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Old 2013-10-17, 20:32   Link #31241
SaintessHeart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
... It's a Cyanide and Happiness video. Did you mean to do that?
Wrong copypaste. My bad.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100975718
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Old 2013-10-17, 21:11   Link #31242
Sugetsu
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Although the tea party's days seem to be nearing an end in the major political scene, there is still a very big problem: The ideological gap that this country is facing. Just listen to the people in this short tea party video:



The religious zealotry, the ignorance and the lack of critical thinking that plague those people, who are still a large part of the US population, spells doom and gloom for the future of this country.

How can we possibly tackle this issue?
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Old 2013-10-17, 21:30   Link #31243
ganbaru
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugetsu View Post
The religious zealotry, the ignorance and the lack of critical thinking that plague those people, who are still a large part of the US population, spells doom and gloom for the future of this country.

How can we possibly tackle this issue?
If it was about kids, I would had suggested to heavily rework the school system, but we are talking about adult, it's a bit too late.

Best solution would to rewrite the districts than have been gerrymandered to favor republican on state and federal level. One could hope to marginalise those enough so than they stop crewing the country but to help the progressist to counter-balance then would probably be a more realistic goal.
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Old 2013-10-17, 22:00   Link #31244
Irenicus
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California successfully countered the gerrymandered "safe seats" phenomenon, once extremely prevalent, because its voters voted in a law that placed the redistricting powers in the hands of a citizens' commission. The redraw produced some serious upheavals and effectively broke the State GOP -- not because of blue-flavored gerrymandering, but rather reflecting demographic and ideological realities. The last election saw a number of highly competitive races for individual seats.

Good luck with transplanting this solution to the rest of the country, however. Say what you will about the initiative system -- many think it has ruined the state's fiscal situation forever -- this is one of the signature achievements of the People's Republic that is essentially impossible to replicate in places like, oh, Florida.

(Although you can argue that the more urgent priority in Florida is to hold on, for dear life, to the basic tenets of democracy like people having the right to vote at all in the first place...)

Alternatively, do a proportional European-style Parliamentary system which- oh, what the hell, that is less likely to happen than a second Confederacy.
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Old 2013-10-18, 00:27   Link #31245
Vallen Chaos Valiant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
Alternatively, do a proportional European-style Parliamentary system which- oh, what the hell, that is less likely to happen than a second Confederacy.
Due to the fact that USA is still the world's only superpower, its citizens have the belief that they can do something different from the rest of the world. I say the only way America can reform its outdated rules is when it is no longer number 1. Like with the UK after the fall of the Empire. Until then, the view that "America is special so we can have laws that made no sense" would never die.
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Old 2013-10-18, 00:57   Link #31246
Irenicus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vallen Chaos Valiant View Post
Due to the fact that USA is still the world's only superpower, its citizens have the belief that they can do something different from the rest of the world. I say the only way America can reform its outdated rules is when it is no longer number 1. Like with the UK after the fall of the Empire. Until then, the view that "America is special so we can have laws that made no sense" would never die.
It's not that, it's the fact that the United States is constructed from the beginning, ideologically and constitutionally, around the notion of regional autonomy, even independence -- although that was weakened from the start as the USA had to abandon the Articles of Confederation for the present constitutional arrangement, and then of course the Civil War...

Unlike, say, France's provinces, the States are building blocks of the, well, United States. Think of Germany's federal arrangement, except with stronger political autonomy and emphasized by dramatic geographical distance and perceived cultural differences.

A parliamentary system based on proportional representation cuts right through the entire idea, and will be nearly universally opposed, whether that "makes sense" or not. Remember that the USA can't even get rid of the illogical, outdated electoral system (sounds like a certain debt ceiling concept, hm) for the Presidential elections, resulting in the minority election of the compassionate, peace-loving President Bush. Remember him?

///

That said, note that my analysis above is highly based on perceptions. I am fully aware that the US Federal Government dominates the political landscape and historically were by far stronger than the States throughout the Pax Americana. I am also aware that the regional cultural differences, while perceived intensely, are much less dramatic than from country to country in Europe (though I suspect more than Bavaria vs Hanover).

