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September 24, 2017, 12:08:39 am
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26  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: What if we replaced the Senate with a "Council of the Governors"? on: September 19, 2017, 10:40:00 pm
Let's not remove or replace the Senate with anything until we have reformed the House first. 
27  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: What do you want Trump to do irt Iran? on: September 19, 2017, 10:13:44 pm
Can anybody here imagine supporting potential military action against Iran?

And turn another generation of young Iranians against the United States forever, because the idiot we have in the Oval Office is so petty he would scuttle an arms agreement that Iran is actually honoring because it's got President Barack Obama's name written all over it?  

****** him.  I will never support him, or rally around him in the event of war -a war that (if it does come to pass) will be of his own creation.  
28  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / AP: Senate GOP Tentatively Agrees on $1.5 Trillion Tax Cut on: September 19, 2017, 10:07:28 pm
Quote
The $1.5 trillion figure, confirmed by congressional officials familiar with the agreement, would allow deeper cuts to tax rates than would be allowed if Republicans followed through on earlier promises that their upcoming tax overhaul wouldn't add to the deficit. It's likely to be announced on Wednesday.

The agreement would represent an about-face for Capitol Hill GOP leaders such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who for months have promised that the GOP tax overhaul would not add to the budget deficit, currently estimated to hit about $700 billion this year.

The broad-brush tax cut number, if approved by the Senate, would pave the way for the Senate's tax writers to slice corporate and individual tax rates and curb tax breaks in hopes of boosting economic growth to 3 percent or more as promised by President Donald Trump.

source

29  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trumpcare Megathread: Parliamentarian rules reconciliation expires September 30 on: September 19, 2017, 06:38:08 pm
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Donald Trump have rejected any bipartisan fix to Obamacare:

Quote
House Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House have informed Senate Republican leaders that they oppose a bipartisan plan to stabilize Obamacare being written in the Senate, according to Trump administration and congressional sources, in a clear bid to boost the Senate's prospects of repealing the health law.

After Senate Republicans failed to repeal Obamacare in July, talks began on fixing the law rather than dismantling it. The dose of cold water from senior GOP officials will put pressure on Republican senators to back a last-ditch bill to gut Obamacare before a Sept. 30 deadline. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell backed that approach publicly on Tuesday.

Republicans say that while the bipartisan talks between Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) initially seemed promising, many in the GOP fear providing money for Obamacare but offering little for conservatives — especially after Republican lawmakers have been throttled by President Donald Trump and the GOP base for failing to repeal the health law.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/19/obamacare-stabilization-bill-status-242875

The GOP chairman of the healthcare effort concurs.
30  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trumpcare Megathread: Parliamentarian rules reconciliation expires September 30 on: September 19, 2017, 02:35:43 pm
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Donald Trump have rejected any bipartisan fix to Obamacare:

Quote
House Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House have informed Senate Republican leaders that they oppose a bipartisan plan to stabilize Obamacare being written in the Senate, according to Trump administration and congressional sources, in a clear bid to boost the Senate's prospects of repealing the health law.

After Senate Republicans failed to repeal Obamacare in July, talks began on fixing the law rather than dismantling it. The dose of cold water from senior GOP officials will put pressure on Republican senators to back a last-ditch bill to gut Obamacare before a Sept. 30 deadline. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell backed that approach publicly on Tuesday.

Republicans say that while the bipartisan talks between Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) initially seemed promising, many in the GOP fear providing money for Obamacare but offering little for conservatives — especially after Republican lawmakers have been throttled by President Donald Trump and the GOP base for failing to repeal the health law.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/19/obamacare-stabilization-bill-status-242875
31  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Hillary Clinton suggests that 2016 election may not be legitimate on: September 18, 2017, 11:44:59 pm
Seems like a logical suggestion -if Special Counsel Robert Mueller finds out that there was indeed Russian interference, and that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians, then (at the very least) the 2016 election should be re-examined.  And that's not even mentioning impeachment hearings...   
32  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Winter is Coming (GoT is back) on: September 17, 2017, 11:37:13 pm
Brace yourselves -in true Targaryen tradition, Daenerys and Aegon (i.e. Jon Snow) could actually be siblings according to this new theory floating around that Dany's father is actually Rhaegar, and not Aerys as she was always led to believe.

Anyone think it plausible?  



