All A Twitter: Chavez Hires 200 People To Tweet For Him

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has hired 200 people to help him tweet as part of his account “chavezcandanga,” which has more than 237,000 followers. He has much to tweet about as inflation has now reached 30 percent in the country, which Chavez blames on the “bourgeoisie.”

Chavez’s twitter account is now slightly larger than his rival Globovision, the only critical TV channel remaining in the country after Chavez’s crackdown on journalists and free speech.

For the twitter story, click here.

The 30.4 percent inflation rate is now the highest in Latin America and, in his signature style, Chavez is now blaming the hidden hand of the United States and the wealthy and punishing no punitive measures: “We need to stop this right now. The bourgeoisie do not listen to appeals to their conscience. Let’s act with a firm hand.” Totalitarian tweets in 140 characters or less.

For the full story, click here.

126 thoughts on “All A Twitter: Chavez Hires 200 People To Tweet For Him”

  1. Byron said:

    “I am still having trouble wrapping my mind around the feed back mechanism that can be used to “tweak” the system.”

    No, systems are naturally regulated by feedback loops – when negative feedback is removed the system becomes unstable and when it’s replaced by positive feedback the system oscillates out of control. Breaking the linkage of cost and profit (the right to pollute freely) is removing negative feedback and privatizing profits while socializing losses (huge bonuses and bailouts for Wall Street) is positive feedback – the results of both are predictable and bad.

  2. Slarti:

    I am still having trouble wrapping my mind around the feed back mechanism that can be used to “tweak” the system.

  3. The sad thing is that for me the previous post was a VERY short comment… 🙁

  4. Buddha,

    Your last several posts have made me start to think about throwing another of your quotes back in your face:

    “Best. Thread. Ever.”

    (Okay, maybe not the best, but right up there… ;-))


    I don’t really have the time to engage in this thread (or any other) right now, but I thought I would just interject a quick point about labor and capital (really labor and management) gleaned from my experience growing up in Michigan. Both labor and management need to be kept on a short leash – when labor gets the upper hand it has a tendency to demand so much as to make the business unprofitable and when management has the upper hand it tends to push towards a 60 hour work week with no benefits or vacation (and, of course, the sort of cost cutting measures that lead to the occasional boo-boo like Upper Big Branch or Deepwater Horizon). Given the asymmetry of the results of imbalance and the self-correcting nature of labor over-reach (if you put the company out of business with your demands then you lose your job) it is generally necessary to intervene on behalf of labor (although usually making sure that the workers are free to form unions is sufficient as long as there is reasonable oversight and regulation of the industry). This country was built by the strong backs of labor with the backing of capital – lately capital has started taking a much bigger piece of the pie than it has in the past. I know you are fond of saying that the whole pie is growing, but labor’s slice has been staying the same or shrinking – in what way is that fair? In my opinion, bad things will happen unless capital is knocked down a couple pegs to restore the balance – basically if capital continues the way it’s going eventually the workers get fed up and revolt, ushering in a system like communism as an over-reaction to the excesses of unchecked capitalism. It is far better, in my opinion, to step back from the brink by stamping down hard on the corporate interests which have corrupted our republic in an effort to restore the balance.

  5. Labour Theory:

    a question, how does labor function in the absence of capital?

    Henry Ford could build a car and he could run a business. How many laborers can run a multi-billion dollar business and be successful?

    Your problem, at least as I see it, is that the chair and the factory has it’s genesis in the mind of the capitalist or of the laborer building chairs who dreams of bigger things. I think Marx disregards the function that a capitalist provides, namely ideas and the money to fund those ideas. Without that there is no labor.

    Capital and labor need each other, but labor needs capital more than capital needs labor, at least in my mind.

  6. LT,

    Keep it simple is bad advice? And that’d be your opinion. Functionality is king. This also means different tools for different jobs.

    Learn to distinguish between “analysis” and “implementation”, too. Also “tactics” and “strategy” while you’re at it. “Theory” and “reality” would be good too.

    The keep is simple advice? Was for discussion purposes and purposefully chosen. But more on that in a minute.

