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101  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Should downstate IL secede? on: June 20, 2017, 11:16:14 am
Yeah, and so should upstate NY.

Good luck upstate...NYC taxpayers fund like 80% of the state

...and Downstate interests are responsible for mandates on local government and other policies that drive up government costs up by just as much. Maybe a free and independent Upstate NY wouldn't share some of the highest per capita spending on education and Medicaid in the country?

There is no reason why we could not be an economically viable state on our own, and having a state government that better represents the interests of rural places and small cities would do a lot to improve the quality of life for people living here. NYC would most likely be better off, too, if it could govern itself.

The corrupt suburban machines originating out of Long Island and the Lower Hudson, on the other hand, would be left in rough shape. The Capital Region aside, most of Upstate New York could do better with a government that is closer and more accountable to its interests.
102  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Vermont vs. West Virginia on: June 20, 2017, 11:02:47 am
You'd know way more than I would, but I'll report my life experiences: many people in the Midwest (who aren't political nerds) would think of VT as a bit of a redneck state with a few hippies who found their ways in, LOL.
I have never met anyone who thought that.

Odd, because it's not far off from the truth.
103  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: What are the roots of the current divisiveness of American politics/discourse? on: June 20, 2017, 01:10:14 am
People in the United States genuinely have different values - and, for most of us, those values are increasingly aligned with the party with which we have aligned ourselves.

This is what I find most frustrating about critics of the major parties who position themselves as reasonable, moderate, pragmatic, centrist, et cetera. We cannot just agree to compromise and work together for the common good, because there is negligible consensus on what the common good means.

There is a lot that is unfortunate about this, not just because our politics are becoming uglier and more dysfunctional, but because politics is an awful place to look for the sake of shaping your values. Unfortunately it seems that many people have nowhere else to look. There are too many qualities by which we are told that it is not nice to judge people and too many practices and institutions that we are told not to take seriously, usually for the sake of tolerance and mutual understanding.

Voted for:

#1 Great Recession - But the emphasis here is too recent when wages have been stagnant for so many for decades

#4 Media - I would not word it in terms of "incentives," as it has more to do with the collapse of the mid-century business model, the decay of professional norms in journalism, and the withering of local media.

#5 Globalization of political power - I don't really agree with the wording or the emphasis on the UN or international organizations, but the concentration of power within this country - in a few major cities, in the hands of fewer people- has wrought a great deal of damage to our politics, especially in combination with the financializaiton of political structures and decisions. No wonder people and local government believe that they have no agency when we are constantly told that whatever government does is inevitable, it has no choice but to do as it must to "keep our financial house in order."

#6 White or male anxiety - It's obvious that these instincts and the explanations to which they are drawn are a major influence on our politics.

#8 Moral decay - See what I wrote above about politics and values.

#10 Social media - Not as much a matter of epistemic closure as one of making people more vulnerable to manipulation that panders to their worst instincts. Also a distraction - it is bad for politics for many of the same reasons as television always has been.
104  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Corbyn's proposal for Grenfell victims on: June 19, 2017, 11:38:55 pm
I don't know if it is the best way to help them. It seems like a radical idea, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

And there is something reassuring about seeing an idea that is radical in this way proposed by a mainstream political figure in a rich country, and even polling fairly well.

Whether you are struggling to get by in an overpriced metropolis or relegated to the increasingly marginal periphery - situations which have rapidly become ubiquitous among people living outside the upper classes in wealthy countries - it should be obvious that the status quo in land policy is not serving you well.

Maybe fee simple needs to go. That could only happen if actions like what Corbyn has proposed have cleared the way by undermining the legal and ideological foundations for fee simple.
105  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update for Everyone V: Born Under A Bad Sign on: June 19, 2017, 11:19:25 pm
I don't know about anybody else, but my platonic ideal of hot weather is drinking water from a glass that's at least half ice cubes, wearing a short-sleeved shirt with an open collar, sitting in front of a box fan with "The Girl from Ipanema" playing softly from another room. If I'm going to have to suffer through ninety-five-degree heat for a few days each year, I might as well do it in a way that has a defined aesthetic sensibility.

