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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Obamacare faces challenge at the US Supreme Court (oral arguments today) on: March 04, 2015, 03:20:04 pm
Couldn't find a thread on this.

Quote
Round 2 in the legal battle over Obamacare hits the Supreme Court's intellectual boxing ring Wednesday.

In one corner is the Obama administration, backed by the nation's hospitals, insurance companies, physician associations and other groups like Catholic Charities and the American Cancer Society.

In the other corner are conservative groups, backed by politicians who fought in Congress to prevent the bill from being adopted.

In 2012, a bitterly divided high court upheld the law as constitutional by a 5-to-4 vote. Now opponents of the law are challenging it again, this time contending that the text of the law does not authorize subsidies to make mandated insurance affordable in 34 states. It's a technical argument about the wording of the law but, if it prevails, most experts say the result would be a chaotic unraveling of a system that in the past year has extended health insurance to more than 11 million Americans.

NPR.

Also, here's a Scotusblog article setting up the background to the private debate among the justices.

Feel free to post predictions, opinions, etc.
2  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Thoughts on Mark Pryor on: March 03, 2015, 10:50:28 am
Who?
3  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update Season XXI: "Scientific Facts Are Not Hard And Fast Rules." on: March 03, 2015, 10:47:46 am
Official weigh-in for Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - 286.4.

RIP
4  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Can Communism work? on: March 02, 2015, 05:11:49 pm
Initially I wanted to answer with something like "Have people forgotten the last century already?" but then I realized that it's a moot point anyway, since the odds of achieving Communist utopia are rather low (other things that are less than likely to happen:  Jesus will return in our lifetime, Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States, BushOklahoma will make a fundamental change in his attitude and behavior, etc.).
5  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Is Netanyahu destroying a "special relationship" to win an election? on: March 01, 2015, 12:39:37 pm
David Cameron would not behave like this. Stephen Harper would not behave like this. Angela Merkel would not behave like this. Just what is Bibi trying to prove?

That knee-jerk support for the Likud vision for Israel (which in the case of American white evangelicals, for instance, has more to do with scary End Times theology, along with a more-than-healthy dose of  the view that Palestinians are obviously all  terrorists who hate the West's 'Judeo-Christian' way of life, but I digress) ought to be actively demanded of the United States in 2015.
6  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Libertarianism and Communism share a common flaw on: March 01, 2015, 12:31:15 pm
I doubt this observation is original.  I even doubt that I'd find this interesting if I weren't sleepy.  However, it's clear that both Libertarianism and Communism share a common flaw, namely that human beings are rational actors who can rationally determine what is in their own best interest.  The only real difference is that libertarians hold that the best interest is best determined at the individual level and communists that it is best determined collectively.  So feel free to discuss as I head off to the Land of Nod.

Human beings do not act rationally; therefore, we will appoint a few people to impose their boundless irrationality on the rest of us. If you're not a rational thinker, capable of self-governance, how can you possibly pick someone to govern yourself?

I'm not convinced it's libertarians who are missing the point. You can create whatever conventions and illusions you want. Some are more useful than others, but you'll never be able to give away responsibility for your own life and sense of well-being.

AggregateDemand, just curious: do you believe societies exist?
7  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Russia: Opposition politician Boris Nemtsov shot dead on: February 28, 2015, 03:07:36 pm
More details from Reuters:

snip:
Quote
A political reformer who had fallen foul of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Nemtsov had been preoccupied for weeks with details of an opposition march planned for Sunday.

snip:
Quote
Hopes were high that the demonstration, to condemn Putin's economic and foreign policies, would rekindle the flames of the street protests that in 2011-12 posed the first public challenge to Putin's more than decade-long rule.

snip:
Quote
In the minutes leading up to the shooting, a law enforcement source told Russian news agency Interfax that a spotter for the attackers watched the pair turn onto the bridge before giving the signal to attack - proof that the killing had been planned.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whose star had eclipsed Nemtsov's in the years that followed the 2011-12 street protests, met with Nemtsov on an infrequent basis, and usually just to discuss logistics of protests, as they did several weeks previously.

