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Losing Free Speech?

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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Heil » Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:06 pm

HOW HAS ABORTION, THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE FOR EVERY AMERICAN, NOT BEEN THE FOCAL POINT OF THIS PRIMARY SEASON?!?!!? DAMN THE GAYS, AND THEIR DESIRE TO GET MARRIED, STEALING THAT SPOT IN THE DEBATE! /endlulz
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Melathys » Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:27 pm

According to Santorum, abortion is the number one killer of blacks in america, also, if you're black, you may as well be gay.

The Social Security system, in my opinion, is a flawed design, period. But having said that, the design would work a lot better if we had stable demographic trends. We don’t have enough workers to support the retirees . . . A third of the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion

The most dangerous place for an African-American in this country is in the womb

There are people who were gay and lived the gay lifestyle and aren’t anymore. I don’t know if that’s the similar situation or that’s the case for anyone that’s black.
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Sagara » Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:46 pm

I would love to see the reaction to Mr Elio Di Rupo, son of Italian immigrants, openly gay, who has the highest political function in Belgium. That would be a official meeting for the ages XD
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Arnock » Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:21 pm

Melathys wrote:According to Santorum, abortion is the number one killer of blacks in america, also, if you're black, you may as well be gay.


There are people who were gay and lived the gay lifestyle and aren’t anymore. I don’t know if that’s the similar situation or that’s the case for anyone that’s black.



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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby bldavis » Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:35 pm

going back to the only cities count thing....in some states it is already like that

in oregon, a majority of the state is conservative (east of the cascades) land wise, but population wise - we are probably less then just portland
hell i live in the second largest city this side of the cascades and we are only 17k ppl
oregon is a democratic state due to portland and the I5 corridor (the willamette valley - portland, salem, eugene, etc)

so really switching to popular vote wouldnt change a dam thing here :|
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Brekkie » Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:24 pm

Fivelives wrote:What I hope happens, sooner or later, is that we get rid of the two party system. Hell, get rid of the electoral college for that matter - the electoral college system is a failsafe designed to keep the American populace from being able to "make mistakes", and it encourages presidential candidates to actively ignore certain states during their campaigning. I can think of at least one time in recent history that the electoral college has actively voted against the popular vote.

Anyone who still thinks that America is a democracy, or even a republic, is sadly mistaken. We've become a full blown oligarchy, where our ruling class isn't dependent on who wants to do the most good, or make the most beneficial changes, but rather who has the deepest pockets.


While you are correct about the current effects of the electoral college, you are wrong about value of the system and what it is designed to do.

Here's an exerpt from an essay I wrote on another forum as part of a discussion regarding the two-party system, in which the purpose (and the current perversion) of the Electoral College is addressed:

There are actually a lot of laws on the books expressly designed to make it EXTREMELY difficult for third parties to form nationally and be officially recognized by the system. Naturally, the two party system protected its self by creating those laws. With more parties coming into existance, they would obviously come about as a result of the primary two losing part of their support base, and that was deemed by the common wisdom of the day to be destabilizing.

The most LIKELY way i could see it coming about would be through fragmentation of the current parties, causing the formation of what essentially are de facto seperate parties. This is already happening somewhat, mainly in the Republican party, which the Tea Party as well as the Libertarian bloc diverging from mainstream republican ideology, but still self-identifying as Republicans.
The main obstacle preventing real diversification is the fact that the same thing has NOT happened with the Democratic party. As a result, all of the Republican off-shoots have by and large decided to work within the republican party as a practical requirement of getting anything on their agenda done. Seated Republicans and Republican party leadership were also quick to recognize the fact that fragmentation was bad strategy, and so quickly maneuvered to allign the main party platform with that of their two off-shoots as much as possible.

