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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: If you were a member of Congress, would you attend Netanyahu's speech? on: Today at 09:53:43 am
If America were facing a hostile power possibly gaining nuclear weapons a stone's throw away from us, there is no way we would hesitate to exploit political divisions in another country if it would help our perceived interest. 
Iran isn't trying to exploit divisions in America Huh

How is Israel threatening Iran?  Let's be real here.  Israel has justifiable defense concerns about Iran, who already have a proxy army on Israel's border and supply Hamas with rockets.  Not to mention that fact that they have literally said they want to destroy Israel.  Israel, on the other hand, only wants peace and defends itself.  But, I guess facts don't matter to you anyway.

It also wants a sizable portion of the West Bank. Are you suggesting that rabid settler fundies burning mosques and vandalizing and demolishing Palestinian homes and lands is done in self defense?
2  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: According to voting records, Jeb Bush didn't vote in the 2008 election! on: March 03, 2015, 10:00:29 pm
America needs a Bush/Walker '16 ticket: a guy who doesn't vote and a guy who didn't graduate from college. They're the perfect specimens of America.
3  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Would Bushie be better off in Soviet Russia? on: March 03, 2015, 09:52:54 pm
In Soviet Russia, Bushie would be rightfully deemed a social parasite and send to the camp to work, with some chance of reeducation. In such a hellhole as Oklahoma, he has no chance of reeducation.

The Family Bushie in early 20th century Russia would likely have been kulaks -- rural people who had enough land and assets to live decently but who weren't aristocrats or malefactors of great wealth. As such, they - Papa, Mama and Bushie - would probably have been ruthlessly liquidated.
4  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: If you were a member of Congress, would you attend Netanyahu's speech? on: March 03, 2015, 12:02:00 am
1. America and Israel's interests do not differ in this situation.

The biggest actual threat to American strategic interests in the Middle East is ISIS, which Iran opposes.

The biggest perceived threat to Israeli strategic interests in the Middle East is Iran.

It does not make sense for the US to relentlessly isolate and punish Iran at this time. It would be as though Winston Churchill came to America and warned us not to work with the Soviet Union to defeat fascism because they were totalitarian communists.

This is one of those messy, Kissingeresque "enemy of my enemy is my friend" moments - for the US, not Israel, because Israel literally doesn't have any friends except the United States (and whose fault is that?).

The fact that you really, truly believe that Iran would actually preemptively attack Israel even if it did obtain nuclear weapons is proof of how full you are of that Likudnik Kool-Aid.
5  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: If you were a member of Congress, would you attend Netanyahu's speech? on: March 02, 2015, 10:29:51 pm
Yes (R ), and I would aggressively lobby my colleagues to do the same using whatever influence I might have.

Hopefully you wouldn't be a member of Congress, since you repeatedly demonstrate in your postings on here that you are a foreigner who places your allegiance to Israel above your allegiance to America.

Please stop. This idea that Jews are foreigners who care more about Israel than their own nation is very common anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Anyway, No (D)

I don't think all Jews are foreigners who care more about Israel than their own country. I just think that specific one does. Rather ironic considering that were it not for American generosity and benevolence, his family would probably have starved to death in some post-apocalyptic Eastern Bloc hellhole sometime during Yeltsin's first term.
6  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: If you were a member of Congress, would you attend Netanyahu's speech? on: March 02, 2015, 09:52:24 pm
Yes (R ), and I would aggressively lobby my colleagues to do the same using whatever influence I might have.

Hopefully you wouldn't be a member of Congress, since you repeatedly demonstrate in your postings on here that you are a foreigner who places your allegiance to Israel above your allegiance to America.
7  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Radio Host: Congressmen Should Hang 'From A Noose' For Skipping Bibi Speech on: March 02, 2015, 07:55:14 pm
Certainly doesn't help that many of those members skipping the speech are black.

Conservative radio host Andrea Shea King recently said on her show that congressmen who planned to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's congressional address on Tuesday should "pay with their lives, hanging from a noose in front of the U.S. Capitol," Right Wing Watch reported on Monday.

King's comments were made last month on her radio program, "The Andrea Shea King Show," according to RWW.

