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26  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: After mounting pressure, Chaffetz has finally launched an investigation on: February 13, 2017, 07:52:27 pm
Republicans are morally bankrupt -news at 11. 
27  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Democrats/Dem leaners who live in California are throwing away their vote. on: February 13, 2017, 12:41:18 pm
A more constructive use of your time is to start a Free State Project for liberals wanting to move out of California, with Texas as the state of choice. 

Texas would be a terrible choice for that. It would take a lot to flip it, and at the end of the day it's just two Senate seats. I would go with Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, North Carolina, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Maine if I wanted to organize a project like that.

It takes a lot to flip Texas, but given it's one of four states with the greatest number of electoral votes and congressional districts and with our winner-take-all system it's worth it.  It is trending towards Democrats over the long term anyway.  I see no harm in accelerating the process a bit.    
28  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Science Megathread on: February 13, 2017, 12:12:00 pm
Long Before Making Enigmatic Earthworks, People Reshaped Brazil’s Rain Forest



By JOANNA KLEIN
FEB. 10, 2017


Quote
Deep in the Amazon, the rain forest once covered ancient secrets. Spread across hundreds of thousands of acres are massive, geometric earthworks. The carvings stretch out in circles and squares that can be as big as a city block, with trenches up to 12 yards wide and 13 feet deep. They appear to have been built up to 2,000 years ago.

Were the broken ceramics found near the entrances used for ritual sacrifices? Why were they here? The answer remains a mystery.

For centuries, the enigmatic structures remained hidden to all but a few archaeologists. Then in the 1980s, ranchers cleared land to raise cattle, uncovering the true extent of the earthworks in the process. More than 450 of these geoglyphs are concentrated within Acre State in Brazil.

Since the discovery, archaeological study of the earthworks and other evidence has challenged the notion that the rain forests of the Amazon were untouched by human hands before the arrival of European explorers in the late 15th century. And while the true purpose of the geoglyphs remains unknown, a study published on Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers new insight into the lives of the ancient people who lived in the Amazon. Thousands of years before the earthworks were built, humans were managing the forests, using what appear to be sustainable agricultural practices.

“Our study was looking at the environmental impact that the geoglyph builders had on the landscape,” said Jennifer Watling, an archaeologist at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, who conducted the research while a student at the University of Exeter in Britain. “A lot of people have the idea that the Amazon forests are pristine forests, never touched by humans, and that’s obviously not the case.”
29  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: I don't know how you guys do it... on: February 13, 2017, 11:03:04 am
I manage. 
30  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Democrats/Dem leaners who live in California are throwing away their vote. on: February 13, 2017, 11:02:10 am
A more constructive use of your time is to start a Free State Project for liberals wanting to move out of California, with Texas as the state of choice. 
31  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Donald Trump: Delusional & Pathological Liar on: February 13, 2017, 10:56:40 am
jfern's obsession with Hillary is almost as disturbing as BRTD's hero-worship of opebo.  It almost -almost- makes me want the Democratic Party to nominate her again just to see jfern have a meltdown.
32  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary Is Running -Anymore proof needed to confirm Politico as tabloid garbage? on: February 12, 2017, 08:48:44 pm
Statements like this make me wonder if most political commentators even see candidates are real people at the end of the day.  

Hillary Clinton has a method of operating that's been on display for the better part of the past 30 years.  She can't reinvent herself now, and she won't...because its Hillary Clinton.

To be fair, Hillary Clinton has reinvented herself every time she has sought an office (whether on her own behalf or her husband's) and largely gotten away with it: the firebrand feminist in 1992; the toned-down, conservative housewife in 1996; the upstate Yankee in 2000; the blue dog, gun-loving populist in 2008; and the...whatever you want to call it in 2016. Considering that she herself effectively has won the presidency twice, I'd say it worked.

I want the 1992 Hillary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-namImCszCk
33  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Poll: Pick up to 3 candidates you would not support (vs Trump & 3rd Party)? on: February 12, 2017, 08:46:14 pm
I voted wrong, but I'd say Booker, Harris, Cuomo.

I have nothing really against Harris, but I fear that she is inexperienced considering how she hasn't even served one term yet as Senator.

No one would give a sh**t about Harris if it wasn't for identity politics and that Obama had said she was attractive.

It's only 'identity politics' when we aren't talking about white male candidates.  Roll Eyes
34  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Summary of political beliefs on: February 12, 2017, 06:17:00 pm
Democracy-Related Issues

Constitutional Reform: While keeping the federal system of government, I support completely rewriting the Constitution such that there would be a unicameral parliament with mixed-member proportional representation with a 5% electoral threshold, and relegating the Presidency (like the Governor-General in British Commonwealth countries) to a mainly ceremonial position.  

