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 Zeta-Flux 2007-10-11 14:38

New U.S. President

I was wondering what all you folks from countries other than the United States of America think about the current candidates for President here. What is your impression of the best candidate, who do you think would follow in Bush's trail, is this a big deal in your country, etc...?

 Mr. P-1 2007-10-11 22:18

I'm in the UK.

Everyone I know who has expressed a view on the subject thinks Bush is malicious, stupid, and a menace to the world.

As for the candidates, who knows? I'd never heard of any of them before they became (potential) candidates, with the exception of Clinton, and her only in connection with her husband.

I still have only a vague sense of what they're like, and where they stand politically.

To turn this around, would you be able to comment upon the leaders (i.e., potential Prime Ministers) of the major UK parties? Do you know any of their names, other than the current PM? Had you even heard of him before he became PM?

 Uncwilly 2007-10-11 22:41

1 Attachment(s)
:popcorn:

 R.D. Silverman 2007-10-12 17:10

[QUOTE=Uncwilly;116158]:popcorn:[/QUOTE]

Dick Cheney

Before he dicks you.

 ewmayer 2007-10-12 18:51

[QUOTE=R.D. Silverman;116203]Dick Cheney

Before he dicks you.[/QUOTE]

Don Rumsfeld

Before they catch you with your pants down.

 M29 2007-10-17 18:58

[QUOTE=Zeta-Flux;116129].... who do you think would follow in Bush's trail...?[/QUOTE]If you mean Bush's Iraqi trail, then probably every last one of them except Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich.

 tha 2007-10-18 17:48

People from continental Europe are used to vote in multi party elections, rather than choosing between two parties. The two party system is especially efficient in large countries with long (slow, expensive) communication lines. Like the US at the time of founding when it took days to ride a horse to the next town, not the US of today where you can reach the masses instantly at low costs.

So rather than choosing between the candidates let me state what I'd like to see. Of course, we'll and up with a president that has catered to the many sections of society, so no policies will be executed firm and efficient anyway, but let's leave that aside.

1. (foreign policy is important but no country elects is leadership primarily because of foreign policy, so as a foreigner let me not make the mistake by putting it first place.)

A sustainable economy, hence a balanced budget.

2. A sustainable energy policy. Short term: make sure new nuclear fission reactors are build, impose one design on all companies so costs for construction and operating are lowered. Sharply increase taxes on gas for cars. A gallon of gas costs $8,00 in Europe and the economy is running fine here. North-West-Mid Europe has the same standard of living using up 30% less energy. Abandon subsidies on ethanol made from precious crops, food prices have already gone up alarmingly. Long term: heavily invest in fusion energy (Sandia.gov z-ife) 3. Handle the Middle-East decisively, even is Europe lets you down. The trouble of Iran having a nuclear option is a problem. Not because they will use it, but because they will gain a wildcard to increase their many terrorist groups abroad and will destabilize most of the globe. You cannot withdraw from Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere before you will have removed Iranian agents from there permanently. In other words, regime change in Teheran is the only option. Some people may put the blame for the current misery on George Bush. History will blame Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder instead, they really betrayed freedom and democracy. 4. Create a caring society where counties, states and the federal government guaranty good basic education, health care and security even if that costs money and means raising taxes a little. Always provide people the basic needs they need to improve their lives by climbing up the ladder, e.g. start their own little company or get more skilled work. Do not let people be dependent on groups with religious or other agendas. I promise, starting January 1, I will review all candidates and keep a watch on them. So sorry I have no citizenship or right to vote.  jasong 2007-10-18 22:24 [QUOTE=tha;116631]A sustainable economy, hence a balanced budget.[/quote] This is not possible as long as the US uses Federal Reserve Notes in exchange for goods and services. Most people, including Americans, don't realize that the paper stuff they call US money is no such thing. People claim they're concerned about counterfeit American money. Well, it isn't technically possible to make counterfeit American money. We were on a metals standard when the first dollar bill was printed, and we still are, although you'd be hard-pressed to convince a cashier to accept gold, silver, or platinum as payment. The Federal Reserve Bank, which is said to be responsible for printing our "money" is a privately owned, for-profit corporation. A one dollar bill is a promise by the US government to pay one dollar's worth of gold, plus 3.5% interest per year, to the Federal Reserve Bank at some future date. Of course, as profitable as all this is to the people who own the private shares of the Federal Reserve Bank, that day will probably never come. As far as specific proof of the FRB being private, I don't have it. But there are a TON of little tidbits in things like the US Constitution, and even printed on bills, that most definitely indicate that something fishy is going on. [quote]2. A sustainable energy policy. Short term: make sure new nuclear fission reactors are build, impose one design on all companies so costs for construction and operating are lowered. Sharply increase taxes on gas for cars. A gallon of gas costs$8,00 in Europe and the economy is running fine here. North-West-Mid Europe has the same standard of living using up 30% less energy. Abandon subsidies on ethanol made from precious crops, food prices have already gone up alarmingly. Long term: heavily invest in fusion energy (Sandia.gov z-ife)[/quote]
Not sure about short-term policy, I'll just leave that one alone.

