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Politics (formerly Election 2012)

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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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"me no gay, me friends gay, me no like you call me gay, you dumb dumb" -bldavis
"Here are the values that I stand for: I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you wanna be treated, and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values. That’s what I stand for." -Ellen Degeneres
"I'm not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance." -Jon Stewart
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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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Re: Election 2012

Postby Klaudandus » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:22 pm

you forgot to mention that our navy is more powerful than before, so you need less ships to do what your old navy used to do.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:54 pm

Klaudandus wrote:you forgot to mention that our navy is more powerful than before, so you need less ships to do what your old navy used to do.



This is only partially true.

Romney set himself up for failure by comparing to the Navy of 1916; a comparison you can easily dismiss as stupid by pointing out that ships back in 1916 were still run on coal and steam.

A more useful comparison would have been to, say, 1989, when we had almost 600 active ships, including 14 Aircraft Carriers, compared to now when we have 285 and 11 Aircraft Carriers (soon to be 10, as the Enterprise is decommissioned in December and the first Ford-class replacement will not launch until 2014).

While we have had some new classes of ship and airplane added in the past 25 years or so that are better than their predecessors, by and large our vessels are not significantly more capable today than they were in 1989. Our Aircraft Carriers today are Nimitz-class carriers, the exact same class as the carriers of 1989. Our jets are nearly the same as well, as we are only just now starting to phase in 5th generation fighters like the Raptor and Lightning.

So comparing today with the 1980s-1990s makes a clear statement that we are not as strong militarily as we were then, without any major difference in per-ship capabilities.

The counter-argument is that we don't NEED as many ships as we did then, because the cold war is over, and we have no potential foe who has anything even remotely close to our strength. But Romney utterly failed to even force Obama to make this case.




Of course, having a rational discussion about this would bring up the awkward fact that this trend of decline has been going on for decades, starting with Republican Messiah Reagan, and is not just something Obama came up with.


p.s. Here's a good link if you are interested in US Naval force levels throughout history.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Klaudandus » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:35 am

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Shoju » Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:26 am

Klaudandus wrote:http://news.yahoo.com/gop-senate-candidate-god-intended-pregnancies-rape-061057785--abc-news-politics.html


You beat me to it!

I just.... Man... If I were in charge of the Republican Party, I would issue the following letter to anyone running for office on the Republican ticket.


Dear Republican Politician,

As of this very moment, you are forbidden from entering into a conversation that includes any two of the following topics

God
Rape
Pregancy
Abortion

If you do, we will disown you.

Thanks!
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Shoju » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:24 am

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd

LULZ
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