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101  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Bill Clinton on: May 04, 2015, 10:54:58 pm
Lol, first, he's blamed for intervening, then, he's blamed for dragging his feet not intervening? This is classic CDS.

Are you replying to me or are you pontificating into the great beyond? I don't expect you to keep up with my opinions but I don't appreciate being conflated with whichever ignoramus was blathering about "war crimes" and "imperialism" on the preceding page of this thread.

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In any case, getting elected as a Democrat is more than could be said for his four of his five predecessors as Democratic nominee (and two of his successors). Which is precisely the point. One has to get elected in order to implement policy, and to get elected one needs a majority coalition, or at least very near one... which is what Bill built. Since 1992, Democrats have won the popular vote in five of six elections, whereas beforehand they had lost five of six.

That's a lot of weight to put on a comparison between two proportions when each is based on a sample size of six, not to mention A) the extremely dubious implication that it is the presidency of Bill Clinton - rather than a botched war, and economic crisis, and changing demographics - that makes Barack Obama different from Michael Dukakis and B) that you've carefully chosen a measure (PV) that treats an electoral loss as if it were a win.

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There are thousands of administrative decisions taken by agencies every single day which are effected based on who the president is, and hundreds of judicial decisions handed down which are affected by the temperament of the presiding judge(s). These are the actual governing of the country, not big-name bills.

While I prefer Democratic governance and wouldn't disagree with the obvious idea that control of the executive has important effects on people's lives, I don't give Clinton much credit just because he got elected with the right letter after his name and I certainly don't buy that lawmaking is far less important than administration.

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I assure you... political debate today looks nothing like it did pre-Clinton. In 1984, a white man on the subway shot four unarmed black men simply for them asking him for five dollars, and was cheered as a hero!.

That couldn't have anything to do with how violent crime peaked in the early nineties, right? Variations on the soundbites that you cite in your post - (i.e. "welfare queen" "liberal mugged by reality", "big inefficient government that can't do anything right") - remain staples of Republican rhetoric today, just as they have been for the past several decades. To claim that Clinton ended the appeal of these lines is laughable.
102  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Have you volunteered/worked on campaigns? on: May 04, 2015, 10:27:51 pm
I knocked on doors once a few years ago and it was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life.

The experience was valuable insofar as it gave me some firsthand knowledge of how the built environment and settlement patterns influence political activity: It's far more difficult and unsafe to cover doors in neighborhoods that lack sidewalks or common spaces and that are dominated by large lots, massive setbacks, and long driveways. Sometimes you can't even tell where the front door is! It's also obvious that most of the people who live in these grotesque places are extremely isolated from their neighbors, not to mention brimming with hostility toward any interloper who is unfortunate enough to cross their path.

Anyway, I won't be doing that again. I also hate phone calls, so I suppose that I will be a pretty useless campaign volunteer if I ever make another attempt.
103  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Bill Clinton on: May 04, 2015, 10:11:33 pm
We can play with counterfactuals until all of we give ourselves aneurysms. I doubt that we'll find useful answers there. What is most important is that when we ask important questions - e.g. What did Clinton do on behalf of the causes that most of us on the left care about? Did his decisions help the poor, the disabled, workers, minorities, and women? Did he make those decisions under a well-informed belief that the outcomes would help those groups on the margin? - it is puzzling to argue, in terms of Clinton's most important policy decisions, that the answers are consistently favorable.

Of course Clinton helped marginalized groups. For one thing, he is the only president since the Warren Court to have moved the SCOTUS to the left - when Ruth Bader Ginsburg replaced Byron White. Can you imagine if both White and Blackmun had been replaced by conservatives? You would basically have had a five-vote majority bloc led by Scalia from 1993 until at least 2005.

Some of the legislation passed during Clinton's first term would be almost unheard of today, even in the wildest ambitions of liberals - the Brady Bill, for instance. Or the 1993 revenue bill, which was to the left of anything ever proposed by Obama. While others, which scorn is currently heaped upon him for ("don't ask, don't tell") was actually a step forward. The Family and Medical Leave Act granted new rights to workers.

...and George Bush Sr. signed the Clean Air Act, not to mention the ADA. George Bush Jr. initiated PEPFAR. Clinton's signing of the Brady Bill doesn't negate the disaster that was financial deregulation, for instance, or even a comparatively minor mis-step like dragging his feet over intervening in Kosovo. It would in fact be "deranged" to argue that everything that happened under Clinton was terrible, but that's not a claim that I've ever actually heard made in earnest. Anyway, I'm not about to give him plaudits because he didn't appoint Republicans to the Supreme Court after being elected as a Democrat.

