Notes from the new Gilded Age

Erik Loomis argues that America is “Headed Back to the Robber-Baron Era,” writing that “We are recreating the Gilded Age, a period when corporations ruled this nation, buying politicians, using violence against unions and engaging in open corruption.”

The donors at Mitt Romney’s Hampton’s fundraiser sure seemed to agree with Loomis — excepting, of course, that they think a return to the Gilded Age would be a good thing. A new Gilded Age might spare them the tyrannical horror of a potential 4.6 percent increase for taxes on income above $400,000.

And while Romney and Republican governors beat the drum for laying off more firefighters, insurance companies now employ private firefighters to protect the property of their high-end clients.

Then, in keeping with the Age of the Robber Barons theme, we learn that Florida is now facing “what the Centers for Disease Control describe as the worst tuberculosis outbreak in the United States in 20 years.”

Actually, it’s not accurate to say that Florida is “facing” this outbreak. Republican Gov. Rick Scott is doing everything he can not to face this outbreak. He even closed the state’s primary hospital for treating tuberculosis cases.

And to add to our Bring Back the 19th Century theme, here’s news that black lung disease is making a comeback. It seems “the system for monitoring miners’ exposure to the dust that causes black lung allows companies to cheat or exploit loopholes” and “even when companies get caught, they have little to fear.”

But on the positive side, we’ve got at least one Alabama judge ruling against county debtors prisons and explicitly stating that abusive pro-corporate robber-baron policies from the 1800s are “disgraceful.”

Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Hub Harrington:

… shut down what he called a “debtors prison” run by Harpersville Municipal Court and a private probation company that he said amounted to a “judicially sanctioned extortion racket,” court records show.

Circuit Judge Hub Harrington took control of all cases in Harpersville involving people jailed for failing to pay court fines and fees. He also ordered the city’s mayor and all council members to attend an Aug. 20 injunction hearing and future court hearings in the case.

Harrington filed the order Wednesday afternoon on a lawsuit filed in 2010 on behalf of Dana Burdette, contending that Harpersville Municipal Court routinely violated defendants’ Constitutional rights. If they were unable to immediately pay court-imposed fines and fees, defendants often were trapped by the system into paying several times that amount, the judge found.

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  • Michael Pullmann

    My only disagreement with Loomis would be that we’re back there already. I read the first volume of Mark Twain’s autobiography, and it’s amazing how much of the contemporary stuff he talks about there has direct parallels to now.

  • J_Enigma32

    Debtor’s prisons are something I didn’t think to use when I was writing my superhero/dystopian novel, but otherwise, I looked to the Gilded Age for inspiration. One may say I was looking backwards in the past to see the future; I just call it justifying my history degree, since it’d be otherwise collecting dust.

    The thing to know about Libertarians and capitalists and the like is that they want to take us back to the 50s. Not the 1950s. The 1850s. If things keep up, the United States of 2040 will be indistinguishable from the United States of 200 years earlier, in 1840, from a social perspective.

    I won’t say my vision of the future is 100% accurate. I had friends ask me if the Party was inspired by the TEA Party, but that’s not true – I started it in 2004, so I beat the TEA Party by about 6 to 8 years. The TEA Party flared up and crashed and burned quickly; they didn’t last long enough to become the Party of American Patriots. But the further down the future I look, the less of this country I see, so long as it continues traveling down this path. But the good news is that if this keeps up, we’ll get back all those jobs we lost an then some! Slave wages for EVERYONE!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Any chance your novel is legitimately freely available? I am in desire of prescient reading material. :)

  • J_Enigma32

     I’m up in the air about making it freely available, although you can purchase the ebook for $2.99 from here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/joshua-kilburn/the-blue-pimpernel/ebook/product-20119689.html (there’s two dead tree versions, too; the only difference is the size). There’s also nothing stopping you from sharing the ebook, either, so once it’s purchased, you can share it with friends and such.

    If you have a blog or something and are interested in doing a review/helping me promote it, then let me know and I’ll get it touch with you via email. :)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I do have a blog – just click my disqus username or click through my profile :)

  • J_Enigma32

    Would you be interested in reviewing/helping me promote? Get in contact with me at jkilburn03 at gmail dot com. Make sure you note who it is in the header of the email so I know. :)

    This offer actually stands for anyone who is interested. If you’re interested in reviewing or promoting my book, email me and I’ll send you a free ebook copy :)

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     Hey, fellow Lulu :-D

    Have you considered serialising it on a blog with a link to the ebook at the end of each installment, so people who can’t wait can buy it.

    It’s a model that’s worked pretty well for some of my other indie friends.

    You still have to market it of course (the big mystery) but if you can manage the making people aware it can work.

  • J_Enigma32

     That’s an interesting idea. I might try that for the novella bridging the first and second novels, but the novels themselves would take years to serialize – they’re both over 200,000 words. But I might try that with the novella.

  • reynard61

    Congratulations! You’re $2.99 (or however much Lulu deigns to give to you in royalties) richer! Spend it wisely…

  • J_Enigma32

     Thanks a whole bunch – I appreciate it. I hope you enjoy the novel! :)

  • flat

    Well they say that history repeats itself.

  • ako

    The tuberculosis outbreak in Florida is a horrifying example of how bigotry against poor people, black people, and people with mental illness is literally killing people.  If, back in 2008, someone had taken the time to help one man with a chronic cough as he was being bounced around the mental hospital-group home-homeless shelter-jail circuit that so many mental people are stuck in, none of this would have happened.

    (And if it hadn’t expanded beyond the poor and mostly black “underclass” to the whiter and more well-off “general population”, we probably still wouldn’t know about this.)

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    “And while Romney and Republican governors beat the drum for laying off more firefighters,”
     
    maybe because we’re in recession?  perish the thought that these people are now are in the same boat as the rest of us trying to find work.
     
