Thursday, February 2, 2012

When to Leave a 'Debate'

How does one know when to leave a 'debate?'  These words or phrases can serve as red flags:

"New World Order"
"Zionist" anything
"Wake Up!"
"Open Your Eyes"
"You Need to get Educated"
"You Should See This Documentary"
"You Don't Know How Government Works"
"Corporations Control The Government"
"Wealthy Elite Control The Government"
"Your Vote Doesn't Really Count For Anything"
"Monsanto" (I list this because I'm almost 100% sure this won't be germain to whatever conversation you are having, but it seems to come up from time to time, somebody has seen their Food Inc...)
"9/11 Was An Inside Job"
"Communist" (Unless you are actually talking about Communists)
"Nazi" (Unless you are actually talking about Nazis)
"Facism" (Unless you are actually talking about Facism)
"Race War"
"Water Fluoridation"
"Acorn" (Unless you are actually talking about acorns from trees, or a funny episode of Dilbert)

Other evidence might be extreme leaps of logic.  For example, "Environmental Sustainability is essential for our National Security."  Someone may also try to dump their entire belief structure on you in the hopes that you make the same convoluted connections between facts and data that they did.  For example, if you start by discussing tax policy and then all of a sudden you are hearing about global warming, then it's probably time to leave.

And why should we walk away?  Because I'm doubtful that anyone out there is persuasive enough to convince somebody to move out from under the house of cards that they spend so much time putting together.  In fact, you may find that they become more entrenched than ever before.  Don't believe me?  Just look up the 'Monty Hall problem' on Wikipedia and tell me that you accept the premise on its face.

My good friend Karl also has a couple of good thoughts on when to just walk away:

"When whatever we are discussing goes from discussion to argument, and the internal response of, "this is not enjoyable for me anymore".

"Catch phrases and terms used obviously in a fashion of aping intellectualism. They make me think, "I don´t listen to you anymore because you are a fucking idiot, lazy in your thinking and now all I want to do is be really mean to you and shred your beliefs that you obviously don´t understand; watch you get angry at me about it because you can´t defend these beliefs or yourself because they don´t stem from ideas or thoughts of any kind but, feelings - a distinction you clearly don´t understand. Don´t bring that broke ass shit in here, and this won´t happen"

Solutions Oriented Thinking

Is it ethical for a politician to hold stocks in companies when his or her votes and actions will affect the value of the stock?  The answer is no, this is a major conflict of interest and would result in censure, or loss of licensure for professionals, or even action by the SEC for any citizen in the private sector.  Well, rather than whine about this problem and dance around it with minor tweaks to rules for money and investment that apply to Congress, I would like to make an alternative recommendation.

Upon being elected or appointed every Senator, Representative, Justice of the Court, the President and every major Cabinet Member of his or her administration should be forced to sell their investment grade assets (Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds, ETFs, rental properties, precious metals or any other share of ownership in a business of ANY kind) and convert their assets to U.S. Dollars.  These dollars should then be put in a physical 'lock box' and kept as a deposit at the Federal Reserve, and their money should be available for the purposes of providing liquidity to that bank.  No interest.  No electronic bank account.  Just real foldin' money printed on paper in a metal box with a lock on it and a guard posted outside.

What would this accomplish?  First, it would eliminate the glaring conflict of interest with private businesses and the American public.  Second, it would align their interests with our currency and the plight of many every day Americans.  I imagine that their attitude toward rampant deficit spending and quantitative easing would rapidly change if it meant that their holdings were about to quickly diminsh in value due to impending inflation.  This would also dissuade politicians from inflating our currency to service the national debt. 

Unfortunately, I don't think this measure would actually diminsh corruption in Washington, but at least then the American public might have some parity with other competing interest groups.  They can put money in politician's pocket.  Under this plan, we could take it away by virtue of irresponsible governance, no oversight committee or regulatory agency required.