Politics (formerly Election 2012)

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Qeeze » Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:26 pm

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Re: Election 2012

Postby econ21 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:17 pm

Cogglamp wrote:That being said, Romney was pandering to his intended audience. His pandering has now been aired to the general public. It's called politics and it's dirty.


That's one interpretation, although you could also call it opportunism and being two faced. It's the traditional charge against Romney - that he's actually a centrist, pandering to the right and ready to flip-flop.

Maureen O'Dowd's interpretation in the NY Times is the opposite: that the remarks were so raw, he revealed what he really thought; he's genuinely more entrenched on the right than most suspected.

I suspect there are elements of truth to both - it's surprising what people can come to believe in, when it is in their interest to do so.

But whichever is true, the remarks - and being caught making them - reveal a surprising lack of judgment and self-control.

I can tolerate the right advocating cutting benefits to the poor in the guise of improving incentives, removing dependency and ultimately helping reduce poverty - the "tough love" mantra - although I find the arguments unconvincing. But to say you just don't care about the poor - that there's no love at all - that's what the left have always claimed. It's staggeringly inept to verify it. A Thatcher or Reagan would never make such a blunder. Even George W Bush successfully masked himself in a cloak of "compassionate conservatism".

The rest of the 47% quote - the idiocy of equating non-taxpayers with Democrats; the lumping together of vets, the elderly, the poor etc - I won't even touch upon, except to say it reveals a lack of intelligence and thought. By contrast, Obama seems far too supple and deft to be snared in such crassness.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Melathys » Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:04 pm

I had to laugh at this tweet from Romney's visit to London. "Americans: This Mitt guy is some kind of American Borat, right?"
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:47 pm

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Re: Election 2012

Postby econ21 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:40 am

The other thing about Romney's 47% remarks is that he's said them before. I remember reading a comment by him that his job was not to worry about the people on welfare, because - being on fixed incomes - they would be ok. It was the people with jobs - the middle class - who were at most risk in the economic downturn that he would have to work for.

It wasn't as crudely stated as his supposed "gaffe", but it took me aback. The explicit and public disavowal of concern over the interests of the poor was something I have not heard from any other politician. Here in the UK, even the driest conservative would not say that in public: they would argue their policies are best for the poor. The whole premise of the "trickle down" argument is that you care that it trickles down.

Moral values aside, the remark also seemed remarkably crude and unthinking. The people on welfare are not a permanent socio-economic group - people move in and out of welfare, often due to losing one's job, ill health etc. Helping people get off welfare and back into productive activities should be a priority.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Melathys » Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:06 am

Leave it to a child to pwn the masses...

My inspiration for the letter was basically my frustration. It was painful (and sometimes a little funny) to see all the people that blindly supporting [sic] Mitt Romney, and I felt like I should bring that to people's attention. I already knew that his plans for America would tear us apart, and would bring more harm than good to families like mine, so I had to make a stand. What he would do was unfair, and I wanted to say something about that.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/1 ... b=facebook
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Shoju » Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:58 am

Melathys wrote:Leave it to a child to pwn the masses...

My inspiration for the letter was basically my frustration. It was painful (and sometimes a little funny) to see all the people that blindly supporting [sic] Mitt Romney, and I felt like I should bring that to people's attention. I already knew that his plans for America would tear us apart, and would bring more harm than good to families like mine, so I had to make a stand. What he would do was unfair, and I wanted to say something about that.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/1 ... b=facebook


That is pure freaking win. That kid is awesome.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:09 pm

Shoju wrote:That is pure freaking win. That kid is awesome.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby theckhd » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:00 am

I am highly skeptical that that letter was written by a 12-year-old child. Or at least, not without heavy revision. For starters, I know college students who write more colloquially than that. And what 12-year-old writes phrases like "It is to my understanding that you stated..."

I call bullshit. Nice sentiment, but at least partly fabricated.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Melathys » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:51 am

theckhd wrote:I am highly skeptical that that letter was written by a 12-year-old child. Or at least, not without heavy revision. For starters, I know college students who write more colloquially than that. And what 12-year-old writes phrases like "It is to my understanding that you stated..."

I call bullshit. Nice sentiment, but at least partly fabricated.


to quote a friend of mine I grew up with, commenting about this story.

The doubt mentioned in the comments is annoying. I wrote a poem and submitted it to a contest when I was in 4th grade, and was told I stole it. Pretty sure I wrote it. When your grade school bedtime stories consist of Poe, Kipling, and Coleridge, there might be a little influence to your writing style. It still makes me hot under the collar to remember that someone did not believe I was capable of producing something myself.


I'm not saying you're wrong, just you might be surprised what children are capable of.

