• comment on a post MyDD Book Club, Discussion #1 over 9 years ago

       His approach to the topic was pretty thorough. The description of Republican word association games was the most insightful psrt in my opinion. The domination of the PR battle by republicans has hammered away at our majority. He does make many sweeping generalizations to marginalize the philosophies he doesn't like. Marx, economists, rap, and even Nash equilibrium driven game theory are summarily dismissed.

    However, I generally thought this piece greatly clarified what i had been trying to put into a cohesive perspective for a long time now. I would like to offer an addendum about the effectiveness of the word games, couched in political science hypotheses about the realities of democracy:

        The public is generally uninformed. They follow politics with less zeal than the box scores in the morning paper. They hold incorrect ideas about most of the factual information that influences policy-making. Americans consistently fail to know who their Congressional representatives are, the basic seperation of powers in the constitution, and basic knowledge about foreign affairs. Thus, democracy ought to make consistently bad choices, but in reality they don't. People's mistakes are random, and thus the uniformed voters randomly pick candidates for a wide range of different reasons. Through this mess of randomness, a common wisdom emerges as everyone's small piece of knowledge is added to the whole to create an aggregate opinion. This is where the Republican word association game changes things. People who were previously picking donkeys and elephants for a host of silly reasons, are now picking elephants. They are picking elephants, not on the basis of there policies, but because they feel safe with the elephants. They believe the elephants are trustworthy and the donkeys are not. They haven't interacted with any of the politicians and have no basis for the opinion except for the politicians public statements. The Republican are outdoing us publicly, and they are winning the know-nothing vote. Having a sitting president will make it almost impossible to beat them, but we have to start somewhere. Reclaiming our stolen words is an important first step.  

  • comment on a post Republicans in league with Communists. over 9 years ago
    Heck,
       Americans don't really hate foreigners enough. Let's make everyone hate the Chinese, too. Iraqis obviousy aren't people so why should the Chinese get that privilege anymore? When we ever get in a tense situation with them (Taiwan), it will be much easier to escalate it, if we know they are the anti-christ.

    Can we not find a persuasive way to make an argument to the American people without relying on xenophobia and nativism? I think we should aggressively brand it the birth tax, and blame Republicans for it.

  • comment on a post We Are One Terrorist Attack Away... over 9 years ago
    you were the president, it was 1990. You could do a lot of different stuff in the foreign policy area. In 1991 Iraq starts getting testy and tries to invade Kuwait. I remember after conquering Iraq, it was always fun to turn the Middle East into a bunch of U.S. colonies. You had a dilemna though. After your popularity shot up to 90% following the victory, you had to win another war to keep the people happy. If you stopped, everyone got mad about troops overseas and your popularity went really low. So the only solution was to continually start new wars. It seems oddly predictive in retrospect.
  • comment on a post Educate Me over 9 years ago
    In addition to abortion, I think Bush's support for faith-based iniatives was an important issue for Catholics. I don't see a problem with it at all. As long as there are conditions in the grants against proselytizing, witnessing, and others forms of preaching/converting, I dont see the problem with it. Many charitable programs run by religiously affiliated organizations do not preach to the people they are helping. Many of these programs intend to teach children in their programs "Judeo-Christian values" and leave at that.

    Charities are already adept at observing conditions in grants, because even private sector grants care many restrictions. Conditions against proselytizing would not be difficult to enforce or outside the norm.

  • sorry if that made me sound like a conservative. I generally agree with you. I think conservatives are completely regressive and will further exploit the disadvantaged, if given the chance.

    The flaming is not appreciated and is inappropriate.

    You are however reading way to much into the coalition on the right. The republicans are not nearly as unified as you make them out to be. The CEO's are completely different from the social conservatives voting against their own economic interest. It is a coalition of convenience, not conspiracy. The criticisms of your lines of extrapolation were unanswered in your wordy post. I feel like you are just responding to the fact that i critiqued your view, not the substance of my critique at all. Welcome to America, capitalism  isn't going anywhere, the military isn't going anywhere, and this punk rock leftism isn't going anywhere.

  • comment on a post Looking for Unrepentant Left Series? over 9 years ago
    sorry, i'd actually forgotten about it. I wish things had stayed that.
  • comment on a post Right's 'Pro-Life' stance is a FAKE COVER-UP over 9 years ago

    I dont understand much of your logic really. Its kinda twisted and a bit too much conspiracy theory.

