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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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751  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 2000 Party Nominations on: May 23, 2013, 10:25:12 am
Nader is too paternalistic for my tastes given that I would have other choices during the nominations, Biafra is hard for me to take seriously, and Kovel sounds awfully brilliant but is too uncomfortably radical on matters of the economy and international relations. So although I could do without his use of hard drugs and reminiscing on the supernatural, and there is quite a bit of ambiguity for me on where he stands on a number of issues, I'm getting mostly good vibes from Stephen Gaskin here. He gets my vote in the poll.

Edit: By the way, out of those listed, Paul Wellstone would be my preferred choice in the Democratic primaries.
752  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Nuclear disarment on: May 23, 2013, 09:45:54 am
I reckon disarmament would actually make the world a better place. Nuclear weapons did not prevent the continued outbreak of armed conflicts - whether minor or major in scale. Plenty of proxy wars were fought in far flung corners of the world, ethnic conflicts betwixt non-nuclear powers continued to occur, genocides still unfolded, and the Second Congo War during the '90s claimed millions of lives in Africa. Focusing on the nuclear powers in particular, the USA and USSR rather narrowly avoided an exchange of nuclear bombardments on more than one occasion and the destructive potential for such an onslaught makes even the bloodiest of conventional wars in history pale in comparison.

For nuclear deterrents to succeed in bringing about an end to major conflicts every country in the world needs to either have nuclear devices and means of reliably, swiftly delivering those devices to targets thousands of miles away or otherwise be under the umbrella of protection offered by a nuclear power. It does not seem that any nuclear powers tend to take a strong interest in extending such protection to LDCs in particular when there is nothing in it for them, and I reckon we can agree it would be a pretty bad idea to proliferate nuclear weapons and ICBM technologies so that most countries on the planet have at least a few of them in service. Virtually any armed confrontation could escalate into a wanton, mutual slaughter of millions even between the smallest of countries.

It would not matter if the deterrence works under ordinary circumstances because subterfuge and underhanded maneuvers could potentially be used by either state or non-state actors to - for their own benefit, obviously - set up other countries to partake in a nuclear confrontation by setting a device off at an opportune time and location. Even if we could enact measures to effectively safeguard against such ruses or at the very least ensure retaliation against the country of a provocative attack's origin, surely there would be terrorist groups capable of wresting control of at least a few of these weapons away from a LDC and, having no fixed, territorial location on a map to retaliate against, not be subject to the doctrine of MAD regardless of whether it otherwise generally works.

And to top it all off I must ask, what kind of righteous government would ever threaten to or actually intentionally kill tens of millions of innocent (and yes, most of them really are innocent) civilians to achieve their political aims? Hell - if I were in charge of a country and we got hit by nuclear weapons I would only order retaliatory strikes against military targets isolated from civilian populations. All it would take for a would-be aggressor to defeat such a conscience-driven regime as mine would be to nestle their bases in the hearts or peripheries of urban centers. Sad

Personally, I would recommend proliferating ABM technology, offering to sell those missiles to any country that cannot afford to develop and fabricate their own, use treaties to scale down arsenals into the dozens rather than hundreds or thousands of nuclear devices, ban all forms of testing for nuclear weapons, try to convince countries to allow each others inspectors free access to verify compliance, and then eventually seek a worldwide treaty to ban them outright, with all nuclear powers getting rid of their last 1-20 or so devices at the same time. Likewise for radiological, biological, and chemical weapons. There may also soon come a time when restrictions on EMP weaponry and drones will be necessary, unfortunately. It seems countries that seek WMDs mostly don't want to be invaded and decisively trounced by overwhelmingly stronger opponents.

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I see the importance of making countries interdependent, both politically and economically, and establishing global institutions for maintaining peace and security.
753  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Which of these countries would you rather live in? on: May 23, 2013, 08:38:09 am
I'll be going with Libertineland this time around, though there would obviously be a lot about it I would want to see changed.
754  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Who will you vote for in 2016? on: May 19, 2013, 01:14:59 pm
Mostly likely I'll go third party again in 2016, seriously considering candidates in this order:

1. The GPUSA primaries contender who least alienates me
2. Whichever socialist candidate appears most reasonable
3. It's a toss-up between the Justice Party and Libertarians; surprise me!
4. Then everybody else who is choosing to campaign for it

I am not aware of any Democrats on the list who are not well to my right.