    I’m very much an anti-propagandist. I understand the psychology I’m dealing with. I am fully aware people need a reason to like socialism and I’m fully aware I’m fighting 50 years of propaganda that’s demonized the concept.

    I also just made someone virulently against socialism in any form for as long as I’ve known him reconsider that it can be implemented in a way that could be workable for him and his concerns over personal and property rights.

    So obviously, I’m failing to open minds and the discussion has ended.

    Except I didn’t and it hasn’t.


    That’d be your oops in case that wasn’t clear.

    Lecture to me about what it takes to change someone’s mind if you like. Ok, Karnak? I’ve demonstrated more than once in here that I can perform that task. Economics may be your forte, but logic and persuasive speech are mine.

    Do not base your analysis of what and how I convince people on one thread alone. It would be a poor sample space and a complete misunderstanding of my methodologies. As someone who preaches from the economic pulpit you should realize the pitfalls of improper sampling.

    The battle between Byron and I over the nature of socialism has been going on a long time. You’ve stepped into about 3% of an ongoing war. That’d be like judging the effectiveness of WWII’s Pacific campaign solely upon what was done at Pavuvu or Tinian alone.

    I’ve changed Byron’s mind in incremental steps. Most humans don’t digest big changes in information with one bite easily or often. In fact, do a little research into the psychology of how human process new information. Small pieces work better with the “most people” you refer too. There is a reason phone numbers are seven to ten digits long and it’s not electronics technical. There is a reason some arguments are simple and some are complex. Ten data points is pushing the limit of what most people can digest easily at one time, be they numbers or concepts. Audience composition is not just a key element in delivering or destroying propaganda, it’s also key to selecting the proper tactical action in a given circumstance to achieve the strategic goal.

    Why did I use utility and justice as my angle this time? Because I’ve tried other angles and the results led me to think that’s a better tactic in this situation.

    And also why I just won a victory in that battle.

    Byron’s mind is now a little more open to socialist solutions to problems than he was before. His misconceptions somewhat cleared even with the fog being burned off by a little fire, but at the same time his concerns about his rights addressed.

    Just like I changed his mind about the appropriateness and utility of torture or the rush to war. In his words, “Yep you beat me about the head and shoulders over my beliefs because I was wrong about the war and about torture. And you were right to do so.”

    Functional methodologies? I dare say yes, I got some. I know this because history tells me so. That you haven’t seen enough of the conflict to form a complete picture of my methods means I’ll discount your opinion based on the fact my methods just worked in application. While you may have a technical economic point, you don’t have a complete picture of the tactics or battles leading to this point vis a vis counter-propaganda. This leads you to misunderstand my strategies.

    Then you jumped in to play the economist version of Roger Ebert when it’s clear you’ve seen a scene, not the entire film.

    So you think my definition is narrow. Consider it may be narrow with purpose for this application. Did I ever say economics lacked value as a modeling system? No, I did not. I said in isolation it’s as wrong as any isolated system that in reality it interacts with other systems – which by definition means it’s not truly isolated. Just like what I said about law and psychology.

    You think I’m using “their” language? Of course I am. And mine too. Purposefully chosen to strip or destroy loaded labels or remove their value load to get at functional definitions, not reactionary definition (which is what a value loaded word often is).

    “I don’t understand why you can’t see the very same repression in garden-variety capitalist production as well.” Your assumption, and that’s what it is, would be that I don’t see that repression. I’m less concerned with “garden variety capitalism” because that’s not what we have here in the wake of Citizens United and the failure to prosecute everyone at Cheney’s Secret Energy Task Force for treason. What we have here now is fascism. Corporations have stolen our legal system via lobbyist graft. If they hadn’t? CDS and the faulty math they are based upon wouldn’t have been allowed in the market in the first place. Companies like BP wouldn’t be running manifestly unsafe drilling operations. The telcoms would be getting their asses sued off for helping Bush (and now Obama) violate our Constitutional rights. Blackwater/Xe employees would be in prison for murder. And just like Lewis predicted, fascism arrived wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross. Oh, and Halliburton and Exxon’s P/L statements.

