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Old 09-15-2008, 11:45 AM   #201
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re: POG Politics Thread

Ugh I can't help myself.

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Originally Posted by kyro View Post
Somebody make a case for Obama.
I won't run down all his positions, and I don't know what issues are important to you or where you stand on them. If you want to ask follow-ups, I'll do my best to answer them. For now, I'll just talk about the reasons/issues that made me want to vote for him.

Government Transparency and Ethics Reform:
- Supports the creation of an independent watchdog to oversee the investigation of congressional ethics violations.
- Supports ending no bid contracts on all projects over $25,000.
- Would make White House business transparent by disclosing all communications on regulatory issues between White House officials and those outside of government.
- Worked with Senator Coburn (R-OK) to pass the "Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act" that created USASpending.gov, a search engine and database to track approximately $1 trillion in federal grants, contracts, earmarks and loans; best described as "Google for Government."

While not a flashy or attractive issue, I believe it's a root problem with our government and Obama's approach is precisely the kind of transparency and ethics reform I'd want to see.

Economy:
- Returning to a reasonable income tax policy. According to the Tax Policy center, 80% of American families (those making $112k or less) would see a greater tax cut under an Obama administration than a McCain administration. An additional 15% of American families ($112k-600k) would see a tax cut or no tax increase. This would be balanced by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire on the richest 5%, returning their taxes to Clinton-era levels.
- Reregulation of the financial markets. Particular quotes: Institutions borrowing from the government "should be subject to government oversight and supervision," though the degree of government involvement should depend on how much is being borrowed. He's also proposing a new "financial market oversight commission" to search for systemic risks in the financial markets.
- Opposes Social Security privatization.
- Takes a center-left position on trade agreements, rather than a liberal protectionist position. Specifically, supports trade agreements that include strong environmental and labor protections.

Another not particularly sexy area, but one that is plenty relevant. I'm sure plenty of people in this thread will be happy to discuss market regulation. Personally, I believe that financial market regulation is absolutely necessary to ensure that major financial entities aren't widely engaging in practices that pose a systemic risk to our economy. To put it shortly, regulation and oversight are necessary for a stable financial market, but should not extend beyond that which is dictated by the necessity of maintaining stability.

Regarding a balanced budget, every independent analysis of Obama vs. McCain shows that the current proposals of either one would almost certainly not result in a balanced budget; however, McCain's will be further off the mark.

My personal opinion, based on his rhetoric and his plans, is that Obama would be forced to run at a significant budget deficit for at least his first two years. I also suspect that he would be more likely to push for a scaling back or a delay of proposed programs in order to get a more balanced budget, rather than changing his mind on taxes. That's just my impression though; I can't remember off-hand if he's answered this particular "what if."

Women's Rights
- Supports equal pay. McCain does not.
- Pro-choice. McCain is not. Palin is not, even in cases of rape or incest.

Pretty simple here. While I hold a somewhat moderate/conflicting opinion on abortion, I also believe that the pro-life stance is reprehensible when combined with the Republican position of abstinence-only sex education. I could write pages about my thoughts on the abortion issue, but in the absence of moral certitude I err on the side of practicality and public opinion, both of which land me on the moderately pro-choice side.

Other Issues That I Like
- Internets: Supports Net Neutrality.
- Weapon Proliferation: Worked with Senator Lugar (R-IN) to pass legislation that expanded US cooperation in the destruction of conventional weapons, such as shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missles, as well as expanded the State Department's ability to detect and interdict weapons and materials of mass destruction.
- Affirmative Action: Supports affirmative action in some form, but has spoken out against quota systems, and has occasionally indicated he would be supportive of class-based Affirmative Action rather than race-based Affirmative Action.

Other Non-Issues That I Like
- Pragmatist / behaviorist underpinnings: Just read this article from The New Republic, discussing Obama's advisors and approach to economic and foreign policy issues. There are lots of reasons I'm voting Obama, but I distinctly remember this article in March because it enunciated my general impression of Obama's approach that I hadn't been able to put into words very well at the time.
- Rhetoric: No, not "he gives good speeches." Although he does give fantastically well-crafted speeches. I'm more impressed, however, by the more deliberative, serious, contemplative side of him displayed in debates, forums, and in his books. This is probably a weakness politically. It's often described as his "professorial" side. Personally, I like that side of him more than his oratorical side. But I feel like the only one sometimes.