     
    “The donors at Mitt Romney’s Hampton’s fundraiser sure seemed to agree with Loomis — excepting, of course, that they think a return to the Gilded Age would be a good thing.”
     
    It would be a good thing. It was an amazing era during which per capita income and the economy at large grew enormously.
     
    http://www.spudart.org/blog/images/2005/ferriswheel_1893_now.jpg

  • EllieMurasaki

    Per capita income doesn’t actually tell us shit. If there’s ten people in the economy and a gross domestic product of a thousand dollars, per capita income is a hundred dollars. The fact that nine of those people have ten dollars each and the tenth has $910 is irrelevant.

  • Donalbain

     Bill Gates walks into a bar. On average, everyone in the bar is a millionaire.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I don’t think Chris “I am a sociopath who likes to imagine getting richer by killing poor people in a fire” Hadrick thinks much of Bill Gates. After all, he’s a sap who wastes his money on stupid things like trying to keep poor people from dying horribly, when he *should* be swimming in bins full of the stuff.

  • PJ Evans

     Or the other version: if you’re in a room and Bill Gates walks in, the average income of the people in the room may be $100 million a year, but you’re not suddenly getting $50 million a year.

  • Turcano

    I didn’t really think this needed to be explicitly pointed out, but you do know that a downturn in the economy doesn’t have any impact on the number of fires that start, right?  Please tell me you know this.  Although judging from the fact that you just tried to argue that the Gilded Age was awesome because they had bigger Ferris wheels than today, I don’t think I can safely assume even that.

  • Donalbain

     I didn’t really think this needed to be explicitly pointed out, but you
    do know that a downturn in the economy doesn’t have any impact on the
    number of fires that start, right?

    I would be rather unsurprised if the number of arsons increased in a recession.

  • Turcano

     True, but I was focusing on the notion that a decrease in government revenue will cause the need for public services to magically disappear.  Or, as Norm Abram pointed out in SimCity 2000:

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    You’re an idiot

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    God you’re stupid.

    Also, you sound like a cartoon supervillain. 

  • Tricksterson

    Ooh!  Can I be Dr. Doom?

  • JonathanPelikan

    Get out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

     “And while Romney and Republican governors beat the drum for laying off more firefighters,”
     
    maybe
    because we’re in recession?  perish the thought that these people
    are now are in the same boat as the rest of us trying to find work.

    I hope your house burns down. I hope you lose everything.

  • Lori

    maybe because we’re in recession?  perish the thought that these people are now are in the same boat as the rest of us trying to find work.  

    Yes, the market for fire is way down.  Everyone knows that when people are broke fire doesn’t burn as well.

    Oh wait, that’s not it. What everyone knows is that people should only have the fire fighting that they can afford. If you’re poor, don’t let your house catch on fire. If you want your house protected, pay a private fire fighting company to take care of it for you. I’m sure that will work. Marker forces and all that. At the very least we should give it a try. We’ve never done it that way before so it’s worth giving it a go, right?

    Oh wait, we did do it that way before. And it was a total fucking disaster, which is why we have municipal fire fighting.

    Glibertarian history FAIL, example #4, 872.

    I’m still trying to figure out if you get some sort of sexual thrill out of looking totally clueless on the internet.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The Gilded Age was awesome because of Ferris wheels?  

    What a coincidence, because I am on a water slide.

  • JayemGriffin

    Do you actually know why we call it the Gilded Age? It’s not just a pretty-sounding catchphrase. Mark Twain coined it in the actual era to describe how society looked shiny and pretty from the outside, but was rotting away underneath. All was well and good for the top 1%, but everyone else was either screwed or damn near about to be. It’s a metaphor.

  • Dan Audy

    Which is why privatised health care is a false economy.  As a Canadian I’ve benefited greatly from our health system providing mental health coverage.  While I might have been coped without the public system (cause I have parents in the 1% who could have got private coverage) there are many people I encountered within the system who did not have the support system I did.  Instead of (most likely) degrading and ending up untreated on the street I am slowly improving towards stability along with many of them.  Instead of draining the system further on social and law enforcement services I pay taxes and within a few years will have put more into the system than those interventions cost, not caused any other damages, and positively contributed to society too.  

    Communicable diseases are even more a case of converting a small cost to society into large individual and social costs.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Chris Hadrick thus spake:

    maybe because we’re in recession?  perish the thought that these people
    are now are in the same boat as the rest of us trying to find work.

    Jesus Baldhaired Ole Christ on a Crutch, you’re the walking talking epitome of the Crab in a Barrel syndrome.

  • Dan Audy

    The fact is that the economic growth during the Gilded Age was not caused in any manner by the economic inequality or corruption but rather by the fact that massive technological changes quartered the labour costs of agriculture, new industrial technologies revolutionized steel production and industrial manufacturing, and then electricity and all the early developments in that accelerated the economy.  All of those same developments would have created the same economic boom if the wealthy hadn’t been draining off the rest of society, it just happened that so much growth was happening that it made the corrupt behaviours hard to see (much like the dotcom bubble did to a lesser extent) because doubling your income seems great until you realise it should have quadrupled but someone stole the remaining value away.

  • Joey Maloney

    I urge everyone to take ten minutes and go read Judge Harrington’s short (5-page) order. Righteous anger sparks off every page. He gets it. He gets that the legal system was perverted into a shakedown and he is PISSED.

  • nirrti

    People keep asking about the Corporatists’ end game, what their motivations are for the flagrant abuses of the law and workers’ rights.

    I’m totally convinced they want to turn the whole world into a slave economy. And what will be so grievous about it is many people won’t even know they’re slaves. They’ll think they’re constantly struggling to making ends meet because they’re not working hard enough, even though they’re putting in long, hard hours with miniscule pay, no health care, little time off, and no rights.

