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I feel this needs to be shared.  

I refuse to accept that this "era we're in" is a new normal or acceptable in any way. 

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2 hours ago, Vondy said:

 

The thing is, I don't think our traditional definitions of "Right" and "Left" remain useful. "

The GOP has embraced the administrative state, blank check spending, and conservative social authoritarianism.

From a high-level view,, I don't see our present "right" as being meaningfully different than the radical progressive "left."

Sure, the specific policies and sensibilities differ, but both are all too willing to trample on liberty to legislate their morality while bankrupting us. 

 

Who do you include in "the radical progressive 'left'"? Especially, what "morality" do you see them trying to impose on others?

 

Because I don't see what passes for the left (i.e., the Democratic Party) in this country as being anywhere near to the GOP, in policies, tactics, or outcomes.

 

The Democrats want to make sure every eligible person can vote.

The republicans are doing their best to disenfranchise as many minorities as possible. 

 

The Democrats are trying to prevent discrimination, whether based on religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The GOP is trying to enshrine discrimination into the law.

 

The Democrats are trying to maintain a social safety net for all.

The GOP is trying to tear it down.

 

The Democrats are trying to make sure everyone has access to adequate healthcare.

The GOP is fighting this tooth and nail.

 

The Democrats are trying to secure our elections from interference by foreign entities.

The GOP is stopping them.

 

I agree that both parties are too beholden to corporate interests. I agree that many politicians in both parties are often more worried about their own reelection than their the good of their constituents, but the GOP is standing by while the current administration, at the direction of the President, sells this country off to the highest bidder. They pretend to investigate his possible connection to the interference with the 2016 elections, while keeping the Democrats from calling relevant witnesses. They take money from the NRA, which, has become essentially a front for funneling money from Russian oligarchs to political campaigns here. There is not an ounce of integrity left in the national Republican Party.

 

So, are the Democrats perfect? Not even close. But to group them as even close to the current incarnation of the Republican Party is not supportable.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Dr.Device said:

 

Who do you include in "the radical progressive 'left'"? Especially, what "morality" do you see them trying to impose on others?

 

Because I don't see what passes for the left (i.e., the Democratic Party) in this country as being anywhere near to the GOP, in policies, tactics, or outcomes.

 

The Democrats want to make sure every eligible person can vote.

The republicans are doing their best to disenfranchise as many minorities as possible.[/quote]

Not quite. I see it as more:

Democrats: If even one person was eligible to vote, but didn't because of undue costs or bureaucracy, that is unacceptable.

Republicans: If even one person was ineligible to vote, but did because of inadequate bureaucracy, that is unacceptable.

 

I promise, Republicans do not want minorities out of voting. But Republicans don't see a problem with requiring ID, because who can't do that? Everyone they know has to get an ID, just to drive or go drinking. Democrats do know people who have a harder time getting ID, for a number of reasons. They know that kind of situation can happen to any kind of person, but also that it happens more among minorities.

 

So, this is more a problem of differing perceptual frameworks than unvarnished racism.

 

1 hour ago, Dr.Device said:

The Democrats are trying to prevent discrimination, whether based on religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The GOP is trying to enshrine discrimination into the law.

Again, this isn't so simple.

 

A Republican would point out what they've done in the name of religious freedom that Democrats don't like. Democrats don't think Religious freedom should let businesses discriminate against homosexuals, or refuse to pay for contraception for women.

 

A Republican would point out the problems Asians are having getting into elite universities because of the rules Democrats originally put in place to protect other kinds of minorities.

 

These are complicated situations with complicated intersections of freedoms and discriminations. It isn't so simple as a bunch of rich white guys bragging about how hard they discriminate.

 

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14 minutes ago, Sociotard said:

Democrats: If even one person was eligible to vote, but didn't because of undue costs or bureaucracy, that is unacceptable.

Republicans: If even one person was ineligible to vote, but did because of inadequate bureaucracy, that is unacceptable.

