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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1876  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Middle Class for Less on: October 15, 2013, 06:05:47 pm
Well obviously cutting off social supports and dismantling the welfare state has helped the middle class lifestyle a lot!
1877  General Politics / Individual Politics / Opinion of America's Founding Fathers on: October 15, 2013, 05:57:47 pm
Just in general.

1878  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Have progressives largely abandoned the concerns of rural Americans? on: October 15, 2013, 12:43:01 pm
Of course, "rural" and "working class" are not synonyms...there are rural elites, yet it is interesting to me that they aren't really talked about here. The large ranchers, landowners, agribusiness and corporate farmers, and those involved in the resource economy (which many rural Americans depend on for employment), as well as small and medium-sized manufacturers-what are the political attitudes of these people, and how do they affect the general population in rural America?

1879  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: If Reagans revolution failed... on: October 15, 2013, 01:36:31 am
The idea that the Republicans were less racist/more liberal at any point in post-Civil War American history as a whole is hilarious

Fixed for you.
1880  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The myth of the "Liberal Northern Republican" that just won't die on: October 15, 2013, 01:01:20 am
When voters do bother to vote, even on the rare occasions their vote matters, the results are rendered opaque and irrelevant – a proliferation of veto points, a miasma of dispersed authority – by a constitutional structure meticulously designed to suppress any visible connection between the casting of a ballot and the enactment of a program.

That is a hell of a sentence. A good read all around.

Indeed. The fact that (roughly and routinely) half the population does not bother to vote at all in the presidential election-which tends to have the highest voter turnout- should be damning evidence against our overall system and structure of government.

And of those who do vote, how many of them really have their voices heard or are represented in the government?

People talk about the public in America as if they are stupid. That misses the point-the public don't have much of a voice to begin with under our system.
1881  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The myth of the "Liberal Northern Republican" that just won't die on: October 14, 2013, 11:40:55 pm
Great thread: Republicans have always been quite right-wing, regardless of geography. The "Rockefeller" Republicans were an exception historically-and even a lot of that was political calculation in states that were becoming friendlier to New Deal Democrats.
1882  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Have progressives largely abandoned the concerns of rural Americans? on: October 14, 2013, 07:42:07 pm
All politics is local-especially in rural areas where people expect to talk face-to-face with their political leaders.  That's one thing the conservatives in the Republican Party have done really well-built a local infrastructure of support in many rural and other areas around the country. Local politicians, local business leaders, local community activists, local media representatives, and local religious leaders-the GOP has an impressive infrastructure in those regards. The Democrats were starting to organize in this way in 2006-2008, but a lot of that momentum is gone now...
1883  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: WI-1: Sikh temple leader's son to challenge Ryan on: October 14, 2013, 07:24:17 pm
Ryan will still win. Romney only carried it 52-47 on Obama, but Ryan almost always exceeds that, in fact 2012 was the first time since 1998 that Ryan didn't get over 60% of the vote. The only reason Zerban did so good last time was because he convinced people that Paul Ryan didn't care about them when he was running as Vice President. I would call this a Likely/Safe R. (This also happens to be my home district).

Shout out to his dad who died in that horrible accident, RIP.

1884  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: GOP congressman: Default will be like the American Revolution! on: October 14, 2013, 07:13:58 pm
Whenever I see a topic thread start with "GOP Congressman: Dumb Quote" I like to guess who it will be before I read it.

I guessed Steve Stockman or Tim Huelskamp

Yet there are over 200 potential candidates for each dumb quote. Tongue
1885  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Affirmative Action on: October 14, 2013, 07:07:32 pm
How stupid are the "lol white people"? 

Is it only white people that can't discuss non-white people?  Are black people not allowed to discuss white issues?  Are gays not allowed to discuss straight issues?  Are poors not allowed to discuss rich people?

I understand it's easier to say "lol white people" than it is to actually discuss the topics brought up, but maybe, just once, give it a try.