    As to bad actors? This is a law blog, not an economics blog. Bad actors are of course going to be a more primary focus, as is bringing them to justice and/or preventing their crimes in the first place – not the mechanics of the sliding scale of which form of capitalism is the most or least abusive although I am arguing for the least abusive form possible in what would naturally seem a round about way to an economist.

    Keep it simple bad advice? Now it’s you who forget the audience and the forum. Just as audience and forum are key elements in deploying propaganda, they are key in destroying it as well. And information overload locks most people up.

    I have demonstrated (and more than just this once) that I can change someone’s mind. That you disprove of my multiple methodologies (as far as you narrowly understand them from your obviously insufficient sample space), would be your error and your problem. You have proven you can criticize tactics without a complete picture of strategy. But feel free to argue for reform in the mode you see fit. That is your Free Speech right.

    Mine too.

    So how about you argue your way and I’ll argue mine.

    That’s also good advice.

  7. Buddha,

    “Keep it simple” huh? Ok, this is why our side never wins the day. (You do see that we’re on the same side, right?) I have no problem getting beyond labels in search of solutions. Most people however, are another matter. Most people only know the labels; they therefore have to be dealt with if we’re to have any kind of conversation. No converstaion, no solution.

    You may be good with that dictionary definition of socialism but I’m suggesting that your society needs to hear a better definition right now. You are arguing with people who have no bigger fear in this world than an augmentation of the top marginal tax rates…and you choose to defend socialism from the angle of justice and utilitarianism? Admirable sentiments but think about your audience. Why not just focus on the fact that the same forces which keep poor people poor also rob them–the presumably-employed right-wingers you’re arguing with here on the interwebs–of a large portion of their labors? Pound away at it. Failing that, I think you will get nowhere extolling the virtues of Scandinavian market socialism because people will not be open to hearing it. Functionality: King, right?

    As for economics, I think your definition is way too narrow. Economics is, in a broader sense, a set of tools to understand reality in general. Economics is actually better at, say, figuring out why consumers choose one type of vehicle over another given a fixed set of circumstances than it is at figuring out whole systems in their minutiae. People tend to ask things of it that it can’t deliver. But I understand your skepticism. From your experience, it purports to be a quasi-science, it claims to be able to construct models which approximate reality, just plug-in your values and see the future. Congratulations on being intelligent enough to see through that bullshit–but you’re throwing out the baby with the bath-water. It’s thanks to economics that we know what the problems are–given our economy in crisis–and have some idea of the ways these problems are interrelated. The solutions are another story. For example, there are a number of possible solutions for banking reform which would probably be effective–but there is not one of them which wouldn’t be tarred by the right as a socialist takeover. If you really give a shit about functionality, we have to get beyond the point where Always back to square one. Economic theory is your friend: don’t ask it to predict the future and you won’t be disappointed by it.

    Anyway, like I said in the first place, I’m not into the whole Marxian orthodoxy thing–I believe in private property, I believe in free enterprise, etc. I “pick and choose” too. But the way I understand the system–and undertanding I gained from reading Marx and others–it’s not “bad actors” screwing things up. The things that happen, happen because they are a part of the capitalist system and require no bad actors–though, to be sure, bad actors exist and they make things worse than they would otherwise be.

    Ask any mortgage broker about “bad actors”. The subprime mortgage crisis was created with relatively little bad-faith. Obviously, there was a good bit of “predatory lending”, steering credit-worthy applicants into subprime notes. The bulk of the toxic paper, however, came from the triple-whammy of an endless supply of free-money being shovelled out the discount window at the Fed, a genuine (and genuinely stupid) belief that real estate prices had become immune to the laws of gravity and the existence of the “shadow banking system” that is securitization. (There were many other factors at play but I think these were the big three.) In this environment it becomes stupid to not make NINJA-loans. When investment banks are clamoring for more paper (they’ll take anything) and you yourself believe that there’s no way housing prices could possibly fall, then witholding credit based on assets, income, credit rating, etc. not only serves to keep you from making money, it may actually get you fired. Having convinced yourself that the product is risk-free, there’s no ethical dilemma. Not much bad-faith, just stupidity–and we all get to pay the price.