 

But these are not symmetrical positions. There is clear evidence that the republican policies are disenfranchising thousands, and likely tens of thousands, of minority voters. There is no evidence that the lack of those policies are causing tens, lets alone hundreds or thousands of cases of voter fraud.

 

16 minutes ago, Sociotard said:

I promise, Republicans do not want minorities out of voting. But Republicans don't see a problem with requiring ID, because who can't do that? Everyone they know has to get an ID, just to drive or go drinking. Democrats do know people who have a harder time getting ID, for a number of reasons. They know that kind of situation can happen to any kind of person, but also that it happens more among minorities.

  

 

You can promise that all you like, but their own actions and words say otherwise. The emails that have come out in the various lawsuits around the republican efforts document republicans specifically targeting black voters. The voter registration purges going on across the country in red states at least appear to be disproportionately affecting minority voters. The claims of voter fraud that get made to justify their policies are shown again and again to be baseless.  A bunch of republican voters may believe that voter fraud is a problem, and that their politicians are trying to fix it, but they are wrong.  

 

20 minutes ago, Sociotard said:

A Republican would point out what they've done in the name of religious freedom that Democrats don't like. Democrats don't think Religious freedom should let businesses discriminate against homosexuals, or refuse to pay for contraception for women.

 

 

I admit that Republicans have done things in the name of religious freedom. But as far as I can see, that's just lip service. They have done nothing in actual service of religious freedom. A corporation is not a person and has no religion, so can not have religious objections to anything. If the owners don't want to comply with law, they shouldn't be in business. 

 

And why should discriminating against homosexuals be any different than discriminating against any other group. There are still churches that preach against the mixing of the races. Should a business run by a member of that church be able to discriminate against blacks? Should a business be able to refuse to hire a Mormon, or a catholic, if it's run by a Southern Baptist? Because those make just as much sense.

 

 

31 minutes ago, Sociotard said:

A Republican would point out the problems Asians are having getting into elite universities because of the rules Democrats originally put in place to protect other kinds of minorities.

 

 

That's certainly something that's alleged, and should be looked into. But even if it is found to be true, that doesn't mean you scrap the whole idea of helping traditionally underrepresented minorities.

 

And in my original, I left out the biggest difference of all between the parties right now, at least in terms of long term effects.

 

The Democrats want to address global warming. 

The  Republicans claim that it doesn't exist, or that if it does, it has nothing to do with the actions of humanity, and there's nothing we can do about it.

 

Global warming is an existential threat to human civilization, and possibly human existence. By denying it, the Republicans are threatening the human race. I know it sounds melodramatic, but every day the Republicans stay in power, the more likely human civilization faces an early end. Okay, well, that may not be true. They may have already delayed action long enough that it's too late, and there's nothing we can do. So, there's that.

 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Vondy said:

So, I've been thinking about it. I believe in:

  • Small and limited government..
  • Robust protections for individual liberty.
  • Equal opportunity but not equal outcomes or officially sanctioned favoritism.
  • Fiscal responsibility and balancing the budget.
  • A muscular yet more carefully considered defense. 
  • Free markets and commons with intelligent but circumspect regulation.
  • Friendliness and good faith across the aisle. 

If that makes me a philosophical conservative and political dinosaur, so be it. 

 

Communist. 

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8 hours ago, Vondy said:

 

The thing is, I don't think our traditional definitions of "Right" and "Left" remain useful. "

The GOP has embraced the administrative state, blank check spending, and conservative social authoritarianism.

From a high-level view,, I don't see our present "right" as being meaningfully different than the radical progressive "left."

Sure, the specific policies and sensibilities differ, but both are all too willing to trample on liberty to legislate their morality while bankrupting us. 

 

8 hours ago, Hermit said:

 

Both parties latch onto the corporate teat way too much for my liking as well.

 

I think both parties just voted in our new military bill too ;)

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1 hour ago, TrickstaPriest said:

 

 

 

I think both parties just voted in our new military bill too ;)

As opposed to simply extending the last W budget with a rider every year? Will wonders never cease? We also, for the first time in a decade, have a written strategic pisture document to guide that buget.

