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Douglas Carpenter

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Corry (Erie County), Pennsylvania 16407
Home country: USA
Current location: Saipan, U.S. Commonweath of the Northern Mariana Islands
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2005, 08:56 PM
Number of posts: 20,226

Journal Archives

Are you a Socialist?

Since some people asked - I am leaving the term "Socialist" open to the broadest possible definition ranging from Marxist or even Communist to those European style social-democrats who would call themselves socialist - Not all social-democrats would call themselves socialist - but many would. IN other words, do you consider yourselves a socialist?
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Tue Jun 3, 2014, 06:12 AM (56 replies)

"The Homosexuals": Mike Wallace's 1967 CBS Documentary

I saw this for the first time today.

Sometimes it is worthwhile to take a look back in time at just how hideous attitudes were within living memory of many of us. My goodness I would have been twelve going on thirteen when this documentary aired on nationwide TV. As ignorant as opinions are in this video - this would have been relatively liberal for the time. After all they did suggest that prison sentences for private sexual acts between consenting adults were probably not a good idea even though polling at the time suggested most Americans supported it.

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Sat May 31, 2014, 11:54 AM (14 replies)

Over all - do you support President Obama and his policies?

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Thu May 29, 2014, 04:07 AM (5 replies)

It is the rich who are the real victims

And they are being mercilessly plundered. I kid you not! This is a post from a Facebook friend of my brother - responding to a post about the demonization of the poor. This is what passes for intellectualism in today's Republican Party:

The Democrats in Congress play the envy game by decrying "the rich" and "paying their fair share" and other class-warfare rhetoric, and the poor - far from being powerless! - have the votes to influence public policy toward ever-more welfare and government giveaways. The top percentage of "the rich" pay a disproportionate percentage of taxes, while a majority in this country pay little or no taxes. The "progressive" taxation is but one redistributionist scheme, and it's patently unfair that demagogues demand they pay their "fair share." It's also patently unfair that "government benefits" are portioned out way disproprotionately to the amount of taxes paid. The whole system stinks, and it's further corrupted by a professional class of lobbyists who engage in "crony capitalism." Have you ever read Frederic Bastiat's "The Law?" He talks about "plunder," and it' a real eye-opener because it almost perfectly describes our political system today.
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Thu May 8, 2014, 10:13 AM (11 replies)

The Patricians versus the Nouveau Riche or old money versus new money

On the surface it would seem that those who acquired their money within their lifetimes would be a more honorable sort because to at least some extent they could make a plausible claim of being "self made" and that at least most people would accept that they did by and large earned it. On the surface it would seem that the nouveau riche would be more connected to and have more empathy with the common people since in many cases that is how they started out in life.

However, there seems to be a common perception that the new moneyed class of the nouveau rich are more apt to have the attitude, "I got my money by working hard. There are no free lunches. So, if you want it - you work hard you get it yourself and don't expect any handouts." Contrasted to a perception in at least some peoples' minds that those who come from generations of wealth are more apt to feel community responsibility and noblesse oblige. There is an idea that they were the core of the old liberal Republicans many of whom are now supporters of the Democratic Party. Although I'm not sure how real that is beyond the anecdotal level.

I don't know if these perceptions are actually based in reality or if they are based on anecdote that is not necessarily consistent with the real world. I wonder if anyone else has ever thought about this. Is it more blessed to inherit your money that to acquire it through investment and wheeling and dealing?
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Mon May 5, 2014, 02:31 AM (3 replies)

What does this phrase, "being brought to justice" mean?

I understand and whole heartedly agree that there is a need to create a deterrence against the commission of certain crimes. I understand and whole heartedly agree that there are some people who pose such a danger to others that their movements must be severely restricted.

But, "being brought to justice" sounds to me like some sort of religious notion. But I have heard this phrase even from the irreligious and even avowed atheist

Aside from creating deterrence and restraining the dangerous - is there some other point to punishment that is defendable in the rational universe? Does punishment satisfy the vengeful wrath of the gods? Does it balance some invisible scale in the universe and make the human condition a bit more just?

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Wed Apr 30, 2014, 12:13 PM (17 replies)

Has there been a MAJOR shift to the left in the political paradigm in the last ten years?

It seems to me that back in the 90's, the New Deal was dead and buried. As President Clinton said, "The era of big government was over." Conservative Democrats who called themselves centrist, third way or "New Democrats" were about as far to the left as you could go in the mainstream of American body politic. And they did actually appear left-wing compared to the alternative. After September 11, 2001 things got expeditiously worse - far worse. And even "New Democrats" hated America according to a narrative that had become completely mainstream. Even cautious policies that would have been previously considered conservative had become defined as far left.

Since then it seems to me that a very positive but gradual shift to a more sound direction has occurred. Now there are voices well to the left of the third way that are working their way into the mainstream of political debate. Now the "liberals hate America" meme that had some sting in 2001 to 2004 has lost most of its audience. Now the awareness that income inequality is reaching the whole country and one is no longer immediately shouted down for pointing out the obvious.

Am I being delusionally optimistic or has their been at least in the terms of public debate an opening to progressive ideas that had largely disappeared in the 90's and were completely marginalized during the first term of the Bush Administration? Am I right in how I am perceiving this?

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Sun Apr 27, 2014, 10:02 AM (30 replies)

How a 700-page economics book surged to No. 1 on Amazon

"Capital in the Twenty-First Century," at first glance, seems an unlikely candidate to become a best-seller in the U.S. After all, it's 700 pages long, translated from French, and analyzes centuries of data on wealth and economic growth.

But the book, from economist Thomas Piketty, is now No. 1 on Amazon.com's best-seller list, thanks to rave reviews and positive word of mouth. Beyond that, however, the book has something else going for it: "Capital" has hit a nerve with Americans with its message about income inequality.

The main thrust of the book is that, in the jargon of economists, the rate of return on capital has far outstripped the rate of economic growth. The book also portrays the post-World War II period of economic progress across all classes as an anomaly, not the norm.

"When the rate of return of return on capital exceeds the rate of growth of output and income, as it did in the nineteenth century and seems quite likely to do again in the twenty-first, capitalism automatically generates arbitrary and unsustainable inequalities that radically undermine the meritocratic values on which which democratic societies are based," Piketty writes.

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Fri Apr 25, 2014, 07:57 AM (36 replies)

Do you wish you were rich?

I would define rich as having assets of greater than 8 million dollars and an independent after tax net annual income of greater than $300,000. That is approximately what it would take to just make it into the 1%.

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Wed Apr 23, 2014, 12:43 PM (63 replies)

What do you think would be a fair description of Hillary Clinton's political leanings?

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Tue Apr 22, 2014, 05:24 PM (85 replies)
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