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smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Fri, 8th Jan '10 1:02 PM

WELCOME TO THE POLITICAL DISCUSSION

This forum actually seems like an appropriate place to discuss politics anyways, since there is alot of philosophy in politics. It looks like this group will be changing dirrection a bit, as a forum for those who are interested in discussing politics for those with a liberal bent. Just wanted to say welcome!

goddess28
Goddess28  (Level: 92.6 - Posts: 5236)
Fri, 8th Jan '10 3:01 PM

Thank you! This is great!

abbyr
Abbyr  (Level: 86.8 - Posts: 2266)
Fri, 8th Jan '10 8:02 PM

Thanks so much!

oogie54
Oogie54  (Level: 201.3 - Posts: 1120)
Fri, 8th Jan '10 10:52 PM

I believe we can have adult discussions on any subject as long as we respect one another,agree or disagree. There's no need for the nastiness and hurtful threads that exist elsewhere. My political views tend towards centrist, heavily influenced by an apathetically stoic resignation ala Alfred E. Newman. Our two parties differing ideologies and divisive relations are mirrored by the partisan "discussions" seen in TT. It is my opinion that those two parties serve two distinct groups in this country, one caters to the wealthy and the other to the poor. The problem I have with both parties is that neither represents the working-middle class American, the class that shoulders the burden of taxes and services/industry of our nation. It is my belief that the middle/working class is in danger of extinction in the US, the distribution of wealth funneling towards the fore-mentioned two groups. I believe it is a very real possibility that all capitalist/democratic systems eventually fail due to the inevitable power/wealth structure collapsing from the failure of it's weakest link....the human element.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Fri, 8th Jan '10 11:29 PM

I'm going to have to absorb that argument for awhile Danny! Interesting and intelligent too.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Sat, 9th Jan '10 1:46 AM

I guess my only objection to your paragraph is that I'm not sure that the left really is a party that supports the poor IN ACTUALITY, though I know what you mean. For example, the government solution to poverty through increases in socialized help does seem to increase unemployment a bit....not sure that helps the poor. I'm one of those people who thinks that in general anything the government can do the private sector can do better, even help the poor. The problem is that the private sector to the extent that it needs to just doesn't do that. Not sure what alternative to the government solution there might be at this juncture though.

However, the middle class has been in real trouble in this country seems to me.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Sat, 9th Jan '10 1:47 AM

BTW, is Sun going to show up here??

oogie54
Oogie54  (Level: 201.3 - Posts: 1120)
Sat, 9th Jan '10 11:39 AM

Sun has said she'll be joining us....and you're right in the fact that govt. aid has historically created more of a problem than it has solved, programs that for the most part keep people at a poverty level and reward inaction rather than promote incentives to better their lives. I guess what I see most in all this is an ever widening gap between the haves and the have-nots, the wealthy in this country increase in number and assets while the working class continue to lose ground and struggle to maintain what little they have earned.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Sat, 9th Jan '10 1:02 PM

A general discussion of socialism and it's problems would be very interesting to me. We discuss these things in class, but never in enough detail to satisfy me. I know these programs helps some people, I was helped by a two month stint on food stamps when I first started college, but looking at the bigger picture sometimes you have to wonder about it. I also don't like that a Jeffrey Dahmer gets helped by the state as much as a Mother Theresa. I don't think Jeffrey Dahmer is really a good investment with anyone's tax dollars.....

luvnmexsun
Luvnmexsun  (Level: 147.4 - Posts: 711)
Sat, 16th Jan '10 11:31 PM

First...I AM SO SORRY I missed this before! This is what I love!

Oogs told me about it, but I got kinda sideswiped by life. I am going to jump in here...but did already a couple threads, and now I want to be thoughtful in what I say.