755  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: What is your favorite game show? on: May 17, 2013, 06:44:31 pm
756  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Battle of the States: Minnesota vs. Wisconsin on: May 17, 2013, 06:39:46 pm
Minnesota, of course!
757  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Battle of the States: Mountain West on: May 17, 2013, 06:38:48 pm
Montana <3
758  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Opinion of Theistic Evolution on: May 17, 2013, 06:35:46 pm
Positive (Atheist)    
759  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Which AF member's "ideal nation" would you rather live in? on: May 15, 2013, 09:06:21 am
TNFland for me - though I'd criticize the government there just as much as I do now in the U.S.
760  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Most Right-- and Left-Wing Politicians You'd Vote For on: May 15, 2013, 08:42:21 am
In a presidential election, depending on the circumstances...

Right: Gary Johnson
Left: Stewart Alexander

In state and local elections with fewer choices I am unsure.
761  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Challenge: describe "your" country on: May 15, 2013, 02:35:42 am
The country in question would be a place of stark political and economic juxtapositions.

It is a federation of constitutional republics and representative, liberal democracy yet socialist symbolism is ubiquitous. A “me-oriented” culture, well-established class system, deeply-embedded love of individualism, and robust market competition contrast with a guaranteed minimum income, compensation controls, decentralized management of the economy via worker cooperatives, social programs promising the most fundamental material necessities of life to all, and the third rail of the country’s politics: workplace democracy. The value of egalitarianism is stressed as an ideal but in practice ones lot in life is largely at the mercy of market forces. Ones fortunes are liable to swing high and low in the wake of co-op successes and failures. Most workers go through bankruptcy at some point in their lives and social mobility unfortunately cuts both ways. High taxes and the need to save up as a hedge against risks incurred through heavy reinvestment of income into ones co-op translates into only modest amounts of disposable income for workers - discouraging them from the sort of consumerism one would observe in, say, the States.

In spite of a fluid labour market and the overall ease of doing business, environmental policies keep energy costs high and contribute to economic expansion occurring at an anemic crawl - growth of GDP prone to slumps in which it fails to surpass the usually low rate of inflation. The nationalized nuclear industry is uncontroversial and provides most of the electricity demanded by the public. Liberals push for deregulation and worry the current environmental agenda is hindering national development with mountains of red tape whereas greens are determined to fully shift to renewable sources of energy. More eccentrically, many animal species have been extended so many rights that ranching has become dominated by vast co-ops which shoulder most family farms out of the market. Many folk in the mining and timber industries are frustrated by how much of the land is designated as wilderness fully off-limits to development and exploitation.

Elections and campaigns are internationally deemed to be free and fair but are also tightly regulated and attract domestic criticism. All factions benefit from proportional allotment of seats in congress, a small handful of public media outlets provide viewers with quality coverage of party platforms, candidates, the issues, and emerging political events but many claim the state controls much of the media and the most influential of political institutions in academia behind the scenes while infringing on the constitutionally-promised freedom of expression. Term limits prevent voters from getting to know their representatives well, so they are more inclined to vote for or against entire parties - parties that frustrate them with their internal bickering, power struggles, embarrassing scandals, and doctrinal splits. Socialist, green, liberal, and conservative parties are often gridlocked in congress and - in spite of having sharply reduced income inequality since the country’s founding - efforts to promote equality of opportunity both within government and outside of it in society as a whole have yielded only mixed results. Partisanship reaches a feverishly high pitch once every ten years when a constitutional convention is automatically convened to update the terms of the social contract.

The government is irreligious and tends to incessantly nag its citizens with public service announcements - delegating most regulatory responsibilities to the many provinces. Strict constitutional limits on the government’s power combine with a comprehensive list of social rights for it to enforce yielded a multicultural society, legal recreational drug use, legal prostitution, a sexually liberated population, a noticeable absence of censorship in the media (including for obscenities), shift toward rehabilitating rather than imprisoning most convicts, state acknowledgement of civil partnership pacts betwixt any combination of consenting adults, and so forth. Leaders are preachier with than tough on diplomatic matters - fussing about humanitarian crises abroad while maintaining only minimalist armed forces. The state cannot increase the funding without diving into deficit spending yet manages to make a difference in many places through generous contributions of aid. Military interventions are only practical courses of action when allies are willing to help.

