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26  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Will Romney end his campaign with large amounts of COH? What will he do with it? on: September 26, 2012, 10:44:04 pm
Which of these two ideas is out of character for Mitt Romney? Which of these two things has he done something similar to before?

Burn it in front of starving browns.

Keep it and not pay taxes. That was always the plan. Mitt Romney is "running for President" to make money out of it.

27  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Will Romney end his campaign with large amounts of COH? What will he do with it? on: September 21, 2012, 10:10:45 pm
"While Romney’s side boasted a nearly $50 million edge in cash on hand — $175 million to $126 million — headed into the final two months, it also had $10 million more in debt, as Romney’s campaign took out a $20 million loan to address cash flow issues."

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0912/81499.html#ixzz27AIFISJu

It frankly doesn't make sense. What is Romney waiting to spend this money on?

Is it possible that he simply hoards this money and ends his campaign with a large amount of Cash on Hand?

As with all financial dealings of Mitt Romney, I'm sure we can expect pure honesty and transparency with regards to the handling of any leftover COH after his campaign.
28  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / What motivates people in "safe" states to vote? on: September 20, 2012, 02:26:43 pm
I live in NY. Our electoral college votes will go to Obama. I see no reason to vote unless as a protest vote for a candidate who obviously won’t win. In that case, it's just a show of sentiment against the two major parties.

I assume anyone voting for Romney or Obama though legitimately hopes their candidate will win. But anyone in NY who votes for Obama or Romney has no effect at all on their chances to win. And yet, NY is only safe for Obama because millions of people will indeed show up to vote for Obama. 

Do you vote D or R in a “safe” state? What motivates you when you know your vote won’t matter?
29  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: UN urges US to cut ethanol production on: August 12, 2012, 01:54:27 am
U.S. corn-based ethanol production is an issue that no one with the power of reason could support.

Unless you're a farmer. Or a Senator form a Farm State.

Just another knock against democracy, I suppose.
30  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Local view: Structural racism in America (Duluth News Tribune) on: August 12, 2012, 01:49:24 am
Quote
The Un-Fair Campaign helps shift conversations about racism from individual attitudes and behaviors toward a structural analysis of the privileges white people in this country have received. Although social grouping, hierarchies of power and wealth, genocide and the theft of indigenous land all were common throughout human history, America did something unique. We invented new racial categories with zero genetic basis but with unprecedented significance in determining life chances.

more: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/239583/group/Opinion/

Thoughts?

How is the bold section even close to uniquely American?

It isn't, but that's no reason to act dismissive of the problem of institutional racism.

It's weird to me how people want to pretend race doesn't exist. It's simply untrue, ask an anthropologist. There are thousands of genetically identifiable races, far more than just the few that are popularly recognized.

The fact that there are different races is no basis for racism, discrimination, hate, or anything like that.

I understand that some people who want to see racism go away think it's easiest to say that "race" doesn't exist and therefore we're all the same, but that's a blatant lie, and arguments built on lies don't hold.

Racism is, in a way, hard-wired into people. We're tribal by nature, and tribes survived best by looking out for "us" and being wary of "them". But we are supposedly civilized people, and should be able to treat "them" no differently than we do "us".

To face up to the reality that we all are different, and then treat your fellow man as a brother shouldn't be too much to ask.

Isn't there something about that in Christian creed anyway?
31  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Gun Rights: A Stinger for Antonin on: August 08, 2012, 12:13:48 pm
The article has no defined conclusion.

Gun-rights advocates argue that the right to bear arms is necessary as a protection from tyrrany.

The point of the article is that this is nonsense, and our weapons couldn't protect us from tyrannical government, and people without weapons have achieved liberal government.

The conclusion then, is that gun rights aren't necessary for the maintenance of liberty, and should be judged on other criteria.

The obvious conclusion is that guns don't make you safer, but rather make you less safe, and should therefore be limited.
32  Election Archive / 2012 Elections / Re: Mitt's tax plan: Cut taxes for the rich, raise them on everyone else on: August 02, 2012, 11:30:45 pm
A flat tax would be the fair way to go, I say.

[link=http://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=156857.0]The Overall Tax Burden is already pretty much flat.[/link]
33  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / The overall tax burden is relatively flat on: August 02, 2012, 11:29:23 pm
Federal income taxes account for just 27% of total government revenue collected in America. And the remaining three-quarters of the tax pie is quite regressive. The middle class may not pay much federal income tax. But they sure pay the payroll tax for Social Security and Medicare, which the rich can mostly skip out on since it only applies to the first $110,000 of wage income. (The Medicare levy, unlike its bigger Social Security counterpart, is not capped). The masses also pay a much greater share of their income in sales and excise taxes than the rich do, because they cannot afford to save.