    Take a look at the way corporations are exploiting workers in third-word countries. That’s our future if we let them continue with the erosion of our rights and means to make a decent living.

  • Tricksterson

    I don’t think they have and “end game” per se because I don’t think they’re that farsighted.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

     I’m totally convinced they want to turn the whole world into a slave economy.

    Exactly right. And filthy animals like Chris “Let’s save money by firing all the firefighters!” Hendricks are happy with that he’s convinced he’ll get to be an overseer or a house slave instead of the one picking cotton.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Dan Audy-  “The fact is that the economic growth during the Gilded Age was not caused in any manner by the economic inequality or corruption but rather by the fact that massive technological changes quartered the labour costs of agriculture, new industrial technologies revolutionized steel production and industrial manufacturing, and then electricity and all the early developments in that accelerated the economy.”

    sounds like a terrible time! People must have been ecstatic when that was over and the great depression and 10 different wars came in the 20th century.

    Seriously, If you didn’t have entrepenours you wouldn’t have had any of those things.  The railroads and Standard Oil weren’t parasites. without them people would be walking everywhere and digging holes inthe ground to find some oil.

    Ellie- per capita income isn’t the only measure but it’s not some tool of the wealthy. Russia’s per apita income has doubled since communism and the quality of life has also improved.  It’s a general measure of the country’s wealth. Unless you had 50 trillionaires it isn’t meaningless.   AS Dan Audy’s post indicates it was a revolutionary time.

    Turcano- My sister lives in a wealthy town. They have a volunteer fire dept. They pay a little more on fire insurance but they save money. no massive outbreak of fires that has occured.  

    If we had police on every block and every street corner we would probably have zero crime but we can’t afford that.  There isn’t an unlimited supply of money. The ones in Scranton didn’t even get fired they got a pay cut, albeit a massive one. They probably still have their benefits (anyone know?) 

    Most of what fire departments do isn’t fighting fires. I see them following ambulances all the time for some reason.  There aren’ that many fires.

    Bill Gates charity work is wonderful. if it was taxed by the government they would spend it on wars instead.

  • Tricksterson

    You do realize that most of the railroads and defintely Standard Oil got much largesse from the government of the time, yes?

  • PJ Evans

     Hse slept through that part of US History in school.
    (Every other section going out from the right-of-way for several miles, as I recall. And a lot of towns were started around the places where they had to stop for fuel and water.)

  • guest

    When Oakland CA had to build an alternative to the collapsed Cypress structure after the big earthquake, half the budget for the rebuild was paying off the railroad for the land the railroad got for free.

  • PJ Evans

    Half the cities in the Central Valley ( and a lot of them outside) were started by the railroads. SP’s real estate division was spun off some years ago – but there’s a light industrial/office park not far from me that has permanent signs at various locations proclaiming it to be  ‘Southern Pacific’.

  • PJ Evans

    Most of what fire departments do isn’t fighting fires. I see them
    following ambulances all the time for some reason.  There aren’ that
    many fires.

    Paramedics, troll.

  • J_Enigma32

    “Seriously, If you didn’t have entrepenours you wouldn’t have had any of
    those things.  The railroads and Standard Oil weren’t parasites. without
    them people would be walking everywhere and digging holes inthe ground
    to find some oil.”

    WTF? There’s so much stupid crammed in here I’m not sure where to start.

    First, Standard Oil was not”entrepreneurial”. They were a MONOPOLY. Christ man, even MUSSOLINI knew the difference (see Sombert’s contrast of “heroic capitalism” against “static capitalism” and “supercapitalism”). Monopolies, by their very nature, strangle entrepreneurship. When was the last time you saw a new bank not affiliated in any way with a larger bank? What about a new oil company? A new coal company? The very existence of Standard Oil killed off competition and eliminated any chance at entrepreneurial ship. V.I. Lenin said it best, and it can be summed up thusly: the natural state of the free market is as a monopoly. At which point the market is decidedly NOT FREE.

    (Of, if you prefer to think of it this way, in terms of thermodynamics: we start off with a lot of potential energy, but as time goes along, a lot of that energy gets wasted as heat, until finally, you read the lowest, most concentrated energy level. This is the monopoly. The monopoly is the perfect representation of economic entropy).

    You obviously have no idea how entrepreneurship works, do you? “people would be walking around and digging holes in the ground to find some oil” IS HOW IT WORKS.

  • http://criada.livejournal.com/ Liz Coleman

     >>My sister lives in a wealthy town.

    I suspect this is also key. The town is probably constructed of well-made and well-maintained buildings and furnishings which are all owned by the occupants. No ancient, rundown places with crappy wiring whose occupants and/or landlords are too poor, busy and/or greedy to fix up.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Russia’s per apita income has doubled since communism and the quality of life has also improved.

    Is everyone twice as well off as they were before?

  • http://newpillowbook.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/friday-fictioneers-lunacy/ esmerelda_ogg

    Meanwhile, in Scranton, PA, firefighters and police (and all other city employees) are being cut back to minimum wage, according to this Philadelphia Inquirer story: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20120715_In_Scranton__firefighting_pays__7_25_an_hour.html?cmpid=124488459

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Before Standard Oil people would just dig for oil wherever they could find it closest to the to the top of the ground. When it ran out they’d leave. Standard oil were the first ones to really turn it into an industry, including using the by-products for other things.  Rockefeller was a genius and the consumer benefited.

    “V.I. Lenin said it best,”  you are certainly painting yourself into a corner with that one. At least quote Krugman or something.

    “potential energy, ”

    economics is a social science.It’s very general assumptions based on peoples behaviour not scientific laws or facts.  analogies with things like that are impossible.

    Yes Mussolini knew about monopolies.  monopolies are the result of state intervention on corporations behalf. Obviously I am totally opposed to that.