 

 

There are days when I wonder if James Mattis is the sanest and most pro-diplomacy leader in our government...

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1 hour ago, Lord Liaden said:

That could be taken as damning with faint praise... ?

 

17 quotes by James Mattis

 

Those are all the kinds of things I expect career generals trying to bolster their troops bravado and courage before going into a combat theater, or combat itself, to say. They do not disturb me. What would disturb me was, when he was wearing those stars, he didn't have warlike ferocity and bravado. Context and role do matter. Intelligent and educated people, of which he is both, are able to adapt their decision making to the role they fill and I believe, if you actually watch the video and listen to what he has to say you will find he is talking like a civilian leader who is concerned about the world beyond the military's foxhole due to the responsibilities he now carries. 

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44 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

The Trump administration has not been totally devoid of intelligent, reasonable people able to see and adapt to the big picture. But it's impossible to predict when and how their efforts may be undercut or negated by their President.

 

That doesn't mean we then paint those same people with a broad brush. Also, I think an intelligent person who is familiar with what those people are on record with, can intuit when their counsel is forcing him to rethink, backtrack, and stand there ironically saying "I really meant this other thing all along!"

 

Obviously, based on his hair-trigger and vulgarian bombast Trump ends up backtracking based on trusted counsel instead of avoiding the minefields altogether. Most of his wounds are 100% self-inflicted, but a lot of what he says is, to the meanest understanding, intended to be tactical. 


For instance, Trump went from (position one) wanting us out of NATO to (position two) grappling for leverage over NATO with threats to (position three) saying how important NATO is. Listen to what Mattis says about NATO in that video. Trumps lands on his position.

 

Same thing with Russia. Trump says Putin is coming until his Dan Coats makes a wry quip amounting to "Oh Really?" on national television. Suddenly the trip is on hold. Listen to what Mattis, Pompeo, and Coats are saying about our Russia policies, not Trump.

 

My point is: Trump is a bombastic, off-the-cuff, erratic, drama-seeking, reality star pretending to be President. He's an amateur and a liability not just for America, but the entire free world. He sells everything in big, unrealistic, manic terms. He is the poster boy for "unreliable narrator."

 

Its sophomoric stuff - the kind of trash talk you expect on a football field. Its not presidential. But, what makes me really sad, is that it works. Our media keeps falling for it and going off on his designated tangents instead of focusing on what his other hand is doing. Important information goes unreported or left without depth and context.

 

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a trumpvershterer, but I do understand the man. He's constantly grappling for leverage in negotiations and seeking to dominate the news cycle. The latter, which is sphincter-clenchingly cringe-worthy, is something he really excels at. The former, however, works way better in business than politics.

 

If you want to know what our policies actually are, what we are actually doing, and what the actual thinking is behind it you don't listen to Trump or the media. You dig for your own facts, read between the lines, and listen to key people around Trump. Which is why I posted the video.

 

Does he always listen to them? I sincerely doubt it. He has too much ego. Does he undermine them? I bet he does on occasion. But there are a handful of people who do seem to be influencing him behind the scenes and are probably the reason we aren't doing everything wrong.

 

My prayer is that he's too busy preening in the mirror and fund-raising and campaigning until 2020 to seriously disrupt the work and plans of his smarter cabinet members. Is that a long shot? Maybe. But, if it weren't, I wouldn't be using the word "prayer" to begin with, would I?

 

 

 

 

 

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Tennessee Primaries (and some local elections) are done. One of my friends is very happy as she did not want Diane Black to get the GOP Nom for Governor. Black and Randy Boyd slung mud like there was no tomorrow, spent LOADS to get their faces all over TV, so, whatever one might think of his stances, perhaps it is Karma that the guy who played much nicer, Bill Lee came out on top there. For Senate? It's either going to be Phil  Bredesen for Democrats or Marsha Blackburn for Republicans. I really really dislike Blackburn. 

