Ed from OC

State of the States ... and Countries

92 posts in this topic

I don´t think that those oligarchs are really all that happy. Their typical lifestyles, with their swinish indulgence in luxuries, argues that they are unhappy and that their money is for them merely a crutch which functions as an escape from an unbearable inner state. And look at what happened to the multi-billionaire Russian businessman Chardochevskij (I hope I got his long name right). He p-ed off Putin - and promptly wound up in a prison in Siberia. Is that any decent kind of existence? I am pretty glad that I am where I am.

I do not think there is anything wrong with enjoying the fruits of one's labour, but that is the subject of another discussion.

That being said, Khodorkovsky was a mobster much as anybody of substance in post-Soviet Russia. He is no innocent. Micha Glenny in his stellar work of journalism "McMafia" describes any wealthy businessman as playing three roles whilst meeting you: 1. the business in talk 2. spying for the account of the Russian government and 3. spying/exploring profit opportunities for his mob connections. Putin at least put a bit of order in all that - he was put in power to replace the ailing Yelstin, but unlike Yelstin pushed back and regained power of the country from the mobsters. What he does with it is the topic for another discussion, but the Khodorkovskies of Russia are no angels and I shed no tears for him in his Siberian jail.

Back to thread: MRZ, thanks, and your parents must have had it particularly tough as Indians in Dubai! At least whites, as the "2nd rank" social class (after Arabs) receive a modicum of respect...

I did not intend to imply that Khordokovsky was, morally, an angel. I was just saying that I did not think that all his money made him happy.

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And a good life is possible in a country where you can get robbed or murdered without chance of justice for yourself or your family even if you do live in a palace? It is only when you come up against the government (or whichever thug thinks he can make you do what he wants) that you actually realize how precious freedom is. I would not wish something like that upon you (or anyone) but I feel sad that you do not place enough value on something that makes the US still the greatest country on earth.

Straw man. I didn't say I live in North Korea, I said I live in South Korea right now. And I advocated even better places like Singapore. I'm not gonna get robbed in Singapore. I'm not gonna come up against a government thug because the government is less intrusive there than in the US.

In fact, every person holding US dollars in their savings accounts is going to get robbed over the next 5 years. What legal recourse do you think they have?

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I was not talking about the "château in the Andes" part of your post (that you think I misunderstood) but about the "I'd drop my US citizenship" part. If you were a US citizen (and I know you're not) you'd drop your citizenship and then someday come back to live as an alien for any amount of time in (and pay taxes to) the country whose citizenship you renounced? I don't think so. And become a citizen of which country instead? You must be associated with some country must you not? Living all over the world because one loves travelling and wishes to sample different cultures is perfectly fine but you seem to have a gripe with the US that is very evident from your posts and that I'm unable to understand.

Yes, if I was an American citizen earning a living abroad I would expatriate. I would get a citizenship of another country and drop my US citizenship. The United States is one of only a very small number of countries that taxes its citizens no matter where in the world they reside. If I'm an American and earn my living in Singapore, I still have to pay US taxes. The IRS follows me around the world. That is not the case with most other countries of the world. Currently, as a Canadian citizen I do not have to pay Canadian taxes on my South Korean income. Therefore I pay 3% income tax, which is the legal rate in my field and income level in Korea.

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I wonder which country one is more likely to be murdered in, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, or the United States? Also, which country has the worst score on the Corruption Perceptions Index out of the 5?

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I actually don't have to pay taxes in the US as a citizen. Australia and the US have a reciprocity agreement. I do have to FILE in the US, but they don't tax me.

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I wonder which country one is more likely to be murdered in, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, or the United States? Also, which country has the worst score on the Corruption Perceptions Index out of the 5?

A good question. But do not forget to ask which country does most of the protection of individual rights for the countries you mention? Is New Zealand, which has around 9,700 military members, going to protect your rights? Is Australia, which has around 57,500 military members, going to protect your rights? Is Singapore, which has around 72,500 military members, going to protect your rights? Out of the four other countries you mention which one do you expect to pick up for what the United States does, if she falls? In reality the bad guys do not care if you "plant many flags" and consider yourself a citizen of the world they will kill you just as easily as killing an American.

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A good question. But do not forget to ask which country does most of the protection of individual rights for the countries you mention? Is New Zealand, which has around 9,700 military members, going to protect your rights? Is Australia, which has around 57,500 military members, going to protect your rights? Is Singapore, which has around 72,500 military members, going to protect your rights? Out of the four other countries you mention which one do you expect to pick up for what the United States does, if she falls? In reality the bad guys do not care if you "plant many flags" and consider yourself a citizen of the world they will kill you just as easily as killing an American.

Nobody considers themselves a citizen of the world in this thread, that is a title that you continually attribute to me. I'm a citizen of Canada and hopefully an additional country in the next few years.

Who will protect my rights? Certainly not the US military, which is an institution that on the whole has violated more rights than it has protected in the last 100 years. Maybe the size of the NZ military represents the fact that the country is rather safe because of its isolation and non-interventionist foreign policy. A better question is who will protect your savings from the US government over the next five years?