If the Democratic party were to fragment in the same way, it would free the sub-factions to actually disagree with the rest of their bloc, or form coalitions with other sub-factions, which would be the true turning point of a de facto multi-party system in everything but name. But as long as the Democratic party remains monolithic, there isn't much Libertarians or Tea Party members can do other than unite within the Republican party as what they are forced to view as the lesser of two evils. True fragmentation of the Republican party would be a good thing for all the off-shoots, as, for example, the Libertarians would be free to pursue full libertarianism through strategic coalitions, as well as campaign on their own merits with reasonable chance of increased success, etc.

I think it's very significant that even now, even on Fox News, we refer specifically to "Tea Party Congressmen", as being something distinct from "Republican Congressmen".

An additional advantage of a multi-party system is that it increases the power of an individual vote because it makes Gerrymandering much more difficult.

In fact, gerrymandering is the bane of pretty much everyone except the incumbants. Mathematically, the electoral college system and the districting system actually MAKE SENSE and increase the power of the individual voter, however only if districts are designed to be as reasonably close to likely deadlocking as possible.
Mathematically, it is orders of magnitude more likely for your single vote to be the swing vote in your district, and for your district to be the swing district in your state, and your state to be the swing state in the entire election, than for your vote to be the swing vote in a pure popular vote contest. See George Bush vrs Al Gore in Florida as perfect, recent evidence of this.


However all of that math goes out the window as soon as you start gerrymandering districts to assure that a certain party is garenteed to keep that representative seat. The less likely the district is to deadlock and go either way, the less important an individual's vote within it is. If your district is certain to go to Candidate B, and you favor Candidate A, your vote is effectively meaningless. Indeed, your vote is just as meaningless if you favor Candidate B! A situation worse than if there was just a straight, all-out, decision based on the popular vote.

The problem is that when districts have a high chance of deadlocking and being swung either way by a small number of votes, this represents a high degree of risk to the parties because they may lose everything after expending precious resources campaigning there.
So party politics and partisan strategy resulted in them taking the "safer" option, consolidating territory through gerrymandering and then allowing the parties to focus on gains through bitter attrition and trench warfare. A strategy which is reflected in the increasing adversarial winner-takes-all trend in American politics.

The fact that there are "Battleground States" is a mathematical travesty to the Electoral College system. EVERY state is supposed to be a battleground state according to the way our democratic institutions are designed. Big swings back and forth are supposed to be able to happen.

In a multi-party system, all this would be corrected, because there could no longer be such monolithic "Red verses Blue" and everybody would be forced to campaign everywhere. The individual voter can only win from that.

It would also have profound positive effects on Policy Making. For example, the Corn Lobby is extremely powerful, in part because corn is a big deal in the state of Iowa, which is a major battleground state. Thus, by appeasing the Corn Lobby, policy-makers can court the favor of Iowa, a state in which votes matter, at the painless expense of angering the majority of the other states in the US, in which votes do not matter.
Break the stranglehold of gerrymandering, and policy makers are forced to listen to the majority of the country, which thinks subsidies for ethanol and for corn farmers are stupid, instead of merely to corn farmers in Iowa trying to get extra profits, because they are merely a single state among many and their interests do not necessarily align with what is good for the country as a whole.


I'd much rather have a multi-party coalition-style representation in congress, similar to what, say, Germany has. That way:
A) individual party options can more closely reflect your actual beliefs rather than just being in a war over who can be more centrist
B) Compromise becomes business as usual within government, rather than winner-take-all, an occurance that would be extremely refreshing.
C) Candidates (and media outlets) are forced to be more descriptive about what their actual positions are, because the Us-and-Them name-calling narrative breaks down in a coallition-based parliament where you have to form ideological alliances.

The major argument against multi-party systems is that they can make it difficult for a government to get anything done. But, in light of our current deadlocks and partisan retardation, I don't see how it could make things any worse than the Do-nothing congress we have already.