 

Largely because when Chattanooga improved its internet in 2014, she did everything possible to hinder them and keep the rest of the state from joining in because her corporate donors were pissed a city might try to bypass them.

 

I ain't forgetting or forgiving that one.

 

Normally I'd say she was a shoo in, and I still think she has the edge, but Phil Bresden is a democrat who has gotten elected in this state before, has a good rep, and is a moderate or centrist democrat so might go down easier in our ruby red state.

 

 

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On 8/2/2018 at 10:54 AM, Dr.Device said:

 

Who do you include in "the radical progressive 'left'"? Especially, what "morality" do you see them trying to impose on others?

 

Because I don't see what passes for the left (i.e., the Democratic Party) in this country as being anywhere near to the GOP, in policies, tactics, or outcomes.

 

The Democrats want to make sure every eligible person can vote.

The republicans are doing their best to disenfranchise as many minorities as possible. 

 

The Democrats are trying to prevent discrimination, whether based on religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The GOP is trying to enshrine discrimination into the law.

 

The Democrats are trying to maintain a social safety net for all.

The GOP is trying to tear it down.

 

The Democrats are trying to make sure everyone has access to adequate healthcare.

The GOP is fighting this tooth and nail.

 

The Democrats are trying to secure our elections from interference by foreign entities.

The GOP is stopping them.

 

I agree that both parties are too beholden to corporate interests. I agree that many politicians in both parties are often more worried about their own reelection than their the good of their constituents, but the GOP is standing by while the current administration, at the direction of the President, sells this country off to the highest bidder. They pretend to investigate his possible connection to the interference with the 2016 elections, while keeping the Democrats from calling relevant witnesses. They take money from the NRA, which, has become essentially a front for funneling money from Russian oligarchs to political campaigns here. There is not an ounce of integrity left in the national Republican Party.

 

So, are the Democrats perfect? Not even close. But to group them as even close to the current incarnation of the Republican Party is not supportable.

 

 

 

I decided to wait to respond to this and think about what to say. The reason is: you and I aren't having the same conversation. We also, very clearly, have different cultural and political priorities. I am not talking about policy goals. Those are trivial. I could not care less. I'm talking about something higher up the mountain than that. I'm talking about political values. 

 

When I said our traditional definitions of left and right were no longer useful because both parties were, above the finite policy level, pursuing mirrored (and selfish) tracks, you immediately started making partisan arguments and saying "well that guy is worse than my guy." So what? Again, I could not care less. We aren't even having the same conversation.

 

You are playing a finite game based on interests and short-term political gains and beating the other side rather than an infinite game based on values. That is also what both parties are doing, too. And, its bad game theory. A finite player who takes on an infinite player invariably loses. They run out of resources and quit the game. 

 

You want to debate me? Change your game. Become an infinite player. If you don't, pursuing this is a waste of my time. I don't care if the republicans started it or the democrats started it. I don't care if the republicans are really really mean while the democrats are merely really really petty. Who cares? Pointing the person who started it doesn't change the result. 

 

If the dems are so smart and moral and wise, why are they playing the same finite game? When you make your decisions based on finite interests you are not predictable and, from a cultural, diplomatic, economic, and military perspective that has serious negative consequences. Namely, you destroy the well of trust required to make cooperation possible. 

 

If you play the interests game friendliness and goodwill, respect and honor, go by the wayside. One party may win, but the entire nation loses in the long run because cooperation - E PLURBIUS UNUM - becomes impossible. How do we survive? We come together and cooperate. How do we prosper? We come together and cooperate. If the parties aren't doing that, why do you think taking a side will save you?

 

For me, America is not a finite game. It is not about the interests of individual parties and groups. It is not about specific pet policy decisions for special interest groups (or voting blocs). I will not play your game. For me, America is about life, liberty, and the freedom to pursue one's security and happiness. I know my political values. I stated them. You responded with partisan policy complaints. That is the root of the problem this nation is facing.

