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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 3:25 am 
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Yes that statement could use some editing...sorry about that, a result of trying to post quickly due to limited free time. But you got the intent anyway it seems. Your graph shows that delaying retirement has been a trend for the past decade. Both of our references can be correct, since 35% of those 62 or over saying they have delayed retirement still leaves available for retirement a significant percentage of an increasing population.

On a different note, a current poll shows veterans favor Obama over Romney by a strong margin because they are concerned by Romney's hawkish retoric. Weary warriors favor Obama over Romney, poll shows

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 3:36 am 
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Glenn wrote:
On a different note, a current poll shows veterans favor Obama over Romney by a strong margin because they are concerned by Romney's hawkish retoric. Weary warriors favor Obama over Romney, poll shows

Consider the source - MSNBC. Would you believe anything I quoted from Fox News? I can't listen to either one of them. They are mouthpieces for the Democrats and Republicans respectively.

I looked at the poll. The numbers don't reconcile with recently-published overall numbers. And what matters is likely voters.

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 4:20 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
As for the unemployment rate, that peaked on Obama's watch. It peaked far above where he said it would (he predicted a max of 8.1%) - even ignoring the precipitous dropping of the labor force participation rate.

You first statement is a good plug for Obama, since as you say he halted the rise in unemployment (during his first year even) and presided over its subsequent decrease. Your second statement is buying into Romney's inaccurate rhetoric however, Obama never predicted that unemploment would peak at 8.1%. A report from economic advisors projected a peak just below 8% with the stimulus and 9% without. You are well aware of the reliability issues with projections, and so were the authors of the report who included disclaimers:
Quote:
The important word here is projection. The economic analysis wasn’t a promise, it was an educated assessment of how events might unfold. And it came with heavy disclaimers.

"It should be understood that all of the estimates presented in this memo are subject to significant margins of error," the report states. "There is the more fundamental uncertainty that comes with any estimate of the effects of a program. Our estimates of economic relationships and rules of thumb are derived from historical experience and so will not apply exactly in any given episode. Furthermore, the uncertainty is surely higher than normal now because the current recession is unusual both in its fundamental causes and its severity."

There's also a footnote that goes along with the chart that states: "Forecasts of the unemployment rate without the recovery plan vary substantially. Some private forecasters anticipate unemployment rates as high as 11% in the absence of action."

Romney didn't use the word "promise" as Boehner, Cantor and others did when we checked the same claim previously, but the meaning is the same, that Obama was offering some sort of guarantee the stimulus would keep the unemployment rate below 8 percent. The administration never characterized it that way and included plenty of disclaimers saying the predictions had "significant margins of error" and a higher degree of uncertainty due to a recession that is "unusual both in its fundamental causes and its severity." In short, it was an economic projection with warnings of a high margin for error, not a take-it-to-the-bank pledge of an upper limit on unemployment.


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People are hurting, Glenn. You don't think they are?

You forget that I am one of those Bill. I have been personally familiar with that hurting for over three years now. But I recognize that conditions are better now than they were when I was laid off...hopefully the JP Morgan escapade does not hurt that too much. It is amazing how quickly these corporations reinforce the need for oversite.

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 4:34 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
Consider the source - MSNBC. Would you believe anything I quoted from Fox News? I can't listen to either one of them. They are mouthpieces for the Democrats and Republicans respectively.

The poll was done by Reuters, all you are doing is shooting the messenger. You are also jumping to assumptions as I have never said anything negative about Fox. I do not just automatically discount everything either of them say, particularly when it is coming from their reporters rather than their high-profile commentators. Both have some decent reporters, it is the commentators who are lacking yet generate the most revenue for them.

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And what matters is likely voters.

I personally think there is going to be a lot of apathy this time and lower voter turnout. A consistant result in polls is how turned off the general public is with politics and politicians, and I think it will show in the election. Which means that either candidate can win, but that the winner will not truly win the public even though he will invariably claim he received a mandate to do whatever he wants.

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 11:29 am 
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Glenn wrote:
You first statement is a good plug for Obama, since as you say he halted the rise in unemployment (during his first year even) and presided over its subsequent decrease.

I neither said that, nor am I giving him credit for doing anything positive about the economy. Among his most egregious mistakes...

