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1  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: How many yardsigns and bumperstickers are you all seeing where you live? on: July 30, 2016, 08:14:59 pm
The view from NY-21:

  • I see Bernie bumper stickers constantly, but never yard signs.
  • I see lots of Trump signs. For some reason, it seems most common to put up at least several of these across a piece of property, rather than just one. Only a handful of bumper stickers.
  • I have seen one or two bits of Clinton gear outside of the Clinton rally that I attended during the primaries
2  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Trump responds to Khan parents DNC speech megathread on: July 30, 2016, 08:07:56 pm
This is one of the most viscerally upsetting public comments that we have heard from Trump yet. It's unreal that anyone would attempt to defend it.
3  About this Site / The Atlas / Re: ATTN MODS: one of your forum members is demanding that others commit suicide on: July 30, 2016, 07:40:44 pm
The idea that AAD is superior to this site in regards to comments like the one being discussed is laughable when you consider that had it been said there, it would have elicited no such reaction and no repercussions would have been forthcoming given the absence of punitive moderation. Indeed the concern shown here would have likely been received with derision unless it had been raised by the "right kind of person".

The atmosphere of AAD is of a teenage clique, and the absence of abusive behavior is not due to moderation but selectivity and pervasive groupthink. Just remember how ironic Trump support was the thing to do, until it wasn't.

I really don't think that the bolded bit is true. My point was to illustrate the absurdity of an extended, legalistic debate about whether someone who has a habit of casually telling people to off themselves ought to be tolerated, and point out some of the broader implications of their deliberative failure. Of course this forum could not actually be governed in the same way, and AAD has its shortcomings, but there are some relevant lessons about what is most important.

And Joe Republic was swiftly and firmly rebuked when he encouraged Tweed to end his life.

Indeed, there was quite the overreaction!

Not that I condone what Joe said, but there was a lot of hypocrisy on that occasion, given what Tweed just did to BK and Joe's most valiant critics were willing to ignore it.

If you do not condone it, why bother making excuses for it? Why not simply admit that it was wrong and move on knowing that it was? It is embarrassing and pathetic that even a passing mention of the incident yields a barrage of justifications, equivocating, and - worst of all - remorselessness. This is an object lesson in the behavior Simfan references in his post.
4  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Who will return first? on: July 27, 2016, 06:06:21 pm
Lyndon's been active more recently, so him. I don't understand all the hate he gets - he's not nearly as bad as jfern.

Lyndon is nasty, jfern is mostly just kooky. I'll take kookiness over nastiness, most of the time, as long as it's strictly social.
5  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Current Trump Press Conference: I hope Russia finds Hillary's emails on: July 27, 2016, 06:02:55 pm
Since hacking is apparently a-okay, someone should hack Trump's tax records and release them. The public has a right to know, so hack away!!!

This would be pretty great, actually. One can only hope that Trump is as lax about encryption as the DNC apparently was.
6  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Current Trump Press Conference: I hope Russia finds Hillary's emails on: July 27, 2016, 05:05:10 pm
All this complaining about Trump's trumpery of Russia does is make the US, and particularly this Administration, look very weak: "Oh, my gracious!, a country with 1/3rd our population and 1/5th our wealth is stealing our election! Mother, make them stop." It's pathetic and distracting. Just chalk this up as another one of Trump's inanities and move on.

Uh, the hack on the DNC is not outside the capabilities of many criminal organizations, let alone a country like Russia, who is known for its expertise is technology. Russian hackers (state sponsored or not) contribute massively to the number of hacks around the world.

Point is, even Ukraine could orchestrate such a hack (Ukraine is also a major source of cybercrime, in addition to Russia). It really doesn't take a whole lot of resources or manpower for something like this.
This is also a reason to be somewhat skeptical of claims that the hack *must* have been backed by the Kremlin. There are plenty of groups that possess the resources and skill to pull off what we have seen, even without anything resembling a state sponsor.
7  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: So, did the Democrats fall into Trump's trap? on: July 27, 2016, 04:52:50 pm
Being a point ahead doesn't mean that he's more likely to win than lose. On the other hand, it makes Clinton's victory look much less secure than it did in mid-June. That Trump is running a historically inept campaign makes this even more notable. That's disturbing enough to merit some rooftop-shouting. Maybe even in a literal sense.
8  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Trump: Minimum wage should be $10 on: July 27, 2016, 04:28:22 pm
It will never cease to amaze me how incoherent Trump is whenever he tries to speak about even the basic details of policy. He is so obviously not even trying, and it makes the charge that he "has never read a book in his life" all the more believable.
9  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Current Trump Press Conference: I hope Russia finds Hillary's emails on: July 27, 2016, 04:09:43 pm
I'm not suggesting that he's in cahoots with Putin. But what's clear is that Putin is backing him

No, it really isn't.

