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Comment Re:How does that work? (Score 1) 106

"Most other countries don't have a constitution that has as many explicit clauses as the US one, and some, such as England, don't even have one. So a constitution per se is not inherently more legally binding than anything else simply because its a constitution."

Other countries have little bearing on the legal system of the United States. In the United States the people fought a rebellion to take power, that power is reserved to the people, a small grant of power was given by the people to establish a central government via the Constititution and to grant the power that state governments derive from (although only in a very token sense because colony/state representatives were the actual authors more so than the people they were supposed to represent). It is the founding document and only source of legal authority for the central government. The only exception is within the judicial where a framework was needed for interpreting law and for this the previously English population turned to "common law" largely based on the magna carta.

The system has been heavily corrupted and the central government does many things beyond the scope of Constitutional authority, many of them with the blessing of blatantly incorrect rulings by the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court can still toss these things out on the basis that they are not within Constitutional authority because that IS the highest law in this country. As for the teeth behind it, there is more than just civil uprising, the military of this nation is sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution.

Comment Re:Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 592

"The definition of a hero or a saint is someone who sacrifices themselves for the greater good. History is full of these people."

The definition of a hero or a saint is someone who sacrifices themselves because they think it is their best chance for lasting personal glory (self interest), to benefit their children in some way (self interest), due to a foolish belief it will benefit them in the more important after death end game (self interest), or due to plain old mental illness (strange incomprehendable self interest).

Comment Re:Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 592

True but that wasn't really what I was getting at. To be equivalent economically a factory worker would need to be able to buy as many man hours and raw resources worth of "stuff" as the 50's/60's counterpart. They can't. The stuff has simply gotten cheaper, due technological advancement, efficiency, and lowering quality standards. So while that worker likely has more stuff today, it doesn't represent as much labor/raw materials and therefore that worker actually has less purchasing power.

Also, the goods we purchase today are not domestic. Each time you pay $20 for $0.20 worth of disposable razor cartridges you are donating $19.80 to improving the living conditions in China while subtracting $19.80 from the living conditions in the US. The rich in the US are likely taking $15 of it, and the rich in China are probably taking 80% of the rest, that is the screwing the poor part but we'd still be screwing the poor in much the same ways if it were all domestic. Every bit of economic power that China gains comes at the expense of US economic power.

But who knows, maybe I'm the short term thinker. In a few hundred years between our completely unutilized mines and our landfills stuffed with foreign raw resources maybe we'll be the most resource rich nation in the world.

Comment Re:Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 592

"You aren't saying much that I disagree with (I hate push mowers)."

Fair enough. I don't think we are actually too far apart here.

Bottom line, technology and reduction in quality have made goods so cheap we have more of them than they did in the 50's and 60's but if we had equivalent purchasing power (and therefore could buy equivalent labor hours and raw materials worth of goods) then a single earner lower income factory worker in the US would be able to buy more of those cheaper goods than an upper middle dual income family can buy today in addition to owning their house and car.

I understand that you think we are better off anyway and you make an argument in support of cheaper more disposable goods. The reality is that you are probably right for some things and I am probably right for others. But we could have made that shift in focus domestically and be buying cheaper goods made right here without giving up our purchasing power to buy a higher quality of life in China. Most of the technological innovation has been domestic and/or would become domestic rapidly because we are the largest economy in the world.

Comment Re:Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 592

It's interesting to note that you, and the rest of the people posting about how much they care about warming and people that they don't know, or even future generations, still bothered to reply to this message instead of junking their computers, selling their houses and cars and living in a tent in the woods with appropriate technology. Or even killing yourselves - after all, as long as you exist, you're fueling resource extraction, pollution and warming.

So I guess you all don't care as much as you think you do.

Comment Re:Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 592

You are comparing styles from the 50's and 60's with modern styles? I'm not sure what that has to do with anything most of it has to do with taste. We also certainly have advanced technology.

We just don't focus that technology on producing things that are made to last and our economy hasn't advanced at the same pace. I gave an example of what it might look like if we applied modern technology to the mechanical push mower, comparitively the push mower of the 50's would certainly be ancient and archaic but it would be far more durable and of higher value than the electric push mowers of today.

The underlying point here was economics. We have more stuff today partly because technology has made stuff so cheap that even though we actually have less economic power it can buy more stuff than in the past and partly because we are making lower quality stuff. The bottom line is that if an assembly line worker had the same economic power (the ability to buy as much in terms of raw resources and labor) as someone did in the 50's toward today's stuff they would have as much stuff as the top 1% do now.

Comment Re:$70K sounds pretty low (Score 1) 67

That's $70k to just a single congresscritter though. You have to grease multiple others on both sides of the aisles in both both houses. And then you probably should donate to the Presidential Victory Fund for incoming presidents, Presidential Reelection Victory Fund for incumbent president, or Presidential Library Victory Fund for 2nd term presidents.

Comment Re:Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 3, Insightful) 592

'What effect population had on that is harder to say but I don't think that we can seperate the technological and organization growth which made it possible from the change in population if we were to going to play "what if?"'

I do. In the US we are actually poorer than in the 50's and 60's. During those times unskilled workers owned cars and homes, products were manufactured out of more expensive but far more durable materials. The only real constant coins in the world are labor and raw materials. While that same worker might have more cans of soda in your fridge those cans are less durable, contain cheaper and fewer raw materials, and represent less labor expended to serve you. You might say, what do I care, I have more beverages! Well, you should care because that worker hasn't gained the value of those raw materials and labor somewhere else. Even within the United States the labor pool has nearly doubled with the addition of women to the workforce but the household hasn't increased the total value of raw resources and labor it controls where it should have doubled. Technology and process would have improved without globalization. For the most part the rest of the world is really riding on the tails of truely revolution technology invented in the US and Western Europe and that technology was developed before globalization.

People have been duped, they are buying cheap disposable, breakable goods, with planned obsolescence to distract them from how little value they have by showing them the quantity of "stuff" they have. An inexpensive safety razor carries most of it's cost in its raw materials (therefore will not drop in value), can be used for less than $2/yr in consumables, provides fewer cuts/razor burn and provides a closer shave vs disposables. It only takes 2-3 shaves to get used to one. Even a fairly inexpensive one is of such high quality they can passed down generations. Disposables cost hundreds a year, they are so cheap that new ones pass the holes used to save plastic off as stylizing, fake innovations are created to make old models obsolete and custom interfaces for replacement blades are used so they can phase out old blades and force people to buy new bases before even that cheap crap has a chance to break.

Mowers, gas and electric mowers don't do the job any faster than push mowers, again there isn't much material of value in them. Your fancy electric mower will break in 2yrs and doesn't do a better or faster job than an old push mower that will last forever with occasional need for oil and blade sharpening. Modernized these would be carbon fiber, use dry lubricant, possibly have rigid blades that don't need sharpened with a few flexible joints to allow for deflecting on hard objects, they would be so much lighter they'd need a strategic weight which would double as a flywheel to store mechanical energy.

Who is going to make and sell them? Nobody. It isn't worthwhile for the rich to invest in goods that are worth something and last forever unless the price is just as high as it would be for those cheap throw away goods. And if they did that people would realize they can't actually afford the modern day equivalent to grandpas old push mower.

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