  • He ignored the economy and instead spent a considerable amount of political capital passing a trillion dollar health care bill that the public didn't ask for and a majority of voters disapprove of. The negative effect of this will manifest itself for a considerable amount of time unless the Supreme Court kills it. (I give it a 50/50 shot at surviving.)
    ...
  • He interfered with a more natural bankruptcy of GM. Instead he worked to preserve the very Union control of that organization which was a major reason for it failing. GM and perhaps Chrysler as well will likely fail again at the next recession. In their present forms they cannot compete with "Detroit south."
    ...
  • He bought into the Krugman/Keynesian economic nonsense which suggests a government can spend its way out of a recession. All he did was spend a ton of money in the public sector as well as throw money at pet "green" projects (Solyndra anyone??) - both of which competed with the very economy this government needs to generate tax revenue. And now that the debt is getting out of control...

    Image

    ... he wants to pay that debt down by "taxing the rich." Bad idea. Much of the "rich" are individuals who drive small business, and small business employs the majority of Americans. But... the class warfare thing wins him points with his base.
    ...
  • He chased drilling out of The Gulf, killed a pipeline project, and harassed our domestic coal industry with onerous "carbon tax" crap. If it wasn't for the explosive growth of natural gas - an asset he's done nothing to help our economy exploit - we'd be even more dependent on Middle East oil in the future. Dependence on Middle East oil leads to trade deficits and expensive wars - the hidden government subsidy of petroleum.

Those are the biggies. There are others.

At the very best, he presided over what we see happened. Chances are pretty good he made things much worse. GM may eventually go the path of American Motors. Chrysler as well.

As for the electorate, you're correct that a "youth vote" will likely stay home, as will other groups which were energized by Obama in 2008. But don't count on a "majority" sitting home. Take a look at what just happened in Europe. It's even happening in the primaries (e.g. with long-time incumbent Richard Lugar losing his Republican primary.) November will be brutal for both parties - as it should be.

A bad recession - when allowed to proceed with a degree of control - does two good things. First, it destroys aging and irrelevant business paradigms (e.g. "the old" GM), giving free reign for newer/better business models to thrive in the recovery. And second, it's very good at cleaning incumbents out of our government.

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 10:21 pm 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
He ignored the economy and instead spent a considerable amount of political capital passing a trillion dollar health care bill that the public didn't ask for

Yet the majority of Americans want health care reform of its type
Quote:
and a majority of voters disapprove of.

and polls repeatedly show that a 2-to-1 majority of these disapprove because they think it did not go far enough, for example this poll in 2010: Repeal? Most Americans think health reform did not go far enough, poll finds
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The negative effect of this will manifest itself for a considerable amount of time unless the Supreme Court kills it. (I give it a 50/50 shot at surviving.)

If the court kills it they will be doing so against the wishes of the majority of Americans

Quote:
He interfered with a more natural bankruptcy of GM. Instead he worked to preserve the very Union control of that organization which was a major reason for it failing. GM and perhaps Chrysler as well will likely fail again at the next recession. In their present forms they cannot compete with "Detroit south."

He bought into the Krugman/Keynesian economic nonsense which suggests a government can spend its way out of a recession. All he did was spend a ton of money in the public sector as well as throw money at pet "green" projects (Solyndra anyone??) - both of which competed with the very economy this government needs to generate tax revenue. And now that the debt is getting out of control...

Basic economics 101 Bill:

AD = C + I + G + NX
where:
AD= aggregate demand
C = Consumer Spending
I = Investment
G = Government spending
NX = Net exports

The U.S. has been a net-importing country for decades and during recessions both consumer spending and investment go down, so the surest way to reverse a drop in the GDP is for the government to step in and stimulate the GDP with spending. Tax cuts could be used instead, the problem is tax cuts are not as effective as government spending due to the larger multiplier effect on government spending. This is called the Mundell-Fleming model (nothing to do with Krugman, his specialty is international trade and economic geography, or even Keynes really) and is a fundamental economic model covered in all the economics textbooks/lectures, including by conservative economists. Bush's tax cuts certainly did not prevent the recession and there is a reason why both Bush and Obama used government spending to try to reverse the recession, economic advisors across the political spectrum were recommending it.
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He chased drilling out of The Gulf, killed a pipeline project, and harassed our domestic coal industry with onerous "carbon tax" crap. If it wasn't for the explosive growth of natural gas - an asset he's done nothing to help our economy exploit - we'd be even more dependent on Middle East oil in the future. Dependence on Middle East oil leads to trade deficits and expensive wars - the hidden government subsidy of petroleum.

