O/T: Michael Moore gets it right sometimes.

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On Tue, 16 Dec 2008 06:59:41 -0600, Morris Dovey wrote:

My father was a Linotype operator and belonged to the Typographical union. I cannot remember them ever going on strike (at least not in our locale) and they published a magazine that, along with union news, gave the expenditures for every local, all the way down to what they spent on postage.
As a tabulating machine operator for a wire/steel company, I was told I had to join the Steelworkers union. I did and went to a meeting. When I asked how often they published financial reports two rather burly members physically ejected me from the meeting! I found another job.
So I learned early on that unions vary considerably. Of course, I can't say if that still applies or not.
So there may be times that it's all the unions fault, and times it's all the management. But I agree that most times it's both.
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Larry Blanchard wrote:
<snipped>

It still applies. When I go out on a job in Niagara Falls, NY often the first thing I'm asked is to see my union card. The leaders of one of the contractor's unions are still being prosecuted for various crimes including bombings, extortion, racketeering, beatings, etc.. For a few news articles over the past six or so years see:
http://www.nlpc.org/olap/UCU3/05_11_04.htm http://www.nrtwc.org/exposed/exposed20.pdf http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/02/nyregion/02union.html http://www.articlearchives.com/government-public-administration/government-bodies/1561468-1.html
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On Tue, 16 Dec 2008 06:59:41 -0600, Morris Dovey wrote:

If you stop and think about the reason unions was created in the first place, to protect the workers, there was a need at that time. Now there is enough laws on the books that protect the workers, there is really no need for union protection. Unions now only serve themselves and create high wages and benefits that most companies cannot afford, but what choice does the company have in today's society. Union's still project the image that they are their to protect the worker, when it is now no longer necessary because of the current laws.
Paul T.
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PHT wrote:

On the surface, it would seem so - but I worry that there are too many enterprises would pay only the mandated minimum wage. I'm not hypothesizing here - and historically single-enterprise communities were virtually enslaved before the advent of the American labor movement.
You might find it an interesting exercise to extend that minimum wage to an annual gross income (multiply by 40 hours/week and again by 52 weeks/year) and divide by 12 for a monthly gross income. Then consider the quality of life afforded by the resulting /net/ (after deductions) income. To make it real, would you choose that for yourself/your kids/your grandchildren?

Almost. I'm not a fan of trade unions, but there are situations in which there is no way an individual can negotiate a just solution to a problem.
I think the best we can do is try to achieve some reasonable measure of balance - and it would seem that unions may be one of the tools for doing that.
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Morris Dovey wrote:

No. That's why I took the time to become educated and develop skills that could command higher wages. The essential fraud of the union movement is that people are somehow innately "worth" whatever the union says. Ordinarily, I don't care - let the unions and employers work things out and let the marketplace dictate an employee's economic value. But government has shown a repeated willingness to step in and distort this process. One example is government intrusion in the form of binding arbitration - surely not an enumerated power of the government. Most recently, we see the "UAW Bailout Of 2008" begged for before Congress. Both of these kinds of things distort the price/feedback mechanism that should be setting the salary points for union employees (and everyone else, for that matter). A similar example is the insistence of the unions that they need a law that forces votes to unionize to be public - a complete breach of personal privacy and trust that the Obama bunch has already said they will *support*.

I don't think "achieving balance" is even necessary. Let all the parties to this discussion (the unions, the employers) alone. Pass no laws that particularly favor either party. Require civil and legal behavior on both parts and make them *negotiate*. If there is a shortage of labor, the unions will get better terms. If there are plenty of candidates for the work, then the contract will favor the employer. Markets work when we let them. Employment markets are no different.
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Tim Daneliuk wrote:

Good for you. I'd pat you on the back except that you're already doing it. I can't help wondering how well you'd do starting from scratch /today/ with only minimum wages available...
...and I wonder how you'll respond when (not if!) everything you have to offer your employers is available for one-fifth the cost from Abd'AlShugal via internet from Islamabad.

