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The most dangerous time since the Civil War
#1
I hope that this does not seem shrill or panicked. I consider myself as rational as anyone can be while remaining human. I am not given to conspiracies, as I usually find that they require too many leaps of thought. Yes, JFK was killed by a lone assassin who was alienated, confused, angry, and devoid of any loyalties. Yes, the UFOs have often proved to be weather balloons, strange aircraft, marsh gas, mirages, or even the planet Venus (which on occasion is visible in broad daylight). The Loch Ness monster never existed. Strange things go on at Area 51, to be sure, but it is a testing ground for secretive military aircraft. Nostradamus? Revelation? Ho-hum!

I can now see this as the most dangerous time so far in the Crisis of 2020, and the most dangerous time in American history since the American Civil War. At least during the Second World War, the fascist pigs Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Hideki Tojo were far from the American mainland, and America was as tigh5tly united as any democracy could be. Today the fascist pigs are in Congress, the White House, and several Governors' mansions.

Yes, this is America, and military coups just do not happen here because this is America. But I look at the unpopularity of the President and Congress and its willing to do extreme legislation such as a tax cut that is a huge giveaway to a small fraction of the population and a great sacrifice for everyone else. Within five years, most Americans will feel great pain. One of the provisions is that rebated tuition that comes from endowments at colleges will be taxable income to college students. Student loan interest will no longer be deductible. If one recognizes that the Republican party seeks to punish people for being in a demographic that recognizes the President and the Republican Party as frauds, it makes sense. This is a bare minority that has no willingness to do what makes democracy possible -- lose elections that end its power.

The President acts much like a dictator. He is no better than the absolute monarchs who ruled Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, or Turkey just before the First World War. We all know how that war went. Just imagine a leader like Wilhelm II with nuclear weapons! That's Emperor Donald I for you. Lobbyists have a steel grip on the legislative process, and with a Presidency aligned with those lobbyists, we have but a shell of democracy.

We need remember that a highly-unpopular leadership with a radical agenda and a desire for entrenching itself has often shown the willingness to abolish democracy when forthcoming elections seem likely to reject such leadership. Make no mistake: Donald Trump decides, and you don't, what "Make America Great Again". That's likely a cheap-labor, low-service government that privatizes everything on behalf of rapacious monopolists -- most likely the people who got the tax-cut giveaway. After all, there will be a deficit to pay off, and the most effective way is to give away the public sector to greedy monopolists who can then take everything. Class privileger does not yield willingly., It has shown more willingness to murder people than to accede anything.

I expect workers to lose the right to unions. I expect welfare, Medicare, and Social Security to vanish. But Donald Trump is indeed Making America Great Again -- if you use the standards of a plutocrat of the 1920s.

But Coolidge wasn't so bad? Coolidge was a pussycat as a leader. He governed in accordance with the playbook of the Gilded Age. I am thinking of Mussolini.

Sure, it is no longer a full year until the next Congressional election. I sincerely hope that this one will be fair. I encourage people to treat that election as if it is the most important election in American history. If it goes badly, then elections in America will be as meaningless as those in 'socialist' states. We could end up with a political system that better resembles that in the People's Republic of China than what we are accustomed to.  Power is split about 60-40 between the Leading Force and everyone else who know their subordinate place.  Maybe our leaders will be wise enough to not win elections with "100% of eligible voters participating and 100% voting for the Party list" as one sees in reports of the sham elections in North Korea.

I am too old to start over elsewhere. I can easily see myself not surviving this Bad New Age should it be as bad as it is even if I have a longevity that gets me to 90. I have found that I am not the sort to suffer with a smile. I can endure much grief, but don't ask me to put up a facade of cheerfulness or consent.

One thing that many learn in a Crisis Era that there are worse things than death.

Give me liberty or give me death -- Patrick Henry.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool" -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, V.i


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#2
(12-01-2017, 05:06 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: One thing that many learn in a Crisis Era that there are worse things than death.

At this point, I think the point of no return has been passed.  I expect the elections of '18 will be rigged.  Who knows what the leaders will decide what the margin shall be, but you can bet the fascists will keep their majority.

At this point most of the Trump voters are in a magically thinking death cult.  Since '12 I've given up trying to talk to them.  As they say, Obama was a Kenyan, Hillary is the greatest Machiavellian Witch ever, Bill is the Grand Wizard of Satan, and if you want to sample pedophilia got to Comet Pizza, order a Pizza with extra cheese and your basest wishes will be fulfilled.

