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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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751  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).
752  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.
753  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
754  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.
755  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.
756  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?
757  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.
758  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
759  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.
760  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.
761  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.
762  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.
763  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.
764  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
765  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.
766  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.
767  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.
768  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Gun control poll on: July 24, 2013, 09:33:49 pm
Yes to universal background checks, no to banning semi-automatic guns, and no to the ban on automatic firearms, as well.
769  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: What type of atheist are you? on: July 19, 2013, 05:33:04 pm
The seeker-agnostic description fits me best, though I do slip a bit into the realm of the "activist" group when confronted with arguments that society or state should be made more religious.
770  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Political Quiz List. Are you a Quiz Whiz? on: July 19, 2013, 05:26:51 pm


http://thepoliticstest.com/test.php

You are a Social Liberal!

Political Label: Social Liberal
Primary Ideology: Liberal
Party Affiliation: Democrat

You are a solid liberal believing in personal freedom and the rights of citizens to lead lives without government imposing moral or religious judgements. you also tend to favor government's role in regulating business and leveling the playing field to ensure a minimum degree of fairness to all workers and businesses.

You feel more at home in the Democrat party.

People like you: Hilary Clinton, Al Gore, Matt Damon, Chris Mathews, George Clooney




The Political posty



Though you like the modern ways, you adapt to this rapidly changing postmodern world around you. You keep up with the changing economy, but you should consider the environment a little more. Chances are likely you have friends abroad, though you can't understand their ways most of the time (if they're not Western). Generally, the higher your scores, the more of a posty you are. On the other hand, if your scores for each category are near 50%, it could go either way. This is just a silly test, so it's nothing more than an indication.



The Populist

You scored 60% individualism, 28% fatalism, 16% hierarchy, and 92% egalitarianism!

You adhere to both the Individualist and Egalitarian cultures. You oppose rules and customs that tell people what they can and can't do, and believe that everyone should be treated equally.



political personality quiz


Highest ranking dimension: Wide Focus

You believe that people should look at the big picture before making decisions. You may have felt that what the country really needs is a government that can focus on the big issues that will be affecting everyone of the next 100 years. This may be because you have seen too much spending on the "symptoms" rather than the underlying causes. It may also be because you feel that wealthy countries have a responsibility to the rest of the world. Others may disagree with you because they don ’t want to set aside their own needs for the needs of others far away. When politicians of your type make mistakes it is often because they can be too optimistic about their ability to make a difference.

Second highest ranking dimension: Big Government

You believe in the power of government to make life better. You may have felt that what the country really needs is for the government to get serious about the many problems that people face. This may be because you have seen the system break down and know people who have fallen through the cracks. It may also be because you feel that our society is at risk our communities need better protection from internal and external dangers. Others may disagree with you because they are focused on what government does wrong, rather than what it does right. When politicians of your type make mistakes it is often because they create programs that solve one problem but create others.


Combined statement: Based on your answers, you are a strong supporter of a "planned society".


DBILW - Internationalist

This personality is a “democracy without borders” point of view that promotes human rights and seeks a just and progressive world order.

This personality type combines these five perspectives: democrat, big state, individualist, idealist, wide focus.


Likes

    sensitivity to inequalities of power and influence
    prefers negotiation to use of force.
    government support for people or industries who experience misfortune
    looking to scriptures, rights, or treaties.
    society is in need of a "paradigm shift."

Dislikes

    overt patriotism
    working from overly abstract “models.”
    addressing the symptoms rather than the "root causes."


Philosophy: Liberal Democrat

Famous Internationalists

Woodrow Wilson
M.K. Gandhi
Robert Pearson
Bono
Lloyd Axworthy


771  General Politics / Economics / Re: You are elected POTUS - What is Your Tax Plan? on: July 05, 2013, 09:27:43 pm
1. Raise income taxes on each bracket and include capital gains as income
2. Retain the payroll tax but plan to phase it out along with Social Security
3. Do away with all other sorts of federal tax, deductions, and exemptions (except for charity)
4. Explore the possibility of harmonizing all state (but not municipal) taxes
5. Offer terms for opting out of paying tax - the untaxed may purchase state goods and services
6. Index all tax brackets to inflation
772  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Did we rebel from a tyrannical British government? on: July 04, 2013, 11:07:03 am
I mostly concur with Old Europe on this topic, though I'm withholding judgement on whether the Crown was tyrannical on account of my lack of familiarity with British politics of the time.

So far as I am concerned, the difference between a monarchy and tyranny is the former strives to rule in the best interests of all whereas tyranny is a relatively perverted, corrupt variation of rule by one. I suppose the underlying question posed in the OP is whether we believe King George III selfishly exercised power to improve the lot of a few or properly in service of the public to the best of his abilities. Or in contrast, if parliament exercised greater power at the time, perhaps it should be a question of whether the system rebelled against was an aristocracy or oligarchy, ya?
773  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Interactive: You Fix the Budget on: July 04, 2013, 10:36:39 am
Most of my reform ideas are relatively radical and are not among the options provided, but I'd go with this plan: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/13/weekinreview/deficits-graphic.html?choices=431m05r2

If implemented in 2010, it would shift the projected 2015 budget shortfall from $418B to -$120B while turning the projected 2030 shortfall from $1.345T to -$0.34T. The difference would come from spending cuts (53%) and some increases in tax revenue (47%).

Domestic Programs and Foreign Aid

  • Eliminate farm subsidies

Military

  • Reduce nuclear arsenal and space spending
  • Reduce military to pre-Iraq War size and further reduce troops in Asia and Europe
  • Reduce the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to 60,000 by 2015

Health Care Reform

  • Enact medical malpractice reform
  • Reduce the tax break for employer-provided health insurance
  • Cap Medicare growth starting in 2013

Existing Taxes

  • Return the estate tax to Clinton-era levels
  • Return [investment tax] rates to Clinton-era levels
  • Allow [Bush tax cut] expiration for income above $250,000 a year
  • Payroll tax: Subject some incomes above $106,000 to tax

New Taxes and Tax Reform

  • Millionaire's tax on income above $1 million
  • Eliminate loopholes, reduce rates (Bowles-Simpson plan)
  • Carbon tax

The results in this case are not useful in showing how my policies of choice would affect the deficit and national debt, unfortunately. There are some areas of spending I want to increase (e.g. space exploration, foreign aid, infrastructure, and state investments in the arts and sciences) while in others it is unclear whether changes would be more or less cost-effective - my best examples being across the board increases to the income tax, replacing Social Security and some means-tested programs with a basic income, and scrapping Medicare and Medicaid in favor of German-styled sickness funds. It is also unclear how my preferred replacement for the U.S. Constitution and shift toward a socialist economy would impact the sustainability of various public policies.
774  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Humanmetrics Jung Typology Test on: June 29, 2013, 09:33:48 am
INFJ

Introvert (78%)
iNtuitive (75%)
Feeling (62%)
Judging (22%)

You have strong preference of Introversion over Extraversion (78%)
You have distinctive preference of Intuition over Sensing (75%)
You have distinctive preference of Feeling over Thinking (62%)
You have slight preference of Judging over Perceiving (22%)
775  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What outside temperature do you prefer? on: June 29, 2013, 09:23:17 am
I like it to be between 40 and 68 or so degrees - preferably with overcast and a strong breeze on the upper end of that range. The 70s are fine if there is wind and a lack of direct sunshine - e.g. near dawn or dusk, or at night. Anything between -40 and 40 is fine provided I've adequately warm clothing, and any outdoor temperature below -40 or above 77 or so degrees is unpleasant regardless of the circumstances.
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