In terms of long-term policy, I'm thinking solar panels in undeveloped countries with a lot of sun. Also, if we could get the cost of carbon nanotubes to under $1/gram(maybe closer to $$.10 or .25.gram), we could use the nanotubes as capacitors, and make ultrathin layers of them, progressively charging a layer, then adding a layer, charging that, and so on. I'm not saying that's the best idea, but it's my favorite by far, since it (1) would almost certainly increase the standard of living for people in those countries, and (2) It has the potential to solve the whole CO2 problem(not sure how to make that 2 behave). [quote]3. Handle the Middle-East decisively, even is Europe lets you down. The trouble of Iran having a nuclear option is a problem. Not because they will use it, but because they will gain a wildcard to increase their many terrorist groups abroad and will destabilize most of the globe. You cannot withdraw from Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere before you will have removed Iranian agents from there permanently. In other words, regime change in Teheran is the only option. Some people may put the blame for the current misery on George Bush. History will blame Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder instead, they really betrayed freedom and democracy.[/quote] I realize that this is not a wholesale endorsement of President Bush, but I'm glad to find at least one person outside the US who doesn't seem to be assuming he's a raving lunatic. [quote]4. Create a caring society where counties, states and the federal government guaranty good basic education, health care and security even if that costs money and means raising taxes a little. Always provide people the basic needs they need to improve their lives by climbing up the ladder, e.g. start their own little company or get more skilled work. Do not let people be dependent on groups with religious or other agendas.[/quote] Can we just use the general term 'agenda' here? I doubt there's even one group, of any form, that doesn't suffer from some form of selfish ambition. [quote]I promise, starting January 1, I will review all candidates and keep a watch on them. So sorry I have no citizenship or right to vote.[/QUOTE] Even though I have no plans to vote at the moment, I'm looking forward to your update. :)  philmoore 2007-10-18 23:20 [QUOTE=tha;116631] A sustainable economy, hence a balanced budget. [/QUOTE] Probably not possible give the amount we presently spend on the military. [QUOTE=tha;116631] Not because they (Iran) will use it, but because they will gain a wildcard to increase their many terrorist groups abroad and will destabilize most of the globe. [/QUOTE] I think that there is probably a lot more terrorism being planned in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, both U.S. allies, than in Iran. This idea that Iran is the orchestrator of world terrorism, and that a change of government will magically solve our problems, sounds like a neo-conservative fantasy to me.  tha 2007-10-19 08:33 [QUOTE=philmoore;116657]I think that there is probably a lot more terrorism being planned in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, both U.S. allies, than in Iran. This idea that Iran is the orchestrator of world terrorism, and that a change of government will magically solve our problems, sounds like a neo-conservative fantasy to me.[/QUOTE] You are right, at least not wrong. The problem of a concentration of dictatorships in one part of the world and free, open societies on other continents, interacting more and more as time progresses due to increasingly cheaper and faster modes of transport and communication has build up for several decades. Since Sept 11, 2001 it became clear to a large part of the public that the amount of friction as a result of people striving for freedoms and thereby threatening existing regimes and countermeasures as inciting the masses against open cultures is no longer sustainable. Convergence between the Middle-East and Europe/America is needed and will happen. This can be done in several ways. Cleaning up closed societies by overturning them is one method. We did Afghanistan first (good choice), Iraq second (in retrospect Iran was a better choice), and sure we cannot stop then. However some regimes have proven to be able to change a bit under pressure, e.g. Libya's colonel Khadaffy moved a bit in the right direction under the right amount of pressure. Following Iran we will need to do the Ba'ath regime in Syria, but by then the message will reach Riaad, Islamabad and Cairo. Notice Musharraf goes along with us as far as needed. More need to go along further will move Pakistan along. If there is no need to fight all of them at the same time we can do them one by one. But we cannot allow to take a break or retreat.  garo 2007-10-19 16:21 I think it is rather insulting for you to assume which closed society 'we' can choose to clean up. Who is this 'we' anyway? There is plenty of historical evidence that suggests that when outside forces are involved, there is more dirtying than cleaning up. I mean even you cannot call Iraq anything like a clean-up can you? It's a f***ing disaster with perhaps half a million killed and at least 4 million made refugees. There is no likelihood of it getting anywhere near peaceful for at least the next 2-3 years. Afghanistan is not much better. The Taliban is resurgent and the NATO is busy killing innocent civilians to the point of the Afghan president - who is a stooge after all - telling them that this is intolerable. I think you are living in a fantasy world and I do hope the next US president will not think like you. That is my first and foremost hope.  M29 2007-10-26 23:58 [QUOTE=Mr. P-1;116155]I'm in the UK. Everyone I know who has expressed a view on the subject thinks Bush is malicious, stupid, and a menace to the world.[/QUOTE]That reminds me of a dumbfounded, doe-eyed Pauline Kael saying "But everybody I know voted for McGovern!?" after he lost every single state but Massachusetts and DC to Richard Nixon. I'm in Sweden. People will politely ask about Bush, often referring to some leftist tirade that puzzled them. (For example: Is Bush planning to nuke Iran soon like Seymour Hersh said?). I give them a straight answer and the discussion often progresses to what can Sweden learn from the States about integration because in Europe it is a disaster. I visit friends in Denmark. There is always a large dinner party, and they always plan an ambush, for which I have, so far, always been ready. We are all friends, but the discussions are serious. It is me against them all. Rather, it is me against them all until after dinner. Then individuals come up to me privately. It turns out that a minority of alpha males dominate the debates and browbeat any dissenters.  philmoore 2007-10-27 01:04 [QUOTE=M29;117168]I give them a straight answer.[/QUOTE] I'm just curious what your "straight answer" is, Luke? I don't have much experience with Scandinavians, but my experience with the Dutch is that they are much less intimidated by political discussions than Americans. Americans tend to feel that they have failed if they haven't converted those whom they disagree with to their side, the Dutch seemed much more comfortable with "interesting, I don't see it that way."  Jens K Andersen 2007-10-27 01:13 [QUOTE=M29;117168]That reminds me of a dumbfounded, doe-eyed Pauline Kael saying "But everybody I know voted for McGovern!?" after he lost every single state but Massachusetts and DC to Richard Nixon.[/QUOTE] This alleged quote is discussed at [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_Kael#Nixon_.22quote.22[/url].  M29 2007-10-27 11:30 [QUOTE=Jens K Andersen;117172]This alleged quote is discussed at [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_Kael#Nixon_.22quote.22[/url].[/QUOTE]OK, that reminds me of an alleged quote erroneously attributed to a dumbfounded, doe-eyed Pauline Kael saying "But everybody I know voted for McGovern!?" after he lost every single state but Massachusetts and DC to Richard Nixon. :smile:  M29 2007-10-27 12:00 [QUOTE=philmoore;117171]I'm just curious what your "straight answer" is, Luke?[/QUOTE]My answer was all governments and militaries have thousands of contingency plans and there was probably one to nuke Iran. And perhaps another to nuke Denmark. I also told him that if Bush nuked [U]any country[/U] there'd be massive uprisings in the States the likes of which we've never seen. I'd be one of the first, and my ultra conservative mother would be right behind me. The government would come close to falling. The exception would be if Bush was responding to a nuclear attack, such as the French have said they would do. [QUOTE=philmoore;117171]I don't have much experience with Scandinavians, but my experience with the Dutch is that they are much less intimidated by political discussions than Americans. Americans tend to feel that they have failed if they haven't converted those whom they disagree with to their side, the Dutch seemed much more comfortable with "interesting, I don't see it that way."