Hope you all come back...

got ALL excited!


oogie54
Oogie54  (Level: 201.3 - Posts: 1120)
Sun, 17th Jan '10 4:00 PM

I am somewhat cynical when it comes to politics, I don't believe any form of government truly serves the interests of the people it governs. Historically government exists to sustain itself and expand it's control over the populace which supports it. It's function throughout history under various iterations has evolved in accordance with the power it takes on, and regardless of initial intent to be a benign and benevolent guardian consumes an ever greater portion of the wealth generated by it's citizens. The mitigating factor of a system such as US democracy designed to balance power and intrusion of govt. into the lives of those it purportedly serves becomes mute when the human element represented by either party distorts their position through corruption and even ignorant pursuit of idealogical programs to the point that "special interest" becomes synonymous with the actual benefactors of govt. Wealth and power have always been the deciding factor in any form of govt., the only difference is to what level, and how blatant that entity presents itself.

oogie54
Oogie54  (Level: 201.3 - Posts: 1120)
Sun, 17th Jan '10 4:23 PM

As you may surmise, I am no patriotic flag-waver. I don't hate "America",or even believe there is a better option of govt. than what we have. I just cannot join the hoorah-believers that worship an American ideology that they never fully are capable of defining in any terms beyond a steadfast nationalism punctuated by "Right or Wrong". I get a great deal of email from both liberal and conservative friends, and the far-right tend more toward this dyed in the wool national fervor. Theirs are more likely to include links to a video image showing some dirt-poor, Islamic fanatic Iraqis trying to defy US military with small-arms fire and being splattered all over the landscape by a fighter-jet with laser guided missiles as the crew-members congratulate each other ,"Dude!! That s**t was awesome!!! Or,it will likely have a racial joke referencing the president and those supporting him, and alluding to some ideal about the greatness of white-guys-in-the past. In that context of Americanism, I just don't fit in.

oogie54
Oogie54  (Level: 201.3 - Posts: 1120)
Sun, 17th Jan '10 4:32 PM

I believe the America we live in is the same one that was already inhabited when our ancestors arrived. The same one that saw it's indigenous peoples and culture destroyed either by our direct actions or imported diseases, so that by moderate estimates up to three fourths were gone in a decade. The America that gained independence for all men created equal, as long as they were white males. It truly may be the best form of govt. ever created by man, but the greatness of it's stature depends on your perspective of human history.

oogie54
Oogie54  (Level: 201.3 - Posts: 1120)
Sun, 17th Jan '10 7:32 PM

Maybe that rant was a little TMI, but I'm not militant.....just apathetically anarchist

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Wed, 20th Jan '10 3:33 AM

"Wealth and power have always been the deciding factor in any form of govt., the only difference is to what level, and how blatant that entity presents itself."

I think it's overly blatant in the America we live in, to the point of gawdiness (or God-I-ness) .

Anarchist Danny? In the philosophical sense of the word? If not, I seem to have missed the "meaning" of that comment.

In what sense would you say this is the same America that destroyed the natives? You don't think things have changed culturally since then, or you think we are no better than we were at that time.....? I'd like to hear more.




oogie54
Oogie54  (Level: 201.3 - Posts: 1120)
Wed, 20th Jan '10 11:17 AM

LOL Apathetic-anarchist, Imagine Milne's Eeyore saying,"Somebody should do something about changing our awful government....Oh well....probably not worth the bother". I see the history of the White-Guy's interaction with other races epitomized in American culture, not that we own that particular brand of empiricism, just an inheritance we continued to propagate in the New World. The Inquisitions, Hitler, Apartheid, the vanishing aboriginals of Australia, all are characteristic of "conquering and expanding". I wonder what America would be like today if the early explorers and colonials had looked at the native peoples with respect and learned more about their way of life instead of "civilizing the Savage". Presuming one culture has more value than another's is just too arrogant, yet the justification of "In God We Trust" is validation enough as an American ideal.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Thu, 21st Jan '10 1:01 PM

