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Author Topic: It's been a full month without any new R&P Discussions  (Read 618 times)
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naednek
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« on: April 24, 2015, 07:51:14 PM »

Crazy... and quiet.
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2015, 09:46:32 PM »

Thanks Obama
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USMC Kato
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2015, 12:49:42 AM »

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Ironrod
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2015, 03:40:01 AM »

There just hasn't been anything to talk about ever since I convinced everyone that I am always right. I'm still available to tell the confused what's true, though.
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hepcat
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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2015, 08:17:44 PM »

Ironrod's right.  Since he proved that he was right, I'm just not able to think of something to talk about.   icon_frown
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2015, 08:49:49 PM »

Quote from: USMC Kato on April 25, 2015, 12:49:42 AM



Specifically: American politics. Tongue
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Lee
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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2015, 08:58:19 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on May 07, 2015, 08:49:49 PM

Specifically: American politics. Tongue

Throw a couple of more squid thingies in and then you have British politics as well. The whole UKIP thing is scary funny.
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hepcat
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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2015, 01:13:25 PM »

Throw in an actual fistfight or a shooting and you have European and Asian politics. 
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« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2015, 02:59:03 PM »

Quote from: hepcat on May 08, 2015, 01:13:25 PM

Throw in an actual fistfight or a shooting and you have European and Asian politics. 

Since when did Europe and Asia become countries? With elections?
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« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2015, 03:12:46 PM »

Europe and Asia are regions that are comprised of countries.  We sometimes talk about groupings instead of individual items that are within that group for the sake of expediency when there are numerous items within that group that are relative to the discussion.  In this instance, it's just easier to lump them all into those two areas than try to name the numerous nations within those regions that have a physically acrimonious political process at times.

Although I should add Africa, the Middle East and South America to the list, to be fair.

Honestly, I'm constantly surprised our political process doesn't dissolve into physical violence as much as some do.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2015, 03:25:36 PM by hepcat » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2015, 03:44:58 PM »

Italy and Ukraine do not represent Europe, in a similar way to how Texas doesn't represent the USA. It can be kind of jarring to be a European and see people (Americans in particular) talk about the continent as if it's a single country. In some ways I wish it was, but it's clearly not. The differences between individual European countries can be anywhere from tiny to immense.

I actually find US politics to be incredibly hostile, even skirting on the edge of civil violence at times, compared to most European countries whose political systems I'm familiar with. The Scandinavian countries, for example, are built around the concept of political cooperation. It's very difficult to gain political power (and even more difficult to hold it) without compromise and cooperation, which forces the parties to find common ground. A single political party rarely holds power alone, but must find allies willing to support them in exchange for getting a few of their most important goals through. Voting for a tiny party that is unlikely to gain more than 5-10% of the total vote is still worthwhile because they can become part of such a coalition and still hold some power that ideally matches the number of votes they have.

The American system was built with similar principles in mind, but focused on two parties. However, over the last decade it has become a dark shadow of what it was supposed to be, and it's kind of depressing to watch it happen. The illustration USMC Kato linked to above shouldn't have been accurate but is, and that sucks. The two parties seem more concerned with proving the other wrong and throwing blame than to actually accomplish anything at all.

I hope I don't come off as trying to pick a fight here. The opportunity to compare the US political systems to others comes up far too rarely around here, and I find it a fascinating topic considering the developments since the 9/11 attacks.
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« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2015, 03:54:43 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on May 08, 2015, 03:44:58 PM

I hope I don't come off as trying to pick a fight here.

You didn't at first.
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« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2015, 04:01:35 PM »

Quote from: hepcat on May 08, 2015, 03:54:43 PM

Quote from: TiLT on May 08, 2015, 03:44:58 PM

I hope I don't come off as trying to pick a fight here.

You didn't at first.

Hep, while his original was kinda snarky, perhaps he doesn't appreciate being represented (in your reference) by national election process that his people have no sway or say in.

I'm Canadian. I have beefs about my political process here, but saying "that's politics in North America" doesn't represent us.

