Politics (formerly Election 2012)

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Klaudandus » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:26 am

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Paxen » Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:43 pm

You haven't got unions in the US. You have guilds.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Aubade » Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:00 pm

I don't understand that statement Paxen.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:01 pm

Fridmarr wrote:I think the complaint about money is more than fair. A corporation donating money is donating their profits. They earned it and it's theirs to do with what they want. Unions in non right to work states force employees to pay dues whether the employee joins the union or not. That money is confiscated and used for whatever the union wants, even though the employees don't want to join.


I don't think this distinction is fair.

A company spending it's profits on political contributions is no different from unions spending union dues. The opportunity cost of those profits being spent on campaign contributions means that they are sacrificing, say, raising employee salaries.

Remember that most of the biggest offenders here have been simultaneously cutting wages. Is that really any different from a union extracting union dues? The effect is the same. The workers receive less money than they could have, and that money flows to political causes the workers did not choose.


I also think you are exaggerating how monolithic unions are. Union members do not actually vote as a rigid bloc, and they tend not to be single-issue voters. Look at Massachusetts, a heavyweight unionized state that is deep, deep blue. Republican Senator Scott Brown is just as popular as Democrat challenger Elizabeth Warren among unions.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:02 pm

Aubade wrote:I don't understand that statement Paxen.


They are full of drama, nobody is happy with the way loot is distributed, and some are more hardcore than others.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Aubade » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:38 pm

Right, I forget people still play MMO's sometimes >.< I was thinking guild's like the Carpenter guild or something haha
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:13 pm

Moar debatez!

Here's hoping they're interesting. (I'm beyond hoping for any actual information about the issues.)
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Aubade » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:15 pm

Skye1013 wrote:Moar debatez!

Here's hoping they're interesting. (I'm beyond hoping for any actual information about the issues.)


I thought it was funny when Romney said "don't keep attacking me and ignoring the question"

When it's all Romney does.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:18 pm

Brekkie wrote:I don't think this distinction is fair.

A company spending it's profits on political contributions is no different from unions spending union dues. The opportunity cost of those profits being spent on campaign contributions means that they are sacrificing, say, raising employee salaries.

Remember that most of the biggest offenders here have been simultaneously cutting wages. Is that really any different from a union extracting union dues? The effect is the same. The workers receive less money than they could have, and that money flows to political causes the workers did not choose.
To be clear, my primary concern is with those employees that are forced to pay union dues, even when they are not in a union. Folks doing this by choice, well that's their choice so enough said.

However, what you say about corporate money is not accurate, if it were, that would be extremely problematic. Corps pay their employees prevailing wage, and that's really about it. They don't give big bonuses as their Profit/Expense ratio rises, and even when they aren't profitable (which is really really common) they still have to pay their employees. Sure there are bonuses and what not, and the occasional industry that's primarily bonus oriented, but by and large people get paid their prevailing wage for their trade. If a corporation is going to invest in personnel as profits soar, they don't give out raises, they hire more workers and grow their corp. Layoffs are on the flip side rather massive pay cuts when companies lose money. The truth is, paying too much or too little for employees just simply doesn't work, increasing their pay to a point doesn't increase production, and reducing it too little means they'll leave.

Overall though, we are really splitting hairs here and likely agree on the topic as a whole more than we disagree, if you want to equate the corporate and union side as roughly equally distasteful, fair enough. As long as we recognize this is a two way street is the only reason I re-entered this thread.

Brekkie wrote:I also think you are exaggerating how monolithic unions are. Union members do not actually vote as a rigid bloc, and they tend not to be single-issue voters. Look at Massachusetts, a heavyweight unionized state that is deep, deep blue. Republican Senator Scott Brown is just as popular as Democrat challenger Elizabeth Warren among unions.

I'm not sure any of my primary points are affected by how monolithic unions are. That said, they are pretty consistently democratic. They've been locked in at 59% in the last few elections. For a group of that size, that's nearly as big as it gets. For consistency dating back to 1976, they routinely turn a double digit difference compared to the general public. The only time it wasn't double digits (2008) was because Obama got a higher percentage of the popular vote as opposed to any real change at all in the union vote. The only thing that consistently beats them is race.

Good stats on that can be found here: http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/electi ... ction.html
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:27 pm

Romney wrote:I wish I could predict the future.