If I do my banking in Singapore, what does that have to do with the US falling? What does that have to do with the amount of military personnel over there? It's an argument that doesn't have any connection. Me protecting my money really has no bearing on whether the US falls or not.

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Straw man. I didn't say I live in North Korea, I said I live in South Korea right now. And I advocated even better places like Singapore. I'm not gonna get robbed in Singapore. I'm not gonna come up against a government thug because the government is less intrusive there than in the US.

I never thought or suggested that you lived in North Korea. You have misunderstood my statement to mean that one is somehow less likely to get robbed or murdered in the US, which, even if it is true (and I don't know if it is), is irrelevant to my point that one is more likely to get justice in the US because it values justice. I am not trying to gloss over the unjust economic policies of the US (is there any country in the world that is totally just in this regard?) but am saying that even in that context (which is different from the context of my earlier statement, which pertained to criminal justice), because the US is a country that does value liberty so much, a just economic system is achievable.

In fact, every person holding US dollars in their savings accounts is going to get robbed over the next 5 years. What legal recourse do you think they have?

What's stopping the other countries you suggest as being better than the US right now from going down the path of statism? Their immense respect for life and liberty? I agree with Ray here that the fight is in the US and I believe that it can be won and that it can only be won in the US.

Yes, if I was an American citizen earning a living abroad I would expatriate. I would get a citizenship of another country and drop my US citizenship. The United States is one of only a very small number of countries that taxes its citizens no matter where in the world they reside. If I'm an American and earn my living in Singapore, I still have to pay US taxes. The IRS follows me around the world. That is not the case with most other countries of the world. Currently, as a Canadian citizen I do not have to pay Canadian taxes on my South Korean income. Therefore I pay 3% income tax, which is the legal rate in my field and income level in Korea.

That's your prerogative, as long as you're clear about what you say instead of saying that you're *not* advocating "living in however many countries forever that are not the US".

I wonder which country one is more likely to be murdered in, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, or the United States? Also, which country has the worst score on the Corruption Perceptions Index out of the 5?

From here.

Since 1995, Transparency International has published an annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)[1] ordering the countries of the world according to "the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians". The organization defines corruption as "the abuse of entrusted power for private gain".

Since when has "perception" of corruption become a reliable indicator or "actual" corruption? Does an Islamic dictatorship like Qatar deserve to be placed above the US?

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A good question. But do not forget to ask which country does most of the protection of individual rights for the countries you mention? Is New Zealand, which has around 9,700 military members, going to protect your rights? Is Australia, which has around 57,500 military members, going to protect your rights? Is Singapore, which has around 72,500 military members, going to protect your rights? Out of the four other countries you mention which one do you expect to pick up for what the United States does, if she falls? In reality the bad guys do not care if you "plant many flags" and consider yourself a citizen of the world they will kill you just as easily as killing an American.

Nobody considers themselves a citizen of the world in this thread, that is a title that you continually attribute to me. I'm a citizen of Canada and hopefully an additional country in the next few years.

Who will protect my rights? Certainly not the US military, which is an institution that on the whole has violated more rights than it has protected in the last 100 years. Maybe the size of the NZ military represents the fact that the country is rather safe because of its isolation and non-interventionist foreign policy. A better question is who will protect your savings from the US government over the next five years?

If I do my banking in Singapore, what does that have to do with the US falling? What does that have to do with the amount of military personnel over there? It's an argument that doesn't have any connection. Me protecting my money really has no bearing on whether the US falls or not.

There is a bigger picture in which the facts are very relevant. I do not care where one does their banking, just do not ask for protection from us Americans when the crap hits the fan. As a matter of fact I offer that everyone that dislikes America and thinks she is beyond saving to go and attempt to start their own country, set up a constitution, and a military to defend it. Come up with ways to keep that new government running while protecting all of the new countries citizens which will take a judicial system, a military force an executive branch, diplomats and so much more. But, I very much doubt that is going to get done as it has already been stated that most have no intention of doing any of those things, but somehow it is expected to exist without direct efforts to accomplish those items.

And please list some of the US military's violations of rights over the last 100 years.

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Ray, the Swiss have done it, and have never been invaded in 600 years of existence amongst the most violent nations in modern history. Them not being a large semi-island with 300 million inhabitants (and commensurate, capitalist-aided defense budget and technology) they have to rely on manpower and every Swiss male spends 18 months in the Army, before taking his rifle home with 50 rounds.

That being said I can think of no other examples.

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Ray, the Swiss have done it, and have never been invaded in 600 years of existence amongst the most violent nations in modern history. Them not being a large semi-island with 300 million inhabitants (and commensurate, capitalist-aided defense budget and technology) they have to rely on manpower and every Swiss male spends 18 months in the Army, before taking his rifle home with 50 rounds.

That being said I can think of no other examples.

I am in agreement with you as my statements were not to claim it could not be done. My statements were directed toward certain people that seem to be claiming that change can happen without efforts similar to the ones I mentioned.