Jobim makes a good soundtrack for warm weather... ideally for listening while sitting under a tree, a breeze coming off of a nearby body of water, my feet submerged in a cool tub, and a cold beverage within reach.
106  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: I'll be away for a while on: June 19, 2017, 11:08:12 pm
I'll resist the urge to share some pessimistic but not particularly helpful thoughts in reaction to your post and instead simply wish you the best.
107  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of having 'Like' post feature on Atlas? on: June 19, 2017, 11:05:15 pm
No, but I wish that we could add public tags to others' posts.
108  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do you support Evergreen's permaban? on: June 19, 2017, 11:54:58 am
Have you talked to the cops on the street the same way as to "the authorities" here, or it's an armchair hippie thing?

Another entry for the "Kalwejt becomes a parody of himself" file.
109  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Illinois budget deadlock may force shutdown of Powerball and Mega Millions on: June 18, 2017, 11:43:58 pm
Illinois could makes its first great contribution to US politics since the Haymarket riot by becoming the first state to place a moratorium on its dystopian lottery.
110  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Ann Coulter furious at Trump over broken promises on: June 18, 2017, 11:42:06 pm
Ann Coulter is an entertainer, not a journalist.

This is not a sentence that makes sense in the United States of 2017.
111  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Senate announces new bipartisan sanctions against Russia on: June 15, 2017, 11:54:25 am
I suppose you would prefer the world do without Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Most Americans would, if they were honest with themselves, and I'm not talking about his post-Soviet years.

I'm unsure if most Americans have ever heard of him, but I still don't entirely follow.

His Harvard Address should make it clear enough.
112  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Best Post-WWII President on: June 15, 2017, 10:18:48 am
My dark horse pick might be Eisenhower - because few recognize just how politically clueless he was, or that he set segregation back by almost a decade.

Elaborate on that? I genuinely don't know about this.

The fact that both parties were lobbying for him to run as their candidate ought to tell you a lot about his politics. It reminds me of Christopher Hitchens discussing Donald Trump's prospective candidacy in 2000 and commenting that their was a "whiff of fascism" to it. We have had more than one general president, but none whose prior politics were as flexible or inscrutable as Eisenhower's...

Sorry, but I think this is largely a myth.  I was reading through the book The President's Club (Cathcon has quoted this book on occasion) one time in Barnes & Noble, and the section on Eisenhower was fascinating.  It goes into detail, with many direct quotes from both, on how Eisenhower's friendship with Truman came crashing to an end when Eisenhower came into the political spotlight and revealed he was a Republican.  Eisenhower is quoted as saying he'd been a Republican (and a pretty conservative one at that) his entire life, and Truman was livid when Ike told him he had voted for Dewey in 1948.  Ike said something to the effect of, "He just couldn't comprehend how someone he otherwise liked or respected could see things any way except for his way politically, and finding out I was a loyal Republican made him quite angry."  I appreciate if you're skeptical of this, as I can't provide a direct link or page number or anything, but I think there's decent evidence that while Eisenhower certainly kept quiet about politics during his military career and before, it doesn't mean he wasn't opinionated or a partisan.  Eisenhower was always going to run as a Republican, and most of the lobbying for him to run as a Democrat was because he was personal friends with Truman (well, until he revealed he was a GOPer anyway, LOL).

Oh, there's evidence for this interpretation, but I am skeptical - chiefly because it's easy to imagine Eisenhower constructing a similar story in retrospect if he had chosen to go the other way.

By the same token, imagine some alternate timeline in which Trump runs and wins as a Democrat. Maybe Clinton wins in 2008 and is ousted by Romney in 2012, only for Trump to run as a protectionist Democrat in 2016 in the midst of a divided field. Would we view this as inevitable, and the idea of Trump running as a Republican as ridiculous?

