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Why are the vast majority of architects liberal?

Jun 24 '12 359 Last Comment
toasteroven
Jul 5, 12 10:13 am

Value is purely contextual: entirely dependent on the transactional agents and their purposes (e.g. Of value to whom and for what?). Nothing has intrinsic value. Nothing at all. Value only comes into play when relative assessments of importance are made.

 

which means that  "value" can also be manipulated - It can be kept artificially low or artificially high, or people can make a concerted effort to increase or decrease the value of something to benefit them or "punish" another group of people they don't like.  This is done through speculation, heavy-handed regulation (and lax/de-regulation), targeted investment, politics/propaganda, etc...  The "market" isn't simply this organic entity that you just "follow" - it's something where many people are purposefully trying to influence in their direction.  Our profession usually falls under the "influence" category.

 

but I'm totally with you on "value" in terms of context, though...

i r giv up
Jul 5, 12 11:59 am

Money isn't worth anything unless it's assigned a value by someone with a lot of money, such as the federal reserve, JP Morgan, Barclay's, or the LIBOR people, and then traded to someone who agrees to that value.

 

not the way money works. read more.

Jul 5, 12 12:27 pm

More from Taibbi's Rolling Stone blog:

"This Libor-manipulation story grows crazier with each passing minute. We have officially disappeared now down the rabbit-hole of the international financial oligarchy."


And I don't know, but food has a lot of intrinsic value.  Even when your stomach isn't growling and your money is worthless.

Yo!


gwharton
Jul 5, 12 12:32 pm

You guys really like listening to the voices in your heads instead of what other people are saying, I guess. FYI: I'm not a liberal, and I'm not a conservative, and I'm not a libertarian. I don't care about any of the current political horse-race factions who incessantly argue with one another over trivialities. I don't vote, I don't think it matters who wins elections, and I think modern democracy is a crock of sh#t that's rapidly falling into a death spiral. I'm not parroting any major media organization or partisan website. So, your standard arguing tactic of painting someone you disagree with as a rethuglikkan/commie-democrat/Evil Randroid doesn't apply to me. I don't wear any of your gang colors, so save the gang signs and partisan dog whistles for someone who cares. 

I'm just pointing out that many of you seem to be suffering from a major misunderstanding of what value really is, and that's causing some of you to believe some other really strange things about economics, politics, and how to run an architectural business.

I've also pointed out that markets and pricing are one way that we can determine what people's value judgments are at any particular point in time. Obviously, that's only true if the market isn't subject to external or internal distortions, such as manipulation, corruption, regulation, monopoly, etc. Market price is not the only way to determine what people value, but it is one way that can work reasonably well if it's honest and transparent. If you've got a known price for something, that gives you a benchmark to work from. As a former employer of mine once told me, if you know how to charge for something, you can succeed in that business.

Are there dimensions to value that market pricing doesn't encompass? Of course. But if you're talking about economic activity, such as finding a job or pricing your services, those considerations are secondary at best. If you're good at articulating the intangibles and why they're important, you can push them toward being economic considerations, but that requires a lot of thought about how to communicate that value in a way that somebody else buys it. For instance, clients will pay Renzo Piano a lot more for design services as a percentage of project magnitude than, say, AECOM. There's a reason for that, and it isn't "Renzo Piano is famous." There's also a reason I can charge ten times what my competitors charge for a feasibility study (even though it doesn't take me any longer to do one than it takes them) and my clients happily pay it. That reason is Value.

But no. Rather than explore how a stronger understanding of value can improve our business, let's argue about CEO salaries and financial corruption and Fox News and partisan talking points and all the other bullshit that gets trotted out by the usual suspects. That'll be so much more productive.

i r giv up
Jul 5, 12 12:45 pm

^^what he said.

 

but im a crazy libertarian/technocrat though.

Jul 5, 12 1:28 pm

"...let's argue about CEO salaries and financial corruption and Fox News and partisan talking points and all the other bullshit that gets trotted out by the usual suspects. That'll be so much more productive."


You are right.  It's beyond arguing.  Guillotines, yo!

toasteroven
Jul 5, 12 1:40 pm

@gwharton:  explore how a stronger understanding of value can improve our business...