[/QUOTE]I don't have much experience with the Dutch. Just the Danes and Swedes. I tend to feel that I have failed if I have been unable to explain myself properly. I had a recent conversation with a Dane. He was perfectly at ease with factions of his government scheming to avoid a second public referendum on the EU constitution. He dismissed the issue saying "We have experts to make those decisions for us". "interesting, I don't see it that way." could mean "interesting, I haven't been told that." or "interesting, I haven't been told to believe that." or "I'm bored. would you like some cheese?"  tha 2007-12-29 23:29 [QUOTE]I was wondering what all you folks from countries other than the United States of America think about the current candidates for President here.[/QUOTE] OK, one voice from The Netherlands here. Since continental Europe has equal representation election schemes instead of district schemes it is always a bit difficult for us to make a choice. We are used to have a choice on the ballot ticket between a dozen political parties rather than just two. So for now, let's just focus on both the election within the Democratic party and within the Republican party and leave the choice between them for a later time. In this post I will bring forward my thoughts about the candidates of the Democratic party, limited to Clinton, Obama and Edwards. One issue has been tale telling about the candidates being ready for the office or not: handling Iran. George W. Bush threatened the regime headed by Ali Khamenei publicly and behind the scenes in no uncertain terms with a full scale WWIII. The regime in Teheran countered these threats one on one while maintaining an extensive number of guerrilla wars in the Middle East, Europe and elsewhere. At the same time Bush negotiated with Teheran about a split of power in the Middle East, fully aware of the many asymmetric weaknesses and strengths of democracies and dictatorships. Finally the Iranians promised some sort of reigning in their forces, most notably in Iraq, but also elsewhere. (As a side note: carefully watch the negotiations between Olmert and Abbas, some things have REALLY changed, this is very different from everything we have seem before.) Bush has responded by taking the military option off the table [B]for the moment[/B]. If Iran continues to withdraw forces from countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Belgium, etc. etc., there may be more goodies in store for them. Point is, without the many aircraft carriers that were send there, and without the detailed war preparations, this result would never have been attained. The candidates Edwards, Obama and Clinton were very well informed about both the war preparations and negotiations with Iran. And only one of them took into account the chance that he/she might have to take over power and be the person to use the big stick that the US forces are. The other two gambled the nation on the issue in order to surf the wave of tiredness the Iraq war created among the US population. I can only see Hillary Clinton as commander in chief, and not any of the other two.  garo 2008-01-01 18:02 [QUOTE]Point is, without the many aircraft carriers that were send there, and without the detailed war preparations, this result would never have been attained.[/QUOTE] Can you provide some evidence to support this statement? Thanks.  tha 2008-01-03 17:17 I had some more trouble sorting out the republican candidates than the candidates of the democratic party. I ended up favoring John McCain, simply because of his experience in office.  R.D. Silverman 2008-01-03 18:01 [QUOTE=M29;117186]OK, that reminds me of an alleged quote erroneously attributed to a dumbfounded, doe-eyed Pauline Kael saying "But everybody I know voted for McGovern!?" after he lost every single state but Massachusetts and DC to Richard Nixon. :smile:[/QUOTE] Yep. Don't blame me. I *AM* from Massachusetts. And I did vote for McGovern.  ewmayer 2008-01-03 19:45 I'm rather torn at the moment - I was prepared to support Obama, in no small part because he's the only one of the major candidates who is not a millionaire [url=http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2007/moneymag/0712/gallery.candidates.moneymag/index.html]many times over[/url] and thus conceivably has some credibility when talking about the issues working folks face, but OTOH given what I believe is going to happen to the US economy this year ... I wouldn't wish that on anyone I didn't utterly despise.  Zeta-Flux 2008-01-03 20:22 Wish me well. I'm off to caucus here in Iowa this evening. We'll see how that goes. ewmayer, you present an interesting criterion for picking a president. I've never heard that one before. Do you really feel that not being a millionaire makes one a better candidate? My feeling is that they'd be more prone to corruption (not having previously dealt with money issues--similar to how lottery winners react to their new-found wealth) and/or be inexperienced at dealing with "growing the economy". At least with the millionaires one can look at their past record in terms of money matters. I went to listen to Mike Huckabee and a large part of his presentation was painting himself as someone coming from a humble background...the first male in his family to graduate from high school, etc... This too didn't much appeal to me, but maybe that's because my dad went to college and yet (in spite of this?) still taught us how to live right. *shrug*  Spherical Cow 2008-01-03 21:52 [QUOTE=R.D. Silverman;122088]Yep. Don't blame me. I *AM* from Massachusetts. And I did vote for McGovern.[/QUOTE] I guess I'm the other one that voted for McGovern. And some years later, undeterred, voted for John Anderson. This year, though, looks to be particularly confusing... Norm  tha 2008-01-03 21:57 One of the universities of Amsterdam developed a "compass" that can help voters pick a candidate of their choice based on a number of propositions. The compass is in both Dutch and English. It was developed originally for European continental elections such as the Dutch elections. You than have the choice between candidates from all over the spectrum and the most prominent parties tend to fight over the political center. In two party systems you tend to get two opposing forces at a further distance from the center. The voters compass can be found at [URL="http://www.dag.nl/Nieuws/kieskompas.htm"]voters compass for the 2009 US elections[/URL] It can never replace long time study and personal analysis by educated voters. It may be helpful to someone who has little time and knowledge and wants to cast his vote in a more meaningful way. However, we experienced a lot of people casting their vote for populist parties instead of casting their vote in a trivial way on one of more established parties. These tests therefore can be really very influential in unexpected ways.  ewmayer 2008-01-03 22:08 [QUOTE=Zeta-Flux;122097]Wish me well. I'm off to caucus here in Iowa this evening. We'll see how that goes. ewmayer, you present an interesting criterion for picking a president. I've never heard that one before. Do you really feel that not being a millionaire makes one a better candidate?[/QUOTE] In general, not necessarily - much more important is how they got to where they are. However, so many of the multi-mega-richies in this year's crop got their dough from family connections, marriage, engaging in lucrative business practices I despise [e.g. Edwards was a tort lawyer, a.k.a. "ambulance chaser"] and so forth that Obama - who is by no means poor - strikes me as the only candidate satisfying the following three criteria: - Self-made, got to where he is by way of talent and drive; - Reasonably well off enough to demonstrate good financial habits; - Not filthy rich by way of connections, marriage, or despicable business dealings. But I admit that I formulated the 3-points checklist in post hoc fashion - my original motivation was as much visceral "Sick of hearing sleazy moneybags like Edwards talking about the problems of 'the poor' while making millions from tort lawsuits and subprime-mortgage-invested hedge funds" as anything else. [rant] [In Edwards' case, it's especially annoying because not only is he slime, by way of his investments in Fortress Group hedge funds which made money by peddling subprime loans to - get this - Hurricane Katrina victims, when he got busted for it, he of course made a big show of divesting, as it happens, just ahead of the start of the subprime-related hedge-fund implosion which would have deservedly cost him some of his millions in ill-gotten gains. In other words, not only is he slime, he actually is the lucky beneficiary of getting busted for his sliminess. So much for karmic justice.] [/rant]  Zeta-Flux 2008-01-03 23:00 [QUOTE]- Self-made, got to where he is by way of talent and drive; - Reasonably well off enough to demonstrate good financial habits; - Not filthy rich by way of connections, marriage, or despicable business dealings.