I know for my child, I intend to read Shakespeare's sonnets, among other stuff. I know she won't understand what I'm saying, but the cadence and tone of such poems will be pleasing, regardless of meaning. Being raised on such material I would expect that child to write a bit more eloquently than a child raised on, say, spongebob.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby theckhd » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:50 am

I'm not saying that a 12-year-old isn't capable of writing that. I'm saying that most 12-year-olds couldn't, which makes it unlikely that this one did.

It's impossible to say conclusively without knowing the child. Maybe the kid's been raised like your friend, and really is that eloquent. And interested enough in politics to know the lingo. If so, good on him - he's much more intellectual than I was at that age. But it seems a lot more likely to me that his parents wrote it.

I think your friend is a little silly to be surprised that the authenticity of his poem was questioned. If he was able to produce work well above the expectations of an average child of his age, of course his work is going to look odd. He's an outlying data point. But it shouldn't have been hard to test it - talk to him for 5 minutes and you'll be able to tell what sort of vocabulary he has, how he frames and describes objects, and what not. Accusing him of cheating without seeing what his level of skill is first is just as stupid as being offended that people who don't know you are surprised by and skeptical of your clearly well-above-average skill set.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:16 pm

Even if the kid wrote it himself, the odds are it's simply parroting sentiment he has heard his parents express, or statements he's heard on TV.

And even as someone whose politics agrees with the letter, even though the temptation is to go "LOOK! TRUTH FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES! SEE??? ROMNEY IS A POO POO HEAD!", logic forces me to question what weight a letter like this really holds.

Even if it is authentic (which the chances are it isn't), and despite being eloquent (which I don't really think it is, particularly), it doesn't really make a difference. It's just one person's opinion; in this case the opinion of a person who cannot even vote. And opinions are like assholes, everyone has them.
Anyone who felt the premise was compelling (or uncompelling) before the kid's letter will not change their mind as a result of it's arguments, which boil down to "this particular political stance is against my self-interest".

Consider how you would react if a kid wrote a letter to Obama saying that Obamacare is unconstitional; you'd probably react with a chuckle, think "stupid kid, what does he know?", or accuse his parents of using him as a prop.

So we are really just behaving in the same way we do when a little kid puts on make-up or wears Dad's too-big clothes because he wants to go to work too. We think it adorable, because it is a child mimicking adult behavior. In this case, it's writing letters about politics instead of playing house.


p.s. For the record, I wrote like that when I was 12. At age 5 I checked out War and Peace from the library, and my Mom saw it and said "WHAT IS THIS MONSTER WE HAVE CREATED!"
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Re: Election 2012

Postby econ21 » Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:02 pm

theckhd wrote:I'm not saying that a 12-year-old isn't capable of writing that. I'm saying that most 12-year-olds couldn't, which makes it unlikely that this one did.


That's a non sequitur. I agree most 12 year olds couldn't. But most 12 year olds wouldn't write a letter about politics. Of those who would write a letter about politics, the standard of English would be much higher. And of those whose letter was good enough, their parents would send it to a media outlet and the media outlet would publicise it, the standard would be higher still.

If you want to see a political child prodigy, check out the current UK Foreign Minister addressing the Conservative Party conference in 1977:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA0qQZfbDak

Yes, he was aged 16 not 12 but still. My son was five years old when his mum took him a flight to the US. The American passenger in the next seat was amazed when he started telling him why he hoped Al Gore would beat George W. (He's now 16 and just got the highest mark in the country for one of his English pieces of assessed coursework.)
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Re: Election 2012

Postby aureon » Sat Sep 22, 2012 4:35 am

ps: QE3 and stimulus is the difference that happened between UK and US.
UK did some in 2009, and stopped.
US continued. Go see which one is doing better.
It's still anemic keynesian policies, if only the USA Jobs act passed...
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/17/opini ... .html?_r=0
To strenghten the point, inflation did not falter on QE1 or QE2.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby theckhd » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:23 pm

econ21 wrote:
theckhd wrote:I'm not saying that a 12-year-old isn't capable of writing that. I'm saying that most 12-year-olds couldn't, which makes it unlikely that this one did.


That's a non sequitur.

No, it isn't. A non sequitur would imply that I said the child absolutely did not write the letter (i.e. a statement that can be shown true or false). That's not what I said though. I'm making a statement of probability, not of logic.

There is no logical fallacy in the statement:
"Most 12-year-olds cannot write at the level shown in the letter. Therefore, it is statistically unlikely that this letter was written by a 12-year-old."

More to the point (which you seem to have missed), I was justifying my skepticism of the situation. I think it's perfectly reasonable to be skeptical in this situation, at least until we had further evidence that the kid is, in fact, above-average for his age. Especially given the highly political nature of the message.

Or do you believe every TV ad that you see during an election cycle? If it's on TV or in the news media, it has to be true, right?
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