She noted that most of the congressmen missing the speech are members of the Congressional Black Caucus. King said that members of Congress, unlike President Obama, will eventually be up for reelection and "could pay with their jobs." However, in audio posted by Right Wing Watch, King said she hoped their punishment would go one step further.

"I would like to think that these guys could pay with their lives, hanging from a noose in front of the U.S. Capitol building," King said in the audio clip. "Most of those members who are opting out of attending the speech are members of the Congressional Black Caucus. And their districts are all dumb clucks. Because the dumb clucks wouldn't be electing these people if they knew better."

"Stupid. Stupid people," King said. "Our lives are on the line and all they can think of is skin color. You know -- all of us are gonna turn black if we end up in a cage on fire. Stupid people."


Ironic, considering one of the biggest obstacles to a coherent strategy to fight ISIS is...Benjamin Netanyahu.
8  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: CPAC straw poll: Paul 26% Walker 21% Cruz 12% Carson 11% Bush 8% Santorum 4% on: March 01, 2015, 03:50:42 pm
Guys, I think Halperin may need an intervention. This is what he said about Fiorina:

Unquestionably kept the momentum going and solidified the jelling conventional wisdom that she will be a major player in the nomination conversation and the debates, both on the merits, and because the party doesn’t want an all-male ’16 lineup.

Michele Bachmann would be a more competent president than Carly Fiorina. I say that in all seriousness.
9  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Boston Citizens vs. Harvard Faculty on: March 01, 2015, 03:48:43 pm
I'd trust some Irish Catholics from South Boston to implement a welfare state more than I would the Harvard faculty.

Those are the racist, sexist, horrible accent-having lot that I was referencing.
10  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Boston Citizens vs. Harvard Faculty on: March 01, 2015, 03:22:10 pm
Considering Bostonians seem to be a largely racist, sexist lot with horrid accents, I'm going to have to go with the Harvard faculty.
11  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: What are Fiorina's Qualifications? on: March 01, 2015, 12:36:17 pm
She got the liberal demon sheep media like Forbes to criticize her for how she was CEO of HP.

Fixing HP requires understanding what went wrong at HP.  Simply, Carly Fiorina took a company long on innovation and new product development and turned it into the most outdated industrial-era sort of company.  Rather than having HP pursue new technologies and products in the development of new markets, like the company had done since its founding creating the market for electronic testing equipment, she plunged HP into a generic manufacturing war.

Pursuing the PC business Ms. Fiorina gave up R&D in favor of adopting the R&D of Microsoft, Intel and others while spending management resources, and money, on cost management.  PCs offered no differentiation, and HP was plunged into a gladiator war with Dell, Lenovo and others to make ever cheaper, undifferentiated machines.  The strategy was entirely based upon obtaining volume to make money, at a time when anyone could buy manufacturing scale with a phone call to a plethora of Asian suppliers.


She's a good example of why you don't bring someone from marketing into a CEO role. People in that department tend to be on the lower end of the intellectual horsepower scale - they're almost as bad as the HR/Personnel department. Lest we forget that this is the woman who dropped out of law school after a semester because it was too hard for her.
12  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Libertarianism and Communism share a common flaw on: March 01, 2015, 12:32:11 pm
Hardcore libertarians never get around the issue of imperfect information and of transaction costs.

Rather than have environmental regulations that we all have to abide by and that a small fraction of our tax dollars go to pay to enforce, they'd rather we all sue each other every time someone pollutes. Never mind the time and money involved, and the fact that the polluters (major corporations) would automatically have more resources to prevent this than Joe Somebody who makes $40K a year and can't pay a retainer and $500/hr attorney bills.
13  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Is Netanyahu destroying a "special relationship" to win an election? on: March 01, 2015, 12:24:59 pm
Only 30% of American voters think the invitation for Netanyahu to speak was appropriate. 48% disapprove of it.

And it's becoming a very partisan issue:

Some 47% [of Republicans] said they approved of the action, compared to just 12% of Democrats who approved.

In the latest poll, 49% of Republicans said they had a positive view of Mr. Netanyahu, up from 36% in August. Democrats’ view of him has stayed fairly consistent, down to 12% from 13% in August.

Americans like Israel far more than they like its prime minister.