    PJ- How many fires are there per day in your neighborhood? I’ve seen about 2 fires in my whole life. I’m not saying firefighters aren’t important, but what can you do when you ‘re broke? Scranton has enough funding for one day in the bank or something.

    trickerston-  There was a tariff or something on kerosene so they got inflated profits from that but beyond that every thing they did was legal and drove prices down, which consumers loved. 

    bottom line: refined oil dropped in price a great deal because of Standard oil.

    While I disagree with the analogy I agree with much of the sentiment that the middle class is dissapearing, etc I certainly wouldn’t attribute that to monopolies achieved via the free market though. The people at political fundraisers are probably from alot of companies with federal contracts looking for more of them . Lockheed and places like that.  

    speaking of which http://t.co/4bSEbKMx   here are some of the things the 9.2 billion dollars the pentagon spent last week bought. I have no problem admitting I would much rather firefighters be retained than to have this foolishness going on.

  • Nathaniel

     Why do we bother arguing with this shithead?

  • JonathanPelikan

    Good question.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Why do we bother arguing with this shithead?

    It’s a good question, and I “liked” your status, but to be honest I do enjoy reading the responses to him. I dunno why people bother, he can barely even write, much less string together coherent thoughts, but if the responses are going to keep being as witty and insightful as they’ve been, I’m okay with that. It gives me a nice distraction from work, haha.

    So props to the people going out of their way to respond to this guy.

    Also, yeah, firefighters. As PJ indicated, it was just a couple years ago we had a fire that was visible from space. Since then, we’ve had similarly sized wildfires in Texas and Colorado, and we can expect more of them as global temperatures rise. Firefighters literally saved my parents’ house. So if you wanted to pick an example of a government service to cut that would really make you look like a clueless asshole, that’d be it. Nice work, Chris!

  • PJ Evans

     Those were three different years with fires. Not that that helps, when you’re watching it burning a mile or two from where you’re standing. Or when people you work with have been evacuated from their houses.

  • Albanaeon

     I’ve now been through 6 major fires within eyesight.  It never becomes routine…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    monopolies are the result of state intervention on corporations behalf.

    Why do you resist reality with such fervor?

  • J_Enigma32

     “”V.I. Lenin said it best,”  you are certainly painting yourself into a
    corner with that one. At least quote Krugman or something.”

    Ad hominem. Address the quote – where did Lenin get it wrong?

    “Yes Mussolini knew about monopolies.  monopolies are the result of state
    intervention on corporations behalf. Obviously I am totally opposed to
    that.”

    No. Monopolies are what happens when capitalism compromises democracy. It’s true that they used the government to maintain their control over the market. But it’s also true they would never have been busted were it not for the very same government.

    Also, for the record, Mussolini was opposed to it, too. Supercapitalism, to him, was when the industries threw themselves into the arms of the state. That shouldn’t happen, and he – and by extension, Italian Fascism – was against that.

    “How many fires are there per day in your neighborhood? I’ve seen about 2
    fires in my whole life. I’m not saying firefighters aren’t important,
    but what can you do when you ‘re broke? Scranton has enough funding for
    one day in the bank or something.”

    There for a while, we averaged at least one a day.

    So take the anecdotal evidence away. All of reality is not built on your perceptions.

    “economics is a social science.It’s very general assumptions based on
    peoples behaviour not scientific laws or facts.  analogies with things
    like that are impossible.”

    So you’re telling me social entropy isn’t an actual concept?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_entropy
    http://www.nexialinstitute.com/social_entropy.htm
    http://www.sunypress.edu/p-780-social-entropy-theory.aspx

    Such analogies work. I may not have articulated it well, but it works. Unlike your political philosophy.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Two weeks ago, the woods behind my parents’ house caught fire. It’s just brush and scrub. The owner of the land didn’t really stand to lose anything because it’s undeveloped. I doubt he would have paid for a private fire service. 

    It took seven fire companies to put the fire out. Because of their efforts, the houses surrounding that 40-acres of scrub and brush all survived intact.

    You are pretty much saying my parents should have lost their house. Fuck you, you little, little man.

  • Tricksterson

    Of course everything they did was legal.  That’s because the Rockefellers had their hands up the asses of half the people making the laws.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    “I’ve seen about 2 fires in my whole life.”

    Don’t you live in socialist Taxachusetts? There were 29,110 fires in your state in 2011. The reason you don’t see the fires is because of the hard work of your well-funded local fire companies which get to the fires so quickly and deal with them so effectively.

    National Fire Death Rate: 11.0 deaths per million population 
    Massachusetts Fire Death Rate: 5.3 deaths per million population

    Lowest rates: Hawaii, Idaho, Massachusetts, California, Delaware, New Jersey

    Highest rates: DC, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia

    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/estimates/states.shtm 

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Just FYI, I live in Colorado.  If not for the firefighters putting their lives on the line last month, half of the state would currently be on fire, and the other half would have already burned out.

    You do an amazing job of demonstrating the “Got Mine, Fuck Y’All” worldview.  That is not praise.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    “I hope your house burns down. I hope you lose everything. ”
    lol

  • Tricksterson

    I would guess you don’t own a house?

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    For the record, there was a fire two hours ago here in San Antonio.  Right now there is an “Other/Unknown,” and one labeled “fire only – EMS,” whatever that means, at 11:46.  There have also been seven “medical response” calls in those two hours.

    So San Antonio could totally do without a fire department.

  • Albanaeon

    Chris, go ahead and come to Colorado Springs and tell us that we don’t need firefighters. Go right ahead. 

    And you actually have an interesting point about insurance going up because of a volunteer Fire Department.  Pay for it one way or another, I guess.  Of course if the worse happens, one will fight to save your home, valuables, life, and the other will be looking to pay as little as possible and deny your claim and fight you tooth and nail while your life is a shambles around you. 