33  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do you prefer reading Vox or jfern's posts? on: September 17, 2017, 04:40:56 pm
Vox is actually interesting reading -jfern on the other hand is as predictable as a clock.  Now if you were to ask me whether I prefer reading jfern or watching Cenk Uyger on TYT, that would be a tougher question.....  
34  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: NYT (op-ed): Trump Says Jump. His Supporters Ask, How High? on: September 17, 2017, 09:20:08 am
I will say that his views on trade shaped mine, but beyond that, everything has been the same. And the previous "change" was mainly because I didn't know what to think about before.

At this rate, I look forward to him changing his mind on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and free trade agreements in general.  Smiley
35  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: NOAA: US Could Get a La Nina Fall and Winter on: September 17, 2017, 09:11:48 am
Just to show the areas of the country that could most benefit from this forecast:



http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/
36  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / NOAA: US Could Get a La Nina Fall and Winter on: September 17, 2017, 09:04:06 am
Good news for the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast and drought-stricken Pacific Northwest:

Quote
La Niña is now increasingly possible in the next few months, according to a new report released by NOAA, and may have some impacts on weather in the United States in the fall and winter.

La Niña/El Niño, the periodic cooling/warming of the equatorial eastern and central Pacific Ocean, can shift weather patterns over a period of months, bringing the possibility of more sustained warm, cold, wet or dry weather in parts of the world.





Since mid-August, slightly cooler-than-average surface temperatures were in place across the equatorial eastern and central Pacific Ocean. NOAA also noted water below the surface in this zone had also trended colder than average.

Quote
Temperatures

While there are some differences among La Niña magnitudes, some commonalities emerge regarding La Niña winter forcing in the U.S.:

Cold: Northern Plains, Upper Midwest, New England, New York state, West Coast

Warm: Southern Plains, Southeast

Quote
Precipitation

Again, despite some differences among La Niña magnitudes, some commonalities are apparent:

Wet: Pacific Northwest, Bitterroots (western Montana/Idaho), parts of the Ohio Valley, Tennessee Valley

Dry: Southern Plains, Gulf/Southeast coast including Florida, Southern California, Desert Southwest
37  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Why can't republicans acknowledge the fact that they've lost on abortion? on: September 16, 2017, 12:07:18 am
Why should they?  Granted, younger generations are more prochoice than their elders, but it's the elders who vote more reliably, and are far more passionate in their opposition.  And they are one Supreme Court seat away from overturning Roe vs. Wade (and perhaps Griswold vs. Connecticut by extension).  
38  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: When will the VA GOP win the VA governorship again? on: September 16, 2017, 12:02:25 am
A long time from now if they keep pushing candidates statewide like rehashes (Gillespie) and Confederates/wackjobs (Stewart/E.W. Jackson). They might be able to win if they max out downstate but that is an outside chance with the growth of NoVA and Tidewater holding that possibility at bay.

The only chance for the VA GOP to win again is if they put up a moderate candidate in the mold of Jon Huntsman. Even then, it would be a fight.

Judging by Corey Stewart's near-win, and his passionate following of white nationalists and neo-Confederates that seem to comprise at least half the Virginia GOP's activist base, it will be very difficult for Republicans to choose anyone other than candidates like him in the future.  Ed Gillespie is, I think, the last remotely mainstream Republican to win the gubernatorial nomination for a long time to come.  

I would like them to become a more genuinely multiracial and multiethnic party in the future, but how they get there from here is truly a Gordion's Knot I'm not sure they will prove capable of untying for awhile.  
39  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do you remember 9/11? on: September 15, 2017, 11:53:40 pm
Like it was yesterday -I saw on real time the planes hitting the World Trade Center towers on television, and I won't soon forget seeing that pillar of smoke where that plane hit the Pentagon not far from where I was interning when we all stepped outside to return home.  It's strange such a terrible event happened on a day so beautiful. 
40  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: New Zealand Election 2017 on: September 15, 2017, 07:26:59 pm
If Labour wins the election, I pray they do so with enough votes and seats such that they don't need Winston Peters (the Kiwi version of Stephen Bannon) as a kingmaker. 
41  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Overwhelming Majority of Republicans Still Want Obamacare Repealed on: September 15, 2017, 10:12:00 am
Largely because of high prescription drug prices, apparently, though there are better ways of addressing that problem:

Quote
Republican leaders want to move past Obamacare repeal, but most GOP voters aren't ready to let them do it.