In fact, the true cultural and demographic divide is not Red State Blue State, so much as urban vs rural. There are pockets of solid Democratic support throughout the urban centers of the American South from Austin to Richmond, and rural California is still on the red side. When this demographic fact comes face up against a State-based political arrangement, it produces some very interesting distortion effects. Exceptionalist constitutional scholars often argue that this is "working as intended" (as in the way many countries arrange their parliamentary districts such that rural areas are, population-wise, overrepresented).

///

My last point is that the matter of government in the United States today, aside from the obvious dysfunction, theater, and madness, is about the complex and messy interaction between Federal, State, Local levels, various non-official political actors (lobbyists, interest groups, unions, chambers of commerce, etc.), business and nonprofit sectors, and, from time to time, the average citizen. Hence Obamacare. It is a very representative product of the extremely complex modern US government, and President Obama and his policies very, very strongly reflect this modern tradition.

Do not let the Republican noise and propaganda machine fool you. In their gasps of madness the American Right try to make this black upstart into a Muslim Socialist or whatever they can think of. That is not true. Obama is not the President of the Left. He is the President of the Think Tanks: the President of Head Start (operated in effect by the federal government granting money to local governments, nonprofits, and other actors to carry out its policy mandate), the President of the Affordable Care Act through State-based expanded Medicaid, State-based insurance exchanges for for-profit and nonprofit insurers, the President of Pay for Success (known in the UK -- its birthplace -- as the Social Impact Bond), the President of Management Consultants. His God is data, measurements, impact, control (why else the intense fetish for the surveillance state?). It is a sort of modern technocratic democracy.

Last edited by Irenicus; 2013-10-18 at 01:07.
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Old 2013-10-18, 01:23   Link #31247
Ithekro
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Such rural/urban divids have been the basis of sebveral seccession movents on the state level. The rural communities feel they are not represented by their state capital due to the overwhelming populations of the cities, even though said cities only represent a small percentage of the state's landmass. Thus the rural counties was to break off and form their own state so their needs can be answered with their own taces and federal programs. California has had these off and on practically since it became a state in 1850. The most successful being the proposed state of Jefferson in 1941, that nearly worked, save for that business of the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor making seccession movement rather unpatriotic. The locals got what they wanted anyway because of thw war...a highway through the mountains to get the lumber and minerals out in the winter and wet seasons.

The most recent was a proposal for the primarily Republican leaning southern Californian counties to break off ( that was pretty much all of then save for Los Angeles county). Before that it was the primarily rural northern countied north of Sacramento that wanted to break off in the 1990s.
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Old 2013-10-18, 03:47   Link #31248
Mentar
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I maintain that the central problem ailing America is the FoxNews/Conservative Radio reality bubble. I've been visiting the US in the last 8 years, for 2 weeks each. And as a moderate conservative German (which does not have a political equivalent in the US), I can only say that the FoxNews coverage has degenerated from "stiffly unbalanced conservative" to "batshit crazy is normal". And since the "problem group" tends to isolate itself from the real world via the FoxNews/Conservative Radio echo chamber how are they supposed to KNOW what is happening in the real world?

In their mind, they are the True Americans, who hate Obamacare and who are oppressed by a invasive government. And there are the Librul Takers, who are befuddled by Librul MSM "lies", and who hate America and are out to destroy you. The FoxNews/CR coverage consistently supplants the legitimacy of Obama and his government. Nutjobs are allowed to spread they next Kenyan Muslim allegation unchecked by anyone. And so, by consistent repetition, the message gains traction and becomes "accepted truth" in the circle. It also can never be disproven, because the reality bubble has inoculated against the truth: Dissenting voices come from the lying evil enemy.

There is a deep-rooted scorn for science and rationality which permeats the FoxNews/CR coverage. Criticism against America is only accepted when directed against the political enemy. A continuous scare scenario of terrorists justifies torture, drone killings, SNA spying - you name it. And rapture nuts rail about the end of the world.

Only one thing is (thank god) causing them trouble: They are the clear minority. So, every once in a while (usually elections, now loss in the shutdown fight) when a collision with reality can no longer be avoided or ignored, they will get a cold shower. However, it's a self-defeating purpose: Their political loss is not caused by the fact that they themselves are a deluded minority: They merely have to convince themselves that they simply HAVEN'T TRIED HARD ENOUGH. Da capo al fine.

