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@BlueMoose Indeed, just as anyone who believes a typically stupid Internet forum post is typical of Obama's opposition ought to just hang it up. What does "many" mean? In our appalling two-party system and polarized nation, the president's approval ratings average around 50% (according to the Wikipedia article on the subject). Given that I myself am half black (and passing), and usually work with Republicans, and rarely notice racism, I suggest that active racism is not playing a significant role. However, "otherness" does reduce sympathy, so whites are on average less likely to cut Obama slack if he screws up, which he has.
2 weeks, 4 days ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115576/obamacares-web-site-exchange-woes-trace-catos-michael-cannon
@BlueMoose @cvwretired11 Such a primitively racist comment is more likely to be a false flag attack, trying to discredit Obama's opponents as racist and stupid. However, there certainly is a racist element. Funny thing is, if Hillary had won, she would have done pretty much the same thing; as I recall, she tried to do more in 1993.
@BlueMoose Why is that? I am a libertarian, and I think I have generally avoided insults altogether. I suspect that use of insults correlates with traits other than political ideology.
Here I must make my requisite recommendation that everyone read Jonathan Haidt's book The Righteous Mind, or at least watch his TED talk or Colbert Report appearance.
2 weeks, 6 days ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115576/obamacares-web-site-exchange-woes-trace-catos-michael-cannon
@GarrettEnsign The headlines and scale of the ongoing controversy (from campaign issue to legislative debate to Supreme Court decision) belie that, but let's assume that you are correct. The question still remains: why *not* roll it out geographically, with some intermediate steps between MA and the entire USA? Even if the scope, schedule, and transition risks were as low as you suggest, the political risk was known to be high. Maybe I shouldn't complain--this fiasco is going to cost the Democrats big--but, being black myself, I am not interested in seeing the first black president go down in history as mediocre, let alone a failure. While I may gloat politically, as an IT project manager I empathize. The IT, BA, and PM communities will be using this exchange as a case study for years to come.
3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115576/obamacares-web-site-exchange-woes-trace-catos-michael-cannon
@magboy47 @Kapitalizt Kapitalizt's understanding of socialism is certainly no worse than yours of capitalism. Most definitions of socialism include government distribution, not just production; that latter has been largely discredited (except in the US for public schools). In the modern world, we often use socialism as a shortcut to mean social democracy; the popular meaning has changed, as has that of "liberal" in the US (only a pedant still tries to fight that one). Your "pure capitalism" doesn't jibe with the definition that self-describing capitalists would give it, e.g. laissez-faire free market. Healthcare is one of the most regulated sectors of the economy. I can't even get a fish pedicure in the US--have to go to Thailand for it.
@BlueMoose I'm half black myself, originally from California, and heavily involved in the libertarian movement for over a decade (e.g. one of the original organizers of the Free State Project, and a recent delegate to the Libertarian Party National Convention). I find your claims entirely without basis. #3 is also illogical--what the nebulous Tea Party claims is irrelevant; what matters is what libertarians claim. Lots of people say they are libertarian (e.g. Bill Maher) but they are unclear on the concept. Mischaracterizing other political camps is sadly common.
@GarrettEnsign I don't know much about Medicare, let alone to what degree the analogy is appropriate, but anyway the thing about risk is that sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't. If Romneycare was indeed a success, the next reasonable step would have been to expand it from MA to some larger area, but not across the entire USA, unless there was a significant reason why it had to be all or nothing. This holds true for any major change, even those that I support, even those that involve increasing rights (say legalizing marijuana) rather than restricting them, unless the case is overwhelming (say ending slavery).
@BlueMoose I became a libertarian long before I ever heard of Ron Paul--while I like him, he does not define the philosophy. Funny, just an hour ago I was sent the Nazi party's 25-point program to a friend making opposite but equally silly claims (that the Nazis were not racist, go figure). BTW, I live in Berlin, and the many local libertarians understand that libertarianism does not equal corporatism. But believe whatever you want to believe.
@BlueMoose I understand that fascism is hard to define, but is "unfettered corporate power" even in the ballpark? And is that not a slight mischaracterization of libertarianism, whose fundamental principle is non-aggression? "Power" means the ability to unilaterally change people's rights; a libertarian society would certainly fetter power: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wesley_Newcomb_Hohfeld#Hohfeldian_analysis
@magboy47 Yes, anyone who disagrees with you is sick. I'm sick. I need help.
@BlueMoose Strange assertion...the allegedly liberal media cite Cato quite frequently: http://fair.org/extra-online-articles/think-tank-spectrum-revisited/
If libertarian Cato is "extremist right wing", what does that make the conservative think thanks--"super-duper extremist right wing"?
"...a law that was duly passed by one branch of government, signed by a second, and upheld by a third..." Yes, like marijuana prohibition. There are different kinds of laws, requiring different levels of buy-in. The astounding arrogance of ACA was in expanding the small Romneycare pilot not to just the rest of New England, or a bigger state like NY or CA, but imposing it on the world's third-most populous country. That's no way to conduct a rollout. It is reminiscent of the Soviet experiment, and it will likely end up in the same dustbin of history.