The pipeline was killed by Republicans from outside of Nebraska. Nebraskans, conservative and liberal, opposed the planned route of the pipeline and wanted another route found. Congressional Republicans ignored Nebraskans and forced an unnecessary time limit on approving the project, one that did not allow enough time to complete required studies and the search for solutions, so when the Republicans arbitrary time-limit ran out the President had no choice but to cancel the proposal. Of course everyone knew the pipeline was not dead, and sure enough the pipeline company has proposed a better route that is acceptable to most Nebraskans and once the required studies are completed it likely will be approved, so in reality it is a non-issue...if the Congressional Republicans keep their hands off this time.

Now as far as our dependency on foreign oil, we could cut a fair amount of that if U.S. oil companies would simply sell in the U.S. rather than exporting a lot of what they produce resulting in us having to import more. For example, the pipeline you mentioned is solely to carry oil from Canada all the way through the U.S. (bypassing numerous refineries in Kansas and Oklahoma along the way) to refineries on the Texas coast so that it can be exported to Asia.
Quote:
An independent study conducted by the Cornell ILR Global Labor Institute reports that the crude oil routed to the Gulf Coast will end up being exported to Asia, and not contribute to energy independence or national security.

So yeah, only a few corporations are ultimately going to benefit from the pipeline. Let's face it, no oil company will ever see any reason to be interested in U.S. energy independence as long as it can make more profit with oil traded as a global commodity. The only way the U.S. could ever begin to approach energy independence would be to nationalize the energy industry, and that is not going to happen.

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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 3:12 am 
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Glenn

I don't know what to say. I'm presenting facts, and you're arguing.

You have no basis for disputing the unpopularity of Obamacare. That is fact.

It is also true that Obama spent considerable political capital - with ZERO bipartisan support - forcing the legislation through. (Even Medicare got some Republicans voting for it back in the day.) It deservedly led to the Congressional bloodbath in 2010. That is fact.

Didn't go "far enough"? Your realize you're talking to someone who works in the field, Glenn, right? He blew it. He pleased very few and missed some of the most important reform opportunities (e.g. individual policies paid for with pretax dollars - just like group policies).

Meanwhile, the economy festered. Health care reform of any flavor (and their are many) was not a priority of the electorate at the time. That is fact.

This isn't a Democrat vs. Republican thing. Speaking of which... pay close attention to what just happened to a Republican in Nebraska. Voters are ticked. Incumbents are toast. It's not about party, it's about kicking the bums out. It happened to Congress in 2010. It's happening in Europe and in the U.S. in primaries today. November's going to be ugly.

I am right and you know it, Glenn. I'm telling the truth about both parties, and you are being Obama's shill.

Issues, Glenn. Issues!

- Bill

P.S. - Interesting spin on the pipeline, but... no. And I don't have a problem with oil going out on the world market. Flood the supply and the price goes down for everyone. Simple economics. Plus... it can be cheaper not to ship it, and you're ready to use domestic the first time OPEC cops an attitude (such as during Carter's period of stagflation). And - MOST IMPORTANTLY - we won't feel compelled to go to war over Middle East oil. No problem.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 10:46 pm 
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I am debating facts against facts...there is a difference. Mainly I do it to try to keep you honest, with Ian not participating anymore the political commentary on here tends to become too one-sided and less evidence based. Besides, you like it, can take it without taking it personally, and are a challenging debater...you are one of the very few I trust enough to debate some of the topics we get into on here!

As for your link to the Rasmussen poll, keep in mind that company is run by a former paid Bush consultant and has a known Republican bias. There is a reason is so popular with FoxNews and the Wall Street Journal.

I did not forget your field, but whether the public believes it went too far, not far enough, or is just right has nothing to do with your job description. And as a wise man once said:
Bill Glasheen wrote:
Moral of the story... treat "expert opinion" with the same level of confidence as a believable myth. If it's all you've got, well it's all you've got. But you may do just as well consulting Carnac.


Societies make decisions. There was been strong support for health care reform long before Obama became president and there continues to be strong support. If the conservatives do manage to kill this act, whether in the Supreme Court or when next they have the White House, they will not replace it with anything because they do not want any reform, yet they do not speak for the majority. The turnover in 2010 happened in areas where it could happen, and when it could happen due to the party entrenchment that has reached new heights after building for the past 30 years.

The devil is in the details in that senate primary here in Nebraska. Bruning and Steinberg underestimate Fischer and ignored her while brutalizing each other in successive attack ads, plus there were PAC attack ads against both of them. Fischer meanwhile vowed to run a clean campaign and did so. Kudos to her, and her strategy worked. Support for Bruning and Steinberg weakened and became very split in the last weeks of the campaign, allowing Fischer's supporters to combine with those becoming dissatified with the other two and sneak her in from behind. It was politics at its best, and I have not made up my mind yet whether I will vote for her or Kerry, I need to find out more about their positions first.

