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1  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Civil War in Syria on: July 05, 2015, 09:08:06 pm
Under Assad: Ballet in Palmyra

Under ISIS: Public executions in Palmyra

2  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Texas: Attorney General Paxton being investigated for securities fraud on: July 05, 2015, 06:44:17 pm
interestting, but let's wait and see. these tx "special prosecutions" have a bad history of being political and not sticking.

Tom DeLay and who else?

Didn't the AG go after Kay Baily Hutchinson?

Yes. It was over her alleged misuse of funds as state treasurer, but things veered way off topic and the grand jury was treated to bizarre stories of what a high maintenance diva KBH is and how she threw phone books at people who upset her.
3  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Israel losing support from Democrats on: July 05, 2015, 04:31:59 pm
Horrifying. The far left continues to insert its corrosive tentacles into the Democratic party, pushing them towards the hellish extremism that comes with any radical left-wing movement. Hopefully their embrace of this twisted worldview will be yet another reason they get slammed next year.

The Republicans turning Israel into a partisan stick surely couldn't have helped? Oh and BiBi's idiocy, which has led to Israel being more internationally isolated than ever.

This was a huge mistake on their part. Republicans were already staunchly pro-Israel and by hammering away at this point that, "Good Republicans must support Israel," you are implicitly inducing a lot of Democrats to infer, "Republicans support Israel. Therefore, supporting Israel must be a bad thing."
4  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: US-Israeli relations under a President Clinton on: July 05, 2015, 02:58:30 pm
Hillary is, on a personal level, probably more sympathetic towards Israel than Obama is.

However, in terms of official policy, I don't see her deviating from his administration's stance. For that matter, Obama's stance is really no different than any president before  him.

He opposes West Bank settlements. So has every other president since settlements became an issue in the 1970s. In terms of opposition to settlements, the most "anti-Israel" president is not Obama but George H. W. Bush.

He does not acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Neither has any previous administration. Jerusalem, in whole, is not considered sovereign Israeli territory by any country other than Israel. Whether or not it "will inevitably be" in any peace agreement is irrelevant, as no agreement exists.

The only thing that has changed recently regarding US-Israel relations is the behavior of Israel. Their government has become more emboldened, more belligerent, more uncooperative and more disrespectful to the few allies it has.
5  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Pataki for Senate in 2018? on: July 05, 2015, 02:52:37 pm
Wall Street loves Gillibrand, so where is the impetus for a decent Republican candidate to run for her seat? Cranky Eye-talian suburbanites on Long Island?
6  General Politics / Individual Politics / Who do you have a more positive opinion of? on: July 04, 2015, 08:18:58 pm
The one who shot a guy in the face or the one who spouted vile, antigay rhetoric in an egotistical Senate campaign and refused to apologize to her openly gay sister.
7  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Sex work on: July 04, 2015, 07:49:10 pm
I used to work 7 hours a day for about $70. At the same time, my roommate was a sex worker and she made $200 an hour.  Almost 3 times as much for 1/7th of the time. Doesn't seem oppressive to me.

I'm guessing your job didn't come with the risk of contracting a potentially deadly disease.

To say nothing of the high rates of assault on sex workers by their clients.
8  General Politics / Economics / Re: Greece to Leave the Euro Zone on: July 04, 2015, 07:21:50 pm
Another thing: if every one in the middle class took ag's advice and only went to cheap state schools (which, BTW, are getting less and less cheap by the year), those expensive private schools would become even more a preserve of the 1% than they already are.  The negative ramifications of that shift for social mobility and society at large are left as an exercise for the reader.

I do not know of many Harvard grads who suffer so much paying out their debts: Harvard degree is money (and, in any case, if you do struggle you are not doing much for social mobility). Most poor souls who paid fortune for college and struggle with debts went to very different kinds of schools. No disparagement intended, but I see no reason to borrow so much in order to attend Hofstras and Adelphis of this world.

right -- and "the market" wouldn't offer an assetless student and his asset-less parent to take out $200k in money over a 4 year span but for the bankruptcy protection exemption.  it is a policy designed to victimize people who have "dreams of college and getting a job"... college is an ideological status symbol in the USA, and I'm sure elsewhere.  viewing the college loans catastrophe as "merely economics at work" without taking in the myriad other factors that lead people to behave, gasp, irrationally, is the height of myopia.

Student loans are secured by nothing. That is why they can't be discharged in bankruptcy. If I default on a mortgage, the creditor can seize the house and sell it to mitigate their losses. If I default on a car loan, the car gets repossessed and sold. If I default on a student loan, there is nothing to "take back."

