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Everything posted by akh

  1. Just to clear this up further, when I said "criminal" in all honesty I was thinking more figuratively, or morally. In the case of HSBC, their actions were very much against the law. I will admit that my OP comes off a bit rantish (it was actually edited and toned down a bit), but I did not want to hide my frustration and anger. The point I am trying to make is that this kind of stuff is happening across the board in this country. I feel that the average citizen is being marginalized at an ever greater level. I dont think many realize what is happening. Most people are too busy just getting by to take notice. Others find solace in the distraction of pop entertainment and (un) reality shows. But, in my opinion, the greatest tragedy is that we, as Americans have turned on each other. It been a great diversionary tactic for those in power, for those in control. They split us along lines of religion, same sex marriage, global warming, gun rights, ethnicity, and the "makers vs takers". While we are busy playing the game, pitting our best against their best, where nothing matters in the substance of it all, where winning is the only thing to care about, we havent stopped long enough to realize somebody has already ran away with the ball. We've been duped. The "makers vs takers" argument was thrown in our faces, with each taking sides on an ideological front. But it should be obvious by now who the real "makers" are and who is doing all the "taking". This should be something to which almost everybody in this country will agree. If this trend is not curbed, I think it will be the end of this country. We live in a top heavy society, and once we are sucked dry, the "takers" will move on to more lucrative ventures, and the average citizen will be left in the rubble. I want to also be clear, however, that in the case of GE, it is more about our broken tax code than anythings else. It just seems there is little motivation to change it, and I think is is due in part to the fact that there is too much money in politics, that many regulators who are supposed to protect the interests of this country and Americans, retire to work as lobbyists or consultants in the very industry in which they are supposed to have oversight. How tough would one be on their future employers who will undoubtedly pay extremely well for future services. Its a revolving door and a conflict of interest at the highest levels.
  2. I dont know Gold, but if this discovery is supported and reaffirmed, I would not find it surprising. It serves to show that given basic chemistry, life is a possible outcome. It will be interesting to see what future studies yield. My thoughts are that chemosynthetic processes are mutch more likely for the origins of life, and that these processes are mutch more likely to occur in the relatively stable environment of the oceanic crust. This of course turns one down the path of possibilities for life elsewhere. The more we look, the more we find life in every nook and cranny, existing in conditions once seen as absurd, the more I think there is nothing truly unique about life on this planet.
  3. Did you read the Bloomberg report, at all? The entire article was about shifting, as in moving, profits overseas. As in they didnt make the profit were the money is now residing! The article specifically mentions how the taxes are deferred until profits are brought home (as in the U.S.A.), and how these profits have been permanently reinvested in foreign assest so they never come back. Basically you are arguing that what is good for GE is good for America. What is good for GE is good for the shareholders which is good for America. But the ideology is flawed. Through wilfulness or ignorance or both, you have left out many details in your assessment. What details? According to 2010 numbers, financial (non-home) wealth was distributed 42.1% for the top 1 percent, 53.5% for the next 19 percent, and a measly 4.7% for the bottom 80 percent. If you look at stock ownership, the top 1 percent owned 35.0 % of stocks, the next 19 owned 56.6%, and the remaining 80 percent (bottom) of Americans hold only 8.4% of the stocks. In both of the above examples, the trend is toward higher concentrations of wealth and stocks into the top 20 percent and even the top 1%. I guarantee this trend has continued through 2011 and 2012. So how is GE's 1.8 tax rate benefiting the country? How is it benefiting 80 percent or more of the population who only hold 8.4% of the stocks? What did 80 percent or more of Americans get for picking up the slack left by GE's 1.8% tax rate? We got a slap in the face. GE sent the profits overseas, to avoid paying taxes, to avoid bringing the profits back to this country. They permanently reinvested in foreign assets, insuring that the money will never come back to US soil. Sure, it benefited the shareholder, afterall it's GE's obligation to do so. But what did it do for the rest of us? You know, the ones who shoulder the extra tax burden! This is the problem!
