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1  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Hypothetical: God is disproved on: May 24, 2016, 08:15:24 pm
This thread summarized: man attempts to convince others that, contrary to what their preferences might tell them, that they should actually partake in counterfactual conversations that do not amuse them in the slightest.

Why am I posting in here? I'm not sure but this thread is a sight to behold. The OP basically slapped his dong out on a table to taunt others and some people are defending his taunt. What if a Christian posted a thread titled "Hypothetical: Jesus Christ returns to the Earth and tells Everyone that he's Lord and Savior"? I'm assuming that you wouldn't bother participating! Not because it's "implausible", because this thread is equally implausible, but rather because it wouldn't interest you; it's a question designed to irritate people, not to enlighten them in any way.  I don't think there's any point in dressing this up.
2  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Who would you have voted for in 2004 Democratic Primaries on: May 19, 2016, 03:35:17 am
In retrospect, I'd probably vote for Dean.

How I'd rank my ballot:
1. Howard Dean
2. John Edwards
3. John Kerry
4. Al Sharpton
5. Dick Gephardt

I would refuse to vote for Clark or Lieberman or Kucinich in a primary.

John Edwards is on the list because, even in 2004, he ran on a pretty left-wing economic platform. I supported him in 2008 because I was a naive fool. However, I think that his brand, however fake it was, was quite appealing and hearkened back to way the Democratic Party was in the 1960s and 1970s.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVWyoQ5xlOs
3  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential General Election Polls / Re: AZ-PPP: Trump and Clinton Close in AZ on: May 18, 2016, 07:00:26 pm
Some things to note:
-outside of Latino Decisions, pollsters are notoriously bad at finding representative samples of Latino voters
-It's very unlikely that the Hispanic electorate will stay somewhat stable. It's likely going to increase by a great deal and these added voters will be more anti-Trump than those who are in the current pool

Arizona is fool's gold if we assume a natural demographic trend wherein the electorate only becomes somewhat more Hispanic. It's not if we expect, as we should, that there will be a very intensive voter registration effort there.
4  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: If Trump wins on: May 16, 2016, 09:26:43 pm
No offense ag, but I think you are painfully out of touch with American politics. The Republican Party will never be a remotely "left-wing" party; it remains staunchly opposed to unions and the welfare state. It's actually gone further off of the "deep end" on these issues. Unless you believe that free trade and financial deregulation are "left vs. right" issues (they are not), there's no evidence that the GOP will move to the left on any issue nor is there any evidence that the Democratic Party will move to the right on any issue. I suppose that it's quite likely that the Democratic Party might become the party of "free trade" though. I mean, it's not as if the Democratic Party was ever an "anti-trade" party anyways...
5  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Does this forum completely fail to understand working class whites? on: May 12, 2016, 08:28:17 pm
A solid majority of working class whites (outside of the South) are loyal Democrats, and most have more liberal views in general (but particularly on economic issues) than middle and upper class whites (which are the bulk of this forum's posters, so...).

Agreed, but many people think upper-income blue collar workers (like owners of a plumbing company), who are really Republican, are part of the working class.  That's the confusion, I think.

Eh, there's plenty of evidence that suggests that highly-skilled blue collar workers, who tend to operate as individual contractors, are fairly Democratic. This shouldn't be that surprising considering where "building trades" skills tend to be attained (as "apprentices" in union shops).

For instance, look at "verdant labs" project that lists the partisan affiliation of various occupations and notice the discrepancy between "skilled trades" and "construction". Those who define themselves as "electricians", "handymen", "carpenters", "welders" and "mechanics" are far more Democratic-leaning than their, typically skilled, peers who are "foremen". Plumbers are, well, unique in that they tend to make large sums of money and, oftentimes list themselves as "plumbers", they simply own plumbing businesses. Other skilled workers in the building trades who own their own "businesses" oftentimes own a business composed of one worker.

Also, without question, those in the building trades or, in general, who are "skilled" manual workers are working class. In fact, throughout history, they have defined the working class. Strangely enough, and contrary to what Marx would have predicted, it has been the labor aristocracy that has tended towards radical political action/organization and that tends to have the strongest sense of class identity. Organizing workers in heavy industry was a major challenge in the late 19th and early 20th century; artisans, on the other hand, have been in trade organizations for centuries, which, naturally, lends itself to political mobilization.