I use to have hope, thinking that as things got really bad, that they'd see the light again.  But, I no longer believe that.  What changed my mind was some doc on the Battle of Berlin I watched.  I'd always assumed the Nazi's saw the light as the Red Army marched in, but I was wrong.  They died by the hundreds of thousands thinking victory was just around the corner.  There was no redemption at the end.  And worse yet,  the 'good' Germans remained alive to feel the full wrath of the Soviets who were in no mood to listen to excuses.

Everything tells me this current American Era is going to end poorly.  The only question is will it happen in my lifetime?  I've got at most 20-25 years left, and maybe even less. But, end it will, in total disaster.
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#3
I also see our economic elites as no better than the self-indulgent aristocrats depicted in Doctor Zhivago just before the Revolution.

It will likely take an economic meltdown as severe as that of 1929-1932 to disabuse America's elites of their pathological narcissism and economic sadism.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool" -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, V.i


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#4
The student loan and tuition rebate treatment merely levels the playing field with those who save for their own or their kids' education. Why should people who manage their money well be penalized relative to those who save nothing and depend on loans or payment in kind for their education?

I understand how people who are receiving government benefits and fear they might be forced to take jobs they consider to be beneath them might object, but for those of us who actually work, pay taxes, and support the rest of society, it is merely justice.

That said, we are in far more dangerous times than the Civil War because this time, the crisis war is likely to be fought with nuclear weapons.
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#5
Tax payments that help others are merely insurance for yourself if you need it, and support for the society you depend on. Taxes are not theft, and they are not penalties (although they can be deterrents).

The danger of nuclear war is there, although it diminished with the end of the Cold War. Other catastrophes beckon, like climate change that could be a crisis for an entire saeculum, at least. I do put some stock in the double rhythm theory, which implies that we are trending toward making war among ourselves in the USA, and that this is the most likely war. But a simultaneous war with outside threats is certainly a good possibility too. Long about 2025, fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night.

And it would seem there are few more-likely predictions I could make than that a major international war is due at the end of 2020 or beginning of 2021; that the USA will be involved in it only by proxy at most, at first; that it will happen somewhere in Asia (more exact estimates are in my forthcoming book); and that if it continues, it could be the occasion for direct USA involvement by 2025-26. This war could involve nuclear weapons, but this would be between minor powers compared to the USA in 2021-24, at least, since direct involvement appears unlikely then according to the cycles. Needless to say, of course, I could be wrong. But I'm usually right about these things.

It is likely that USA mismanagement of affairs in the Middle and/or Far East, in this Century at least, will have contributed to the outbreak of this war.

One thing I'm looking to get dangerous soon, is the fate of the Kurds. Drump does not seem likely to support them, even after we used them to defeat the IS. Turkey is opposed to them too, and Putin is Assad's ally in his genocide projects against Assad's citizens in Syria. But the Kurds control a large swath of northeast-Syria now, plus of course their autonomous territory in Iraq which includes recaptured territory from the IS too. They want independence and/or liberation. They fought for it. We owe them, but will Drump and Co. stand up to Assad when and if he wrecks havoc and attacks them mercilessly unless they submit to his murderous tyranny? Is the USA going to sit back and watch while Assad decimates and tortures our ally? Could this war break out soon, or could it be the war that breaks out in circa Dec.2020?
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#6
(12-02-2017, 12:36 PM)rds Wrote:
(12-01-2017, 05:06 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: One thing that many learn in a Crisis Era that there are worse things than death.

At this point, I think the point of no return has been passed.  I expect the elections of '18 will be rigged.  Who knows what the leaders will decide what the margin shall be, but you can bet the fascists will keep their majority.

At this point most of the Trump voters are in a magically thinking death cult.  Since '12 I've given up trying to talk to them.  As they say, Obama was a Kenyan, Hillary is the greatest Machiavellian Witch ever, Bill is the Grand Wizard of Satan, and if you want to sample pedophilia go to Comet Pizza, order a Pizza with extra cheese and your basest wishes will be fulfilled.

