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September 01, 2015, 05:09:37 am
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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Notice that all Republican "rising stars" this century have been massive duds? on: August 30, 2015, 01:45:59 pm
Barack Obama just set the bar too high. Nobody will ever find a candidate that can match him. McDonnell was purged. Christie was attacked by first his own and then the media. Those two could have been great. Rubio is as dull as Pawlenty and Walker though being Cuban is a major help in electoral ability - still no BHO, and may fall yet. Susana Martinez seems smart enough not to get involved and Paul Ryan knows it's best to operate behind the scenes (perhaps hope for him way down the road a la FDR)

Jindal is pretending to be something he's not and is 4 years too late.

Rubio's political career is probably over for now. Maybe he'll make a "comeback" and run for governor in 2018.

I can see Paul Ryan staying in the House for a few more decades and being something like Wisconsin's answer to Bill Archer.
2  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Beginning a New Life on: August 27, 2015, 04:37:51 pm
So, I'm flying to LA tomorrow, to move into my new home and prepare to start my first quarter as a PhD student at UCLA.

I'm at LAX right now.  My layover is so long, that it feels like I'll still be here tomorrow.  Tongue

I'd really like to meet you, but sadly I don't think I'll have the time right after arriving. In fact, I'll have to briefly go to Las Vegas because my brother will do an internship there.

Welcome to the States, my friend!  You know, Atlanta isn't that bad of a plane ride from LA. Grin

But seriously, you should visit.

I've been to Atlanta already, it's a lovely city indeed. Smiley

What kind of internship does one do in Las Vegas?

But that's neither here nor there - welcome to these United States!
3  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Watch Trump imitate asian negotiators broken english on: August 26, 2015, 08:50:35 pm
Actually not as bad as I expected. That's basically an impression of any foreigner with limited English skills speaking English.

I was expecting something more along the lines of...


4  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Philip Hammond is a moron on: August 26, 2015, 04:12:12 pm
Philip Hammond is directing a directionless foreign policy with no hint of strategic vision or even basic interest in its effects, and is abdicating Britain's place on the world stage as a result. Defense policy is being decided by the Exchequer, which means cuts and a woefully under-equipped military--for the first time in decades, the Royal Navy has no aircraft carriers-- now such in a sorry state of affairs that Obama has to beg Cameron to reconsider, while the World Service and the Foreign Office budget are being cut.

The Cameron government has excelled in many other ways, but not foreign and defence policy is not one of them-- it's abysmal. What is not abysmal. however, is their approach to the Iran deal.

Fiscal appropriations aren't considered a legislative function in Britain the way they are in the US. Budgets there are done by professional, non-political budget analysts and essentially emerge from a "black box." There aren't MPs running around sticking earmarks in everything and demanding to "defund" specific programs.
5  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Which of the "Big Four" European countries is most socially conservative? on: August 26, 2015, 03:51:58 pm
Italy by far - devoutly Catholic, patriarchal culture. In Europe as a whole, it's probably second only to Poland as far as its traditionalism is concerned.

France is an odd bird in that objectively it seems like a liberal place, until you remember that sexual libertinism, secularism and intellectualism are its traditions and that they defend them strongly and often in racist, xenophobic ways.

Germany arguably has Scandinavian-type social aims - a very "nice" communitarian society where religion is more a cooperative social institution than a rigid enforcer of tradition - but is more temperamentally conservative in how it pursues them. Unlike the Nordics, they have a very fraught history to deal with, as well as a less homogenous society.

The UK is the most liberal (European, not American) country in Europe, both socially and economically.
6  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Romney to be the Anti-Trump? on: August 25, 2015, 01:50:32 am
He's battle tested, which means that he's prepared for all of the attacks Democrats will throw at him - considering they pretty much dug up everything they could find in 2012 and he'll learn from his mistakes last time.
And he's lost the battle twice.

For a former governor, he's surprisingly well versed in foreign policy. He was right about Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, Mali and Syria, even though he was mocked by Obama.
Mittens thinks the Iraqi people were living in peace and enjoying their Bush-given democratic freedoms until Obama came along and started apologizing for America.