In a marketplace where employers compete for the best employees and where prospective employees compete for the best jobs, I agree with you completely.
Unfortunately, that description does not apply to all marketplaces - or even uniformly through /most/ marketplaces. To insist that it does is to deny reality. In an ideal world, all forces would be in balance - but in the real world, people struggle to achieve imbalances that benefit them more than their peers.
My perception is that even as you say: "Let the system achieve equilibrium," you're advocating a particular definition of the system that would be of benefit to (especially) yourself.

It has - because it is also driven by market forces. :)

No argument with what you've said. Examples abound. What you haven't addressed are the market forces that produced these examples. Until you've done that, you have no basis (other than wishful thinking) for dealing with them.

Let's agree to disagree. I value "fairness" and "justice" in my dealings with others and between others and I'm convinced that neither is possible without balance. All of my life experience informs me that both are necessary.
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Morris Dovey wrote:

That was not my point - I was merely commenting that minimum wage is not an inevitable endgame for people.

I started with far, far less that today's situation. Single parent poor family, etc. Went to two private universities (under- and grad school) w/o a dime of debt or govt grant money and NO debt at the end ... by working, sometimes multiple cruddy jobs.

Then I'll have to do something different for a living. I've already switched career gears multiple times in my life, and am prepared to do so again as needed.

No, I advocate that government stay out of the way other than to ensure there is no fraud, force, or threat by any of the players. Buying and selling labor resources should be no different than buying and selling TVs - you find the best price, best vendor, etc. and do business with them. Labor is absolutely the same thing.

But ... it has the legitimate legal use of force at its disposal and THAT makes it very dangerous and THAT is why its scope must be consciously very narrow.

The "market forces" that produced them are an ignorant public and pandering politicians. They have created an environment deadly to liberty but apparently in both their self-interest. In the short term it may well be so, but not in the long term. Given the current trajectory, the US is headed for 3rd rate economic and geopolitical status in probably only a couple generations.

I do too. So does anyone whose been successful at what they do. You cannot durably succeed by lying, cheating, and stealing - it is a self-limiting set of behaviors. But being fair and just does not mean overpaying for underskilled or unskilled labor. It does not mean extending benefits beyond that which is earned, and so on.
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Tim Daneliuk wrote:

Nor was I arguing that it /is/ inevitable - only pointing out that it's a possible outcome. There hasn't always /been/ a minimum wage, and it didn't come into being because of any love for socialism - but to ensure that the folks at the low end of the scale didn't starve.

Good. I suspect there probably won't be another round of H1B visas - and that next time around, the projects will do the traveling.

Exactly how does what you said differ from my perception? At present, government is (for all practical purposes) inextricably enmeshed with "the way things work".

I think you use up too much of your energy worrying about being coerced and compelled. Force need not be legal to be dangerous - but it is /most/ dangerous when one lives in fear of it. Courage, mon ami - /toujours/ courage.

Aha! You got a "tufer" - a remedy for the first should, in consequence, provide remedy for the second. My personal question for you is: "Are you (can you be) patient enough to educate the peoples' discretion?"
And the greater question is: "How do we go about (re)bootstrapping an apparently failing education system?"

Ok - then I misunderstood what you said and we're in fundamental agreement on some of the key principles.
Got a plan?
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Morris Dovey wrote:

They didn't starve prior to a minimum wage - they worked hard. I come from several generations of no-minimum wage folk, and believe me, they did not starve (you should see the family album).

I work in the IT world. First it was outsourcing, then it was insourcing, and you know what ... some stuff can be done offshore, some cannot. As the world moves to global markets we are seeing a slow but inevitable transition to currency-adjusted wage equilibrium. Them furrin' workers just don't worry me all that much. The world will divide, specialize, and pay more-or-less equivalent wages over time.

