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News: Don't forget to get your 2013 Gubernatorial Endorsements and Predictions in!

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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Which U.S. President do you most closely identify with? on: Today at 03:30:07 pm
The bizarre nostalgia for Bush 41 is pretty strange. His policies in office were basically Reagan-lite. And he was a shameless political opportunist who pandered to hard-line right-wingers and racists to get elected (Willie Horton, anyone??) even though it was transparently obvious that he was not a right-wing ideologue himself (unlike Reagan). He was so indifferent to domestic economic woes that a political catchphrase was coined for him ("It's the economy, stupid!") And his foreign policy is way overrated, particularly by Very Serious People.

Finally, no President named George Bush should ever be thought of as an example of someone who practiced "good governance." The fact that George Bush the Elder was somewhat less bad as President than his son doesn't negate this.
2  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Minnesota or Colorado? on: Today at 12:24:38 pm
and I prefer the more socially liberal beliefs of Colorado.

3  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the Koch brothers on: Today at 12:22:59 pm
More of a bogeyman at this point tbh.
4  General Politics / Individual Politics / Opinion of this quote on: August 31, 2014, 02:27:50 pm
“We are told about the world before we see it. We imagine most things before we experience them. And those preconceptions, unless education has made us acutely aware, govern deeply the whole process of perception.”

―from Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion

The only part I would take out or modify is the "unless education has made us acutely aware." If anything, education often reinforces preconceptions (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).
5  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Purely Capitalist Utopia vs. Purely Communist Utopia on: August 31, 2014, 02:23:11 pm
Since the world has never seen either, how can I make an informed choice?
6  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Is overpopulation and the human breeding the root of all evil on the planet ? on: August 30, 2014, 03:40:34 pm
Note that the countries that have the highest birth rates aren't necessarily the same countries as those with unsustainable patterns of consumption (which could be addressed, in part, by policies that promoted human need rather than economic growth-but that's some Utopian nonsense apparently...)

In other words, Nix, Bacon King, and Al are right.
7  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Americans both support unions and right to work laws on: August 30, 2014, 01:56:57 pm
You expected something more from our Red Staters?

"Americans don't agree with me about something?  The idiots must have been fooled by the all powerful GOP PR machine!"

Well I never said they were idiots. Nice strawman though. I did say that everyone (including liberals, yes) is influenced to one degree or another by the American mass media, which is closely tied to corporate interests who have their own agenda that perhaps is not in the best interests of most people.  How is that controversial?

8  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Americans both support unions and right to work laws on: August 29, 2014, 02:04:05 pm
Most Americans (ie non-rich people) are more aligned with the policy platform of the Democratic Party. They just don't know it-or rather, they haven't made the connection between specific policies that they approve of and the fact that the Democratic Party is more supportive of said policies.

Not necessarily their fault, either; most people don't have the  time or inclination to understand the technical nuances or implications of Obamacare or whatever legislation is passed. And the mass media and the GOP's cute focus group-tested slogans like "Right to Work"  certainly don't help matters.

Republicans certainly have better PR than Democrats-assuming that one excludes groups that will never vote Republican from consideration (eg: minorities).
9  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Reps Lynch and Jones push to declassify 9/11 files on: August 28, 2014, 05:32:01 pm
Also...one possible reason-in addition to the obvious economic and military interests-why the US government has not wanted to antagonize the Saudis (even though they are an incredibly oppressive regime, and even though  much of the current and historical terrorist threat to American interests does come from sources within the KSA) is because doing so runs the risk of increasing the support of groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS from Muslims around the world.

The best gift the United States and its allies could give to Islamic terrorists would be to directly attack the KSA (If you thought that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq had that very effect, just imagine the global response to an American attack on the kingdom where Mecca and Medina are located!)
10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Rand Paul: US interventionists abetted rise of ISIS on: August 28, 2014, 03:44:48 pm
Yet another example of Rand Paul's willful cluelessness regarding foreign policy.

11  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: What is a WASP? on: August 26, 2014, 06:58:16 pm
WASP is a term that confers class status, political identity and secularism or liberal Protestantism in the United States and it's increasingly unrelated to having "ASP" descent. For instance: in 2014, Vermont dairy farmers are far more likely to have purely Yankee roots than blue blood families in Connecticut or Boston, who are increasingly likely to have some Irish or Italian or Jewish ancestry. Yet, Vermont dairy farmers are rarely described as "WASPs" while CEOs, CFOs and corporate lawyers will oftentimes be described as WASPs even if they have a non-WASP last name.