    But hey, FREEDOM!

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    The fundamental premise of libertarianism is that if you could solve a big problem by everyone working together, you should say “Fuck that noise,” and split the problem up into a lot of little problems, and then the rich people will solve the 1% of the problems that affect them personally, and fuck everyone else.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Mcgraw-  That’s how they restrain competition. Getting laws passed that apply to or sabatoge only their  (usually smaller) competitors.

    pepperjack- do you have a scanner or something.

    You guys are knee jerk responding to my defnce of cutting firefighters jobs. Obviously having firefighters is a positive thing. That doesn’t mean they are above the rest of us.

    There is some good news in all these spending cuts

    http://www.npr.org/2012/06/27/155835006/defense-giant-says-budget-cuts-could-mean-pink-slips

    I only wish it had happened by choice in better times so these people could go on to different, better professions. and so we could make a clear, purposeful move away from militarism.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Firefighters aren’t above everyone., no. They aren’t above EMTs, for instance. 

    Firefighters save lives. They are a necessary thing for society to function in any way. No job I’ve ever had has been anywhere near that important. Nor have I ever had a job in which I knew I was going to be risking my life every single day, so that others could be safe.

    There is something very off about anyone who does not recognize and respect firefighters for the work they do. Actually, the way you write and think… I’m not going to respond to you any longer. I would encourage others to do the same, since Chris Hadrick derails every thread he’s in. 

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    The San Antonio Fire Department has a website where you can look up where the current fire department activity is:  https://webapps1.sanantonio.gov/activefire/

    One of the dads who hung around with our group of parents after school was a fireman (still is, but I don’t see him anymore) and he gave me the URL.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    You guys are knee jerk responding to my defnce of cutting firefighters jobs. Obviously having firefighters is a positive thing. That doesn’t mean they are above the rest of us.

    I’m pretty sure they’re “above” you. Still waiting to hear what your great contribution to society is. You write like an adolescent, but you surely couldn’t live with yourself if you weren’t economically productive, so–what is it?

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Ellie- not in a quantitative ,exact way but

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Russian_economy_since_fall_of_Soviet_Union.PNG

    (chart)

    This would tend to indicate a generally higher living standard. This is not to rag on communists just to point out that rising GDP is not usually because of  a couple rich guys getting really rich.

    Not to valorize Putin either.

  • EllieMurasaki

     http://irregulartimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/meanhouseholdincome1967to2008.png

    US GDP in 1967, when that chart begins, was $833.6 billion in 1998 dollars. In 2008 when that chart ends, it was $14,219.3 billion, I presume in 2008 dollars. Convert the 1998 dollars to 2008 dollars with http://stats.areppim.com/calc/calc_usdlrxdeflator.php and one gets $1,057.6 billion dollars. So the US economy in 2008 was about one and a half times the size the US economy was in 1967, and look how flat those bottom lines are.

  • PJ Evans

     I was reading a story about Mr O’s proposed tax changes, and one of the comments on it was from someone whose family’s combined income is $250k, and he was complaining because in the area where he lives he can barely afford a house. I don’t think it’s really dawned on him that he’s well off; a lot of the people reading that story make less than $75k a year and will never be able to buy a house at all.

  • PJ Evans

    How many fires are there per day in your neighborhood? I’ve seen about 2

    fires in my whole life.

    I hear fire trucks nearly every day, and I’ve seen fires – wildfires, not house fires – more than twice in one day. (One memorable Thanksgiving, there were five burning, and I saw at least three of them. It looked something like Dore’s illustrations of Hell.) Being close to one puts you in the fallout zone for ash, as well as living with smoky air. And a structural fire can be smelled for days, if not weeks, afterward.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    “I hear fire trucks nearly every day” –

    me too, I don’t see any fires though.  What do you guys think Scranton should do?  pay firefighters with IOU’s??  They’re broke. 

    I would also again draw your attention to the previously linked article. it describes how the pentagon spent 9.2 billion dollars in 4 DAYS last week.  You could have paid for Scranton’s firefighters for eternity with that. Why didn’t someone in Washington say ” How about we don’t buy this preposterous hoverboat thing and instead we help Scranton? ” 

    and stop pretending to be all offended at every little thing I say.  The point is there is a REASON why the firefighters are having their salaries cut. It’s not because rich people don’t care if poor peoples homes burn down.

    ellie- that’s a pretty depressing chart. I don’t have a similar one for Russia but I’m giong to go out on a limb and gues that in general life is better than under the iron curtain. They don’t have bill of rights level freedom but they aren’t under Stalin at least and you can’t put a price on that.

    J Enigma- No there is no such thing as social entropy.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    “You are pretty much saying my parents should have lost their house.

    Yeah that’s why I’m opposed to the military industrial complex, not because i hate war but because it’s a sneaky way to get rid of firefighters. I’m a pyromaniac!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You shouldn’t try to make jokes. They’re as unfunny as the ground of Venus.

  • Alex

    Just a thought as a Sealab 2021 fan: It might be more fitting if you used Stormy Waters as your avatar, or maybe Hesh. Sparks is a little out of your league.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    Also, that way when he has to switch between his logins he can have  a lengthy conversation with himself:

    “I’m Bizarro Chris Hadrick.”
    “I’m Regular Chris Hadrick.”
    “I’m Bizarro Chris Hadrick.”
    “I’m Regular Chris Hadrick.”
    “I’m Bizarro Chris Hadrick.”
    “I’m Regular Chris Hadrick.”
    “I’m Bizarro Chris Hadrick.”
    “I’m Regular Chris Hadrick.”

    …and so on.

    It would be at least as worthwhile as anything else he contributes here.

