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December 21, 2014, 11:18:54 pm
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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Is the USA still a democratic republic? on: December 16, 2014, 11:44:32 am
The United States is extremely dissimilar to the Roman Republic. Extremely dissimilar.

I noticed this in the news this morning:
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/12/what-did-the-romans-ever-do-for-us-they-left-a-warning-about-the-virtual-water-trade/
2  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Is the USA still a democratic republic? on: December 16, 2014, 02:15:47 am
The US political system is basically an arena where countless special interest groups battle it out to grab as many goodies as they can from the the horde of Federal loot plundered from taxpayers. Some leverage votes (democracy), others leverage cash (oligarchy).
Wouldn't leveraging money be a plutocracy?
True. Thinking about it some more, I'd say the US is a combination of democracy, plutocracy, and oligarchy. The former two account for the majority of legislation and programs, but the latter also exists when you consider the minority of policy manufactured by the technocratic elite of policy wonks, think tankers, etc.
So the Roman Republic pretty much. Now what scares me with that comparison is who's gonna be the barbarians from the north to get rid of the USA.

Looks around.  Traditionally, barbarians of the invading sort, are heavily-armed groups who ruthlessly rule their immediate neighbors by fear and violence, threaten the borders, are well-financed and well-equipped, fast to adapt to changes, and are often co-opted by elements of the empire?
3  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Post Presidential political career for President Obama? on: December 16, 2014, 02:10:10 am
I understand there are some good openings for sock-puppets on the comedy circuit. That would let him cater to his strengths.
4  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Washington Post: Santorum is running in 2016 on: December 11, 2014, 02:07:25 am
Assuming it's true, all the Democratic strategists looking at 2016 just smiled.

Santorum won't affect things a great deal, but he will pull the primaries a little more to the right. And every move to the right makes it harder for the Republicans to win in the general. Not that its going to be easy under any circumstances.
5  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Why is Obama so unpopular? on: December 11, 2014, 01:59:57 am
President Obama isn't unpopular.
Bigger problem that he isn't inspiring anymore, Obama coalition turnout rate was less than pre-Obama (2006). It looked like he would be the perfect guy to turn them into a permanent political force but he's been disappointing on that line, in part due to outside factors.

Given how Obama has been a staunch supporter of the status quo, I've been thinking that driving down the turnout and generally disillusioning younger voters is a feature and not a bug.
6  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: US Senate report on CIA interrogration/torture on: December 11, 2014, 01:55:04 am
There have to be prosecutions after this. There is simply no way that this can be ignored. If it is, the US is in grave trouble.

The US is already in big trouble. This is just a sign. Torture, police violence, Mortgage scandals, and I'm sure many more I'm forgetting. Everyone has always joked about the problems with the legal system, but its less of a joke and more "this thing doesn't work right".
7  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: US Senate report on CIA interrogration/torture on: December 09, 2014, 03:25:26 pm
So, will someone please round up all the Bush regime figures and finally put them in a plane to The Hague for trial ?

Would it be clever to try and do exactly that around May 2016? Give the Republicans in office a choice between defending war criminals wanted by the UN, or throwing Cheney (and a few others) under the bus?
8  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Why is Obama so unpopular? on: December 09, 2014, 03:22:40 pm
The conservative right hates him because they're bigots.
The Tea-Party hates him because they're stupid.
The civil libertarians hate him because spying/torture.
The young hate him because of failed promises.
And the various flavors of far left hate him because he's a moderate Republican.

I think that covers most of it, but that the real economy is pretty anemic doesn't help either.

9  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Fascists Arive in New York to roaring cheers on: December 08, 2014, 03:59:28 pm
I'm far less irked by these monarchs than the heartless hereditary dictators of the Persian Gulf that the government cuddles up with.
10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: How would you currently rate the odds that Jeb Bush runs? on: December 06, 2014, 03:51:21 am
Voted 50% because it seems to be a coin flip, to anyone who can't read his mind. If he runs, he'll have no problem with money, name recognition or basic groundwork. It comes down to "does he want to?" And only he (and those closest to him) can answer that.
11  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: John Kerry 2016? on: December 02, 2014, 05:36:37 pm
Nope not happening.

Kerry vs. Romney 2016 could be interesting to watch.

Best chance for a 3rd party candidate ever. And a beautiful way to de-legitimize the system in the eyes of the voters. Even Hillary v. Jeb wouldn't be as laughable as Kerry v. Romney.

"You turned them both down before, but now we're shoving one down your throat whether you like it or not!"

"America - where democracy means choosing between two stupidly rich elitist @$$hles!"
12  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Most boring possible Republican primary on: December 02, 2014, 05:29:41 pm
CPAC gets hit by a rogue meteor. Due to having skipped it, Jeb Bush is the only first- or second-tier candidate not dead or seriously injured.
13  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Mike Huckabee versus Hillary Clinton: Who would you vote for? on: December 01, 2014, 10:26:13 am
Likely whoever the Green party is running. I'd rather not see Huckabee as president, but I refuse to buy in to the destructive and anti-American two-party system.
14  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: NYT: Hagel to resign on: November 28, 2014, 02:05:30 pm
It was nice to have a grunt as SecDef even if Hagel seems to have had problems.

I can't help but wonder if that was part of why he had problems. And possibly why he was out - he doesn't seem to have been in favor of throwing more young kids into the meat-masher.
15  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: WaPo gives glimpse into Hillary Clinton's paid speaking career on: November 28, 2014, 05:54:04 am
That speaking fee is outrageous. I can't believe universities throw money down the toilet inviting hack politicians to speak at functions when they could reduce tuition rates or hire more tenured professors rather than relying on adjunct profs.