The closest equivalent - a nonsecured debt that can be discharged in bankruptcy - is credit card debt. But I doubt you'd want to see credit card level interest rates on student loans.
9  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: What each candidate said to themselves when they decided to run on: July 04, 2015, 06:45:17 pm
Pretty sure Scott Walker just said, "Okay, Mr. Koch."
10  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Most pointless candidate in major party primaries on: July 04, 2015, 05:58:57 pm
For 2016 in the GOP, you have to give it to George Pataki.
I still contend that he is a potential dark horse for third/fourth place in New Hampshire.

With things where they are now, you could get like 7% of the vote in NH and still be in fourth place.
11  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Lindsey Graham to Voter Suggesting Banning Islam: ‘I Don’t Want Your Vote’ on: July 04, 2015, 05:51:48 pm

People tend to forget that Graham is actually a sane GOPer outisde of foreign policy issues.

The Faustian Bargain of Republican Neoconservatism: "We'll treat the American working poor like human beings, but only if you let us use poor brown people in other countries for target practice."
12  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Romney is having a slumber party, Rubio + Christie invited on: July 04, 2015, 03:18:01 pm
Whichever one survives the weekend is going to get his endorsement. It's going to be like a game of Clue but with real people.
13  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Lindsey Graham to Voter Suggesting Banning Islam: ‘I Don’t Want Your Vote’ on: July 04, 2015, 03:13:07 pm
Any sane politician knows the negatives of reprimanding one bigot at a campaign event are far outweighed by the infinite negatives of agreeing that America can and should arbitrarily ban the practice of certain religions.
14  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do a majority of white posters on here have any idea what poverty is like? on: July 03, 2015, 07:45:19 pm
From personal experience, no.

But the line of work I'm in has certainly provided me with more understanding of why some people are poor and what those factors, some in and some not in their control, are. It's certainly a more informed, nuanced view of 21st century American poverty than either the Reaganite Welfare Queen trope or the belief that all poor people are toiling in Dickensian factories for 20 hours a day as TNF and others seem to believe.
15  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: [attention whoring] Antonio V, M.A. on: July 03, 2015, 07:29:50 pm
I graduated yesterday! Smiley

After 5 years at Sciences Po, I attended the official graduation ceremony, received my Master's Degree (Cum Laude), and said goodbye to my university and my friends.

The ceremony wasn't nearly as epic what you get in the US (we didn't even get graduation gowns! Sad), but it was pretty nice. We had a few good speeches, and we all got to be filmed on stage for a couple seconds. My parents were there, obviously, and after the ceremony I got to hang out with my friends from the Polisci program. Pretty great afternoon and night all around! Smiley

I've always been curious as to why European graduation ceremonies are so...underwhelming.

Someone I went to high school with got an MBA from some university in France and posted pictures of the ceremony on Facebook - they were basically just wearing business casual clothes and having their diplomas handed to them in what looked like a small courtyard (the diplomas weren't even in folios or frames - just pieces of paper). A co-worker who went to college in Scotland has her diploma in her office and it looks like she could have just printed it out herself on an inkjet printer. No engraved vellum for them, apparently.

What gives, Europe?
16  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: New Conservative Young Generation? on: July 03, 2015, 05:01:48 pm
Makes sense. The 80s generation mainly remember things going to crap under Republicans. The 90s crowd remembers the opposite.

Things haven't gotten worse under Obama though, nor is there any real evidence that people who came of age under Obama are more conservative.

Doesn't matter whether it did or not. What matters is if the person perceives it as such with issues they care about. You can have a conversation about the economy as a whole, but several other issues that Bush did that young people care about, as well as new ones, have become clearly worse under Obama, and the 1995+ crowd takes those issues into consideration as well.

Eh, not really. You're assuming young people view the country as having gotten worse under Obama when they're the ones who are more likely to have a positive view of him. I'm not seeing what issues you're talking about that young people tend to care more about that have gotten worse under Obama.
Once these 18-20 year old white kids from the suburbs leave college and see how Republicans want to handle student loans they'll abandon ship.

White kids from the suburbs don't usually have debt.  I'm a college student right now, and many, many people have parents who are willing to just pay $60K+ per year, debt-free.

I know plenty of white kids from the suburbs that do have debt. Not every white kid from the suburbs comes from a $200,000+ a year family.

Yes, but the ones who do have loans to pay back often fall into the trap their older counterparts do of falling for the trope that, "You're a hard working real 'Murican paying off your loans while those people get free college education just for being illegal immigrants/minorities/etc!"
17  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Jim Webb Announces 2016 Presidential Run on: July 03, 2015, 04:56:55 pm
That's actually a fairly good logo. I was expecting something more like this:

No Comic Sans font?
18  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Bill to end public records laws passes Wisconsin Assembly Committee on: July 03, 2015, 04:38:31 pm
Zombie Bob LaFollette needs to burst forth from his grave and raise hell up there.
19  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Most pointless candidate in major party primaries on: July 03, 2015, 04:17:18 pm
GOP - Pawlenty...no actually Johnson. Gary, mate, there is already a libertarian type in the race who is much more well known (and, dare I say, intelligent) than you. Plus you ramble on too much about weed. But at least you discovered your natural home in the Libertarian Party. I could just about see Pawlenty's purpose as an establishment-type-but-more-conservative-than-Romney; he may have even been successful had he had a grain of charisma.