What Clinton did, however, is he changed the narratives on these issues. When a large ship is turning around, for a long time it will still seem to be moving in the wrong direction. By moving to the center on issues like regulation, crime, and welfare, he effectively destroyed the familiar right-wing narratives of the Reagan era, such as the "welfare queen", the "liberal mugged by reality", the "big inefficient government that can't do anything right". This was a prerequisite to new and different narratives emerging. The left had to get beyond the Great Society and address high crime rates and view of government as irredeemably incompetent. Clinton did all of these things. In the words of one progressive organization, the left needed to "move on" and that is what Clinton allowed us to do.

As someone whom I presume keeps up with the news and frequently listens to both professional commentators and "regular people" talk about politics, how do you actually believe this?
104  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Your reaction to Piss Christ? on: May 04, 2015, 08:09:59 pm
The worst that I can say of it is that it is abjectly inane.
105  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Bill Clinton on: May 04, 2015, 08:07:39 pm
As traininthedistance pointed out, part of what's going on is, he's being judged for his actions 20 years ago as if the political environment was the same as it is today. Of course, when Bill Clinton announced his run for the presidency in 1991, not only the Democratic party but the collective left was in the worst shape since 1789. Taking the first steps in the long road back will look unpopular now, when all of the rewards are simply assumed.

You could say the same of Attila the Hun. A comparison that might be more to the point:

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Part of what's going on is, he's being judged for his actions 160 years ago as if the political environment was the same as it is today. Of course, when James Buchanan announced his run for the presidency in 1856, not only the Democratic party but their entire coalition was in its worst shape since 1789. Taking the first steps in the long road back will look unpopular now, when all of the rewards are simply assumed.

Of course this is hyperbole, but the point is that your standard for passing judgment is one that prevents us from discriminating between good action and bad action, full stop. Besides, it hardly redeems Clinton to claim that all he ever did was preside over the inevitable deregulation of the financial sector; the inevitable evisceration of federal social programs; the inevitable neglect of the international affairs; the inevitable passage of a trade agreement that (rightly or wrongly) many Americans blame for deindustrialization, unemployment, and stagnant wages; and so on.

We can play with counterfactuals until all of we give ourselves aneurysms. I doubt that we'll find useful answers there. What is most important is that when we ask important questions - e.g. What did Clinton do on behalf of the causes that most of us on the left care about? Did his decisions help the poor, the disabled, workers, minorities, and women? Did he make those decisions under a well-informed belief that the outcomes would help those groups on the margin? - it is puzzling to argue, in terms of Clinton's most important policy decisions, that the answers are consistently favorable.
106  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Bill Clinton on: May 04, 2015, 09:34:11 am
From welfare reform, to financial deregulation, to a foreign policy that ranged from bumbling to somnambulant, Bill Clinton left the country worse off in nearly every respect. (And that's all without getting in to the man's truly vile personal life.) It took nearly a decade for the country to realize the full consequences of one of the most incompetent and self-serving presidencies in American history, and we continue to reel from them.

It's a shame that some Democrats are so hesitant to admit to this, presumably so that they can continue to herald the supposed "booming Clinton economy" as a credit to the party. If Clinton had not had the good fortune to preside over a period of economic growth, I wonder how they would regard him.
107  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Obama referring to the Baltimore protesters as "thugs" on: May 02, 2015, 06:09:01 pm
i see oakvale is continuing his drift to the far right

Being opposed to burning buildings to the ground as an act of protest makes you far-right?

slandering an oppressed minority group for lashing out does.

That is not what either Oakvale or Obama have done.

It's easy to be sanctimonious about language when your neighborhood is safe and secure... and the odds that you or anyone else posting here ever will live in one like those affected in Baltimore are essentially nil.
108  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: NY Senate leader to be arrested on: May 01, 2015, 11:12:18 pm
One down, sixty-two more to go!
109  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: What do you think of the word "thug"? on: May 01, 2015, 04:35:19 pm
One of Thatcher's fave words actually.


I still associate it with rhetoric with an anti-labor ("union thugs") or anti-authority  ("jack-booted thugs") stripe more than anything else.
110  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Electoral Reform Debate - Commentary Thread on: April 30, 2015, 03:14:29 pm
This is misleading, because the sample size is too small to be significant. It is largely a function that the senators who, over that period, were the most active and the least likely to quit where regional ones. In fact it was always noticeable how few regional senators resigned due to activity. I'd suggest the high number of at large senators is because they kept on getting expelled for inactivity Tongue

This is a point that deserves to be highlighted. At-large elections have given us most of our least reliable and least committed Senators. On the other hand, it's virtually impossible to win a contested regional seat without working for it, whether you're an incumbent or not.