 

part of me is constantly trying to figure out how to understand and create value for my expertise and services, but then I keep seeing ways that this can come at the expense of someone else or a group of people.  Architecture is a tough profession for people with a conscience.  You have to be ok with creating walls of rationalization in order to justify taking certain projects over others, charging certain clients more...  I think this where people in this profession struggle the most - we want to be nice to everyone, then wonder why people walk all over us.

 

not a problem for IRgivUp, though - he'd have designed the nazi gas chambers if someone paid him enough.  morals and ethics are for us sun-worshiping savages.

metal
Jul 5, 12 2:04 pm

Taking the moral road is best saved for humanitarian causes.
Maybe go work in Africa toaster.

jla-x
Jul 5, 12 2:33 pm

Rather than explore how a stronger understanding of value can improve our business, let's argue about CEO salaries and financial corruption 

The financial crisis of 08 was caused by corruption!  This had a direct effect on our business.  Our value is connected to these problems and we can't ignore it.  For instance, you can't talk about increasing the value of the american factory without adressing the policies and practices that led to it's demise.  It is all connected!     

i r giv up
Jul 5, 12 2:35 pm

haha, cute, toaster, you little carebear.

hypothetical insults are funny shit.

gwharton
Jul 5, 12 2:42 pm

Here's the thing: our clients aren't stupid, they're not narrow-minded, and they aren't ignorant of the value we provide as designers. Believe it or not, most of them are slightly in awe of the way we can step in and be confidently creative in a way most other people can only dream of. They are acutely aware of the value we provide, how much they need it, know their inability to do it for themselves, and are happy to beat us up all day long to get that value as cheaply as they can, even for free. Wouldn't you?

But they seem to hold the power in most negotiations over our fees. Why is that? Can you go down to the local Apple store and brow-beat the clerks into selling you an iPhone for $10? How about a buck? Or maybe loaning it to you if you promise to maybe pay them for it when you're done using it. Or even giving it to you to use for free while you decide whether or not you might also want to buy a MacBook Air? No. If you tried that, they'd laugh you right out of the store.

But it's common practice in architectural fee negotiations to see that sort of thing going on. Apple doesn't play any of those games with its customers. They're selling a product with many competitors (some of whom have superior products) at a premium price and are totally unapologetic about it. But we do. All the time. WHY?

Because most architects do not fundamentally understand or believe in or are capable of articulating the value of what it is we do and provide in the marketplace. The problem is not them. It's us. We have a collective inferiority complex.

We believe that the price of what we provide should be determined by the cost of labor "spent" plus a marginal fee, regardless of how we actually charge. Let me ask you this: does every single hour you spend working on a project have equal value to your client? Does the hour I spend conceptualizing the project development strategy equal the hour I spend writing a letter to a consultant in the eyes of my client? No? Then why on earth would you assume they should be priced equally? Is it of any concern to my client how long it takes me to come up with the idea that makes their project great? No. That's my problem. They just want it great. If I can do that in an hour instead of ten or a hundred or a thousand, so much the better for me. That's why people like Frank Stasiowski say "Manage on Cost, Price on Value." Your business cost structure and your pricing strategy are two completely different and mostly unrelated things. The only way they ever need to interact is in your profit calculations at the end of each billing period: money in vs. money out.

It's a small step from assuming the fungibility of hours to assuming the fungibility of architects. If one hour is basically equal to another, and the product or service we provide is indexed in pricing to those hours in the minds of ourselves and our clients, then it's easy to infer that the people spending those hours are somewhat interchangeable. Now, our clients don't actually believe that. Not really. Which is why you'll often find them insisting as part of the contract that senior principals be obligated to spend a certain amount of time working on the project. But our attitude toward pricing our services and the cockeyed way we think we're tracking costs via time spent has convinced US that it's true. And thus, in our own minds, we have suddenly become commoditized. We worry that if we don't cut our fees razor thin, another architect will come along and underbid us to get the job.

Not to say this is an illegitimate fear. Architects do this to each other all the time, and clients are happy to let us. How often have I heard a longtime, valued client come to me and say, "We love you. You do great work. We want to work with you. But XYZ Associates is proposing to do this job for half what you charge. Can you do anything about that?"