  4. Its actually worse than that in my opinion. GE in particular has no intentions of bring this money back to the US. They have permanently reinvested the money over seas. They wont bring it home to be taxed and reinvested here, ever. I agree with you, they use the infrastructure, the stable environment, and a safe place for operations in the US all while paying virtually nothing in taxes and making record profits. It has been mentioned in this thread that a corporations primary responsibility is to their share holders. While I dont hold GE stock, they have very much benefited from the infrastructure and environment that the US offers, which is funded by tax dollars that you, me, and everybody else pays. So where is my return on the investment I am forced to make? Thats right , its overseas benefitting GE and foreign assests. I will never see a return on my investment, and ALL United States citizens, are left to shoulder the ever increasing percentage of the tax burden. But if you are making millions on investments yourself, you most likely dont care, in fact you are cheering. HSBC performed U-turn transactions through US financial institutions. They were caught, as were others. They payed a fine, that is it. If you or I did similar, we would be in jail for a long, long time. HSBC is not beyond the reach of the law, they agreed to the fine. But actual prosecution, proper prosecution, was not even a consideration because it was feared that criminal charges would ripple through the financial institutions and cause too much harm to the economy. We handed them a get out of jail free card instead of doing what is right. Why? Because they are a big, powerful, corporation.
  5. So, if you needed any more proof that the average US citizen is being run over by corporate greed, I got something for you. I read this and flames shot out of my ears, acid dripped from my mouth, and laser beams shot from my eyes. http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-08/offshore-cash-hoard-expands-by-183-billion-at-companies.html It estimated that if this money was held in the US, and properly taxed, it would cover the sequester for an entire year. GE is the worst offender at 83 billion. They payed 1.8% taxes over a ten year period. Who is picking up the slack? Thats right the average American. This isnt anything new, but more and more corporations are doing the same. As far as I can tell, shareholders dont even get a return, its straight profit for the corporations. I think this news coupled with the attorny general making statements like this, http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-74709450/, is ever increasing evidence as to why the average american is falling behind, getting lost, and slumping into poverty. HSBC was caught laundering money for Al Qaeda and Mexican drug cartels, but not one person was prosecuted! All the while our public school systems are failing, especially in the sciences and math, and lack funding. Tuition cost are rising, student debt is climing, and tech corporations complain they cant find skilled worksers for open jobs. So lobbyist are pushing for more H-1B visa to fill the ranks with lower wage foreign workers http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/business/tech-companies-and-immigrant-advocates-join-forces.xml But somehow we lack the tax dollars to help correct the education problems and to train skilled workers. Its unpatriotic, its criminal, its immoral. We are so far from a Democratic Republic. Welcome to Fascist/Corporatist America! Its just getting worse and worse How do we fix this?
  6. You may not have said it explicitly, but it is very much implicit to your argument. I dont see how it is not. You are essentially saying that the poor are not motivated enough to do better. So you are ok with corporate welfare but have issues with social welfare? What you are basically saying is that we should all pay into a system that props up corporation which in turn benefits the elites that head these corporations and no one else. Yet at the same time we should eliminate social welfare for the poor? All the time the average citizen is working harder, for longer hours, for less pay. We are being told we are lazy, that we are not aspiring enough. Yet the income desparity grows, the super rich get richer and more and more people fall into poverty and low income. The corporations claim there are plenty of jobs yet no workers with the "right" skill set. Yet they refuse to train potential smart, educated, and motivate employees. As Swansont pointed out, this why there is pressure from lobbyists to increase foreign worker visas. There is no other reason! Have you not figured out that this is debt bondage? Except what you suggest is actually worse, because in addition to little pay, you wish to deny food, clothing, and shelter. The corporations are already denying the training.