I actually agree with him about something...
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:51 pm

So... Romney pushed for crippling sanctions on Iran 5 years ago... when Bush was in office. If he had been the nominee for 2008 (and subsequently elected), does he think he'd have been able to get them in place sooner than Obama managed to?
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Klaudandus » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:59 pm

Obama to Romney: “Sounds like you would say the same things we said, but say them louder.”
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"I'm pleased you are now endorsing our policy of increasing diplomatic pressure"
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:55 pm

I don't know, but I think Obama won this one. Romney didn't seem to voice his own views, he just agreed that most of what Obama is doing is the correct path.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Klaudandus » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:06 pm

Skye1013 wrote:I don't know, but I think Obama won this one. Romney didn't seem to voice his own views, he just agreed that most of what Obama is doing is the correct path.


Yeah, he agreed with Obama a lot, or would repeat what Obama said but louder... but then he goes “I just don’t want to go back to the same policies of the past four years.”
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:49 pm

Fridmarr wrote:Overall though, we are really splitting hairs here and likely agree on the topic as a whole more than we disagree, if you want to equate the corporate and union side as roughly equally distasteful, fair enough. As long as we recognize this is a two way street is the only reason I re-entered this thread.


Agreed.

Fridmarr wrote:I'm not sure any of my primary points are affected by how monolithic unions are. That said, they are pretty consistently democratic. They've been locked in at 59% in the last few elections. For a group of that size, that's nearly as big as it gets.


So are, say, Scientists.
Doesn't mean there is some coercive spanish inquisition in the National Academy of Sciences that is enforcing orthodoxy. It just means that certain demographics tends towards certain political philosophies because of their perspective.

I don't consider that a bad thing. Any relatively homogenous socio-economic-cultural group is going to be somewhat of a circlejerk.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby aureon » Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:27 am

Yes, but the union has 2 options:
One guy who really doesn't care
One guy who wants to dismantle them
Are they full of shit too, in supporting the guy who historically doesn't want to screw them and their members over? Perhaps he won't do it, but it seems that Romney's position depend on the weather.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Klaudandus » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:01 am

He's a quantum politician, he exists in a cloud of possibilities and then it gets fixed depending on who's observing him.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Paxen » Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:50 am

Aubade wrote:I don't understand that statement Paxen.


It's an observation based on anecdotes, admittedly. Stuff like union membership not being open to everybody who works in the appropriate sector, requiring union membership to get a job, unions assigning work, stuff like that.

How it works here: You start working somewhere. If the employer isn't shitty and exploiting unskilled and uninformed workers (lowpaying jobs with quick turnaround mostly) you're expected to sign up for (one of) the unions at the place. Generally no rules about it, though. The unions will mostly be doing universal salary negotiations, as well as helping members who get in trouble with the employer or who they believe have been fired wrongfully. They'll also often have a place on the board of corporations, and a lot of them work towards turning temporary and part time employees into full time employees (if they want to be).

If you don't sign up for a union you might get some frowns, as people might regard you as not pulling your weight in negotiations and freeriding on the work done by others.

Is this how it works in the US?
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:24 am

My favorite part was when Romney called Syria "Iran's route to the sea".

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Malthrax » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:40 pm

My favorite part was Bob Schieffer's "Obama bin Laden" Freudian slip.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Melathys » Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:36 pm

this pretty much sums up this election for me...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfvvYuO6zHM
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:27 pm

Klaudandus wrote:He's a quantum politician, he exists in a cloud of possibilities and then it gets fixed depending on who's observing him.

Schrödinger's Romney?
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:41 pm

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Klaudandus » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:21 pm

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:15 pm

It bugged me that Romney mispronounced Pashtuns, the primary ethnic group in Afghanistan as "Pash-tons" (correct is "Pash-toons"). It's the kind of mistake that you would NEVER make if you had ever actually been briefed by an expert on the country. To those of us who have been-there-done-that, it made him look like he had based his Afghanistan ideas on reading the wikipedia page 10 minutes before the debate.
Obama, by contrast, pronounced Pakistan ("Pa-key-stan") correctly, which is rare for Americans.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This debate was the most interesting for me, given its theme. I was disappointed that there was no question relating to Mexico, or to Latin America in general. Apparently Foreign Policy=Middle East Policy.
I was glad Obama addressed this childish "count the ships" analysis the Romney campaign has been using. I wish he had pressed further, and pointed out that naval strength hit its low point during the Bush years (in 2007), and has risen since, and that the overall trend of decline started with Reagan and is perfectly justified because the Cold War ended.