William F. Buckley is the modern symbol of WASPs and he's an Irish Catholic. George Wallace is portrayed as the enemy of WASPs by the history books and he is an unspoiled WASP.

Good points.
12  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: What about Yemen? on: August 26, 2014, 06:56:29 pm
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Yemen one of the poorest and most underdeveloped Middle Eastern countries? Perhaps that is part of why it is overlooked.
13  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update for Everyone II - Less Boring, More Whoring on: August 24, 2014, 06:30:07 pm
Black people and white people are different culturally.

This is a silly generalisation. Black people and white people are not homogenous groups; I know you know there may be white people who are "culturally" closer to blacks than other whites and vice versa.

It may be a generalization, but it's not necessarily silly.
14  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: CA-17: San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed endorses Ro Khanna for Congress on: August 24, 2014, 06:18:03 pm
I don't think the tech industry (especially in the Bay Area)  having lots of Asians/Asian-Americans*  is  particularly relevant to the pervasive elitism and delusions of grandeur coming from a frightening number of people in this industry.

*Asians from (mostly) highly educated, upper-middle class backgrounds, I might add. Yay diversity!
15  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What do your family and friends think when they see the Atlas Forum? on: August 22, 2014, 07:17:31 pm
I have no family or friends (rugged individualist self-made man).
16  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Mitch McConnell has a plan for the last 2 years of Obama's Presidency... on: August 22, 2014, 11:26:34 am
Mitch McConnell has a game plan to confront President Barack Obama with a stark choice next year: Accept bills reining in the administration’s policies or veto them and risk a government shutdown.

In an extensive interview here, the typically reserved McConnell laid out his clearest thinking yet of how he would lead the Senate if Republicans gain control of the chamber. The emerging strategy: Attach riders to spending bills that would limit Obama policies on everything from the environment to health care, consider using an arcane budget tactic to circumvent Democratic filibusters and force the president to “move to the center” if he wants to get any new legislation through Congress.

In short, it’s a recipe for a confrontational end to the Obama presidency.

“We’re going to pass spending bills, and they’re going to have a lot of restrictions on the activities of the bureaucracy,” McConnell said in an interview aboard his campaign bus traveling through Western Kentucky coal country. “That’s something he won’t like, but that will be done. I guarantee it.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/2014-election-mitch-mcconnells-barack-obama-confrontation-110154.html#ixzz3B8fW8lGp

17  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Do we really want politicians like LBJ? (+ Nixon, Cuomo, Christie, Perry, etc.) on: August 21, 2014, 07:13:51 pm
Johnson was fantastic at passing lefty lesgislation. Medicare. Civil Rights. Fair Housing. Public Television. Federal aid to public schools, including the school lunch program. An expanded national park service. Rural development. And so on. If only we could get another president like him. Minus the war in Vietnam, of course.

It helped that he had a strongly Democratic Congress, o/c. The New Deal coalition was still pretty powerful in the 60s (even though it was beginning to unravel, particularly in the South...) And a lot of those Great Society programs had waste, corruption, etc.-problems that provided an endless supply of outrage for conservatives.  And what of the race riots in the 60s in Northern cities-what did LBJ do to make that chaos better?

Furthermore, a  good deal of what LBJ did both domestically and in foreign policy (for better or worse) was already proposed/planned by JFK. But after JFK's assassination, America was so  traumatized, that people longed for a President who could move the country forward-part of which was getting things done in Congress. LBJ was a master political operator, so in some ways, he was the right man at the right time.

Having said all that, it is important to remember how much political and social pressure there was on the US government in the 1960s; ranging from the civil rights movement, liberal intellectuals, and  labor unions earlier in the decade, to student radicals, the anti-war movement and the 60s counter culture later on, as well. The kind of mass, grassroots organizing, agitation, and activism of the 60s simply does not exist anymore in the US; certainly not to the same extent.
18  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Ask R2D2 (this should be fun) on: August 21, 2014, 05:04:51 pm
Why aren't you working on your essay?
19  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary is an unrestrained warmonger on: August 21, 2014, 01:56:11 pm
I don't see how wanting to protect our country (and other countries) from terrorism makes one an "unrestrained warmonger." The thing that most of the so-called "True Progressives" on this forum can't seem to understand is that you cannot negotiate with terrorists. When you second-guess a terrorist, that's how innocent lives are lost. Hillary understands this, having watched her constituents attacked on September 11, 2001. Hillary knows that diplomacy is the best policy for negotiating in foreign affairs and understands that war should always be the last option. She has the knowledge and experience to truly understand how the world works having visited over 150 countries during her tenure at Secretary of State. I would trust her more on foreign policy than I would any alleged "dove."


