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Member since: Sat Mar 27, 2004, 04:35 PM
Number of posts: 24,331

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Either Barack Obama will win, or the Republican nominee will.

One of those two people will be President of the United States this time next year. Not voting for the candidate of those two who best represents your views is, by definition, helping the other. It's really that simple. One can complain about it, demand an alternative, rail about how it violates your democratic rights to have to choose between imperfect options, but in the end it comes down to two main branches of political philosophy in this country. One that's based on a left-leaning attitude of fostering responsibility, social democracy, and equality, and one that's based on a right-wing attitude of personal irresponsibility, social darwinism, and exploitation.

Either you're helping the one that best represents our shared values, or you're not. Inaction is, in and of itself, an action. You don't have to like that for it to remain the truth. And not getting the three years I would have liked to see in a perfect world doesn't mean I'm not going to do everything I possibly can to reelect Barack Obama and to elect as many other Democrats as I possibly can this year. Because even if you're angry or disappointed, the fact still remains that there is a world of difference between a disappointing friend and a deadly enemy.

Republicans are, have been, and will continue to be the latter. And for them to win, and continue with the political version of mass arson that is their agenda, they need people to ignore that simple fact, as well as forgetting all that's been accomplished in the last three years.

Gallup: Romney and Gingrich statistically tied NATIONALLY; two polls say Gingrich by 8 in Florida.

One week ago, Gallup had Romney by 23 points. 48 hours ago, it was by 10 points. Then by 5. The new Gallup tracking data for today says Romney 29, Gingrich 28. And that's a rolling average, meaning that Gingrich is probably in the lead by now on the national stage. Meanwhile, both Rasmussen (R) and Insider Advantage (D) have Gingrich up in Florida now by 9 and 8, respectively.

Now let me tell you why this is a wonderful thing, and why we should be celebrating.

Obama can beat either one of these guys. That's pretty much a given. Romney is an arrogant, elitist preening jackass, and Gingrich is... well, Newt Gingrich. But the difference is, Gingrich is not just arrogant and weak, he's also unstable and potentially explosive. He has the ability to get up on the national stage and not just destroy himself, but also poison every other Republican candidate for the House and Senate at the same time, by allowing out his racism, his self-aggrandizement, and his contempt not just for Democrats and minorities but for the "underclasses" of his own party. He is the self centered arrogance of George Bush mixed with the social darwinist insanity of Ron Paul.

Gingrich has the potential to completely undo the last gasp of gains the right made in 2010 by exploiting people's irrational anger and desire to lash out; he can give us back the House, secure the Senate, and put Republican Party back into the doghouse for another four years at least, as well as possibly putting a fatal stake through the heart of the militant right as a viable political bloc for a decade or more.

I hate cigarettes, hate cigarette smoke, and wish no one smoked them...

I find them to be vile, the smoke chokes me up, and they're filled with carcinogens. I am not, however, under the ridiculous belief that I am in any way entitled to demand that they be banned, either "for my own good" or for the good of other people.

In my view, there is little to no difference between that and any other "for my/their own good!" intrusion in privacy, whether that's telling you what you're allowed to smoke, what you can look at on the internet, what medical procedures you can have, who you can have sex with and how, etcetera. There is ALWAYS someone convinced that they need the government to stop you, or themselves, from doing something that's harmful to themselves or the moral fabric of society, whether it's actually harmful or not. And if you think there's a legitimate exception for things like cigarette smoking which ARE harmful to oneself, think again--there's tons of things you and I do every day that would actually harm ourselves which I'm sure we aren't so willing to agree on banning, from having a drink after work to eating that last slice of cake. The fact that somewhere there's an alcoholic or a chronic overeater doesn't negate the fact that people have a right to do as they choose with their lives and their bodies.

Is smoking bad for you? Hell yes. Should you keep smoking? Fuck no. I've been annoying family members who smoke for YEARS, trying to get them to give it up. For that matter, if you want to demand that tobacco products be regulated to the point of producing a product that's safe to use, I'm right there with you. That's a completely appropriate response to tobacco-related dangers. But if you have a problem with impulse control or addiction, there are plenty of good options and methods for quitting that do not involve trying to force everyone in the country to follow your personal belief systems. Believing that cigarettes should be banned so you can quit smoking is kind of like saying that because you have high cholesterol, no one anywhere is allowed to eat a steak.

One of the first lessons that needs to be taught in civics classes is that we're the moral arbiters of our own lives and no one else's. If you disapprove of drugs, or gay sex, or guns, or abortions, or meat eating, or breastfeeding, or hair removal lotion, or outdoor cats, or Beethoven's Fifth, or dry toast, you can avoid those things yourself. But you don't get to tell everyone else to live the same way you choose to, even if you believe it's superior, and oftentimes even if you're right.