But you will find that experienced clients do not make decisions like this based solely on price. They know all architects are not equal, and they shop accordingly. In fact, they are shopping primarily for value. This is especially true now that the economy is in such trouble. Value is more important than ever, and commodity strategies just don't cut it any more. That's why, when a client price-shops me like that in negotiations, I'm happy to tell them: "You know what we can do for you, and you know that value is more than worth what we charge for it. If you think you'll get better results with XYZ, then by all means hire them. Good luck with that. We like working with you, so let me know if you change your mind."

A majority of the time, the client backs down and signs the agreement at the price we proposed. But sometimes they don't. You know what? That's okay. If another architect wants to buy a job away from me, I'm happy to let them. Napoleon was fond of saying, never interrupt your enemy when he's making a mistake. Similarly, never interrupt your business competitors when they are compromising their profitability and enterprise viability. If they want to ruin their reputations or go bankrupt, I will let them.

And many of the clients who went with the cheap fee regret it and come back. That's how they go from being novices to seasoned veterans in the development game. They need to learn directly that all architects are not equal and all hours we spend on their project are not fungible. They need to see the value, or lack of it, first hand. Some of my best clients originally came to me that way. And the ones who can't learn that lesson, despite ongoing, painful experience? I don't want them as clients. So even if they never come back, I come out ahead.

All of which is why architects need a much clearer understanding of the value we provide, from the perspective of our clients. Master the intricacies of their business model. Learn what keeps them awake at night in a cold sweat. Know what makes them happy. What do they want? What do they aspire to? What do they love? What do they hate? What do they need? That's the essence of how you do value pricing. And if you can do value pricing, you don't need to worry about making money.

Ask Apple. They know.

Jul 5, 12 2:47 pm

Yo!

Donna SinkDonna Sink
Jul 6, 12 12:34 am

gwharton: I don't vote, I don't think it matters who wins elections

If you honestly believe that then you're either incapable of critical thinking or being willfully ignorant so you can keep living in some self-satisfied little fantasy land.  In a two party system it absolutely does matter which party is in power.

Vote, people. Even if it is for the lesser of two evils at least it's the lesser.

jla-x
Jul 6, 12 1:36 am

It matters!  the person in office can start or avoid ww3.  That slight difference in "evilness"  can mean alot in certain senarios! 

backbay
Jul 6, 12 3:05 am

my personal philosophy: if you have to be told there's an election and you should vote, you shouldn't be allowed to vote.

design
Jul 6, 12 4:28 am

 

Even if this image can be true to some extent, one should vote

tint
Jul 6, 12 8:38 am

I'm going to vote for Michelle Obama!

 

Curious to know how many of you attend primaries and caucuses... in my opinion those are far more important than the pres election.

Jul 6, 12 10:27 am

In America at least, the elections do not matter.  Republicans & democrats are the same.  It's like cheering for your favorite football team.  You think that the guys wearing the jerseys with your city's name on it care about that city and you but the truth is that they have far more in common with the guys wearing the jerseys for the other city, the enemies, your enemies.  Off the field, they don't hang out with fans like you, they are off in the gated jetset communites with players from the other rival teams and they are laughing at you, all of their fans/voters who willfully provide their indulgent lifestyle while you keep wondering why your salary shrinks but gas prices rises and, oh, even the ticket prices rise.  You care, you think you matter and they are laughing at you.  Think about that.

Truth is, all of you "voters" who honestly think it matters are total fucking idiots.  No wonder your country sucks ass and is getting worse by the day.  No wonder your architecture sucks.  No wonder your cities suck.  No wonder your football sucks.  You think you are free and you think you have choices but you are nothing but total fat, dumb, fucking fools. You want freedom?  You need to fight for it, not just vote for it.  But you dumb fucking morons wouldn't know freedom if it punched you in the face.

Vote Democrat or vote Republican, does not matter.  Either way, public functions will continue to be privatised with profits being funnelled to the private interests while the losses are absorbed by the public. Either way, civil liberties will continue to be eroded & chipped away at.  Either way, surveillance and martial law will continue to creep into the lives of you and your children.  Either way, power will continue to be centralised.

Sad, yo.