What did he say that wasn't clear? He clearly separated terrorists vs routine foreign affairs.  

It's not clear for one thing what it means that diplomacy is the best policy for negotiating.  Is there a kind of negotiation in foreign affairs that doesn't involve diplomacy?  More substantially, dealing with terrorism is routine at this point.  The possibility of a war that is not a response to terrorism or the perceived threat of terrorism has for a while now been the exception rather than the rule when it comes to U.S. foreign policy.  If we can't negotiate with terrorists (a very broad category) that constrains policy a great deal and does not in any way make war a matter of last resort.

Of course, "war" is a broad category too. Gone are the Cold War days of having the resources and the domestic political will to mobilize many hundreds of thousands of troops (to be sent nearly anywhere in the world, potentially). America simply has neither the resources/power nor the public will to fight in large-scale conflicts anymore, certainly not nearly to the extent it did even 20 years ago (let alone 50...)

On the other hand, a policy of strict non-interventionism in foreign conflicts is also a non-starter, because 1) the United States as a country has many, many interests around the world; 2) American withdrawal from the rest of the world would have all kinds of negative, unintended consequences, and 3) the American public may not (generally speaking) have the stomach for war in 2014, but they still want their leaders in government to "do something" about horrific situations in the rest of the word where huge numbers of people are suffering as a result of war, genocide, terrorism, famine, disease, and any other humanitarian catastrophe.

Which brings us back to your point, shua, about how the US government, as official policy (of course this policy is disregarded at times...) does not negotiate with terrorists. Additional diplomacy in response to terrorist groups is thus, also a non-starter. We aren't going to send hundreds of thousands of troops into every country that harbors terrorists (taken to the broader level, the US and the UK "harbor" terrorists too! Tongue), we aren't going to negotiate with ISIS or similar groups, we certainly aren't going to sit on our hands and do nothing, so....what options does Obama, or any potential President of any party (whether it be Hillary Clinton or anyone else) , have?

20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / In new book, Paul Ryan urges GOP to stop 'preaching to the choir' on: August 19, 2014, 12:08:45 pm

"Preaching to the choir isn't working, and by the way, the choir is shrinking," Ryan writes in "The Way Forward," a combination memoir and manifesto that is seen by some in Washington as a prelude to a presidential run in 2016. It comes with a national publicity campaign and book tour that stops in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Milwaukee and Chicago on Thursday, and Florida on Friday.

Ryan says his party needs to be more inclusive, spend far more time talking to black and Latino voters, and avoid playing into what he calls a caricature of the "cold-hearted Republican."

(Ryan) says Republicans have to define themselves by what they're for, not just what they're against. He suggests that by insisting on purity, some conservatives squander the chance to make small but real progress in Congress. He says his party must practice political "prudence" and must also be more inclusive.

"Instead of doing the hard work of persuading people, we've opted for the easy route, focusing our attention on communities where people already agree with us and trying to turn out the base," Ryan writes.

The 2012 election showed that "focusing heavily on simply turning out our traditional coalition is a losing strategy — it's only going to deliver even more lopsided losses."


While I of course disagree with Ryan ideologically, it's refreshing to see a prominent conservative Republican display a serious interest in governance and be concerned about his party's future.
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: St Louis police murder scandal (PLUS: riots, idiotic press conferences, etc.) on: August 19, 2014, 11:07:26 am

22  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: What is Elizabeth Warren's floor? on: August 18, 2014, 07:05:35 pm
Probably 49% by this point.
23  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2014 Gubernatorial Election Polls / Re: PPP (D) for the OH Dems: Kasich+6 on: August 18, 2014, 07:02:41 pm
Where's Adam?!?!?

24  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: Will VA (R) and North Carolina (D) ever again split in the opposite direction? on: August 18, 2014, 07:01:17 pm
Who knows, and who cares?
25  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: People who are both FFs and HPs (at the same time) on: August 18, 2014, 07:00:05 pm
I would say FDR qualified.
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