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751  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: If the preceding poster were an animal what kind of animal would they be? on: August 08, 2013, 09:52:55 am
752  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Are Boomer Values Holding Millennial Kids Back Economically? on: August 08, 2013, 09:26:16 am
A lot of things are holding Millennials back, though I will avoid addressing Boomer values for lack of a clear understanding of what those values are. Economically, the ten attitudes I reckon are most harmful to young folk these days are:

  • Success and social status are defined by what one owns
  • Patience and willingness to work will make one middle class
  • It is always important to upgrade goods to be modern
  • One always saves money by buying things at marked down prices
  • It is alright to buy stuff now and pay later
  • School is (or should be) basic job training
  • Going to college / being competent guarantees a decent job
  • One must have a car - especially before their twenties
  • Holidays and relationships demand material gifting and decor
  • Internships guarantee a path to paid work

Opebo is of course currect when he draws attention to the system itself being a problem, and "success" being gauged by and secured using money in today's culture. This is a tragically superficial and backwards paradigm, and hints at liberal capitalism's inferiority to socialism as an engine for advancing the best interests of the individual.

Real success is having the good life. It comes in part from labors in business, ambition, and the sense to be independent in pursuit of ones own interests, sure, but also from having a sensible balance between work and leisure, a healthy and manageable amount of stress, firm security in regards to basic material necessities, just terms of competition, a status that reflects ones deeds and qualities of character, and environs which inspire one to grow, collaborate, and engage in self-improvement rather than fight with others over a modest slice of the economic pie as if rival scavengers starved of nourishment, eying a fetid corpse already picked over for its choicest bits.
753  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: what should the minimum wage be *in your state* on: August 07, 2013, 07:43:57 pm
I concur quite strongly with Averroës Nix concerning the basic income, in which case no minimum wage would be needed.

Given how things actually are at present though I am inclined to suggest a minimum wage of $7/hr. in Montana. I make roughly $8.40/hr. right now in an entry-level government position and could afford to live independently (albeit very modestly) here working for that pay 17 hours per week.
754  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Political Quiz List. Are you a Quiz Whiz? on: August 07, 2013, 07:29:54 pm

You are a Social Liberal (86% permissive) and an Economic Liberal (21% permissive)

You are best described as a: Socialist

You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness.

Social Democratism

You scored: -8 (Moral Order), 7 (Moral Rules)!

The Social Democratic current came into being by a break within the Socialist movement in the early 20th century. One reformist group of Socialists rejected the idea of a Socialist revolution, and instead tried to achieve the Socialist ideals through Democratic means. Social Democrats are in favor of a highly regulated Capitalist market economy, but with a strong and large government [Moderate Interdependence]. Social Democracy is often considered the most commonly embraced political ideology in the world.

755  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: How would you vote?: Norwegian election, 2013 on: August 05, 2013, 08:26:37 pm
None of the parties combine the economic model and role for government I have got in mind, so I selected Venstre for being the closest. SV, Miljøpartiet de Grønne, and Samefolkets Parti each have my sympathies to some extent, as well!
756  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Opinion of replacing Columbus Day with Native American Day on: August 04, 2013, 02:24:02 pm
I'd prefer Columbus Day just go away. And I'd like to rename a bunch of things in terms of buildings and geographic locales so that they are no longer celebrating HP. Thanksgiving can be the holiday that gets replaced with one dedicated in honor to Native Americans instead.
757  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Confederate Battle Flag on: August 04, 2013, 02:20:51 pm