Jul 6, 12 10:31 am

PS.  but if you must, then vote Obama because at least he has a more palatable media presence and we are inundated with the American president, aren't we?

Like I said, superficial differences, yo!

i r giv up
Jul 6, 12 10:36 am

It matters!  the person in office can start or avoid ww3.  That slight difference in "evilness"  can mean alot in certain senarios! 

 

read the tragedy of great power politics before you make stupid statements like that one. you're an architect, mearsheimer's a political scientist. a single person can't start a war.

Rusty!
Jul 6, 12 10:43 am

I haven't heard the word VALUE this much since my last trip to McDicks back in '03.

curtkram
Jul 6, 12 11:01 am

wow handsum.  did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed today?  That's pretty harsh.  Voting for a president who has a) a bully pulpit and b) veto power can make a difference.  Sure, all that stuff about privatization, civil liberties, and surveillance are still going to happen.  On the other hand, maybe we can get one more decent supreme court judge so it isn't 5-4 in walmart's favor or at least replace some of the older justices with like minded people so it isn't stacked 7-2 in walmart's favor.  The talking head on tv will talk about helping the sick and poor instead of "wanted dead or alive" crap.  We can have Hillary talking to foreign leaders instead of someone who will quite possibly be racist and hate muslims.

Oh well.  Give me a call when you take up arms. 

Rusty!
Jul 6, 12 11:03 am

Historically speaking, there is no VALUE in labor. It's mostly been shackles and chains. Heck, architects were slaves for good portion of civilization. The value lies in brute force, intimidation, and manipulation of others. This whole non-starving unionized worker is a historical anomaly, and greyshirts are hard at work at correcting this.  

"Ask Apple. They know."

hahaha ...  wait  ... you were being serious? Apple makes a killing by repackaging IP into shiny and outsorcing the hard part (labor) to the lowest global bidder. They too know labor is for schmucks. 

Marx talked about this shit. And I agree that it's hard to wrap one's head around the idea that capitalism is intrinsically anti labor. But it makes perfect sense.

As long as architecture is a labor intensive undertaking, it's value will be capped. gwharton's inspirational guide to success will only teach you how to be the alpha male at the homeless shelter.

Rusty!
Jul 6, 12 11:07 am

I fully agree curtkram

"both sides are same shit" is the conservative strategy to eliminate the thinking voter's enthusiasm at participating in democracy.

It originates from the same thinkthank that came up with "cram down my throat" and "class warfare". Sadly it works.

digger
Jul 6, 12 11:09 am

"a single person can't start a war"

au contraire - I absolutely blame the spinless Shrub for the war in Iraq

i r giv up
Jul 6, 12 11:52 am

beyond dumb.

if the war wasn't the will of the people, bush wouldn't have survived a second term.
gtfo.

digger
Jul 6, 12 12:03 pm

now who's "beyond dumb" ?

gwharton
Jul 6, 12 12:41 pm

LOL at the partisan lunacy.

i r giv up
Jul 6, 12 12:50 pm

i wasn't being partisan, just pointing out how some people here are just f dumb.

gwharton
Jul 6, 12 1:17 pm

I was thinking more of Rusty's looney Marxist ranting (srsly? Marxism? In the 21st century? Why don't we also go back to the Flat Earth and Ptolomaic model of the universe while we're at it) and all the earnest entreaties THAT IT IS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH THAT DEMOCRATS BE ELECTED EVERY TIME THERE IS AN ELECTION OR EVIL WILL RULE THE WORLD.

jla-x
Jul 6, 12 1:51 pm

a single person can't start a war

a single person can be the catalyst or make that "straw that broke the camels back" decision that can result in a war. 

ever hear of hitler?   There are many examples like this throughout history! 

if the war wasn't the will of the people, bush wouldn't have survived a second term.

People are sheep and are usually not going to admit to being wrong.  Again look at hitler.  Did the nazi's really want to be doing what they were doing?  Maybe some, but more were just forced  into it.  Your thinking is very simplistic. 

 Glad you are reading, I'm very proud of you!  but remember to think also.

jla-x
Jul 6, 12 2:12 pm

if the war wasn't the will of the people, bush wouldn't have survived a second term.