    Who's behind it all? Karl Rove? the Carlyle Group? I think you're reading alot more into the GOP's position. My explanation is that pro-life people vote for pro-life candidates. The GOP takes a pro-life stance to get these votes. They don't really do much on abortion at a national level, so  I dont think they're really trying to influence demographics in the way you imply.

    specifically on the draft....more unwanted children makes it easier for the military to recruit desperate people looking for any way out. Easier miltary recruitment makes a draft less likely. Also...since when is population loss a problem in America. I dont think the right is worried about population loss resulting in a call for more immigrants to fill the places. Depopulation is not a looming threat for America.

  • comment on a post Our actions in Iraq over 9 years ago
    We need a group of veterans/ P.O.W. to start raising awareness. As much as we are outraged by this, our voices are ineffective. The only people that will not be subjected to varying degrees of McCarthyism are people that have been there and undterstand why American observance of the rules of war is a good thing. When we break Geneva, it makes others break Geneva against our troops. It bolsters our opponents arguments that we are a bunch of heartless imperialist bent on their destruction. People listen to former P.O.W.'s and more generally veterans. Why hasn't anyone tried to start a group like this? Does one exist already?
  • comment on a post Iraq deaths and ramifications over 9 years ago
    I was born in 1983, so I was not alive during Vietnam. However, the situation is Iraq is detroriating in the same way Vietnam deteriorated, if my idea of history is correct. This article in the New York Times seems particularly chilling.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/14/international/middleeast/14falluja.html?hp&ex=1100408400&e n=9b2efb7224c39d38&ei=5094&partner=homepage

    I see the turn over of the conflict to Iraqi security forces to be too far off in the distance. We are bulldozing through Iraq as the insurgency simply moves out of the way until we pass. Iraqi police forces are no match for the insurgent forces.  The only one with the will and the skills to stand up to the insurgency seem to be the Kurds. Unless we see ethnic conflict as the solution to Iraq, Kurdish forces are not a solution. We are the only force able to keep an sense of stability in Iraq.

    There is a large difference between this conflict and Vietnam. Vietnam was an ideologically war with little strategic value, but this war is completely strategic. There are two possible reasons we are in Iraq, and it most likely is a mix of the both.

    1. Pre-emptive Strike against a hostile country in order to preempt a security threat in the future...primarily made possible by WMD acquisition.

    2. Oil

    The other reasons are all hogwash, and I'm pretty sure the Bush administration knew it. Links to Al-qaeda, humanitarian dictator removal, and democracy promotion in the Middle East were all justifications of convenience (although i believe their are some idealist democracy promoters in Bush's inner circle).

    What is our next move going to be?

       Aside from ongoing need for petroleum our work in Iraq is done. Saddam has been broken, and if we leave now Iraq will not be able to threaten us for a long long time, as the country descends into civil war. How much is that petroleum worth to us? The way the economy has happily stumbled along during the a stratospheric rise in crude prices makes me think it is not viewed as a primary motive anymore. I think the Bushies are ready to accept higher oil prices in the long-term. Maybe they aren't, in which we will not be leaving Iraq anytime soon.

    I believe we are giving it the ole' college try, and now we will begin to look for a graceful exit. Smashing up a few insurgent strongholds and pushing through some sort of elections may be our ticket out of there.

    So we get out, why is it like Vietnam afterall?

    We are going to leave a country in shambles. The dead in Iraq have been countlessly many times more than what Saddam could have racked up during his entire natural life. Iraq may fall into the hands of democratically elected Islamic fundamentalists, who the proceed to destroy every element of American modernism we hoped to impose. The future of Iraq is horrible right now.

    Politically, if we poll out of Iraq without suffering to many more casualties, it will quickly become a non-issue. The American public is horrible with foreign affairs. If American troops aren't in harms way, it will quickly lose attention in the media. Americans will get back to worrying about terrorism and social security privization, and hopefully ANWR.But hey, who knows...maybe we wont leave..

  • comment on a post Jerome and Chris: Can we have back the old MyDD? over 9 years ago
    The real world presents enough arguing about the issues for me. I want arguments on what's the best METHOD to get like-minded people elected to this country. How do we frame our beliefs, how do we sell our narrative to Americaans, what coalations dp we build, and who do we support to get us there are questions i want to debate. If you want to debate issues there are plenty of forums for that, by forums i dont mean internet bulletin boards, i mean public forums. If we can't ever decide where we stand, how will we ever decide how to get there.

    Let's see where we agree, and let's see how we get there. In my opinion, MyDD is well-served as an orginazational catalyst for activists. That reason is why I am active here. If I want to wax poetic about the pros and cons of regressive versus  progressive tax systems, i could find a place to do that. I do not. I want a place to discuss the best way to create a more progressive tax system, presupposing that such a system is best.

    I'm not a MyDD veteran, or even close, but flame wars over arafat and sharon et al. makes me sick.