Nearly half of Americans—47%—said in the new survey that they had a positive view of the country, compared to 17% who held a negative view.

Netanyahu's argument that he has something his opponents don't - better access to America's political establishment - doesn't hold up if he makes one of the country's two major parties completely despise him.

David Cameron would not behave like this. Stephen Harper would not behave like this. Angela Merkel would not behave like this. Just what is Bibi trying to prove?
14  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / U.S. Presidential Election Results / Re: Henry Wallace 1948 Strength on: March 01, 2015, 02:31:26 am
How'd he do so well in the Tampa area?
15  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: GOP primary in New Mexico on: March 01, 2015, 02:08:33 am
One of the last in the nation. It will just vote for the nominee.

That's why I added a limitation to the question.

But do you understand that that's why we don't need one of these threads for all 50 states???
16  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Is Netanyahu destroying a "special relationship" to win an election? on: March 01, 2015, 01:55:08 am
The Democratic party's shift away from being  as pro-Israel as the GOP has little to do with an increase in Hispanics or young Jews forgetting the Holocaust.  I'm a generally pro-Palestinian quasi-Republican, so take this for what it's worth, but I think it has more to do with:

- A pro-Islam/anti-Islam polarization between Democrats, who have taken on a role as the defenders of Islam and Muslims, and Republicans, who run the gamut from people who oppose Islamist repression to conservative Christians who oppose Islam for religious reasons to racists who dislike people from Muslim societies.
- Israel becoming a more conservative place in the post-Rabin era, with leaders who more naturally gravitate towards Republican politicians and who are less interested in compromise. This has reached a head with Netanyahu, who is essentially a Republican and whose American friends are all Republicans, and a Democratic president with whom he personally does not get along.

- The Holocaust fading into history for people generally, and having less weight in the minds of liberals who want to stand by those who have been historically wronged
- The Democrats simply falling into line with other center-left to left wing parties around the industrialized world who see the Palestinians as more deserving of their sympathy than the Israelis
- The religious divide between Republicans and Democrats. Secular or irreligious Democrats don't have the same kind of filial relationship with Judaism that older Democrats who might have been religiously conservative but politically liberal would have.

Given these factors, I don't think what we're seeing is surprising at all. Netanyahu's speech isn't creating the divide, it's merely a symptom of an already growing divide. Nevertheless, the Democratic party is still more pro-Israel than it is pro-Palestinian/Arab, and a Clinton administration will smooth over most of the current tension. All in all, I don't think what is going on is actually that unhealthy. Israel doesn't need to be our priority right now, and a moderate amount of tension with them probably benefits us in dealing with current crises.

I am tired of viewing the Israel-Palestine issue in such an Islamocentric framework, as though one has any bearing on the other. Disliking Israel does not make one pro-Islam and vice versa.

I dislike the Israeli government because they have habitually and brazenly disregarded the human rights of millions of people for no reason other than the fact that they are the wrong religion.

On the flip side, however, I go one step beyond merely disliking Islamism and will say, unapologetically, that I do not view mainstream Islam as compatible with secular, progressive Western values. I do not think one can be both a practicing Muslim and a good liberal, in the American sense of the word. If the attacks in France did not hammer that point home, I don't know what will. And I am getting tired of listening to people, including Barack Obama, serve as apologists for a religion that is so regressive.

The American Right dislikes Islam not because it is regressive, but because it is not their brand of regressivism. Furthermore, while fundamentalist Christianity has its own special problems, I hate any liberal attempt to create a false equivalency between the two when the scope and severity of Islamic fundamentalists' harm to society is so much greater. When people with guns and bombs start saying "Jesus is Lord" when they shoot civilians and blow up buildings, then we can talk about that. But they don't say that. They only say one thing, and that is "Allahu Akbar." Pointing that out does not make me intolerant of other cultures or make me some sort of Western cultural chauvinist.
17  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: California vs. Florida on: March 01, 2015, 01:05:58 am

Florida is the mentally challenged offspring of a nasty tryst between the Confederacy and Cuba, who was raised in a foster home by a well-meaning but smothering Jewish Mother from the Tri-State Area and her real estate developer husband.
18  General Politics / Economics / Re: USA inflation in 2015 on: February 28, 2015, 11:29:45 pm
My ideal inflation is around 0% year in year out but I will take this.