It depends what you mean by 'backing'. We can quibble about the extent of involvement. Surely it's evident that Putin would like Trump to win, no?

Of course, but less because Trump would align the United States with Russia or any particular Russian interests than because Putin would benefit from an incompetent US President with minimal interest in foreign policy. This difference seems pretty important to me.
10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Current Trump Press Conference: I hope Russia finds Hillary's emails on: July 27, 2016, 03:58:32 pm
Not sure why people are talking about how this will poll or whatever when it's plain that electing Trump would be the greatest gift to Russian imperialism since Churchill and Roosevelt were duped at Yalta. Does that not matter?

It also matters that the Clinton camp is highlighting these claims as a matter of campaign strategy. I think that this makes about as much sense as the idiotic and tone-deaf choice of "AMERICA IS ALREADY GREAT" as a campaign theme.

If Clinton were maintaining a comfortable lead in the polls despite this, it would not bother me so much, but Trump has been increasing his vote share since mid-June. He may be leading on account of a convention bump, but I doubt that Clinton would have a clear lead at this point even if that were not the case.

Quote
This sums it up.

I think that many of the conniptions that we are seeing here, as well as from those in the mainstream media, are a product of people who are genuinely disturbed by what Trump is doing. And it should be extremely disturbing for those of us who care about the quality of political discourse in this country.

The thing is, that does not mean that Trump is actually in cahoots with Putin. And when prospective members of what we might call the "Trumpenproletariat" hear accusations to that effect, they are not inclined to believe them. Instead, they interpret these warnings as disingenuous, and yet another reason to feel alienated from the mainstream politicians and media figures who espouse them.

We would be in a much less disturbing place as a country if Russian interference were the best explanation for Trump's success. What we have experienced over the past year, however, points to other factors. Besides, who would choose an actor as unpredictable, even irrational, as Trump is, as his pawn? Do we really think that Putin is capable of influencing him in a way that yields predictable benefits for him?

I don't think being disturbed about the bizarre Russian connection to Trump's inner campaign circle absolves him, the Republican Party or the American public of guilt for the Trump campaign.

Is Trump literally on the payroll of the Kremlin? Probably not. Why would they take the risk when he's going to do whatever they want anyway? But Russia clearly recognises that Trump is basically the kind of ignorant internet troll who thinks Putin is tough and macho, and to the extent that he has any beliefs about foreign policy they're manipulatable based on that.  I think it's fairly obvious that Manafort etc. have been steering him in this direction. As for unpredictability, sure, but as we've known for some time Putin's primarily concerned with weakening 'the West' above all else, and the election of Trump would achieve that in dramatic fashion. A human Brexit.

Remember that literally the only platform plank the Trump people edited - while letting the usual Christian right write the rest of of it freely - was about condemning Putin for Crimea.

The platform plank is genuinely disturbing, but I'm not sure why it is likely to indicate a unique connection between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin. Trump has gleefully accepted endorsements from extreme-right leaders across the Global North. Whatever inclination he has to align himself with Putin is best viewed in the same light, rather than as an indication that Russia is actively trying to manipulate the outcome of a US presidential election. And I don't doubt that it is also driven in part by the same kind of ignorance that made George W. Bush so eager to enlist Russia as an ally in the "struggle against radical Islamic terrorism."

This is what frustrates me with how we talk about this. It's a bit like people who invent conspiracy theories because Tony Blair made a lot of money off of consulting work in Central Asia, or the Clinton Foundation's donations from places like Saudi Arabia. Yes, all of this stuff is disturbing, but not in the apoplectic  "Manchurian candidate" sense. No, Trump is not literally "committing treason."
11  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Current Trump Press Conference: I hope Russia finds Hillary's emails on: July 27, 2016, 03:44:19 pm
I'm not suggesting that he's in cahoots with Putin. But what's clear is that Putin is backing him

No, it really isn't.
12  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: So, did the Democrats fall into Trump's trap? on: July 27, 2016, 03:41:38 pm
It wasn't a "trap," but, yes, it has become a major opportunity for the Trump campaign to discredit his critics.