  • comment on a post In League With Bill Cosby over 9 years ago
       I dont think Cosby's comments are a good thing. Bill Cosby may be turning himself into the next poster child for white Americans who wish to deny that racism is real. Its pretty easy to deny that racism exists, when you can quote a prominent black men, as the inspiration for your position.

    I'm not black, but I have tutored kids from Cabrini-Green (the most notorius, primarily African-American project in Chicago). My impression is that black parents want their children to succeed, just like white parents. Just as there are negligent black parents, there are just as many negligent white parents.  Given the lack of quality schools in black neighborhoods, I think the achievement gaps comes from institutional racism. Black kids are held to lower standards by white teachers. Primarily black schools have bigger classes, less extra-curriculars, and maintained poorly compared to primarily white schools.

    I think Bill Cosby is trying to combat the victimization within the black community. He is not offering social commentary on American society. For his intended audience his message is helpful and empowering. For white people, its just another excuse for inaction, legitimated in the minds of many whites by the skin color of the speaker.

    If you are white, and you agree with Bill Cosby's call to action for black people, do NOT use it as a reason for inaction. Our role in the current situation of African-Americans is deplorable, and we should proactively encourage any solution  we can find to this institutional injustice in American society.

  • comment on a post 250 million : 1 - HA! over 9 years ago
    i thought the upload worked...but it didnt and i cant seem to get it to work. Here's the data iin raw format. you can copy and paste it into excel, and it will line up nice.

            exit poll data        kerry adv    actual results        kerry adv    tilt
    battlegrounds                               
    PA    MyDD    53    46    7    51    49    2    5
    FL    MyDD    51    49    2    47    52    -5    7
    OH    MyDD    51    49    2    49    51    -2    4
    MI    MyDD    51    47    4    51    48    3    1
    NM    MyDD    50    49    1    49    50    -1    2
    MN    MyDD    54    44    10    51    48    3    7
    WI    MyDD    52    47    5    50    49    1    4
    IA    MyDD    49    49    0    49    50    -1    1
    NV    Slate - Late    49    48    1    48    51    -3    4
    NH    Slate - Late    54    44    10    50    49    1    9
    CO    MyDD    48    51    -3    47    52    -5    2
                                    4.181818182

    non-battlegrounds                                   
    NC    MyDD    48    52    -4    44    56    -12    8   
    MO    MyDD    46    54    -8    46    54    -8    0   
    AR    MyDD    47    53    -6    45    54    -9    3   
    LA    MyDD    43    56    -13    42    57    -15    2   
    AZ    MyDD    45    55    -10    44    55    -11    1   
    NY     Slate - Late    62    32    30    58    40    18    12   
    NJ     Slate - Late    54    44    10    53    46    7    3   
    WV    Slate - Late    45    54    -9    43    56    -13    4   
                                    4.125   

                                    4.157894737    average shift over whole sample

  • comment on a post The exit poll discrepancy: 1 in 250,000,000 Chance over 9 years ago
    This article is pretty convincing...but leaves one stone turned. I have studied econometrics/statistics in school, but there is a possibility that the sample that the exit pollsters took was biased. It is possible that conservatives simply on average do not like stopping for people on the street (This seemed to be the case when i was canvassing for Greenpeace ;). Where is the rest of the exit poll data? What about the non-battle ground states? I'm pretty sure we can all agree that the GOP didn't stuff the ballot boxes in California or New York or for God's sakes Oklahoma. If these states show this pattern, the sample is biased and the case is closed. If they exhibit no shift to Bush, I am pretty much convinced that something fishy is going on. Does anyone have a link to this.
  • comment on a post My Beliefs on the Democrats Southern Problems over 9 years ago
    ARG.................. he gives you a nickel and gives the rich the ranch. I know i'd rather get a nickel than nothing...but wouldn't Gore have done more for you? I grew up in the South, and I dont think the South every thought "affirmative action was effective once, but now it must be reformed."  Can't you guys see past the campaign rhetoric?..however...

    I think this shows how we have turned  our backs on the economic appeals of the party. We should have been putting alot more in his pocket and have been taking it from the wealthy. Rolling back the tax cuts for the wealthy was never a popular proposals. Nobody in Middle America gets excited about taking from the rich (except us in the blogosphere). Getting money back is the important part, and in that respect Kerry did fall short.

  • comment on a post Should We Start a MyDD Book Club? over 9 years ago
    im in. what about reading some of John Rawls' Theory of Justice? Its the next political philosophy to be brought down from the ivory tower of academia. It'd be nice, if us progressives started learning. I could help explain stuff if its confusing.

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