  • Lori

     

    I’m a pyromaniac!  

    Nope, just a total dumbass who doesn’t realize that constantly pissing and moaning about the Pentagon is not the answer to everything and saying over ^ over that you hate war doesn’t actually make you a good person.

    Seriously, why don’t you just do away. There must be some glibertarian traffic somewhere on the net that you could go play in.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Yeah that’s why I’m opposed to the military industrial complex, not because i hate war but because it’s a sneaky way to get rid of firefighters. I’m a pyromaniac!

    You don’t hate war. You’ve only ever protested about war in the context of your* tax dollars being spent on it. You’ve never indicated any concern for the actual people whose lives are affected by war.

    *I use “your” in the general sense, cos I think you’re a kid who doesn’t actually pay tax

  • PJ Evans
  • Hadricknlippy

    people on this site have the weirdest style of arguing. instead of making a point you get offended and just restate that over and over.  Whatever it’s supposed to accomplish it isn’t working.  and it isn’t helping firefighters in any way. so why bother? I don’t understand.  We aren’t at the UN here, it’s just a discussion. You’re like right wingers, eveything is an “outrage”
     
     
    Why don’t you ask your President Obama who you all voted for why he doesn’t help out Scranton? and instead lets the Pentagon fritter away billions on garbage no one wants?  You act as if you are innocent in all this and it’s being done to you.   You did it, you voted for this guy, you support this system. The government is “us” remember?

  • ConservativeWhitebread

    ” You did it, you voted for this guy, you support this system. The government is “us” remember?”
    On that note – what exactly is our alternative?

  • Lori

    Why don’t you ask your President Obama who you all voted for why he doesn’t help out Scranton?  

    Because unlike some people we passed civics and know that helping Scranton is not within the President’s direct power. The power of the purse is held by the House. Which is controlled by the GOP and essentially in the grip of the Tea Party faction, which means no one other than the 1% is going to be getting any help any time soon.  That’s the Ryan budget in a nutshell and the President has nothing to do with that.

     

    You did it, you voted for this guy, you support this system. The government is “us” remember?   

    It sounds like you may voted for the people responsible for this mess, but I most definitely did not. So in this case the useless, damaging, hate-mongedring mess of dysfunctional government may be “you”, but it is not “us”.

  • ConservativeWhitebread

    They restate things, in different ways, because there’s a distinct problem Hadrick seems to have with understanding English words in sequence.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    sorry if that was a little harsh AND not with my usual screen thing I couldn’t sign in for some reason.

    “There were 29,110 fires in your state in 2011. ”

    What constitutes a fire though? an entire building burning out of control?

    from what I understand much of what firemen do is other stuff and/or downtime.

    Here’s the article I bit the line about seeing firetrucks but not fires from btw

    http://takimag.com/article/the_price_of_bravery/print#axzz20jZqnmYu

    is it true 70 percent of the firefighting services are volunteer?

  • hidden_urchin

    from what I understand much of what firemen do is other stuff and/or downtime.

    Yeah, like saving my 3 yo brother’s life when he stopped breathing in the middle of the night.

    Firefighters are frequently dispatched first because they are equipped to handle everything from gas leaks to fires to medical emergencies.  EMS can really only handle the last one.  Also, because fire stations are scattered throughout cities, and there tend to be more of them than hospitals, firefighters can get to an emergency a lot faster than an ambulance.  In my little brother’s case, the fast response time meant he recovered fully instead of sustaining permanent brain damage or dying.

    Pardon me if I’m not swayed by your inane arguments.

  • Lori

    So, about all those people flocking to the Ron Paul Revolution:

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/charlie-mahtesian/2012/07/ron-paul-gets-smoked-in-nebraska-128948.html

    Looks like Ron Paul isn’t going to be our next president/savior after all.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC75aU47GRk

  • PJ Evans

     The there’s the Ron Paul follower who was running for a state senate seat ino Iowa. She’s given up and proclaimed herself the senator from the Republic of Iowa – she claims that the entire US government has been illegitimate since 1871.

  • Tricksterson

    Why 1871?

  • PJ Evans

    Why 1871?
    You got me. She was claiming that was when the government was taken over by corporations, or something off-the-wall like that.

  • Lori
  • PJ Evans

     It sure is CT.
    As I read it (IANAL) the corporations would be things like a national bank; there’s no mention of individuals being owned by one, never mind being owned by government.

  • Tricksterson

    Anyone else find hat as icoherent as I id?

  • Tricksterson

    as incoheent as I did.  Sorry.

  • Tricksterson

    AH!

  • Lori

    Yes. In addition to not being true it also makes no real sense. IOW, pretty much par for the course for a conspiracy theory.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    hidden urchin- I didn’t realize that. that firemen can respond to something  before the emt because of their proximity to an incident.
     
    That is, gasp, a  contructive point! You should edit it out and replace it with some whining and swearing, be more of team player.
     
    Lori- yeah it’s the GOP’s fault that Scranton is bankrupt.
     
    “which means no one other than the 1% is going to be getting any help any time soon.”
     
    By the one percent I assume you mean DC. Thats the #1 richest area of the country. That certainly includes the contractors who work for your precious Pentagon.
     
     
     
    You’re right though. they are the ones who will be helped.

  • Lori

     

    yeah it’s the GOP’s fault that Scranton is bankrupt.  

    This is probably the closest thing to a true statement you’ve ever made here.

     

    your precious Pentagon.    

    Shove it where the sun don’t shine little man. Sideways.

  • ConservativeWhitebread

    Chris Hadrick’s really upping the asshole ante.  In all possible readings of that sentence, in fact.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    This is really an odd Christian board.   “I hope you die in a fire” “fuck you” look at yourselves sheesh.

    thanks so much for educating me about the existence of fires. I had no idea there was such a thing! I don’t know what points you guys are responsing to but it isn’t any of mine.