This suggests that there's something very wrong with these elections in terms of keeping at-large Senators accountable to their voters. Even worse, when an at-large Senator resigns, this usually triggers a national, single-seat election. These special elections are some of Atlasia's best, but they're hardly a boon to diversity and minority representation.

In two years the Feds have not won a special election for Senate. The Progressive Union and DRs did though.

You say that as if detracts from my point. I'm not sure how it does.

It is responding to your last sentence about the specials detracted from diversity. In both cases a minor party candidate defeated a major party candidate in a nationwide election because they had more swing voters at their disposal then they did in their one on one races.

The Federalists have never won a special Senate election. You don't see the problem here?

Are you sure Nix? Matt didn't defeat Bore once??? I'm not sure.

I'd forgotten that the Federalists have been around for 2.5 years. How time flies. The Federalists won two special elections in early 2013, which should have been taken as an indication that they stood a strong chance of winning the presidency that June, as they nearly did. It's only since then that they've been locked out - a remarkable losing streak for what has consistently been either the largest or second-largest party in the country.

Of course candidates from smaller parties can win special elections, but that doesn't necessarily reflect ideological diversity among their winners. Special elections are a matter of A) making it to the final round and B) appealing to the median voter more than the other candidate who accomplishes A. But one of the supposed advantages of at-large elections is that candidates who would struggle to win the median voter in a single-seat election can still win.

It's not fair to the voters whose preferences elected a candidate that everyone gets to vote on who will replace them, and you would not expect this process to produce a Senate that is representative of a range of public opinion. Moreover, this is one reason why the Senate's expulsion rules are frequently the object of Yankee's paranoia. As he's explained himself on several occasions, a united super-majority of Senators could expel an unpopular Senator (who nonetheless enjoys strong support among 1/5 of the electorate) immediately after an at-large election, under the justified expectation that only someone who can win the support of a national majority will emerge from the resulting special election.

I don't want to get too caught up on this because it's a minor point, comparatively, and the fact that special at-large Senate elections are so much fun is enough to outweigh the fairness consideration, as far as I'm concerned. I'm just extremely baffled to see Yankee making the opposite case now.
111  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: NYT: The Democratic coalition ≠ True Leftists and coastal liberal elites on: April 30, 2015, 02:00:11 pm
Maybe the intended audience for this article is the Times' own editorial staff? Or people who read Times articles like this one unironically? They would undoubtedly be relieved to learn that they have never been Sanders' target demographic.

Universities aside, there's not much reason to conflate "affluent, secular, [and] well-educated" with "liberal activist" or "left-wing." In any case, there are good reasons to look at attempts to measure ideology with skepticism; most voters aren't self-aware enough to know how to classify themselves and have well-developed opinions on only a few issues at most. It's extremely difficult to design survey instruments that work around these tendency.

The more useful headline is that Sanders will probably have weak support among older voters, women, and minorities. Will he do as poorly among white non-professionals as this piece implies? That's more difficult to say. Some political journalists equate Sanders with the brand of anti-war liberalism that was dominant during the Iraq War, but Sanders is not Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, or, God forbid, Mike Gravel, and we're living in a political landscape in which other issues - the economy, corruption, etc. - have become far more salient than foreign policy to most voters.
112  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Martin O'Malley on: April 30, 2015, 11:12:32 am
Awful. It's fortunate that his shtick is well-known by now. (None of Simon's accusations are new, by the way.)
113  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Electoral Reform Debate - Commentary Thread on: April 30, 2015, 10:05:09 am
This is misleading, because the sample size is too small to be significant. It is largely a function that the senators who, over that period, were the most active and the least likely to quit where regional ones. In fact it was always noticeable how few regional senators resigned due to activity. I'd suggest the high number of at large senators is because they kept on getting expelled for inactivity Tongue

This is a point that deserves to be highlighted. At-large elections have given us most of our least reliable and least committed Senators. On the other hand, it's virtually impossible to win a contested regional seat without working for it, whether you're an incumbent or not.

This suggests that there's something very wrong with these elections in terms of keeping at-large Senators accountable to their voters. Even worse, when an at-large Senator resigns, this usually triggers a national, single-seat election. These special elections are some of Atlasia's best, but they're hardly a boon to diversity and minority representation.

In two years the Feds have not won a special election for Senate. The Progressive Union and DRs did though.