@ssupak, Oi, yeah, your other post with the facts was great. This one returns to the tribalism that I am so sick of. I hear similar mischaracterizations from my libertarian comrades. My recommendation to you, as it is to them, is that you read Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind. Google for it, and you'll find his TED talks and appearance on the Colbert Report. Give it a shot--it's certainly more interesting than beating our usual tribal drums. Signing out.
1 month, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115334/marijuana-americas-next-great-political-wedge-issue
@ssupak Ah, I took the term slightly more literally. Conservatives love the "gateway drug" argument. Agree about the racism (being half-black, this is actually my primary concern), but disagree with your focus. The conviction rates could be the result of other factors, e.g. economic specialization based on ethnicity (same as Koreans run dry cleaners and Ethiopians run parking garages, at least in DC) or the urban environments where most blacks are conducting transactions. What is clear, measurable, and indisputable is that half of US murders have both black perps and black victims, mostly young urban males involved in drug gangs. The racism manifests in our ignoring the carnage. In the 1930s, similar gang warfare among whites led to repeal of Prohibition; today we just roll our eyes, sigh, and say what can you do. Google on my name + national+conversation and you'll find my longer opinion column on this topic.
@LifeBdo, The marijuana legalization subject is difficult and contentious enough--do you really want to muddy it by bringing up welfare and the minimum wage? Do you really want to inflame it by suggesting that seattleeng's opinion is based on chain emails? He could respond with a similarly dismissive comment about your obvious lack of economic education, instead of making the argument about the negative impact of minimum wages on employment. In fact, you are arguing his point that legalizing pot would negatively impact taxpayers. "I don't understand conservatives"... Indeed, your post was a classic example of the study that Jonathan Haidt reported about progressives understanding conservatives measurably worse than vice versa (not that conservatives understand progressives well). Google up Haidt's TED talk, and I highly recommend his book The Righteous Mind. It's like the Men Are From Mars guide for political camps. If progressives, conservatives, and libertarians understood where the others are coming from, they might be able to at least communicate.
One comment about your off-topic suggestion: university costs are already mostly government-subsidized, at least in California. Tuitions at the UC and CSU universities are far less than costs. Education is about 1/3 the state+local budgets of many if not most states. On one thing we can all agree: we'd certainly have a lot more money for education if we spent less on incarceration.
@seattleeng, careful with your terminology. Marijuana is habituating, but so are Oreo cookies, according to a recent study. So is my daily cup of coffee. There's no way it is addicting like tobacco, let alone alcohol--the latter is the only drug that can kill an addict quitting cold turkey.
Many things in life are risky--ski long enough and you will lower your IQ by crashing your head into a tree or another skier. Firearms are risky--there are occasion accidents, and people use them to commit crimes. But these negatives do not outweigh the benefits.
I agree about Big Tobacco, but in some places one does see people rolling their own. Someday there will be a backlash against starbuxification.
@seattleeng "Treat marijuana like wine", and it will rarely fall into the hands of teenagers. Rich people also self-medicate: how much are we spending now on prescription tranquilizers and anti-depressants, not to mention alcohol? Last year my wealthy, middle-class uncle died of alcoholism--that doesn't happen from marijuana. I am not FOR leaving poor people to wallow, but I am certainly AGAINST any government role in it. We used to have stronger social institutions, until we nationalized them. I understand your concerns, but they do not justify violating the US Constitution--two violations don't cancel each other out. I would much rather that we live consistently according to our simple principles instead of making a hash of things.
Let's say for the sake of argument that legalizing drugs does increase usage amongst the poor. Would that negative effect be worse than the current black market, leading to a murder rate much higher than our peer nations, costing the US moral authority and justifying calls for gun control?
@seattleeng I agree with you about excessive government welfare, but that is completely irrelevant. If you want to bring up financial issues, we have spent a trillion dollars on the Drug War, with nothing to show for it but the world's highest incarceration rate (vey expensive, both in direct and opportunity costs) and a relatively high murder rate that fuels the gun-grabbers.
We have had great success in reducing tobacco smoking by treating it as a public-health issue. There is no logical reason to treat marijuana any differently from tobacco or alcohol. Unlike them, it is not addictive, and it is certainly less harmful.
@ssupak The Republicans I know are not hippy-punchers, but they are concerned about children and gateway drugs, despite the absurdity of demonizing marijuana while promoting alcohol. As for Obama, I grant that there is an ongoing "only Nixon could go to China" paradox, so it may only be a GOP president who could end the Drug War without appearing "soft on crime". Nonetheless, Obama has been "tougher on crime" than he needed to be, and recent noises about respecting state decisions are too little too late.
@ssupak, I'll certainly agree that the way to sell decriminalization to Republicans is not via "freedom" and "limited government". In that area their brains amazingly tolerant of cognitive dissonance; one must speak to them in terms of their values. Some LEOs are indeed as you describe, but it is often police chiefs who testified against various forms of decrim. I lack the data to say which is more common, but certainly only a tiny minority belong to Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). Like Obama I am half black, and I am not at all happy with his administration's Drug War behavior, e.g. in California. His party controls the Senate; clearly they do not share my priorities.