[/QUOTE] Those are good restrictions, except I wouldn't rule out riches due to family, if the candidate has used them wisely and clearly didn't marry for money. (We don't get to pick our parents, after all.) By the way, you seem to be restricting yourself to the Democratic nominees. Is this because you are a democrat or because you don't believe any republicans meet all of these criteria?  ewmayer 2008-01-03 23:32 [QUOTE=Zeta-Flux;122115]Those are good restrictions, except I wouldn't rule out riches due to family, if the candidate has used them wisely and clearly didn't marry for money. (We don't get to pick our parents, after all.)[/quote] True, but whether one uses the family money and ties to get ahead or "goes it alone" is a choice one can make. [Well, maybe not in some families. ;)] [quote]By the way, you seem to be restricting yourself to the Democratic nominees. Is this because you are a democrat or because you don't believe any republicans meet all of these criteria?[/QUOTE] The latter. I used to like McCain but he sold his soul to the Christian Right and the Republican money machine. Giuliani seems to have actually earned most of his money, but that whole "I was there on 9/11 [well, duh!], facing down the evil terrorists and personally rebuilding my city" routine has gotten sufficiently old to where it turns my stomach. Got anything useful to say about the 364 other days of the year, Rudy? Mitt Romney is a double-talking, religious-government-is-the-American-way-blathering moron. [Ex-candidate Mike Dukakis came right out and called him a "fraud" on c-span recently, and I respect Dukakis' opinions]. I could go on, but what's the point... On the Demo side, only Shrillary and Barack "My Middle name is Hussein but I'm not related to Saddam - really!" seem viable and qualified, but the whole Clintonian power axis and money machine, and Hillary's using Bill and a strategic residence move to get a NY Senate seat puts me off. She may be well-qualified, but if she weren't married to Bill no one would have ever heard of her.  Zeta-Flux 2008-01-04 00:08 One thing Mitt Romney is not, and that is a moron. Also, I'd say he (at the very least) meets your qualifications regarding money. He didn't marry his wife for money; his father's wealth isn't what ultimately led to his personal wealth. His success at the Olympics wasn't an accident, or his success at Bain, etc... Having followed the race from Iowa has been interesting. Everyone claims Romney is a "double-talker" and "flip-flopper". I don't want to argue whether this is accurate or not (I'll leave that for later), but what I've found interesting is how the media deals with him. These labels, along with "dishonest" and "attacking" seem to be media driven, for the most part. For example, Mitt clearly admits he changed his position (once) on abortion. And he has clearly made a few gaffes (such as with regards to being a hunter, and not being clear about seeing *the affects of* his father marching with MLK rather than the actual circumstance). But when compared with the other candidates these are ridiculously small issues. Is anyone really worried that Romney will not live up to his campaign promises? Can the same be made of Guiliani or Thompson? If we compare the issues that McCain has flip-flopped on or made gaffes with, how does Romney look. Did you see the republican CNN utube debate? That was when it became clear to me that the MSM was out to get Romney. (The confederate flag? All the words in the bible?) By the way, I respect Obama. I might be tempted to vote for him depending on how the nominations go. Hillary...my friend went to listen to her (and he was open to her) and came away not willing to vote for her. She seems to me too much of the "spend all the money on government programs" kind of person. Anyways, one hour til caucus time. ----- P.S. When I listened to Romney's talk about religion in America, it struck me (and my wife) as odd that he left out atheists. I think this was a mistake on his part. Some have interpreted this as Romney specifically calling atheists non-moral, or not for freedom. (I'm sure you can google, and find specific sentences seeming to say this.) Romney later talked about this issue; saying he was using the words of the founding fathers, in terms of the body of Americans, and that it is obvious that atheists and/or agnostics can be moral people, and he includes them in the American body. His point, which should have been more clear, (and is just the restatement of what some of the founding fathers taught) is that America needs religion (loosely defined) for the body of its people, or they will be (as a body) immoral. I think this is a defensible position, although some will disagree. However, I don't think anyone need be scared that Romney believes that *discussion* of religion belongs on the stage, but not advocacy of any doctrine (or persecution of those who don't believe in any God). Mormons are one of the few religions that doesn't have any sort of counter-ministry.  ewmayer 2008-01-04 00:36 [QUOTE=Zeta-Flux;122121]One thing Mitt Romney is not, and that is a moron.[/QUOTE] I should have been clearer: in re Romney I used the term as a general pejorative/expression-of-dislike, not in the usual "low intelligence" sense. [QUOTE]However, I don't think anyone need be scared that Romney believes that *discussion* of religion belongs on the stage, but not advocacy of any doctrine (or persecution of those who don't believe in any God). Mormons are one of the few religions that doesn't have any sort of counter-ministry.[/QUOTE] How about persecution of non-whites? After all, until not terribly long ago Mormonism was an officially racist religion. This was still so when Romney reached adulthood - strangely I didn't hear him mention that little bit of sorry history in his speech about "religion as a basis for morality." And I don't think his non-mention of atheists was an accident - I believe that [like most religious folks, apparently] he believes one cannot be a moral person without faith [and preferably "the right" faith], hence one cannot be a good person without same. That is not at *all* reflective of the Founding Fathers' views, at least those of the Jeffersonian freethinking mold. I think we've had far too much of "religiously inspired government" in the past 7 years, and the results have been neither moral nor good, quite the opposite in fact. Hey, what are Romney's views on Evolution?  Zeta-Flux 2008-01-04 02:22 ewmayer, Romney believes in evolution. I think the only *semi*-credible candidate who doesn't is Mike Huckabee (who I'd never vote for). Do you believe that the Mormon religion persecuted non-whites? They restricted the priesthood from those with African descent until 1978 (so about 30 years ago). (They still continue to restrict the priesthood to male members.) However, unlike many churches, they have always had mixed congregations. They never segregated. Mormons were one of the few groups to actually treat Indians as human-beings when they came west. The restriction on priesthood was never based on any sort of ideology concerning inferiority; but rather was viewed as a restriction given for unknown reasons, and people in the church looked forward to (and prayed for) the day when it would be removed. Mormons have always viewed all mankind as literally children of God, born pure into this world. Regarding Romney's personal stances in this regard, again this is a non-issue. He rejoiced when the ban was removed, and outside of the church he (in the footsteps of his father) worked for civil rights. Does anyone really think Romney will be racist in his policies? Small disclaimer: I am Mormon, so am both biased in some regards and in a position to clarify misconceptions in other regards. I have seen racism only very occassionally in my church, but on the whole my experience has been very positive in this regard. I was born in 1977, so only remember things after the ban was removed. I served a 2-year mission in Alabama and Mississippi, where I could see the affects of segregation and racism first-hand. Our church was one of the few which was actually integrated [except some of the big churches in big cities, some pentacostal churches, etc...