(of course you're still better than the people congratulating you on "winning the thread")

In case you haven't noticed, white people have been discussing non-white people for centuries-but not vice versa. Now that non-Whites are participating in the poliical conversation, some  white people are complaining, and even claiming that whites are the real victims. You can understand why some of us find this absurd.
1886  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Have progressives largely abandoned the concerns of rural Americans? on: October 14, 2013, 06:55:11 pm
I don't want to pretend to understand or attempt to generalize the specific political attitudes of rural Americans; as stated in this thread by many others, there is no one "rural America". The number of people who live in rural areas, of course, is shrinking rapidly, including in places like the rural South-see how Greater Atlanta is growing at the expense of rural Georgia.

I will observe, though, that rural  people-broadly speaking-tend to be "conservative" in a traditional, the-past-is-continuous-with-the-present sense, certainly more than urban areas. This can mean allegiance with the political Right, as it does in white Southern and Western rural areas, but it can also mean respect for more progressive politics in places like the Upper Midwest or New England-which have long traditions of labor movements and left-wing rural political activism.

Of course, political traditions and movements can and do collapse-see the white South and Appalachia's Democratic Party support, or Populism on the Great Plains. A lot of this is tied to economic and demographic changes. But speaking more broadly again of rural areas, I do think many rural residents have a definite sense of being "left behind" politically and culturally by an ever more urbanized, more dynamic, more "modern" society...
1887  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Senate leaders nearing a deal on: October 14, 2013, 06:36:24 pm
Actually, the CR "shutdown" proved to be less of a world ending event than some advertised

Um... yeah if you're a rich semi-retired guy in Orange County...

For the tens of millions of people who work for, have a family member who works for, or in other ways depend on the federal government, the government shutdown has been very painful.

Painful is not the same as world-ending.

Nevertheless, the lack of concern/empathy of many on the Right towards the people most vulnerable to the shutdown is pretty appalling.
1888  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Who is the most overrated President since 1900? on: October 13, 2013, 02:47:39 pm
1889  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: MAKE $$$ ON OBAMACARE NOW on: October 13, 2013, 02:46:01 pm
I believe there is a bundle to be made selling Surving Obamacare guidebooks to conservatives.

1890  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: From the New York Times: "Rich People Just Care Less" on: October 13, 2013, 02:43:06 pm
I think the better question is why do liberals have such a strange obsession with wealthy people?

Why do conservatives have such a strange obsession with poor people?
1891  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of modern elite liberals in America on: October 13, 2013, 02:37:30 pm
What a ridiculously-worded, (mis)leading question.  I don't even know where to begin.

Then please, begin.

I would if I knew where. Tongue

But, seriously, I'm not exactly sure what you mean by putting "elite" in there as if to say that all modern liberals are "elites" (hint: false, and if that's not what you mean then you have a false dichotomy right off the bat), or that modern liberals don't care about the top things (again, very false), or that only "elites" care about the bottom half (still false- whether you're looking at old liberals or modern non-elites), or really the silly level of pigeonholing going on here in general (different people care about different things, even within the umbrella of "liberals" of course).

As for the topic, I'm going to answer HP since I believe that elitism is inherently illiberal and should have no place in any left wing party.

Most of the ideas that the OP mistakenly credits the paternalistic neoliberal owner class with are Freedom Ideas though.

Obviously we have pretty different cultural backgrounds but I would certainly affirm that your second sentence is spot-on.  I will quibble with the first sentence insofar as I believe rather strongly that anti-intellectualism is a greater danger, both historically and today, than elitism. While the two are certainly not antonyms per se I find that a lot of particularly dangerous and potent anti-intellectual movements have hidden behind a mask of "populist" anti-elitism, and thus pretty badly tarnished its brand.  Obviously this is not a universal.

Not all modern liberals are "elite", true. But, a good deal of them, those who drive the overall liberal movement especially, are more economically affluent and especially better-educated (which is often correlated with affluence) than the general population.