Navalny wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday he knew people were following the leaders of the demonstration, which planned to protest against the political and economic policies the opposition says are leading Russia to ruin.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/28/russia-nemtsov-dinner-idUSL5N0W20GT20150228
8  General Politics / International General Discussion / Russia: Opposition politician Boris Nemtsov shot dead on: February 27, 2015, 05:10:02 pm
Quote
A leading Russian opposition politician, former deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, has been shot dead in Moscow, Russian officials say.

An unidentified attacker shot Mr Nemtsov four times in central Moscow, a source in the law enforcement bodies told Russia's Interfax news agency.

He was shot near the Kremlin while walking with a woman, according to Russian-language news website Meduza.

"Several people" had got out of a car and shot him, it added.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31669061
9  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / 8 dead in door-to-door shootings in rural Missouri on: February 27, 2015, 12:41:25 pm
Quote
A gunman went door to door in a small south-central Missouri community late Thursday, fatally shooting 7 people before driving to an adjoining county and apparently killing himself, State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Kinder said Friday.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/02/27/tyrone-missouri-9-dead/24108089/

10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: Which state do you think would vote Democratic first: Arizona or Georgia? on: February 26, 2015, 07:00:13 pm
The decline of the white vote is a big problem in this country

..................
Why do you get whenever anybody brings up race in any context on this board? Don't act like you don't.

Huh
11  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: CPAC 2015: February 25-28 on: February 26, 2015, 06:59:11 pm
MSNBC article:

Quote
As a governor, Walker’s portfolio has been light on foreign policy compared to the senators in the race, and he offered little in specifics when asked how he’d confront the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria while generally pledging to protect America from attacks. But he did suggest that his battles with unions over collective bargaining rights might help prepare him for the job.

If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world,” he said.

That line drew a swift response from Democratic National Committee spokesman Mo Elleithee.

If Scott Walker thinks that it’s appropriate to compare working people speaking up for their rights to brutal terrorists, then he is even less qualified to be president than I thought,” Elleithee said. “Maybe he should go back to punting.”

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/cpac-tests-gop-2016-field
12  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Carson's appeal to black voters on: February 26, 2015, 06:53:40 pm
rofl
13  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Walker on if Obama loves America: "I don't really know" on: February 26, 2015, 06:49:38 pm
Walker's only saying what Republican voters want to hear. Non-story.
14  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: What % of white women will Hillary get? on: February 26, 2015, 06:47:18 pm
48% give or take, unfortunately White woman IMO won't blindly vote for her like african Americans did for Obama, I believe Obama got 98% of the african american vote.

Attitudes like this are why the GOP wins as little of the black vote as they do.
15  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / U.S. Presidential Election Results / Re: Marin County, CA on: February 24, 2015, 06:56:40 pm
Also: Ford may have been a Republican, but he would have seemed fairly moderate or even slightly liberal (compared to a growing number of conservatives in the GOP) on issues like abortion, the environment, war and peace, the Equal Rights Amendment, and civil rights more generally-especially compared to someone like Reagan (who, of course, almost beat Ford in the primary in 1976). 

Note that Carter was an evangelical Protestant Southerner with a moralistic image, so it's not like he had much appeal to (largely secular or nominally religious at best) Marin County voters on  "latte liberal" social/cultural issues (although these weren't even as big of a deal in the 1970s as they would become later).

Ford was a Republican who could win Marin in 1976, but as the Republican Party was moving to the Right (with Reagan as the conservative standard-bearer), Marin went in the opposite direction during the 1980s.
16  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama breaking out the veto pen today for Keystone on: February 24, 2015, 06:39:25 pm
Now the Republicans have forced his hand and proved that he would rather get donations from the Sierra Club than money for the economy.

The economy will be fine minus those 50 permanent jobs + whatever cleanup jobs come up after spills.

Considering the big Democratic job creating idea - road jobs and infrastructure - creates very few permanent jobs as well, it seems a rather silly thing to harp on.

Yeah it's not like investments in infrastructure are important or are even needed in this county. 
17  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: BREAKING: Ron Paul still a racist on: February 24, 2015, 06:26:23 pm
For the record, there are just as many White people on food stamps as black people.