This comment is so stupid that it deserves a second blow!

The will of the people is a myth.  The will of corporate america and political agendas beats the people everytime.  And it often does so by shaping public will through extensive advertisement, propaganda, fear, etc.... (brainwashing)   

Rusty!
Jul 6, 12 2:15 pm

geez gwharton, for someone complaining about other people's reading comprehensions, you'd think you'd do better at it yourself. 

Marx made observations about capital, value, labor, etc... that are still valid today. The proposed solution was garbage, but that doesn't negate the original observation. 

"It is in this sense that Franklin says, "war is robbery, commerce is generally cheating."" Das Kapital.

Just to confuse you even further.

i r giv up
Jul 6, 12 3:05 pm

simplifying ww2 to hitler's to his personal wants is beyond utterly retarded.

world war 2 was a continuation of countless wars that had been raging in europe since the 1700's. get your history right. we didn't intervene because he was killing jews. we intervened to prevent an european hegemon from smashing russia and the uk (france was already fucked) to pieces and locking us out of the old world.

germany had been on the path to hegemony hundred of years before hitler was born. get your facts straight. read some keynes for a good prediction of what was about to happen in germany post-world war i and how he thought the reparations expected from germany were going to backfire on the allies (no shit they did). read mearsheimer for a good dissection.

im constantly surprised by how fucking dumb you are, jl.

 

finally, yes. people are allowed to be convinced of stupid shit. and they should be held accountable for it. stop spewing crap about evil corporations and start thinking.

curtkram
Jul 6, 12 4:52 pm

simplifying ww2 to hitler's to his personal wants is beyond utterly retarded.

You don't suppose Hitler held a fair bit of sway over his subordinates?  I understand there was some turmoil in the region after WW1, including economic and political unrest.  However, it seems that thinking of Hitler's rise as a 'grass roots' type thing or a natural growth of the will of the people might not be accurate.  I think he pushed his will onto other people, and I don't think it's 'retarded' to think that.

we intervened to prevent an european hegemon from smashing russia and the uk (france was already fucked) to pieces and locking us out of the old world.

Japan and the east had a role in our involvement too.  Glenn Beck's reading list  doesn't count as an education.

Godwin's Law

jla-x
Jul 6, 12 5:18 pm

wow you really have no common sense. 

germany had been on the path to hegemony hundred of years before hitler was born. get your facts straight

No shit, but Hitler handled the whole thing a bit differently than someone else would have.  What you are saying implies that Hitler was an inevitable result of this path to hegemony rather than a mad killer who took it to the next level.   Are you so arrogant that you can't even see past your own bullshit? 

read mearsheimer for a good dissection

 you don't impress anyone with your references by the way, you could be googling this crap between posts...

metal
Jul 6, 12 5:27 pm

WW2 was netoworked like anything else. It was conservative nationalism, enabled by the loud voice of lebensraum, blaming a particular people for the lack of lebenstraum. With japan he was going to lock the US out. 

Speaking of military operations and values and to put things in a contemporary setting. I wonder what will become of our relationship with Syria and Iran in the coming months.

i r giv up
Jul 6, 12 6:13 pm

@curtkam: the thing is... hitler was part of a grassroots movement. national socialism was pretty closely tied with the rise of communism in europe (even though it was, at least partially, a reaction against certain elements of it).

jl, i find it funny that you think im googling this as i go. i'm flattered almost.

No shit, but Hitler handled the whole thing a bit differently than someone else would have.

oh yeah, and he didn't. the ussr has pogroms. romania did too. oh yeah, the inquisition? yeah. europe has a long tradition of bending over minorities. it is only logical that germany would make an industry out of it, post ww-i.

all people are shitty, not just politicians.

 

What you are saying implies that Hitler was an inevitable result of this path to hegemony rather than a mad killer who took it to the next level. 

yup. as per previously stated: all people are shitty, not just politicians.

Jul 6, 12 6:21 pm

Hmmm...with Hitler/Germany it's kind of a chicken and an egg thing.  Yes, you can say the Hitler was in charge and that he was driving the boat and that someone else might have done things differently and you're probably right.  But at the same time the circumstances in Germany were such that the people chose a leader with a strong sense of nationalism and a willingness to scapegoat minorities.  If it wasn't Hitler per se, it might very well have been someone else, possibly better but also possibly worse.