We have a third viable party, and no president.
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« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2015, 04:01:59 PM »

Did I just do that?

I swear, I must have a head-cold. slywink
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hepcat
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« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2015, 04:03:38 PM »

Quote
It can be kind of jarring to be a European and see people (Americans in particular) talk about the continent as if it's a single country.

 icon_wink

Quote from: Purge on May 08, 2015, 04:01:35 PM


Hep, while his original was kinda snarky, perhaps he doesn't appreciate being represented (in your reference) by national election process that his people have no sway or say in.


What makes you believe I was singling out his country in that reference?  I simply pointed out that there are a lot countries with a contentious political process...and some of them turn physical.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2015, 04:10:53 PM by hepcat » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2015, 05:08:23 PM »

You have to understand American politics on at least two levels: federalism and state sovereignty. Intrastate politics are, by and large, more harmonious than interstate (federal) politics, where most of the conflict plays out. In that sense, talking about "American politics" is analogous to talking about "European politics" -- an overarching structure binds them together, but the states are the real powers. Even the two parties are regionally grounded, with the old Confederacy forming the Republican heartland and the Democrats based in urbanized, (post)industrial states. Much of our political history going back to the Civil War, and especially since WW2, has been about the balance of statism and federalism.

So even though the USA is one country and Europe is not, the dynamics behind them are similar. A United States of Europe would be no more unified than the USA is. I'd wager that Massachusetts and Alabama have less in common than France and Germany do.
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TiLT
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« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2015, 06:23:32 PM »

You have a presidential election, with a single person elected who oversees the entire nation. You have two huge political parties that everyone identifies themselves with in some way or another (even if only in a "I don't vote for either" way) and which produces huge, huge fissures between your own people. I must admit I really don't care about your individual state's politics (is "infrastate" really the right word for this? Google doesn't seem to think so) because they don't matter to anyone outside of the US, much like you guys don't care about Norwegian counties and their politics for the same reasons.

Yes, individual counties have individual elections, leadership, police forces, budgets, minor political parties, and even laws. How many of you guys can honestly say you knew this? This is why, when Americans point to their individual states as if they're somehow a unique concept, the rest of us get a little baffled.

Europe is a rag-tag collection of individual countries, not states or counties. While the EU imposes a few overhanging laws and restrictions, not all of Europe is part of that organization. Each individual European country's foreign policies is extremely relevant to other countries, and yes, that includes the USA. Each individual American state's policies means squat to other countries.

You claim the dynamics are similar. I refuse to accept that notion. Europe is not a comparable entity to the USA in political terms (though the EU as an organization has superficial, conceptual likenesses when you squint and turn your head a little, and only when participating in foreign politics as that organization and not individual countries). Can you honestly say that Texas (to pick one of your larger states) compares in any way, shape, or form to the country of Germany politically?

But yes, I do understand that each individual state's politics are important to Americans. That's how it usually is. My county's elections are important to my daily life as well. The balance between country and states (or counties) is an ongoing topic in all parts of the world, one where the scales shift constantly. The real difference between our countries when it comes to this topic is that the USA's internal politics are more visible to the rest of the world due to your massive media exposure, but that doesn't mean we understand it (or even have to).

Hey, you guys complained about a lack of political discussions, so I'm making one.  icon_razz
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« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2015, 09:14:54 PM »

When a table is served for countries to sit at and eat dinner, the USA gets one seat. Europe, as used by Hepcat's original post, takes up 50 of them (with 6 foldup chairs for the partially recognized).

USA is not compromised of multiple sovereign states - even the tribal sovereignty is not recognized outside of the USA.

So while state politics may vary, the image represents the national vote, and using a comparison to indicate it's all the same in Europe would be the same as saying due to Democracy USA voting is the same as the political process in Russia.
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« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2015, 09:31:25 PM »

Quote from: Purge on May 09, 2015, 09:14:54 PM

When a table is served for countries to sit at and eat dinner, the USA gets one seat. Europe, as used by Hepcat's original post, takes up 50 of them (with 6 foldup chairs for the partially recognized).