You say that as if detracts from my point. I'm not sure how it does.

It is responding to your last sentence about the specials detracted from diversity. In both cases a minor party candidate defeated a major party candidate in a nationwide election because they had more swing voters at their disposal then they did in their one on one races.

The Federalists have never won a special Senate election. You don't see the problem here?
114  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: U.S. birth rates slide as Millennials enter the age of marriage and childbearing on: April 30, 2015, 08:25:11 am
Among people I know, most are married within 2-3 years of finishing their education and finding relatively stable employment, and all but a few have children within a couple of years of marriage.

A few people I knew in high school had children out of wedlock, but so far the general pattern is surprisingly similar across levels of educational attainment. Those who were able to find work without going to college or grad school just have a few years head start on those who spent more years as students, and (so far, at least) are more likely to have more than one child. (I'm not particularly keen on getting married, and I'm even less enthusiastic about children, so all of this is a bit discomforting.)

Obviously, none of this accounts for my former classmates - both from high school and from college - who have fallen into the unemployed (or marginally employed) underclass, most of whom are so totally detached from social life that they've essentially become invisible.
115  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Which political party do you side with? Take the test on: April 30, 2015, 08:06:18 am
I know, I know, it's an online political identification quiz, but these are some of the most bizarre results I've ever scored: "You side with the Constitution Party most on foreign policy issues." What?

Aren't you really dovish?

I think of myself that way, but I also support droning terrorists and destroying ISIS, so I suppose that by this quiz's standard I must be disqualified.
116  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Cooperatives Administration Act of 2015 (Debating) on: April 30, 2015, 08:03:05 am
I'd like to think that building enterprises with workers' control is a compelling pubic interest.

Oh my...
117  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Clinton: It's time for an end to the era of mass incarceration on: April 29, 2015, 08:45:53 pm
I'm entirely unenthusiastic about body cameras, which are expensive, require all kinds of cumbersome IT infrastructure, and - shockingly - tend to be deployed in ways that favor the police more than they favor the public. I'd much prefer to rely on democratic surveillance (i.e cell phone cameras and YouTube) rather than spending billions so that law enforcement can selectively release whatever videos fit their account of events whenever accusations of police brutality crop up.

"Democratic surveillance" isn't always available. Also, riots are expensive. Police brutality is expensive. Basically, "it costs money" and "it requires IT" are such generic objections, that they could be applied to anything. By the same vein, one could argue that they would provide extra stimulus and create jobs. Tongue Also, body cameras have a measurable effect on police behavior.

I'm extremely skeptical of sort of editorial page cost-benefit analysis that concludes that a sweeping policy proposed in the immediate aftermath of a dramatic event is "common sense." And not just under certain circumstances, but everywhere.

The administrative costs aren't negligible, either (e.g. the Baltimore city government estimated that it would require $2.6 million per year just to store and manage the data from police cameras).

If evaluations emerge that show that body cameras have a sustained and significant effect on police behavior, I'll adjust my opinion accordingly, but for now I would much prefer to see the money go toward more beat cops and, in general, community policing.

Sometimes, it takes a big dramatic event, or series of events, to push forward momentum for change.

My objection isn't to taking advantage of the opportunity; it's to doing so unwisely. Don't forget how the policies that drove mass incarceration came about in the first place. For example, in New York State, it was (some, not all) reformers who backed the Rockefeller Drug Laws most enthusiastically. I am wary of any policy fad that claims to offer a simple and direct solution to a complex problem, and police cameras are exactly that. I've seen very little discussion of long-term effects and unintended consequences, but what I've read is not promising.

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In any case, if we're going to be judging Clinton by her husband's record,

I'm not sure if you're implying that I should do that, but I don't. My opinion of Hillary is much higher than my opinion of her execrable husband and I won't have any difficulty voting for her next November over whichever loser the Republicans choose to nominate.

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The first Google hit for "Bill Clinton" + "community policing" is this highly critical Slate piece which alleges that the grants that Clinton approved were not particularly effective. The literature that I've seen on COPS grants is less pessimistic; ~50% of the money going toward the intended purpose of putting additional cops on the streets actually isn't all that bad, but it's not particularly great either. I hope that Hillary will do better.
118  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Look for the Union Laben Act of 2015(Final vote) on: April 29, 2015, 07:46:23 pm
Nay.
119  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Clinton: It's time for an end to the era of mass incarceration on: April 29, 2015, 04:33:28 pm
I'm entirely unenthusiastic about body cameras, which are expensive, require all kinds of cumbersome IT infrastructure, and - shockingly - tend to be deployed in ways that favor the police more than they favor the public. I'd much prefer to rely on democratic surveillance (i.e cell phone cameras and YouTube) rather than spending billions so that law enforcement can selectively release whatever videos fit their account of events whenever accusations of police brutality crop up.