Note: much of this is an over-generalization and is a bit hyperbolic but it's worth considering. It's taken as conventional wisdom that, say, a custodian is, all else equal, going to be more left-wing than, say, an electrician but, in truth, the electrician is more likely to be a very active "union man" (or woman) who votes in every election.
6  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: California Senate Primary on: May 11, 2016, 05:47:33 pm
The general election should be an interesting means to determine which racial minorities Republicans in California dislike more: will they vote for the Black woman with the Anglo last name or for the Mexican lady? I don't buy that ideology will play a big factor in this choice.
7  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of Rfayette (read quote before answering) on: May 11, 2016, 04:31:47 pm
Your kind promotes a deeply disturbed worldview in which it is perfectly acceptable to demean and debase immigrants and their children for having the deeply discourteous desire to maintain cultural traditions or to fly the flag of their native country.

Here's the thing, though... if you're a person of Mexican descent who lives in the United States, that's obviously because you believe that the United States is a better country the Mexico*; so, why wouldn't you do everything in your power to assimilate to the country that you yourself (implicitly if not explicitly) recognize as superior?

I don't ask this in a snarky or condescending manner, by the way: as someone whose last immigrant ancestors came to this country around the turn of the twentieth century, I'm interested in seeing the outlook of those more in-touch with the immigrant experience.

*Incidentally, this line of thinking can be employed as a theological argument: If the God that Muhammad preached about really were the author of human history, wouldn't people from Christian countries be begging to immigrate to Muslim countries, not the other way around?

I am not particularly representative of Mexican immigrants but, what I can tell you, is that most Mexican immigrants are not of the opinion that "America is superior". They tend to think that it offers more economic opportunities and, perhaps, a higher quality of life but they do not think that America is superior. Generally speaking, immigration is an economic phenomenon so it's not much of a surprise that immigrants tend to resist assimilation. It's their children that assimilate or who are integrated into American or Canadian or British or French society; the parents rarely do so.

Anyways, my general response to sentiments like these is to say "what I do in the privacy of my home is none of your business". Further, who I am friends with is none of your business and the language that I choose to speak in with my friends is none of your business.
8  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of Rfayette (read quote before answering) on: May 11, 2016, 05:30:10 am
Also, isn't it amazing that supporting the same position as the main leader of one of the two major political parties in the United States now gets you branded as some evil monster?  

That being said, I think Xahar is fundamentally a good person.  I don't think poorly of all Muslims, as much as I dislike the religion and what it stands for.  We disagree strongly on many issues, but I want to make it clear that I do not hate him.  He can hate me, and that is fine.

Adolf Hitler was the main leader of the chief political force in Weimar-era Germany in the 1930s and, yes, anyone who was a supporter of his was, in all likelihood, an evil monster who is responsible for the Holocaust. There's hardly any difference between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler. Trump celebrates torture, touts military solutions to diplomatic solutions, supports mass population transfers for the sake of maintaining purity, believes in a "stab in the back myth" in which a small clique of politicians/elites are responsible for the downfall of America etc. Trump, like Hitler, is a lunatic who has a number of mental disorders.

So yes, I hate you. I hate fascists. I've hated most Republicans for most of my life as well; they were the kids who called me a beaner and taunted me by calling me a "fence hopper" and asking if "my mom was an illegal". Your kind promotes a deeply disturbed worldview in which it is perfectly acceptable to demean and debase immigrants and their children for having the deeply discourteous desire to maintain cultural traditions or to fly the flag of their native country. Further, your kind promotes a deeply disturbed worldview in which Muslims refugees are clearly worth less than Christian refugees and where universal human rights are, in fact, privileges for those who had the good luck to be born with white skin in a European state or a state founded by European settlers. All of these tendencies of Republicans are opinions grounded in corrupted moral values that are chosen, not given by others, so I feel quite confident in saying that I hate most Republicans, without question and I feel no shame about this. If this makes me a bigot, so be it. I have no interest in being friendly towards someone who has decided, out of their own volition, that it is a praiseworthy act to trash a faith of one billion people without a basis or cause that goes deeper than some moronic rhetoric emanating from Stormfront or /pol/.

None of this even mentions the fact that you've repeatedly exalted yourself as some sort of Galt-like figure who deserves to make millions while the poor live miserable existences because, in your view, they are inferior to you. Clearly, you need help and treatment for your asberger's friend. As it turns out, systematically insulting entire classes of people is a bad way to "Make Friends and Influence People". It's, generally speaking, a bad practice to advocate for steep immigration barriers on the basis of the inferiority and danger posed by immigrants, which insinuates that immigrants and their children are inferior to you!