The fact of the matter is that the American tax code as a whole is almost perfectly flat. The bottom 20% of earners make 3% of the income and pay 2% of the taxes; the middle 20% make 11% and pay 10%; and the top 1% make 21% and pay 22%. Steve Forbes couldn’t have drawn it up any better.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/07/taxes-and-rich-0



http://ctj.org/images/taxday2012table.jpg
34  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Gun Rights: A Stinger for Antonin on: July 30, 2012, 12:34:08 pm
YESTERDAY on "Fox News Sunday", Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court justice, suggested that Americans may have a constitutional right to own and carry shoulder-mounted anti-aircraft missiles.

 
CHRIS WALLACE: What about…a weapon that can fire a hundred shots in a minute?
SCALIA: We’ll see. Obviously the amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand-carried—it’s to keep and “bear”, so it doesn’t apply to cannons—but I suppose there are hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes, that will have to be decided.

WALLACE: How do you decide that if you’re a textualist?

SCALIA: Very carefully.
Most gun-rights advocates will probably downplay Mr Scalia's remarks, but I applaud them. In fact, I think the only thing amiss here is Mr Scalia's weirdly literalist approach to the word "bear"; the first amendment's reference to "freedom of speech and of the press", for example, is generally held to apply to non-verbal communications as well. Besides, even though you can't carry an M1 Abrams battle tank, that shouldn't necessarily preclude you from "keeping" one. More important, though, Mr Scalia seems to be one of the few people in the judiciary who may be favourably disposed towards letting Americans own the only kinds of weapons that actually make sense, under the dominant justification that advocates currently provide for the importance of gun rights: the right to defend yourself against the government.

There are basically two ways of explaining why a right to own guns belongs in the Bill of Rights. The first is that it's part of the assumed natural right to self-defence against other citizens. The second, increasingly the main line of argument by gun-rights advocates, is that's it's necessary to prevent governments from arrogating tyrannical powers to themselves.

(See rest of article at link below--Badger)

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/07/gun-rights
35  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: US House approves $650m cut in Pakistan aid on: July 20, 2012, 03:22:08 pm
Hopefully Pakistan grows a pair and tells the U.S. military to get the hell out now that we're bribing them less.
36  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: Gay Marriage paving the way for Corporate Marriage? on: July 20, 2012, 09:46:57 am
This topic is serious, and deals with the important issue of corporate personhood. If corporations are people, they can marry. If not, they can't marry, and probably can't be protected by 1st ammendment rights either.

The "ridiculous" nature of the thread was just reflecting on the ridiculous nature of considering corporations people.

It's crazy that people think it's sensible to give corporations the protections of humans and then not consider the absurd logical consequences of this.
37  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Seattle woman marries a corporation on: July 19, 2012, 03:47:01 pm
This thread on the topic of corporate marraige was locked, in error, for not being serious. Obviously, it was addressing the real issue of corporate personhood, just as this woman is doing.

http://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=144535.15

Hopefully this issue works its way through the courts and someone decides that indeed corporations aren't people.
38  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: China may go to war with Vietnam to shore up support: Russian media on: July 18, 2012, 08:34:55 pm
The People's Republic of China has proven to be much less of a threat to countries around the world than The United States of America has. They certainly don't have the track record of permanent war that we do.

Just because a country isn't on a civilizing mission doesn't mean it can't pose a threat. Certainly Africans upset with the Chinese gobbling up resources aren't happy. Countries on China's periphery can never be at peace with such a massive nation. You could argue that the way nations' economies are becoming so dependent on Chinese consumption means China's collapse would do substantial economic harm.

Quote
Perhaps as their power grows they will decide to start invading countries for fun like we do, but that is yet to be seen.

Border conflicts have always existed since modern China's creation. The most noticeable right now are Taiwan, Chinese migrants labouring in the Russian Far East, the South Sea stuff. But China's leaders know warfare is too costly, so the strategy is to settle in so long that the Chinese cannot be deplaced.

China also has to deal with interior conflicts in Xinjiang and Tibet - a colonization that has gone on for centuries. Maybe you would like to think one country is responsible for all the bad in the world, but that's just a perverse form of American exceptionalism, isn't it?

China of course, just like any large country, is a menace to many people. Any power that great is.

But they certainly don't do things like invading an occupying Iraq, Afghanistan, or anything like that.

I'm not trying to say they're run by saints, they aren't, but for all their flaws countries have far less to be worried about from the Chinese Military than the American Military.
39  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: China may go to war with Vietnam to shore up support: Russian media on: July 18, 2012, 04:08:36 pm


How about the last time China fought a war against Vietnam (which was done in part due to the insistence of the US)?

Which isn't to say that I'm expecting dramatics this time around.

A one-month conflict is hardly a US-style multi-year invasion.