This is an outrageous scenario for too many reasons to bother mentioning, but it illustrates that even if something that implausible had happened, with hindsight it would be simple to invent a compelling story about why that outcome had always been inevitable.
113  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Best Post-WWII President on: June 15, 2017, 10:00:10 am
We have had more than one general president, but none whose prior politics were as flexible or inscrutable as Eisenhower's.
Taylor?

Taylor had a term measured in months, not years, and served at a time when presidents were much less powerful. Besides, running frail and enfeebled generals with ambiguous views on slavery became a Whig tradition. There are a lot of reasons to simply ignore Taylor.

On the other hand, Taylor was dedicated to avoiding the opposing extremes of Northern abolitionism and Southern separatism. That's arguably more of an program than Eisenhower held if his own volition. That said, I don't know much about Taylor, and it seems like a good comparison.
114  About this Site / The Atlas / Re: Petition for all moderators to write in complete sentences... on: June 15, 2017, 08:36:28 am
Is this about getting rid of  dyslexics and non-native speakers or is just Averroes wanting to express his superiority again?

I wonder if this is all part of a really long campaign to become a moderator. People who obsess over forum moderating tend to be fueled by that.

We can always count of you to crawl out for a disingenuous sneer.

Most of our non-native speakers of English are as good or better at writing in the language than the median American poster, and I'm not aware of any dyslexics who have trouble writing in complete sentences as opposed to reading and writing in the first place.

No, I have no interest in moderating, nor would I describe anything that I've written on the subject as an "effortpost." (Look at what Griffin or BK have written in the past if you want to see that. I'm just stringing a few simple sentences together.) It just bothers me when people who are clearly not among our forum's best are put in a position from which they can harass, bully, and sanction better posters off of the site.
115  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Single-Payer Health Care on: June 15, 2017, 06:06:32 am
I've written here before about the crisis that would follow single payer if the federal adopted reimbursement rates similar to existing health insurance programs. You're looking at a total depopulation of rural areas, huge paycuts and layoffs in the industry, and a growing call for nationalization. Nationalization is another problem entirely, but probably the end goal of most in the know about single payer.

Well you sold me with "total depopulation of rural areas".

I realize that your politics have changed, but I wasn't expecting you to endorse the liquidation of the kulaks...
116  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do you support Evergreen's permaban? on: June 15, 2017, 06:03:08 am
Of course not.
117  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Disappearance of Virtue From American Politics on: June 14, 2017, 11:08:48 pm
I don't want to buy this book, but I wish that I could have have a closer look at its core argument, which simultaneously intrigues and repulses.

That said, for nowI'll gawk at its more pornographic highlights, without context, as they reveal themselves:

118  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Senate announces new bipartisan sanctions against Russia on: June 14, 2017, 10:31:44 pm
I suppose you would prefer the world do without Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Most Americans would, if they were honest with themselves, and I'm not talking about his post-Soviet years.
119  About this Site / The Atlas / Petition for all moderators to write in complete sentences... on: June 14, 2017, 10:08:40 pm
...in at least half of their posts. I don't think that it is too much to ask for the forum's leading lights to demonstrate a command of basic literacy.

No, comments cribbed from Twitter or Facebook memes or wherever else should not count. It would be nice to see more than one complete sentence occasionally, and maybe even something approaching an original thought. But I don't want to get carried away here.

LIKE and SHARE if you agree.
120  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Best Post-WWII President on: June 14, 2017, 09:41:31 pm
Also, I have to laugh that my opinion on this appears so close to that of Vosem, of all posters.
121  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Best Post-WWII President on: June 14, 2017, 09:39:51 pm
My dark horse pick might be Eisenhower - because few recognize just how politically clueless he was, or that he set segregation back by almost a decade.

Elaborate on that? I genuinely don't know about this.