Really? I think a 2-3% inflation is actually healthy for economic expansion.

It's healthy for the economy as a whole.

But jaichind is a sociopathic One Percenter who may have structured his portfolio in such a way that nonexistent inflation or slight disinflation would be ideal for him. And everyone else can just go to hell.
19  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: A question about the opponents of gay marriage on: February 28, 2015, 11:01:25 pm
Maybe a better question is why they should expect everyone else to obey Biblical law.

If gay people getting married and those who support their right to do so are condemned to an eternity in Hell, then that sounds like our problem more than it does yours.
20  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Is Netanyahu destroying a "special relationship" to win an election? on: February 28, 2015, 10:52:50 pm
Roughly 80% of the Democratic Party is going to show support for Netanyahu here, and it's since become clear that it's Boehner who holds the blame for breaking protocol, not Netanyahu. The only person who has the ability to destroy the "special relationship" is Obama, with heavy-handed punitive steps that would ring bells that can't be unrung.

What heavy-handed punitive steps has he taken? Please don't act as though Netanyahu is blameless and merely ignorant of the workings of American politics. Netanyahu lived and worked in the US for several years. His current and most recent ambassadors to the US are both former Americans themselves. Bibi knows very well what the ramifications of this are. He could have declined. He could have suggested the speech happen at a later date. He did none of these things.

Netanyahu has bet, and for the short and even medium term correctly I think, that what he does won't undermine the special relationship.  As ugly as Israel can be at times, the Palestinians have tended to be uglier and the US feels the need to be involved in the region.  Israel has no reason to fear that the US (or even the Democratic Party) will start to favor the Arabs.*  What Israel has to fear is that the US decides to stop caring about who is blowing up whom in the Middle East.  American apathy is a real albeit remote possibility.

* That isn't to sat there won't be individual Democratic politicians who will favor the Arabs, but they won't be setting policy unless Israel starts ethnically cleansing the Palestinians instead of merely cooping them up in ghettos as they do now.

It's not an Israel-or-the-Arabs issue. We let Israel get away with despicable behavior all the time. We also let Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE get away with despicable behavior all the time.

The country Israel is most concerned about isn't an Arab country at all - it's Iran. At this juncture, a reasonable argument for a "tilt" towards Tehran can be made. This is something Israel doesn't want and it's something that most Arab countries don't want. My personal opinion is that it would be beneficial to ease up on Iran as a way to give them more wherewithal to indirectly or directly attack the Islamic State and to perhaps "scare" Israel and the Gulf States into behaving more compliantly.

Israel is not an asset in destroying ISIS. They cannot be involved in any kind of coalition because they have such poor relations with their neighbors. Most of their intelligence is about Hamas and Hezbollah - neither of which are a threat to the United States and both of which oppose ISIS. By continuing to attention-whore and insist that there is no difference between Hamas and Hezbollah and ISIS, and trying to sabotage negotiations with a major country that acts as a counterweight to Sunni Arabs, Israel is acting as a liability in American strategic interests.
21  General Politics / International General Discussion / Is Netanyahu destroying a "special relationship" to win an election? on: February 28, 2015, 09:42:12 pm
Jeffrey Goldberg, not exactly someone who can be accused of being anti-Israel or anti-Zionist, thinks so.

Bibi is facing an existential threat to his career, and Boehner is staging for him the ultimate campaign rally, 6,000 miles away from home.

Netanyahu is engaging in behavior that is without precedent: He is apparently so desperate to stay in office that he has let the Republicans weaponize his country in their struggle against a Democratic president they despise. Boehner seeks to do damage to Obama, and he has turned Netanyahu into an ally in this cause. It's not entirely clear here who is being played.

[AIPAC's] leaders are privately fuming about Netanyahu’s end-run around the White House. Even though AIPAC’s leadership leans right, the organization knows that support for Israel in America must be bipartisan in order for it to be stable. “Dermer and Netanyahu don’t believe that Democrats are capable of being pro-Israel, which is crazy for a lot of reasons, but one of the main reasons is that most Jews are Democrats,” one veteran AIPAC leader told me.

