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Old Jul 13th, 2012, 01:58 PM   #11
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Old Jul 16th, 2012, 11:05 AM   #12
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The continuing story...

Dumb as dirt: Bethune, Mao, Anders and the new McCarthyism

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A former Reform Party MP, Rob Anders is well-known to Canadians for a variety of missteps, gaffes, and controversies. He began is political career as a professional heckler for the Republican Party in the United States which earned him the sobriquet of "a foreign political saboteur" from CNN. Anders was the sole parliamentarian to vote against making Nelson Mandela an honorary citizen of Canada in 2001. His campaign for the Wildrose Party of Alberta against Premier Alison Redford's Progressive Conservatives generated controversy, as has his lobbying to cut off government funding for the CBC, and his removal from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, partly based on his tendency to fall asleep during meetings. Although nineteen members of Anders' Calgary West riding association resigned en masse, protesting interference from the Conservative Party, Anders enjoys the support of Prime Minister Stephen Harper who has said, "Rob is a true reformer and a true conservative. He has been a faithful supporter of mine and I am grateful for his work."
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In 1935 Bethune joined the Communist Party of Canada (not China). He was not a "Maoist", indeed, he only met Mao once. Contrary to Anders' claims he was never a "propagandist for Mao" and there is no evidence that Bethune "lionized" Mao. Whatever Mao's faults -- and they were many -- during the two years (not three as Anders claims) when Bethune was in China (1938-1939) the Chinese communists were occupied with fighting an invasion by the Imperial forces of Japan and not with any internal repressions. Moreover, whatever Bethune's political convictions, his work in China was of a humanitarian nature as a physician (he once performed 115 operations in the space of 69 hours -- without sleep), not as a soldier, politician, or propagandist. By the time of Mao's Great Leap Forward in 1949, Bethune had already been dead for a decade. The attempt to tarnish Bethune with the brush of Mao Zedong's subsequent excesses is historically fallacious and absurd.
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Old Jul 16th, 2012, 11:13 AM   #13
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The continuing story...

Dumb as dirt: Bethune, Mao, Anders and the new McCarthyism

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Ander's is an arse and the media is writing about this becuase we are in the usual summertime news doldrums.

It is a waste of your time to be reading this stuff CM, he was considered a loose cannon even back in the wild west days of Reform... I'm sure you have better, more productive things to do.
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Old Jul 16th, 2012, 11:19 AM   #14
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Well at least intentional victims... capitalism by it's very nature has a great number of unintentional victims... unlike those of communism's victims who are very pointed, selected and deliberate.
I quite like this comparison. I think it's quite true that free market economy is like an ecology, and it generates both wealth and suffering in an entirely unconscious way; without any malice or intent. And it's a very powerful system; I do believe that a capitalist, free market will usually generate more and better solutions to most economic problems than a 'designed' communist approach. The problem is that, unless the market is artificially constrained, the "solutions" it finds to the wealth-generation problem won't necessarily be beneficial to society. So compromises have to be found.
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Old Jul 16th, 2012, 11:33 AM   #15
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I quite like this comparison. I think it's quite true that free market economy is like an ecology, and it generates both wealth and suffering in an entirely unconscious way; without any malice or intent. And it's a very powerful system; I do believe that a capitalist, free market will usually generate more and better solutions to most economic problems than a 'designed' communist approach. The problem is that, unless the market is artificially constrained, the "solutions" it finds to the wealth-generation problem won't necessarily be beneficial to society. So compromises have to be found.
And despite the malfeasance that we do see arise from time to time in the capitalist system it is by far and large a regulated system... maybe less so than some would like and more so than others would like. But there is no where in the world that a completely unfettered capitalism exists... even in places like the tax haven Cayman's there are still regulations and laws.
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Old Jul 16th, 2012, 11:40 AM   #16
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even in places like the tax haven Cayman's there are still regulations and laws.
Yep. The problem, as I see it, is that the regulations are generally made to benefit the regulators and/or their donors, rather than society at large. I'm not saying I have a solution to this problem of human nature, but we have let this system of privilege escalate to the point of re-creating the kinds of social inequity that has historically sparked violent revolutions. Perhaps this is just my Canadian sensibility, but I'd prefer this problem be solved by a bunch of boring negotiations and sensible adjustments to our financial regulatory system than by blood in the streets.
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Old Jul 16th, 2012, 11:52 AM   #17
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Yep. The problem, as I see it, is that the regulations are generally made to benefit the regulators and/or their donors, rather than society at large. I'm not saying I have a solution to this problem of human nature, but we have let this system of privilege escalate to the point of re-creating the kinds of social inequity that has historically sparked violent revolutions. Perhaps this is just my Canadian sensibility, but I'd prefer this problem be solved by a bunch of boring negotiations and sensible adjustments to our financial regulatory system than by blood in the streets.
I would have to disagree. We, as a whole, are far better off on the whole than the underclass/impoverished of previous eras (at least in Western democracies)... there may be blood in the streets because a few thousand or even 10s of thousands feel exploited in one manner or another (and I would add that often this sense of exploitation is misguided/misdirected or at least felt vicariously as opposed to directly), but in the west we are very far away from being close to a coup d'etat and for very good reason... the underclass, those who truly live in poverty, are in the minority.
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Old Jul 16th, 2012, 12:24 PM   #18
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We, as a whole, are far better off on the whole than the underclass/impoverished of previous eras
Unquestionably true. Even the poor in our society enjoys luxuries that the royalty of the past couldn't have conceived of. But it's the disparity between the rich and poor that has gotten so much worse.