 

I have zero patience for either party. Neither represent me or my political values. Neither represent the values our nation was founded on. They represent a hungry and intrusive administrative state. Both are pursuing their own short-term finite partisan interests. When they play to win on that level the people lose. I want a party that is running on the values its for rather than the people and policies it is against.

 

The GOP ran on "Not Obama. Not Clinton." They won. Now the Dems are running on "Not Trump." Maybe they'll win. But, that is valueless finite drivel. And that is the problem with Washington. They have lost sight of our most basic and traditional of values. The ones found in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. The aspirational glue that forms the WE in "We The People." And, so has the media. And so have stridently partisan voters.

 

I choose to play an infinite game aimed at maximizing personal liberty and opportunity and prosperity for every single American. Its infinite because its value based.

 

Democrats good! Republicans bad!
Republicans good! Democrats bad!

 

Utter tosh. Petty finite interest driven nonsense. Both are playing against the very values this nation was founded to aspire towards.  You can choose to play that game if you want. I won't be joining you.

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15 minutes ago, Vondy said:

I decided to wait to respond to this and think about what to say. The reason is: you and I aren't having the same conversation. We also, very clearly, have different cultural and political priorities. I am not talking about policy goals. Those are trivial. I could not care less. I'm talking about something higher up the mountain than that. I'm talking about political values. 

 

When I said our traditional definitions of left and right were no longer useful because both parties were, above the finite policy level, pursuing mirrored (and selfish) tracks, you immediately started making partisan arguments and saying "well that guy is worse than my guy." So what? Again, I could not care less. We aren't even having the same conversation.

 

You are playing a finite game based on interests and short-term political gains and beating the other side rather than an infinite game based on values. That is also what both parties are doing, too. And, its bad game theory. A finite player who takes on an infinite player invariably loses. They run out of resources and quit the game. 

 

You want to debate me? Change your game. Become an infinite player. If you don't, pursuing this is a waste of my time. I don't care if the republicans started it or the democrats started it. I don't care if the republicans are really really mean while the democrats are merely really really petty. Who cares? Pointing the person who started it doesn't change the result. 

 

If the dems are so smart and moral and wise, why are they playing the same finite game? When you make your decisions based on finite interests you are not predictable and, from a cultural, diplomatic, economic, and military perspective that has serious negative consequences. Namely, you destroy the well of trust required to make cooperation possible. 

 

If you play the interests game friendliness and goodwill, respect and honor, go by the wayside. One party may win, but the entire nation loses in the long run because cooperation - E PLURBIUS UNUM - becomes impossible. How do we survive? We come together and cooperate. How do we prosper? We come together and cooperate. If the parties aren't doing that, why do you think taking a side will save you?

 

For me, America is not a finite game. It is not about the interests of individual parties and groups. It is not about specific pet policy decisions for special interest groups (or voting blocs). I will not play your game. For me, America is about life, liberty, and the freedom to pursue one's security and happiness. I know my political values. I stated them. You responded with partisan policy complaints. That is the root of the problem this nation is facing.

 

I have zero patience for either party. Neither represent me or my political values. Neither represent the values our nation was founded on. They represent a hungry and intrusive administrative state. Both are pursuing their own short-term finite partisan interests. When they play to win on that level the people lose. I want a party that is running on the values its for rather than the people and policies it is against.

 

The GOP ran on "Not Obama. Not Clinton." They won. Now the Dems are running on "Not Trump." Maybe they'll win. But, that is valueless finite drivel. And that is the problem with Washington. They have lost sight of our most basic and traditional of values. The ones found in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. The aspirational glue that forms the WE in "We The People." And, so has the media. And so have stridently partisan voters.

 

I choose to play an infinite game aimed at maximizing personal liberty and opportunity and prosperity for every single American. Its infinite because its value based.

 

Democrats good! Republicans bad!
Republicans good! Democrats bad!

 

Utter tosh. Petty finite interest driven nonsense. Both are playing against the very values this nation was founded to aspire towards.  You can choose to play that game if you want. I won't be joining you.

I disagree.

CES 

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