I used to have hope, thinking that as things got really bad, that they'd see the light again.  But, I no longer believe that.  What changed my mind was some doc on the Battle of Berlin I watched.  I'd always assumed the Nazi's saw the light as the Red Army marched in, but I was wrong.  They died by the hundreds of thousands thinking victory was just around the corner.  There was no redemption at the end.  And worse yet,  the 'good' Germans remained alive to feel the full wrath of the Soviets who were in no mood to listen to excuses.

Everything tells me this current American Era is going to end poorly.  The only question is will it happen in my lifetime?  I've got at most 20-25 years left, and maybe even less. But, end it will, in total disaster.

The hope still lies in the fact that in 4Ts, the darkness lies before the dawn. The Nazis of course are a good example. Even despite Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, the years after the war were better. The Crisis ended in The West, and liberation finally came east in 1989 too. So the Trump Nazis may have to be fought and defeated too. The hope for transcending political polarization can only be pushed so far. When the other side is as bad as the Nazis, or as the Trump followers are getting to be, as MacArthur said, there is no substitute for victory. If this victory cannot be had at the legitimate ballot box, then war and disaster beckons. But, it will end, and rebirth and liberation are possible.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#7
(12-02-2017, 06:47 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: The student loan and tuition rebate treatment merely levels the playing field with those who save for their own or their kids' education.  Why should people who manage their money well be penalized relative to those who save nothing and depend on loans or payment in kind for their education?

Tell me how a poor child with great college scores and great talent can save $80K for college through work.  The savings that most kids have for college end up going for clothes, recreational reading, an occasional movie ticket, a dinner date, or maybe (if 21+) a drink.

We are going to throw away talent that could be our great engineers, creative people, and executives, perhaps to be domestic servants and farm laborers because they cannot pay taxes on a college scholarship.

Quote:I understand how people who are receiving government benefits and fear they might be forced to take jobs they consider to be beneath them might object, but for those of us who actually work, pay taxes, and support the rest of society, it is merely justice.

In my case I consider suicide an option, as I hate my life and see no other escape. End of my suffering. I have quit taking my blood pressure medication. I see America becoming a political and economic Hell as it is.  Many workers must suffer with a smile, which in its way has one odious feature that a jailbirds do not have. Prisoners are not expected to praise their jailers.

Quote:That said, we are in far more dangerous times than the Civil War because this time, the crisis war is likely to be fought with nuclear weapons.


That's true -- and we also have a President with the sort of personality characteristic of the hot-headed monarchs who bungled their way into World War I over perceived slights.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool" -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, V.i


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#8
(12-03-2017, 12:20 AM)Eric the Green Wrote:
(12-02-2017, 12:36 PM)rds Wrote:
(12-01-2017, 05:06 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: One thing that many learn in a Crisis Era that there are worse things than death.

At this point, I think the point of no return has been passed.  I expect the elections of '18 will be rigged.  Who knows what the leaders will decide what the margin shall be, but you can bet the fascists will keep their majority.

At this point most of the Trump voters are in a magically thinking death cult.  Since '12 I've given up trying to talk to them.  As they say, Obama was a Kenyan, Hillary is the greatest Machiavellian Witch ever, Bill is the Grand Wizard of Satan, and if you want to sample pedophilia go to Comet Pizza, order a Pizza with extra cheese and your basest wishes will be fulfilled.

I used to have hope, thinking that as things got really bad, that they'd see the light again.  But, I no longer believe that.  What changed my mind was some doc on the Battle of Berlin I watched.  I'd always assumed the Nazi's saw the light as the Red Army marched in, but I was wrong.  They died by the hundreds of thousands thinking victory was just around the corner.  There was no redemption at the end.  And worse yet,  the 'good' Germans remained alive to feel the full wrath of the Soviets who were in no mood to listen to excuses.

Everything tells me this current American Era is going to end poorly.  The only question is will it happen in my lifetime?  I've got at most 20-25 years left, and maybe even less. But, end it will, in total disaster.

The hope still lies in the fact that in 4Ts, the darkness lies before the dawn. The Nazis of course are a good example. Even despite Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, the years after the war were better. The Crisis ended in The West, and liberation finally came east in 1989 too. So the Trump Nazis may have to be fought and defeated too. The hope for transcending political polarization can only be pushed so far. When the other side is as bad as the Nazis, or as the Trump followers are getting to be, as MacArthur said, there is no substitute for victory. If this victory cannot be had at the legitimate ballot box, then war and disaster beckons. But, it will end, and rebirth and liberation are possible.