True, but beside the point. Universities do regularly six figures on prestigious speakers. While I'm deeply skeptical of Senator Clinton as a national leader, criticizing her for her speaking fee is somewhere between silly and disingenuous.
16  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: GOP Mulls Not Inviting Obama to Give State of the Union on: November 28, 2014, 05:44:14 am
Oh my, but this is going to be a darkly funny two years.
17  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary advisor: Bush-Portman ticket could doom Dems in 2016 on: November 23, 2014, 05:46:42 am
Republicans will want to make 2016 a referendum on President Obama. I think a Bush vs. Clinton matchup is a referendum on the last names. The media will cover it as so, overshadowing even Obama. I don't think that bolds well for Jeb Bush, and I think every Clinton advisory knows it. They're trying to play up the guy they're most confident they can beat.

I agree. Nominee Bush takes the dynasty question completely off the table. (Now you can choose which dynasty you want!) A Bush nomination just begs for endless Bill vs. Shrub comparisons. And best of all, Bush is far too moderate for the frothing right-wingnut of the Republican Party. With some luck, a Bush nomination will get a strong conservative 3rd party run.
18  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Rush Limbaugh threatens DCCC with defamation lawsuit on: November 12, 2014, 09:27:02 pm

Perhaps they should replace them with his quotes on drug-related crimes instead.
19  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: It's early but looking at the Lichtman test on: November 12, 2014, 02:48:10 am
I dispute the fact that Hillary doesn't have charisma. Sure, she can't give the rousing speeches that Obama gave or "feel your pain" like Bill.
But she has a powerful brand of her own and during the last phase of the 2008 primary she showed huge improvement as a candidate. Not to mention that she is certainly more charismatic and inspiring than the current bunch of Republican frontrunners, or the historic nature of her candidacy and possible election.

As for ISIS and Ebola, the latter is already forgotten while the former seems to be on the run and I predict that it will eventually be defeated in the coming months.

Hillary does not have Kennedy/Regan/Obama level Charisma, which is how I've always read the last key.

And while ISIS arguably doesn't count as a Major  Foreign-Policy Failure yet, between ISIS, Syria, Libya, and Ukraine, there's a good chance of something blowing up in Obama's face between now and then. (Heck, does having Russia steal Crimea count?)

20  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: If Republican Controlled States Allocate Electoral Votes Differently on: November 12, 2014, 02:42:43 am
If the GOP tried this the start of an illegitimate administration would be a trainwreck from the start.

By 2016 we'll have had 16 consecutive years of trainwrecks. I doubt anyone will notice the difference.
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama saves net neutrality, orders broadband be classified as vital service on: November 11, 2014, 12:11:22 am
I know that's an economic heuristic device, but does it actually apply?

What is the common-resource being depleted?

I'm not an internet expert or an engineer so I have to defer to experts on this subject.  When I've heard them speak, they all seem to be in favor of net neutrality.  They all seem to think fiber optic improvements, opening up new areas of spectrum and various other technological developments will continue to keep pace.

Apparently bandwidth is being depleted, and that's why companies are interested in throttling and priority.

Net neutrality probably is in our best interest, but its benefits are not a license to ignore its drawbacks. For example, raising income for lower class Americans is probably in our best interest, but ignoring the draw backs of min wage has caused needless economic neglect for millions of unskilled workers.

Bandwidth is not being "depleted". Entrenched monopolies are declining to upgrade last mile infrastructure because they're focused on the (very) short-term, and are likewise refusing to properly maintain or upgrade their connections with other Tier One providers in an attempt to kill Netflix and similar video streaming services. All so the ISPs who are also content providers can attempt to keep their dying business model of grossly overcharging for video no one wants to watch alive a little longer.
22  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Will the GOP try to steal 2016 like they did 2000? on: November 11, 2014, 12:00:13 am
People who believe 2000 (and 1960 for that matter) were stolen are almost as stupid, and even more annoying, than 911 truthers.

I've always thought the election should have gone to the House. (Where Bush would have won.) Florida's votes were clearly in dispute, and thanks to its... less than stellar electoral system, that dispute wasn't going to get cleanly resolved.
23  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: So what happened in Colorado? on: November 05, 2014, 03:20:18 pm
Does anyone have insight into what happened with the political coalitions in Colorado? Again, just looking at the bellwethers, one would think Udall lost by just a point.

I haven't been very politically active the last two years (work has been busy), but the handful of committed fracking opponents I'm friends with felt that they'd been thrown under the bus by the state Democratic party. They were so angry when I spoke with them a few weeks ago, that if they voted, they voted Green, not D.
24  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: 2014 Post-Mortem: How did the Democrats screw this up so badly? on: November 05, 2014, 03:09:43 pm
The Democrats are led by a man who has governed like a moderate Republican for six years.

The Republicans didn't run a slew of bigoted nutjobs for office.

And the economy still sucks for many people.
25  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: What happens now? on: November 05, 2014, 03:06:56 pm
Nothing. Obama can use the power of an executive order, but I think it would be best for the Democrats long term interests to just wait out the next two years until President Clinton and the Democratic Senate (I know I have been a dick tonight, but I know that the Republican Majority doesn't survive 2016...) can finish off the job.

I'd advise Obama to give up on immigration reform and just keep stalling GOP attempts to repeal Obamacare. At the end of the day, his legacy will be healthcare and he should fight hard to keep that victory instead of bowing to moderate heroism.

But if he does let them repeal Obamacare, Democrats can run for the next 2-4 (or more) election cycles pointing to every flaw in the health care system and claim "that only exists because the Republicans repealed Obamacare!" (But why would they do that? It's a Republican, pro-corporate plan. Get rid of Obamacare and you're giving the chances of a real national health care system a huge boost!)
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