The judiciary system would also be transformed along the lines of the New Zealand model, with the Chief Justice being appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister, and subsequently voted upon by the full Congress.  All other justices and judges (at the federal level) would be appointed by the President upon the advice of the Chief Justice, Attorney General, and Solicitor General, and also voted upon by the full Congress.  

I support incorporating the original ten amendments of the Bill of Rights, as well as including additional amendments explicitly guaranteeing the right to vote and equal rights, while strongly encouraging the various states to adopt automatic, universal voter registration.

Second Amendment: The Second Amendment was intended to be seen as protecting an individual right as with all the other original ten amendments that comprised the Bill of Rights when it was added to the Constitution.  When it was originally written, 'militia' connoted the entirety of the citizenry, not just a government-created body.  

Accordingly, I support concealed-carry, castle-doctrine laws, and other liberalizing measures. I strongly oppose gun-bans at any governmental level.  However, as with every other amendment, there are limits.

With greater freedom comes greater responsibility in using that freedom, and it is in that spirit that I support measures like mandatory firearms training and universal background checks before any gun or permit is issued, to ensure that the unorganized citizens' militia is well-trained and well-regulated.

District of Columbia: Support having the non-federal areas of DC retroceded to Maryland as the city of Washington, thereby enabling the residents within to be represented at all levels of government.  

Social/Cultural Hot-Button issues

Women's Rights: I support measures closing the gender wage gap including raising the minimum wage, fair scheduling practices, pay transparency, universal childcare, paid sick leave, and paid family care leave.  

I also support the final ratification of the UN conventions on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Rights of the Child.  

Gay Rights: I applaud the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide, and support the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act banning LGBT discrimination in the workplace, as well as other efforts to ensure that the LGBT community is accepted as full and equal members in our society.  

Race: Favor keeping racial/ethnic preferences for college/university applicants while adding new emphasis on socio-economic status and poverty so as to ensure that it is not just the middle and upper-middle classes who are the main beneficiaries of affirmative action.  Support ending housing discrimination against racial/ethnic minorities, as well as fixing and preserving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (instead of scrapping them); the full restoration and re-authorization of the Voting Rights Act; ending the abuse of authority by law-enforcement agencies; and ending the 'War on Drugs' beginning with overturning the Controlled Substances Act, criminal justice reform including ending mandatory minimum sentencing, and instead direct our attention and funding towards prevention and treatment of addicts.

Economic issues

Secondary Education: Favor adapting the Finland education model to the United States, including a major expansion in after-school tutoring programs as well as universal pre-school education; and changing the traditional school year to a year-round schedule for struggling schools.  

Higher Education: Support making community colleges and vocational schools tuition-free, and encouraging prospective college students to fulfill their introductory course requirements in a community college, while subsequently completing their bachelor's and master's degrees in the four years they will spend at a traditional college/university.    

Tax Code: In addition to closing tax loopholes and setting the top individual income tax rate at 50%, I favor tax reforms including cutting the corporate income tax to 25%, and introducing the Value-Added Tax (superseding all preceding sales and use taxes).

Entitlement programs: I favor improving upon (as opposed to repealing) the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by boosting subsidies, implementing price controls, federalizing Medicaid, create a single national health insurance exchange, and medical liability reform.

To ensure the future of Medicare and Social Security for generations to come (and perhaps even expanding them), I favor allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, raising the payroll tax as well as eliminating the cap on it, and to preserve as well as raise the estate tax.  

Free Trade: Strongly support free trade, and favor the establishment of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, trans-Atlantic free trade agreements with the European Union and the United Kingdom, and the completion of the Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organization.

Also support transforming the African Growth and Opportunity Act into a free trade agreement.

To ease the economic disruption caused in part by these trade agreements, I favor replacing the inadequate and ineffective Trade Adjustment Assistance program with the more muscular Adjustment Assistance program.

Immigration Reform: I fully support the passage of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.

Energy Independence: I support the federal coal-leasing program; increasing investments into clean coal technology; strictly regulating the fracking practices of the natural gas industry; as well as lifting the ban on exporting liquefied natural gas and oil, especially to Europe.  

In addition, I favor expanding research into nuclear fusion; newer forms of nuclear fission technology; increasing investments into hydrogen fuel-cell technologies, and alternative renewable energy sources like wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass among others; better battery storage technology for utilities; rebuilding our electrical grid to make it more compatible with renewables; promoting energy efficiency in government as well as in private industry, using the LEED Green Building Rating System as a model; tax credits for hybrid vehicles; and increasing fuel economy standards for newer vehicles.

I also support opening Yucca Mountain as a storage site for spent nuclear waste, as well as increasing our capacity for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel so that they can be reused and to reduce the total amount of waste that would have to be sent there.

Infrastructure: To ensure sustainable economic growth for decades to come, we need to rebuild our infrastructure for the 21st century, covering everything from transportation to water/sewer systems, and ports to cope with a growing population.  

