, and have all the radiators under the windows in typical British fashion so all the hot air goes straight out the window, literally.

On the outskirts of town there is a new housing project of 2, 3 and 4 bedroom houses. The 2 bedroom houses are on average 10sqm smaller than the 1920s ones because we got rid of the minimum room size requirements in the 1980s under the last Tory government. They’re also £550/mo for one on the corner with no garden, or there are a couple further into the estate for £625/mo that have a 16sqm “garden”. Average income in the borough is £900 after taxes.

You’re right, this is another cultural opposite. Here, established estate owners push for deregulation so they can build houses smaller and cheaper. The initial price for starting construction however remains artificially high to keep new estate owners out of the market. Nobody is prosecuted because we’re told “this is how the market works” despite it relying entirely on fixed prices (same goes for our fuel market, where falling oil prices have been met with constant slow rise in petrol price. I mean for Christs’ sake we pay £8.71 per US gallon at the pumps!).

The problem is, people don’t have the choice.

Oh okay no this is a linguistic thing maybe. In the UK “council” invariably refers to a public elected regulatory body (Northumberland County Council, for example). What you’re referring to would be called a Tenant Association, which in some boroughs are actually forbidden because in the 1980s they tried to form a Union to stop the Tories from making living conditions worse.


¹ except for those that remained in Council ownership, which were part of a scheme between 2003 and 2008 to insulate properties in an appropriate manner. I benefit from this.


I went and looked this up. It’s interesting reading, and not reflected here in the UK. A working class household with married occupants is just as financially unstable as unmarried. This is, in part, to a majority of work being inadequate or insecure, rather than any real social structure differences.

Again your very description of this proves that it wasn’t socialism. If an acting governmental organisation does something that grand and sweeping without preparing infrastructure, nor means for infrastructure, nor training, nor request, then they are not acting in a manner that helps the workers at all. What he did was dictatorial in the guise of socialism, which is what happens in the overwhelming majority of cases.

The literal definition of something that isn’t socialism.

I think you misunderstood my description of VAT. This is a tax we pay on consumables. The poorer you are, the more things affected by VAT you buy proportionally, so the more you’re taxed proportionately.

And considering JSA, the state welfare when you’re looking for work, is £70/wk (or £40/wk if you’ve been sanctioned for something regardless of whether that something was out of your control - there are many reports of people being sanctioned for something as pedantic as not arriving the mandatory fifteen minutes early because they live more than 50 miles from their local JobCentre and public transport is unreliable) it would be very difficult to say that anyone who doesn’t qualify for tax relief gets more from the system than they pay in. Even housing support, which is paid to unemployed people so that they can live somewhere, is fixed at a certain percentage (I think it’s close to 70%) of the average rental price of an area - which again means that when prices get higher, the landlords gain. And it’s especially nice of so many landlords to outright refuse housing support applicants, which they’re legally entitled to do.

Again, drawing from historical cases of dictatorship doesn’t disprove my point about the potential for actual social and socialist freedoms now. Would you honestly say a man in Russia today has more freedoms than he did in 1950? And how does Socialism reduce pride, or individuality? Treating everyone as to their needs doesn’t strip them of individuality any more than treating a poorly rose bush makes it identical to the one you only water every so often. And indeed, if you had access to free education which meant you could follow your dreams of being the next best engineer, programmer, scientist, botanist, duck breeder, tailor, cobbler, chef, politician, how does that limit free will or ambition? A socialist state doesn’t prevent free enterprise, it prevents corporatisation and exploitation of the workers at all points of a chain.

Depending on which news stations you read from, the same can be said about any European economy. All of Europe is doing awfully, regardless of political stance. I mean look at the UK; we’re a huge corporate conglomerate oligarchical mess, and our economy is tanking faster than Herr Kommandant May running away from the Press after yet another shitstorm of a Brexit meeting. Italy is another right-leaning country that’s tanking. France? Well… you get the picture.

As for your case for Socialism-Lite countries: Sweden seems fine to me right now. Catalonia could be doing better, but this is all down to Spain buggering off and realising it doesn’t have the right to own people who want to leave Spain. Andorra is raking in tourism money, although they’re technically just a large village in the mountains.

Why should we? Since the concept of Nation States isn’t going anywhere, and with the rise of the far-right once again deliberately trumping (ha!) up ridiculous nationalistic dogma, a majority of the population is increasingly under the opinion that we shouldn’t be doing anything globalist because we’re too busy being so damn proud of our shittly little patch of land filled with proud, strong, geoethnic people [sic].

I mean really, geoethnic is a term that is only useful archeologically unless you’re using it to be racist and say that your neighbours don’t belong here because they don’t match the Pantone number for your skin.