Succinctly put. And you can be sure those 50 European seats are going to bicker at each other all evening.
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« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2015, 03:19:52 AM »

Quote from: TiLT on May 09, 2015, 06:23:32 PM

(is "infrastate" really the right word for this? Google doesn't seem to think so)

"Intrastate" (with a T) means within a state. "Interstate" is between states. "Infrastate" is a cool word, though. We should find a use for it  icon_biggrin

Quote
You claim the dynamics are similar.

They are similar insofar as the US is a collection of semi-sovereign states, just as Europe is a collection of sovereign nations. "Similar" doesn't mean "the same." Obviously federation is strong here and sketchy there. People once thought that the EU and the Eurozone would lead to a US of E, but the trend toward association sputtered out and nationalism strengthened. If anything the momentum favors devolution now (as illustrated by the Brexit and the Grexit).

Until the Civil War, states were supreme and the US federal government was weak. Strong national government definitively eclipsed state sovereignty only during and after WW2.

Quote
Can you honestly say that Texas (to pick one of your larger states) compares in any way, shape, or form to the country of Germany politically?

Of course not. Maybe Sweden or the Czech Republic. Their foreign policies are effectively subsumed by the EU's heavy hitters. 

US states don't have foreign policy (although they do have foreign trade policies) or independent armies (although we do have some state militias, like the Texas Guard, for intrastate crises). Some of your smaller EU members might as well be states rather than countries, as far as the rest of the world is concerned; when we deal with Europe, we talk to Germany and France, and to an ever-diminishing extent to the UK. Sometimes we might thank Denmark for its opinion.  icon_smile

Quote
The real difference between our countries when it comes to this topic is that the USA's internal politics are more visible to the rest of the world due to your massive media exposure, but that doesn't mean we understand it (or even have to).

The point that I apparently failed to make was about the fractiousness of US politics. You said that you "actually find US politics to be incredibly hostile, even skirting on the edge of civil violence at times, compared to most European countries whose political systems I'm familiar with." That is true at the federal level, and that's the face that we show the world. But for most US citizens state politics are more relevant to our daily lives, and in most states those are more harmonious. That's the level on which I was comparing our states to European countries. Politics is not a blood sport in most states and federal politics only gained primacy fairly recently, historically speaking. 

Quote from: TiLT on May 09, 2015, 06:23:32 PM

Hey, you guys complained about a lack of political discussions, so I'm making one.  icon_razz

I had given up on ever seeing a serious discussion in this forum. Somebody inevitably craps all over it before we get past one page.

I'd like to open up a tangent: The hostile US politics that you observe are an outgrowth of our culture wars and the emerging class war. The struggle between progressives and conservatives, between secular and religious, is what really drives our national political clashes. I don't perceive Europe as having the science deniers, the creationists, the social Darwinists, and similar villains that we have to battle here. Am I wrong?
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« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2015, 06:37:14 PM »

The name of the author escapes me (Charles Dickens?), but he was quoted as saying something akin to 'The difference between England and America is that an English person sees "the wealthy" and says: How do I take that from them?  The American person sees the wealthy and says: How do I become like them?

That definitely isnt the case any longer. The United States' move toward a welfare state, and the consistent bashing of "the 1%", coupled with the loss of patriotism and nationalism has led me away from politics. I think the final nail in the coffin was during a dinner while speaking to my fiancee's family, all of whom are Hispanic. They were voting for Obama simply because "Obama is a minority." None of them had any understanding of the candidate's actual positions.

I did not like Obama's political perspectives from the onset, but I can respect someone voting for Obama if he/she shared a host of his political viewpoints. Instead many people vote without knowing anything about anything. They just check mark one side of the card or the other, and hope for the best.

Americans love complaining about how much they hate Congress and The President, but Thomas Jefferson said it best: “The government you elect is government you deserve.”   