And good grief, it's really a shame the way Iran is getting scapegoated these days.

Yo.

jla-x
Jul 6, 12 7:46 pm

jl, i find it funny that you think im googling this as i go. i'm flattered almost.

Don't be, I just can't believe that someone who read all those books can still be as dumb as you.

i r giv up
Jul 6, 12 8:19 pm

jl, did you just realized you don't know your history as well as you thought....

metal
Jul 6, 12 9:21 pm

you're both right, but I think the camps sealed Hitler's fate in history.

As for Iran handsum, I think they should have never tried to go nuclear.

Donna SinkDonna Sink
Jul 6, 12 11:24 pm

HandsumCash, my respect for and enjoyment of your posts has really taken a nosedive now that you've said voting doesn't matter.

I'm a woman.  Only one party in our country is actively trying to take away my right to bodily control; on the abortion question alone the difference is massive.  Bring in funding for green technologies, health and education, and fair taxation and you have extremely different platforms. 

Governmental change, for the most part, moves slowly.  No one gets everything they want right away.  But the different long term end goals of the two parties make deliberately not voting a stupid, selfish act.

MStrack
Jul 7, 12 2:55 am

Much of this thread would have been more valid 15 years ago. Realism had taken a big hit, I'm sure you've all heard. Idealism is respectable again! Sub national groups will, can, and have caused huge shifts in power. Get involved.

Voting can make change, but is more effective with a modern electoral system.

i r giv up
Jul 7, 12 9:13 am

i thought you meant offensive realism, for a second.

then i realized you were archibabbling.

MStrack
Jul 7, 12 10:07 am

I do mean offensive realism.

Quondam
Jul 7, 12 12:03 pm

 

A big part of Hilter's "plan" was to "unite" all ethnic "Germans" living throughout (mostly eastern) Europe. Both my parents were ethnically German, yet neither of them was born within German borders--my father was born in a very small 'German' village in Poland (and thus nationalistically Polish), and my mother was born in a small 'German' town in what was in 1924 Serbia (and thus nationalistically Serbian, although my mother's mother, born in the same place as my mother, was in 1902 born within the Austro-Hungarian Empire). Largely due to the Austro-Hungarian Empire there was a guite substantial population of Ausland Deutsche (ethnic Germans outside the German land), and Hitler pretty much accomplished his goal of gaining control of the Ausland Deutsche and the land where they lived, and, because of their ethnicity, all Ausland Deutsche, including both my parents and their respective families, were officially declared German citizens (and even to this day the German government considers all Ausland Deutsche that were declared German citizens under the Third Reich to still be German citizens).

The WWII aftermath of many Ausland Deutsche is indeed tragic. With the Soviet takeover of eastern Europe, the relatively new German citizens still there were almost immediately put into Soviet concentration camps. I personally have not-to-distant relatives buried in mass graves in what is today again Serbia, and both my parents spent five years (very beginning of 1945 to very end of 1949) in labor concentration camps in southern Ukraine, my father first a coal miner then construction worker and my mother a coal miner the whole five years--in September 1945 my father was 22 years old and in May 1945 my mother was 21 years old. It was indeed within this concentration camp within Ukraine that my parents first met.

The point of this here, within the context of several comments above, is that there are even substantial numbers of Germans that became victims of the extreme aggressive policies of Hitler's Third Reich.

 

Quondam
Jul 7, 12 12:23 pm

[Sorry for this repeat post, but the edit function didn't make it past the time limit. Below is a slightly ammended text.]

A big part of Hilter's "plan" was to "unite" all ethnic "Germans" living throughout (mostly eastern) Europe. Both my parents were ethnically German, yet neither of them was born within German borders--my father was born in a very small 'German' village in Poland (and thus nationalistically Polish), and my mother was born in a small 'German' town in what was in 1924 Serbia (and thus nationalistically Serbian, although my mother's mother, born in the same place as my mother, was in 1902 born within the Austro-Hungarian Empire). Largely due to the Austro-Hungarian Empire there was a quite substantial population of Ausland Deutsche (ethnic Germans outside the German land) throughout eastern Europe, Romania, even as far east as Ukraine, and Hitler pretty much accomplished his goal of gaining control of the Ausland Deutsche and the land where they lived, and, because of their ethnicity, all Ausland Deutsche, including both my parents and their respective families, were officially declared German citizens (and even to this day the German government considers all Ausland Deutsche that were declared German citizens under the Third Reich to still be German citizens).