You do make some good points though, and I agree with you about the history of  "populist" movements using "anti-elitism" to enact their reactionary agendas. And yeah, I know I'm making generalizations here, perhaps too much, but surely you can see some merit to what I'm saying? Tongue
1892  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Happy Birthday, Progressive Realist! on: October 13, 2013, 02:28:49 pm
I know he's happy because he's been posting today a slew of anti-Pub, anti right of center, anti rich threads, and seems to be having a grand old time. Smiley  I kind of enjoyed them myself though. Have a good balance of your special day PR.

Thanks Torie! Cheesy And I'm having a grand young time, thank you very much! Wink
1893  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / From the New York Times: "Rich People Just Care Less" on: October 12, 2013, 06:24:11 pm
A growing body of recent research shows that people with the most social power pay scant attention to those with little such power. This tuning out has been observed, for instance, with strangers in a mere five-minute get-acquainted session, where the more powerful person shows fewer signals of paying attention, like nodding or laughing. Higher-status people are also more likely to express disregard, through facial expressions, and are more likely to take over the conversation and interrupt or look past the other speaker.

Bringing the micropolitics of interpersonal attention to the understanding of social power, researchers are suggesting, has implications for public policy.


A prerequisite to empathy is simply paying attention to the person in pain. In 2008, social psychologists from the University of Amsterdam and the University of California, Berkeley, studied pairs of strangers telling one another about difficulties they had been through, like a divorce or death of a loved one. The researchers found that the differential expressed itself in the playing down of suffering. The more powerful were less compassionate toward the hardships described by the less powerful.

In contrast, extensive interpersonal contact counteracts biases by letting people from hostile groups get to know one another as individuals and even friends. Thomas F. Pettigrew, a research professor of social psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, analyzed more than 500 studies on intergroup contact. Mr. Pettigrew, who was born in Virginia in 1931 and lived there until going to Harvard for graduate school, told me in an e-mail that it was the “the rampant racism in the Virginia of my childhood” that led him to study prejudice.

In his research, he found that even in areas where ethnic groups were in conflict and viewed one another through lenses of negative stereotypes, individuals who had close friends within the other group exhibited little or no such prejudice. They seemed to realize the many ways those demonized “others” were “just like me.” Whether such friendly social contact would overcome the divide between those with more and less social and economic power was not studied, but I suspect it would help.


Modern social science: confirming the suspicions that many people have had about the powerful  for centuries. Tongue

Seriously, though...this is one of the major reasons why social and economic inequality are self-perpetuating. Higher-status individuals can convince middle-status (or even many lower-status) people that the problems with society are not caused by the top of the social pyramid, but by the bottom (see: the 1970s and 1980s in countries like the US and the UK).  

As inequality is increased by the resulting policies (cutting taxes and regulations for corporations and wealthy individuals, or cutting social assistance to disadvantaged groups, for example), the economic "winners" have a tendency to self-segregate away from the rest of society, while the lower-status people withdraw from the political process-which leads to political participation being more of an affluent middle-to-upper-class thing.

When policies that affect the poor and other lower-status groups are defined almost wholly by the concerns of society's elites...well, it's easy to see how inequality increases even more under those circumstances.

1894  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Joe the Plumber: 'America Needs A White Republican President' on: October 12, 2013, 05:57:16 pm
Hey Joe, if I were elected POTUS, would I be equally "immune" from criticism because to do so would be homophobic?  I haven't noticed folks being shy about criticizing Obama by the way (heck even his own party members dump on him from time to time). I guess they don't mind being called racists when they do so or something.

The idea usually is that criticism of Obama is only racist when it comes from the right-wing of the Republican party.   Tea Partiers quite understandably get tired of the accusation, and so may express their frustration in unhelpful ways.

The right-wing of the Republican Party has demonstrated racist-baiting (and at times, outright racist) tendencies on multiple occasions (see Ronald Reagan's "There's a welfare queen on the South Side of Chicago..." speech, or his "States rights" speech in Philadelphia, MS-the town in which not twenty years prior, the Klan murdered three Freedom Riders from the North-and this is just the Republican right-wing's Patron Saint we're talking about!).