  • Lori

     

    This is really an odd Christian board.  

    You’ve been around long enough to know this is not a “Christian board”, so you can just save it.

     

      “I hope you die in a fire”  

    No one said this.

     

      “fuck you”  

    You totally bring this on yourself. And no, that’s not victim blaming. The only thing you’re a victim of is apparently a very poor education. You’re more than old enough to have corrected that if you wanted to, so at this point that doesn’t even count.

     

    look at yourselves sheesh.  

    No Chris, you look at yourself. You defend the powerful against the powerless, not to mention dabbling in anti-Semitism, and think that as long as you keep talking about how you hate war people are supposed to think you’re a good guy. You’re not.

    Also, if you don’t like the way we talk to you there is a sure-fire way to make it stop.

     

    I don’t know what points you guys are responsing to but it isn’t any of mine.  

    You do know that people can still read what you wrote earlier in the thread, right? There’s no disappearing ink on the internet.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    To be fair, Lori, someone did say “I hope your house burns down. I hope you lose everything. “ to Chris Hadrick.

  • Lori

     

    To be fair, Lori, someone did say “I hope your house burns down. I hope you lose everything. ” to Chris Hadrick.  

    Yup. And that is not “die in a fire”. If Chris had complained about what was actually said I would have let it go. Instead he had to try to make himself seem more of a victim.

  • Albanaeon

     Damn.  Hit the like button by mistake.  Don’t let it go to your head.

    Anyway Chris, you may want to keep this in mind.  “Fuck you” is crudity.  The heart of your arguments is that everyday people don’t need civilization, which is an obscenity.

    You’re getting crudity because you’re being obscene, however politely you phrase it.  Blame yourself. 

    And if a little adult language and righteous anger is too much for you, then don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  • Beroli

     Damn.  Hit the like button by mistake.  Don’t let it go to your head.

    You can unLike the post by hitting the Like button again.

  • Albanaeon

     Thanks.  Now corrected.

  • ConservativeWhitebread

    Yes, yes, we’re all Christians here.

    Do you read anything that actually gets posted here?

  • Nathaniel

     I think whenever he attempts to read his mind goes into a safety shut off switch.

    Then he wakes up frotting a Ron Paul policy document. Again.

  • ConservativeWhitebread

    Frotting a…how…dammit now I’m imagining how this would work.  Someone somewhere has a deviantart page devoted to this too.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    nathaniel – ” think whenever he attempts to read his mind goes into a safety shut off switch.”

    Yeah that’s why my posts are ten times as long as everyone elses.


    Then he wakes up frotting a Ron Paul policy document. Again.

    frotting? and when have i “frotted” a ron paul policy document. Who brought up ron Paul in this thread?  

    “Why do we bother arguing with this shithead?”

    I don’t recall ever arguing with you.

    lori – “So in this case the useless, damaging, hate-mongedring mess of dysfunctional government may be “you”, but it is not “us”.”

    finally we agree on something. except no it’s not me. I’m glad you agree it is certainly not “us”.

    “Shove it where the sun don’t shine little man. Sideways.”

    that’s great . nothing like a little implied sexual violence when you’re getting an angry mob going. 

    “not to mention dabbling in anti-Semitism,”

    for criticizing Israel? is this slacktavist or weeklystandard.com I challenge you to back up that assertation.

    I simply disagreed with the characterization with the Gilded Age which I felt was innacurate and felt the unfortunate firing of firefighters was being unfairly heaped on people who were simply trying to avoid bankruptcy.

    I’m glad people are passionate about the issues but it’s just a discussion on the internet.  I have things that get me angry but it’s certainly not  words such as when lori says the Pentagon is an effective jobs program and therefore we have to leave the military industrial complex alone . I don’t get mad at that and that’s not very civilized.

    I’ll go frot away some ron paul policy papers now. good night

  • ConservativeWhitebread

    internet lolbertarian says what

  • Lori

    that’s great . nothing like a little implied sexual violence when you’re getting an angry mob going. 

    That was not implied sexual violence, you asshat. Also, there is no angry mob you moron. It’s a conversation, not a lynching. The fact that your posts are nearly always fact-free not our fault. You aren’t a victim here.

    for criticizing Israel? 

    Don’t even try this bullshit on me. The problem is not criticizing Israel, it’s the way you do it.

    I challenge you to back up that assertation. 

    It’s already been done, and not even by me.

  • Beroli

    Yeah that’s why my posts are ten times as long as everyone elses.

    No, the reason you occasionally write a long post is that, when you do, it’s a reply to half a dozen different people.

    The reason why you very often don’t reply to people at all, on the other hand? That’s because you don’t engage with things that challenge your worldview.

    “Why do we bother arguing with this shithead?”

    I don’t recall ever arguing with you.

    Of course not. You’d need a case to do that.

    But some people do try to argue with you, though you never engage with them. Fewer people try as it becomes increasingly obvious that your head is made of solid iron pyrite and it’s pointless.

    I’m glad people are passionate about the issues but it’s just a
    discussion on the internet.  I have things that get me angry but it’s
    certainly not  words

    That is unfortunate. If people pointing out what a disgusting excuse for a human being you are bothered you, it might make you think about the things you say.

    I’ll go frot away some ron paul policy papers now.

    Do that.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    There are people on the internet who do not post in good faith, for one reason or another. One reason is to get attention. Any attention. The stronger the emotions these people can stir, the happier they are. Negative emotions are easy to stir. So they post inane and cruel things on a website where people respond to them. 

    This is the same stuff that goes into any harassment. It’s difficult to deal with this stuff, because we say, “stop that, you are hurting me,” and the harasser doesn’t think, “well crap, I didn’t mean to hurt them,” or even get angry and defensive. The harasser instead files away the fact that pushing that button gets a strong reaction, which is something they like.