The fact that both parties were lobbying for him to run as their candidate ought to tell you a lot about his politics. It reminds me of Christopher Hitchens discussing Donald Trump's prospective candidacy in 2000 and commenting that their was a "whiff of fascism" to it. We have had more than one general president, but none whose prior politics were as flexible or inscrutable as Eisenhower's. What was his presidency predicated on other than his status as the Great Leader?

(Of course there's Grant, but he put down a rebellion - i.e. not exactly apolitical.)

Eisenhower allowed the Cold War to gradually spiral out of control, silently criticized the excesses of McCarthyism while refusing to say anything in public, did almost nothing to encourage the burgeoning Civil Rights movement, ignored lynchings, and was extremely sluggish about enforcing Brown v. Board of Education - which he refused to support publicly until he had been out of office for years.

 He even resegregated the 101st Airborne units that responded to the Little Rock crisis so that only white soldiers were deployed, and that was only after doing everything that he could to allow segregationist Governor Faubus to save face.
122  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Best Post-WWII President on: June 14, 2017, 09:18:52 pm
Truman was the last great US President, and no one since has come close. LBJ is the only real contender, and the office destroyed him nearly as thoroughly as he destroyed the New Deal coalition.

The remaining post-war presidents are a parade of midget opportunists, television personalities, and self-promoting celebrities.

The case for Reagan makes sense from a certain perspective. The remainder are hilariously impossible to defend to the point that you could make an endlessly entertaining parlor game out of speculating who was worst. My dark horse pick might be Eisenhower - because few recognize just how politically clueless he was, or that he set segregation back by almost a decade.

Even on the "most overrated" front there is ample competition, from the liberal fetishization of Barack Obama to the somehow still-going adulation of JFK. And did you realize that it's still a common opinion that Gerald Ford should be revered for his disgusting pardon of Nixon, rather than forever disgraced? People tend to be extremely sentimental about their presidents.
123  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Single-Payer Health Care on: June 14, 2017, 08:56:54 pm
I've written here before about the crisis that would follow single payer if the federal adopted reimbursement rates similar to existing health insurance programs. You're looking at a total depopulation of rural areas, huge paycuts and layoffs in the industry, and a growing call for nationalization. Nationalization is another problem entirely, but probably the end goal of most in the know about single payer.

I suspect that there would be other changes - regulatory reforms, payment system reforms, immigration and licensing reforms, outright bailouts of rural hospitals and clinics - before rural health care became entirely hollowed out under single payer.

Granted, not all parts of the country would react in the same way. But, generally speaking, people living in these places are capable of exerting enough political pressure to protect themselves to a point.

I feel confident in saying this because the underlying financials of health care in the United States as of 2017 are already such that we cannot support rural health care systems in the absence of sizable state and federal subsidies. Some of these subsidies are obvious while others are much more subtle. It would be extremely difficult to provide a complete accounting for them all.

This is why anyone living in a rural or small city setting should be worried about the future of health care in their region under almost any conceivable set of policies, not just single payer. Whether we move into the 2020s under the ACA or AHCA, we will have serious problems with cost growth, an aging workforce, insolvent hospitals, distorted insurance pools, and overbooked clinics.
124  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of Technocratic Timmy on: June 14, 2017, 08:25:27 pm
P(Tim is a troll ∪ Tim is underage) > 2/3
125  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump plans an anti-Christian action on: June 14, 2017, 08:16:19 pm
It would be more horrifying if he were deporting everyone else making a special exception based on a religious test.
Christians in the Middle East have it clearly more difficult than Muslims, so not strange to take that into account in policymaking (though yeah, if he were to deport other minorities that suffer equally that would be weird).

You could say the same of an array of other groups, some of which are marginal, others which are not - e.g. certain countries treat women poorly enough that any deported woman would face threats just as unacceptable as those confronted by Christians. And what about people of either gender who are gay? What about intellectuals? The list goes on.

Besides, refugees are by definition people who either chose to flee their homes because the alternative was so horrifying or who were forced out and had no choice. You can't easily determine which are more deserving.
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