The stars and bars represent Southern nationalism to me. I consider the symbol somewhat offensive since the CSA would hypothetically - in my opinion - be more opposed to my stances on a multitude of issues concerning individual liberty, social justice, the environment, economy, and international affairs than the USA is already. Yet it is also a bit heroic because I reckon a people ought to be self-deterministic and have a government that both serves their best interests and is accountable to them. So depending on the context of its flying I either consider the flag in question revolutionary and noble or chauvinistic and worthy of contempt.
758  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Which of the following shows is your favorite? on: August 04, 2013, 01:31:00 pm
My response is basically the same as Oldies' - I've sampled some of Game of Thrones and Walking Dead but both seemed too dark for my tastes. My favorite shows on television at present are Dr. Who, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Psych, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart John Oliver. Since it's the off-season for me I have only been watching BBC World News and re-runs of Star Trek TNG lately. As a side note, I get paid < $7,000/yr. There's no way I'd ever buy channels like HBO. lol
759  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Political Quiz List. Are you a Quiz Whiz? on: August 03, 2013, 05:21:01 pm
79% Green (environment, foreign policy, science, social issues)
78% Democratic (environment, immigration, healthcare, economy)
61% Libertarian (foreign policy, immigration)
54% Socialist (immigration, social issues)
20% Republican (science)

Science - Republican
Environment - Green
Immigration - Socialist
Social - Green
Foreign Policy - Libertarian, Green
The Economy - Democrat
Domestic Policy - Libertarian
Healthcare - Democrat

It was an interesting test, though the results are misleading in part because the quiz never asked me about the issues I care about most, and some questions did not give me a suitable choice for an answer (I did not add my own since doing so seemed likely to make the answer devoid of weight in the final results).
760  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Free Trade on: July 26, 2013, 09:04:14 am
I started out as a Trotskyist years ago and have had a lot of time since then - certainly a handful of years at university included - to learn more about other perspectives and temper my views. My values have remained fairly consistent all throughout, but the policies I favor shift over time as I learn about new and seemingly better ways to accomplish my core political goals. So even though I identify with leftist labels and on balance am much more so than not, I have indeed picked up a lot of ideas from other ideologies along the way which pull me a bit more toward the centre, aye.
761  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Welfare and Poverty on: July 25, 2013, 11:55:03 pm
I'm ok with leaving social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps to the states. They'd do a much better job at managing them in terms of spending anyways. A lot of right wingers would accuse you of socialism based on suggesting the government provide a livable income, but you know what? If all the government did was provide everyone with a livable income and abolished general welfare services, then our debt wouldn't be a tenth of what it is now. However, public education has already put us further in debt. The problem right now is that there aren't enough college degree jobs for every single person out there. If we're all professionals or highly paid, then who would work the smaller jobs? The perfect economy is balanced and in the perfect economy, not everyone does well. You're right about red tape. It has to go.

Ya - the liberal welfare regime's strategy for providing targeted, often means-tested aid to the poor seems pretty inefficient to me in terms of how much good each taxpayer dollar is able to achieve for the recipients of state benefits, and it also concerns me in that by giving aid specifically to one segment of the population or another that it runs the risk of bringing attention to and fostering class divides rather than building solidarity and perhaps helping us as a people arrive at a point where ones socioeconomic status has very little (if anything at all) to do with whether one is financially rich, relatively poor, or somewhere betwixt the two.

Aside from that, right wingers would be correct in their description. My previous post included what I consider a transition to market socialism in its prescription for combating poverty. On the other hand, the basic income scheme is also preferred by some capitalist libertarians who still believe there should be some form of guaranteed assistance for those in need. Smiley
762  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Free Trade on: July 25, 2013, 11:37:10 pm
I am okay with a LDC doing so as part of their plan to advance through industrialization if they so choose, but am not myself an advocate of corporatism or policies reminiscent of mercantilism when it comes to our country's own economic agenda. I am okay with a select few industries being run by the state if their alignment with the public interest is of critical importance... but no, I would not have bailed out the U.S. auto industry or bought in to the notion of "too big to fail." Let markets facilitate both creation and destruction so long as the social rights of the People are being tended to and some basic rules and guidelines are in place for refereeing how people go about settling their conflicts of interest in affairs of business.

Or more succinctly, one may describe my tendencies as ordoliberal when it comes to regulation.

To be honest, I consider policies of corporatist or nationalist character to entail more of what many folk call "big government" than I find palatable.
763  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Welfare and Poverty on: July 25, 2013, 06:29:43 pm
Deliver a basic income to every individual without strings attached - the sizes of these payouts fixed to bare minimum cost of living estimates from one state, county, or municipality to the next. Subsequently abolish TANF, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, etc. Allow lower tiers of government to design and implement their own welfare policies as they want provided the basic incomes are in no manner reduced, means-tested, withheld, or converted into non-cash forms of payment.