China has shown much more restraint than the United State has in regards to invading/occupying countries willy nilly
40  Election Archive / 2012 Elections / Re: Having trouble getting Romney to 269... on: July 18, 2012, 02:45:12 pm
Obama will win.

41  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: China may go to war with Vietnam to shore up support: Russian media on: July 18, 2012, 09:52:12 am
Yea right.

When is the last time China has waged an American-style war just to show who's boss?

The People's Republic of China has proven to be much less of a threat to countries around the world than The United States of America has. They certainly don't have the track record of permanent war that we do.

Perhaps as their power grows they will decide to start invading countries for fun like we do, but that is yet to be seen.
42  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / What makes Iowa so much more Democratic than Nebraska, Kansas, etc. on: July 18, 2012, 09:48:21 am
My first thought in thinking about Iowa compared to neighboring states was that it doesn’t seem that it should be so Democratic. I would expect mid-western states to be more Democratic with greater Urban populations. 

Iowa and neighboring states’ urban population percentage:

Illinois: 89% (Dem)
Michigan: 75% (Dem)
Minnesota: 71% (Dem)
Kansas: 71% (Rep)
Nebraska: 70% (Rep)
Missouri: 70% (Rep)
Wisconsin: 68% (Dem)
Iowa: 61% (Dem)
North Dakota: 56% (Rep)
South Dakota: 52% (Rep)

So clearly there is an overall trend towards more urban pop=more Democratic. But Iowa has something else going on, being very white and not very urban, what is unique in Iowa to make their rural white voters choose Democrats when neighbors with similar demographics don’t?

http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0029.pdf
43  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Does Defense Spending Create Jobs? on: July 17, 2012, 11:34:42 am
If there's a ridiculous leading question that doesn't need to be ask, Jacob™ is there to ask it.
The point in asking it, obviously, is to see if Republicans can somehow come to realize that if military spending creates jobs, so does spending on infrastructure, education, health, science, and a host of other things.
44  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Does Defense Spending Create Jobs? on: July 17, 2012, 10:01:20 am

The Aerospace Industries Association has also launched a website and a nationwide campaign to sound the alarm on sequestration. The groups says more than 1 million defense jobs would be at risk.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/78578.html

Republicans seem to feel no mental dissonance when claiming that defense spending creates jobs.
45  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / The golden rules of banking: They make the rules, and get the gold on: July 13, 2012, 10:24:40 am
http://www.economist.com/node/21558584

THE crisis has taught people a lot about the banking industry and the thought processes of its leaders. These lessons can be distilled into four golden rules.

1. The laws of supply and demand do not apply.

When food producers compete to supply a supermarket, the retailer has the luxury of selecting the lowest bidder. But when it comes to investment banking, wages are very high even though the number of applicants is vastly greater than the number of posts. If the same was true of, say, hospital cleaning, wages would be slashed.

An investment bank, like a supermarket, demands a certain quality standard: it will not hire just anybody. But whereas it may be easy to identify a rotten banana, it is harder to be sure which trainee will be the next Nick Leeson and which the potential George Soros. That gives executives an excuse when things go wrong.

2. Success is down to my genius; failure is caused by someone else.

When banks do well, and profits soar, the bosses are responsible for it all with their strategic cunning and inspiring leadership. Huge bonuses are therefore due.

But, like Macavity the mystery cat, executives were never at the scene of the crime. They did not attend the crucial meeting, read the vital memo or open the incriminating e-mail. Together with this surprising inattentiveness, executives have a remarkably faulty memory which means that conversations are rarely recalled in any detail. It is a wonder, indeed, given their technical shortcomings and early-onset Alzheimer’s, that they make it to the top of their organisations at all.

But executives do tend to remember one vital fact. When scandal breaks, the blame should lie with a few rogue employees who have ignored the corporate culture. Managers cannot possibly be expected to keep track of the actions of junior staff. And that leads to the next rule.

3. What is lucky for an individual trader may be unlucky for the bank as a whole.

There is a survivorship bias in both fund management and trading. If your career starts with some bad losses, it will quickly come to an end. So, by definition, veteran traders will have had initial success. But that could be down to luck, not skill.

Successful fund managers attract more clients and thus manage more money. This will keep happening until they have a bad year, when clients will desert them. Their worst result will thus occur when they have the most money to look after. They may end up losing more client money in cash terms than they ever made.

Similarly, successful traders will be given more responsibility, first heading their departments and then leading the bank itself. They will gain a reputation as the kind of person who can handle risk, and they will believe their own publicity. The likes of Dick Fuld of Lehman Brothers and Jon Corzine at MF Global seemed to regard caution as a quality for wimps.