I'm not personally apathetic to change, but I am apathetic to certain things like you, when it comes to changing our government. I think that personal change is the only approach likely to be effective, and even that won't be effective unless everybody is on board.



oogie54
Oogie54  (Level: 201.3 - Posts: 1120)
Thu, 21st Jan '10 10:05 PM

I have been in an ongoing dialogue for a couple of years with Sun about my theory of regressive-evolution. She has found fewer and fewer points of debate to challenge my position that mankind is in a stagnate period,no longer progressing as a whole, perhaps sliding backwards. We have brilliant individuals in each generation of our species whose work has been intended to better the lives of all mankind. To me it seems to have had the unintentional effect of promulgating a laziness and dumbing-down of the once-most-powerful nation on earth. I believe it all began to unfold shortly after the industrial revolution, advancements in technology, centralization of population in large metro areas,a specific-task trained workforce, the dissolution of small self-sufficient communities, a general malaise from mass media seducing us with mindless entertainment, and a government best suited to govern an ignorant populace....all these and more are indicative of a species that not only isn't advancing,but doesn't want to or care to. Early man required every individual in the tribe to function at 100% of their capabilities for the survival of all, natural selection rewarded the fittest. Evolution progressed man in a gradual ascent til about 100 years ago, when a technological explosion propelled us at a faster and faster pace into the present. I don't believe it was in our genetic makeup to handle that kind of fast-forward, and a collapse is almost certainly inevitable......the sky is falling,the sky is falling! LOL

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Sun, 24th Jan '10 2:48 AM

I have been in an ongoing dialogue for a couple of years with Sun about my theory of regressive-evolution. She has found fewer and fewer points of debate to challenge my position that mankind is in a stagnate period,no longer progressing as a whole, perhaps sliding backwards.
_______________________________________________
Oh good, maybe I'll have fewer points to debate with you as well once I understand this view better.


We have brilliant individuals in each generation of our species whose work has been intended to better the lives of all mankind. To me it seems to have had the unintentional effect of promulgating a laziness and dumbing-down of the once-most-powerful nation on earth.
___________________________________________
I'm curious as to who you might think "some" of these individuals are? I would think who gets included on the list would really depend on the view you are starting out with, unless of course you mean merely technological advances that is.


I believe it all began to unfold shortly after the industrial revolution......................Early man required every individual in the tribe to function at 100% of their capabilities for the survival of all, natural selection rewarded the fittest. Evolution progressed man in a gradual ascent til about 100 years ago, when a technological explosion propelled us at a faster and faster pace into the present. I don't believe it was in our genetic makeup to handle that kind of fast-forward, and a collapse is almost certainly inevitable
__________________________________________________
I think there are signs of this kind of laziness, even in the Bible......I don't mean to get religious here, but I believe it is on topic, whether you believe it is an actual historical account or not, some of these old stories are all we have from this time. For example, when the Jews did not want to walk with God like Samuel did, but wanted a king to reign over them instead. Here's a link, if you care about a reference. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+8&version=NIV

Well, it looks like I didn't clip the entire part I wanted to in the above response, that was intended in part as a response to, "mankind not only not progressing, but not wanting to". Had I known more about other ancient texts, I wonder if I could find more examples??

I would love to hear more about this view of yours Danny.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Sun, 24th Jan '10 2:52 AM

Meant to say, in reference to the link, it's generally been my view that mankind has always been this way, not wanting to progress. Is that in line with your view on the matter?