    Bubbles don’t happen by conspiracy. They are organic. They grow and grow and when the smarter folks begin to see that the end is near, then the fraud begins. But by then the damage is done. The fraud just shifts the losses around from one bank or fund to another. In the final analysis, the total losses are what they are: roughly equivalent to the unrealistic gains which had accrued–and they are massive…and they are yours and mine, though we had no hand in making them. (Well, at least I didn’t.) This is just how capitalism works. It’s in its DNA. Privatize profits, socialize costs. You can talk about the repression of the majority for the benefit of the minority inherent in the extremes of communism or fascism all you want. I don’t understand why you can’t see the very same repression in garden-variety capitalist production as well.

    You may think I’m a crank for insisting that we get beyond the concept of socialism as it has been pre-digested for us by capitalists–a lot of people do; it comes with the territory. Maybe I am a crank…but I’m pretty damn sure that Sweden got those great social safety-nets by arguing against capitalism according to the standard text, not by pointing to Denmark and saying, “look, it worked over there”. People need a reason to not hate socialism. Sweden is not good enough. “High taxes”, they respond. End of discussion. No discussion, no solution. It’s time to attack capitalism–and this is a very involved undertaking but I don’t see how anything short of this has ever worked and don’t expect it to start.

    Keep it simple? That’s for arguing sound-bites. Your message can’t compete against the right in a war of sound bites. You yourself use their terminology. It’s over before it begins. Nothing gets solved.

    The real world is anything but simple. “Keep it simple” is bad advice.

  8. LT,


    3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

    I’m good with that.

    It’s the middle path between communism (all public ownership) and capitalism or it’s extreme version fascism (total private ownership). It should be noted that both polar extremes lead to some form of serfdom, slavery and/or repression of the majority to the benefit of the minority. Repression breed social discord and social discord breed revolution which is by its nature ultimately an uncertainty, a form of anarchy. The degree which to implement socialist practices should be implemented and in what market segments to avoid social meltdown is the question. This is why I referred to Sweden as a blended economy. Theirs seeks the middle path. Some markets are command markets, like health care, but most are free markets, like consumer electronics and furniture. And it works. As it does in Norway and Germany too.

    Really. Keep it simple. Because the best way to both fertilize a garden and to get 14 opinions is to lock 10 economists in a room.

    As Mike S said, “[S]top confusing economics with politics with human relations”. Each systems models work differently on paper/in a vacuum than they do interacting in the real world. That is why of each and every thing it must be asked what is it in itself.

    The purpose of Government is law and protection of citizens (when properly administered).

    The purpose of Economics is to define models of production and distribution.

    The purpose of Psychology (human relations) is to define personal and interpersonal dynamics.

    Dissecting any given social problem can be an easier task when one let’s psychology inform the analysis of government and economics to an optimal solution for the maximum number of people regardless of the labels. Labels are names. A rose by any other name and all that. Again, PA says look to the proper metrics first, then dissect the process and the psychology behind the process. Then design your processes, in this case laws, for optimal efficiency while taking into account the foibles of human psychology and the best way to prevent bad actors from screwing them up.

    Synthesis is one of the things the human brain is capable of but it is a very neglected skill as often as not.

    The analogy that strikes me is the way many Easterners look at religion. Ask an average Japanese what their religion is. You usually won’t get a straight answer. Same with the Chinese. They aren’t like the West where you are on one team or the other. They tend to pick and choose based on what works. A little Taoism here, a little Shinto there, toss in some Buddhism and maybe a dash of Confucianism and Christianity. But they focus on what works for them.

    Functionality is king.

    This goes for any and all systems.

  9. I meant to edit a paragraph:

    Ok, so socialism technically has no definition. Then what is it? It is any system in which workers (not state, workers) own their means of production or any system which mitigates the logical contradiction which comes forth when you apply the labor theory of value (a pillar of classical economic thought) to a system of capitalist production. Or how about this: what isn’t it? It isn’t a system which has much tolerance for the creation of surplus-value.

    To those of you who understood what the fuck I was talikng about: how could you? 😉

  10. Warning: pamphlet ahead

    Gotta agree with Mike Spindell in this respect: “much sturm und drang” to no end…an apt description since it brings me to another German critique of enlightenment thinking which could really help everybody develop an accurate conception of both capitalism and socialism: Vol. I of Capital. Buddha, Byron, Mike–you are obviously not complete strangers to books. Would it fucking kill you to read the first volume of Capital?