It has also been a telling showcase of epistemic closure among Clinton supporters. A lot of relatively savvy people have fallen into repeating accusations of Russian manipulation of the Trump campaign, or even outright collusion, on the basis of extremely thin evidence. (In some cases around here, we have seen lines that originated as outright trolling somehow evolve into serious claims.)

None of this is at all convincing to anyone who isn't already inclined to view Trump as a malevolent force that must be stopped. The corollary to this is that it is tempting to take claims of Kremlin involvement as fact, uncritically, if you do hold that view. But that does not make it true, and it certainly does not make for a sound campaign strategy. Or, for that matter, and for those of us who care about these things, an honest one.
13  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Current Trump Press Conference: I hope Russia finds Hillary's emails on: July 27, 2016, 03:33:57 pm
What your missing is that Trump doesn't need to be labeled as a Kremlin agent. Russia is unpopular as is Putin. Trump is clearly showing that he holds pro-Russian views. Trump may have tapped into alot of hidden sentiments in America, but I guarantee you pro-Russian will not be one of them.

This would be a great bit of political strategy if we had any indication that swing voters believe the accusations when they hear them. But we do not. On the other hand, this has become another opportunity for Trump's shills to bring Clinton's private e-mail server back under national media coverage, and in yet another context in which Clinton's surrogates are almost forcibly maneuvered into talking about it in a way that sounds dismissive and deflective.

(Does this actually hurt Clinton? I'm inclined to think that it does, given how poorly polls show her scoring on trustworthiness and accountability. Who knows, really, but I'm confident that it is, at least, not helpful.)
14  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Current Trump Press Conference: I hope Russia finds Hillary's emails on: July 27, 2016, 03:27:28 pm
I think he was joking. Just the press doesn't get it. Big Don has just a great sense of humor.

This sums it up.

I think that many of the conniptions that we are seeing here, as well as from those in the mainstream media, are a product of people who are genuinely disturbed by what Trump is doing. And it should be extremely disturbing for those of us who care about the quality of political discourse in this country.

The thing is, that does not mean that Trump is actually in cahoots with Putin. And when prospective members of what we might call the "Trumpenproletariat" hear accusations to that effect, they are not inclined to believe them. Instead, they interpret these warnings as disingenuous, and yet another reason to feel alienated from the mainstream politicians and media figures who espouse them.

We would be in a much less disturbing place as a country if Russian interference were the best explanation for Trump's success. What we have experienced over the past year, however, points to other factors. Besides, who would choose an actor as unpredictable, even irrational, as Trump is, as his pawn? Do we really think that Putin is capable of influencing him in a way that yields predictable benefits for him?
15  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Current Trump Press Conference: I hope Russia finds Hillary's emails on: July 27, 2016, 03:01:18 pm
It has nothing to do with the importance of foreign policy, nor is Trump's statement likely to be taken as a serious invocation of Russian espionage by most voters. If you don't understand that by now, you understand very little about this election and even less about the roots of Trump's appeal, and his resilience as a candidate.

Trump is a buffoon who doesn't care about how his words or actions affect other people. He has an almost childlike understanding of international relations, and probably knows no more about the world than the median adult American. We know this. Why does he need to be a Kremlin agent, even an unwitting one, to behave as he does? The idea barely makes sense.

At best, the claims and suggestions that surrogates for the Clinton campaign (and large segments of the media, not all of which are outright pro-Clinton) are making are exaggerated and heavily conjectural. At worst, they are outright lies. Why so many of you are echoing them, I can't understand.
16  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Current Trump Press Conference: I hope Russia finds Hillary's emails on: July 27, 2016, 02:28:28 pm
I can't help laughing at the Clintonites who seem to think that the Putin bit is an effective anti-Trump tactic. And maybe some of you are actually biased enough to believe that it is demonstrably true despite the oft-ignored reality that evidence for a connection, or even of more than negligible manipulation, remains weak.