--I went to a black church once, pretty fun, but definitely felt out of place until they came up afterwards and said thanks for coming]. Every member I know was glad to see the ban removed, and many of those old enough had been praying for it to end. One of our books of scripture, the Book of Mormon, pretty much outlines how NOT to judge a people on their color. By the way, I too don't think it an accident that Romney left atheists out of his speech. It was definitely a mistake (in an otherwise excellent speech). He later clarified that *of course* atheists can be moral. I'll take him at his word on this, but you can continue to read it the other way if you wish. But I would invite you to carefully listen to it again, and look to see if he is attacking atheism or secularism. Best, Zeta-Flux P.S. Went to the caucus. Standing room only. Boring speeches. Voted and left. P.P.S. "Shrillary"! Love it! P.P.P.S. If we are going to attack Romney, let's make it be on something that might actually affect his presidency for the negative; like his comment about doubling Gitmo.  jinydu 2008-01-04 03:43 [QUOTE=Zeta-Flux;122128]and look to see if he is attacking atheism or secularism. [/QUOTE] How would you define the difference between the two? P.S. I can see (partial) results here: [url]http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21229206[/url]. Strange how the number of Republican votes is well over an order of magnitude larger than the number of Democratic votes.  Zeta-Flux 2008-01-04 05:08 jinydu, As I understand it: Atheism is the belief that there is no God (or probably isn't one, or undecided). Secularism (in this context) is the view that all religious talk/practice should be taken out of the political sphere. No "In God we trust" on coins, no commandments in courtrooms, etc... I'm pleased that Obama did well. Probably my favorite democrat candidate. I'm also happy to see that Romney, Thompson and McCain did well. Huckabee is the sad part of the evening.  jinydu 2008-01-04 06:32 The way I learned it, atheism is believing there are no gods and agnosticism is being unsure about that question. Of course, by logic, it doesn't matter what definition you use, as long as your definition is clear, precise and you use it consistently, just as the properties of any function do not depend on whether you call the variable x or y. I'm also quite sad that Huckabee won; although based on the recent news it was not unexpected. As for the rest of the results, I'm not so sure what to think... I'd rather not say much more than that on a public forum. I'm still perplexed with the results from that link I gave. Could it be that less than 3000 Democrats and more than 100,000 Republicans voted?  tha 2008-01-04 12:47 [QUOTE=jinydu;122134]The way I learned it, atheism is believing there are no gods and agnosticism is being unsure about that question.[/QUOTE] Pretty good, although atheists do not [U]believe[/U], even not in the nonexistence of a god. Atheist simply see no reason to consider a believe in one or more gods, elves, witches or unicorns IRL. Not believing in a god is already considered tilting the playing field towards the believers (in a god). Atheism is a pre-WWII era term. Atheism came into existence as a protest movement against the (abuse of) power of the (state)church(es) over people in all kinds of civil affairs. In the post WWII era they renamed to humanists, making more clear that if god is not responsible for us, we are ourselves. Agnostic people indeed are unsure or they don't care. As a side note: in this forum we all share a believe in mathematical axiomas, right? [QUOTE=jinydu;122134]I'm still perplexed with the results from that link I gave. Could it be that less than 3000 Democrats and more than 100,000 Republicans voted?[/QUOTE] Different metrics, for Democrats it is delegates elected, for Republicans it is votes casted.  R.D. Silverman 2008-01-04 13:05 [QUOTE=Spherical Cow;122108]I guess I'm the other one that voted for McGovern. And some years later, undeterred, voted for John Anderson. This year, though, looks to be particularly confusing... Norm[/QUOTE] I still have the "Don't Blame Me, I'm from Massachusetts" bumper sticker!  jasong 2008-01-05 07:34 Why do you guys hate Huckabee so much?  rogue 2008-01-05 13:45 [QUOTE=jasong;122209]Why do you guys hate Huckabee so much?[/QUOTE] A few conservative pundits I know compare him to a Republican Michael Dukakis (re. Willie Horton) or a Republican Bill Clinton (from Arkansas), both of whom conservatives hate, but then again, are there any Democrats that conservatives don't hate? I think that the specific thing they don't like is that there is no substance in his speeches. Nobody knows what he really stands for, i.e. a lot of polish (also like BC), little substance.  M29 2008-01-05 14:51 [QUOTE=ewmayer;122118]She may be well-qualified, but if she weren't married to Bill no one would have ever heard of her.[/QUOTE]She's ambitious. Maybe if she wasn't married to Bill no one would have ever heard of him?  Zeta-Flux 2008-01-05 18:00 [QUOTE=jasong;122209]Why do you guys hate Huckabee so much?[/QUOTE] I don't hate Huckabee. I just won't vote for him. If you meant to ask why I won't vote for him, here are a few reasons: 1. He raised taxes significantly more than lowering them. 2. He was cited for multiple infractions for taking gifts, was fined for such, and has been accused of using his political power inappropriately (by *multiple* individuals who have stepped forward). 3. He granted over 1000 pardons in his 10 years as governor. 4. He is for the fair tax. 5. When I went to listen to him in person: 5a. He ran from a populist ideology. 5b. He used the name of Jesus Christ to try and garner political votes and power. [I'm not opposed to people expressing their belief or non-belief. I am opposed to someone using said belief or non-belief to try and gather votes.] 5c. He attacked other candidates characters and twisted the truth on their positions. 5d. The few political positions he did bring up were all things he didn't expect to do anything about. (e.g. He said that congress wouldn't go anywhere with the fair tax. He said that we probably wouldn't get anywhere with a constitutional amendment to ban all abortions. [Besides, most people don't want to ban ALL of them. Most people, including me, think there are some circumstances where it is justified.] etc...) So, to me it was a lot of empty rhetoric. 5e. When people signed in, they could sign in as "pastors for Huckabee." That, to me, IS a breach of separation of church and state (especially given the tax-free status of the churches). 6. He habitually says things that are untrue and/or twists. I understand that politicians talk all day, and make mistakes. I understand that sometimes they simply are wrong. But Huckabee does so repeatedly, and in all sorts of areas. Case in point: His negative attack ad [which he *didn't air* and yet did air] claims Romney oversaw no executions as governor (and by implication is soft on such issues). He fails to tell listeners that Mass. has no death penalty and Romney fought for one. Another case in point: His claim that the courts forced him to raise taxes was simply false. I hope that answered your question.  S485122 2008-01-05 18:41 [QUOTE=jasong;122209]Why do you guys hate Huckabee so much?[/QUOTE]I could add to the reasons Zeta-Flux gave, that his positions on healthcare are going to be detrimental to handicaped people, he totally disagrees with any control on mortgage lenders, he sees any "illegal" immigrant as a threat to national security, he sees not much of a threat to civil liberties in the Patriot act... We will see how the opinion of the Republican candidates will evolve as the sub-prime crisis rolls on. Jacob  jinydu 2008-01-05 19:46 [QUOTE=jasong;122209]Why do you guys hate Huckabee so much?[/QUOTE] ... and don't forget his rejection of evolution.  Prime95 2008-01-05 22:16 [QUOTE=Zeta-Flux;122252]4. He is for the fair tax.[/QUOTE] And what's wrong with the fair tax?  Zeta-Flux 2008-01-05 22:58 I'm a free market sort of person. Taxes are government's way of making money to pay for things politicians think we need. I'm in favor of lowering taxes, and instead having fees associated to programs. For example, I think we all agree that we don't want to go to the store to buy a ready-to-cook pizza and have a high (or even low!) probability that there is rat feces in it. But we know that producers often cut corners. To prevent this, government has set up all sorts of programs to be watch-dogs over producers of food, and monetarily penalize them if they don't comply. The funding for the watch-dog organizations come from taxes. I would prefer that these costs be embedded in the products themselves. So far, it might sound like I'm for the fair tax. But one has to keep in mind that there are all sorts of government funded programs, not at all related to food products. There is toy safety. There is road upkeep. There is the small matter of paying our politicians' wages. etc... With the fair tax, all of the goods we buy carry the burden of all sorts of fees that we may or may not support/endorse. The current system is broken on this front, but in my opinion the fair tax would make it worse. But besides my personal feelings on the matter of taxes vs. fees, I think the fair tax is too large of a step. Instituting it in gradual increments rather than one large demolition of the IRS would be better (in my opinion).  