We’re ‘under breeding’ because we can’t afford children. I know a lot of the outward appearance of European countries is “look how awesome we are” but it’s all bullshit. We’re not awesome. 60% of households in the UK earning minimum wage are so far under the ‘bread line’ that personal debt is the only real industry making headroom (2,048% APR? That’s much more reasonable than 11,000% APR, our economy must be improving!)(no really, those are the interest rates of two payday loans companies).

Using the word ‘replace’ is troublesome. If Sangeet moves to England from India, he does not displace Mike from Chorley. They’re not replacing us, they’re joining us. Some of them with much, much more success than others although this does seem to be an educational and age barrier more than a racial one in any sense. You’re not going to feel ‘at home’ in a foreign country unless you move there young and become accustomed to the random shite that passes for culture, part of which is the education system that at the minute seems to be deliberately playing into the “disruptive students are more likely to be foreign” line than is actually true (the Ministry of Education has had to repeatedly apologise for lying about this. Repeatedly).

Greed mostly. It’s the human condition I hate most. “Why do we all get to have one biscuit when I want two”. It’s kids in nursery school bickering over Lego bricks, just on the larger social scale. This is why socialism fails internally, in most cases.

Again, those are deaths from failed, or outright perverted regimes that it was convenient to continue to call Communist or Socialist long, long after they descended into dictatorships. See above argument.

The issue isn’t the political stance, it’s education, communication, resources, and most of all greed. Making greed socially unacceptable is something that Capitalism will never do; it relies on greed. Once greed becomes unacceptable, then Socialism can, and will, prevail.


#1545

Chicken and egg issue then. Because right now, everything runs on greed and enlightened self interest. And I suppose that’s one of my issues with Socialism, it requires that people change in order for it to work, and everyone keeps trying to force people to change. I don’t doubt that eventually we’ll settle on something that is more like socialism on a grand scale and capitalism on a micro scale, but not any time soon.


#1546

Enlightened self interest is a trope the right loves to trot out but I don’t think it’s as common as most of them believe. Greed, though, that’s going strong.


#1547

I think everyone does something for a personal reward. The only difference is how far out they think. A more cynical person would say people do as much as they think they can get away with within societies borders. But again, that’s risk vs. reward. People do charitable works because it makes them feel good. If you don’t have a strong sense of self interest I think you don’t do very well, and if it’s too strong I think the same is true.

Greed is just people trying to guilt people out of looking out for themselves. It’s none of your business how much money I make off of something, attaching value judgements to the acquisition of wealth is a useless exercise. Now, you want to criticize the method, I’m with you. Right now I hear the word greedy used for just about every business out there. Credit card companies are greedy because they charge interest, mothers are greedy because they want child support, car companies are greedy because they want more money for new cars, mechanics are greedy because they want to get paid for labor, stores are greedy because they charge more for single serving cold drinks more than 12 packs of drinks, and the chick at the farmers market is greedy because she charges for the soap her daughter made.

There is nothing inherently wrong with greed, or anger, sadness, love, or any other emotion. But when those emotions control your actions that’s the issue.

I almost think Greedy is the replacement for Racist when it’s finally worn out.


#1548

I can see where you are coming from there and I partly agree with you. I think there is a difference between making a fair profit and greed. I think the former is fine, but the latter not so much. I also think that there are far too many people calling out the former as the latter - and most of the examples you cite seem to be that. I’m pretty certain that the people overusing the greed word are actually being greedy themselves.


#1549

I resemble that remark.

This is what I was trying to say but you said it way better.


#1550

Oddly enough, the companies that get hit a lot for being greedy usually aren’t. Gas companies and insurance companies often make between 3-5% on their investments, compared to an industrial company making more like 10%, and companies like Apple making 45%.

On the other hand, what’s a fair profit. If I sweat my ass off for 20 years making peanuts and finally hit that golden deal shouldn’t that make up for my 20 year investment of my life? Is it greed when a football player pushes for another half a million dollars, knowing they are trading their health and youth for cash over a very short time period?


#1551

I don’t think there’s any black and white with fair profit and greed. I don’t know that either of your examples definitively show greed, though both could go that way.

I actually think we are all coming from a very similar place. I think that “greed” is an overused term, and consequently its meaning has been subverted a bit. Force10 and I are coming at it from its original meaning and you are more protesting about its subversion.
I could be wrong of course.


#1552

I do a lot of this lately. I personally find word creep to be a horrible thing for polite discourse. If you can make the word used to discuss the topic so toxic that you can’t defend it then some people seem to think they win the discussion.

Racism and Sexism some people are trying to redefine to mean prejudice and power. And that’s not how it works. Especially when they add in the implication that it’s societal power, not individual power.

Terrorism isn’t simply causing terror. It has a political or agenda driven basis. If I go downtown and shoot everyone then I’m a crazy maniac mass murderer. If I go downtown and announce that breeders must go and shoot anyone who is pregnant and then run home and hide and post my manifesto about how children are the source of all evil then that’s terrorism.