For example, the German Bundestag (parliament) is composed of two major parties, the Social Democratic Party (Social Democratic ideology), verses the alliance of the Christian Democratic Union (Angela Merkel's party, Liberal Conservative ideology) and it's closely related sister party the Christian Social Union (Social Conservative ideology).
Neither side is powerful enough to pass legislation alone, and thus must form alliances with one or more of the three minor parties, the Free Democratic Party (Classical Liberalist ideology), The Left (Democratic Socialism ideology), or the Greens (Green ideology).

It means that the parties have to soften their more radical positions in order to court support from other parties in order to form a coalition.
It also means that no one party can deadlock the entire system by refusing to cooperate (a la tea party republicans), because if they try, all the other parties will just form a consensus over their heads and leave the troublemakers excluded from having any input at all. It results in it being better strategy to play ball with your opponents, than to just mindlessly scream NO at anything they try to do.
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby tullock » Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:34 pm

I loathe when politicians say the social security system is flawed because there arent enough young people to support the retirees. The young people arent supposed to be supporting the retirees, the retirees have been paying into the system their whole life. The only flaw with the social security system is that the politicians/government started using it as a slush fund and robbed it blind.

Until all of the criminals in office are brought to justice though, this highway robbery is going to continue.
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Melathys » Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:42 pm

Brekkie, what is that other forum? I've been looking for a decent place to read up on various points of view regarding political matters.

...I have some long term plans, and I need to flesh out my knowledge of things.
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Brekkie » Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:43 pm

Fridmarr wrote:Reagan would definitely not be considered a RINO by today's standards, just hit up youtube on him sometime. Reagan had a ton of charisma and an ability to articulate his beliefs in a way that confounded the media's idiocy.


Actually...


The nation is still recovering from a crushing recession that sent unemployment hovering above nine percent for two straight years. The president, mindful of soaring deficits, is pushing bold action to shore up the nation's balance sheet. Cloaking himself in the language of class warfare, he calls on a hostile Congress to end wasteful tax breaks for the rich. "We're going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share," he thunders to a crowd in Georgia. Such tax loopholes, he adds, "sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary – and that's crazy."

Preacherlike, the president draws the crowd into a call-and-response. "Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver," he demands, "or less?"

The crowd, sounding every bit like the protesters from Occupy Wall Street, roars back: "MORE!"

The year was 1985. The president was Ronald Wilson Reagan.


Honestly, Obama is positively Reaganesque is in policies and actions, although you wouldn't know it from watching Fox.

Let's put aside his charisma and his speeches and what is ASCRIBED to his legacy by pundits today, and look at Reagan's actual policies in office.

In 1967 Reagan signed the Therapeutic Abortion Act, in an effort to reduce the number of “Back-room abortions” occurring in California. About two million abortions were performed as a result, though he later had a change of heart and announced himself as “Pro-life”, attributing his signing the bill to his lack of experience as a Governor.

As Governor, he champion the rights of homosexuals, and was instrumental in defeating the Briggs Initiative/Proposition 6, a voter-driven ballot initiative that attempted to ban them from working in schools. Reagan published an editorial in which he stated "homosexuality is not a contagious disease like the measles..." and that prevailing scientific opinion was that a child's sexual orientation cannot be influenced by someone else.
Additionally, Reagan nominated the first known homosexual Federal judge.

Reagn pushed for Nuclear Disarmament, and while he referred to the USSR as the "evil empire", he favored policies of diplomacy and negotiated heavily with Gorbachev to find diplomatic solutions. Compare to Iran rhetoric today.

He increased the size and scope of the federal government by ramping up the war on drugs, hiring hundreds of DEA agents and establishing 13 new regional task forces. While in his campaign he claimed to be opposed to the establishment of the Department of Education by his predecessor, Jimmy Carter, he never took any action to dissolve it once in office.

In 1986, Ronald Reagan signed a sweeping immigration reform bill into law that made any immigrant who'd entered the country before 1982 eligible for amnesty.