oogie54
Oogie54  (Level: 201.3 - Posts: 1120)
Mon, 25th Jan '10 10:54 AM

Yeah,I think laziness may be part of our genetic makeup lol, I believe technology has magnified that trait and actually taken away incentive from man in general. We can push buttons, remote controls and automated systems to take over the efforts once required to achieve a certain effect. Two thirds of the population is overweight, almost half of that group is morbidly obese,about seventy-five percent of high school graduates don't have college level reading skills and other necessary abilities to effectively pursue a higher education. I hope this doesn't sound to politically incorrect, but look at the birth rates in the country. Those who do have higher intellect and career/goal oriented ethics etc. are having small families, one or two children. The highest birth rates are among the people who are least able to provide financial,educational stability to their offspring. In many instances the children of these households of five,six or more have different fathers,live in or near poverty levels and have little hope of a better life. Most likely the same pattern will be repeated by their offspring on and on. This has nothing to do with some ideology of poor genetics, just environmental circumstances that limit a person's life. The survival of the fittest applies only to that,survival.....hope of progressing to a better life is severely handicapped.

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Wed, 27th Jan '10 5:21 PM

Hi Jeremy. I finally got around to checking this out after your email to me. I do find this to be a civil place for political discourse.

Although I agree with much of what Oogie says -- particularly with respect the dangers of an uneducated electorate -- I could not disagree more strongly with his belief that the Republicans represent the corporate interests and the Democrats the poor. Both parties represent the corporate interest. There is a small faction within the Democratic Party that truly do support policies to raise living standards for poor and, indeed, middle class, Americans, but this group is basically powerless to achieve anything.

In advancing my thesis that the Democratic Party is a corporate party, Exhibit 1 is President Obama. He supported the Wall Street bailout without any meaningful change in the regulation of the firms that were largely responsible for the financial crisis in the first place, but he has done virtually nothing for unemployed Americans. He continues to push a foreign policy of aggression -- which is, of course, loved by arms manufacturers and security firms. I guess you could say this is good for the poor in the sense that Obama's policies give the poor career opportunities as fodder in the wars of empire. He has proposed a freeze in spending on a range of social services programs, but no freeze on military spending. How does this reflect "representation" of the interests of the poor. Clinton did more to slash meaningful public assistance than any Republican president, which continues to shrink as a percentage of the federal budget. Obama has not even suggested reversing this trend. Obama gives up on single payer health care before the fight even begins and supports a bill that will force people to buy a crappy product. That would result in further obscene sums in the pockets of the insurance corporatists. (I know that what the minimum mandated plans will cover will still result in medical bills that bankrupt thousands of Americans each year, and that deaths will continue because expensive operations won't be performed for "insured" Americans without the large co-pay up-front.

I did not vote for Obama because I though he would simply act like Clinton. (No, I was not a McCain supporter.) In fact, even for me, who had little faith that Obama would do most of what he ran on, the man has been a disappointment. I asked a friend of mine last Thursday -- who did unenthusiastically vote for Obama on a "lesser of two evils" theory how he thought that had worked out for him. I asked him to name just one policy Obama was pursuing that he thought wouldn't just as likely be followed by McCain. First, he offered speculation about wars that McCain might have gotten involved in, but we already know that Obama hasn't left Iraq (and in my opinion never will), but increased the aggression in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Drone strikes in Pakistan under Obama already exceed those of the Bush administration. Very clever, kill a bunch of civilians through robotic air strikes and than complain when the locals team up with "the terrorists". Second, he claimed that Obama was better on social issues, although I could never get a straight answer on which ones. The gay community has certainly been outraged at his failure to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- not to mention fighting for repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.

I would agree that Obama, specifically, and Democrats, generally, use rhetoric suggesting that they will support policies to improve conditions at least for the working poor, but somehow that rhetoric is never turned into action while the disparities between the richest and poorest Americans with respect to both wealth and income continues to grow. The United States operates under a democratic government in form, but in substance it is not democratic and serves the interests of wealthy corporatists. How many times have I heard "if you don't vote, you don't have a right to complain". I could easily defend the proposition that if you DO vote (and I do) that you don't have a right to complain.



tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Wed, 27th Jan '10 8:17 PM


oogie54
Oogie54  (Level: 201.3 - Posts: 1120)
Wed, 27th Jan '10 8:35 PM

I agree that both parties cater to cooperate America, but in the sense that Dems. like to throw money at programs that for all intents and purposes only sustain a system of handouts and idleness without incentive to improve life, I believe they do represent that segment of society more openly than Repubs. I just have no faith in either party in this country to enact any kind of legislation that will honestly address the problems we are facing. It seems to me that both sides hold fast to narrow ideological approaches of their particular faction, but don't really have a clue as to what it will take to resolve the issues we face as a nation.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Sat, 30th Jan '10 4:26 AM

Hi Tim. I haven’t been able to respond due to school/work/family commitments, but am glad you have joined the conversation! I will have to address both the article and your post separately, since they both deserve a reply of their own.

Oh boy, the dangers of an uneducated electorate, staggering how many people lack basic literacy on social issues yet have the right to vote. Sad, really.

I’m not actually as hard on Obama as you are, but I agree that the democratic party seems powerless to do much of anything. I think he has good intentions anyways, but it has always seemed to me, and I’m sure I’m not as educated on the historical portion of it as you are, that social change has always been super slow, with the only group really able to do much are the reigning minority (the wealthy). Is that wrong? Social justice for African Americans, for example, has taken forever, and we are working on it still! So, I would ask for a clarification of your thesis, are you saying this powerlessness (and I’m going partly off the link to the article here) is perennial, or has always been that way just getting worse with the dissolution of the unions, etc. culminating in what we see today? While I agree that the democrats spout a lot of rhetoric without backing it up, it’s not like Lincoln REALLY (in my mind anyways) made a huge difference in the lives of the slaves.

I’m also not sure that his health care plan was quite the bomb it was made out to be (how can I be sure, with over 2000 pages of document??) It seemed to have some positives to it to me.

On whether Obama has done “better” than McCain on social issues, I don’t have a good reply, because I can’t really recall what McCain stands for. Still, I think he has made some positive contributions socially. I liked his credit card bill of rights. While not the death blow that was needed, it seemed to me to be a step in the right direction. I’m not going to go through it all, because its late and I’m tired, but he’s kept a number of his campaign promises, even if they weren’t exactly what we all hoped for. (see five pages worth here: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/rulings/promise-kept/) I believe some of those things are a step in the right direction.

I agree that wealth disparities are a major problem in this country, I guess you missed my discussion of it in Trivial Tangents. No matter, we agree about it anyways.


smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Sat, 30th Jan '10 4:40 AM

Regarding the Counterpunch article:

It's hard to keep these two posts seperate, because your two posts seemed related to me. But the opening of the Roberts article states: "Obama has reneged on every promise he made, from ending wars, to closing Gitmo, to providing health care for Americans, to curtailing the domestic police state, to putting the interests of dispossessed Americans ahead of the interests of the rich banksters who robbed Americans of their homes and pensions". If you look at the politifact link, you'll see part of why I happen to disagree with that statement, not that it disproves the overall thesis, but just thought I would bring it up.

I'm wondering, are unions the ONLY way to fund the democratic party? Has there ever been a successful campaign in favor of the middle class and the poor without that funding? I ask because I do not know.

I think that ONE reason that the democrats are powerless is because everytime the opposing party comes to power they just undo what previous administrations did. I agree with the article there, though that's not exactly what it said.

This paragraph, "The American public cannot even get reliable information about their plight as the "mainstream media" has been concentrated into a few corporate hands that do not permit independent reporting. The media is as dependent on corporate money as are politicians.", has all kinds of important political ramifications. Shhhh, don't tell some of the people on TT about this.

Overall, interesting article, thanx for the link.

BTW, though I'm not going to say that gay marriage is always wrong, I'm actually a little happy that he hasn't supported it. As far as gays in the military, i've heard though that Obama might be trying to take away don't ask don't tell? Didn't he say as much (whatever that means these days) in the state of the union address? I didn't get to watch the whole thing, I was at work at the time.


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