Could you imagine him saying something along the lines of what Obama said about Republicans having common cause with America hating Iranians? I know I couldn't picture it.
Maybe instead of binders full of women, we'd have Korans full of ayatollahs or something.

Personal reason- This is a good man of faith and integrity and he didn't deserve to be raked over the coals like he was in 2012. I think he should get a chance to turn the country around.
He lied repeatedly, brazenly and habitually through every stage of the campaign.
7  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Romney to be the Anti-Trump? on: August 24, 2015, 09:38:49 pm
He couldn't do any worse than Bush.

Though, it's a bit early for a "establishment savior" candidate, isn't it?

The establishment savior candidate will eventually be Rubio or Kasich, the Pubbie electorate just needs to go through a few stages of grief before accepting that.

Not Rubio. Too much baggage. Not enough accomplishment.
8  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Santorum goes against Obama. Again. on: August 24, 2015, 12:44:47 pm
Kinda forgot he was running

I forget that half of the people who are running are running. At this point, him, Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal just need to go sit in the green room with Pataki and Gilmore.
9  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Stay classy, Ted Cruz on: August 23, 2015, 05:28:39 pm
People made up their minds about the Carter Administration long ago.

Are we in the same place?  Not really.  Back then, there was stagflation, but not the kind of unemployment there has been of late, and less UNDERemployment.  Back then, the cost of housing was not as big a percentage of household income as it was today.  Back then, we had a permanent adversary (the old USSR) which was crumbling, and our snoops knew it, but our politicians kept insinuating that the Soviets were about to outpace us, militarily.

Back then, Democrats and Reputlicans were down on Carter, for different reasons.  Most Democrats support Obama and what he's done.  Obama's nowhere near as unpopular as Carter became.

My parents were staunch Carter supporters in '76 and '80 (especially '80 since my dad absolutely despises the Kennedys) and any time they hear someone speak ill of him, they'll usually just say, "At least he was honest."
10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Donald Trump Wary of Grover Norquist's No Tax Increase Pledge on: August 21, 2015, 01:31:28 pm
"It will be the biggest, classiest tax increase this country has ever seen. I mean, you're just not gonna believe how amazing this tax increase is."
11  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Israel or Muslims? Who do you support more? on: August 20, 2015, 01:54:22 am
This question is worded wrong as Muslims are people and Isreal is a country.  

And something like 20 percent of the people in Israel are Muslims.
12  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: RomneyWatch: Upgrade to "Almost certainly" running again on: August 18, 2015, 11:55:56 pm
Guys, Romney was a bad candidate four years ago and would still be a bad candidate today. Just remember, at points he was losing to: Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum. Two of those people can't even crack the top 10 in this field, one was pushed out of the Speakership by his own party, and the other rose up by saying 9-9-9 about twenty times a day.

That's far more damning of the sort of people who vote in Republican primaries than it is of Mitt Romney.
13  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Scott Walker Releases Obamacare Replacement Plan on: August 18, 2015, 11:53:34 pm
Age discrimination and abandoning the guarantee of coverage to age 26 is evidence of how little Walker is interested in trying to appeal to Millennials. That's not to say that policy proposals should simply be wish lists for voters (this plan sounds just like that - albeit a wish list for Walker's older, more well-to-do supporters).
14  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Huckabee to hold fundraiser in West Bank settlement on: August 18, 2015, 06:07:10 pm
As a person with Palestinian ancestry, this PISSES me off to no end, those settlements are illegal and the fact that Huckabee is holding a fundraiser in an ILLEGAL settlement does nothing but show an uneducated mentality, I am glad he will NEVER be President.

First of all, the settlements are not illegal. It's Israel, they can do whatever they want on THEIR LAND. Pick up a history book, or read something online, the palestinians have absolutely no right to the land, Israel has been beyond generous to have given them land in the past and yet, Israelis are still victims of palestinian terrorism. Anyone who claims otherwise is just dumb/ignorant.