Which leads to a funny yet sad result: As long as FoxNews/CR doesn't begin to OPPOSE this madness, the Teabaggers are there to stay. And at the same time, sabotage the GOP chances at elections.

Curious to see how long it will take for this simple truth to become noticed by those behind FoxNews/CR, and adjustments made.
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Old 2013-10-18, 04:37   Link #31249
Dr. Casey
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Good post, Mentar.
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Old 2013-10-18, 05:55   Link #31250
aohige
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Well, at the point the GOP decided to place its own political interests (over petty matters to be honest) above that of functionality of government system and fallout of American financial systems, I can't see how they plan to win any major elections in the foreseeable future.

Democrats aren't winning, Republicans are just digging their own hole.
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Old 2013-10-18, 06:05   Link #31251
ganbaru
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Shutdown affected us in ways we did not see
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...10-18-01-04-42

DHS selection suggests priority shift to security
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...10-18-03-06-21
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Old 2013-10-18, 07:08   Link #31252
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aohige View Post
Well, at the point the GOP decided to place its own political interests (over petty matters to be honest) above that of functionality of government system and fallout of American financial systems, I can't see how they plan to win any major elections in the foreseeable future.
By blaming Obama?
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Old 2013-10-18, 08:13   Link #31253
risingstar3110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
By blaming Obama?
It's a race you see...

On one side, Obama will try to keep on his election promise, revise the health care system, improve the economy, and reboot the education system. On the other side, the GOP will try to convince the American public that Obama is a socialist, Muslim Kenya-born terrorists who try to bankrupt America with medical bill.


The winner get to blame the other side for closing down the government.
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Old 2013-10-18, 08:21   Link #31254
JokerD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aohige View Post
Well, at the point the GOP decided to place its own political interests (over petty matters to be honest) above that of functionality of government system and fallout of American financial systems, I can't see how they plan to win any major elections in the foreseeable future.

Democrats aren't winning, Republicans are just digging their own hole.
Gerrymandering

Quote:
In the process of setting electoral districts, gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan advantaged districts. The resulting district is known as a gerrymander (/ˈdʒɛriˌmændər/); however, that word can also refer to the process. When used to allege that a given party is gaining disproportionate power, the term gerrymandering has negative connotations.
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Old 2013-10-18, 10:21   Link #31255
SeijiSensei
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Gerrymandering alone did not create the House Republican majority. The geographic concentration of Democrats in urban areas, and the more even distribution of Republicans across suburban and rural areas, gives the Republicans an advantage even when using unbiased districting methods.

Mentar, I recommend this interview with Josh Barro, a Republican journalist who writes for Business Insider. I suspect you will find yourself generally in agreement with him. He's a frequent guest on MSNBC panels and always impresses me with his intelligence and rationality even when I don't always agree with him on issues. Despite his being a prominent voice for Republican centrists, he sees little hope that people with his ideas will be listened to in the current GOP:
Quote:
I think certainly I’m on the outside. I’m not someone who’s considered a trusted adviser by a lot of people inside the movement right now. But I don’t think there’s a reasonable place to be other than outside. The party on the national level has gone so off the rails that there’s no way to participate in good faith from the inside. What I’m counting on for my ideas to win out is not networking and building influence, but the fact that the party’s current platform sucks, and they’re going to need a new one that properly addresses the issues of the day.
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Old 2013-10-18, 11:50   Link #31256
Dhomochevsky
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The key feature of the US political system seems to be that it is slow.
This gives the system great stability.
In other systems, you can get political change by voting for a different party. This give great political power to the people, but can sometimes lead to desaster.
But in the US you only got the two parties and the whole system seems to be built to fortify this setup, so any change whatsoever must come out of the parties themselves.
And their change can be measured in generations, if we look at the past.

So what do you do, if you want to have political impact?
You can try to promote your moderately different ideas, but when everything moves slow as molasses, that will hardly do anything. At least not for the next 20 years or so.
Or you could yank the reins strongly to one side. This will get you a quick reaction.
You stand on your extreme political position until the course has changed somewhat to your side and then you let go. If you can.

And this is why I don't think the political leaders of the extreme right are 'batshit insane' as many like to state. Their followers may be, but they are just minions after all.
I believe the ones behind this developement do have a plan, something like described above. The question is, if they can let go in time.
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Old 2013-10-18, 11:50   Link #31257
KiraYamatoFan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by risingstar3110 View Post
It's a race you see...

