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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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751  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: do you have a life insurance policy? on: September 14, 2013, 02:38:23 pm
No - it is a luxury I cannot afford. I also cannot afford health insurance.
752  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Political Quiz List. Are you a Quiz Whiz? on: September 14, 2013, 01:37:35 pm

I really like this one!



1. Radical

Emphasis on social justice, cooperation, democracy; the best states are peaceful and democratic, as well as moderately egalitarian. We must stop attacking countries for oil and focus on larger threats; beating up little countries that never hurt anyone is a grave threat to spreading democracy. Basically Neoliberal with a dash of Marxist. Dean, Gore. (100%)
         
2. Neoliberal

Emphasis on cooperation, consensus, free trade; cooperative, democratic states are more advantageous than rogue autocracies. To secure our own borders, we should make sure other countries are democratic, free-trading, and participate in international organizations: a much more pragmatic version of Liberal. Clinton, Fukuyama, Marshall. (88%)

3. Liberal

Emphasis on freedom, markets, democracy; free democratic states are good and fair, but autocratic states are immoral. We must push for democratization and liberalization around the world using open trade and international organizations: all people should be free. Wilson, Reagan, Kant, Shultz. (73%)

4. Pacifist

Emphasis on violence, injustice, war; states spread war, disease and famine. We must encourage an end to all violence, dismantling of al nuclear stockpiles, and eliminate the causes of division, conflict and violence, perhaps including capitalism or business. Thoreau, Tolstoy. (73%)
         
5. Libertarian

Emphasis on defense, small government, vital interests; states by and large don't attack you if you don't attack them. Governments should have little or no relations with each other as open commerce and mutual respect can maintain peace in most (or all) situations, only attack them when they attack us. Badnarik, Rothbard. (65%)          

6. Marxist

Emphasis on socialism, exploitation, racism; capitalist countries are either false democracies or outright fascist states, socialist countries are more just (or at least less dangerous). Capitalism and racism are evil institutions spreading Western hegemony and propping up decadent empires, either historical processes or street protests (perhaps revolutions) will bring about more humane world. Trotsky, Molotov, Marx! (45%)          

7. Neorealist

Emphasis on power, certainty, stability; states wish to be at peace but the world is unstable and uncertain, so they have to prepare for war to avoid destruction. We must be strong where it is warranted, but military reductions are the default, and arms control agreements can secure some stability. Bush-41, Waltz, Rice. (25%)          

8. Neoconservative

Emphasis on civilizations, democracy, strength; states act through civilizational and cultural means for their own advancement. We must spread democratic institutions and markets to other countries, but also include a very strong military establishment, democracy is a tool of diplomacy and war, ultimately democracies will side with us and we must side with them, although some of our allies may be non-democratic. Bush-43, Kristol, Wolfowitz. (18%)   
       
9. Nationalist

Emphasis on self-determination, ethnicity, bigotry; large states oppress and slaughter ethnic/national minorities. We, as an aspiring country, must use any means necessary to (re)establish our homeland, even as racists and imperialists. Though normally a broader group, this variant is the violent nationalist, sometimes (but not always!) creeping into terrorism. Arafat, Ceku, Adams. (8%)          

10. Realist

Emphasis on power, strength, realpolitik; all states are aggressive and warlike and any chance to improve relative strength will be seized. We must judge our interests and do whatever is necessary to advance them, lest our country be destroyed. Nixon, Morgenthau, Kissinger! (0%) 


753  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: right to work laws on: September 14, 2013, 01:12:01 pm
Only a right wing Democrat would support such an idea.

And yet I am radical by U.S. standards and not a Democrat in large part because they reject socialism.
754  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: right to work laws on: September 14, 2013, 01:06:04 pm
Support (not pro-corporatist)
755  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole cruel and unusual? on: September 14, 2013, 12:59:00 pm
Yes - it has to be option one for me. The argument made by Sanchez in this thread is my reason for not ruling out life imprisonment altogether. Though I reckon everybody has some goodness in them and can be "saved," I do not believe everybody wants to be saved or necessarily will be in spite of even exhaustive, well-intentioned attempts at rehabilitation.

As for Tweed's remark, I agree. The humane response to crime is reforms in public policy and rehab for the perps - not punishment. Some cruelty can be necessary and proper in regards to limitations placed on individual liberty via imprisonment for the sake of the perp and public alike. It is not an outcome I am happy with, but I cannot think of a better way to respond when rights get violated.
756  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of people who fat-shame on: September 14, 2013, 12:20:46 pm
Fat-shaming seems likely to inflict harm, which in my opinion makes it appear obviously HP'esque.