That's a key finding of the latest POLITICO-Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health poll, which finds the Trump administration's messaging on health care is clearly resonating with the party's base.

The poll asked Americans to review and score 10 top priorities for Congress through the end of the year. Fifty-three percent of Republican respondents said taking action to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act should be an "extremely important priority," while another 26 percent of Republicans said it should be a "very important priority." Only 16 percent of Republicans said ACA repeal should not be a priority for Congress.

(...) The most critical issue for all voters was lowering prescription drug prices, with 40 percent of overall respondents saying it was an "extremely important" priority and 31 percent saying it was a "very important" priority. It was also the most urgent priority for Democrats (51 percent said it was "extremely important") and independent voters (36 percent said it was "extremely important").

Blendon said the focus on drug price reform was an "overwhelming" indicator that the issue is resonating around the nation, even if lawmakers' plans are on the back burner. "It's unbelievably salient for voters, but it's not really salient for Congress," he said.

Politico
42  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Why are Republicans so bad at governing? on: September 13, 2017, 11:41:19 pm
That someone who doesn't believe government (especially at the federal level) has a positive role to play in our lives would turn out to be so poor at governing should surprise no one.  
43  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Non-political 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Megathread on: September 13, 2017, 11:29:38 pm
It could have been worse -bear in mind that the damage wrought by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 cost more than $25 billion:

Quote
Insured losses from Hurricane Irma could total $18 billion in the U.S., far less than anticipated when the storm was barreling toward Florida's east coast as a Category 4 monster but still among the nation's worst.

Karen Clark and Co., a Boston-based company that analyzes risk, estimated total losses, including the Caribbean, at $25 billion. Florida accounts for most of the $18 billion in the U.S., followed by Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama. The estimate covers damage to buildings and their contents, other insured structures, and vehicles and the disruption to business. It does not include crop losses or losses covered by the nation's flood insurance program, Clark said.
 
The estimate also does not cover the total cost of the storm, which can be a trickier number to calculate, she said.

"It would include infrastructure: damage to roads, beach erosion, cleanup efforts. All these other things that go into total economic loss, which are squishier numbers. I don't know of any organization that tallies that."

At that amount, Irma falls just outside the top 10 list and above the $15.4 billion Clark estimated for Harvey's losses. The 1926 Miami hurricane still ranks as the worst in the U.S., according to Clark's tally, with losses in today's dollars totaling $150 billion. That's followed by the 1928 hurricane that struck Lake Okeechobee at $77 billion, the 1900 hurricane in Galveston at $60 billion and 2005's Katrina, which generated $59 billion in insured losses, she said.
44  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Where's The 2020 Love For Tim Kaine? on: September 13, 2017, 10:55:12 pm
I'd rather keep him as my Senator, thank you very much (and Mark Warner too).  He proved he has no business being on the national stage, but it's quite a different story here in the Old Dominion. 
45  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Do you think the Democrats will win the House in 2018? on: September 13, 2017, 10:42:23 pm
I'm cautiously optimistic -but if we wind up on January 3, 2019 with both the House and Senate evenly divided with only a single seat separating one party from the majority in either chamber (in the Senate's case, Vice-President Mike Pence will be the saving grace of the Republican majority there), I wouldn't be shocked.
46  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Bernienomics Not Polling Well Among Voters Outside Dem Base on: September 13, 2017, 12:00:32 pm
Nor is villifying Donald Trump, for that matter:

Quote
(...) Data from a range of focus groups and internal polls in swing states paint a difficult picture for the Democratic Party heading into the 2018 midterms and 2020 presidential election. It suggests that Democrats are naive if they believe Trump’s historically low approval numbers mean a landslide is coming. The party is defending 10 Senate seats in states that Trump won and needs to flip 24 House seats to take control of that chamber.

The research, conducted by private firms and for Democratic campaign arms, is rarely made public but was described to POLITICO in interviews with a dozen top operatives who’ve been analyzing the results coming in.

(...) Worse news, they worry: Many of the ideas party leaders have latched onto in an attempt to appeal to their lost voters — free college tuition, raising the minimum wage to $15, even Medicare for all — test poorly among voters outside the base. The people in these polls and focus groups tend to see those proposals as empty promises, at best.

