• comment on a post The GOP and Narcissistic Personality Disorder? over 9 years ago
    And no doubt the 101st fighting keyboarders have a high percentage of Narcissists in their ranks.

    But the majority of Republican conservatives are simply wildly misinformed.  For example, the NY Times today had a note that most Americans believe 25% of the Govt budget goes to 3rd world aid when in fact it is less than a quarter of a percent.  If you believe the "facts" are as Rush Limbaugh represents, then you of course think the US action in Iraq is moral, that Welfare is immoral, that universal health insurance will lead to a stalinist dictatorship, etc. etc.

  • comment on a post Right Views Opinion as Treason over 9 years ago
    No, these people do not actually believe that people should not question the president in time of war.

    They believe that people should not question the president that they fully agree with.  They dislike dissenting opinions of any sort.

    They were perfectly happy to piss on Clinton during Kosovo and Somalia.

  • comment on a post Republican indoctrination against dissent over 9 years ago
    If you ask a fan of Fox News what makes a "fair and balanced" news cast you may be surprised by the response.  Oh, he/she may say "present all sides of an issue" or something like that, but if you dig you'll find they believe:

    1. That an American newscast should be relentlessly pro-American.

    2. That pro-American really means pro-Republican.

    3. That viewpoints that are not what a Fox viewer considers "pro-American" should be clearly labeled as such.
  • comment on a post Abolish the Electoral College? over 9 years ago
    The commenters here who say that vote fraud will be a worse problem if the EC were abolished are correct, but there is a solution.

    Currently within each state we have a hodge-podge of voting technologies and counting processes, most of which are poorly designed and rife with opportunities for fraud.  It's extremely hard now to get an accurate count at the state level.  And because many states have extremely partisan election departments, the people have come to accept "electioneering" (the polite word for "vote fraud") as par for the course.  In the worst case, the Presidential election would turn into a competition between the red and blue states for how many ballots they could stuff in the box for their party.

    So, the solution is that the Constitutional amendment to abolish the EC must also establish a national, uniform, voting system that is managed by a non-partisan independent organization.  The Amendment must require that all voting operations and records are open (except of course for the principle of secret ballots) and that each election be auditable and provably correct and accurate.

    Not a snowball's chance in hell of passing, of course.

    Well, actually, there is one chance.  The Dems could say: "We'll agree to not filibuster anything in the coming 2 years if you'll agree to REALLY fix the election system."  That would be a hard thing to spin ... I mean, everybody is in favor of fair voting, right?

  • on a comment on Abolish the Electoral College? over 9 years ago
    boffo: absolutely correct.  The Constitution does not specify how the state shall select the electors.  Initially, they were selected by state legislatures in the same way Senators were.
  • comment on a post Abolish the Electoral College? over 9 years ago
    The EC no longer meets its original intent and should be shelved.

    The founding fathers did not trust democracy (research "Shay's Rebellion" to understand the motivations behind the US Constitution -- nevermind what they tell you in civics class, the Constitution was designed to keep the non-property owners from abusing the power given to them under the Articles of Confederation).

    The House of Representatives was designed to represent the unwashed masses (without it the Constitution would not have been ratified -- it was a close call even so).  The Senate and Presidency were designed to be controlled by elites, to keep the House in check.  [The concept of the judiciary as a "check" on the legislature wasn't a solid concept in Madison's thinking -- it was something that happened by evolution.]  The Senate have much longer terms and were originally elected by state legislatures.  Yes, the notion of 2-Senators-per-state was a concession to the southern & smaller states, but it was also designed as an anti-democratic measure to keep large populations from having too much influence.

    The Electoral College likewise was a buffer between the unwashed masses and elites.  As originally conceived the unwashed masses would elect a few learned leaders as electors, who would then go to the Capitol (no "Washington" in 1787) and caucus in a gentlemanly manner about who the President and VP should be.  Kind of like the Pope's election, but without the burning of ballots.  This actually worked as envisioned the first two elections, since Washington was a leader with broad appeal.

    Madison was intensely concerned about Factions, as those who read the Federalist Papers know, but what he was REALLY concerned about was the majority of non-wealthy having too much influence over the wealthy.  If he'd been thinking of Factions in general, as he pretended, he'd probably have envisioned the inevitable development of coalitions and then parties.  The party system caused the electoral college to break down in 1800, when people simply voted for electors who had pledged to vote for their party's leader.

    Even then, the countries leaders weren't ready to move to direct democracy.  The electoral college was modified, but mostly just to allow for separate voting of President and VP candidates.

    Since 1800 there has been a strong move towards direct democracy.  Elimination of poll taxes, civil voting rights, women's rights, direct election of senators, and lowering of the voting age.  In this context, the electoral college has no use, adds unnecessary cost and complexity, and provides no remaining benefit.