tha 2008-01-06 16:11 Will you Americans please stop wining about paying taxes. In Europe we pay a lot, a lot more taxes, like 50% income tax etc. Gas at the fuel station costs 8 per gallon over here, all because of higher taxes. (Actually it is euro 1,50 per liter) Do you here us complaining? No! If the government (the guys YOU elected) spend the money wisely, for causes the people endorse, what does it matter how much taxes you have to pay? Else you would have to pay for it yourself anyway. If you look at the total amount of taxes levied upon the people in the US as a percentage of the national income over the long term you will see that it is already pretty stable. If you correct it for increasing and decreasing national debt, that percentage becomes even more constant. Make a last correction for war expenses which heavily depend on events outside the control of the nation and you have a graph that looks like a flat horizon. Any politician who is campaigning on lowering taxes is catering to the uneducated. The only thing that matters is how efficient that tax money is spend. And of course, how the taxes are levied on the different groups in the society. If the US would lower the income taxes and shift to higher taxes on gas on par with Europe the US economy could have the same output reducing the energy consumption (foreign oil imports) by 30%. I would vote for a candidate daring to bring that forward.  Prime95 2008-01-06 19:55 [QUOTE=tha;122322]Will you Americans please stop wining about paying taxes.[/QUOTE] The Fair Tax is revenue-neutral. This is a debate over how to collect taxes rather than how much tax to collect. The basics of the Fair Tax is to replace all income tax, corporate tax, inheritance tax, Social Security tax, etc. with a national sales tax. To protect the poor, each month everyone receives a check that covers the sales taxes for the basic necessities. The upside is lobbyists and politicians can no longer pass tax breaks for special interests. Businesses make decisions based on economic sense rather than tax sense. The downside is politicians cannot "fine-tune" the economy using tax policy. No home mortgage deductions to spur home ownership. No more tax breaks for impoverished oil companies to spur oil exploration. We'd have to repeal our big gas and carbon tax that fights global warming. Uh, wait a minute, maybe those last two examples weren't very good... The other downside for some is the tax isn't graduated. Yes, the wealthy pay more because they spend more, but some feel they should shoulder even more of the burden. There is also the previously mentioned worries over transitioning from one system to the other.  jinydu 2008-01-06 22:26 [QUOTE=tha;122322]If the government (the guys YOU elected) spend the money wisely, for causes the people endorse, what does it matter how much taxes you have to pay? Else you would have to pay for it yourself anyway.[/QUOTE] (I'm only commenting on these sentences, not the whole post) But what about those cases when an individual does not endorse the causes of the government or the majority? What if 99% of the population believes that something is worth spending money on, but the other 1% disagrees? Wouldn't it be better to have the 99% spend and the 1% not spend, instead of forcing all 100% to spend? Remember, in an election with millions (or even thousands) of voters, the impact of a single vote is almost certainly negligible. Ultimately, the argument's downfall is that it treats the populace as if it were a unified entity. Phrases like "the people want ___" are very misleading. When I say I want something, what I really mean is that there is a certain pattern of electrical and chemical activity going on in my brain. That is not at all the case when the people "want" something. In fact, "the people" doesn't even have a brain; although it is made up of individuals that each individually have brains. I see this mistake made over and over; logically speaking, it is just plain wrong to assume without further scrutiny that characteristics which hold for individuals even make sense for collections of individuals. If one insists on using the same word for individual wants and collective "wants", it would be more correct to call the former want$$_1$$ and the latter want$$_2$$, since they are fundamentally different. Here is an example from math: $$\mathbb{R}$$ (the set of real numbers) has the property that for any $$a,b\in\mathbb{R}$$, either $$a<b$$, $$a=b$$ or $$a>b$$. However, this is the case for $$a,b\in P(\mathbb{R})$$ (the power set of the real numbers) because the relation $$<$$ doesn't even make sense on $$P(\mathbb{R})$$. Of course, one could try to define an order relation on $$P(\mathbb{R})$$. One could even call it $$<$$ (although one must then be careful not to confuse it with the $$<$$ defined on $$\mathbb{R}$$). But even then, there is no guarantee that all the properties of the old $$<$$ can be extended to the new $$<$$. Caveat: I'm not saying I'm completely against the idea of high taxes to support large government programs. I just think that if such a thing is justifiable, that argument won't do it.  jinydu 2008-01-07 01:02 [QUOTE=Prime95;122326] The other downside for some is the tax isn't graduated. Yes, the wealthy pay more because they spend more, but some feel they should shoulder even more of the burden.[/QUOTE] Does that necessarily have to be the case? Why not charge no tax for the first $$x_1$$, $$y_2$$% for the next $$x_2$$, $$y_3$$% for the next $$x_3$$, etc.?  Prime95 2008-01-07 03:19 [QUOTE=jinydu;122345]Does that necessarily have to be the case??[/QUOTE] No. In theory one could modify the Fair Tax in any number of ways. However, once you start modifying it you open the door wide for it to fall apart politically - and it doesn't have a very good chance of ever becoming law to begin with.  garo 2008-01-07 11:38 [QUOTE]But what about those cases when an individual does not endorse the causes of the government or the majority? What if 99% of the population believes that something is worth spending money on, but the other 1% disagrees? Wouldn't it be better to have the 99% spend and the 1% not spend, instead of forcing all 100% to spend? Remember, in an election with millions (or even thousands) of voters, the impact of a single vote is almost certainly negligible.[/QUOTE] The first problem with that argument is that some things can only be done collectively and when done benefit everyone including those who did not want it done in the first place. The second problem is that it allows certain sections - namely the rich who pay most of the taxes - to dictate government spending possibly to the detriment of other poorer sections. You only have to look at the whole property taxes funding schools muddle in the US to see what I mean. That law simply entrenches the privileges of the rich and reduces social mobility. Hence your proposition violates a fundamental principle which is the equality of opportunity.  Brian-E 2008-01-07 15:06 In complete agreement with garo here, and I would go further and say that the things which can only be done collectively should also be done even when only some people would benefit from them - if it is a necessity for those people (not a luxury) in order for them to have a standard of living which meets basic requirements. In this category would fall for example public transport in areas where it cannot run profitably on affordable fares, and medical treatment for people with conditions which are expensive to treat. Public money is for necessities such as these which have nothing to do with "what the public wants". On the other hand, if the government is mis-using public funds on unwise invasions of foreign countries and the like, then a change of leadership is long overdue.  jinydu 2008-01-07 16:21 So your point is that it extremely important for all individuals to have a basic standard of living, so important that it is worth taking resources from some to accomplish this aim. Or in other words, there is a standard by which to evaluate the state of a collection of individuals that is independent of individual wishes. That seems to be self-consistent. I wasn't intending to make a broad-based attack on this whole philosophy. Mainly, I was taking issue with the claim that an individual shouldn't be upset about high taxes because the tax money will be spent on causes the individual endorses. My point is that you cannot expect to accurately predict an individual's wishes based on those of the government, i.e. the argument "You elected them, therefore you agree with them" is inaccurate because the overwhelming majority of individuals have (individually) only an $$\epsilon$$ say in who gets elected. And as for the long paragraph that came after... well, it strictly speaking wasn't necessary but it seemed like as good a time as any to bring it up.  ewmayer 2008-01-07 16:43 [quote=M29]Maybe if she wasn't married to Bill no one would have ever heard of him?