Quote:
Voters are ticked. Incumbents are toast. It's not about party, it's about kicking the bums out. It happened to Congress in 2010. It's happening in Europe and in the U.S. in primaries today. November's going to be ugly.

And that is when it becomes dangerous. That is how the Nazis were voted into power in Germany. That is how 21 neo-Nazi's were elected to the Greek parliment last week and sworn in today. That is when governments become TOO conservative. Do we want that in the U.S.?

Quote:
I am right and you know it, Glenn. I'm telling the truth about both parties, and you are being Obama's shill.

Issues, Glenn. Issues!

I know nothing of the sort, but I have no doubt you believe it. It is not being a shill when there are data and facts to support my statements, nor is it when the choice is for the better of two options available and let's face it Romney is not it...and you know I'm right! The only other option is to tune it out now and not vote in November, but that is not my idea of the right way deal with societal choices, even if many will do so (there was only 25% voter turnout for Tuesday's primaries here in Nebraska).

Two sides, Bill, two sides! :D

Quote:
P.S. - Interesting spin on the pipeline, but... no. And I don't have a problem with oil going out on the world market. Flood the supply and the price goes down for everyone. Simple economics. Plus... it can be cheaper not to ship it, and you're ready to use domestic the first time OPEC cops an attitude (such as during Carter's period of stagflation). And - MOST IMPORTANTLY - we won't feel compelled to go to war over Middle East oil. No problem.

No spin, just public record, recognized by both Democrats and Republicans here in Nebraska. No Nebraska Republican is attacking Obama for his decision on the pipeline, and one Republican candidate ran ads during the primaries about how he 'led the fight to stop the pipeline going through the sandhills'. And price of oil was not the discussion, your comments were about energy independence, or lack thereof, and so where mine. The bottom line is that the pipeline will bring a few temporary construction jobs and no energy independence. That's a fact.

Your suggestion about using the oil domestically during a crisis, rather than continuing to export it, is a good idea, but did that happen in 1973/74?

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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 4:56 am 
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It always cracks me up when it's called "liberal" to support citizens rights.

As opposed to WHAT exactly? :D

Thaaaaa ******* are coming! They're gonna getcha, gonna getcha feet. Gonna tickle 'em. ******* are comin' too! HEHEHE. Gonna get those lil piggies of yours.


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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 1:01 pm 
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I was just on another blog where I reamed someone a new one for using inappropriate language.

It seems it's OK for some to use bigoted language because they... well... their poo doesn't stink. But if someone else uses it, they're racist or homophobic. Sorry, but I don't buy it. There's one protocol that we all follow. There is no privileged class in our country. Jefferson wrote a declaration which articulated it. We fought a war first with England and then with each other to codify it. And those who don't get it - from all walks of life - will continue to stub their pride over it.

No, I didn't delete the entire post. I thought it informative in a way perhaps not intended by the author. Yes, I manually applied an editor.

Apparently some are also confused about the political spectrum. Perhaps another posting of the Nolan Chart would be informative.

Image

Note that this is a new spin on the original chart. The red/green adds a third "technology" dimension to the spectrum.

The political debate lately has been whether the needs of our country are better served by focusing on the economic and/or technology dimensions vs. a personal liberty dimension. Let me be clear. They're ALL important. However right now everyone of every color and choice of lifestyle is suffering economically. In my opinion - and the opinion of many - focusing on social issues in a manner which divides us as a country is a deliberate and inappropriate distraction from that which affects us all.

And portraying this as a "liberal" vs. a "conservative" issue is ill-informed at best.

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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 7:55 pm 
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I for one greatly appreciate the generally civil conduct exhibited on this forum!

We discussed 2D (and higher) political-spectrum charts (including the Nolan chart which was created in 1969 by one of the founders of the Libertarian Party to illustrate the Libertarian view) at length early on in a political behavior graduate seminar course I took this spring. Increasing the dimensions to incompass spectrums other than liberal-conservative can offer some slight increases in explanatory power for the academics, but have had little impact on the campaign strategy the public sees which is largely dominated by Republican vs Democrat interests. The reality of campaigning is that the focus is on conservative versus liberal. In the primaries this year the Republican candidates were all trying to present themselves as the most conservative and their opponents as being liberal. I have yet to hear anyone campaign on a technophilic vs technophobic platform, nor many of the other dimensions that are championed by other similar 2D charts.