Abolish corporate and payroll taxes, require all businesses operating within the U.S. to become either worker cooperatives or sole proprietorships (criminalizing corporations and partnerships), establish a social insurance scheme for health care and mental health services, increase income taxes across the board, constitutionally guarantee citizens primary and secondary education as well as access to electricity and communications technologies, offer public debit card services, transfer all land and economic capital to the People, and then provide terms by which individuals may (conditionally) claim properties to exclusively control and manipulate within the bounds of law.

I am also partial to reviewing policies in search of ways to cut through red tape, promote efficiency and competition in markets with minimial state intervention, diminish the hassles associated with regulatory compliance, and to delegate most rule-making responsibilities at businesses from bulky government bureaucracies to the workers of each respective firm.
764  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Taking a Bite Out of Crime on: July 25, 2013, 05:48:57 pm
. . . Aside from practicality, mandatory sentencing removes power from the judiciary system and puts it in the hands of the legislative system. It actually mandates a lack of judgment rather than letting judges use judgment.

But why is that desirable?
765  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: CA-43 congressional election, 1980. on: July 25, 2013, 02:21:29 pm
Burgener sounds like the kind of Republican I would seriously consider voting for even if his Democratic opponent wasn't a white supremacist.
766  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Opinion: Barack Obama is the new George HW Bush on: July 25, 2013, 02:17:36 pm
Mostly agree in practice, mostly disagree in theory
767  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: is Stalinism morally superior to Nazism? on: July 25, 2013, 01:54:11 pm
I reckon Stalinism is morally superior to Nazism but again... neither is desirable. :\

Stalinism as a variation on Marxist-Leninism is distinguished by its plans to:

  • Achieve socialism without foreign assistance, if need be
  • Afford that goal primacy over other ideals and interests
  • Bring each country to a nationalist, democratic stage of development prior to socialism
  • Defend its bureaucratic "workers' state" from dissenters

Nazism as an offshoot of fascism is distinguished by its calls for:

  • Aryanism and racist opposition to the Jews, Slavs, Romani, etc.
  • Campaigns in eugenics to promote racial purity and superiority
  • The proletarian homeland to defeat foreign, plutocratic nations
  • A stronger aversion to capitalism than to mainstream socialism

Edit: Mind you, this is judging the ideas themselves. Personally, I more strongly oppose fascism on principle than Marxist-Leninsim. Stalinism is inherently totalitarian but - unlike Nazism - does not in practice have to be anti-egalitarian or persecute peoples based on their affixed statuses.
768  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Term Limits on: July 25, 2013, 12:44:19 pm
Term limits are a horrible idea. They dramatically increase the influence of special interests and lobbyists.

How so? I realize there would be interest group influence, yet don't multiple terms give these factions greater opportunities to establish gift relationships with politicians, wining and dining them at social functions and giving generously to their campaigns - establishing some rapport, trust, and maybe even a sense of obligation to reciprocate their good treatment when issues come up over which stronger influences are not in play?

This reveals a flaw in combining pluralism with representative democracy regardless.

Voters tend to support the reelection of their congresspersons even when those representatives have developed conflicts of interest, preferential attitudes toward certain interest groups, etc. While the benefits of the system outweigh the costs, in my opinion, the People have shown themselves not to be much good at holding well-established leaders accountable for their moral transgressions and forays in turning to corrupt practices when addressing policy-related matters.

Also:  Earmarks are necessary to grease the wheels of legislative compromise, the current ban placed on them in the Congress is a direct and primary cause of the perpetual state of legislative gridlock this country is currently experiencing.  

The costs of earmarks is minuscule compared to other budget areas, and their benefits often outweigh these costs because earmarks can actually be used to grow the economy unlike entitlements.

This may merely be a difference in priorities but I consider gridlock a healthy outcome when the People are themselves deeply divided over an issue without a strong majority being in support of either side. The risk of representative democracy becoming perverted into ochlocracy seems much greater to me when a slim plurality (or majority, for that matter) of leaders is able to have its way in the policy-making process over the rest.