    Those of us who are of late–oblivious to all evidence–talking about the slide toward socialism in the the US, the failure of socialistic structures in Europe and elsewhere, meanwhile lumping high taxation in among those socialistic structures: you are completely missing what has happened/is happening. And those of us who understand what is happening are, frankly, not doing a great job of communicating this understanding to our rugged-individualist brothers and sisters. It’s because we don’t fully understand capitalism, a lack of understanding which is itself the result of an ignorance of Marxian thought. (Just to be clear here–there are many Marxians who are so completely dismissive of mainstream economic thought and who accept just about everything the old man said as gospel. I’m not; I think that kind of orthodoxy presupposes a world much more simple than exists in reality.)

    We can’t communicate a positive conception of socialism and/or socialistic structures because, not having read the book–or subsequent works which build upon it–we don’t know that A) there really are precious few historical examples of genuinely socialist economies to which we can point, and; B) the book–indeed, 99% of all serious socialist literature ever published–is strictly an analysis of capitalism, NOT a prescription for the coming socialist Utopia. In fact, the only thing Marx wrote in Vol I about the structure of a socialist economy was that different societies would arrive upon it in different ways and come up with different structures to suit their particular traditions and circumstances.

    Ok, so socialism technically has no definition. Then what is it? It is any system in which workers (not state, workers) own their means of production or any system which mitigates the logical contradiction which comes forth when you apply the logically consistent interpretation of the labor theory of value (a pillar of classical economic thought) to a system of capitalist production. Or how about this: what isn’t it? It isn’t a system which has much tolerance for the creation of surplus-value.

    Those of you who understand what the fuck that means can skip to the end, otherwise go ahead and read my half-assed synopsis.

    Both the Classical and Marxian schools of thought begin with the same proposition: that it was man’s LABOR–and this alone–which created value; that it was only through the work of a human being that (for example) a tree became a much more valuable cord of wood, or a cord of wood became a much more valuable house. It is for this reason that we find it morally repugnant to deprive a person of his property: because in doing so we deprive him of his work. Property is reified labor. This was so to Locke, Smith, Ricardo and Marx…and apparently it is still so to your average American teabagger, as he complains loudly about the meager fruits of his hard labor being taxed out of existence.

    But let’s think about the theory a bit more, maybe you will begin to see just who it is that’s stealing from you. (And actually, the taxman IS stealing from you but only to the extent that YOU are the one being taxed instead of the moneyed elites and that your tax dollars are going where they go.)

    Say a chair-factory worker gets paid $75/day–the bare minimum “socially necessary” (in Marxian terms) to his/his family’s survival and reproduction–and makes 20 chairs, each of which have a value of $20 wholesale. The raw materials plus a fraction of the value of the tools and/or machines (since they “depreciate”, or wear out over time) plus the overhead costs of the physical plant amount to $7/chair, or $140/day at that level of productivity. Thus an initial capital of $215 has been turned into $400. The process repeats itself again and again, each time requiring (assuming 100% reinvestment of “profits”) more workers, more raw materials, more everything because with each cycle the amount of capital at the capitalist’s disposal has increased–despite the fact that each time he repeats the process he may consume part of the gains for the day-to-day wants and needs of his own life.

    Adam Smith or David Ricardo would say that the capitalist has spent $215 and has profited by the amount of $185, or 86%–obscene by mainstream standards but it gets worse through the Marxian prism. Of course, they would say this with a straight face despite the fact that they both subscribe to the labor theory of value, not seeing the contradiction between the generation of “profit” and the basic concept of theft.

    Marx didn’t’t see it that way at all. According to Marx, since the amount that the capitalist spent on materials etc. (the “fixed” portion of the capital) remains present in the finished product, that capital has simply been advanced from one stage to another, waiting to be converted back into money via sale, then back into raw materials via purchase, then back into a chair via labor ad infinitum.