Anyway, that's a fairly comprehensive list. I left off a lot of things; those that I'm either uncertain he can accomplish but that I do support (health-care reform), those that I have no particularly strong or informed opinion on (immigration), those that I feel should be blatantly obvious (Iraq), or those that I disagree with him on (FISA).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurvan View Post
McCain:
He appears to be well respected, even by lefty media types, and doesn't appear to suffer bull****. Probably will do what he says, and probably won't do things he doesn't believe in. All this is based on things I've heard about him, even from people who would traditionally bash a Republican presidential candidate.
Given how many issues, positions, and behaviors he's done a complete 180 on in the past four years, I don't see how the bolded statement can be true.

I realize that sounds like a Democratic talking point, but it is true. McCain was never a moderate (he's always been quite conservative on most issues), but he once was a principled maverick as far as politicians go. That McCain has been nowhere in sight for a long time, particularly in the last two years.

You can attribute that to Republican base-pandering if you want, but given his campaign staff, his recent voting record, and the choice of Sarah Palin for VP, every bit of evidence tells me that it's not just base-pandering.

I'd probably have voted for John McCain in 2000. If he were still the same guy, I'd have to seriously consider voting for him in 2008. But he's not.

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Originally Posted by metsandfinsfan View Post
We went to war, we made a change for those people, let's be proud of our soldiers and country instead of criticizing the people who put us there like monday morning quarterbacks.
I'm pretty sure I can be proud of our soldiers and our country and still criticize the hell out of the people who put us there, thanks.

Last edited by Madtown; 09-15-2008 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:45 AM   #202
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re: POG Politics Thread

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Originally Posted by DustinG View Post
Debt means interest so I think the answer should be obvious. Banks make their money off of interest.

The $64,000 dollar question is why is a debt thats never getting paid good for the banks?
The bank counts the loan as an asset. Now, due to the fractional reserve system, they can loan out nine times this amount. Say the bank lends the government a billion dollars. Now they have the assets to lend out nine billion. Every bank does this. Better banks actually keep around 10% of loans on deposit. Worse ones will push this number to 8, 6, or 5%. Then if a few of their loans fail and they run out of cash, they can either get the taxpayers to cough up this money to bail them out or they sell their bank, as we saw this morning.

It's a racket. The borrowed money doesn't need to be paid back, an instrument saying the government owes you is money. Where does this money come from? It dilutes the money supply, making the dollar in your pocket worth less. It's a hidden tax.
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:47 AM   #203
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re: POG Politics Thread

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Originally Posted by Zurvan View Post
I still need somebody to explain AC to me, with a focus on "how do things actually work, knowing the way people are"
You know as well as I do you're not getting a satisfactory explanation for this.

If people could pull off an AC "government", communism would work, too.

The problem is, people are pretty ****ed up.
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:48 AM   #204
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Re: POG Community Thread

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Originally Posted by antidan444 View Post
I knew I didn't want to tread into this thread.

No, the MSM is not entirely controlled. Seriously. The problem is, the MSM as a whole is ridiculously stupid and will run with whatever it is fed, rather than doing real research and asking the really tough questions. Again, it's more a matter of being stupid (EDIT: And doing the easy thing instead of the hard thing) than being controlled.

Now, does the Government know how to use the media to its end? Absolutely. But that's not the same as outright controlling it.
Dan,

Can you explain how the entire Western media is getting the Georgia-Russia situation wrong?

You really don't think there isn't a concerted effort there or you think its just laziness?

Also, I don't think sports reporters are in bed with the CIA.
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:51 AM   #205
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re: POG Politics Thread

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Originally Posted by amplify View Post
The bank counts the loan as an asset. Now, due to the fractional reserve system, they can loan out nine times this amount. Say the bank lends the government a billion dollars. Now they have the assets to lend out nine billion. Every bank does this. Better banks actually keep around 10% of loans on deposit. Worse ones will push this number to 8, 6, or 5%. Then if a few of their loans fail and they run out of cash, they can either get the taxpayers to cough up this money to bail them out or they sell their bank, as we saw this morning.

It's a racket. The borrowed money doesn't need to be paid back, an instrument saying the government owes you is money. Where does this money come from? It dilutes the money supply, making the dollar in your pocket worth less. It's a hidden tax.
And this. Money is now "legal tender" not backed by anything (most of it).

Quote:
Can you explain how the entire Western media is getting the Georgia-Russia situation wrong?
I'm still surprised that you claim to know what's going on down there.