The WWII aftermath of many Ausland Deutsche is indeed tragic. With the Soviet takeover of eastern Europe, the relatively new German citizens still there were almost immediately put into Soviet concentration camps. I personally have not-to-distant relatives buried in mass graves in what is today again Serbia, and both my parents spent five years (very beginning of 1945 to very end of 1949) in labor concentration camps in southern Ukraine, my father first a coal miner then construction worker and my mother a coal miner the whole five years--in September 1945 my father was 22 years old and in May 1945 my mother was 21 years old. It was indeed within this concentration camp within Ukraine that my parents first met.

The point of this here, within the context of several comments above, is that there are even substantial numbers of Germans that became victims of the extreme aggressive policies of Hitler's Third Reich.
 

i r giv up
Jul 7, 12 12:57 pm

re: iran.

 

i have the full article on foreign affairs mag, but i don't think that's shareable, but yeah. iran should get the bomb.

http://thediplomat.com/2012/07/06/kenneth-waltz-on-why-iran-should-get-the-bomb

gwharton
Jul 7, 12 3:10 pm

Donna, it really does not matter who gets elected or unelected in our governmental system. No matter which party has nominal control, government policy and actions pretty much never change. The United States is ruled by USG (to use the acronym preferred by govt employees themselves): e.g. the bureaucracy. We get the policies the bureaucracy wants, regardless of voter majorities or the policy proposals of elected officials. Anything the bureaucracy doesn't want gets shut down in very short order. Bureaucrats can't be fired except by more senior bureaucrats. Elected officials certainly can't fire them without directly endangering their own careers. Bureaucrats are immune from politics (i.e. voting or any popular accountability) and possess vast extra-legal powers. They exercise legislative, judicial, and executive authority together and at will. The popular voting system we have is an Orwellian sham: a system of information control created to distract and neutralize popular beliefs and action. It is not accidental tha government policy changes very little no matter whether the titular rulers have little Ds or Rs after their names. That's because politicians control almost nothing. They may have some nominal powers, but they are not immune to politics. That allows the bureaucracy to control them. One way they do that is by getting people like you all hot and bothered about voting for or against trivialities. They have pwned your brain. You've become part of their human botnet. And just like a Russian mafia hacker calling up control of of thousands of virus infected computers in his own botnet to execute a DDOS attack on somebody, you've been programmed to immediately react to code words: abortion*sputter*healthcare*fume*educationpolicy*rage*racism*etc.etc.etc. Like an infected computer, you willingly do their bidding, and even think its your own idea. Your owners do battle with one another for political position, but they do it at the discretion of the real power factions in our society. Those factions are not defined by political party affiliation, but by interests. Sometimes those do line up with partisan divisions. For instance, the Democratic Party is heavily aligned with the non-military bureaucracy and university-educational complex. The Republicans are heavily aligned with the military bureaucracy. Where those bureaucratic power factions are in conflict, you will find those political divisions sharply drawn. Elsewhere, such as in finance, where both parties are beholden to the power structure, there are no differences at all. Both parties do what their masters tell them, and the "will of the voters" matters not at all. As a simple example of this, consider immigration policy. Now, a super-majority of The American people strongly favor a much, MUCH more restrictive immigration policy. If voting really mattered, if politicians really were subject to what the voters want, then our immigration policy would be very different from what it currently is. But it's not. Our official policy is for essentially open borders and de facto amnesty for illegals. Why? Simple: because the bureaucracy and lords of finance want it that way. So that's what we get, no matter what the voters want. There are divisions in the true power structure of the USA, divisions that the global recession is calling into sharper relief, breaking down the monolithic power blocs they formed during the post-war twentieth century period. But those divisions look nothing at all like R vs. D. So no, I don't vote. Because my brain hasn't been pwned by a political botnet.

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