Folks do a lot of unhealthy things for a lot of reasons. They are also not in total control over what they do and how it affects their bodies at the individual level. If one wants others to make better decisions they should instead choose to inspire them with care and tact while promoting environs conducive to positive changes and developments.

Shaming is also not in keeping with egalitarian, solidaristic, or even individualistic values. I am concerned it implies fat people are inferior, perceived as having interests in conflict with those of others deemed to be of healthy weights, and are becoming subjected to excessive pressures to use their rights and freedoms in accordance to what the community prefers. This matter reveals subtle differences in shades of authoritarianism among self-described adherents to liberal values or ideologies - authoritarianism in how they interact with people.

I would not go so far as to describe shamers as HP though. An individual act of vice does not a vicious person make. Please apply your good intentions in a wiser and less destructive way. :\
757  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Snowstalker's pony posts vs. Snowstalker's "serious" posts on: September 14, 2013, 11:45:46 am
The pony posts, of course, though I am also inclined to agree with the serious post he just made. Grin
758  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Political Quiz List. Are you a Quiz Whiz? on: September 14, 2013, 11:28:33 am



. . . Breyer rejects the strict interpretation of the Sixth Amendment espoused by Justice Scalia that all facts necessary to criminal punishment must be submitted to a jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

What's the alternative?

I actually don't know, the wording is really awkward for me to decipher.

The first time I read the passage I interpreted it to mean opposition to a system under which no assertion or claim or fact is permitted before a jury - whether brought forth by the defense or prosecution - without also presenting sufficient evidence to prove its accuracy beyond all reasonable doubt. Independently of that concern, there are very few things I believe can be proven before all reasonable doubt because of my understanding of how knowledge works in regards to subjective perception versus objective knowledge of reality.

The phrase "reasonable doubt" probably has a legal definition that would clarify a bit of my confusion. Hmm... thanks for not letting that slide, otherwise I wouldn't have given it any further thought! What do you think the difference betwixt Breyer and Scalia is on this matter? In all honesty, I don't have the amendments memorized and don't remember the contents of the sixth - and even if I had it right in front of me I'd be reading into the text differently than would either of them I reckon.



For this latest quiz there were several questions to which none of the available options were acceptable. In those cases I answered "not sure" and placed the emphasis on the question at minimum ranking so as to mitigate any misleading influences over my score, though I think the results are a bit skewed nonetheless. Anyway...

Eco-socialism (100%)             
Libertarianism (98%)             
Classical liberalism (97%)             
International communism (97%)             
Neolibertarianism (92%)             
Anarcho-capitalism (92%)             
Democratic socialism (92%)             
Social liberalism (80%)             
Green anarchism (79%)
             
Anarcho-socialism (74%)             
Social democracy (71%)             
Liberal conservatism (61%)             
Christian democracy (59%)             
National communism (53%)             
Paleoconservatism (51%)       
      
Religious anarchism (45%)             
Theocratic Socialism (38%)             
Fascism (36%)             
Neoconservatism (33%)             
Conservative social democracy (27%)


759  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: At Home and Abroad on: September 11, 2013, 11:48:55 am
Alternatively, Barfbag, I would offer...


United Nations:

Exert pressure for democratic reforms, at least implicitly support regional trade and political unification, and strive in the long-run for global federalism.


Foreign Aid:

Multiply aid delivery by a substantial factor - this paid for in part by using some of the funds liberated from drastically cutting back on the armed forces. Markedly reduce the portion of aid committed in military rather than humanitarian support abroad, and aim for direct involvement in nation building rather than handing over funds to oft corrupt foreign government agencies or NGOs at high risk of being intimidated or robbed by raiders on the ground for their supplies.

Put pressure on the IMF to cease exploitation of LDCs, and offer said countries debt forgiveness without requiring them to emulate our own government's public policies.


Free Trade:

Offer free trade agreements to every country - no strings attached. Negotiate with the PRC to end their unfair trade practices, offering in exchange an end to U.S. subsidization of economic sectors (agriculture, auto manufacturing, big oil, etc.) and openness to renegotiate terms of "fair trade" if that is what they prefer. Likewise, offer LDCs in particular opportunities to use some protectionist measures to shelter fledgeling sectors of critical importance to them from U.S. competition, allowing the terms of trade to at least somewhat benefit them more than us.

Ban all sales of arms to countries and foreign organizations with poor human rights records - particularly those showing disregard for civil liberties, support or have illiberal or authoritarian forms of government, and also any other parties which either allow or facilitate arms sales to any of the aforementioned human rights violators. On the economic front, lift all bans of travel and all trade sanctions concerning goods other than weaponry.