[/quote] Nice ... but I doubt you'll get many takers for it. [QUOTE=Zeta-Flux;122252]I don't hate Huckabee. I just won't vote for him. If you meant to ask why I won't vote for him, here are a few reasons:[/QUOTE] At a purely primal-instinct level, you left off "fake smile which doesn't reach his eyes." Watched about 30 seconds - as much as I could stand - of Hucksterbee vs the Massachusetts Moron in NH over the weekend - heh, those two so deserve each other. In a purely cynical [i]Schadenfreudlicher[/i] way I almost hope one of them wins, so he can inherit the economic and political sh*tstorm caused by 8 years of Bush's Divinely Guided [by God, at least the Texas-oil-baron version of such] presidency and Greenspan's Divinely Guided [by Greenspan's God, i.e. Ayn Rand] helm at the Fed. [i][Of course the Maestro was also running the Fed during the Clinton years, but he didn't completely sell out to the notion of unfettered Randian Übercapitalism until he found his True Master. "Feel the power of the Dark Side you will..."].[/i]  ewmayer 2008-01-07 18:04 Rupert Murdoch's efforts to rig the election [url=http://www.seekingalpha.com/article/59228-ron-paul-supporters-claim-hand-in-news-corp-rout]SeekingAlpha.com: Ron Paul Supporters Claim Hand in News Corp 'Rout'[/url] And a couple of nice articles on the history and mechanics of the Fair Tax: [url=http://money.cnn.com/2008/01/05/pf/taxes/fair_tax.moneymag/index.htm?postversion=2008010710]CNN/Money.com: Behind Huckabee's radical 'Fair Tax'[/url] Note that the idea is not in fact due to Huckabee or his economic advisors, as the second article explains: [url=http://time-blog.com/curious_capitalist/2008/01/the_fair_tax_has_its_moment_in.html]Time.com: The Fair Tax has its moment in the sun. Could there be more to come?[/url]  R.D. Silverman 2008-01-07 18:27 [QUOTE=Brian-E;122384]In complete agreement with garo here, and I would go further and say that the things which can only be done collectively should also be done even when only some people would benefit from them - if it is a necessity for those people (not a luxury) in order for them to have a standard of living which meets basic requirements. [/QUOTE] And what do we do with lazy people who are content to live off the public dole? I DO want my taxes to go to people with legitimate needs. There are people who can't work because they have legitimate medical problems. They deserve help. I DON'T want my taxes going to welfare recipients who failed to educate themselves and who continue to fail at getting a job. I don't want my taxes going to unwed teenage mothers who got pregnant so they could "get away from mama", etc. etc. I do not agree that everyone is entitled to a basic standard of living. Some people are simply irresponsible. IMO, they can work or starve.  S485122 2008-01-07 20:08 [QUOTE=garo;122375]... - namely the rich who pay most of the taxes - ...[/QUOTE]This is a misconception. In most european countries there is a gradual income tax system that should have the biggest incomes pay the highest rate of taxes. But that does not work well : it has been calculated in France for instance that a couple of minimum wagers pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes (income, sales and other taxes) than a couple where both are in middle management. Another mitigating factor that is often forgotten, is that the number of people in each income range decreases VERY rapidly with income, this means that the main share of taxes comes from lower to median revenues. Those are the categories to tax if you want some income as a government ! Finally people with higher revenues have many ways to avoid income taxes, wage earners have almost none. Jacob  S485122 2008-01-07 20:33 Fair tax and economic groth I read that according to the people supporting a "fair tax" system it would be a big spur to economic groth. : "What's the point of doing this, anyway? Shifting to a sales tax gives people more incentive to save and invest, which supporters believe would be a big spur to economic growth." Am I very naive in being persuaded that economic groth does not come from saving or investing (in ways to use still less labor to produce more) but from the fact that what is produced is actually bought ? If the whole USA internal market (the lion's share of its whole market) collapses or shrinks because of everyboy saving, I am sure the whole USA economy would suffer a dramatic downfall. Especially so because a lot of the investments would be abroad. On a tangent, in a finite world I fear the consequences of an economical model based on exponential growth ! Jacob  Zeta-Flux 2008-01-08 01:19 ewmayer, By the way, you said: [QUOTE=ewmayer;122122]I should have been clearer: in re Romney I used the term as a general pejorative/expression-of-dislike, not in the usual "low intelligence" sense.[/QUOTE] I've never heard that word used as an expression of dislike without the implication of inferior mental status. Is this a personal expression of yours, or is it new slang (or am I just out of the loop on this usage)?  philmoore 2008-01-08 01:27 [QUOTE=jasong;122209]Why do you guys hate Huckabee so much?[/QUOTE] I would much rather see Huckabee become president than McCain, Giuliani, or Romney. Sure, I disagree with Huckabee's views on a host of issues that appeal to the religious right (abortion access, gay rights, teaching of evolution in schools, etc.) but he would not be able to get this agenda passed without a considerably more conservative Congress than we have at present. Huckabee otherwise seems to have more common sense than the other three candidates I mentioned, who all seem to advocate for some sort of a continuation of Bush's policies.  garo 2008-01-08 12:48 [QUOTE=S485122]- namely the rich who pay most of the taxes -[/QUOTE] I agree that was a gross simplification. Perhaps it should have read "The salaried morons :wink: who don't make enough or aren't smart enough to hire an accountant to come up with all sorts of fancy deductions and other shenanigans." But seriously, you are right in that indirect taxes mean that despite a graduate income tax system a larger proportion of the income of low wage earners goes into taxes. [QUOTE=R.D. Silverman] IMO, they can work or starve.[/QUOTE] Or commit crimes which some of them invariably will, in which case you'll be paying your hard-earned income for police and prisons.  R.D. Silverman 2008-01-08 13:12 [QUOTE=garo;122461]I agree that was a gross simplification. Perhaps it should have read "The salaried morons :wink: who don't make enough or aren't smart enough to hire an accountant to come up with all sorts of fancy deductions and other shenanigans." But seriously, you are right in that indirect taxes mean that despite a graduate income tax system a larger proportion of the income of low wage earners goes into taxes. Or commit crimes which some of them invariably will, in which case you'll be paying your hard-earned income for police and prisons.[/QUOTE] "Millions for defense. Not a cent for tribute"  garo 2008-01-08 14:50 Ah well! Don't get me started on that one....This year's budget alone is 1500-2000 out of the pocket of every US man, woman and child.  Prime95 2008-01-08 16:51 [QUOTE=garo;122466]This year's budget alone is 1500-2000 out of the pocket of every US man, woman and child.[/QUOTE] Nah, we just charge 500 of it to our unborn grandchildren :grin:  ewmayer 2008-01-08 16:54 [QUOTE=Zeta-Flux;122436]I've never heard that word used as an expression of dislike without the implication of inferior mental status. Is this a personal expression of yours, or is it new slang (or am I just out of the loop on this usage)?[/QUOTE] Allow me to give you an example not involving Mr. Romney, so you don't think I'm only picking on him - have a look at my latest post in the neighboring "Subprime Mortgage Meltdown" thread: [url]http://mersenneforum.org/showthread.php?p=122410#post122410[/url] Martin Feldstein: clearly a smart guy, nonetheless a complete moron. In this sense, my usage corresponds roughly to "blinkered or wrong-headed beyond belief."  Zeta-Flux 2008-01-08 17:53 ewmayer, Oh, I didn't mean to give the impression that I thought you were picking on Romney, or that this is the only time you've used the word that way. I was just wondering if it is a usage specific to yourself, or if it is now in common usage.  ewmayer 2008-01-09 17:37 NH Primary: Interesting! Things just got more interesting in the wake of yesterday's New Hampshire primary: Did Hillary crying a few highly televised tears the day before get her a sympathy vote, or were NH voters deliberately going out of their way to deceive the pre-primary pollsters? Edwards in deep doo-doo [a good development IMO] after finishing a distant 3rd. On the Republican side: John "Lazarus" McCain back among the living, Mitt "Iron Hair Gel" Romney spent huge$$$ in NH but failed to gain momentum, the other candidates now on the ropes.