The Republican senate primary race here in Nebraska that you brought up is a good case in point, the focus was all about who was the most conservative. Unlike Luger's loss in Indiana, the long time incumbant in Nebraska choose not to run for re-election. The three main contenders (Bruning, Stenberg, and Fischer) were all trying for a first term and all three currently hold other elected offices (Bruning: state attorney general; Stenberg: state treasurer; and Fischer: a member of the state legislature), so there was no anti-incumbancy effect as what got Luger. All three tried to convince Republican voters that s/he was the true champion of the conservative cause, while Bruning and Stenberg constantly attacked each other (as did ads by various PAC interests) as not being conservative enough. The odds favored Bruning: he is from the urban eastern part of the state where most of the population lives, he has a strong conservative record, he had the support of the Nebraska Tea Party as well as the NRA and Right to Life, and as state attorney general he had actively participated in Nebraska's legal challenge to the the health care reform law (including being the ranking Nebraska representative at the U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the challenge in March, although he was not allowed to speak to the court)...in short, he is the poster boy for conservatives in Nebraska. All of this was heavily touted in ads and it should have been no contest. Stenberg was always the challenger behind in the polls, and neither of them considered Fischer, hailing from the declining-population, rural, western part of the state, much of a contender. Fischer did receive some last-minute endorsements from Sarah Palin and Pete Ricketts, but it is not clear if those actually had much influence on the election and she seemed to have little else going for her.

So why did Fischer win? Unlike what Bill indicated, it had nothing to do with anti-incumbant, ticked voters. Fischer won the electoral geography, plain and simple. Voters in the eastern part of the state largely stayed home, either because they were turned off by the attack ads, because Bruning supporters assumed he would easily win and that they did not need to vote (there was little else on the ballot to attract voters), or both. More voters in the western part of the state did turn out and voted for Fischer, and, after the early returns from eastern Nebraska showed Bruning in the lead, later returns coming in the west made it clear that Fischer would win. From today's Omaha World-Herald:
Quote:
The faithful, predominantly Republican voters of the big 3rd turned out in higher proportions than their peers in the 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts.

Turnout in each of the district's 75 counties averaged nearly 28 percent, according to an analysis of county-by-county statistics produced by the Secretary of State's Office. That compares with less than 25 percent turnout in the state's other two districts.

And in many individual counties turnout was much higher. In Cherry County, where Fischer owns a ranch with her family, nearly 50 percent of voters cast ballots.

Fischer was able to wrest the GOP nomination from front-runner Jon Bruning by carrying 46 percent of the Republican vote in the 3rd District, while putting in strong showings in the 1st and 2nd Districts.

Combined vote totals for the 18 counties that make up the 1st and 2nd Districts show that Fischer got 37.4 percent of the vote there, while Bruning got 38.1 percent.


Quote:
In my opinion - and the opinion of many - focusing on social issues in a manner which divides us as a country is a deliberate and inappropriate distraction from that which affects us all.

And in the opinion of many others, the social issues are equally important. The problem with trying to diminish the importance of social issues is that the suffering of those who are hurting the most overall is swept under the rug. Again, these are societal decisions and as a society we cannot afford to ignore the social issues in preference only of the economic issues. Economic determinism is not the answer.
Bill Glasheen wrote:
And portraying this as a "liberal" vs. a "conservative" issue is ill-informed at best.

Yet it works for the campaign strategists and that is all they care about. After all, elections are not won through a well-informed public but by being more successful than your opponent at convincing voters to vote for you, and that all to often relies on the ill informed.

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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 6:52 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
I was just on another blog where I reamed someone a new one for using inappropriate language.

It seems it's OK for some to use bigoted language because they... well... their poo doesn't stink. But if someone else uses it, they're racist or homophobic. Sorry, but I don't buy it. There's one protocol that we all follow. There is no privileged class in our country. Jefferson wrote a declaration which articulated it. We fought a war first with England and then with each other to codify it. And those who don't get it - from all walks of life - will continue to stub their pride over it.

No, I didn't delete the entire post. I thought it informative in a way perhaps not intended by the author. Yes, I manually applied an editor.

Apparently some are also confused about the political spectrum. Perhaps another posting of the Nolan Chart would be informative.

Image

Note that this is a new spin on the original chart. The red/green adds a third "technology" dimension to the spectrum.