Edit: I’d be willing to elaborate on anything if asked, and would gladly discuss any matters I forgot to cover in this initial response. I'm rubbish with pulling statistics out of thin air so I've abstained from including any.
762  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: How do you pronounce Oregon? on: May 15, 2013, 12:16:21 am
Orr-gen for me - oddly identical to how I pronounce "organ."
763  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do you say "yes sir/no sir" (or ma'am) to employees at Taco Bell on: May 11, 2013, 10:35:45 am
I address anyone over the age of five or six with whom I am not well-acquainted with as sir or ma'am - in part because I am very polite and in part because there would be detrimental social repercussions if I were to use "comrade," which I would ideally prefer to use, instead.
764  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: The North American Union on: May 11, 2013, 10:25:07 am
I'd certainly be open to having my state annexed by Canada - though I don't much fancy living under a constitutional monarchy. xD
765  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: President Forever 2008 + Primaries: Policy Planks on: May 11, 2013, 10:18:47 am
Abortion: CL ". . . Ban partial-birth abortions except in the case of life of the mother."
Budget: C "Balance lowering the deficit with other priorities. No long-term deficits."
Business Tax: FR "Significantly decrease business taxation."
Education: CL "Support our public school system . . . Increase funding."
Energy: CL "Invest in clean energy and end oil company subsidies. Cut oil use . . ."
Environment: FL "The environment should be our first national priority . . ."
Gun Control: CL ". . . Ban assault rifles, require registration/background checks."
Health Care: CL "Universal health care whether public or private . . ."
Homeland Security: L ". . . Reduce security measures and funding."
Immigration: CL "Legal immigration is great. Support guest-worker program . . . and amnesty."
Iran: FL "Iran should be able to develop nuclear technology . . ."
Iraq: L "Withdraw all American troops at once. This was an illegal war of aggression."
Outsourcing: CR "Outsourcing is not a problem, it . . . helps America."
Personal Tax: FL "Increase income tax for everyone."
Same-Sex Marriage: FL "Same-sex marriage is a fundamental human right."
Social Security: R "Gradually scale down . . . implement privatization . . . over time."
Labour Unions: CL "Labor Unions . . . allow workers to collectively better themselves . . ."
War on Terror: L ". . . develop an anti-terror strategy . . . to stop economic and social injustice."

That being said, a lot of the issues I most care about are not among those aforementioned.
766  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: President Forever Policy Planks on: May 11, 2013, 09:40:07 am
I chose the closest fit for each of these; on several issues none truly matched my preferences.

[  ] Unrestricted access to abortions. (L)
[X] Legal abortions in the first two trimesters for the mother's health. (CL)
[  ] Legal abortions in the first trimester for the mother's health. (C)
[  ] No legal abortions, except to save the mother's life or rape. (CR)
[  ] No legal abortions. (R)

(Legal abortions in the first two trimesters, and in the third for mother's health.)

//Affirmative Action
[  ] Make all federal agencies follow strict quotas. (L)
[  ] Diversity is a compelling reason for affirmative action. (CL)
[  ] The benefits of diversity can justify affirmative action. (C)
[  ] Affirmative action programs only in certain cases. (CR)
[X] Abolish all federal affirmative action programs. (R)

(Abolish affirmative action only after a new welfare regime is put into place.)

//Balanced Budget
[  ] A deficit is fine - focus on social programs. (L)
[  ] Military spending is more important than the deficit. (CL)
[  ] Balance lowering the deficit with other priorities. (C)
[  ] A Balanced Budget amendment to eliminate the deficit. (CR)
[X] Eliminate all national debt as quickly as possible. (R)

(Accomplish this through deep defense cuts and sharp tax increases.)

//Business Tax
[  ] Significantly increase business taxation. (L)
[  ] Increase business taxation. (CL)
[  ] Businesses are taxed the right amount. (C)
[  ] Reduce business taxation. (CR)
[X] Significantly reduce business taxation. (R)

(Shift the tax burden more toward personal income and capital gains.)

//Campaign Finance Reform
[X] Elections are rigged for the two parties - we need major reform! (L)
[  ] We need to significantly reduce corporate donations. (CL)
[  ] We need to put more power into smaller donors' hands. (C)
[  ] The McCain/Feingold bill is sufficient. (CR)
[  ] No campaign finance reform is needed. (R)

(Lots of reform is needed for this. Omgz so much reform. Just saying.)

[X] The environment must be our first national priority. (L)
[  ] Good environmental policies are good economic policies. (CL)
[  ] Balance environmental policies with sound economic policies. (C)
[  ] Economic policies must come before environmental policies. (CR)
[  ] The environment is fine, we don't need to worry about it. (R)

(Not a "first national priority" so much as "one of the top priorities.")

[  ] No school vouchers, large increase to federal funding. (L)
[X] No school vouchers, increase federal funding. (CL)
[  ] Lower-income school vouchers, increase federal funding. (C)
[  ] School vouchers for lower-income students. (CR)
[  ] School vouchers for anyone. (R)

(I am, however, willing to explore options for privatized education.)