    The labor (the “variable” capital, in Marxian terms), as it is responsible for the surplus value, is what we use to calculate the rate. $400 (ending cap)-$140 (fixed cap)=$260 (variable+surplus ). So the beginning expenditure was $75 and in the end that sum has increased to $260. Therefore the rate of surplus value is 346%. In the worst-possible capitalist-worker relationship, the worker gets no compensation for this added value despite having been responsible for the creation of 100% of the added value. In the real-world there are mitigating factors like unions and labor laws (which the capitalist spends much time and energy fighting) but no matter what, in the end it is a class-relation with the one (the capitalist) belonging to the elite class and appropriating all or most of the worker-created value and the many (the workers) belonging to the exploited class and getting little to no compensation for that which they alone have created. The degree to which any system is socialistic is the degree to which some force–be it government, or labor–expropriates that stolen value and returns it to its rightful owners, the workers who brought it forth in the first place.

    So, the logical implications of this starting point were simply ignored by the Enlightenment thinkers who first proposed it–until Marx came along. At that point it could no longer be ignored, it would instead have to be suppressed. Where there once was a theory of value and a theory of pricing, now we are told that only price matters. In the Marxian–as well as the classical–analysis price and value are two distinct concepts. First, there is this notion of “natural price”. This is basically the same thing we all know as equilibrium price–the price at which supply and demand meet–but this concept is formed independently of supply and demand. Marxian economics posits that the actual price of a commodity is a reflection of individual producers’ determinations of how much labor a commodity contains which has merely been distorted by the effects of supply and demand. Just as supply and demand are the aggregate expression of individuals’ willingness to buy and sell a particular good at a particular price, that price will be the average amount of socially necessary labor which went into producing it. Again, this is not the same as actual price and you rarely pay the “natural” price when you make a purchase at market. Supply and demand cause goods to be sold above or below their value all the time. Since Marx, economists who focus on the large-scale (“political-economists” in Marxian terms, “macroeconomists” to everybody else) have simply removed the concept of value from the discussion altogether. As for value, it doesn’t really have any effect on price–the only (somewhat) qualitative input which affects price is “utility” which basically means “ability to satisfy wants or needs”.

    In other words, the entire history of neo-classical economics his been partly an exercise in distraction. It’s not in any way an accident that in the midst of the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes (I’m pretty sure this one is going to be bigger than the Great Depression) people everywhere are engaged in a bunch of “sturm und drang” to no end. Right now the banks are playing a game of take the money and run. At this point, they’re out to rob not only you and I but their fellow thieves, the other multinational corporations (the ones who happen to actually make things). It would all be very easy to understand but we first have to understand capitalism. This is not easy to do without having read Marx.

  11. (Honestly now, you’re just being provocative for the funny responses. Admit it.)

    Lie, Lie, Lie, Deny,Deny,Deny

    Don’t convict me judge, I aint dun nuttin. Dat wuz my twin brudder.
    Judge, I be a trust worthy indabidual, ebry time I bin locked up days makes me ah trustee. 🙂

  12. Byron,

    Deal. We now have common definitions.

    As to who stepped in and how?

    Would you honestly want to walk between me and an opponent once I’ve started to emit radiation if you didn’t have to?

    Most reasonable people would not. Mespo, Slarti and Mike S are all reasonable people. bdaman? Eh, not so much.

    Besides, you left out Mike S. in your summary and for shame. His was, as always, a very good post.

  13. Buddha:

    I apologize as well, the Planed Parenthood post was a bit over the top. I should have figured you had other pressures as per previous chats.

    I hope all is well.

    And I do mean that. Your posts are always thoughtful and give me a great deal to think about. That last one above has really got the gray matter going (not the apology the one above that).

    Thank your for offering the olive branch, it is greatly appreciated and accepted.

    And might we agree to the following:

    1. I will no longer equate socialism and fascism. I will also accept that when you say socialism you mean a democratic form that values individual rights.
    2. you will refrain from calling me a fascist. And accept that I believe corporations should not be sheltered from illegal activity they or their officers engage in.

    Apologies for the conditional acceptance but I think it will keep both our blood pressures at a near normal level. And make for more productive debate.