Without hope we are doomed. I am satisfied that on the whole the American people are better than the rapacious elites who dominate the economy and politics.  We handled same-sex marriage well. We have few problems with those who commit sexual harassment losing privileged roles in society. Membership in a hate group is good for a stigma. Most of us recognize human rights and civil liberties as precious. Practically nobody wants lynch mobs or terrorism to solve their problems.

It is the President and the lobbyist-led Congress that infuriates us for falling shorts of our own standards of decency.Maybe we judged Obama a bit too harshly -- but most of us recognize President Trump as an unmitigated disaster. Polls suggest that the Republicans stand a good chance of losing at least the House of Corporations next year. We still exercise our First Amendment rights.

We are less than a year away from finding out whether the democracy that wise men considered necessary in 1776 and codified in a Constitution in 1787 remains a reality. If that democracy has been hollowed into an empty shell, then perhaps we will need to see 55 new republics (fifty states, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the American Virgin Islands) Some of those republics will combine into their own federations; some might splinter. I can imagine my state petitioning to join Canada.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool" -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, V.i


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#9
(12-03-2017, 12:44 AM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(12-02-2017, 06:47 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: The student loan and tuition rebate treatment merely levels the playing field with those who save for their own or their kids' education.  Why should people who manage their money well be penalized relative to those who save nothing and depend on loans or payment in kind for their education?

Tell me how a poor child with great college scores and great talent can save $80K for college through work.  The savings that most kids have for college end up going for clothes, recreational reading, an occasional movie ticket, a dinner date, or maybe (if 21+) a drink.

A kid with great college scores and great talent should have no problem saving $20k/year from a part time job.  That said, the bill doesn't prevent people from taking out loans; it just stops advantaging such people over those who work their way through college or save first.

Quote:We are going to throw away talent that could be our great engineers, creative people, and executives, perhaps to be domestic servants and farm laborers because they cannot pay taxes on a college scholarship.

Scholarships continue not to be taxed.  It's only people who are being paid partially through tuition forgiveness that are now taxed on that pay - you know, same as if they were paid the full amount in the first place and then used some of that money for their tuition payments.  Basically the law just closed a loophole that permitted universities to bilk grant payers - usually the taxpayer - by artificially inflating their tuition rates.

Quote:
Quote:I understand how people who are receiving government benefits and fear they might be forced to take jobs they consider to be beneath them might object, but for those of us who actually work, pay taxes, and support the rest of society, it is merely justice.

In my case I consider suicide an option, as I hate my life and see no other escape. End of my suffering. I have quit taking my blood pressure medication.

Save your melodrama.  Blood pressure medication just prevents your body from elevating blood pressure in order to get adequate oxygen to your tissues through narrowed arteries; it's a treatment of symptoms, not causes.  Granted sedentary modern man doesn't need the oxygen delivery capability that active hunter gatherers needed, so the medication probably doesn't do that much harm, either.
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#10
(12-03-2017, 05:14 AM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(12-03-2017, 12:44 AM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(12-02-2017, 06:47 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: The student loan and tuition rebate treatment merely levels the playing field with those who save for their own or their kids' education.  Why should people who manage their money well be penalized relative to those who save nothing and depend on loans or payment in kind for their education?

Tell me how a poor child with great college scores and great talent can save $80K for college through work.  The savings that most kids have for college end up going for clothes, recreational reading, an occasional movie ticket, a dinner date, or maybe (if 21+) a drink.

A kid with great college scores and great talent should have no problem saving $20k/year from a part time job.  That said, the bill doesn't prevent people from taking out loans; it just stops advantaging such people over those who work their way through college or save first.

$20K a year from a part-time job? Millions work full-time jobs and get much less than that. Working-class kids have expenses like commuting costs, clothes, food...

Quote:
Quote:We are going to throw away talent that could be our great engineers, creative people, and executives, perhaps to be domestic servants and farm laborers because they cannot pay taxes on a college scholarship.

Scholarships continue not to be taxed.  It's only people who are being paid partially through tuition forgiveness that are now taxed on that pay - you know, same as if they were paid the full amount in the first place and then used some of that money for their tuition payments.  Basically the law just closed a loophole that permitted universities to bilk grant payers - usually the taxpayer - by artificially inflating their tuition rates.