I have some advice: seriously consider why you have a tendency to get sucked into cults. First, it was some wingnut Evangelical group. Now, it is a fascist mass movement. What's next, joining the Church of Scientology? Ask yourself why extremism is so compelling to you and why you feel the need to lash out at liberal institutions that have treated you so well. I, myself, have clear causes and answers for why I am "on the left" and I am open to discussing why they are related to intimate facts about my life. It is okay to do this. You do not need to discuss them on a public forum but it might be worth doing for your own sake. There's something very unhealthy about your forum behavior and how you manage to act in a very toxic manner on a regular basis!
9  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do you smoke cigarettes? on: May 09, 2016, 11:35:32 pm
I've been hearing a lot that smoking a pipe is likely to give you a lung cancer (but more likely to give you a tongua cancer). I'm not an expect, though.

I used to smoke a pipe for purely financial reasons: it was cheaper than buying cigarettes.

And also oesophageal cancer.

The 'safest' way to consume tobacco - in a trad. way at least - is snuff, incidentally.

Snus is pretty safe as well.
10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Sen. Warren: Trump built his campaign on racism, sexism and xenophobia on: May 09, 2016, 06:29:04 pm
if a deputy elected from my region to the federal legislative body would abuse me and the other inhabitants in this way, we would feel abused and the career of the deputy would be finished.

"A deputy elected from my region..." Товарищ начальник, I like your fairytales. In case you did not know, in order to have a deputy elected from your region, you need to conduct an election. A deputy elected from your region is as much of a mythical creature as a unicorn.

Anyway, comrade junior lieutenant, since you like fairytales so much, I hope you will appreciate mine. Жила была курочка ряба, и было у нее три зуба: один белый, другой серый, а четвертый - золотой. A nice fairytale it is, don't you think so?

I understand that anti-Russian sentiment is an inherent feature of a common American.
Let us then take some democratic country, e. g. Germany where I lived several months (on a kgb mission, as you understand). Suppose  Kanzlerin Merkel would say to her voters : you are rasits, sexists, xenophobs. What would the Germans do? They would go on rallies demanding Merkel's resignation. Nothing of the sort happens in the USA. The senator abuses her voters, they never protest,  moreover they back her. Such behavior contradicts common sense.  
  

I mean, if Merkel said this about AfD voters, was a member of the SPD and was the mayor of Berlin, the SPD would surge in the polls. Even in Germany, there are social norms against blatant racism, sexism and xenophobia in places like Berlin. I can't say the same about Russia, where it's very socially appropriate to physically assault Black foreign exchange students and also very socially appropriate to drink a bottle of potato vodka in one sitting. Don't make the mistake of assuming that the rest of the world is like Russia: it's not.

Trump will lose in a landslide. God bless America, that great country that gave the pesky Russians a hard thrashing by virtue of our superior institutions! God bless Mexico as well, that similarly great but much maligned country that moves forward as Russia moves backwards.
11  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Sen. Warren: Trump built his campaign on racism, sexism and xenophobia on: May 09, 2016, 06:20:49 pm



Too complex for a junior khakassian lieutenant.

You should be sent to Siberia for embarrassing the KGB with your inability to quote properly.




I live in Siberia, stupid.  Here to punish a person they send him/her to Mexico.  

It's not 1965 anymore: Mexico is about as developed as Russia and, also, has a much more refined quality of life that is not defined by binge drinking, suicide, invading peripheral states or joining neo-nazi gangs. Tourists visit Russia to marvel at the corpse of a once great nation. Tourists visit Mexico to enjoy themselves.

Look, I have nothing against Russians but, come on, your people tend to be racist cretins even though your country is a shining example of the utter idiocy of the myth of white supremacy. It's very sad.
12  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Does this forum completely fail to understand working class whites? on: May 08, 2016, 05:42:51 am
I don't think this forum has a very good understanding of class, probably because it's a very American forum and political scientists in America tend to define class in terms of educational attainment. To be fair, that's an entirely terrible proxy for class but it would be nice if political scientists bothered looking at other Census data like occupational structure or various surveys.

One of the oddities about class, oddities that are often unrecognized in the US, is that it's often very unrelated with income. There are quite a few unionized electricians or carpenters or teamsters who take home very fat pay-checks. Many of them do not have mortgages on their houses or live on pensions etc. Even as "immiserated" as blue collar workers are, many of them started working in a time when they were paid quite, earning wages that are the equivalent of 40 dollars an hour.