China:

Negotiate mutual test bans on WMDs and strive for mutual nuclear disarmament, offering up as a token of goodwill information concerning ABM technology to further reduce the value of intermediately-ranged, intercontinental, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Urge them to allow greater respect for Tibetan interests in exchange for the U.S. reducing its military presence in East Asian waters and an end to its umbrella of protection over Taiwan - whose leaders, for better or worse, lost the Chinese Civil War a very long time ago.
 
Rather than nagging on the PRC incessantly about our own human rights standards, it may be wiser to lead by example and promote intercultural exchanges and bonding. It is in the long-term interests of both peoples to respectfully collaborate on matters of mutual interest while peacefully coexisting. Far more Chinese are satisfied with their government and the anticipated future course of their society than are Americans right now. Theirs is not a nation crying out for liberation, and they certainly have as much a right to self-determination as us.
 

West Asia:

Cease military assistance and threaten to break our alliance if Israel refuses to sit down for serious negotiations with Palestinian representatives to arrive at a settlement for, and then immediately carry out, the implementation of a two-state solution. Both sides need to make some painful concessions but none of them need be irrational to pursue if folks look at the issue with minds more open than in the past. I reckon this should be part of a larger policy shift toward U.S. restoration of long-lost goodwill and solidarity with the West Asian region. This does not mean abandoning or even abusing Israel of course, but rather accepting that Israel can (and often does) settle on the wrong courses of action on a number of big issues.

Hamas is a terrorist organization, for its part, but also representative of the people of Gaza. To erode support for it we need to help Palestine secure sovereignty and build up enough in the way of economic opportunities for its people - especially young men - that they've more attractive things to do in life than partake in the perpetuation of old feuds and animosities. A free and prosperous Palestine will be less inclined to support the likes of Hamas than a poor, desperate one subjugated and otherwise abused by foreigners.


NATO:

Either leave NATO or get Russia into it to eliminate one of the last vestiges of Cold War rivalry: the symbolic power of NATO as a Western alliance of opposition against Russia and its allies. I believe Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus in particular have alarmingly authoritarian tendencies in their governments today and ought to embrace political changes of several kinds in the years ahead, but am not in favor of Europe being divided along West/East lines in the 21st Century.


Cuba:

Withdraw our personnel from and then relinquish control of Guantanamo Bay to the Cuban government. Cease any programs aimed at assassinating Cuban officials, offer asylum to anyone from Cuba who tries to escape to the States, lift all travel restrictions, end the long-standing embargo, and offer humanitarian assistance to offset some of the harm done to the Cuban people by denying them opportunities to trade with us to produce foodstuffs, medical supplies, etc. If/when Cubans are ready to change their country, we can consider helping them then. In the meanwhile it is not our place to intervene.


Military Doctrine:

Cut back substantially on but maintain naval and air forces adequate for self-defense and global projection of force while closing virtually all of our bases abroad and deeply cutting into army programs, letting our national guards assume responsibility for the ground defenses of the homeland. Do not initiate wars and err toward multilateral rather than unilateral actions. Be firm in opposition to genocide and ethnic cleansing, offer military support to revolutionary forces in countries that stand to substantially improve in their protection of human rights, if and when such revolutionary actions are widely popular amongst the people of the countries in question, and do not use hard power as political tool for tending to U.S. economic interests or aggressively spreading any particular creed, dogma, or ideology around the world.

Take exhaustive measures to minimize civilian causalities, take into consideration the interests and values of peoples in countries we may go to war with, and always defer to the war-initiating authority of Congress for military engagements of nearly every kind. Be open, transparent, and focus on winning hearts and minds whenever reasonably possible as an alternative to using sheer, overwhelming force of coercion to achieve goals. There are other considerations I have in mind, as well, but for now am done writing on the subject. Smiley
760  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Which US president most closely aligns with your political views? on: September 11, 2013, 10:26:34 am
Jimmy Carter - though there are still a great many important differences in views.
761  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Political Quiz List. Are you a Quiz Whiz? on: September 11, 2013, 10:09:12 am




Stephen Gerald Breyer (born August 15, 1938) is . . . known for his pragmatic approach to constitutional law, Breyer is generally associated with the more liberal side of the Court. . .

. . . Breyer rejects the strict interpretation of the Sixth Amendment espoused by Justice Scalia that all facts necessary to criminal punishment must be submitted to a jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt. In many other areas on the Court, too, Breyer's pragmatism is considered the intellectual counterweight to Scalia's textualist philosophy. In describing his interpretive philosophy, Breyer has sometimes noted his use of six interpretive tools: text, history, tradition, precedent, the purpose of a statute, and the consequences of competing interpretations. Breyer notes that only the latter two differentiate him from strict constructionists on the Supreme Court such as Scalia. Breyer argues that these sources are necessary, however, and in the former case (purpose, or legislative intent), can in fact provide greater objectivity in legal interpretation than looking merely to what can often be ambiguous statutory text. With the latter (consequences), Breyer argues that considering the impact of legal interpretations is a further way of ensuring consistency with a law's intended purpose.