  7. There is far, far more corporate welfare in this country than personal welfare. I consider myself as poor. I have an education and have worked my ass off my entire life. What some people seems to leave out is just how difficult and tiring it is to be poor. I work a job that is physically demanding. Up early and home late. My only luxury is that I exercise regularly. I call it a luxury, but the reality is that it is necessary. I am in better physical shape than most people half my age. I have not seen a doctor in over 20 years. It wouldnt matter if a did need to see a doctor , because I can't afford the visit anyway. So I do whatever I can to avoid getting sick, but there are no guarantees. Just how much physical and mental energy do you think I have left over at the end of the day? I have dog. Sure it cost money to feed him, but the mental therapy and happiness he brings is better than any pharmaceutical or shrink can bring. My thermostat is set to 58 degrees. Why? Because the place I can afford to rent is so poorly insulated and sealed that my electric bills would be impossible to pay if I turned it up. I like to say I do it to reduce my carbon footprint, but sometimes I can see my breath in the morning. I have two cars. Wow, I must be making poor decisions and living beyond my means. But one car is 23 years old and I have owned it for 15 years. It looks like absolute hell, but it runs...mostly. The other car is 20 years old. Why two cars? Because if I had one and it broke down I would be out of a job. I had a wheel bearing go bad, was up the entire night trying to replace the bearing with make shift tools and a homemade press. Cant afford a new car, cant afford a mechanic, cant afford to miss work. I was sore as hell and tired to the bone, but I had to go to work the next day. So I bought a second car for $800 as backup. But the law requires that both cars are insured, with current emissions, and current registration. I cant pay insurance in total up front, so I pay monthly, which costs more. But I have no other option. If all else fails. I have a bicycle that I can ride 25 miles a day to get to and from work. If you are poor everything, and I mean everything, costs more and demands more time and effort. It does not matter how much you strip down your life, its still much more difficult to get by. But I am a progressive liberal, so it must mean I don't work hard enough and all I want is a handout. I am all for personal accountability, and self reliance. So much so that friends and family get upset with me for not asking for help when I truly need it (I once fell 20 feet down into a drainage ditch trying to walk home in the middle of the night after after my car ran out of gas on the highway).But when accusations of laziness are leveled at those who are less finiancially fortunate by those who obviously have never lived in poverty, I tend to get more than upset. This is especially the case when it is more than obvious that our entire financial system, health care system, and legal system is stacked against the poor and rigged to advantage those who already have more. How much is one person really worth anyway? There is only so much work one can do in a single day. There is only so much benefit a single person can bring to society. So how do the corporate welfare recipients justify their salaries? How do banksters destroy the economy, make illegal transactions, bet against their own flawed investments and then get seven figure salaries? How do big energy companies get subsidies, while polluting the environment, while fighting against curbing CO2 emissions (AGW will hurt the poorest of the poor), while pumping "mystery" fluids into the ground for fracking? How is it they are making record profits with record salaries? How is it that tax dollars get spent on military contractors, for war machines we dont need for wars we never should have fought? Yet they are making money hand over hammer. How is it that this country maintains nonsensical drug laws to support a booming private prison system which is making record profits? So much profit in fact that they can donate millions of dollars to build a stadium and send legions of lobbyists to Washington. Yeah, there's a welfare issue in this country. But it isnt the poor people sucking off the teet. You want to talk about getting screwed? You want to tell me I am not working hard enough? The system has my ass over a barrel, and those at the top are getting filthy rich off my hard work. Its not social welfare everbody should be worried about, its corporate welfare system that benefits NOBODY but the elite. That is what we all should be pissed over.
  8. The purpose of the links was to provide additional information to the Feb 15 event. I did not intend for them to support the idea that all objects orbit in the exact same plane and direction. No doubt comets and asteriods have been acted upon by gravitational pulls othe planets and collisions. Some do follow eccentric ororbits as a result. But by the very nature of the way solar systems form, most objects do indeed orbit in the same direction. I will not claim it is an absolute, that would be foolish in any area of science. I will try to find some literature to back this up.
  9. I dont think that can happen, or at least to my knowledge it has never been observed. Because of the conversation of angular moment, all celestial objects in our solar system rotate around the sun in the same direction. Cornell University has made a preliminary model of the likely orbit of the object, based on video of the event and some math. http://urania.udea.edu.co/sitios/facom/research/chelyabinsk-meteoroid.php http://arxiv.org/abs/1302.5377
  10. Wondering how quickly this event will get political. The far righty are always accusing the scientific community of sensationalism. They want to defund Nasa because they have provided evidence which supports agw which is inconvenient to their political dogma. So in a very short period of time two objects have provided ample evidence as to why agencies like NASA should exist, and why, if anything, they deserve more research dollars. So while the political right like to mock scientific community for having "the sky is falling" attitude when it comes to issues like agw, we have a clear case for why scientific research is important for the future of humanity. But to our advantage, this time we can all agree that the sky is indeed falling.