Some contemporary issues relating to class in the US:
-class identities have withered as of late because, well, there's no sense of shared anything much less a strong identification with occupation-based culture. if there are few jobs left in a community for those who have little education that go beyond delivering pizzas, it stands to reason that people would lose a sense of identity that came with being a worker. a big part of "working class" culture was once identification with vocations that had very clear connections with the basic functioning of society. some of these vocations were routinized or automated and, thus, deemed to be "unskilled" labor but they still required a good deal of physical labor/strain and produced something tangible. this is no longer the case for many workers
-how should traditionally "middle class" occupations be categorized now that they are occupations that are subject to sprawling organizational structures and managerial discretion? for instance, doctors, lawyers, and the like were once independent "professionals" with their solo practices. this is increasingly not the case. there are more relevant examples in the present: statisticians, chemists, biologists and, in general, researchers were once given more independence as academics. now, they are increasingly subject to corporate-like structures in universities and they are more likely to work in a private sector that treats them as disposable workers deserving of less than adequate pay.
13  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Europe-Middle East-Africa Refugee Crisis General Thread on: May 08, 2016, 05:20:57 am
It says a lot about the current state of the European Union that an influx of ~1-1.5 million refugees, by all accounts a rather tiny proportion of the European population, has created a traumatic political crisis that's devouring the system. The United States managed to handle the Vietnamese and the Cuban refugees wave, which were on a somewhat similar scale relative to the proportion of the population, with relative ease in the past. Similarly, refugee crises in the past were handled admirably by Europe, of interest to this thread ought to be Greece's response to the influx of Albanian migrants in the 90s, the response to Somali refugees etc.

First of all both the Vietnamese and Cubans arrived in smaller number over a longer periode than the amount of refugees Germany alone received in 2015. Sweden have received more refugee than USA did in the Mariel boatlift, and it's a country with 1/30 of the American population. It's why we see the significant political crisis in those two countries over this, and moreso in Sweden than Germany.

Also right now USA take in 70 000 refugees annual. Which is why the American moral high ground on this point is built on hot air. In fact the numbers of Cuban and Vietnamese refugees USA have taken in are 300 000 and 800 000. As comparison Denmark received 7500 refugees in 2013 and 14700 in 2014 of which around half get asylum (3900 and 6100). Denmark have 1/60 the population of USA. When you make than calculation, it means that as percent of the population Denmark took around 25% more refugees (compared to populatio  size) in one year (before the refugee crisis) than USA have taken in Cubans over 50 years or 45% of the amount of Vietnamese USA have taken in.

...and here' the fun part Denmark are nowhere near Germany, Sweden or Austria in the amount of refugees these countries have taken.

Of course compared to the past Europe doesn't take many refugees. But it's because our treatment of those refugees in the past was cheaper and their future was clearer.. As example Denmark took in 250 000 Germany refugees in 1945 from Prussia (mostly women and children). They was placed in camps until they could be repatriated (which they mostly was by 1950).
Germany of course took in many more refugees, of course those refugees happened to be mostly Germans.

If we could place the refugees in permanent camps and be sure they could be repatriated in a few years (or at least leave Europe). Most European countries could take many more, but that's not what we're asked

Well, yes, that's my point. It's very unreasonable to expect Germany or Sweden or Austria to handle the amount of refugees that they've been receiving. However, the European Union was an attempt to, well, forge some sort of consensus on these matters and, as such, is clearly not functional nor purposeful if it cannot handle this kind of a "crisis" and distribute/share refugees in an equitable fashion. After all, it is a kind of state and there cannot be a common labor market with something approaching open borders without common agreement on refugee issues. That's all that I'm saying. I have no moral high ground, of course,  I'm just pointing out the obvious here, I suppose.