Foreign Policy

Support the ratification of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and an expansion of foreign aid through the Millennium Challenge Corporation.  Advocate cultivating our relations with India through such agreements like the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement, with the ultimate objective of making India into an ally as special and important to the United States as the United Kingdom is today.  Support reforming military procurement and compensation costs, as well as reshaping our military to better handle the twin challenges of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency, including a major expansion of the Special Forces and the Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund.

Favor moving our bases in Germany and Italy to Poland and Romania to counter Russian revanchism, as well as gradually moving US military units from Okinawa to Guam and the Philippines to deter Chinese aggression.  Support the modernization of our nuclear arsenal and expansion of our missile defense system to better protect our allies, and keeping our armed forces on the cutting edge technologically to meet any threat posed.
35  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Process / Re: US constitution on: February 12, 2017, 03:20:36 pm
Keep the order in which the original Constitution is organized (as well as our federal system), but have it rewritten so we would have a unicameral parliamentary system with mixed-member proportional representation (with a 5% threshold), incorporating the original ten Bill of Rights amendments including an explicit right to vote (for some reason we don't have that), an equal rights amendment, and automatic, universal voter registration.  The President (like the Governor-General in British Commonwealth countries) becomes a purely ceremonial position.  

As for the judiciary, we should follow the New Zealand model.  The Chief Justice would be appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister, and subsequently voted upon by the full Congress.  All other justices and judges (at the federal level) would be appointed by the President upon the advice of the Chief Justice, Attorney General, and Solicitor General, and also voted upon by the full Congress.  

36  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Between Two Majorities: 2014-2030 | Transition from Pence to Cordray on: February 12, 2017, 03:02:49 pm
This timeline is indeed one of the crown jewels of Atlas.   Smiley
37  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: If you could force 3 posters to live together on: February 12, 2017, 02:13:09 pm
BRTD, jfern, and Eharding.

Hi-lar-i-ous.  
38  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary Is Running -Anymore proof needed to confirm Politico as tabloid garbage? on: February 12, 2017, 02:05:46 pm
If she does run, she needs to throw caution to the wind, and just be herself.  Show the finger to those accusing her of playing 'identity politics' by doubling down with an all-woman ticket (Elizabeth Warren as VP would do nicely), and she can't do any worse than she did last time.  
39  General Politics / Political Debate / Ending the Era of the Imperial Presidency on: February 11, 2017, 09:55:16 pm
Do you support restricting the power of the President back to where it was before Franklin D. Roosevelt ushered in the era of the 'imperial presidency'? Even if the president belongs to the same political party as you?
40  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Between Two Majorities: 2014-2030 | Transition from Pence to Cordray on: February 11, 2017, 07:05:35 pm
After the 2022 midterms, did the incoming Democratic Congress move to permanently restrict the power of the President, or do we still have an 'imperial presidency' when President-elect Richard Cordray is inaugurated?
41  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Bernie Bros on: February 11, 2017, 05:33:58 pm
HP but it's 2017 and we have to move past the dreaded primary. This coming from someone who made plenty harsh criticism of the movement and it's supporters.

I wasn't ruminating over the 2016 primaries when I started this.  My main motivation was in reaction to a few posters whom I identified as being Bernie Bros casting negative aspersions on possible 2020 presidential candidates (including one or two I liked) because they weren't SJWs.
42  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Which song would you rather have as the US national anthem? on: February 11, 2017, 05:28:13 pm
Other: either the Battle Hymn of the Republic, or the Battle Cry of Freedom.
43  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the Alabama's new Senator Luther Strange on: February 11, 2017, 05:24:59 pm
Strange.
44  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump Surprised Government Can't be Run Like His Business on: February 11, 2017, 05:16:44 pm
For those of us who fear creeping fascism, the election of Donald Trump was actually a blessing in disguise.  We were bound to have a right wing populist demagogue as president sooner or later, so we should be glad it came in the form of a bloviating, incompetent, narcissistic buffoon.  Imagine how much more imperiled our republic would be if we had someone like an American version of Vladimir Putin in power.  Someone with razor sharp intelligence, ruthlessness, and a clearly defined plan of action in all its diabolical brilliance and subtlety.

Now our guard is up, and it won't be so easy next time for such a person to take power.
45  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Could President Trump turn California Republican in 2020 on: February 11, 2017, 04:55:24 pm
Only through voter suppression and voter fraud.
46  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Bernie Bros on: February 10, 2017, 09:40:50 am
I had a number of opinions during the primary, but at this point, I am highly invested in not relitigating the 2016 primary. We have a real chance to remake the party into something better now, and I think that is all that matters.

-To make the party better, an understanding of how it went bad is warranted.