You are sadly correct.

My courage is exhausted. I don't worry about theoretical coercion. I worry about the real coercion I've experienced as a business person, as an individual, and as a citizen. The objective level of freedom today in the US at least, if diminishing substantially compared to even a decade ago. Witness the many cameras that watch our every move.

No. There is insufficient time in my lifetime to remediate the knuckleheaded thinking in the larger society. I am largely reduced to complaining, hiding, and just living my life in obstinate contradiction to the status quo. You cannot fix in a couple of years what the quasi-Marxists like FDR, Johnson, Carter, and now, Clinton, Bush, and Obama have or want to install as the norm.

Privatize it. Make the teachers earn the respect and compensation of the parents. Make parents accountable for the education of their children under threat of felony charges. None of this will actually happen.

No. I've mostly given up. The larger society has decided that a "right" is anything they wish for: education, healthcare, safety, peace of mind, a "living" wage, and all of the rest of the drool that spews forth on a regular basis. We live - in the US and most of the rest of the West - in societies driven by the moochers and the looters. The few producers are worn out, overworked, overtaxed, and underappreciated. When 5% of the working population pay the overwhelming proportion of Federal taxes in the US, but some 40% pay little- or no taxes but can vote (and thus appoint the next President) there is no resolution. The next great superpower will be China, with India as an arguable close second. They will not be liberal democracies as we understand the term. The virtues of Western civilization - a civilization that did more to free mankind in less time than any other institution in recorded human history - are nearly dead or on their deathbed. These are not just the rambling of someone of "a certain age". They are the observations of someone who has lived in 3 countries and traveled to many more over 5 decades and has seen the difference. The US - once a light for freedom and opportunity - has become a ghetto for political correctness, government overreach, and whining demands for imaginary "rights." The US is not dying from external attack. It has committed suicide...
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Tim Daneliuk wrote:

We have the IT in work common. Over time, yes - but work which does not require a security clearance will always chase the low price. The question is, of course, how much time?

I dislike the intrusive nature of surveilance cameras as well but, of themselves, they don't present any more danger than a traffic signal. My take is that any nut case who wants to watch /my/ every move is going to suffer cruel and inhuman punishment in the form of extreme boredom.

Of course there's insufficient time. By it's very nature democracy can never be a fait accompli - and while it survives it'll be a work in progress with a high maintenance requirement. It's not the length of a person's life, it's what they do with the time they have that makes all the difference - and it makes a difference what they pass on to those who follow.

Do I actually hear Tim Daneliuk advocating /for/ force and coersion? You can't have it both ways.
You're right - it won't happen because coersion isn't a viable solution.

I had to go drink a cup of coffee and pause to unload the emotional baggage. Back at the keyboard, I see all of the things you've listed as /desirable/ - and from what you've told about yourself, I infer that you don't consider them /undesirable/.
Within the context of a democracy, each of those things can be considered goals worth pursuing, and AFAICT your reservations have more to do with /how/ to best attain those benefits for the greatest number of participants.
As with software, there's always more than one way to skin a cat. If you don't like the way the system runs, it's nearly always possible to re-design for improvements - and that improvements almost always come from disaffected users who /haven't/ given up. The old name for disaffected users who /have/ given up (or never made a real effort) was "lusers". I encourage you to not join that community.

So? How about making a serious proposal for tax reform you consider more reasonable? Personally, I'd prefer a flat rate without exemptions coupled with hard limits on government spending, structured so that after a period of a century or two, government could be fully endowed and further taxation prohibited. :)

I've only lived in two countries, although I've traveled to a reasonable number of others over /six/ decades. Interestingly, I've always found much to admire wherever I traveled. Americans do indeed have much to be proud of, but we're not done learning from others - and it's been said that our greatest strengths are our ability and willingness to re-invent ourselves.
Change is the only constant, and predictions are only predictions. :)
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Let us hope that surveillance as a theft deterrent works /just this one time/ at the Postal Service. If you catch my drift.
=0)
r
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Morris Dovey wrote:

Uh, yes I can. *Initiating* force is always wrong. Fraud is always wrong. In the case of minor children, parents are by default presumed to be the proper caretakers. When they fail to see to their children's education, this is an initiation of at least fraud, and arguably force, because they are condemning their children to fail. The children - as minors - are legally presumed to be incapable of caring for themselves and thus the state does have the right to interdict on their behalf, no different than a policeman arresting someone trying to break into your house.
As far as "making" teacher earn the respect of parents, I mean this in a noncoerive way - there should be a marketplace for schools and teachers as there is anything else. Parents would choose from that pool based on their perception of the fitness of the school/teacher, the amount they were willing to pay for it, and how that school environment mapped to their personal values and ambitions for their child.

They are desireable. They are not political rights. They are things each individual and/or family ought to achieve or earn in their own right. The sole exception is safety. The state has some role to play in defending the borders, interdicting in matters of fraud, force, and threat, and generally maintaining the *framework* of a civil society. This does not, however, include using the coercion of the state to inflict its versions of healthcare, education, et al.

My reservation has to do with the fact that the unwashed masses are willing to give away their liberty and freedom merely upon the promise of some politician that what they want will be given them by government.
"Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither." Franklin
These goals - very much worth pursuing - belong in private life, not as chits to buy votes.

You or I or anyone else that still values freedom are in a declining minority. The demographics here are overwhelming. The last election alone demonstrates that people will buy almost anything at face value from a politician promising them "free" stuff, "change", and all the rest of goo that came from our soon-to-be communist-in-chief. The system cannot be redesigned when a majority of the participants are happy to watch it fail - fiddling on the deck of the Titanic as it were.

Me too. It will never happen.

But that latter thing is exactly what is missing. The citizenry hardly wants to "re-invent" the culture or the nation. It is too busy abdicating itself to the leviathan of the state.

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Tim Daneliuk wrote:

I don't think you'll achieve much traction pushing this issue - not because I have anything against private education, but because I don't see any practical means of implementation due to cost.
In a most fortunate twist of fate (I lived in a country with /no/ high schools, and my stepfather's employer paid for dependents' education at any accredited boarding school), I got to make my own choice of private schools (subject to parental veto for cause) high school. My first two choices (ACS in Beirut and a boarding school in England) were vetoed for what seemed good reasons, and my third choice was where I went.
I dug around to find a web page with some cost info and came up with:
http://www.boardingschoolreview.com/school_ov/school_id/201
and if you scroll down to "Finances" you'll get the same reality check I just did. Education at retail is bloody awful expensive!
[ I think it's worth every penny for kids whose parents can afford it - and if you watch the video (at the top of the page) you can see a bit of why I hold that opinion - what they present is real and true. ]

Yabbut - in a democracy "rights" are what the people decide they are, whether they make sense or seem appropriate to you or not. By choosing to live in a democracy we accept a social contract to live by the rules chosen by the majority. One of the good things about our democracy is that we've incorporated mechanisms to change those rules whenever a majority so elects.
You /can/ effect the changes you want, but first you'll need to build the necessary consensus...

Since you've referenced one of my favorite Ben Franklin quotes, let's also quote from the document under discussion when he said those words:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,..."
I welcome you to the land of the unwashed masses (est. July 4, 1776)

As you already know, our opinions differ on all of the above except that I can agree that "free stuff" always carries a price tag.

Never is a /very/ long time... :)

Methinks it's too early to tell - let's see how it plays out. One or the other of us (or possibly both) may be surprised.
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Morris Dovey wrote:

Hang on a second here. Yes, education is expensive. Just how is it cheaper if it is public? I'd argue that public education - if the real and complete costs are tallied - is *more* expensive than private because there is no market feedback to make it efficient. By some estimates, the US now spends more per student, inflation adjusted, than at any time since education went public, and the results are declining on average. This is not a money problem.