//Free Trade
[  ] We need to erect large tariff barriers to protect all our industries. (L)
[  ] Some industries need to be protected. (CL)
[  ] Open markets should be approached with caution. (C)
[X] Most markets should be open. (CR)
[  ] All markets should be open! (R)

(I feel some protectionism should be allowed for the benefit of LDCs.)

//Gun Control
[  ] Ban all guns! (L)
[X] Ban certain guns, and require registration/background checks. (CL)
[  ] Guns control is a state issue. (C)
[  ] We should be very wary of gun control. (CR)
[  ] Gun ownership is constitutionally protected - no gun control! (R)

(By "certain guns" I am referring in this case to crewed machine guns, artillery, etc.)

//Same-Sex Marriage
[X] Same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. (L)
[  ] Same-sex marriage, even if not in name. (CL)
[  ] Retain marriage as it is, but explore civil unions. (C)
[  ] Marriage is between a man and a woman. (CR)
[  ] Homosexuals need to be treated for their condition. (R)

(Actually, I'd prefer the state recognize civil unions but not marriage for anyone.)

[X] Immigration is great, illegal immigrants granted amnesty. (L)
[  ] Legal immigration is great. (CL)
[  ] Legal immigration is fine, but immigration laws must be obeyed. (C)
[  ] Reduce legal immigration, crack down on illegal immigration. (CR)
[  ] Immigration is destroying the country, stop all immigration now! (R)

(Raise the quotas on how many folks we let in and change selection criteria, too.)

//Military Funding
[X] Drastically cut military funding, establish a Department of Peace. (L)
[  ] We should decrease military funding. (CL)
[  ] Keep military budget the same, look to be more efficient. (C)
[  ] Increase the military budget, but find ways to be more efficient. (CR)
[  ] We need to significantly increase military funding to meet new threats. (R)

(Also, focus remaining resources on R&D and keeping a technological advantage.)

//Military Intervention
[  ] Military intervention is another way of saying 'empire building'. (L)
[X] For humanitarian causes or if we are attacked. (CL)
[  ] Only if we are attacked. (C)
[  ] Only if our national interests are threatened. (CR)
[  ] We can and should use our military might to further our own interests. (R)

(Humanitarian interventions should be limited to when folks in a nation want our help.)

//Personal Tax
[X] Increase income tax for everyone. (L)
[  ] Increase income tax for the rich. (CL)
[  ] Reduce income tax for lower- and middle-class tax brackets. (C)
[  ] Reduce income tax across the board. (CR)
[  ] Reduce income tax for the rich. (R)

(More so for upper income earners than the rest but I do not want to single them out.)

//Public Health Care
[  ] We need a completely public health care system. (L)
[X] Universal health care, whether public or private. (CL)
[  ] Public health care benefits for the poor and elderly, the rest private. (C)
[  ] Only a few public health care benefits. (CR)
[  ] The health care system should be completely private. (R)

(I favor borrowing and tinkering with ideas from the French or German systems.)

//Renewable Energy
[  ] Renewable energy all the way! (L)
[  ] We should focus on renewable energy sources. (CL)
[X] Renewable and non-renewable energy must be equally researched. (C)
[  ] Coal and oil are our main concerns right now. (CR)
[  ] We don't need to worry about renewable energy sources. (R)

(The only non-renewable energy source I am interested in right now is nuclear.)

//Social Security
[  ] No to any private investment, dramatically increase funding. (L)
[  ] No to private investment, increase funding. (CL)
[  ] Keep social security as it is. (C)
[  ] Let workers privately invest some of their social security payments. (CR)
[X] Let workers privately invest all social security payments. (R)

(End Social Security - but only after major welfare regime reforms are put into place.)

[  ] We should surrender to the terrorists. (L)
[X] We need to fight the cause of terrorism, economic and social injustice. (CL)
[  ] Focus on better foreign policy, but use military force if we must. (C)
[  ] We should not hesitate to use military force against terrorism. (CR)
[  ] Terrorism can only be stopped one way: military force. (R)

(This one is pretty self-explanatory I suppose.)
767  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Happy Victory Day, everyone! on: May 10, 2013, 12:58:50 am
Sixty-eight years ago today, the official Nazi surrender ceremony took place in Berlin, ending the Second World War in Europe with a decisive victory for the Allied forces.

How are you celebrating?

With quiet contemplation, music from military bands, and some indulgence in feelings of unreserved awe, warmth, and fondness for peoples all around the world - especially those in the USSR and USA who sacrificed tremendously to vanquish the Axis forces in Europe.
768  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Political Quiz List. Are you a Quiz Whiz? on: May 09, 2013, 01:44:29 am
Your score is (-18,-1). This puts you in the New Libertarians Quadrant (Q3).