Quote:
If people could pull off an AC "government", communism would work, too.
This is incorrect because Socialism (thus Communism) have been proven to be impossible to pull off.
Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:52 AM   #206
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re: POG Politics Thread

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Originally Posted by amplify View Post
I also don't know why I spend so much time thinking about freedom when I don't believe in free will. I guess that's one of them paradox type things.
I pictured you saying that last sentence in a Hillbilly Southern drawl, and it cracked me up. Just FYI.
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:56 AM   #207
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Re: POG Community Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by DustinG View Post
Dan,

Can you explain how the entire Western media is getting the Georgia-Russia situation wrong?

You really don't think there isn't a concerted effort there or you think its just laziness?
Yes, it's mostly laziness, which manifests itself in a willingness to simply go with what the Government leaders say than to do our own deep research into the whole picture.

There's a difference between being willing sheep, and having a gun put to our head and being told to spread a certain message. No one's holding a gun to our head. We're just too lazy (and too dumb) to find and tell the real story.

To that end, the media is generally a really good reflection of American society as a whole, since after all, that's who the media is selling its product to. If you think the overall American populace is pretty ****ing stupid (and I do), well guess what? The media will be at that level, too ... because that's the only way we make a profit.

(Although these days, most media outlets are not making much profit. That's been the interesting change with the Internet age, is more and more, the organized big-business media is becoming irrelevant. It's slowly happening.)
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:57 AM   #208
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re: POG Politics Thread

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Originally Posted by metsandfinsfan View Post
Regardless of whether is was or not, we did it.
This is a perfectly valid point, but essentially in order to decide what to do in Iraq now that we are there, we still have to figure out what our best estimates are as to the potential outcomes in various cases. The decision still hinges upon considerations specific to this war, and not war in general. I may have been missing something when I read the post I responded to, but my point was only that a general statement that war can be a necessary evil does not help in analyzing the current situation.

Quote:
If we left Iraq now, the democracy would fail, iran would probably take over iraq, and all the lives we lost were in vain.
This is the crux of the matter. Those who favor earlier withdrawals disagree with this assessment. It is beyond my knowledge or skill to make a good argument for either side, but we are at the point now where both the Iraqi government and the current US administration are discussing timetables to withdrawal though, so I think that we shouldn't take this statement as obviously true, it needs an argument to support it.

Beyond that, the reason why Obama points out his opposition to the war originally is to try to highlight what he believes is an advantage in his favor as far as how we should handle foreign policy and the war on terror in general. He's trying to draw a conclusion from a specific (Opposition to Iraq) to a general (How he will handle foreign policy concerns.) The argument isn't that because the war in Iraq was misguided originally, that therefore we should withdrawal. You are correct in pointing out that this kind of argument is fallacious, but really we are conflating too different arguments. The argument for withdrawal, and the argument for an Obama administration having a superior approach to foreign relations.
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:58 AM   #209
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re: POG Politics Thread

Anyway, I'm through about the first 70 posts and have been pleasantly surprised at how good a read this thread has been.

FWIW I really do feel a lot like Carlin ... I'm not sure any of this big-picture political stuff matters at all, because I think human beings are a fundamentally screwed-up species and we'll find a way to **** up pretty much anything.
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:07 PM   #210
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re: POG Politics Thread

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Originally Posted by Zurvan View Post
Democracy can work. I think Democracy in its current form is not working, for a number of reasons.

The number 1 reason is the way media & politicians work together. Media is more concerned about ratings than truth. Politicians are more concerned about getting elected than governing well. To get elected, politicians need the media, and in order to get in the media, they need to talk in sound bites. You can't explain policy or political platforms in sound bites - it's too complex.

Because those sound bites are designed purely for exposure, and to limit attack possibilities from opponents, they can mean almost anything. That means, no matter what a politician does, his opponents can say he lied (with another sound bite, obv). This is what the average person knows about politics. So they vote based on their personal pet cause, for whoever has the sound bite closest to their beliefs.

I don't have some elitist view of elections - I think media and politicians have a responsibility to present themselves in a straightforward and honest way. If they do that, and if they follow through - or explain why they had to change their mind - democracy will be far more effective, because people will start to think about who they're voting for and why, with real information.
This is pretty good stuff, and it is ABSOLUTELY TRUE that the media is soundbyte/video clip/quote driven. I know I'm a mere sportswriter, but the best 2-3 quotes I get after a game wind up shaping my entire story. That's fine for sports reporting, but not so good for political reporting.