Well again, hang on:
1) The "rights" everyone is trying to vote themselves are not under the purview of the Federal government because it has no enumerated power to grant such gifts. To legally elect themselves these freebies, the Sheeple ought to change the Constitution. They won't, moochers are never that honest.
2) Some rights - the ones explicated in our Constitution - are innate and freely distributed to all. My right to free speech does not diminish your similar right. But the "rights" people are inventing for themselves are not equally distributed. They are "rights" granted to some citizens at the expense of others. This is not a honest theory of rights, its just stealing under mob rule masquerading as a "right".

Today's consensus is mooching. This is why I say we are in an inexorable slide to the loss of liberty and preeminence in the world.

All men are *created* equal, but none of the Framers held that they actually *were* equal. They merely articulated a baseline set of inherent rights all citizens ought to enjoy and wrote a legal framework so that all citizens would be "equal" before the law, under the law, and from the law. The "equality" in question was not about the citizen, it was that the government ought to be "equal" in its behavior.

Never in time to make a difference to you or me, or likely our children. Our grandchildren will probably have to learn Mandarin.

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Tim Daneliuk wrote:

'Scuse me but /you/ were the person who made it a tax->money issue. If you'd like me to agree that we should be seeing a better result for the money spent, I can go along with that...
But first, let's decide on what problem we'd like to solve.

There's no need for a specific constitutional authority, any more than there is for, say, sanitation. It's sufficient that duly elected legislators passed legislation authorizing expenditures.

The last time I looked around, public education was available to all - and I didn't see any provision for exclusions. Are you aware of someone who was denied access to that? If so, I'd be very interested in hearing the story...

Two statements of opinion - noted as differing from my own opinions. (Thank you for sharing.)

Yes, that too - and nowhere could I find a distinction between unwashed masses and any other (privileged) group or person.

Probably a worthwhile endeavor in any case - that's a lot of people not to be able to share opinions with...
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Morris Dovey wrote:

Not quite. My argument is:
1) Government has no enumerated power to be in the education business (at least the Federal govt doesn't).
2) Private is not more expensive than Public if honest accounting is used.
3) You cannot get good results in a system that inherently has no accountability or feedback.
Therefore schools should be private, not tax funded, and parents ought to be held accountable for the education of their children. For the rather small percentage of the population that actually cannot afford to do this, there is considerable charity available ... and there would be even more if the egregious taxation system were eliminated.
Failing this plan, at the very least, we should kick the Federal government out of the education space entirely - where, as I said it has no legal authority to act - an demand that State and local governments tax as necessary to carry their own water in these matters.

Sorry, that is not the nature of the US Constitution as written and intended. The *Federal* government was to be limited to a very few so called "enumerated powers*. All other matters, by direct Constitutional mandate, were to be managed by the individual citizens or the several States. To grant the Federal government more power legally requires a change to the Constitution.
However, ever since FDR, the moochers have been on the upswing and have found all manner of non-existent Federal jurisdictions by flat out fraudulent Constitutional interpretations. FDR himself acknowledged this insofar as he new that the New (bad) Deal was itself non-Constitutional in many ways. That's why he tried to pack the Supreme Court. In short, if the population does not demand its representatives act lawfully, then it makes very little difference what is written down. Today's Federal leviathan would horrify the Framers and lives in direct contradiction to the intent of the Constitution to keep the Federal government small.