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I am in agreement with you as my statements were not to claim it could not be done. My statements were directed toward certain people that seem to be claiming that change can happen without efforts similar to the ones I mentioned.

Indeed, and human civilisations have always been very belligerent, with a tendency to invade other territories rather than not. Rapidly, organised civilisations who lasted more than a century (like the Ancient Egyptians) took to using part of their resources to fund specialists who would defend them against "barbarians".

New Zealand was, according to the must-read Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, the scene of a perfect example. A bunch of peaceful fisher farmers lived on one of the outer islands. Due to restricted space and plentiful food (seals, birds, etc.) they practised population control and had a very peaceful culture which enabled them to survive on the small space.

Maori warriors, sent out by the Maori agrarian culture which was constantly at war with other tribes who wanted the land, the women and the grain, came upon the island on a scouting trip for new territory. They slaughtered most of the men (who did not defend themselves, watching bewildered), ate them, and kept the survivors as a form of pet, occasionally hunting one down for sport and eating him until all were gone in the next two years. The women were integrated back into the Maori society as prizes.

If you will be pacifist don't make the mistake of ignoring history. Pay for aggressive, well trained, well armed specialists.

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As for technology, the Battle of Cajamarca provides a good reminder. Pizarro met Atahualpa's 7,000+ strong army with less than 20 soldiers all dressed in full steel battle armor, on horseback. They killed over 4,000 soldiers in one day with no casualties. The Incas' clubs could not penetrate the steel, their cotton armor was no match for a steel sword, and every time a messenger tried to run to warn reinforcements they caught him up on horseback and killed him. They captured the emperor Atahualpa by using the height of their horses to unsettle his litter (as merely killing the carriers didn't work as they were rapidly replaced).

Horses, armor and swords allowed 20 men to kill 4,000 with no casualties. So much for those who today speak of "fairer battlefields in the past".

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There is a bigger picture in which the facts are very relevant. I do not care where one does their banking, just do not ask for protection from us Americans when the crap hits the fan. As a matter of fact I offer that everyone that dislikes America and thinks she is beyond saving to go and attempt to start their own country, set up a constitution, and a military to defend it.

Nobody thinks America is beyond saving. Many would just rather pursue worldwide opportunities that expand their freedom while still working to save America.

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There is a bigger picture in which the facts are very relevant. I do not care where one does their banking, just do not ask for protection from us Americans when the crap hits the fan. As a matter of fact I offer that everyone that dislikes America and thinks she is beyond saving to go and attempt to start their own country, set up a constitution, and a military to defend it.

Nobody thinks America is beyond saving. Many would just rather pursue worldwide opportunities that expand their freedom while still working to save America.

If there is a contradiction between one's actions and statements I use the actions as my guide on judging what the person's intentions are. And a person cannot pursue worldwide opportunities without having a government that recognizes and protects their rights. In other words a free country must come before the pursuit of worldwide wealth or there will be no one to protect one's wealth nor life.

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And a good life is possible in a country where you can get robbed or murdered without chance of justice for yourself or your family even if you do live in a palace? It is only when you come up against the government (or whichever thug thinks he can make you do what he wants) that you actually realize how precious freedom is. I would not wish something like that upon you (or anyone) but I feel sad that you do not place enough value on something that makes the US still the greatest country on earth.

Straw man. I didn't say I live in North Korea, I said I live in South Korea right now. And I advocated even better places like Singapore. I'm not gonna get robbed in Singapore. I'm not gonna come up against a government thug because the government is less intrusive there than in the US.

In fact, every person holding US dollars in their savings accounts is going to get robbed over the next 5 years. What legal recourse do you think they have?

I never thought or suggested that you lived in North Korea. You have misunderstood my statement to mean that one is somehow less likely to get robbed or murdered in the US, which, even if it is true (and I don't know if it is), is irrelevant to my point that one is more likely to get justice in the US because it values justice.

To be fair, I was thinking of several South American countries (which you'd mentioned as possibilities) and not North (or South) Korea in response to your comment about having a luxurious lifestyle at a fraction of the cost of a similar lifestyle in the US. The thrust of my statement was that luxury cannot replace value for human rights.

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A good question. But do not forget to ask which country does most of the protection of individual rights for the countries you mention? Is New Zealand, which has around 9,700 military members, going to protect your rights? Is Australia, which has around 57,500 military members, going to protect your rights? Is Singapore, which has around 72,500 military members, going to protect your rights? Out of the four other countries you mention which one do you expect to pick up for what the United States does, if she falls? In reality the bad guys do not care if you "plant many flags" and consider yourself a citizen of the world they will kill you just as easily as killing an American.

I doubt that my own country, Sweden, would even exist today, if it had not been for the (often altruistic) protection given by the U-S.A. Well, Sweden *might* still exist - as a vasall state of either the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany. But to not imagine that many Swedes are grateful!

My own wife, Thi, who is an immigrant from *Vietnam* is more pro-American than most of my fellow Swedes! Go figure!

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