Reagan signed into law tax increases of some nature in every year from 1981 to 1987, including TEFRA, the single largest peace-time tax increase in American History, amounting to almost 1% of US GDP. Reagan has been popularized as an anti-tax hero despite having raised taxes 11 separate times, all in the name of fiscal responsibility. His only tax cuts exclusively benefitted the rich, reducing the top tax bracket from 70% all the way down to 28% (while raising the bottom bracket from 11% to 15%, and decreasing the number of brackets down to 4).
In 1983, he hiked gas and payroll taxes. In 1984, he raised revenue by closing tax loopholes for businesses. The tax reform of 1986 lowered the top rate for the wealthy to just 28 percent – but that cut for high earners was paid for by closing tax loopholes that resulted in the largest corporate tax hike in history. Reagan also raised revenues by abolishing special favors for the investor class: He boosted taxes on capital gains by 40 percent to align them with the taxes paid on wages.

He tripled the deficit over his 8 years, raising national debt from $997 Billion to $2.85 Trillion. He also agreed to raise the debt ceiling 12 times.

After the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon suffered a suicide bombing attack, Reagan withdrew US peacekeeping forces. Osama bin Laden called this a “sign of American weakness”, and the victory invigorated his network.

As Reagan deteriorated in his later years, his wife Nancy became an active proponent for Embryonic Stem Cell Research, which they believed would lead to a cure to his Alzheimer’s Disease.

The legacy of Ronald Reagan has been elevated to near mythological status in recent years, with him constantly being lionized in Republican debates and surveys showing him ranked as high as 2nd in a list of America’s Greatest Presidents, but this re-writing of history ignores that he was much more controversial during his actual term. While his approval rating spiked as high as 73% immediately following his near-assassination in 1981, it also dipped as low as 42% in 1983 when his economic policies resulted in unemployment skyrocketing higher than 10%, the highest since the Great Depression. By comparison, President Obama's approval rating yesterday was 50%, despite how much hate is currently expressed towards him.

All this is not to say that Reagan was not a conservative, or that he did not represent many of the positions that modern-day Republicans espouse. For example, he was vehemently opposed to socialized medicine, and spoke out against the passing of Medicare (though he continued to fully fund both it and Social Security throughout his term).

However, compared to the new GOP, Reagan was a centrist, if not a complete traitor, and even Mike Huckabee was quoted as saying that in today’s race he would be totally unelectable.
The Republican Party has shifted so far to the fringe that it's biggest issues actually contradict their own positions from the 90s and prior. The classic example is Health Care. Every single major Republican today rails against the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act, aka "Obamacare", even though the law is nearly identical to Republican proposals such as the Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act of 1993, and the 1994 Consumer Choice Health Security Act which included the Individual Mandate. Which is without even getting into the fact that Republicans have been referring to Obamacare in terms of it being unaffordable and increasing the deficit (largely of Republican creation), despite the fact that the PPACA would actually generate revenue rather than expend it after the first 6 years of it being phased in.

So while Reagan, a genuinely decent President overall, has been turned into a near Olympian figure by Republicans today, his actual policies and sense of compromise were totally inconsistant with what the GOP has become.
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Brekkie » Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:45 pm

Melathys wrote:Brekkie, what is that other forum? I've been looking for a decent place to read up on various points of view regarding political matters.

...I have some long term plans, and I need to flesh out my knowledge of things.


It's a military forum actually, comprised of service members, mostly Army and Marines.

You planning on running for office? ;)
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Fivelives » Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:50 pm

Brekkie,

How many times has the electoral college actually voted against the popular election results? Quite a few - at least 4 times that I can think of (including the "hanging chad" recount debacle).

It's a system designed to stop people from campaigning by only pandering to major population centers, but since the population is no longer concentrated in New England and the South, that's not necessary anymore. It's time to kiss both the oligarchy and the electoral college goodbye and open elections up to more than just two parties. It should be fairly obvious, considering the last few elections alone, that the two-party system simply isn't working anymore. If both the GOP and the Dems could come up with decent candidates, rather than one party seeming to just "give up" before it even starts (e.g. the Republican "establishment" being more of a clown car this election year, with absolutely zero decent candidates in the primaries), then a two-party system wouldn't be so bad.