However, it is equally foolish to expect Saudi Arabia or Qatar to be able to handle the number of refugees that many far-right idiots expect them to handle. For one, I do not understand why the so-called advocates of "Western values" want to push refugees into the clutches of despicable states ruled by barbaric despots. Secondly, it would almost certainly be a disaster: why would pushing refugees into slum-like camps in Saudi Arabia or Qatar or the UAE where they'd be treated as third-class citizens and probably pushed into slave-labor result in anything good? In all likelihood, that would create further instability in the Middle East and could plunge the region into chaos, especially if the imams/clerics decided to break with the House of Saud, which could happen with recent economic proposals of the upstart princes. That would be no good at all!
14  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Europe-Middle East-Africa Refugee Crisis General Thread on: May 08, 2016, 05:11:17 am
As far as the sensational crime stories go, yes, out of a population that is over one million, there will be plenty of rapists and thieves and murderers. There's no justification for this behavior, of course. However, there are obvious issues when attempting to compile crime data on these populations and comparing them to the domestic population at large: there are going to be obvious reporting discrepancies that are accounted for by differing cultural norms surrounding crime and how it is conducted and done, more particularly surrounding rape/sexual assault.

What dependencies? Can you be more specific? Non-consentual sex is non-consentual regardless of your ethnic background.

Many, if not most, victims of rape/sexual assault are victims of rape/sexual assault that comes from acquaintances, long-time partners and the like. These crimes are oftentimes not reported. Considering that rapists tend to be serial rapists, it stands to reason that those migrants who are rapists would stick out like a sore thumb considering that they come from places with different cultural norms surrounding their behavior and also know no one in the country they are migrating to, increasing the likelihood of the rape/sexual assault being reported.

Very easy to doubt that a woman's claim that she was raped by a long-time community member, it's downright hard to doubt that she was raped by a refugee, especially when that's a trope. This is pretty obvious imo. Obviously, it does not matter who is committing the vile act nor is there any justification for not taking action but there can never and will never be any clear-cut evidence on this subject. These issues are, well, difficult to collect accurate data on!
15  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Gender-Based Wage Disparities are Widening for Younger Workers on: May 08, 2016, 04:42:39 am
I am not sure why people have this tendency to treat firms as if they were part of the "homo economicus" species. Firms are large organizations created for the purpose of coordinating economic behavior and, as such, hiring and firing decisions may not necessarily be guided by the profit motive. Are managers responsible for hiring and firing necessarily driven by profits? Sure but that isn't the only motive of managers. Because "labor is embodied in the seller", hiring decisions entail an ongoing human relationship in which workers have to interact with one another for long stretches of time and, as a result, there are many distinctly non-economic motives that can guide people's decisions.

Some issues to consider:
-there is a big "principal-agent" problem when it comes to the labor market. shareholders and corporate executives want profits, they hire human resources staff to skillfully sort out good employees from bad employees by looking at signals. however, these managerial employees may not benefit all that much from the profits of the firm or levels of production but they certainly benefit from hiring people they like or esteem.
-this might shock you but, in fact, gender-based wage disparities are a problem even if they're not the result of direct discrimination. for instance, if women are socialized to do things that are economic disadvantageous (working in professions that require little geographic mobility) and are punished socially for doing economic advantageous things (working in professions that require geographic mobility), that's a problem. social scientists have discovered that women who tend to work in fields that require migration decisions on a regular basis tend to have higher divorce rates and similar social problems. of course, fields that require frequent migration decisions also tend to be lucrative.
-when women have children, they're expected to be good mothers and good workers. there is no such expectation for men. even the most understanding/rational manager understands that this is an impossible expectation of women and this informs their decision-making. it probably doesn't make sense to promote women or to hire women if they're young and are going to have children because the choice to have a child will play a much bigger role in their decision-making than it would for a man. of course, if women tried to ignore social norms by acting as workers first and mothers second, they'd be punished outside of the workplace in various ways. there's way that women can navigate this thorny dilemma. it's inherently disadvantageous.
-oh, wait, there's more: when women have children, they are pregnant, a fact that can effectively incapacitate them for up to a month, taking them out of the workplace. even if women, the day after their child was born, went straight to work, they would be limited and disadvantaged by this fact. men telling women to suck it up and get over this biological disadvantage is pretty disgusting. after all, our mothers suffered for our own sake. if we cannot acknowledge that this is unfair and that our society could be more accommodating to women in a plethora of ways, we are being very uncharitable to our mothers, sisters, aunts and grandmas. this, in my view, is very disgusting.

basically, if you're a man and you're whining about feminists, you are probably a neck-beard and also a big pussy. man up and own up to the fact that we are advantaged instead of acting like a prissy oppressed loser.
16  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Europe-Middle East-Africa Refugee Crisis General Thread on: May 04, 2016, 11:59:34 am
It says a lot about the current state of the European Union that an influx of ~1-1.5 million refugees, by all accounts a rather tiny proportion of the European population, has created a traumatic political crisis that's devouring the system. The United States managed to handle the Vietnamese and the Cuban refugees wave, which were on a somewhat similar scale relative to the proportion of the population, with relative ease in the past. Similarly, refugee crises in the past were handled admirably by Europe, of interest to this thread ought to be Greece's response to the influx of Albanian migrants in the 90s, the response to Somali refugees etc.