Gary Johnson's libertarianism and Ron Paul's libertarianism are two very different animals.

The Paulites have a rather nasty strain of the worst aspects of paleoconservatism - almost veering off into a modern Know-Nothingness - that Johnson does not.

Basically, Gary Johnson didn't have the baggage of crypto-racism and monetary kookery that Ron Paul had.
20  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Who was the lesser evil in the Iran-Iraq war on: July 03, 2015, 01:59:11 am
Iraq, although in hindsight an Iranian victory would probably be better.

In hindsight an Iraqi victory would be better since if Suddam captured Iranian oilfields he would not invade Kuwait and threaten Saudi Arabia meaning the Gulf War is avoided and the US doesnt invade in 2003 meaning there is no ISIS today

Even if that had happened, a major driver for the invasion of Kuwait was Iraq's perilous financial situation after the war. Oil prices were in the gutter in the late '80s and even with the addition of Iranian territory, Iraq wouldn't necessarily be getting enough revenue from oil to fund the sort of spending Saddam was engaging in at that time.

And it would have created the issue of altering the country's demographics to favor Shi'ites even more - ostensibly he would have annexed Iran's Kuzestan province, which has an Arabic-speaking Shia majority. (And the population there still supported their home nation of Iran rather than their ethnic counterpart Iraq, so who knows how they would have handled being forcibly made into Saddam Hussein's subjects.)

Even if there had been no 1991 or 2003 Gulf Wars, Saddam wouldn't have lived forever and it's pretty obvious that his sons were basically spoiled, psychotic brats who sure as hell wouldn't have been capable of running a country. Once Saddam was out of the picture, there would be the same sort of sectionalist issues facing Iraq IRL.
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Texas: Attorney General Paxton being investigated for securities fraud on: July 03, 2015, 01:36:46 am
One of the hazards of single-party government: corruption. 

Mediocrity, to boot. The Texas Republicans are starting to seem like that species of jellyfish that is only found in certain lakes and lacks any ability to sting - after thousands of years of having none of the natural predators that are found in oceans, they simply stopped needing to make an effort.

The deterioration of the caliber of downballot candidates in Texas really reached a tipping point in 2014. That someone like Ken Paxton - a man who, yes, did successfully graduate from law school, but whose career included no judicial clerkships or significant work in constitutional law, and who has spent the bulk of his career doing in-house legal work for companies and as a "financial advisor" - was a major party nominee for attorney general and was easily elected is a scandal in and of itself.
22  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Jim Webb Announces 2016 Presidential Run on: July 02, 2015, 06:43:47 pm
He's almost like the Democratic equivalent of Jon Huntsman.

Huntsman was a darling of the media and of inside-the-Beltway types.

Webb is neither of these.
23  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Christie announces presidential candidacy on: July 01, 2015, 12:29:21 am
Christie was a key ally in LePage's re-election bid last year, and as chairman of the RGA, he oversaw lots of money put into keeping the Blaine House under Republican control.

Didn't he also throw a lot of RGA money away on Tom Corbett's reelection campaign despite it being a total lost cause because he wanted to try to win over some big GOP contributors in Philly?
24  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: If Jeb had a different Last Name on: June 30, 2015, 10:29:19 pm
No one would give a shit about a random governor who left office in 2007. He wouldn't be doing any better than Pataki.

Absent the name, he basically is Pataki. He's one of a crop of "above average" '90s-early '00s Republican governors who really don't stand out for anything particularly good or bad.

Remember when Tommy Thompson and Jim Gilmore ran in 2008? Of course you don't. That's about what Jeb's candidacy would be like.
25  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Does a candidates attractiveness matter? on: June 30, 2015, 10:25:56 pm
2004 - Bush had the prettier face; Kerry was attractive until one glanced at his face

Amazingly, people did (and do) find Kerry attractive. Different looks for different folks, I guess.

I always thought both George W. Bush and John Kerry looked like stereotypes of WASP-y upper crust semi-inbreeding. W had the small chin, the Roman nose, the big ears - he practically could have been a stand-in for an obscure member of the British royal family. Kerry's face is so long and his chin is so big that he's like some kind of purebred show dog where things got out of hand.

But no matter who the GOP nominee is, the media will rake Hillary over the coals for looking "old" while giving her paunchy, wrinkly male opponent who isn't much younger a pass.
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