The comparison between the two candidates' military budgets boils down to this:

Obama: Keep Defense funding at static levels with what they are currently, rising only at the level of inflation.
-This results in higher absolute dollars spent over time, due to inflation, but static purchasing power.
-Regardless, he is still spending more than Bush spent on the base Defense budget, even AFTER cuts and manpower drawdowns.
-We will still have a larger military than we did pre-9/11

Romney: As we withdraw from Afghanistan, take the money we WERE spending on Afghanistan operations and add it to the base Defense Budget, ending with a Defense Budget tied to 4% of GDP.
-He has tried to portray this as not increasing Defense Spending, because it is money we are already spending on "Defense", even though it's not part of the Defense Budget, but rather Overseas Contingency Operations.
-The $2 Trillion/10 years number is the increase this would effectively amount to, not counting inflation. Counting inflation (which is what you should do, to properly compare to Obama's budget), it is something like a $1.4 Trillion increase
-It is unclear whether this 4% of GDP number is just a target, or whether he would actually tie Defense Spending to it (which by any measure would be silly, since strategic requirements do not depend on the fluctuations of the economy). The key litmus test is whether he would decrease Defense Spending if the economy declined and GDP decreased?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The key element in this discussion is NOT "how much defense spending is necessary", but rather "necessary for WHAT?"
Romney touched on it briefly when he (inaccurately) accused Obama of cutting our capabilities from being able to conduct 2 operations on 2 fronts to just 1 front, but he was on the right track.

Yes, our Navy has declined from the massive, massive fleet we had during the Cold War, but that has to be put into context of the fact that it was only that large in the first place because our primary foe's Navy was that large.
Most other countries' navies have declined. The UK, for example, has ZERO carriers, down from 4.

China currently has ONE. They bought an antiquated soviet carrier second-hand from the Russians, and refurbished it. It is not publicly known whether it has adequate capabilities to be taken seriously, or is just for show. No doubt our intelligence agencies know, but all we can do is speculate with incomplete data.

Chinese 5th-generation aircraft are a similar story. They have trumpeted two new 5th generation aircraft that were seemingly deliberately designed to mimic certain attributes of our Raptors and Lightnings, but it is unclear whether their true capabilities are even in the same league. Since we are not read in to classified reports the senior military planners get, all we can do is guess.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I see a lot of people talking about "what the military does/doesn't want", from both sides. That's really just inaccurate.

It's important to distinguish that the military does not pick sides in discussions like this. The military answers to the civilian leadership.

The civilian leadership determines what the proper mission of the military is.
The military then will say what they feel is adequate resources in order to do a good job accomplishing that mission.

It is not the military's place to say "We should have the capability to fight a war on X fronts simultaneously", verses "we only need to be able to fight a war on X-1 fronts".

There are also no real absolutes here. The military can always find ways to use more money, if you decide to give it to us. There is no upper bound to "defend BETTER".

Security, any security, including in the broader definition, is a risk-benefit calculation. This applies to things like network security too, which you guys here will probably be more familiar with. You can ALWAYS make the network *more* secure, if you are willing to pay the price and jump through the hoops. And no matter WHAT you do, no security system is impossible to crack.

The big advantage we have here is that no potential foe (short of "and suddenly...ALIENS") can really surprise us. As mentioned before, ships take a long time to build. But that holds true for our enemies, just as much as it holds true for us. Right now, our potential enemies have forces a tiny fraction of our own. If they try to ramp that up, we will know, and have plenty of time to react in turn. Outnumbering China 10 carriers to 1, and pretty much everybody else 10 carriers to 0, is a pretty decent buffer.

The piece Romney leaves out of his fearmongering is that the size of the Navy has been declining ever since Reagan, and there is a simple reason for that. The Cold War is over. We didn't have to match the Soviets in capabilities any more, because most of the Soviet capability we were matching is now sitting in skeletal remains in dry docks, being salvaged for scrap metal.

Military capabilities ONLY matter in terms of two things:
-capabilities of your foes
-scope of their mission

Historical context is totally meaningless if those parameters have changed, relative to when you are comparing.
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