The political debate lately has been whether the needs of our country are better served by focusing on the economic and/or technology dimensions vs. a personal liberty dimension. Let me be clear. They're ALL important. However right now everyone of every color and choice of lifestyle is suffering economically. In my opinion - and the opinion of many - focusing on social issues in a manner which divides us as a country is a deliberate and inappropriate distraction from that which affects us all.

And portraying this as a "liberal" vs. a "conservative" issue is ill-informed at best.

- Bill


Exactly. I'd love to see the political party manifesto that defines denying people civil liberties as "conservative".


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 6:04 pm 
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TSDguy wrote:
I'd love to see the political party manifesto that defines denying people civil liberties as "conservative".

Conservative on which political spectrum?

Political parties win elections when they can create a big tent under which all their myriad constituents can agree upon a few important themes. A slam-dunk theme is the economy as centerpiece. The Party approach of course must be consistent with the Constitution and work with everyone's principles.

The easiest way to destroy that "big tent" is to divide and conquer. If I'm going to win an election, what I have to do is convince independents (not from either party base) that they're different from "those other guys."

Virginia is a bit of a microcosm of the country as a whole, so it's easy for me to see. From the beltway northern Virginians to the military/shipbuilding/NASA tidewater area to the capital city (HQ of Altria, Capital One, and silicon high tech) to Mr. Jefferson's University to southwest coal mining and "culture of honor" folk to the agricultural middle, it's got just a little bit of everything. They're now classified as a purple state, as they can go in any direction in an election. Generally whatever party is in the White House, the other party wins the governor's mansion out of protest. It is sometimes at war with itself, and one of the more diverse and vibrant places in the country.

Virginia is also the home of Pat Robertson (Virginia Beach) and Jerry Falwell junior (Lynchburg). They are despised by most, but have a faithful following. Robertson has his 700 Club television network which preaches a social conservative message. Both of them are political activists.

Love it or hate it, this country was both a refuge for the religiously persecuted and inspired by Judeo Christian teaching. And the bible is unequivocal about same sex intimacy. It is what it is. It's difficult to speak of law and politics without recognizing the Judeochristian principles upon which our Declaration and Constitution were founded. So how far does that go? Well... that's for The People to decide. No, there isn't a "state sponsored religion" - thanks to Mr. Jefferson and the Statute for Religious Freedom that he made famous. But we have laws and a Constitution inspired by religion. We have people who in their private lives practice myriad forms of religion. Or irreligious beliefs. And when they step into voting booths, they don't leave their principles at home.

Love it or hate it, government is involved with "marriage." It gives tax deductions to legally bound couples which makes it easier to have kids. Love it or hate it, a nation's fertility affects its future. And when a Nation's fertility declines, immigration steps in to fill the economic vacuum. Without a broad younger tax base, the elderly must be cast aside. The agrarian model of America didn't have Medicare or Social Security. Instead a homestead was a multi-generational thing - much like what exists in China today. With the Great Society and the growth of an industrial economy came the destruction of "the family" as this Nation once knew it. Redefining what "it" is in law, education, and home life is something this Nation is still trying to come to terms with.

Along with the evolving of a Nation comes the emergence of a closeted class. This class has escaped from the Mental Health label of "abnormal." Whether it is biologically or not is irrelevant; it is so it must be dealt with in a heterogeneous society. This class now wants to redefine various institutions as we once knew them to suit its economic needs. That's only natural.

"Marriage" in the eyes of Government has been many things through the evolution of Society. What was once legal isn't any more, and vice versa. Where it goes depends upon the voters at any point in time in history. There is a Constitution. Elected and/or appointed individuals interpret that Constitution to deal with Society as it exists at any one point in time.

Back to The Big Tent... The issue that affects the vast majority of people today from all walks of life is the economy. It is a worldwide phenomenon. No one party is winning or losing in elections which routinely are bringing change about. Sometimes it's fiscal conservatives; other times its socialists. Whatever... the population is frustrated and will keep trying things in the voting booth until their lot in life improves.

If you're the party in power - and Obama et al are that - you are on watch and voters want to hold you responsible for why their lot in life is getting worse. If you are Obama and want to win an election, then a smart thing to do is change the subject. You target disaffected independents clustering under the opposition's tent. You point out why your people aren't like Robertson and Fallwell - a minority group which consistently votes in the Republican camp. And you'll hope that the distraction divides so you can conquer.

It is what it is.

As for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, and other alternative lifestyle practitioners, their lots in life will evolve with either party being in power. The information age gives power to minority groups. They'll find a way.

- Bill


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