My child was denied the education I could afford to get them privately because I could not pay for that private program AND simultaneously be forced to continue to support the debauched public program. Giving everyone equal access to the lowest common denominator does not justify calling it an inherent "right". In my case, my family's "rights" were diminished to the benefit of another family's. This is a net imbalance in liberty wherein the government chooses the winners and losers completely absent any investigation of merit or appropriateness. More generally, any activity of government beyond the defense of liberty and law itself pretty much always yields and imbalance like this where there are beneficiaries and (unwilling) benefactors, and it's always morally wrong to do so.
Even more broadly, someone's need for something - no matter how real, important, legitimate, or urgent - does not grant them the moral permission to loot someone else's treasure - no matter how much that other person has. A starving man does not have moral authority to steal from the wealthy man. The starving mad has moral permission to ask for help, offer to work when and if able, but there is no moral get-out-of-jail-free card just because he needs something. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tim Daneliuk snipped-for-privacy@tundraware.com PGP Key: http://www.tundraware.com/PGP /
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snipped a whole bunch of old, tired rhetoric.

That HAS to be Freudian.

Tim... how angry and disgusted you must be with life and those around you. You have slammed all the doors to any and all input from those who /are/ offering up some new ideas. Yet you are so sunk in your quicksand, that it is now obvious you are terribly lost. You need a hug. Let me guide out of your rage, and enjoy some humour.
The whole world is NOT trying to steal all your pennies. Private schools are run by elitist bigots. ( I was educated in one.) (pssst.. have fun with that line.) I know of no-one as bitter as you are, Tim. Take a breath of fresh air and repeat after me: Robatoy is the light. Robatoy knows everything. Robatoy will cure you.
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Robatoy wrote:

I am neither angry nor disgusted with life. I am disgusted with my dishonest fellow citizens, no more, no less. I am, however, on strike at the moment, committed to doing nothing whatsoever that benefits said moochers. No reason to work long hours, help create new companies, and increase the population of the employed. I too shall retreat to moocher land and resign myself to working just enough to take care of my own interests. I'm trying to figure out how to pillage the Federal handout system legally so I can get back the many dollars it's extracted from me by force to support things like drum beating classes and identity politics in universities. I think I am going to like being on welfare - you meet the nicest people in line.

I have done no such thing. I simply cannot accept ideas predicated on theft as morally legitimate. Charity? I'm all for it (when I'm not on strike). Lending a helping hand up? You bet (when I'm not on strike). But it's pretty outrageous to watch a significant portion of my life's income evaporating into asinine programs run by political con artists that benefit lazy mooches and then get told, "you're not doing your fair share."

My fellow citizens are trying to steal from anyone who will give them what they want. I am one of many people thus targeted. I've never thought it was personal, conspiratorial, or specific to me. It is merely evil and immoral.

I was educated in two and observed neither elitism nor bigotry in either in the total of some 10 years between them I attended.

Maybe the bigotry and elitism wasn't really innate to schools but adhered more to [some of] the students themselves?

You don't know me at all. You are wrong about my being bitter. I am not. I am playing defense (and I am on strike).

Robatoy is a fright.

Robatoy knows who killed JFK.

I don't have fleas.
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Tim... how angry and disgusted you must be with life and those around you. You have slammed all the doors to any and all input from those who /are/ offering up some new ideas. Yet you are so sunk in your quicksand, that it is now obvious you are terribly lost. You need a hug.
What he needs is several slaps in the face. (this is where Tim claims to have a 6th degree black belt in seventeen forms of martial arts). Or ever better, a debilitating illness that eats away any savings he's squirreled away and then let him exist solely on charity so he can get the medical care he needs.
Face it R, some people are incapable of being redeemed, or in this case, deserve the self-serving petty little world they live in. He can call me and everybody else in Canada who has received health care evil and thieves all he wants, but it all comes down to the fact that he's got the social conscious of a cockroach.
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Upscale wrote:

First a defense of stealing, now a call for violence. The inevitable endgame of a broken worldview.

Receiving from a system you're forced to participate in is not evil. Defending theft - as you have repeatedly - is evil.

Maybe. But I don't want to steal from my neighbors nor do I fantasize about violence upon strangers I chat with on usenet. As always, your bad premises lead to bad conclusions and even worse behavior. This has nothing to do with me.
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