The work that gets the tuition forgiveness is often a condition of work for a degree, typically research or graduate teaching. Research and graduate teaching are legitimate parts of graduate-sch9ool education because of their connection to what one does with a graduate degree -- quite often, research or teaching.

One of the schools mentioned for such a practice is MIT. You know what its students are like, and how desirable their research can be. 

Quote:
Quote:I understand how people who are receiving government benefits and fear they might be forced to take jobs they consider to be beneath them might object, but for those of us who actually work, pay taxes, and support the rest of society, it is merely justice.

In my case I consider suicide an option, as I hate my life and see no other escape. End of my suffering. I have quit taking my blood pressure medication.

Save your melodrama.  Blood pressure medication just prevents your body from elevating blood pressure in order to get adequate oxygen to your tissues through narrowed arteries; it's a treatment of symptoms, not causes.  Granted sedentary modern man doesn't need the oxygen delivery capability that active hunter gatherers needed, so the medication probably doesn't do that much harm, either.[/quiote]
[/quote]

Having had my talents and abilities wasted, misused, or under-developed because I was led early into areas completely unsuited to my character (this is not a question of underpayment for my efforts), I have empathy for some kid who, because he is not born into the Right Family, finds himself consigned to raw labor, domestic service, retail sales, or other work typically paid badly and whose performers get treated less than human. The more inequitable the society, the more common and severe such waste is.

I'm not disparaging such work. There are people who find such work an invigorating challenge and ratification of their humanity. Such people typically have low-normal IQs suited for such work.

As a general rule, just about every job has an optimal level of intellectual ability for its performance. Below that level one is not up to the task. Above that level, the objectionable characteristics become obvious. Danger. Steady degradation of health. Ugly environment.  No sense of distinctive achievement. Social stigma. I believe that I have shown such a chart.

If we are going to have an aristocratic society that keeps people from having any chance of success because of their class origin, then we need to find ways to ensure that people unhappy with their plight from coming into existence. But that suggests the dystopian Brave New World, which does not depend upon breeding people to be "alphas", "betas", "gammas", "deltas", etc. An aristocratic society that Donald Trump and the GOP wants depends upon forcing people into places established by birth, which is even crueler.

If you consider yourself a conservative, then just remember: that is the sort of sick society that creates the likes of Lenin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, and Castro. That is the sort of society in which terrorism flourishes. Lenin and Mao are symptoms of a sick society and not the cause.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool" -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, V.i


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#11
(12-03-2017, 03:29 PM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(12-03-2017, 05:14 AM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(12-03-2017, 12:44 AM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(12-02-2017, 06:47 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: The student loan and tuition rebate treatment merely levels the playing field with those who save for their own or their kids' education.  Why should people who manage their money well be penalized relative to those who save nothing and depend on loans or payment in kind for their education?

Tell me how a poor child with great college scores and great talent can save $80K for college through work.  The savings that most kids have for college end up going for clothes, recreational reading, an occasional movie ticket, a dinner date, or maybe (if 21+) a drink.

A kid with great college scores and great talent should have no problem saving $20k/year from a part time job.  That said, the bill doesn't prevent people from taking out loans; it just stops advantaging such people over those who work their way through college or save first.

$20K a year from a part-time job? Millions work full-time jobs and get much less than that. Working-class kids have expenses like commuting costs, clothes, food...

Millions don't have "great college scores and great talent".  Those without the scores and talent shouldn't be going to college in the first place.

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:We are going to throw away talent that could be our great engineers, creative people, and executives, perhaps to be domestic servants and farm laborers because they cannot pay taxes on a college scholarship.

Scholarships continue not to be taxed.  It's only people who are being paid partially through tuition forgiveness that are now taxed on that pay - you know, same as if they were paid the full amount in the first place and then used some of that money for their tuition payments.  Basically the law just closed a loophole that permitted universities to bilk grant payers - usually the taxpayer - by artificially inflating their tuition rates.

The work that gets the tuition forgiveness is often a condition of work for a degree, typically research or graduate teaching. Research and graduate teaching are legitimate parts of graduate-sch9ool education because of their connection to what one does with a graduate degree -- quite often, research or teaching.

It's never required to get an RA or TA to get a graduate degree.  Research is required, sure, but some people pay their own way, and do the research without being paid for it.  If students want to get a TA or an RA, that's fine, but they shouldn't expect taxpayer subsidies.  If they can't get an actual scholarship, it should be easy to get the minimal loans required to cover the difference - though I doubt they'll have to since the universities will likely change their policies to make things work, once they can't milk the taxpayer as much any more.