That's not racism, that's hyper-partisanism, which one still wouldn't expect from Ron Paul (and is still wrong).

No.

I think the subtext is that black people are entirely "the other," apart from white people and only self-interested.  It's an inability to imagine that black people are thinking, reasoning human beings, rather they're like animals who are hungry and want "our" stuff.

And, there's the fact that Ron Paul has a history of publishing racist screeds, so you don't give him the benefit of the doubt where this could just be interpreted as a poor choice of words.

Yep.
18  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama breaking out the veto pen today for Keystone on: February 24, 2015, 06:25:46 pm
From what I've heard, I think it makes sense to approve the Keystone XL. 

That said, Republicans act like this is some enormous issue and the pipeline would save the economy.  It terms of the economy, it's meaningless.  For both sides, it's clearly more symbolic than anything. 

So, why not use this issue to compromise?  Liberals give in on the Keystone and in exchange, we get the Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank or improvements to the Clean Air Act.  That would make sense, no?

Agreed.

However, I think Obama's made it quite clear he's done compromising.

It was your party who refused to compromise with Obama to begin with. Have you forgotten the past 6 years?
19  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama breaking out the veto pen today for Keystone on: February 24, 2015, 02:47:51 pm
Make him veto it every single day for the rest of his term.

The public is behind it. He hasn't given any legitimate reason why he's against it. This is a joke.

Quote
Obama's veto notwithstanding, the White House said there was no "final disposition" on whether a permit will be issued for the pipeline, which has become a major flashpoint in the national debate over climate change. Rather, Obama is rebuffing a congressional attempt to circumvent the executive branch's "longstanding process for evaluating whether projects like this are in the best interests of the country," Earnest said.

20  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Assault Weapons Ban on: February 23, 2015, 05:11:17 pm
I find it fascinating that an individual right to keep and bear arms-outside the context of a "well-regulated militia", which FWIW would have included all adult (white) male citizens, as mandated (!) by state governments, at the time of the Constitutional Convention-was not a mainstream understanding of the Second Amendment for nearly 200 years.
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: 57% now support sending U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS on: February 23, 2015, 04:50:46 pm


there's no dialog left here.  you accord the USA with a right to use violence around the world in order to spread "liberal, democratic values".  you believe every society around the world has to accept these values or they'll be subject to invasion.  and you believe that so long as anyone (not even a state) is plotting or thinking of plotting some violent act within the US, the US has the right to use violence in attempt to stop it, without consulting anyone else.

it's all Imperial mentality 101, shared by doves and hawks.  the only real factor is whether it's "worth it" in terms of financial and human cost.

I clearly didn't say that.  We can use violence to defend ourselves from armed attacks in a proportional way.  If Yemen allows Al Qaeda to operate in their country and plan attacks on us, they've given up the right to complain when we defend ourselves.  If the failed states in the Middle East could arrest their terrorist elements, there would be no need to use military force.  

I understand you're edgy and anti-American and all.  But, at least come up with more original ideas.

You mean the governments that the United States and its allies have (historically and currently) propped up? Whether it be the House of Saud (as if Wahhabism has nothing to do with al-Qaeda or ISIS, et. al...), the Mubarak regime (look at what happened to them), or even in the not-too-distant past, Saddam Hussein's Baathist dictatorship (before he went "rogue"), modern Middle Eastern governments have tended to be undemocratic client states, as a general rule.

If you wonder why "they" hate "us", then you haven't been paying attention.

Very lazy, slipshod thinking there. 

There are a few failed states around the world that pose a terrorist threat to the US.  Yemen and Somalia are the two purest examples.  The US didn't exactly prop those governments up.  Both were Soviet aligned during the Cold War.  We also didn't back Iraq during the Saddam era.  So, that theory I don't buy.

And, is our dealing with corrupt dictators a major source of terrorism?  No.  I don't see much connection.  The fact that we had an embargo on Iraq garnered us much more criticism in the Arab world than our brief military dealings during the Iran-Iraq War.  Muslims fanatics hate democracy anyway, so would they want to punish the US for support anti-democratic regimes? 