When making decisions involving people close to them, New Libertarians tend to act self-interestedly, using their own needs as a point of reference. With others, they tend to act selflessly, using the needs of others as a point of reference.

We've called this quadrant the New Libertarians because it advocates maximum freedom economically and socially. While in terms of individual freedom this may seem the most attractive option, it is difficult, however, to see how a society composed of self-interested individuals could exist without some sort of external coercion. This can also result in trying to live by two opposing moral philosophies.
769  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Australia 2013: Preferred Prime Minister on: May 04, 2013, 11:38:24 pm
I'm leaning toward Christine Milne right now but am not very familiar with any of these candidates.
770  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: UK 2015: Preferred Prime Minister on: May 04, 2013, 11:34:36 pm
Ed Miliband - though I would not identify with Labour if living in the UK.
771  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: In America... on: May 04, 2013, 11:17:43 pm
Sure. I already celebrate May Day, ignore the established date for Labor Day in the United States, and do not observe Law/Loyalty Day.

Is there anyone who actually does observe Loyalty Day?

A couple of rather old, dogmatic conservatives I know come to mind but otherwise no. lol
772  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Am I considered a "libertarian"? on: May 04, 2013, 11:07:14 pm
I agree with Ghost White on this one. If you are talking about "libertarian" in its American usage though, I'd recommend you compare your convictions with the core tenets of classical liberalism. In the former case ones alignment with capitalism, communism, or anything in between is largely irrelevant and it is all about to what extent (if any) you think the state should be able to initiate force on anyone. In the case of the latter there is still going to be a pretty strong tendency to get government out of the individual's business - i.e. no social engineering by promoting a set of traditional social mores or otherwise "American values." Libertarianism has rather little to share in common with mainstream tenets of conservatism or moderate pragmatism in the United States.

Although my S score is low, I am no true libertarian by either of the aforementioned perspectives.
773  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: In America... on: May 04, 2013, 05:29:39 pm
Sure. I already celebrate May Day, ignore the established date for Labor Day in the United States, and do not observe Law/Loyalty Day.
774  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: If you could change three things in the US constitution... on: May 04, 2013, 05:22:44 pm
This is a tough one. There are over thirty things I want to change about the U.S. constitution!

I'd choose PR, more rights, and strict term limits. I'd otherwise prioritize changes to these sections:

Article I, Section 2: The House should have four-year terms and representatives limited to one term. Candidates must live in the state in question for at least one year and be at least sixteen years of age prior to election. Strike out the text regarding the original enumeration of representatives amongst the states. Representatives should be elected from their respective states using a form of proportional representation. Party lists must be open, Independent candidates allowed to run, and ballots should allow for alternative, preferential, or ranked-choice voting. All residents of each state and territory - of ages sixteen and over - should be allowed to vote. Each State and Territory with at least 1,000 permanent residents should get at least one seat in the House.

Article I, Section 3: The Senate should have five-year terms. Senators should be limited to one term. To run, candidates must live in the U.S. for at least one year and be of at least sixteen years of age prior to election. Senators should be elected nationwide using a form of proportional representation. The party lists must be open, Independent candidates allowed to run, and ballots allow for alternative, preferential, or ranked-choice voting. All residents of each state and territory, ages sixteen and over, should get to vote.

Bill of Rights: Strike the preamble. The 1st Amendment should expand to establish an irreligious government. The 2nd Amendment should allow private possession of small arms limited only by prerequisite training and licensing under standards to be determined by the respective states in which people reside. The 5th Amendment should be reworded to imply government cannot sentence criminals to be deprived of life. The 7th Amendment's $20 minimum value of controversy for filing suit in 1791 ought to be adjusted for inflation, and the 8th Amendment ought to include the death penalty as a forbidden sentence to be imposed.

Other rights amended into the Constitution should include: a guaranteed minimum income; adequate shelter, food, water, clothing, medical care, education, and healthful environs - delivered to the People in a manner decided by the legislatures of each state; workplace democracy and a republican form of government in all firms doing business within U.S. borders other than sole proprietorships; representative democracy in all states; equitable recognition of consensual civil partnerships/unions under the law; freedom from monopolies and cartels in the economy; freedom to partake in ones cultural heritage (up until the point it infringes on the rights of others); and ample time off from work for sleep, leisure, and other necessities of life - as defined by the legislatures in each of the many states. Furthermore, Native American nations should have the right to complete self-government on their respective reservations. I'd leave the exact wording up to others to decide, and I haven't any strong preference for whether they are described in a manner consistent with the concepts of positive or negative freedom.
775  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 1988 United States Presidential Election on: May 04, 2013, 05:03:47 pm
Eugene McCarthy for me in this one.
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