  • comment on a post I finally understand values over issues over 9 years ago
    Some add-on thoughts:

    1) These people's view of good/bad is determined by whose side you are on, not what you do.  During the indoctrination phase there is typically a conversation like this:

    Q: "Now, let's talk about the old testament.  Who are some of the superstars there?  Can you name one?"
    A: "David?"
    Q: "David is a great example.  He did a lot of great things.  But he also did some really bad things, too.  But God forgave him for those, didn't he?"
    A: "Yes."
    Q: "Exactly.  So the lesson is: If you are on the right side and doing good things for God you will be forgiven for your sins."

    This is key.  This is why Fundamentalists aren't being hypocritical when they condemn Clinton's lying but ignore Bush's.  Because, in their worldview, Bush is GOOD and therefore any extraneous sins are forgiven, whereas Clinton is EVIL (no room for in-betweens here) so all his sins are merely symptoms of his underlying evilness.

    It's also why pointing out Bush's myriad of trespasses has no effect on fundamentalists.  Ditto for Bush's servants like Rush, Hannity, O'Reilly, etc.  Which is why they lie with impunity.

    1. fwiffo's comment is correct;  they aren't swing voters and we can't compete for these votes the normal way, by changing positions.  However, they are in effect members of a cult, are being fed a mass of provable lies, and many can be rescued from the cult just as cult members are if they can be isolated from their echo chambers long enough.

    2. dicta is also correct: Perhaps the key to beating the Republicans is bringing the beliefs of their core base(s) out into the open for all to see, and forcing the Republicans to live up to them.
  • comment on a post De-evolution over 9 years ago
    These are the same moron-americans who believe that: WMDs were found in Iraq; Iraq was behind 9/11; abstinence-only sex education works; the death penalty prevents crime; John Kerry faked his injuries in Vietnam; the mainstream media has a liberal bias; universal health care is not affordable; America has the highest standard of living.
  • comment on a post WHERE IS THE VOICE OF OPPOSITION?! over 9 years ago
    Apparently the Democrats' jobs in Washington are very cushy.  No power, but plenty of luxury.

    They act like a bunch of politicians more afraid of losing their cushy positions than of trying to make a difference.

  • on a comment on Abandoning Gun Control over 9 years ago
    The cause of the crime decline is the result of community policing.

    Be careful here.  Lots of opinions out there on the cause of the crime drop.  Death Penalty, police officers, longer sentences, mandatory sentances, 3 strikes, etc.  All opinions, with few facts to back them up.

    Fortunately, one can do detailed studies comparing crime rates in different localities over time and get a pretty good idea of what coorelates to crime rises and drops and what doesn't.

    And those who do studies have consistently found that the biggest predictor is the percentage of the population that is male in the 16-35 age group, and the next biggest is the economy, especially as it relates to that age group.  The last of the boomers hit 18 in 1980, at the height of the recession and, not coincidentally, when the crime rates generally peaked.  And the decline that started in 1990 was predicted in advance based population demographics.

    Interestingly, the number of police had less effect on crime rate, but did have an effect on conviction rates.  The death penalty seems to have a negative coorelation ... probably because states which use the death penalty alot tend to have more violent local cultures.  

  • comment on a post Is Facism Beginning Here in Texas? You decide over 9 years ago
    It's Authoritarianism, not Facism.

    That's not to say that there aren't Facist elements in the U.S.'s current leadership, but this particular example is just plain old authoritarianism.

  • It is too late.
  • on a comment on Our actions in Iraq over 9 years ago
    Google "Tony Blair" and "Rupert Murdoch".
  • on a comment on Our actions in Iraq over 9 years ago
    Not at all.  Enforcement of war crimes law, as with most international law is the province of the powerful and the winners.  

    It's true there is a clear case of massive war crimes and wanton disregard for international war treaties by the U.S.  (This is in stark contrast to the U.S.'s stellar observance of the Geneva Conventions in 1991.)

    The question is whether any country or NGO will choose to take a stand against the US on this.  Doing so will of course result in massive retribution by the US.  But not doing so is in effect condoning the action.  Most of the world was hoping Kerry would win, the US would clean up its act, and the international community could in effect pretend this unfortunate period of history had never happened.  Now they are dealing with the reality of a rogue regime running the worlds only superpower, and what role each country and NGO wants to play in the ensuing struggle.

  • comment on a post Our actions in Iraq over 9 years ago
    In 1991 Iraqi soldiers surrendered readily to the US because they had confidence in being treated well.  

    This behavior was repeated during the first couple months of this war.  Furthermore, most Iraqis, including most of the army, had mixed feelings about the invasion.  Negative feelings were balanced by the sense that the rich Americans would make things better, like they did with the Marschall Plan.

    All that good will, built over 50 years, ruined.  No one trusts the US or its soldiers any more.  US Foreign Policy is now reduced to bribe-and-beat ... collaboration is passe, brute force is in.  Resistance fighters will fight to the death rather than surrender.

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