Again, the media tends to consider what the politicians say to be the big news. It's not ... the big news takes a little more investigative digging, and we just don't do that (for the most part) anymore.
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:14 PM   #211
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re: POG Politics Thread

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Originally Posted by metsandfinsfan View Post
Regardless of whether is was or not, we did it. And we have an obligation there now. That is what pisses me off the most about people.
If we left Iraq now, the democracy would fail, iran would probably take over iraq, and all the lives we lost were in vain. At least the people are not under a dictator's rule right now. We caused that, and we have an obligation to help maintain that at least for a reasonable time. Actually, forever.

People may think we didnt belong in the war, but that as irrelevant as saying we shouldn't have lynched dustin when he claimed seer. We went to war, we made a change for those people, let's be proud of our soldiers and country instead of criticizing the people who put us there like monday morning quarterbacks. There are no do-overs. We went there, so support your damn country

There are many many ways to support your country. I would assert that encouraging your country to do something that is not in its best interests is the opposite of supporting your country.
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:14 PM   #212
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re: POG Politics Thread

Quote:
... zurvan's post that Dan responded to. Yes this is a quote. :P
That is a good post, and I think probably we all agree already that the media sucks and politicians lie.

Politicians lie. A true statement.
Cast iron sinks. Another true statement
Politicians lie in cast iron sinks. True by conjunction. QED
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:17 PM   #213
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re: POG Politics Thread

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Originally Posted by Madtown View Post
I'm pretty sure I can be proud of our soldiers and our country and still criticize the hell out of the people who put us there, thanks.
But that's not what it's about. People dont act proud of our soldiers, the media paints a picture like we are failing there. Obama was in favor of immediate withdrawal based on what he believed was true, and then when he went to Iraq he said we need to stay there a while. This is one thing i actually respect .. he realized the media painted a picture that wasnt true and changed his thought .. even if it goes against the will of most of his constituency.
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:17 PM   #214
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re: POG Politics Thread

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It's interesting, but frustrating. Mostly because I don't understand how someone as intelligent as you are can believe in something so... impractical and idealistic. And I'm sure you have some view of my position that I would disagree with as thoroughly as you do with my interpretation of yours.
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ack,

I understand. I can talk about the practical implications of my philosophy. I want it to be clear that I don't think it matters. If it is inevitable that without government coercion there are no social services for the poor, then people suck and the world is going to hell anyway. I have a pretty high opinion of people. Most are decent and care for others. Some are even heroic. The alternate opinion is analogous to the idea that we are toddlers who need to have our toys taken away so that we learn to share.
I thought these posts back-to-back were funny, and it reminds me of my own path to where I am now. I used to be an extreme idealist ... I'd think, "If everyone just lived by the same solid moral code, wouldn't the world be great?" and I'd debate which government system would be best in that case. Then, somewhere around five years ago, after reading story after story about humans doing this or that terrible thing, I realized it doesn't matter because humans as a whole suck and there will always be corruption and deceit and dishonesty and taking advantage of others, and then I became a huge George Carlin fan.

I guess it comes down to, do you believe most human beings would do the right thing if no one else was watching? I just don't.

EDIT: And FWIW, I'm not so sure I would do the right thing myself.
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:20 PM   #215
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re: POG Politics Thread

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There are many many ways to support your country. I would assert that encouraging your country to do something that is not in its best interests is the opposite of supporting your country.
once we're there, you have a duty to support your country. Vietnam was the same thing. It was okay to be against going to the war ... it's your right. But once we decide to go, you should support it as an American. You can criticize Bush for sending us there if you'd like, but don't act like our soldiers are there for nothing. It's not fair to the people who are fighting for our country

My friends that were in Iraq were sick to their stomach when they came home and saw how Iraq was portrayed by the media.
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:25 PM   #216
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re: POG Politics Thread

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Originally Posted by metsandfinsfan View Post
But that's not what it's about. People dont act proud of our soldiers, the media paints a picture like we are failing there. Obama was in favor of immediate withdrawal based on what he believed was true, and then when he went to Iraq he said we need to stay there a while. This is one thing i actually respect .. he realized the media painted a picture that wasnt true and changed his thought .. even if it goes against the will of most of his constituency.
Wat? Things in NY must be different than here in STL. The vast majority of the people around here love the soldiers, and want them to do their job while not getting killed. I think it is fairly well understood that we are "failing" due to the nature of the assignment and the leadership, rather than to any fault of the troops on the ground.
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:26 PM   #217
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re: POG Politics Thread