Sure, this latest wave is very substantial but it's not so substantial that it totally dwarfs refugee waves of the past. The issue is that there has been an utter breakdown of political capacity and will to do anything about the crisis. The response from the West has been inchoate, inconsistent and there has been little attempt to effectively coordinate to handle the crisis. Europe/the United States, for instance, could have forwarded a payment system to Jordan or Lebanon from the beginning or they could have set up a system to allocate refugees etc. None of this would have been easy but I don't think it would have been all that difficult either. In the past, there was effective coordination. In the present, it appears that the "Western" nation-states that once commanded great authority and respect could be plagued by crippling anxiety attacks if three fishermen on a boat were washed up on the shores of Cape Cod or Sicily, which the media would cover as a MIGRANT CRISIS.

I blame Merkel for all of this. These are the costs of destroying the EU's legitimacy time and time again by crippling the democratic process. It's also the cost of economic stagnation/decline. When social trust was much higher and there was more faith in "the powers that be", migrant crises were easy to deal with. Now that this isn't so, the specter of a dank kebab cart is "triggers" those in the European safe space.

edit: for all of my bluster, I am actually pretty sympathetic to those working class Europeans who are angry about the migrant crisis. In previous times, when things were much better, they resented migrants but did not lash out by joining fascist parties, which tells me that they are not inherently evil or malignant. They're simply angry and justifiably so.

As far as the sensational crime stories go, yes, out of a population that is over one million, there will be plenty of rapists and thieves and murderers. There's no justification for this behavior, of course. However, there are obvious issues when attempting to compile crime data on these populations and comparing them to the domestic population at large: there are going to be obvious reporting discrepancies that are accounted for by differing cultural norms surrounding crime and how it is conducted and done, more particularly surrounding rape/sexual assault.
17  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Free Trade on: May 04, 2016, 11:13:42 am
Ideally, Hillary Clinton would defend NAFTA and, in general, the fruits of trade while pledging to do her best to ensure that the gains from trade are equally distributed among the population, with a disproportionate share of these gains given to those who are adversely affected by trade. If she can't run to Trump's left on this issue, she might as well do her best to make a strong case for trade imo.
18  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Is the Republican party a racist party? on: May 04, 2016, 02:08:45 am
Fair enough man, I actually agree with you to an extent as far as taxes go. Someone saying they are irritated with the tax code tends to be a shibboleth for terrible political views, hence the criticism I guess. That was unfair of me!
 
19  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Is the Republican party a racist party? on: May 04, 2016, 01:52:44 am
The fact that sbane can support the Ryan plan and not identify with the Republican Party is telling, isn't it? There are roughly zero racial minorities who are anti-tax zealots like sbane so it makes sense that the GOP faces hurdles with them but surely more than 10% of South Asians should be voting Republican. That is a pathetic figure that speaks volumes about the GOP's current predicament. Anyways, I am disappointed to see that sbane has turned into a "don't taxe me obame" type when we live in one of the lightest taxed developed nations. Sad!
20  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Northern New England vs Southern New England on: May 01, 2016, 05:10:57 pm
Massachusetts and Connecticut are two of the most unequal states in the country. To my knowledge, along with New York, they blow the former Confederacy out of the water. The financial sector looms large in Connecticut and the academic-industrial complex looms large in Massachusetts; both states once contained a very light manufacturing sector. As a result, both states are sharply polarized along class-lines; there's a tremendous cultural divide between Boston and the rest of Massachusetts and another tremendous cultural divide between the New York metro area in CT and the rest of the state. Contrary to stereotypes involving "WASPs" or "Yankee culture", neither state is particularly defined by the elites but, regardless, the elites of the Boston metro area and Fairfield County punch above their weight.

For whatever reason, these stereotypes about WASPs have been applied to Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, even though the three above states are, if anything, dominated by the scruffy remnants of long-dead industrial communities, logging towns and small-farming. Yes, there are resort towns in Maine/New Hampshire, some wealthy migrants to all three states but, ultimately, they are incredibly poor in comparison to their counterparts in MA and NH.