Then I remember that these are the only folks standing between us and a Trump administration, and I feel very, very scared. It is amazing how detached these people are from the concerns of voters outside of their extended social circles of well-off, highly educated coastal professionals. Even if much of the movement that we've seen over the past week is a convention bump, the polls have steadily trended toward Trump since his mid-June nadir. There needs to be a better answer to this than half-baked conspiracies that reek of desperation.
17  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Democratic National Convention **live commentary thread** on: July 26, 2016, 05:27:17 pm
Oh Andrew. If only you were a little less corrupt they could be shouting your name in a decade or so.

...and less Italian. Sadly, I don't think the country is ready to put one us paisans in the White House. Sad A lot of you talk about guys like Cuomo like you're in an anthropology class. The truth is, that kind of politician uses certain modes of conflict resolution from all the way back in the old country, from the poverty of the Mezzogiorno, where all higher authority was corrupt.
18  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Bernie Supporters Only on: July 26, 2016, 05:22:44 pm
I like Tim Kaine and his selection would make me more likely to support the Democratic ticket if I were undecided.

Really? What's so good about him? I'm genuinely curious, since he left no impression on me whatsoever.

Maybe I just have a weak spot for serious Catholics who nonetheless support reproductive rights as a matter of policy? There's also his work as a mayor and a fair housing advocate to consider. On the whole, I see a lot of work on behalf of causes that I support and a lot of evidence in favor of the "man of integrity" assessment.

At the risk of sounding ridiculously naive, I tend to be fairly pragmatic about supporting candidates who don't meet my ideological litmus tests as long as I am confident in their character. I feel a lot better about Tim Kaine than I ever did about folks like Anthony Weiner or Ted Kennedy, for instance.
19  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Bernie supporters, which comes closest to how you feel? on: July 26, 2016, 08:31:47 am
Not a Bernie supporter, but the Bernbots with their pretentious memes and horrid online presence made rooting for Hillary all but a necessity to bring calm to those sections of the mainstream Internet I visit.

*meets with campaign consultants*

*convenes focus groups*

*analyzes results*

*meets with consultants again*

*confers with advisors to discuss national meme-herding strategy*

"Delete your account."
20  About this Site / The Atlas / Re: ATTN MODS: one of your forum members is demanding that others commit suicide on: July 26, 2016, 12:37:50 am
By the way, here's a great example of the sort of exchange that moderation ought to focus on minimizing. The fact that this inane waste of time was actually instigated by a moderator ought to give everyone pause.

Option 2, as "right wing" as I am. 

As much as I would want Clinton to win (and I, really, really want that - the alternative is simply too scary to even think about it), I would have much prefered you to go full GOP. You really belong there.
...Mexico.

Well, this fits, ain't it?

Smiley

Uh, last I checked, you can't even be a member of the US Democratic Party unless you live in the US.  Ergo, this isn't your party, and you have no right to dictate who belongs in what party.  Stop embarrassing yourself.  I would expect better from an esteemed professor like yourself.

It isn't Smiley Actually, I am a PAN supporter (though not a member), only adopting a red avatar for this campaign season. My natural color is white-and-blue, or blanquiazul, as we say here Smiley

But I do hope that all the horrible types in the US gather in one party. Makes it more fun to hate Smiley

So you hate me?  Aw, I love ya, buddy! Smiley Smiley Smiley

Ignored!

Of course I do. This is the real world: people here hate you Smiley
21  About this Site / The Atlas / Re: ATTN MODS: one of your forum members is demanding that others commit suicide on: July 26, 2016, 12:34:38 am
Considering there are a number of posters here whose mental health has been, shall we say, fragile at times, I think a ban of some sort is called for.  At least to set an example. 

I don't think we can consider such language on the basis that the target is KNOWN by the poster to have such issues. A perfect example was Joe Republic encouraging Tweed to attempt suicide again in the midst of the whole Bacon King/Modgate scandal. As much of a creep as Tweed was being (and still usually is), it was over the line.

Short of that, we CANNOT reduce disourse on Forum to the level of whether or not an inadvertent harsh word will trigger a suicide attempt. At the risk of sounding insensitive , someone so troubled that the final straw is the words of an anonymous poster on a politics site, is likely to be lost to the world by any one of inevitable day to day mini-crisises (a parking ticket, a rude customer service rep, an unexpected late fee, etc.) that we can't stop.