Quote:One of the schools mentioned for such a practice is MIT. You know what its students are like, and how desirable their research can be. 

Some of the research is top notch.  Most of it is forgotten as soon as it's published.  Some of it is misleading and we'd be better off without it.
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#12
(12-03-2017, 07:03 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: Millions don't have "great college scores and great talent".  Those without the scores and talent shouldn't be going to college in the first place.

If one has certain grades  from rigorous high-school classes and good college board scores, you probably should be going to college. Being excluded because one lacks the means means ruin in an economy that requires a college education for practically any job with non-routine responsibility. yes, many people will  graduate from college and enter low-paying professions such as teaching and clergy -- but those people are very useful. If you are talking about people from disadvantaged backgrounds, then those are the people who might take their education back to, let us say, the Reservation or the bad part of town. Or for that matter, the depressed parts of the Ozarks and Appalachia.  Working-class background? The fellow who works in a plant but has some knowledge of economics and accounting as well as the ability to write coherent reports might be the ideal shop steward. The only thing more noble about working in Daddy's real estate brokerage is that such pays better if one can use a college education in such a place.



I have made a case that the world in which we live is simply too complex for the once-adequate high-school diploma. The election of Donald Trump demonstrates that millions of people are vulnerable to a demagogue who seduces voters and then uses government power to hurt people on behalf of a Master Class of rapacious plutocrats and a Soviet-style nomenklatura. Under-educated white people voted heavily for Donald Trump in part because of his expressions of religious bigotry and in part because of his willingness to appeal to their resentments of the middle class. People vulnerable to a right-wing demagogue could just as easily fall for a left-wing demagogue when they get angry about economic elites, and that will be equally bad. Right or left, demagogues always get bad results once in power. Unable to achieve their contradictory promises, they can only find scapegoats -- "Jews", "kulaks", "Muslims", "blacks", "liberals", "homosexuals", "feminazis", etc. Their politics becomes the use of government to reward supporters through patronage or to punish people who 'voted wrong'. Yes, I get sick of listening to this horrid man even in bits and pieces on the news. Donald Judas Trump may have promised to simplify a world too complex for simpletons -- but much of what makes life satisfying involves complex things from dense counterpoint in music to the intricacies of a computer the size of a cancerette pack. 

To make life fully satisfying, people need to learn the difference between the good stuff available to us and both the mindless 'ear candy' and pretentious $#!+ and care.  We can live without entertainment, but we are empty without culture. In view of all the hustles that we face, we need to become more sophisticated in the use of logic. To be able to avoid some cons we need learn that there is no such thing as a free lunch and that nobody is in business to lose money.  To get anything out of such a literary vehicle as cinema we might as well learn to treat it as literature. (In my case I have come to realize that I am the miserable Charles Foster Kane of Citizen Kane, only without the money and influence. Who knows? Maybe it is a good thing that I have neither power nor influence. At least I am not Don Vito Corleone,  Darth Vader, or the Wicked Witch of the West!) People who know about alternative political systems including communism and fascism would have seen warning signs in ... you know who.

Sure, the economy and political life are both full of sophisticated hustlers who get rich by sticking people badly. In a wholesome economy there are ways to get rich without hurting people. Maybe we would be far better of fif people had the discretion with which to not be suckers.

...We are getting robots to do much of the productive work. In advanced societies, scarcity of material objects is no longer a problem. We will need to find ways to adjust our efforts to the reality of less need for labor. If we can produce what we need in 28 hours what we used to produce with the need of 40 hours and 40 hours was adequate 70 years ago for an economy that probably worked better than what we have now, then maybe we don't need to work 40-hour weeks anymore. 



Quote:
Quote:
Quote:We are going to throw away talent that could be our great engineers, creative people, and executives, perhaps to be domestic servants and farm laborers because they cannot pay taxes on a college scholarship.

Scholarships continue not to be taxed.  It's only people who are being paid partially through tuition forgiveness that are now taxed on that pay - you know, same as if they were paid the full amount in the first place and then used some of that money for their tuition payments.  Basically the law just closed a loophole that permitted universities to bilk grant payers - usually the taxpayer - by artificially inflating their tuition rates.