Greed, some people are using this as a synonym for evil. Even in biblical terms money isn’t evil, the love of money is. (Good men’s group meeting this morning on a related topic, but I don’t bore everyone.)

On top of that you have the excessive labeling. If you oppose same sex marriage you must hate gay people and are homophobic. If you support additional vetting of refugees you hate Muslims and are Islamophobic.

If you can define your opponent and the language they can use then you win the argument. I think you do more damage in the long term, but you win short term.

The public discourse is becoming more and more black and white, while we live in a gray world. If you have an unapproved opinion then you must have horrific motives.

I read somewhere that conservatives are much more likely to have progressive friends than vice versa, and I believe it. Part of it in my experience is my liberal friends have no problem insulting my way of life or parts of my life I have no control over, while I tend to let it flow over me and don’t engage in the name calling. I could respond to being called a cis-male-evangelical homophobic nutjob by calling her a baby killing godless waste of oxygen, but I don’t think it gets anyone anywhere. I can see her point of view and I can see how she could think some of these things, but I think she’s wrong. Whereas she thinks at least to a limited extent that I am evil and can’t actually think correct thoughts, she can’t understand why I think the way I do and has no interest in doing so, because I am wrong. It’s worse than monks not being around women due to corruption.


#1553

I swear, it’s like you guys just got on the Internet. You do not know how to argue. No one even got called a Nazi.


#1554

The last time I saw someone saying something like that was during the second world war and they were wearing the letters SS on their uniforms.

(Is that better? :smile:)


#1555

Trump is tweeting that the NFL should suspend Marshawn Lynch for standing during the Mexican national anthem yesterday (the game was in Mexico City) and then sitting for the US anthem in protest. Shouldn’t the President of the United States have way bigger fish to fry?


#1556

So, it would appear that the Democrats were throwing stones in a glass house. The number of people coming out of the woodwork to accuse Democrat “icons” is insane. Watching people like Pelosi squirm on camera is the best schadenfreude.

The numbers of people that are like, yeah, we all knew he was like that are mind boggling. This crap with Roy Moore was decades ago, and it looks like he was a real asshole in his younger days. But Franken, Conyers, Al Green, Grijavla, Mendoza, and lord knows who else. And on the right, Moore.

It seems like every Republican who pulls this sort of shit gets outed and kicked out pretty quickly, especially if it’s more than random accusations, yet there are multiple Democrats in office who settled, with taxpayer money, that people are defending. It’s either excusable or it’s not. Their position, or part shouldn’t matter. Now, I’m sure there are Republicans that have settled as well, otherwise why would Congress be making these payouts, but either they aren’t as long term abusers, aren’t as horrible people, or it just happens that none of them have been outed yet.

No wonder liberal women think they live in a rape culture, apparently they do. The news channels, politics, Hollywood, seems like there is less sexism and rape in a construction yard or a prison than those places, or at least when it happens there it’s considered wrong and not just the cost of doing business.


#1557

So, um… It’s okay to call someone by a racial slur if you have an antagonistic relationship with them?

Believe me, if you call me “Jap”, “Chink”, “Gook” or any other slur, if we weren’t in an antagonistic relationship before, we would be now.


#1558

People have been calling Warren Pocahontas since it was revealed she checked a minority box as a Native American. Or more often Focahontas, or Fauxcahontas.

If there were some lilly white North Eastern dude who claimed he was Asian on an employment form and was listed as a minority member of the faculty, and you called him out on it and he said he thought he was Asian because some of his relatives had narrow eyes and people used to tell stories about Asian ancestors, you might call him Emperor Fakahiro, or some other silly name to make fun of his inane claim to a heritage he doesn’t have. Kind of like Saun King, and Racheal what’shername.

The whole point is that she lied about her race to take advantage of it. She never listed it in Texas, but in Pennsylvania she did, and at Harvard she did. She was listed as part of the minority faculty at both schools, and was recognized as a minority winner of an award.

This isn’t a comment on her race, but rather one on her lack of honesty. Now, why the hell he said it to Code Talkers, fuck if I know.


#1559

Because he knew the media would jump on it and he’s trying to divert attention from the horrible tax bill, net neutrality, and $Deity knows what else.


#1560

Then we get the media we deserve, maybe he’s trying to divert the next Koipondgate before it happens. Lord knows if he doesn’t do something people are more than happy to make it up.

Maybe the Koch brothers owning a chunk of Time magazine will cause them to stop chasing squirrels all the time.


#1561

And now Matt Bauer and Garrison Keillor.

Lecturing people for decades about what shitlords men are… apparently because they are looking in the mirror. Again, no wonder people think shit is so bad. The people that have been telling them how bad it is are the worst offenders, so of course their political opponents are worse.