    If you noticed, beside Bdaman, Mespo was the only other who posted and his was only half hearted at best.

  14. Yeah, badtroll, your sister said you hadn’t been mowing the lawn as well as you used to so I volunteered out of civic duty. A well kept yard bolsters the whole neighborhood.

    As always, one lives to be of service.

    (Honestly now, you’re just being provocative for the funny responses. Admit it.)

  15. owe you an apology about the don’t contact me thing. You caught me grumpy and mean about something completely unrelated to your hardheadedness 😀 or indeed even the blog and I took it out on you.

    Buddah got laid

  16. Byron,

    I owe you an apology about the don’t contact me thing. You caught me grumpy and mean about something completely unrelated to your hardheadedness 😀 or indeed even the blog and I took it out on you. It’s been weird around here lately by way of explanation not excuse. And not weird in the Hunter Thompson sense either. That I can hang with. More like weird in the Hieronymus Bosch sense which can rattle even one with the composure of stone such as I. You were the closest challenger and that made you a target of convenience, not propriety. My demon got out of his box for a second. I’m sorry he went after you.

    Mea culpa for losing my temper. To err is human, but to apologize is simply the right thing to do. My response was disproportionate to your attack by the end.

    The rest of the flames? You’re a tough guy and I know this from our past history. You can bring the heat too and I hope you’ll take the fire in stride like we both have previously. But the no contact thing? Yeah. No excuses. That was pretty shitty on my part. Because the over harsh slight was public, decorum demanded the apology be too. The choice to accept it or not is yours and I’ll abide by that. As always, one lives to be of service. Even if one is imperfect.

    As to badtroll, I meant everything I said. Gargle, rinse, repeat, propagandist.

  17. I am certainly for a more fair tax system and your other statements aren’t bad either.

    I don’t think corporations should be above the law.

    Anyway interesting points and food for thought.

  18. Byron,

    Laws and regulations are not in place for decent people except to protect them from indecent people. Many people are decent. Some are monsters that walk like men.

    Taxation is required to run a government. ANY government. And no government is anarchy. Taxation should also be fair, as in no more offshore loopholes that allow companies like Exxon to avoid tax liability all together. To this end, individual income tax needs to go the way of the dinosaur. Our tax code is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme to penalized the poor and middle class while letting the wealthy enjoy giving everyone else the finger as they pay far less than their fair share when as greater beneficiaries of societies boons, they should shoulder a proportionately higher burden in maintaining society. To remedy this, there should be bracketed flat tax rates for citizens and corporations alike with those who benefit more paying proportionately more. And if the corps don’t want to pay? Their assets should be seized in lieu of payment. No loopholes. No excuses. No mercy.

    Your mistake is also thinking an economy is a natural system. They behave in some ways like a natural system but they, like corporations, are a construct and far simpler than natural systems. As one who models biological processes, I believe Slarti has said something similar to this on more than one occasion. They are also capable of manipulation. Regulations are required to stop that. Why? Because things break when you let people screw with them especially if their motive is profit. Regulations are required to 1) keep a level playing field and 2) prevent abuses and fraud like the CDS situation. The key again is proper control and feedback mechanisms to ensure stability. That is what regulation does when industry is kept in its proper place – OUT OF THE POLITICAL PROCESS. A charter is a creature of government and as a creature of government corporations must be subject to laws and regulations. Despite your protestation to the contrary, good laws can and are written when personal and corporate greed are removed from the equation and the sole concern becomes functionality, equity and justice. It’s like the “big government” argument. Size isn’t the issue. Never has been. That’s a distraction argument. Functionality, equity and justice are the only true measure of performance. And corporatist graft has destroyed the functionality, equity and justice of our legal system. If you doubt what I say about performance analysis, then you’ve never run a PA. Improperly selected data points as the desired outcome of performance is just as damaging as improper analysis of the processes themselves. It’s a form of outcome determinism when you pick improper metrics. What’s the metric for measuring a successful building? Not how pretty it is, but how functional it is: does it perform the task needed as designed. If the answer is “no”, go back to “Go” and start again making sure 1) your analysis of process is clear and logical and 2) that your metrics are the proper metrics to measure functionality.

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