I got a commendation from the US Navy last week for my efforts in support of our troops (I'm not kidding), and I can say without reservation that our soldiers are there for nothing. We went in there for nothing. We need to get the hell out.
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:27 PM   #218
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re: POG Politics Thread

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If you have a world full of clowntables and amplifys (and ackblehs and fnords, for that matter), the amplify and clowntable solutions probably work beautifully. But we don't. We live in a world full of selfish, ignorant, incompetent, racist, bigoted, mean, and angry people. As much as I embrace the principles you guys are putting forth, you can only form your society around those principles if all (or almost all) of the members embrace those principles. And since that's very, very far from true in 2008, and you have no way of forcing those principles on people (and who wants to force principles, anyways), I would much rather live as we are today. Even though there are a lot of flaws.
If I really was adopted, I think ack may be my biological brother.
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:29 PM   #219
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re: POG Politics Thread

Quote:
Obama was in favor of immediate withdrawal
Minor nit: Obama was and is in favor of phased withdrawals over 16 months. And that's probably a best case scenario, according to an interview Samantha Powers gave once before she was relieved of her advisor-ship for referring to Sen. Clinton as a monster
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:34 PM   #220
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re: POG Politics Thread

Madtown:

All those things you listed - they're campaign promises. Campaign promises are rarely a good reason to vote for someone.

As for politicians changing their positions - I admire that if it happens for a reason, and that reason isn't "it's better for my reelection". For example, a US politician could say "we need to raise taxes to fund a new national healthcare system". If the economy slows down, a bad politician keeps pounding the raise taxes drum... a good one says "national healthcare is important, but raising taxes now will make the economy worse, we need to wait".

Changing their mind, with a reason = good. Flip-flopping for votes = bad.

Unfortunately, sound bite media makes telling the difference difficult.
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:34 PM   #221
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re: POG Politics Thread

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Originally Posted by AriesRam View Post
Wat? Things in NY must be different than here in STL. The vast majority of the people around here love the soldiers, and want them to do their job while not getting killed. I think it is fairly well understood that we are "failing" due to the nature of the assignment and the leadership, rather than to any fault of the troops on the ground.
fine people act proud of the soldiers
but when the media makes it look like the iraquis dont want us there and we dont belong there and havent helped anything, what are we proud of?

The fact that you say we are "failing" there is my entire point. How are we failing there? Because we lost lives? We lose lives in every war, that doesn't mean we are failing if we are accomplishing what we set out to accomplish. What we set out to accomplish is arguable, as this thread is evidence to, but we
overthrew the govt
installed a democracy
executed the dictator

not sure how this is a failure
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:35 PM   #222
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re: POG Politics Thread

As Amplify mentioned earlier-

considering that Obama supports increased action in Afghanistan, and war with Iran, what reasons do we have to believe that Obama is or was actually opposed to the war in Iraq?
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:35 PM   #223
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re: POG Politics Thread

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I got a commendation from the US Navy last week for my efforts in support of our troops (I'm not kidding), and I can say without reservation that our soldiers are there for nothing. We went in there for nothing. We need to get the hell out.
I would say that the invasion was bad, and that it ws probably a bad idea to go.

I think, though, that if the soldiers are rebuilding the infrastructure and helping build a government, then being there now is worthwhile.
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:37 PM   #224
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re: POG Politics Thread

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I think, though, that if the soldiers are rebuilding the infrastructure and helping build a government, then being there now is worthwhile.
i dont ever ever ever think i have been in a thread where i agreed with zurvan as much as i do in this thread
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:39 PM   #225
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Re: POG Community Thread

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Originally Posted by antidan444 View Post
Yes, it's mostly laziness, which manifests itself in a willingness to simply go with what the Government leaders say than to do our own deep research into the whole picture.

There's a difference between being willing sheep, and having a gun put to our head and being told to spread a certain message. No one's holding a gun to our head. We're just too lazy (and too dumb) to find and tell the real story.
This is an interesting article. Its obviously quite dated but there isn't any reason to think that this isn't still going on today

http://tmh.floonet.net/articles/cia_press.html


Quote:
(Although these days, most media outlets are not making much profit. That's been the interesting change with the Internet age, is more and more, the organized big-business media is becoming irrelevant. It's slowly happening.)
this is not a sad thing.

Also, I'm going to want to discuss Bob Woodward at some point and am posting this now to remind me of that.
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