  11. Seems the last election cycle was not message enough. To think that Boehner is worried about Obama "annihilating" the GOP. Yet he should be more worried about the sickness in his own party. Disgusting http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/01/24/proposed-new-mexico-law-would-send-rape-victims-who-abort-pregnancies-to-prison-for-tampering-with-evidence/
  12. Any citations or links for that statistic? I think its important to know what these "preventable conditions" constitute. I think that information is relevant to the overall discussion. Thanks.
  13. There are many laws already in place to prevent war. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the US and UK is viewed by the UN and many other law professionals in the US and UK as being illegal. Yet we (US) did it with no punishment except for our own folly. Many innocents paid the price with their lives. So laws only go so far as they can be enforced, and no country or council would dare to swing the hammer of justice at the worlds strongest military and largest economy.
  14. One cannot change the nature of humanity. To me the answer is the global economy. If the last economic collapse is any indication, it is easy to see how the economy of one nation impacts another. In a truly global economy, war becomes too expensive for all parties as it guarantees complete worldwide economic collapse. Of course nothing is that simple, but eliminating gross disparity of resources (eg food, infrastructure) is a good start.
  15. I think there is an issue with the thread title, if that is an indication of your position. To ask why one disbelieves in god is not proper in my opinion. The question assumes that there is a god, and that some choose not to believe. But the reality is that there is no empirical evidence of god or any gods. So there is no such thing as disbelieving, there is only the lack of evidence. There is only not believing. Sorry, individual testimony does not count as empirical evidence. Even if the individual recollections seem similar there is no way to prove that they are in fact the same. There are many other possible explanations for these testimonies, non of which make god or a spirit world a requirement. Furthermore, one cannot assume god simply for the lack of a better explanation. Remeber, there are many things that were once attributed to the work of god, or gods which have now been fully explained without any need for the supernatural.
  16. I'll take this a step further and suggests that by announcing his death, the administration had more direct control over how/when the information reached the various cells of AQ. I think that it is quite possible that announcing his death stirred up the hornets nest, so to speak, in such a way that once invsible cells became easier to pin point due to the increase of "chatter". So more beneficial intelligence may have been gained through the announcement than through silence. Maybe we announced it in an attempt to lower moral and to prevent AQ from creating their own narrative.
  17. Its seems that the NRA has lifted its standard post, mass killing silence. In their best sad voice, the NRA has suggested that we should follow the most immediate and easy to implement solution. Which is of course to make armed school guards manditory. They get to sell more guns that way. Bunch of thinkers in that group.
  18. What are the ramifications of arming teachers from a legal perspective? What if a teacher assumes a threat, kills someone and it is determined that it was not a threat? What if the teacher shoots a student who has a toy gun or anything that might look like a gun? What if a child gets shot by a teacher in crossfire? What if a teacher chooses not to or can't carry a firearm and is unable to do anything if another school shooting occurs? Will they be held liable? Who is going to pay for the intense training required? Who is going to pay for the increased salary that should be demanded for taking on this additional responsibility? You think its hard to get good teachers now, just how do think this type of legislation will factor into the education system?
  19. I am sure that if the admistration had not announced his death, people would be asking question as to why we were not informed right away. They would be asking what is Barack Obama hiding? Obviously killing Bin Laden was not good enough and it was a failed mission. As far as I know, Al Qaeda is "scattered" by definition.
  20. GW is truly a Tragedy of the Commons. Until there is a countable toll in lives and money associated with climate change there will never be any united push for change. Even then, I doubt much will change. It will be survival of the most fortunate. I have personally discussed the issue with those researching climate policy. The overwhelming position is that the 2C temperature increase cap is firstly not at all safe to begin with and secondly a pipe dream. We will likely exceed the 2C mark unless there is radical worldwide change. If the US and other developed nations could come to some resolution, what do you say to emerging countries like India and China? "Hey we've had our fun, sorry we beat you to it. But all thsoe emissions you are releasing with your emerging economy, well you need to stop that sorry!" The thing is that in the USA, we have completely screwed ourselves with cheap fuel. We have allowed our infrastructer to develope around cheap fuel. We drive miles upon miles to work. We spend endless hours commuting. Our homes are far away, we thrived on sprawl. So now what to do? We are so vulnerable. One fuel shock to the system and we are done. There was a very good graph on the NYT website (can't find link right now) that showed how higher fuel taxes and prices impacted driving habits and consumption. The net result was that those countries with higher prices had less consumption (not surprising). But also many of those countries have equal or better standard of living to the US. But if there is ever a fuel crisis or a crisis such as GW, those countries are far better equiped to make change because there community, lifestyle, cities, towns have developed under the pressure of higher fuel prices. A 2$ spike in fuel in a country that pays 8$ a gallon already will have an impact. A 2$ spike in the US would be catastrophic. So less consuption and higher prices is not just to slow GW, it is needed as a security measure. But there are millions of homes and strip malls and fast food restaurants that exist soley by sucking the pipe of cheap fuel.