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« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2015, 09:24:18 PM »

Quote from: Dante Rising on May 10, 2015, 06:37:14 PM

Americans love complaining about how much they hate Congress and The President, but Thomas Jefferson said it best: “The government you elect is government you deserve.”   

I don't feel this is true anymore. I feel like our government is controlled by lobbyist and money so it doesn't matter who I vote for, in either party. I don't feel like there is anything we can do as citizens/voters to change this. Am I being overly cynical thinking that?
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« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2015, 09:58:46 PM »

Quote from: Lee on May 10, 2015, 09:24:18 PM

Quote from: Dante Rising on May 10, 2015, 06:37:14 PM

Americans love complaining about how much they hate Congress and The President, but Thomas Jefferson said it best: “The government you elect is government you deserve.”   

I don't feel this is true anymore. I feel like our government is controlled by lobbyist and money so it doesn't matter who I vote for, in either party. I don't feel like there is anything we can do as citizens/voters to change this. Am I being overly cynical thinking that?

Lobbyists definitely have a significant sway in government. Like you, I'm not enthusiastic about either party. I'm a fiscal conservative, and both the Democrats and the Republicans are too attached to their pet programs. I also believe all branches of government should have term limits, IMO. Career politicians are not a good idea. 

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« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2015, 10:33:41 PM »

Quote from: Lee on May 10, 2015, 09:24:18 PM

Quote from: Dante Rising on May 10, 2015, 06:37:14 PM

Americans love complaining about how much they hate Congress and The President, but Thomas Jefferson said it best: “The government you elect is government you deserve.”   

I don't feel this is true anymore. I feel like our government is controlled by lobbyist and money so it doesn't matter who I vote for, in either party. I don't feel like there is anything we can do as citizens/voters to change this. Am I being overly cynical thinking that?

No, you're not. The Republican Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Koch Brothers and the Democratic Party is one election away from being taken over by a different group of billionaires -- their heir apparent, Hillary Clinton, personifies big-money politics-as-usual. Bernie Sanders launches a crowdfunded campaign and he is immediately dismissed because you don't stand a chance unless you drink from that firehose of billionaire money.

We live in an oligarchy with democratic trappings that obfuscate whether the Republic has already ended or is still in the process of dying. It looks irreversible either way. But hey, Rome's greatest days began when their republic died, so who knows? Maybe the American Imperium will rise the same way. 

Elections only determine which faction of oligarchs are in control. Spillovers into ordinary people's lives is purely incidental. But don't take my word for it: Look at this study's conclusion:

Quote
When organized interest groups or economic elites want a particular policy passed, there’s a strongly likelihood their wishes will come true. But when average citizens support something, they have next to no influence.

That’s according to a forthcoming article in Perspectives on Politics by Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin I. Page of Northwestern University. The two looked at a data set of 1,779 policy issues between 1981 and 2002 and matched them up against surveys of public opinion broken down by income as well as support from interest groups.

They estimate that the impact of what an average citizen prefers put up against what the elites and interest groups want is next to nothing, or “a non-significant, near-zero level.” They note that their findings show “ordinary citizens…have little or no independent influence on policy at all.” The affluent, on the other hand, have “a quite substantial, highly significant, independent impact on policy,” they find, “more so than any other set of actors” that they studied. Organized interest groups similarly fare well, with “a large, positive, highly significant impact on public policy.”

(The link is a little out of date because the "forthcoming study" has since been published, but the summary is accurate.)
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« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2015, 03:05:17 AM »

Quote from: Dante Rising on May 10, 2015, 09:58:46 PM

Lobbyists definitely have a significant sway in government. Like you, I'm not enthusiastic about either party. I'm a fiscal conservative, and both the Democrats and the Republicans are too attached to their pet programs. I also believe all branches of government should have term limits, IMO. Career politicians are not a good idea. 

This post encapsulates why American politics is kinda terrible: Identify a problem (lobbyists have too much power), and then propose a "solution" that would actually make that problem worse (term limits).
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