Calling one DUer a "dogmatic talking-points factory" and others "delusional" isn't rude.

So says the juror. "Nowhere near it," in fact.

ProSense is a one-woman dogmatic talking-points factory with some followers serving as her echo chamber, acting both to reinforce the most counterproductive self-delusions among DU members and, worse, to guarantee that newcomers will be alienated by her perpetual purge-happy search for thought-crime.


But when it went to the jury...

Juror #1 voted to HIDE IT and said: While I support each person's right to strongly disagree with posts and posters, it needs to be done without personal attacks.
Juror #2 voted to HIDE IT and said: No explanation given
Juror #3 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given
Juror #4 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given
Juror #5 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: Nowhere near the threshold of "disruptive, hurtful, rude, insensitive, over-the-top, or otherwise inappropriate."
Juror #6 voted to HIDE IT and said: I agree with the alerter. This goes into personal attack territory, not just an objective critique of prosense.

The other two didn't even provide that ridiculous and paper-thin of an excuse.

We really, really could use a return to actual moderators around here, and enforcement of the rules not dependent on whether you have the luck to get three members of your clique on the jury that judges your post.

Violent crime in the United States has been dropping continuously for almost 20 years.

Since it peaked in 1993, violent crime has dropped pretty much every year, now being down a third from it's height. Crime rates in the US are the lowest they've been since the 1960s.

Most people probably don't know that, though, even here. There's a widespread perception that things are somehow worse today, when in reality crime-wise it's the best it's been in almost half a century.

Barack Obama won the Iowa Caucus with 98%. "Uncommitted" got 2%.

And despite there being no real competition, some 25,000 Iowans came out in the January cold to vote for Barack Obama.

People here were predicting ahead of time that with SO MANY Democrats frustrated or angry, "Uncommitted" might win the caucus, and show that terrible old Obama what we thought of him. I do believe this pretty much puts a bullet in the theory of there being a huge grassroots segment of the Democratic base that's angry with Obama. So go ahead, and huff, and puff, and feed the Republican narrative of Obama's supposed ineffectiveness and weakness. In the end, aside from the few people who are fooled, it's just a handful of loud, angry bloggers looking to make money and fame off of stirring shit.

Reminder: Mitt Romney is in favor of re-invading Iraq to keep 30,000 troops there permanently.

Think about that for a minute: after Obama successfully getting us out of Iraq, Romney is on the record supporting invading the country AGAIN in order to establish a permanent foothold.

Let's try this again: No, Social Security is NOT insolvent.

Today I keep running into this stubborn insistence by some on DU that Social Security is really insolvent, despite the $2.6 trillion dollar Social Security Trust Fund; or that the payroll taxes which supply Social Security and other programs are taken to pay for the Defense Department or other government spending. Both of these statements are amazingly false.

The Social Security Trust Fund was created for the express purpose of saving up enough money to get the system through the wave of baby boomer retirements. Prior to that, Social Security was entirely "pay as you go," with there being no buffer between what was collected in payroll taxes and what was paid out as benefits. To pay for the boomers, payroll taxes were hiked and the SSTF was created to store the surplus against the day when there would be too many retirees for those currently working to pay for.

Now so that the Social Security Trust Fund money wasn't just sitting there doing nothing, and for it to make more money to pay out later as benefits, that money was invested. But it had to be invested in a way that would present no risk of losing the money which had already been entrusted to the system from people's taxes. Therefore, it was invested into US Treasury bonds, which are a famously no-risk investment, and pay a healthy return in the form of interest. When you see people mention the US government paying the interest on it's debt, a large chunk of that interest goes into the Social Security Trust Fund.

Which brings us to the claims that because the money has been invested, somehow the Social Security system is bankrupt or that the money has been "stolen." To apply this same standard to day to day living, you would have to believe that you're giving away your money to the bank when you put it in a savings account. This seems fairly absurd on the face of it, but some people really believe it about the Social Security Trust Fund, simply because it's "the government." But no, SSTF funds and payroll taxes aren't "hiding deficit spending," or being given away, or anything so absurd. Like any good retirement program, it's growing every day until the day it's actually spent on sending benefits to a senior.

WH deal: Nothing in the NDAA will be interpreted to "expand the authority" of the POTUS or military.

In case anyone's wondering about the exact details of the changes to the National Defense Authorization Act that the White House extracted over Obama's veto threat: The final passage bill will contain explicit language saying that nothing in the bill "is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authority for Use of Military Force." This means no strictures requiring terrorism suspects to be held in military custody instead of the civilian justice system as the Obama administration has been doing; no expanded authority for detentions; and no forced return to military tribunals.

Also, Section 1032 B 1 (of the House version, haven't checked the Senate version) explicitly states that military detention "does not extend to citizens of the United States." Section 1032 B 2 also states it "does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States."
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