However, I have a fundamental issue with an American presidential candidate doing fundraising on foreign soil, I'm not sure how that's even legal. We Republicans were critical of Bill Clinton/DNC for accepting foreign donations, be it from China, in 1996. Furthermore, I'm with George Bush 41 who was critical of Bill Clinton for going overseas during Vietnam to protest the war - I believe this Iran deal is disastrous, but I wouldn't go to foreign soil and criticize it.

The British promised the Jews some of the land and the Arabs some of the land.  What is so hard to understand about some of the land belonging to Arabs?

Particularly when their idea was to split the land 50/50 despite about 25% of the people there being Jewish and 75% being Arab.
15  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Huckabee to hold fundraiser in West Bank settlement on: August 18, 2015, 04:20:37 pm
Even Israel doesn't claim it's THEIR LAND.

Yeah, Huckabee is going after a very narrow segment of evangelicals who he thinks will make this their flagship issue. Even a standard-issue AIPAC neoconservative isn't going to go to bat over a far-flung settlement like this one and go about it in such a blatantly pandering way.

Huckabee's "ole time religion" bona fides are his only distinguishing advantage. Everything else he's selling can be better had from one of the other candidates.

Mike Huckabee: Defender of Embryos and Revisionist Zionists.
16  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Fiorina sings the praises of Islam, Ottoman Empire 'greatest civilization' on: August 18, 2015, 12:18:03 am
Looks like she is indeed drawing criticism from Michelle Bachmann and others for having "praised Muslims" so soon after 9/11:


Draft Michele Bachmann 2016

It's not too late!
17  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Kentucky coal town blasts GOP for blocking Obama aid program on: August 17, 2015, 07:58:54 pm
Republicans would love for the people of rural Appalachia to continue to be mired in poverty and unemployment because they're the bloody shirt (dusty black shirt?) that they can wave to drum up resentment against Obama and the Democrats. If jobs are actually being created in Appalachia in non-coal industries, that becomes harder.

Same reason that Hamas won't begrudge a child-sized coffin to parade through the streets and Israel deliberately puts settler families close enough for a homemade mortar to reach them: they can always be the victim and never the victimizer.
18  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: Greg Abbott on: August 17, 2015, 07:53:44 pm
I've got a friend who works in his office who told me that Abbott honestly doesn't have presidential ambitions, and he doesn't strike me as presidential material anyway. 

He got elected to a safe gubernatorial seat after he sat around and waited his turn. He has zero charisma apart from the motivating personal story about his disability. He's never had to seriously run for anything - he's never faced more than token opposition in a primary and obviously never had a serious Democratic opponent.

Compare that to George W. Bush, who had to build bipartisan support at a time when Texas was more competitive, or to Rick Perry, who shrewdly switched parties, wheels and deals like LBJ and has been through bruising primaries. Abbott has never been tested before and he'd probably fizzle out very quickly in a presidential bid.
19  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Walker joins Trump, calls for ending birthright citizenship on: August 17, 2015, 07:00:29 pm
The practice of birthright citizenship goes back to the beginning of the country, i.e., it was implicitly enshrined by the Founding Fathers. I don't see it becoming a litmus test.

Birthright citizenship is a relic from colonial times. It has no place in modern-day America.

To be honest, I wouldn't care if we got rid of birthright citizenship altogether, as long as whatever citizenship test was put in place was equitable and fair. Does it really make sense for a child who was born in California to Chinese parents on vacation and who never once set foot in the United States after that to be able to walk into the US embassy and demand diplomatic protection in the event of a military coup in China? Should a Yemeni man be able to come to the US with his wife, and have a son whom he then returns to Yemen to raise to wage violent jihad against the US?

Birthright citizenship was necessary in Western Hemisphere countries because in the beginning, everyone was an immigrant. It was also needed to make immigration more palatable, since the typical immigrant would be leaving a country where their child would not automatically be a citizen, and not giving them automatic citizenship in the new country could potentially result in their children being stateless. And later on it was needed to explicitly clarify that slave-born Americans were citizens entitled to all the rights and privileges of other Americans. That is no longer an issue.