"Democratic surveillance" isn't always available. Also, riots are expensive. Police brutality is expensive. Basically, "it costs money" and "it requires IT" are such generic objections, that they could be applied to anything. By the same vein, one could argue that they would provide extra stimulus and create jobs. Tongue Also, body cameras have a measurable effect on police behavior.

I'm extremely skeptical of sort of editorial page cost-benefit analysis that concludes that a sweeping policy proposed in the immediate aftermath of a dramatic event is "common sense." And not just under certain circumstances, but everywhere.

The administrative costs aren't negligible, either (e.g. the Baltimore city government estimated that it would require $2.6 million per year just to store and manage the data from police cameras).

If evaluations emerge that show that body cameras have a sustained and significant effect on police behavior, I'll adjust my opinion accordingly, but for now I would much prefer to see the money go toward more beat cops and, in general, community policing.
120  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Clinton: It's time for an end to the era of mass incarceration on: April 29, 2015, 03:35:01 pm
I'm entirely unenthusiastic about body cameras, which are expensive, require all kinds of cumbersome IT infrastructure, and - shockingly - tend to be deployed in ways that favor the police more than they favor the public. I'd much prefer to rely on democratic surveillance (i.e cell phone cameras and YouTube) rather than spending billions so that law enforcement can selectively release whatever videos fit their account of events whenever accusations of police brutality crop up.

Even so, this is somewhat encouraging, and I hope that we'll hear more policy proposals on this front over the next year.
121  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Which political party do you side with? Take the test on: April 29, 2015, 02:41:01 pm
I know, I know, it's an online political identification quiz, but these are some of the most bizarre results I've ever scored: "You side with the Constitution Party most on foreign policy issues." What? "You side with the Constitution Party and the Conservatives on environmental issues." (Which are also somehow 'less' important to me?) Huh?

122  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of SuperCuts on: April 29, 2015, 02:14:00 pm
If I can't find someone whom I trust who will cut my hair for free, I do it myself.
123  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Opinion of the FairTax on: April 29, 2015, 02:02:24 pm
And if you want to make it more progressive just charge a higher rate on luxury items like say televisions, computers, cellphones, etc. new automobiles, detached single-family housing, private school tuition, elective surgery, monthly membership fees for retirement communities, "certified organic" food and anything served in a sit-down restaurant, "personal trainers," plane tickets, and pet care services.

Fixed to reflect where the affluent actually spend their money in higher proportions than the poor.
124  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Electoral Reform Debate - Commentary Thread on: April 29, 2015, 01:09:22 pm
This is misleading, because the sample size is too small to be significant. It is largely a function that the senators who, over that period, were the most active and the least likely to quit where regional ones. In fact it was always noticeable how few regional senators resigned due to activity. I'd suggest the high number of at large senators is because they kept on getting expelled for inactivity Tongue

This is a point that deserves to be highlighted. At-large elections have given us most of our least reliable and least committed Senators. On the other hand, it's virtually impossible to win a contested regional seat without working for it, whether you're an incumbent or not.

This suggests that there's something very wrong with these elections in terms of keeping at-large Senators accountable to their voters. Even worse, when an at-large Senator resigns, this usually triggers a national, single-seat election. These special elections are some of Atlasia's best, but they're hardly a boon to diversity and minority representation.

In two years the Feds have not won a special election for Senate. The Progressive Union and DRs did though.

You say that as if detracts from my point. I'm not sure how it does.
125  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Electoral Reform Debate - Commentary Thread on: April 29, 2015, 10:09:31 am
This is misleading, because the sample size is too small to be significant. It is largely a function that the senators who, over that period, were the most active and the least likely to quit where regional ones. In fact it was always noticeable how few regional senators resigned due to activity. I'd suggest the high number of at large senators is because they kept on getting expelled for inactivity Tongue

This is a point that deserves to be highlighted. At-large elections have given us most of our least reliable and least committed Senators. On the other hand, it's virtually impossible to win a contested regional seat without working for it, whether you're an incumbent or not.

This suggests that there's something very wrong with these elections in terms of keeping at-large Senators accountable to their voters. Even worse, when an at-large Senator resigns, this usually triggers a national, single-seat election. These special elections are some of Atlasia's best, but they're hardly a boon to diversity and minority representation.
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