  21. There are many other factors (see post above ^). The "current" theory of star creation (star system creation) looks great and seems plausible for our solar system. However, our earliest discovery of extra solar planets was actually possible only because systems existed that defied the "current" theory. Massive gas giants ("Hot Jupiters") which were very close to their host star, close enough to cause a detectable wobble in the host star.
  22. I understand this fully, its not what a meant really. This is true. I think the problem is that most people have a hard time accepting the consequences of cheap energy (fossil fuels). There is not a sense of imminent danger, its not tangible or visceral enough for most people to consider in the course of their average day. Its not belief, it is what the evidence supports. I do ride a bike. I have not turned on my heat this winter despite the fact that the temps dip into the low thirties. I only ran my A/C (thermostat set at 85) this summer when it hit 105+ for a week. But not many would do this. I would also like to point out that people do many, many dangerous things to themselves and others daily. People don't even have enough sense to quit looking at their smart phones when they drive. Do you really think they can individually assess the dangers AGW? Again, its the detachment from the danger that makes most people fail to recognize it. This has happened solely because of market conditions? I agree that governments are failing at this. The fact that there is no agreement and that China "scoffs" at us should be more of an example of the extreme difficulty of this situation. If governments (small groups of individuals) can't agree and move forward, how do you expect individuals to behave differently? We are in a country were people signed petitions to secede from the union as the result of the last election. Yet, somehow everybody is going to agree to make individual changes to halt or mitigate AGW? No way, not a chance. It will never work that way. Humans just don't work like that. It is not force, but persuasion. Again, there are people who believe that the Earth is 6000 years old, that evolution is false, that the earth is flat, that one god or prophet is better than the others, that cows are sacred, that pork should not be consumed, that green is better than blue, that not all art is art, that ...yet all people of the world will share "belief in the predicament"? I think not. Without question. General overview of the problem and the chemistry. http://www.pmel.noaa...cidification%3F The process can reverse, but my understanding is that it takes much more time for this to occur (several hundred years), and as long as there is an increase in dissolved CO2 the oceans will continue to become lower in pH (less alkaline, they are not truly acidic at this point).
  23. Yeah. Curiosity to Mars - 253 days. Messenger to Mercury - 1260 days. Its not the distance or getting there that is the issue. The issue is slowing down enough to actually orbit or land.
  24. No, generally that is what he means. He is one who thinks climate scientists make things up just to insure their careers. He is literally saying that climate changes all the time and humans have little or nothing to do with it. Just look through his posts in the climate change sub forum. While I generally agree, this approach is not at all easy. How exactly will free markets cause change? By in large oil, coal, and natural gas are still cheap energy. Yet, if you really look at the data and evidence, we are heading towards an irreversible situation, one that will occur long, long before any market condition will create a switch in mentality. I believe this is the problem, the free market cannot address the issue. And it not just climate change, we have to seriously consider ocean acidification from dissolved CO2 as a major problem. Even if you can manage to deny all the evidence in support of AGW, can you really deny the acidification issue? http://www.nature.co...l/ngeo1635.html
  25. Very interesting. When I had read about the possbility awhile back, I thought it was a bit strange. With very little atmosphere, I would have thought that the ice would sublimate in short order. But I guess at those low temps, it may not happen. So it might be a more ideal first colony when compared to Mars in some ways. But, I think there is still the issue of radiation. The interior of the planet would be protective, but a ship would need to get there, and would be exposed.
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