It's very hard to understand how the labour of one individual is deemed "worth" so vastly more or less than another. CEO's get paid millions to do literally nothing (according to Mitt Romney; apparently he was just collecting the CEO salary and had no knowledge of what the company was doing), while the commoners have to work 80 hours/week at two or three jobs just to make enough to eat.

As more and more people in our society become dissatisfied with the economic system that perpetuates these sorts of obvious injustices, the frequency and intensity of social unrest will increase. If I were in government, I would be trying to address this obvious problem, rather than letting the pot boil over.
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Old Jul 16th, 2012, 02:20 PM   #19
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Unquestionably true. Even the poor in our society enjoys luxuries that the royalty of the past couldn't have conceived of. But it's the disparity between the rich and poor that has gotten so much worse.

It's very hard to understand how the labour of one individual is deemed "worth" so vastly more or less than another. CEO's get paid millions to do literally nothing (according to Mitt Romney; apparently he was just collecting the CEO salary and had no knowledge of what the company was doing), while the commoners have to work 80 hours/week at two or three jobs just to make enough to eat.

As more and more people in our society become dissatisfied with the economic system that perpetuates these sorts of obvious injustices, the frequency and intensity of social unrest will increase. If I were in government, I would be trying to address this obvious problem, rather than letting the pot boil over.
Maybe a few do but I would estimate that most CEOs put in hours that most of us do not... they get paid what the BOD is willing to pay them... these are private sector employees and unless I am a share holder in a given company how and why would that affect me or deprive me of a higher standard of living for myself?

That is pure hyperbole and does not reflect the average citizens experience at all.

But the public/government has no say in what these private companies pay their employees and a CEO is just another employee, the highest paid employee but none-the-less they are employees. There are no public dollars used to pay these people so why should the government have any say in what they get paid.

Does the government regulate what star athletes and celebrities get paid...? No. So why do you think executives of mult-ibillion dollar private companies should be any different.

As for your comment on the disparity being greater now than in previous eras, it is all relative.... in the past the disparity was a difference between life and death, the greatest disparity of them all... now it is a difference in what we own and have access to that is non-essential, i.e. gravy.
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Old Jul 16th, 2012, 02:47 PM   #20
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Maybe a few do but I would estimate that most CEOs put in hours that most of us do not...
You may be right; but most graduate students I know work 70+ hours per week, and all the pre-tenure faculty are well over that. And that's not even counting the working poor who are holding down 2 or three jobs to try to make ends meet.

But more to the point

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they get paid what the BOD is willing to pay them... these are private sector employees and unless I am a share holder in a given company how and why would that affect me or deprive me of a higher standard of living for myself?
This is an absolutely valid point. Like the rock-star or astronomically paid professional athlete, CEO's are getting paid what the market will bear, and we shouldn't complain that we've chosen careers that the market says are less valuable... well... unless we think maybe the market is being gamed and isn't really a fair representation of what society values, eh?

Furthermore, the CEOs hire tax accountants and lawyers who collectively lobby politicians and make back-room deals that allow them to further inflate their already ludicrously inflated compensation packages, all while sheltering their opulent lifestyles from the taxes that support the society that they're profiting from.

While there will always be anomalies and injustices, when people whos genuine value to society is low are consistently paid vastly better than people who's genuine value to society is high, the economic system is broken. (Compare the effects on society of an NHL player's strike to a National Transit strike... but who get's paid more, a hockey star or a bus driver?).

Now CEO's who do something like take a $1/year salary and get paid through stock, are harder to criticize, but still, the system should be ensuring that they are paying a fair share of taxes, and that the value of their stock is not being inflated by externalizing environmental, labor or other hidden costs.
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