This is a variant of the Peter principle, which holds that managers get promoted to their level of incompetence. The trader-cum-executive will make the biggest mistake when he is in charge of the whole bank. By this stage, he will be personally rich and will remain so even if the entire bank fails, not least because:

4. Resigning can be a retirement plan.

When ordinary folk resign, they are lucky to get paid to the end of the month. But when bankers leave in awkward circumstances, they make out like a lottery winner (Bob Diamond, formerly of Barclays, has done worse on this score than others). The bank may want to avoid a lawsuit, with all its unfavourable publicity. The more trouble the bank is in, the less publicity it will want and the better the negotiating position of the executive. This may not be the ideal incentive structure.

Moreover, if the bank is big enough, the government will not be willing to let it fail. Take the Royal Bank of Scotland. Had it gone bankrupt, then the pension scheme might have fallen into the hands of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), a collective-insurance plan. That would have been bad news for Fred Goodwin, the then chief executive, since individual pension payouts are capped under PPF rules. The limit at the time was £24,000 ($44,500) rather than the £703,000 he originally claimed.

Bankers get such generous payoffs because it is in their contracts and airtight contracts are needed to attract the best people. But is this right? The BBC just appointed a director-general on a salary that is one-third less than that of the previous incumbent. Even so, there was no shortage of qualified applicants for the post. Back to the first rule: in banking, the laws of supply and demand do not apply.
46  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Is Likeability/Charisma/"I'd want to have a beer with him" the deciding factor? on: July 11, 2012, 12:48:40 pm
No. Bush was smart and enough to win, and so, unfortunately, is Obama.

Bush was pitifully dumb. I had heard that he did decently on his SAT's, but decades of alcoholism and drug abuse didn't do him any favors.
47  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Is Likeability/Charisma/"I'd want to have a beer with him" the deciding factor? on: July 11, 2012, 12:20:40 pm
Pre-crisis, you'd never expect a President to be re-elected with somewhere around 8% unemployment (really it's higher if we're being honest).

And yet Obama looks really likely to win, despite continuing concerns that he's an Atheist Fascist Muslim Homosexual Kenyan or whatever.

Which has led me to wonder if the most important factor in voting for the Presidency is what people always said about Bush, that "I'd like to have a beer with him."

Is likeability/charisma/coolness however you want to say it, is that the most important factor? If you stand two people next to each other, does the lamer one always lose the Presidential election?

Bush was certainly more charismatic than Kerry or Gore, even if he was infuriatingly dumb. Obama certainly out-charismas McCain and Romney...

48  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: U.S. court orders Iran to pay for 1983 attack on: July 09, 2012, 04:06:25 pm
I can't wait until Vietnam, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan and all the rest begin suing the United States for every attack against them that the United States has committed.

I won't even say anything about the others (there isn't any point to debating with you), but when it comes to Nicaragua, I visited Costa Rica a few weeks ago, and it's amazing how much they really hate Ortega and Chavez and Bolivarianism there, just in general. I haven't been to Nicaragua, though, maybe they like it somehow.

In Nicaragua, they likely aren't fond of the U.S. funded terrorism that wracked their country. They really don't like the fact that we mined their harbors.

The mining of Nicaraguan harbors is why we withdrew from the International Court of Justice, if I'm not mistaken. They were going to try us for it, very illegal...

We just bounced instead.
49  General Politics / International General Discussion / U.S. court orders Iran to pay for 1983 attack on: July 07, 2012, 11:23:56 am
A US federal judge has ordered Iran to pay more than $813m in damages and interest to the families of 241 US soldiers killed in the 1983 bombing of a Marine barracks in Lebanon.

Judge Royce Lambeth wrote in a ruling this week that Tehran had to be "punished to the fullest extent legally possible"  for the bombing in Beirut on October 23, 1983, the deadliest ever against US soldiers.

"After this opinion, this court will have issued over $8.8bn in judgments against Iran as a result of the 1983 Beirut bombing," Lamberth wrote in the ruling, a copy of which was seen on Friday by the AFP news agency.

"Iran is racking up quite a bill from its sponsorship of terrorism," the Washington judge added, noting that "a number of other Beirut bombing cases remain pending, and their completion will surely increase this amount."

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2012/07/2012777055649765.html

Fascinating legal precedent set here.

I can't wait until Vietnam, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan and all the rest begin suing the United States for every attack against them that the United States has committed.

Should be a budget-buster.
50  General Politics / International General Discussion / Countries where the same leaders run, even after losing on: July 02, 2012, 12:01:14 am
In the U.S. if you run for President and lose, you don't run for President again. At least as a Democrat or a Republican.

Nixon was the last guy to pull off that move, after waiting a cycle.

In Mexico, AMLO just barely lost, again. I don't know if another PD/PT Candidate could have won there, but it might be worth trying to avoid putting the same loser up over and over....
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