Let's not convince ourselves restricting such relatively tame "screw you" level insults will actually mean the difference between life and death for anyone.
A comment like the one under discussion here very easily could be a factor in a person's decision to end their own life. There is nothing "inadvertent" about telling another person to kill himself. It is a calculated act of cruelty, and in this case it comes from someone with a history of abusing other people on this forum.

Say what you want about AAD, but it has ways of handling most problem posters who enjoy bullying, causing pain, and de-railing discussions. And AAD is not dominated by the constant bullying, sniping, and harassment that defines most discussions here - the bulk of which is more objectionable for its sheer tedium rather than its cruelty.

Why would I want to post here when I can discuss the same subjects with most members of this community on another forum where people are not constantly nasty to each other? Certainly, few posters in good standing there would make excuses for someone who has repeatedly, and by all indications at least somewhat seriously, encouraged posters to kill themselves, which is the only sort of discourse that your equivocating would protect.

The tedium of insults over at AAD isn't as pervasive, but in terms of bullying I think it's often harsher, being more concentrated against certain people.  And a lot people who if they came over from this site to there, would be bullied until they left, as has happened before.

You're not wrong, but I think that things tend to sort out on the side of right more often over there. I don't regret that Classic Conservative was laughed off of the site, for instance. And Joe Republic was swiftly and firmly rebuked when he encouraged Tweed to end his life. Certain degrees of stupidity, hatred, and ignorance are more detrimental to discourse when they are tolerated than when they are not.
22  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Will you get teary eyed at Obama's DNC speech? on: July 26, 2016, 12:19:53 am
Not really, no. Obama deserves ample credit insofar as his presidency has gone better than almost any plausible counterfactual, but on the whole it has been a disappointment.

Look back on his 2008 campaign if you don't believe me. The idea of "making history" has never dissipated, but the sense of hope and promise is gone, his initial theory of politics has become a laughable anachronism, and his entire campaign message has the feeling of an irrelevant relic. Can you imagine anyone even trying to run a similar campaign today? The political distance between 2008 and 2016 feels at least as far as that between 2008 and any other election since Watergate.

The trench warfare of the past eight years has been a long, effort full slog for Democrats and one that I am glad happened under Obama's leadership. It could have been so much worse, and it probably will over the next four years. But I'm not likely to get weepy on his account.
23  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Bernie supporters, which comes closest to how you feel? on: July 26, 2016, 12:12:57 am
I would vote for most actual felons over Donald Trump.
24  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Grade Night One of the DNC on: July 25, 2016, 11:56:25 pm
I voted A to tip the scales, but it was probably more like a B-. I'm pleased, though, that most of CNN's spin has been about the messaging and not the heckling.
It totally baffles me that anyone would watch these events on any network other than CSPAN.

#analysis

Yeah, and the spin moves the dial just as much as the speeches do. Like it or not, the networks are part of the political conversation and frame the debate. If you want to follow politics honestly I feel like you have to "consume" "news" in this way.

I disagree, and I am going to indulge in a short bit of ranting about it: Not only is the network coverage toxic, cynical, uninformed, and generally bad for your mental health and intellectual well-being as a viewer, it is also far too wrapped up in itself to realize just how unimportant it is and just how few voters are following their take on events "as they unfold."

The immediate reactions that you get on the networks add virtually nothing of value to your understanding of the process. At best, if you are an informed and critical viewer, you might get through their coverage without losing perspective. You might, but, speaking from experience, you probably will not.

To the extent that this garbage really does "drive debate," it is because politicians, media figures, and their assorted retainers are its most avid consumers, snake-eating -its-own-tail-style. In that respect, it really does show us something that is relevant. But that does not tell us much about how we will understand these events even as early as, say, one week from today.

Of course as someone who follows these things closely, I cannot help watching this stuff occasionally. But the only time when it's really worthwhile to leave it on for more than ten minutes or so is election night.
25  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Bernie Supporters Only on: July 25, 2016, 11:42:24 pm
I like Tim Kaine and his selection would make me more likely to support the Democratic ticket if I were undecided. That said, as I (1) do not live in a swing state and (2) actually like New York State's Green Party, I will be voting for Jill Stein.
The Greens in NY are relatively normal from what I can tell.

That's largely the work of a handful of good organizers who have capitalized on disgust with the state's utterly depraved Democratic machine. With some exceptions, most notably Teachout, the Green Party has become the only real home for anyone to the left of Carl Paladino who is frustrated enough with Albany to support an anti-corruption alternative.
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