54% - Breyer
50% - Scalia
48% - Souter
48% - Stevens
48% - Thomas
46% - Ginsburg
43% - Alito
40% - Roberts
36% - Kennedy

Three things to bear in mind: (1.) I am not well-versed in the field of law, (2.) I answered as I thought the Constitution dictated rather than how I would answer for a constitution of my design, (3.) I snipped out the parts of Breyer's result text that do not apply to my outlook.






762  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Who do you consider to be the most underrated/overrated US President? on: September 11, 2013, 09:41:48 am
Most overrated: President Kennedy

Most underrated: President Carter
763  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Your Political Matrix Answers on: September 05, 2013, 10:58:21 pm
1. The right to individual autonomy is important, even if it threatens collective security.
Agree

2. The government should penalize organizations that practice outsourcing.
Disagree

3. Giving faith-based charities the same government resources as secular organizations is a good idea.
Disagree

4. We should increase foreign aid to countries struggling with poverty.
Agree (Critical)

5. We should increase funding for education.
Usually Agree

6. Heterosexual couples should receive higher marital recognition than same-sex couples.
Disagree

7. Overall, free trade hurts more than it helps.
Usually Disagree

8. We should reduce the number of government programs substantially.
Usually Agree

9. Abortion should be illegal or very heavily restricted.
Disagree

10. The government should fund museums, theaters, and other cultural institutions that are unable to survive independently.
Agree

11. The government should subsidize health insurance for those who cannot easily afford it.
Usually Agree

12. The government should work to reduce children's exposure to offensive radio and television content.
Disagree

13. It is unfair that wealthier people pay higher tax rates.
Disagree (Critical)

14. The minimum wage should be raised.
Disagree

15. Marijuana should be legalized.
Agree

16. Society focuses too much on forcing equality at the expense of real merit.
Disagree

17. Violating individual rights is acceptable when it comes to fighting terrorism.
Disagree

18. Current levels of government regulation on industry are excessive.
Usually Agree

19. The government should provide basic needs for all people.
Agree (Critical)

20. The death penalty should be an option for serious crimes.
Disagree

21. We should reduce the difficulty of immigration.
Agree

22. Union workers should be protected against being fired during strikes.
Usually Agree

23. Prostitution should be legalized.
Agree

24. Flag burning should be banned.
Disagree

25. I support affirmative action.
Neutral

26. The government should impose tariffs to protect industries from foreign competition.
Disagree

27. Physician-assisted suicide should be legal if the patient is capable of informed, rational consent.
Agree

I seem to fluctuate on a couple responses; I'm not going to bother changing my sig this time.

Economic score: -1.68
Social score: -8.00
764  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: AU Political Compass on: September 05, 2013, 10:34:45 am
68% Green
61% Labor
51% Coalition

765  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the Free Syrian Army on: September 04, 2013, 09:17:09 am
In absolute terms they are neither an entirely freedom nor horrible army, though the colonel in charge of the force is clearly the former if his statements can be taken at face value. The group seems unambiguously a FA when compared to the Syrian state, or Islamist opposition groups.
766  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Who do you side with in Syria? on: September 03, 2013, 09:09:07 am
I support the Kurdish nationalists, oppose the Assad regime, and have a more favorable opinion of the  The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and Free Syria Army than I do of either Hezbollah or the Syrian Arab Republic's government.
767  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Furthest latitudes and longitudes you've visited on: September 02, 2013, 11:25:52 pm
North: 60 33' N (Kenai, AK)
South: 26 25' N (Fort Myers Beech, FL)
West: 15113' W (Kenai, AK)
East: 77 02' W (Washington, DC)
768  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Which outcome would you prefer in Syria? on: September 02, 2013, 11:02:04 pm
Option 2

Without the benefit of hindsight I am eager to see Syria's regime crushed and a new form of government created. Usually I would prefer to base my choice on the preferences of citizens of the country in question but (a.) those in Syria have limited access to information sources not under state influence, and (b.) I have yet to see any polling data that suggests most of Syrians are in support of the Assad regime and would still be even if the accusations against his government were hypothetically proven true.