And while I agree that the costs of earmarks is quite small, their use implies an emphasis on short-term desire for quality results rather than long-term concern for quality of process. Provisions should have to survive direct, up-or-down votes without in the process taking other pieces of legislation hostage. Turning any bill into a "Christmas tree" is reprehensible.

I would also contend the point of entitlements is to enhance the individual's economic liberty - not grow the economy. Expansion of the economy should not be the prime concern of the government when it comes time to make decisions.
769  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Taking a Bite Out of Crime on: July 25, 2013, 12:11:33 pm
I have not really made up my mind about it because it is an area of policy I have not studied sufficiently to develop a well-informed decision. As a first impression, however, I lean toward opposition on grounds of the criminal justice system being capable of screwing over morally excellent people who had isolated lapses in sound judgement versus relatively vicious folk who present a greater long-term threat to both themselves and others. People who show themselves to be such a threat need to be isolated from the rest of society - not as a punishment so much as a measure of last resort if they are not responding favorably to attempts at rehabilitation and reintegration. Mandatory sentencing seems to get in the way of bringing victims and offenders together to flexibly work out their grievances and settle on what needs to happen moving ahead.
770  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Free Trade on: July 24, 2013, 11:47:11 pm
Eliminate the corporate tax altogether and partake in free trade with any country which desires it, yet also accept trade agreements with LDCs under terms which allow them to engage in some degree of protectionism - especially when strategically arranged to nurture fledgling, vulnerable sectors of their economies or otherwise reinforce their citizens' financial security.
771  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Term Limits on: July 24, 2013, 11:41:38 pm
Personally, I think all elected positions should be limited to one term, and the length of such terms increased somewhat. Judges on the Supreme Court should not be above those kinds of limits, either. When it comes to compensation, meanwhile, I reckon the President and congresspersons ought to receive salaries equal to four and two times the average American adult's total, annual income, respectively.

Antonio made a great post in the other thread concerning campaign finance reform, by the way. I am fully in favor of public financing and, although there are some variations on his proposal I'd be willing to seriously consider, elections seem too important for private property rights to enjoy primacy over them.
772  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Force-Feeding Prisoners on: July 24, 2013, 11:24:39 pm
Nobody should be force-fed. Hunger strikes are a form of non-violent protest
773  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: What should our tax brackets be? on: July 24, 2013, 11:05:37 pm
Though I like some of your proposals here, I'd offer:

10% tax on income from $0.01 to $10,000
20% tax on income from $10,000.01 to $20,000.00
30% tax on income from $20,000.01 to $30,000.00
40% tax on income from $30,000.01 to $50,000.00
50% tax on income from $50,000.01 on with no cap

...with those figures adjusted for inflation, of course. Capital gains and inheritance would be included in calculations of ones annual income (though I might be willing to allow inheritance up to a certain dollar figure to go untaxed), whereas basic income from the state is totally tax-exempt. Taxes would be calculated on an individual-by-individual basis rather than there being different rates for singles, folk with dependents, married couples, etc.

Eliminate all income tax deductions except for charity, and eliminate all other forms of tax for bringing in revenue at the federal level. This includes a cut of the corporate tax to 0%.

Raise or lower rates - but at fixed ratios relative to each other - as needed to get out of debt, then attempt to rise comfortably into black ink before aiming for balanced budgets rather than surpluses. Generally speaking, low tax rates are desirable but not a high priority.
774  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Mandatory daily sports lesson in schools on: July 24, 2013, 10:19:31 pm
I reckon it should be a republic/province level decision.

Personally, if we are just talking about sporting for its character and teamwork building boons, I recommend moving away from lessons and time spent on physical contests and more towards team-oriented console or PC gaming at school.

My opinions of programs and classes to promote physical fitness are a separate matter.
775  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Taking a Bite Out of Crime on: July 24, 2013, 09:54:18 pm
I agree with you concerning Amber Alert, the death penalty, and (to some extent) police unions but am otherwise a bit uneasy about the remaining provisions. The importance of deterrence in a criminal justice system is not lost upon me, of course, but for me at least restorative justice holds truer than its retributive counterpart.
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