By your logic, the US should be seeing terrorist attacks from Chile, Indonesia and Nicaragua as revenge for our misdeeds in the Cold War.  And, indeed, that hasn't happened.  Islamic terrorism isn't revenge against the United States for what we've done wrong. 

I think we in the US tend to look at our own agenda and cast the rest of the world as purely reacting to us.  That's pretty ignorant.  Foreign terrorist groups mostly care about their own countries and they have objectives of their own. 

What I meant is that US foreign policy decisions over a number of decades haven't exactly garnered the US and its allies much support for the "Global War on Terror" within many Islamic countries (or many other countries in general). I'm not saying its all our fault, but if we are serious about changing hearts and minds...

22  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: 57% now support sending U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS on: February 23, 2015, 12:31:10 pm


there's no dialog left here.  you accord the USA with a right to use violence around the world in order to spread "liberal, democratic values".  you believe every society around the world has to accept these values or they'll be subject to invasion.  and you believe that so long as anyone (not even a state) is plotting or thinking of plotting some violent act within the US, the US has the right to use violence in attempt to stop it, without consulting anyone else.

it's all Imperial mentality 101, shared by doves and hawks.  the only real factor is whether it's "worth it" in terms of financial and human cost.

I clearly didn't say that.  We can use violence to defend ourselves from armed attacks in a proportional way.  If Yemen allows Al Qaeda to operate in their country and plan attacks on us, they've given up the right to complain when we defend ourselves.  If the failed states in the Middle East could arrest their terrorist elements, there would be no need to use military force.  

I understand you're edgy and anti-American and all.  But, at least come up with more original ideas.

You mean the governments that the United States and its allies have (historically and currently) propped up? Whether it be the House of Saud (as if Wahhabism has nothing to do with al-Qaeda or ISIS, et. al...), the Mubarak regime (look at what happened to them), or even in the not-too-distant past, Saddam Hussein's Baathist dictatorship (before he went "rogue"), modern Middle Eastern governments have tended to be undemocratic client states, as a general rule.

If you wonder why "they" hate "us", then you haven't been paying attention.
23  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Do non-Anglophone countries have their own version of "white trash" culture? on: February 23, 2015, 12:20:38 pm
Not a good idea for a thread.
24  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Clement Attlee or Franklin Roosevelt on: February 23, 2015, 12:17:58 pm
Much harder hand dealt with as well.

Um... no.

I guess there is one respect in which Attlee had it better than Roosevelt, in that the institutional structure of Britain made it much easier to enact radical policy changes. Though that obviously doesn't diminish Attlee's accomplishments.

That assumes that FDR was really interested in enacting radical policy changes. Tongue
25  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Rudy Giuliani on: February 23, 2015, 12:15:20 pm
Quote
...what's remarkable about Giuliani, and a point underlined in this flick, is how little sympathy he spared for those he ruled. He couldn't abide complaints from the poor and he was antagonistic to public schools. As Giuliani notes in the film: "My father used to threaten to put me in public school . . . and that was a really frightening thought."

Rudy couldn't even get along with Rudy -- in this case, his African American schools chancellor, Rudy Crew. In the documentary's most startling footage, Crew describes his efforts to befriend Giuliani, in hopes of persuading him to support reform of the public schools. They share yucks and cigars, but when the mayor pushed for school vouchers, it's safe to say the relationship didn't pan out.

"I find his policies to be so racist and class-biased," Crew says now. "I don't even know how I lasted three years. . . . He was barren, completely emotionally barren, on the issue of race."

The film tarries at that unfortunate pass in Giuliani's mayoralty: Hizzoner's tone-deaf reaction to a growing outcry about police brutality and thousands of questionable arrests. In 2000, undercover officers shot to death Patrick Dorismond, a black security guard, during a drug crackdown. (Dorismond, as it turns out, had no involvement with drugs. He thought the undercover cops were robbers, and was shot while resisting arrest.) Afterward, Giuliani directed his officials to unseal the man's juvenile record and opined that Dorismond was "no altar boy."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/AR2006052502136_pf.html
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