What Israel and the Israel Lobby should be concerned about is that Netanyahu and the House GOP are turning support for Israel into a "Blue versus Red" issue. This may have been inevitable in the long-term as the Republican Party relies more heavily on a staunchly pro-Israel constituency in the form of Evangelical Christians, while the Democratic Party's longtime Jewish constituency ages and is replaced by a younger generation of Jews who don't necessarily view Israel as integral to their identity in the way their grandparents and great-grandparents (who experienced, directly or indirectly, the Holocaust and societal antisemitism) did. There is also the matter of the ascendancy of Hispanic Americans, who for a variety of reasons tend to be relatively indifferent to Israel, in the Democratic coalition.

Israel is starting to look like a tool the Republicans are using to delegitimize and undermine a Democratic President. Consider how much of an affront it would seem to African-American politicians and voters to see the GOP invite a foreign leader into the halls of Congress to lambast the nation's first black president. The Congressional Black Caucus already tends to be cool towards Israel, and this would not help matters. Consider how much of an affront it would seem to anyone who considers themselves a Democrat.

The more Bibi engages in this kind of behavior, the more Israel comes across less as a friend of the United States and more as a friend of the Republican Party and the Christian Right. This is, inauspiciously, very similar to the position that South Africa found itself in by the late 1980s, as mainstream Americans no longer viewed having an anti-communist government in power in southern Africa as worth the cost of aiding and abetting an inhumane regime, while the American Right continued to futilely cling to support for a white government.
22  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update Season XXI: "Scientific Facts Are Not Hard And Fast Rules." on: February 28, 2015, 09:13:35 pm
You may also want to develop at least a superficial familiarity with how wines pair with meat, poultry and fish. I know that at the HEB supermarkets in more well-to-do neighborhoods around here, they often try to cross-promote their products by having their meats section suggest wines to go with different products, and vice versa. You may think alcohol is the Devil's liquid but most people do not.
23  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: CPAC straw poll: Paul 26% Walker 21% Cruz 12% Carson 11% Bush 8% Santorum 4% on: February 28, 2015, 07:13:59 pm
Bush's 8% sounded good until I read that.

Yeah, sounds like he'd probably be in the sub-3% range were it not for that.
24  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Lloyd Blankfein; No place for pure, unregulated capitalism on: February 28, 2015, 07:03:07 pm
What do you expect from a Democrat whose father was a union thug mail carrier and who grew up in public housing by mooching off the taxpayers?
25  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Anti-ACA former sheriff now begging for money to pay for medical bills on: February 28, 2015, 05:43:52 pm
Shua has a reasonable point about the ACA and accessibility, and I wish that people who support the law, as I do, were more focused on this problem. People I know who are on the front lines of health care reform emphasize the same point: Having insurance is no guarantee that you have access to affordable care, and it's an increasingly unreliable proxy given the growing share of expenses for which patients are responsible. Moreover, for people below or near the poverty line having to pay anything is frequently enough to deter them from seeking care.

It doesn't require that much pessimism to conclude from current trends in politics and healthcare that, five to ten years from now, access to care will be no better or worse than it was prior to the ACA despite >90% insurance rates in most states. (This is particularly likely if the Supreme Court continues working in concert with Republican governors to gut the bill, but I digress.)

Anyway, the interesting point at stake in this case is whether someone who relies on altruism and reciprocity can legitimately reject the welfare state. What he's doing is more than a bit ridiculous when you think about it in terms of creating moral hazard or the impossibility of crowd-funding meeting the health care needs of more than a small number of people. For that matter, if he had been insured, preventive care or an earlier screening might have prevented this situation or diminished its severity. All of this should be pointed out.

But does anything about his situation imply hypocrisy? No. Just selfishness and stupidity. I hope that he raises enough money to pay his bills, but if he doesn't and he dies because he can't get the care that he needs, he deserves a Darwin Award.

So it's better to be begging for the full cost of a hospital bill, rather than simply begging for the $10,000 out-of-pocket cost if he had insurance?

What are the odds this guy and the sheep who are giving him their money are going to pay the full sticker price for his bill? I'll bet they do. If he had insurance, all they'd have to pay is his co-pay and however much he needed to reach his out-of-pocket cap, and the insurance company would pay maybe half the bill.
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