On one side, Obama will try to keep on his election promise, revise the health care system, improve the economy, and reboot the education system. On the other side, the GOP will try to convince the American public that Obama is a socialist, Muslim Kenya-born terrorists who try to bankrupt America with medical bill.
Well, we can play that kind of game with Ted Cruz as well. Bigots can always label him as a half-Cuban (oh no, Latinos!), Calgary-born freak trying to drag America into oblivion with fantasies coming from a children's book (I'm referring to some of Cruz's quotes raised on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, of course). Where are those people and their smearing campaign when it comes to this particular fool?

Either way, something's badly broken in that society when it resorts to that.
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Old 2013-10-18, 12:22   Link #31258
Archon_Wing
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GDB View Post
Personally, that's why I use "GOP" to refer to the current crazies, and "Republicans" to refer to the non-crazy right-wingers. When I was a kid, they aren't batshit crazy, and no one called them the GOP. They might have had the name in stock as an alias, but no one referred to them as such. Cut to the past 10 years or so, they're crazy, and they go by the "GOP". Thus, I can only correlate it as such.

Also, I love how they were so against... everything, since it meant more spending, but then Mitch McConnel tacked a $3 billion ordinance to the passage yesterday for improving locks on a dam. The reasoning? If it wasn't done, it'd cost tax payers $167 million. Apparently 167 > 3000.
Ah, I think I call them neo-cons, and it's been a degeneration that's been happening for 20-30 years depending on who you ask but they're basically tea party people at this point.

It's funny because the Tea Party has shifted its agenda, not unlike the rest of the GOP, to "Fuck Obama" regardless of how much sense it makes. And that's the main problem with them-- they don't really have anything else. And pretending to be rebellious and anti-big government when they are feeding off these structures has absolutely no sincerity whatsoever.
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Old 2013-10-18, 13:07   Link #31259
SeijiSensei
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhomochevsky View Post
The key feature of the US political system seems to be that it is slow.
From Federalist 10 by James Madison:
Quote:
By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.
Madison goes on to argue that the first of these methods is impossible to achieve in practice since that would require forcing everyone to hold the same opinions or limiting the speech rights of people with "unacceptable" beliefs. The US constitutional system relies on "checks and balances" among competing centers of power -- the legislative, executive, and judicial branches -- to cure the "mischiefs of faction."

The US is a "republican" form of government, not a "democracy."
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Old 2013-10-18, 15:13   Link #31260
SeijiSensei
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Japanese Leader Rejects Appearance at War Shrine

Apparently Mr. Abe's militaristic rhetoric during the election campaign has not been matched by actions since he became Prime Minister.

Quote:
For a third time this year, Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, refused supporters’ calls to visit a controversial Tokyo war shrine on Thursday, sending a ceremonial offering instead in what was apparently an effort to avoid angering Asian neighbors, including China.

Since taking office in December, the hawkish Mr. Abe has been closely watched to see if he makes potentially provocative displays of Japanese nationalism that could isolate his nation and undermine his efforts to restore Japan’s stature in a region increasingly dominated by China. Before becoming prime minister, Mr. Abe vowed that if he won the office, he would not stop visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead, including convicted war criminals from World War II.

However, as national leader, Mr. Abe has carefully avoided saying or doing anything that would inflame regional passions or allow China to cast him as a dangerous revisionist for what analysts call his deeply held belief that Japan was not the aggressor in World War II. His caution may also be a response to pressure from the United States, which has warned Japan, its largest Asian ally, not to escalate an already tense standoff with China over control of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.
I am curious how Abe and his sympathizers can believe that Japan was not the aggressor in World War II, but then I live in the US. Still that belief seems as delusional as the statements I hear from the mouths of Ted Cruz and friends.

Oh, I see:
Quote:
However, the shrine, part of Japan’s native Shinto religion, is also a rallying point for ultrarightists, in part because of its museum, which portrays Japan as a well-intentioned liberator of Asia from Western colonizers that was unjustly branded as a perpetrator by the postwar Tokyo war crimes trials.
Funny how I don't recall any Hawaiians dancing in the streets when they were "liberated" from their American colonizers in 1941.
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