Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:Frist pots (Score 1) 234

by metlin (#46796049) Attached to: I expect to retire ...

But it's you who sees religion where there isn't any. Why else would you call it "Calvinist"?

You should consider doing some reading, especially the writings of Max Weber -- "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism".

In American history, the work ethic that places value on hard work and frugality is often ascribed to the puritans. It is by no means unique to them -- if I had brought up Asian Tiger Moms or the Jewish work ethic, someone else would have jumped on that, ignoring the rest of my argument.

But historically and culturally, the puritans were known to place a higher value on being good, hardworking people than on the ceremonies of religion. In fact, their whole idea is that being a good and useful member of society is a far better display of being "good" than going to church or confessions. In that sense, they have effectively distanced themselves from the traditional ceremonies of religion, despite the origins of the term (which is also why the new GOP has a bastardized concoction of values that admire both Jesus and capitalism).

In any event, I certainly think there is value to that worldview (hard work and frugality), your religious affiliations (or the lack thereof) notwithstanding. Perhaps I should call it the Horatio Alger work ethic, as Neal Stephensen calls it.

All right, all right. I'll stop having a beef with you.

Eh. You do realize that I am an American, right?

Comment: Re:Someone call Ben Affleck (Score 2) 98

Theres a lot of evidence linking the Israelis to the South African nuclear weapons program with a lot of people thinking it was a "legitimatised" nuclear program that would only get SA into trouble internationally while Israel could walk away with a lot of improvements scot free, so if US technology and material ended up in Israeli hands, then I have no doubt equally that some of it then made its way on to apartheid South Africa.

Comment: Re:Commodore Amiga 3000T (Score 1) 624

by WaywardGeek (#46791491) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

I solved my cellphone battery life problem with a Moto-X from Republic Wireless. Republic still has a few growing pains to get past, but for big geeks who don't mind putting their phone in airplane mode and enabling wifi once or twice a day, it's amazing. In that mode, I go for days without having to charge it, though my phone is only a few feet from the wireless router most of the time. For $25/month for "unlimited" Sprint 3G everything but tethering, it's hard to beat.

Comment: Re:Frist pots (Score 1) 234

by metlin (#46788953) Attached to: I expect to retire ...

You are clubbing all the 1% into a single group. There's a study by Saez and Zucman of Berkley/LSE that talks about how clubbing the entire 1% into a single group is disingenuous -- The other wealth gapâ"the 1% vs the 0.01%.

Most of the 1% to .1% are nothing more than hardworking Americans with a Calvinistic work ethic who have been successful. It is easy to do the math and realize how a two income family can break into the 1% territory after a couple of decades of hard work and fiscally conservative habits. Socially and economically, they are nothing like the top .1%.

The surge in 1% is entirely attributable to the growth in capital of the .1% while the rest of the 1% has in fact stagnated. The "middle rich" (1% - 10%) are in fact losing ground to the top .1% (i.e. capital is flowing upward) while the 1% to .1% have merely succeeded in holding on to their wealth.

Most government policies favor the really rich and *punish* the hardworking upper middle classes. In fact, I would argue in favor of Reagan-esque tax policies for these folks, who are for the most part well educated, successful individuals in banking, law, medicine, technology, consulting and so on. These are the ones who are really building the economy, but the ones who are being punished by the government and vilified by the mass media who club them with the truly wealthy.

Imagine a successful husband and wife earning $150k/year, working in a white collar job (lawyers, doctors, consultants, IT -- take your pick). According to the IRS, making $343k/year puts you in the top 1% (by income). But what about wealth? Well, that's supposedly $8.4MM.

Some simple math will make it evident that a husband and wife earning (an average) of $171k for 40 years (assume raises and lower starter incomes are factored into the average) who save 15% of their annual income, with a starting principal of $10000 will have ~$5.4 MM at the end of their careers. Assume that they invested in a home that cost $300k early in their careers, whose value has gone up 5X in the 30 year time that they had to pay off the mortgage. Assume that they more or less maxed out their 401K, giving them $17,500.00/year for 40 years each, which is ~$1.4MM. At best, they have $8.4 MM, assuming market crashes, children's education, and life threatening diseases didn't wipe out their savings.

However, by virtue of having $8.4 MM, suddenly, these people are being placed in the *same* category as someone with enough capital to buy legislation or pay an army of Cravath lawyers. That is not factoring in any smart investing in what's been a pretty bullish run (minus the recent crisis) or basic fiscal conservatism.

Comment: The American Dream is not a lie (Score 1) 803

by Taco Cowboy (#46768275) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

the American Dream(TM) lie is well understood .... The idea that anyone can make it if they work hard. Well, maybe they can if they get really lucky, but for the majority they won't get rich in their lifetime. Not to say that they will have bad lives or anything

It has nothing to do with luck. It has everything to do with one's point of view and how far one is willing to go to achieve that dream.

The American Dream does happen, and it happened to me. Of course, there aren't many people like me, but to say that it is a lie is to deny the reality.

Comment: Tyranny can't last forever (Score 1) 803

by Taco Cowboy (#46768109) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

...we're likely to break the cycle by spawning an eternal Tyranny instead of a sustainable Democracy

The only way a tyranny can last is when the people let them.

Unless they can find a way to turn the "subjects" into borg-like things (which obeys their master 100% of the time), human beings, being a rebellious lot, can not, and will not be suppressed forever.

Rebellions (plural) will happen.

While the tyrannical regime might be able to crush most of the rebellious attempts, there will always be that final rebellion which will crush the ruling junta.

Thus, the cycle continues ...

Comment: Nationalism in China (Score 2) 803

by Taco Cowboy (#46767841) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

The Chinese are always, and have been, very concern to what is happening in China.

Even me, a Chinese, who ran away from China when I was very young, and ended up in America and stayed in America for a few decades, still in my spare time, check out what is going on in China.

The "nationalistic" phenomenon for the Chinese people ebbs and flows - it happened back in WW2, when the Japanese invaded China, it happened again during the Korean war, and for a while, in between the Korean war until recently, most Chinese prefer to focus their attention towards themselves.

At first it was for survival, as China under the tutelage of Mao, landed itself in a seemingly endless episodes of man-made disasters. Famines that took away the lives of millions happened. Cannibalism happened, cultural revolution happened, intellectuals were driven to madness and/or suicide happened, and so on...

When Deng took over in the late 1970's, economically speaking China became better. The Chinese people turned towards making money.

That lasted for almost 40 years, and the economy of China has started to flatline, people are getting laid off (and young university graduates couldn't find jobs).

To allay the pent-up anger, the CCP, under the Xi-Li pair, opted for the "nationalistic" approach.

And that coincides with the provocations from Japan. With more and more provocations from Japan, the fuel for the fire of nationalism multiplied.

You gotta understand that the Chinese people, until today, can *NOT* forgive what the Japanese did to them, back in the WW2. That is because, unlike the Germans who issued public apologies to their victims (particularly Jews and Gypsies), the Japanese refused to apologize for the carnage they had done in China.

That bad blood in between the Japanese and Chinese is now exposed in the open.

The CCP of course, ain't stupid. They fully utilize the follies from Japan to add fuel to the nationalism fervor.

You can tell how far we have to go, when FORTRAN is the language of supercomputers. -- Steven Feiner

Working...