I have seen and heard far too many Republicans espouse talking points that are laden with racist undertones to dismiss it as "a few bad apples." And the policies that Republicans support are not exactly endearing to minorities (who, for one thing, are disproportionately represented among the poor or the unemployed-good luck on courting their votes! ) Therefore, a lot of us think that the Tea Party et al doth protest too much Tongue
1895  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: "America has the richest poor in the world!" on: October 12, 2013, 05:35:07 pm
It's a valid point that many of those below the poverty line in America have much more in cash or material goods than the poor in most countries.  An argument like "Why spend money on poor people in other countries, when we have plenty of poor people here at home" misses this difference of poverty around the world both in terms of quality and quantity.  There's even a wide variety of the experience of poor people at the same income level within the US.  What many of the poor in the U.S. do not have is opportunities, or the ability or knowledge needed to take advantage of opportunities for whatever reason.

80% of American households have a per capita financial (non-home) wealth of roughly $27,000..less than 1/800 the per capita financial wealth of the top 1% of households. 3 in 4 Americans have no personal financial "safety net."

The vast majority of Americans, therefore, are quite vulnerable to the effects of economic downturns, a job loss, a medical emergency, student loan repayments...
1896  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Should able-bodied, mentally capable adults who receive welfare be required to w on: October 12, 2013, 05:29:20 pm
And assuming that I am "rich," why don't you think I am really working, or did really work? Care to elaborate on that?

I disagree with Al in that I think a lot of rich people do technically work (although once you get to the "super-rich", you do see more of the "unearned income" or "money making money" thing-see Mitt Romney for a particularly appalling example...). But they don't depend on their work for survival. Rich people don't have to work. They have options-far more options than the vast majority of the population. When you consider that the top 1% own 45% of the financial wealth in all of America....

Rich people can live anywhere, compared to the rest of the population. Unless you live in one of those places where (essentially) only rich people live, like perhaps parts of the Upper East Side of Manhattan or Jupiter Island, FL....but, nobody is forcing them to live there. And it's not like they have to strain their vast financial resources to live a relatively extravagant life, let alone survive, like a growing and large number of Americans have to.

1897  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Should able-bodied, mentally capable adults who receive welfare be required to w on: October 12, 2013, 05:19:11 pm
Which reminds me of the bizarre hypocrisy: very rich people do not actually work at all. Even when technically employed. But apparently this is not corrosive to their moral wellbeing, because, reasons.

The Takers.
1898  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of modern elite liberals in America on: October 12, 2013, 02:02:54 pm
What a ridiculously-worded, (mis)leading question.  I don't even know where to begin.

Then please, begin.
1899  General Politics / Individual Politics / Opinion of modern elite liberals in America on: October 12, 2013, 03:37:32 am
Understanding "modern elite liberals " as the liberals who have generally replaced traditional left-liberal emphasis on combating poverty and unemployment, creating broad-based economic growth, helping workers receive higher wages and benefits through labor unions, providing access to health care, education, and social assistance,  and working towards civil rights for minorities....

...replaced with a focus on environmental protection, equality of opportunity in the workplace for women, gays, and minorities, a "creative class" outlook and social base, a desire for increased protection of civil liberties, an idealistic internationalist foreign policy, a bias in attitude in favor of cities and urbanization,  an appreciation of "organic food", a heavily secular ethics, a pluralistic/multicultural understanding of where America is headed, great respect for "tolerance" and difference of opinion,  and of course, support for liberalized sexual and gender attitudes.

Have at it. Tongue

1900  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / "America has the richest poor in the world!" on: October 12, 2013, 01:04:11 am
I've heard this talking point a lot, usually by right-wingers who think the poor have it too good in America.

If this is true, though-wouldn't that be a good thing? I mean, it's not like some of us want the poor to suffe...

Oh wait.
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