Hopefully, if the primary process has imparted any knowledge, it is that New England is not some sort of highly-affluent, highly-educated, enlightened liberal utopia. Sure, the median voter in this region is unusually secular but it's still a hotbed of chauvinistic nationalism and a large degree of racist sentiment, as evidenced by the triumph of LePage in 2014. Further, it would be a mistake to see any of these states as a citadel for Obama-style technocratic, education-focused liberalism.

edit: I ignored Rhode Island because it might as well be on a different planet imo.
21  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Kasich says that people are 'probably' born gay on: April 30, 2016, 01:24:14 am
I don't really see how this is even a political question.

For a politician... when it comes to issues on sexuality, gender and access to rights and facilities, whether or not you believe that someone is inherently how they present themselves does matter.

Why does this matter though? Supposing that people could decide to be gay in a vacuum, why should that have any effect on their ability to access rights and facilities? It would still be discriminatory to allow firms to punish them for a lifestyle choice that is inconsequential and damages no one.
22  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Since joining the Atlas Forum, have you moved more leftward or rightward? on: April 29, 2016, 07:17:52 pm
It's nearly been 10 years since I first posted on this forum and, shockingly enough, I'm basically the same person in terms of my politics. I'm still very passionately opposed to inequality in all of its forms and very concerned about class. I'm now a cultural liberal/radical, whereas I was pretty culturally conservative in the past, but this was more because I was constrained by my hometown's toxic politics. I remember this because, even when I was opposed gay marriage, I told people to stop calling others "fags" or whatever and felt that people's hatred towards gay people was disgusting. I just couldn't imagine supporting gay marriage because it was universally deplored in my community.

I'd note that I'm discussing "values" here. My policy positions have changed because..I'm not a dumb pre-teen and have read hundreds of books/thousands of articles since then. However, I don't think that my basic orientation towards politics has changed. I called myself a socialist when I was 12. I'm still a socialist.
23  General Politics / Economics / Re: The economic cost of not being a white male on: April 28, 2016, 07:59:00 pm
To be blunt, the reason why economists are wrong about discrimination is that they either see discrimination as the result of an information problem or the result of some kind of preference. In either case, there is a incorrect evaluation that ought to be corrected by market forces. In reality, discrimination has little to do with some economic agent not recognizing an employee's "true" value in the workforce: discrimination is the result of social forces acting upon individuals and making them less capable than others or making them believe that they are less capable than others. In this regard, SAT scores are virtually useless: yes, Asians perform much better on SAT scores than other racial groups but there are reasons why this is the case and it's not due to some immutable genetic factor or cultural superiority. East Asian households tend to be more stable than White households, migrants from east Asia tend to have higher levels of educational attainment than immigrants from other countries and there are cultural reasons that dispose them towards excelling at standardized tests and mathematics. Russians tend to be much better at math because most bright Soviets, who would have been social scientists or historians elsewhere, were shoved into mathematics and physics so their math pedagogy is stronger. Why am I referencing these rough explanations? Because they serve as evidence that the differences that exist between ethnicities are the result of social forces that are mutable. If we know that could reduce levels of racial inequality or economic inequality and fail to act on this knowledge, I'd argue that this constitutes a kind of discrimination.

I don't know if this is a clear or coherent point but, based on what I can tell, economics is effectively useless on this subject because the determinants of discrimination lie outside of the purview of economics. There are trade-offs in every social science: economists have become very adept at working with quantitative data but, as a result, they're increasingly out of touch with the empirical underpinnings of social science. There are assumptions behind the assumptions that economists employ and they're painfully unaware of those assumptions.
24  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Harris Wofford's incredible (love) story on: April 28, 2016, 02:04:47 am
Tony is right, of course.

Nothing he is saying is controversial is it? All else equal, more relationships between men and women will feature economic considerations that could be described as a "power imbalance" that distorts the choice of the lesser privileged party. To my knowledge, this is less likely to effect gay couples than it is to effect straight couples: the pay gap plays a role in this as do social norms.

However, this is still incredibly creepy and makes me feel very uncomfortable!!!
25  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Greek-American vote on: April 24, 2016, 05:07:05 am
It's downright bizarre just how many Greek-American politicians there are. They're a pretty insignificant ethnic group that has managed to produce a number of very important governors, including Spiro Agnew, Charlie Crist and Michael Dukakis, along with a plethora of congressmen/women and holders of lower offices.
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