See, what happens is that the "conservatives" and the "liberals" both co-opt the platforms of the smaller independent parties and use those to run on. Healthcare reform? Thank the socialist party for that. Tax law reform? The major selling point of the American Reform Party.

I can't think of a single key issue in recent elections that hasn't been a point in the platform of a smaller party before being brought up by one of the Big Two. That right there is (or at least, should be) an argument toward ditching the two party system and letting every party get equal play. It sounds impossible, but remember - we're in the Youtube generation now. There are enough free outlets for campaigners to be seen/heard that they can get their platforms exposure without relying on the more traditional debate format. For instance, why can't they do it asynchronously?

There would be some issues with that, but they could be worked out. The problem is that it would take power away from the democrats and republicans, so they immediately squash the idea as soon as it's raised.

There comes a point when people in power must use that power solely to remain in power, rather than for what it was first granted to them for. We reached (and passed) that point a long time ago, and have simply been stumbling along since - like chickens with their heads cut off.
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Brekkie » Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:08 pm

Fivelives,

It appears that, by and large, we agree with each other completely. I would very much like to see fracturing into a multi-party system too, as you can see from my original post upthread.

I disagree with you as far as the electoral college, however, from a mathematical standpoint. IF it is implemented correctly (which it currently isn't). I think that if the above problem were to be fixed, however, the electoral college WOULD work as intended, in that it would vastly increase individual voter power. Voter Power being defined as "the statistical chance of your individual vote being the deciding swing vote". It already does this, the issue is that it does so unevenly, only working in some states.

I have better proofs, statistics, and documentation on how the electoral college helps voters back at home, but don't have access to it at the moment, so I'll share it another time. The book I have goes into why the electoral vote overriding the popular vote is actually evidence of the system WORKING, not failing.

Anyway, I think that getting rid of the electoral college would be treating the symptom, and not the disease. Number of electoral votes is still reflective of population.
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Aubade » Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:02 pm

I wish I had the spare time to write an essay for this thread >.<
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Fivelives » Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:35 pm

I've probably read the same sources as you have, Brekkie. I just still don't agree with the way the electoral college works - but, like most people that want change, I can't personally think of anything better. So I default to "just get rid of it entirely".

In theory, it's a Good Idea(tm). In practice, like so many other things, the implementation is absolutely horrible. By encouraging candidates to ignore entire states, counting them as "already lost" or discounting the electoral votes as unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, it actually does the exact opposite of what it's intended to do - apart from being a failsafe against voter failure, that is.

[quote="William C. Kimberling, Deputy Director FEC Office of Election Administration]Direct election was rejected not because the Framers of the Constitution doubted public intelligence but rather because they feared that without sufficient information about candidates from outside their State, people
would naturally vote for a "favorite son" from their own State or region.[/quote]
Sauce: http://www.fec.gov/pdf/eleccoll.pdf
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Brekkie » Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:56 pm

Fivelives wrote:I've probably read the same sources as you have, Brekkie. I just still don't agree with the way the electoral college works - but, like most people that want change, I can't personally think of anything better. So I default to "just get rid of it entirely".

In theory, it's a Good Idea(tm). In practice, like so many other things, the implementation is absolutely horrible. By encouraging candidates to ignore entire states, counting them as "already lost" or discounting the electoral votes as unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, it actually does the exact opposite of what it's intended to do - apart from being a failsafe against voter failure, that is.

William C. Kimberling, Deputy Director FEC Office of Election Administration wrote:Direct election was rejected not because the Framers of the Constitution doubted public intelligence but rather because they feared that without sufficient information about candidates from outside their State, people
would naturally vote for a "favorite son" from their own State or region.

Sauce: http://www.fec.gov/pdf/eleccoll.pdf


Because people vote based on good information NOW and not based on "who seems like the kind of guy you could have a beer with". ;)
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