"Bernie Bros" are certainly nowhere near the cause of the downfall of the Democratic Party. They were a stalking horse invented by Clinton-loyalist psychos to try to explain away the Sanders movement as one fueled by sexism rather than a sincere social democratic movement.

----------

And this, Virginia, is why it is easier to say we need to move on from the 2016 primaries than it is to actually do it.  Instead of reacting with consolation and conciliation (i.e. We're all in this together -we need each other) in the wake of Hillary Clinton's defeat, they vengefully and opportunistically launched a blame game, seeking to marginalize anyone who didn't support Bernie Sanders with the intention of launching a hostile takeover.  So, I hope you understand the bitterness and hard feelings that reign supreme right now.

Your Queen lost to Donald [inks]ing Trump. It's time to hop in the backseat. This isn't a "blame game." You and your politics have systematically failed at almost every turn. If Chuck Schumer can bend the knee, why can't you?

Demanding submission is always an excellent way to unite the party after an election.  What could possibly go wrong? 
47  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Bernie Bros on: February 10, 2017, 08:57:45 am
I had a number of opinions during the primary, but at this point, I am highly invested in not relitigating the 2016 primary. We have a real chance to remake the party into something better now, and I think that is all that matters.

-To make the party better, an understanding of how it went bad is warranted.

"Bernie Bros" are certainly nowhere near the cause of the downfall of the Democratic Party. They were a stalking horse invented by Clinton-loyalist psychos to try to explain away the Sanders movement as one fueled by sexism rather than a sincere social democratic movement.

----------

And this, Virginia, is why it is easier to say we need to move on from the 2016 primaries than it is to actually do it.  Instead of reacting with consolation and conciliation (i.e. We're all in this together -we need each other) in the wake of Hillary Clinton's defeat, they vengefully and opportunistically launched a blame game, seeking to marginalize anyone who didn't support Bernie Sanders with the intention of launching a hostile takeover.  So, I hope you understand the bitterness and hard feelings that reign supreme right now.

Yeah, how dare people try to point out the reason why we lost? Roll Eyes

This isn't to say I don't understand where they are coming from -I can only imagine what they went through after Bernie lost.  But they could have chosen to transcend themselves, to be the bigger men.  Instead, they opted for score-settling.  So here we are.  
48  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Trump Surprised Government Can't be Run Like His Business on: February 10, 2017, 08:50:20 am
He's learning Democracy 101 the hard way:

Quote
Being president is harder than Donald Trump thought, according to aides and allies who say that he’s growing increasingly frustrated with the challenges of running the massive federal bureaucracy.

In interviews, nearly two dozen people who’ve spent time with Trump in the three weeks since his inauguration said that his mood has careened between surprise and anger as he’s faced the predictable realities of governing, from congressional delays over his cabinet nominations and legal fights holding up his aggressive initiatives to staff in-fighting and leaks.

The administration’s rocky opening days have been a setback for a president who, as a billionaire businessman, sold himself to voters as being uniquely qualified to fix what ailed the nation. Yet it has become apparent, say those close to the president, most of whom requested anonymity to describe the inner workings of the White House, that the transition from overseeing a family business to running the country has been tough on him.

Trump often asks simple questions about policies, proposals and personnel. And, when discussions get bogged down in details, the president has been known to quickly change the subject — to "seem in control at all times," one senior government official said — or direct questions about details to his chief strategist Steve Bannon, his son-in-law Jared Kushner or House Speaker Paul Ryan. Trump has privately expressed disbelief over the ability of judges, bureaucrats or lawmakers to delay — or even stop — him from filling positions and implementing policies.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/donald-trump-challenges-governing-presidency-234879
49  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Bernie Bros on: February 10, 2017, 01:06:37 am
I had a number of opinions during the primary, but at this point, I am highly invested in not relitigating the 2016 primary. We have a real chance to remake the party into something better now, and I think that is all that matters.

-To make the party better, an understanding of how it went bad is warranted.

"Bernie Bros" are certainly nowhere near the cause of the downfall of the Democratic Party. They were a stalking horse invented by Clinton-loyalist psychos to try to explain away the Sanders movement as one fueled by sexism rather than a sincere social democratic movement.

----------

And this, Virginia, is why it is easier to say we need to move on from the 2016 primaries than it is to actually do it.  Instead of reacting with consolation and conciliation (i.e. We're all in this together -we need each other) in the wake of Hillary Clinton's defeat, they vengefully and opportunistically launched a blame game, seeking to marginalize anyone who didn't support Bernie Sanders with the intention of launching a hostile takeover.  So, I hope you understand the bitterness and hard feelings that reign supreme right now.


50  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Will you visit the Obama Presidential Library? on: February 09, 2017, 08:58:40 pm
If I am visiting the Chicago area, I certainly will make the effort.  Assuming I don't get shot first, or beaten by the police.  Tongue
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