Pollsters are shocked by how many voters describe themselves as “exhausted” by the constant chaos surrounding Trump, and they find that there’s strong support for a Congress that provides a check on him rather than voting for his agenda most of the time. But he is still viewed as an outsider shaking up the system, which people in the various surveys say they like, and which Democrats don’t stack up well against.

“People do think he’s bringing about change, so it’s hard to say he hasn’t kept his promises,” said Democratic pollster Celinda Lake.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/13/teflon-trump-democrats-messaging-242607
47  General Discussion / History / When the US Tried to Fight Communism with Buddhism on: September 10, 2017, 08:41:17 pm
I had no idea of any of this until I read this article -let's call it the 'Buddha Strategy':

Quote
In 1953, several months after the inauguration of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Vice President Richard M. Nixon traveled with his wife, Pat, on a whirlwind tour of Asia. The trip included stopovers in Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, where the French took him to the front lines of the first Indochina war to watch a bombardment of Viet Minh fighters. Nixon was impressed but unsettled. He didn’t like the patronizing way the French, who the United States was backing against the communist insurgency in the country, treated their Vietnamese allies, concluding they had failed to summon an attractive alternative to the soul-stirring nationalism of their enemies.

The trip was a formative experience. The next year, in a letter to Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith, Nixon wrote, “As you know, I have deep and continuing interest in the peoples of Southeast Asia, as well as the firm conviction that we have not done enough to convince the people themselves, as distinct from the government leadership, that their ideals and aspirations are very similar to, and held in common with, ours.” The sentiment might seem laughable in light of his secret bombing of Cambodia as president years later, but Nixon was onto something. He added that there might be a solution to the French problem. “I believe that the enclosed proposal would contribute to such mutual understanding,” he wrote. The proposal he included was from a relatively obscure group called the Foundation for Religious Action, or FFRA, and it called for a “Spiritual Counteroffensive in Southeast Asia.” The plan was to pump U.S. money into Buddhist institutions, hoping that the lure of faith would overpower the anti-religious hostility of the Soviet Union, China and global communism. Theirs would be a Saffron Curtain.

American officials had been intrigued by Buddhism for years. In the shadow of World War II and the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, the U.S. realized that military action alone would not be sufficient in containing the spread of communism in Southeast Asia. They needed hearts and minds, or pagodas and temples. This is the story Eugene Ford sets out to tell in the forthcoming Cold War Monks: Buddhism and America’s Secret Strategy in Southeast Asia, which recounts America’s short-lived infatuation with Buddhism as a political force and its subtle attempts to strengthen Buddhist institutions in the region at a time when ideologies could sway millions. “Religion was a lever the United States could use to wield influence of a nonmilitary or psychological nature,” Ford writes. “Not least by emphasizing to local populations the supposed communist threat to their religious institutions.” As they would find out, those threats were real.
48  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Non-political 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Megathread on: September 10, 2017, 01:53:51 am
Some more updates:








49  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Non-political 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Megathread on: September 10, 2017, 01:23:02 am
Now it looks as if the eye of Hurricane Irma (now back to a category 4) is eyeing Tallahassee:













Florida is going to get hit hard, but this hurricane doesn't seem to be quite as devastating as originally feared with models earlier predicting the eye to go straight up the peninsula.  

We'll see what happens today and tomorrow, though....


50  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: North Korea Mega Thread on: September 09, 2017, 10:34:12 am

Oh, that is fascinating.

I wonder how we should react if North Korea lobs a nuclear missile at China, instead of Guam or the continental United States.  More importantly, how would China respond?  Would it flood troops into North Korea, and effectively annex it after annihilating the Kim dynasty root and branch?  

I think they would invade, but I can't see a scenario where annexation is a plausible long-term solution. With annexation + presumable liberalization of North Korea that comes with that, there's no way that North Koreans will want to live under Chinese rule when they people who are culturally more similar them, who they feel a sense of nationhood with are to the south. On the Chinese side, I find it hard to believe they'll feel enthusiastic to inherit the mess that North Korea is, especially when you how unwilling South Korea is. On a similar note, it's also an open question on how South Korea will feel about China invading territory they technically claim.

Considering that any invasion in the aftermath of an unprovoked nuclear attack with mass civilian casualties would likely result in the utter destruction of the North Korean military (and unavoidably high losses on the part of the invader), I don't think China would accept anything less than an indefinite occupation of North Korea to ensure it never poses a threat to them ever again. 
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