    There are some obvious things that will get strong reactions. For instance, if I were the type of person I described above, I would post something nasty about more people being able to get health care on a blog which I know supports universal health care. If regular commenters had previously said things like, “this health care bill will allow me to get surgery,” that would be a plus. I would also post ridiculous crap about firefighters just after fires devastated a large area of the country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    By the one percent I assume you mean DC. Thats the #1 richest area of the country. That certainly includes the contractors who work for your precious Pentagon.

    More specifically, that area is the counties of Fairfax and Loudoun (where I work and live, respectively).  I have no doubt that government contractors, lobbyists, and others connected to the political machine account for much of that wealth, but I suspect that the massive technology sector plays a very strong part as well.

    AT&T, Verizon, Cisco, Level 3, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Juniper, IBM, the moribund – but still profitable – Aol, and a host of other lesser-known, private sector companies with annual profits in the billions, all have major operational presences here, and they employ a lot of highly-paid people.  Some of them do, in fact, have lucrative government contracts, but in many cases, that accounts for only a very small percentage of their overall profits.

    At my company (which makes the majority of its money selling services to individuals), within my functional organization, there is a Senior Vice President with five VPs reporting to him.  That’s undoubtedly a fairly significant concentration of wealth right there, and then you have to consider that there are another two hundred full-time employees in the organization, the lowest-paid of which is earning at least $50,000 a year.

    And that’s just one organization within the company – there are, that I know of, three other functional organizations with similar (or higher) levels of staffing.

    Beyond that – and again, this is within only one company – there are the highly-paid contractors and consultants, who may receive less in the way of total benefits, but who generally have a much higher level of take-home pay than full-time employees.  Contracting and consulting companies in the area also take in massive annual profits thanks to the tech sector.

    So the point is that assuming that the concentration of wealth in the DC metro area is solely in the hands government fatcats demonstrates a failure to take into account the role of the private sector in the area.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2012/04/24/americas-richest-counties/ 

    “Together with fifth-place Howard County, Md., which has annual median household income of $103,273, the economies of the nation’s five richest counties are all greatly dependent on federal government spending.”

    lliira- “This is the same stuff that goes into any harassment.”

    I see. So even though it would appear on the surface that I’m a bit of a victim of harassment with the swearing and shoving of things where sun doesn’t shine in a way which would cause me extreme amounts of pain, I’m actually the harasser.

    “I would post something nasty about more people being able to get health care on a blog which I know supports universal health care”

    harassment = disagreeing with people in a thread on the internet.

    sgt peppers-“You don’t hate war.”

    bashing the Pentagon in every thread is my way of supporting wars.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    bashing the Pentagon in every thread is my way of supporting war, that’s right.

    No, it’s your idiotic, know-nothing kneejerk way of bashing the government. It’s got nothing to do with opposing war. It’s barely got anything to do with the actual corruption in government contracts and the awarding thereof, because that would involve looking into the issue deeper than just shouting “BAD!” whenever someone mentions the government.

  • Alex

    Yeah, definitely Hesh.

  • JustoneK

    internet lolbertarian martyr says what

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Although judging from the fact that you just tried to argue that the Gilded Age was awesome because they had bigger Ferris wheels than today,

    Yes, rich people were really rich and they had fancy stuff in the Gilded Age.  That’s why it was called ‘gilded’.

    Per capita income doesn’t actually tell us shit. If there’s ten people in the economy and a gross domestic product of a thousand dollars, per capita income is a hundred dollars. The fact that nine of those people have ten dollars each and the tenth has $910 is irrelevant.

    It can be helpful, in that it lets you assess the proportionate wealth of the group as a whole.  If one ‘economy’ has 10 people and PCGDP of $100, and a second 25 people and a PCGDP of $60, we know that *something* is making the first group more prosperous – even though the second has more total income. 

    In practice, though, PCGDP paired with GINI is a lot more helpful, both in getting a picture of conditions in the country and predicting future performance.  If Economy A with its $100 has a GINI of .81, and Economy B a GINI of, say, .23 over its $60 were to be compared, you’d probably have a good idea what each society looks like, and be able to guess that B would likely be more successful in the future (assuming you pay attention to reality – .23 is a little extreme, but even most Libertarians would be hard pressed to argue that .81 is a healthy economy.)

    Yeah that’s why I’m opposed to the military industrial complex, not because i hate war but because it’s a sneaky way to get rid of firefighters. I’m a pyromaniac!

    So the solution is to make sure that Scranton now has to raise its own army?  Or hell, that individual citizens have to provide for their own defense?  Please explain how that is in any way a better option.  You still need some way to defend yourself – pacifism is an end, but not a particularly effective means.

    Shockingly, not many people here are likely to be enthusiastic supporters of the whole military-industrial complex thing.  But just because the defense budget is bloated does not lead into ‘therefore, all government is bad’.

    By the one percent I assume you mean DC. Thats the #1 richest area of the country. That certainly includes the contractors who work for your precious Pentagon. 

    It’s almost as if the rich are disproportionately represented!

    Yeah that’s why my posts are ten times as long as everyone elses.

    No they aren’t.  They’re longer than most because you’re responding to multiple people, but they aren’t ‘ten times longer’.  In any case, you seem quite adamant in not actually absorbing any information imparted, as though you’re simply responding according to formula without actually understanding…

    You’re not by any chance a Chinese man in a closed room?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    You’re not by any chance a Chinese man in a closed room?

    If they were, presumably the scripts implemented by the room would not include any sort of reference to the fact. Asking them if they were a room full of English-language texts plus a Chinese man might get a more relevant answer, though it’s hard to see how.

    (shakes head) Don’t mind me. Searle has given me a low-grade toothache for about thirty years.