The work that gets the tuition forgiveness is often a condition of work for a degree, typically research or graduate teaching. Research and graduate teaching are legitimate parts of graduate-sch9ool education because of their connection to what one does with a graduate degree -- quite often, research or teaching.

It's never required to get an RA or TA to get a graduate degree.  Research is required, sure, but some people pay their own way, and do the research without being paid for it.  If students want to get a TA or an RA, that's fine, but they shouldn't expect taxpayer subsidies.  If they can't get an actual scholarship, it should be easy to get the minimal loans required to cover the difference - though I doubt they'll have to since the universities will likely change their policies to make things work, once they can't milk the taxpayer as much any more.


Quote:One of the schools mentioned for such a practice is MIT. You know what its students are like, and how desirable their research can be. 

Some of the research is top notch.  Most of it is forgotten as soon as it's published.  Some of it is misleading and we'd be better off without it.[/quote]

To get an MBA degree once likely needs do neither research nor teaching.  Physicians and attorneys generally do not teach, and their research is practice for the arcane gathering of information that they will need to do in their jobs.  I do not know how one could be an expert in the humanities without doing some teaching and research. Engineering? Science? Little so hones one's ability to use language as does teaching.

As for the value of research, I can say what is said of advertising: much of the effort is waster, and much of it is precious. One knows not which research is precious and which is worthless until one does it.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool" -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, V.i


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#13
(12-02-2017, 06:47 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: The student loan and tuition rebate treatment merely levels the playing field with those who save for their own or their kids' education.  Why should people who manage their money well be penalized relative to those who save nothing and depend on loans or payment in kind for their education?

I understand how people who are receiving government benefits and fear they might be forced to take jobs they consider to be beneath them might object, but for those of us who actually work, pay taxes, and support the rest of society, it is merely justice.

That said, we are in far more dangerous times than the Civil War because this time, the crisis war is likely to be fought with nuclear weapons.

This is ridiculous!  PhD candidates, especially those in STEM programs, tend to work 70 hour weeks pursuing their degrees and the research work they need to complete them.  They get paid a pittance as research and teaching assistants, but carry huge burdens for their tuition if they actually have to pay it.  They take on these assignments to offset those costs.  Let's take a typical case, where tuition is roughly $50,000 a year and the stipend is $25,000.  If they have to pay taxes on $75,000, most will have no choice.  They will have to quit their programs at the very time we need STEM PhDs in large numbers.  

Sorry, but cutting off one's nose to spite one's face is not a solution that has any merit whatsoever.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#14
(12-02-2017, 06:47 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: The student loan and tuition rebate treatment merely levels the playing field with those who save for their own or their kids' education. Why should people who manage their money well be penalized relative to those who save nothing and depend on loans or payment in kind for their education?

I understand how people who are receiving government benefits and fear they might be forced to take jobs they consider to be beneath them might object, but for those of us who actually work, pay taxes, and support the rest of society, it is merely justice.
Ah Warren, don't you know that large numbers of people receiving "government benefits" are indeed already working? People who save nothing are those living from paycheck to paycheck; their check is not large enough to permit the luxury of having an IRA or a 401K program or put real money into savings for their children's college education. Those of us lucky enough to have a six figure paycheck forget how hard it is to live on $10/hour, with irregular hours and working "on call" so one can't get a second job.
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#15
The ultimate objective of every rightist regime is to make everything but the toil of the common person fiendishly expensive and thus maximally profitable -- and the toil of the common man so cheap that even survival becomes a privilege.

Because middle-class status depends heavily upon high-quality college education, anything that tends to deny high-quality education to intellectually-qualified people from poor families practically denies youth from poor families having any chance at any semblance  of a Good Life.

Whetherit so desires or not, the contemporary Right is putting America on a fast track to becoming an aristocratic order with a rigid class structure that determines life as rigidly as clockwoork.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool" -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, V.i


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#16
Irresistible image:

[Image: DQ2uvfcUQAIdCPD.jpg]

Jesus was not crucified for proclaiming

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin (Matthew 6:28, KJV)

but instead for calling to attention the corruption of the High Priests... that they bled the masses as a reward for selling out the common man to the priests' overlords. (I fault the Romans for that).

Whatever Donald Trump does, he does not follow Jesus -- or any other religious or philosophical moralist. He is a high Priest... of Mammon.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool" -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, V.i


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