I tend to think citizenship should be given without condition to children born in the US with at least one US citizen parent. Beyond that, it should be subject to conditions, such as living in the US for a certain period of time.
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: US official calls for atomic bomb to be dropped on Middle East on: August 17, 2015, 06:41:53 pm
I really don't think Iran knows or cares what the Texas Agriculture commissioner has to say. This is one step above Todd Kincannon or Kshama Sawant.

The Iranian public doesn't know the difference, anymore than we know if the bearded, turbaned Iranian official declaring, "Death to America" on the news is in a position of military authority or not.
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / US official calls for atomic bomb to be dropped on Middle East on: August 17, 2015, 05:56:33 pm
Is it any wonder that Iran wants nuclear weapons too?

Miller, who is currently on a trade mission to China, did not personally share a controversial photo that appeared on his campaign Facebook account and has since been removed, Todd Smith, the Republican's campaign spokesman, said Monday. The commissioner has no plans to figure out which of his staffers shared the posting, or to apologize, Smith said.

Were not going to apologize for the posts that show up on our Facebook page, said Smith, estimating that 18 people have access to the campaign account.
22  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Bernie Sanders' College Plan on: August 17, 2015, 12:51:58 pm
It's important to note that Sanders' plan only provides for states to offer free tuition and fees at the state universities. In many states room and board is more expensive than tuition and fees, and Sanders does not address that. A program aimed at 2-year schools avoids the housing question, since 2-year schools rely more on a commuting student population.

We could offer free university for all, but doing so would dramatically alter what the "college experience" that we Americans make such a fetish of looks like.

Europeans go to university for free, but the whole affair looks very different. You're probably going to stay in the city where you grew up and live with your parents or live in an apartment with roommates not proximate to school. Your social life won't revolve around school. Campuses are rather spartan and don't have multimillion dollar fitness centers and 50,000 seat athletic stadiums. And consequently, you won't strongly identify as an alumnus of that institution later in life. Most people outside the US really don't care all that much about where they or anyone else went to college after it's over. They find our tendency to join alumni clubs and put bumper stickers on our cars quite strange - why would you care so much about something you did when you were practically still a child?

The American model - large colleges that are often located in small towns where nothing else is, everyone living on or near campus, social life inextricably linked to school, an expectation to continue to be involved with the school later in life by donating money and following the sports teams - isn't affordable or practical if the taxpayer is picking up the tab for everything.

There's also the fact that there's a much broader variance in quality/reputation of universities in the US than there is in Europe and Asia. There really are no Continental European equivalents of Harvard or Princeton, but they also don't have bottom-of-the-barrel regional state universities or our HBCU system that has a troubled history of its own. If universities are free, it's harder to translate "quality" because tuition has been removed from the equation. (Even in state university systems here, the flagship school generally has higher tuition than the less-selective satellite campuses.)
23  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Should Hillary Step Aside for Biden? on: August 17, 2015, 12:44:34 am
This is silly season.  Nothing illegal or against State Department protocol has been found.  Nothing.  People keep getting pre-upset about hypothetical things she could have done.  Remember, being accused of something is not tantamount to being guilty. 

She obviously should have used a .gov email.  But, this is small issue in the scheme of things.  No other candidate would get this insane scrutiny about their email.  This is a no-harm no-foul situation.  Find some harm, and you can criticize her. 

Why did she do it to begin with? Did she not think there was a reason she was being issued a .gov email? When your employer gives you a company email address, do you use your personal email account to tend to work-related matters?

Dick #$%@ing Cheney didn't even resort to this sort of skullduggery.
24  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Should Hillary Step Aside for Biden? on: August 17, 2015, 12:04:55 am
Hillary thinks the rules don't apply to her. Her husband was the same way to a lesser extent. Her judgment is poor and she lacks integrity. To be honest, I worry that her presidency would culminate in a Watergate-style implosion that would incite the country to elect some right-wing fruitcake in 2020 or 2024 who would have the backing of both houses of Congress.
25  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Question, who here has switched their support to another candidate and why? on: August 16, 2015, 11:16:19 pm
I was supporting Rand Paul, but he's too isolationist and paleocon for me, and he was really bad at interviews, so I switched to Marco Rubio.

I get the impression that Rubio is the "second choice" for a lot of Republicans.
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