With the benefit of hindsight I would favor a post-war effort to round up Syrian intellectuals and have them rather than the rebels decide on, and initially preside over, the new form of government while receiving substantial amounts of aid and military hardware from the West - the appearances of foreign imperialism to many in both the region and Syria itself shrugged off as unavoidable and therefore part of the acceptable cost of liberation.
769  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: If a civil war like Syria happened in your country... on: September 02, 2013, 10:24:59 pm
The detail of using chemical weapons would be irrelevant to me in the event that the U.S. became embroiled in a civil war akin to that occurring in Syria. Using a succinct briefing from Freedom House as a guide of reference I would hypothetically expect the following to be true of the States in such a scenario:

  • A de-facto one-party system prevails, only superficially allowing for democratic elections.
  • The Constitution requires the President of the United States be of Christian faith.
  • Special police units intimate the opposition and suppress freedom of expression.
  • Police oft coerce confessions using torture or by arresting the suspect's relatives.
  • It is illegal to express anything that undermines social cohesion or is negative about the state.
  • All broadcast news sources from within the U.S. are owned and controlled by the state.
  • Many journalists have been assassinated, jailed, or tortured for stepping out of line.
  • Many university professors have been fired and/or jailed for being critical of the state.
  • Especially outspoken opposition activists are jailed to silence their political views.
  • Co-opted state informants report on dissenters, promoting a culture of self-censorship.
  • Access to the internet generally entails extensive government filtering for censorship.
  • There is some institutionalized discrimination in favor of Whites and against Native Americans.

As for the armed conflict itself:

  • The National Guard was mobilized to disperse some early protests, firing live munitions.
  • Some fragments of the military have sided with the protestors and opposition militias.
  • The government insists the armed militias are affiliated with foreign terrorist groups.
  • Some of militias are, in fact, comprised of political extremists and Christian crusaders.
  • Some of the militias are aided and/or based in other parts of the West or Latin America.
  • Pro-government forces in the war are primarily from the military and "Patriot" groups.
  • Actors on both sides of the conflict are responsible for numerous human rights abuses.
  • Civil war has added millions to the number of homeless and impoverished Americans.
  • The civil war has led to hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties as collateral damage.
  • A similarly significant number of Americans have fled into and seek refuge in Canada.
  • The United States is successfully obstructing moves in the U.N. toward intervention.
  • A slight majority of Americans side with the government, seeking an end to the violence.

Under those circumstances, or others similar to them, I would very strongly support foreign intervention while also unwaveringly desiring both the ruling regime's defeat and the founding of a new government.

Edit: If you only want a response to the chemical weapon provision, however, I would likely trust foreign inspectors more than those dispatched by my country's own government agencies.
770  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Political Quiz List. Are you a Quiz Whiz? on: September 02, 2013, 04:36:02 pm
Republican Libertarian

26 Radical-Conservative
25 Liberal-Populist
-1 Capitalist-Socialist

Republican - This includes a large bulk of modern-day American politicians, whether Republican or Democratic.  This includes values of basic racial equality but not necessarily affirmative action.  It's a strong rejection of racism and a strong embrace of democracy, but not into the social leveling or hyper-secularism of the democrat level.

Libertarian - Many people in the US Libertarian Party are minor heretics or simply adhere to certain social controls while remaining otherwise nearly anarchical.  These people, in addition to a number of especially independent Democrats and Republicans, fit into the libertarian category.  They do not seek the philosophical uber-consistency of the anarchists, but they propose most or nearly all of the same ideas and policies.  Someone in the ACLU or the Republican Liberty Caucus would likely fall here.
771  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Would you be willing to personally kill Bashar al-Assad? on: September 02, 2013, 04:24:01 pm
No, though if I were a citizen of Syria my answer would be yes.
772  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Favorite American left wing third party? on: September 01, 2013, 10:42:20 am
GPUSA for me, though I agree quite completely with TNF that these are all pretty unfortunate options.
773  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Political Quiz List. Are you a Quiz Whiz? on: September 01, 2013, 10:21:48 am
Your F Score is: 1.2

"You are a whining rotter."
774  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Independents on: August 31, 2013, 09:10:31 pm
Almost all the independents that I've seen on the forum are democrat-leaning, but since I didn't vote and won't vote I can't see the result.

It currently stands at 42.1% (8 votes) for Republicans and 57.9% (11 votes) for Democrats. Smiley
775  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Green Party vs. Pirate Party on: August 31, 2013, 09:06:50 pm
I regard both positively, and think they both have commendable core values. For the time being I'll side with the Greens since the Pirates are pragmatic and without any guiding ideology when it comes to political economic systems. From one election to the next, however, I am very likely to consider candidates put forth by either group with more interest than those running for their Democratic or Republican counterparts.
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