Wonder if we'll even get to see Ron "PayPal" Paul in an upcoming debate, or will Fox News continue to do their level best to keep him from getting any airtime?

 rogue 2008-01-09 21:06

[QUOTE=ewmayer;122525]Things just got more interesting in the wake of yesterday's New Hampshire primary: Did Hillary crying a few highly televised tears the day before get her a sympathy vote, or were NH voters deliberately going out of their way to deceive the pre-primary pollsters? Edwards in deep doo-doo [a good development IMO] after finishing a distant 3rd.

Wonder if we'll even get to see Ron "PayPal" Paul in an upcoming debate, or will Fox News continue to do their level best to keep him from getting any airtime?[/QUOTE]

I haven't looked online, but I wonder what demographics she carried. I suspect women, but I don't know for certain because of what happened in Iowa. I also suspect people in NH are more comfortable with the status quo, which is what Hillary represents to me. She will not represent change in Washington. She is an insider no matter how much she wants to claim to the contrary. I'm afraid that many Democrats vote for her because Republicans hate her more than any other candidate and because they want to "stick it" to the Republicans because of their hatred of Bush. I suspect something similar will happen as primaries go south. In other words, Republicans will vote for the Republican candidate who is most hated by Democrats (Romney or Huckabee).

In the end those of us in the middle are forced once again to vote for the lesser of two evils, or if we're smart, vote third party as I have done in 4 of 6 elections. If more Americans would recognize that there are more choices than the narrow minded ideologies that these two parties represent, our two party system wouldn't last long...

 jinydu 2008-01-10 05:15

That reminds me of an article I read once. It claimed that a two-party system is the virtually inexorable result of a winner-take-all electoral system, even in the absence of corruption and diabolical schemes from politicians. The argument went something like this (ok, I am adding some of my own thoughts):

1) In the beginning, when the electoral system is first established, there are many groups of people with competing interests. There are not enough people with the same interests to form a single group that can overpower the rest.

2) However, not all groups are exactly the same size. Some are (perhaps only slightly) larger than others. Gradually, people in the smaller groups realize that they are in the minority. Frustration builds as the electoral losses mount and the government ignores their wishes. Eventually, people in the smaller groups are torn between conscience (continuing to vote with the group) and pragmatism (searching for a more effective way to influence the elections).

3) People in the smaller groups generally have different interests from the leading parties, but these differences range from moderate to unacceptable. Pragmatists from the smaller groups decide to choose the "lesser of two (several) evils" and vote with larger groups with which they share only moderate differences, in an effort to have their voice heard and prevent the parties they truly abhor from gaining more power. This decreases the size of the small parties, making them even less influential and putting more pressure on the remaining members of the small parties to switch to larger parties.

4) Step 3 becomes a vicious cycle for small parties; eventually, only a few die-hards remain who are idealistic enough to press on in the face of losing virtually all elections. Larger parties realize this potential to gain new voters and, in an effort to gain an advantage over their large rivals, try to recruit voters leaving the smaller parties. As a result, large parties end up taking positions on different issues that are mutually irrelevant (contortions aside, there is little a priori reason why supporting the position of say the Democratic, or Republican, party on one issue should make one more likely to support the party's position on a totally different issue). The process of consolidating power in large parties continues until elections are dominated by two parties.

5) The two-party system perpetuates itself. Concerns about loss of influence dissuade voters from giving too much power to one of the parties, which would lead to a one-party system. This keeps the two parties at roughly equal strength over the long-term. The vast power of both parties (both have the support, even if only grudging, of nearly half the electorate) makes it very difficult for a third party to mount a serious challenge to the status quo. People in both parties are strongly discouraged from leaving to support a third party because the two parties are almost equally matched; leaving could tip the balance of the election in favor of the greater evil (i.e. the other major party). Furthermore, people in large parties may think "That party is so small, even if I give it my support, it has no chance of winning". Some may even think "That party has so little support and is so out of the mainstream; it must be because it takes very bad positions."

Note: This is an attempted description of why two-party systems form, not an evaluation of whether they are a good or bad thing, i.e. I'm talking about "is", not "should be".

 tha 2008-01-10 12:01

[QUOTE=jinydu;122556]That reminds me of an article I read once. It claimed that a two-party system is the virtually inexorable result of a winner-take-all electoral system, even in the absence of corruption and diabolical schemes from politicians. [/QUOTE]

Every population has about 5 to 10% of political extremists, no matter how stable the country is. One of the very nice aspects of the equal representation systems is that these extremists have a large set of political parties that they consider their homes. They end up in parliament where they can be easily and accurately counted and ignored. It doesn't make sense for them to try to influence major parties. In a two party system the only way for them to exert power, which they tend to do more vigorously than moderates, is by trying to hijack one of the bigger parties.

 xilman 2008-01-10 12:21

[QUOTE=tha;122562]Every population has about 5 to 10% of political extremists, no matter how stable the country is. One of the very nice aspects of the equal representation systems is that these extremists have a large set of political parties that they consider their homes. [b]They end up in parliament where they can be easily and accurately counted and ignored. It doesn't make sense for them to try to influence major parties.[/b] [/QUOTE]As in Israel, for instance?

Paul

 S485122 2008-01-10 17:14

[QUOTE=xilman;122563]As in Israel, for instance?

Paul[/QUOTE]If one looks at countries with proportionnal representation Israel is a special case : there are more splinter parties than anywhere else and most important the main parties refuse to compromise by forming a coalition. Other countries do not have that problem : Belgium (disregarding the recent political crisis which has other causes *), the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Austria... But true enough the case of Israel shows that no system is perfect by construction.

Jacob

* The problem in Belgium at the moment is that a nationalistic party has recently splintered, the resulting splinter parties have formed election alliances with different mainstream parties. But they negociated their alliance in a similar way as the splinter parties negociate their support in Israeli coalitions. The different mainstream parties have accepted conditions from the splinter parties they allied with before the elections they cannot compromise on anymore. In other words the mainstream parties are hostage to their preelectoral alliances, just like Israeli coalistions are hostage to the little parties they need to form a majority. I think (hope) that before the next elections the situation will normalise again.

 ewmayer 2008-01-10 19:17

Hillary's Free Pass in NH

[QUOTE=rogue;122539]I haven't looked online, but I wonder what demographics she carried. I suspect women, but I don't know for certain because of what happened in Iowa.[/QUOTE]

You suspect correctly - by way of followup, here's a link to an Op-Ed by Gail Collins in today's NYT:

[url]http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/10/opinion/10collins.html[/url]

Excerpt:
[quote]Everybody is going to have a story about why the gender gap erupted in New Hampshire, why female voters rallied to Hillary’s side after the horrendous week when she lost Iowa, was cornered in the weekend debate, told that she was unlikable on national television, and then teared up when a sympathetic voter asked her how she held up under it all. Do women Obama’s age look at him and see the popular boy who never talked to them in high school? Did they relate to Clinton’s strategy of constantly reminding her audiences that she’s been working for reform for 35 years? Barack’s not going to be able to top that unless he can prove he was an agent of change in elementary school.

My own favorite theory is that this week, Hillary was a stand-in for every woman who’s overdosed on multitasking. They grabbed at the opportunity to have kids/go back to school/start a business/become a lawyer. But there are days when they can’t meet everybody’s needs and the men in their lives — loved ones and otherwise — make them feel like failures or towers of self-involvement. And the deal is that they can either suck it up or look like a baby.

The women whose heart went out to Hillary knew that it wasn’t rational. She asked for this race, and if she was exhausted, the other candidates were, too. (John McCain is 71 and tired and nobody felt sorry for him.) The front-runner always gets ganged up on in debates. If her campaign was in shambles, it was her job to fix it or take the consequences. But for one moment, women knew just how Hillary felt, and they gave her a sympathy vote. It wasn’t a long-term commitment, just a brief strike by the sisters against their overscheduled world.

Or it could just have been a better get-out-the-vote operation. [/quote]

 rogue 2008-01-10 21:51

I keep hearing things of this nature:

[QUOTE=ewmayer;122582]
Did they relate to Clinton’s strategy of constantly reminding her audiences that she’s been working for reform for 35 years?
[/QUOTE]

but I haven't seen any proof. Outside of the health care debacle from Slick Willie's first term in office, what reform has she supported? When I mean reform, I don't mean the liberal vs. conservative notion, but the concept of working across party lines to solve a problem.

 Prime95 2008-01-11 00:40

[QUOTE]she’s been working for reform for 35 years[/QUOTE]

35 years? Give me a break. She was a lawyer in the 70's and 80's - that's working for a paycheck not for reform. She was a president's wife in the 90's - Bill was working for reform - she wasn't. So let's give her due - she's been working for reform for 7 years as a senator.

 tha 2008-01-11 10:02

[QUOTE=xilman;122563]As in Israel, for instance?

Paul[/QUOTE]

As in any continental European country.

 ewmayer 2008-01-14 17:09

Billary caught fibbing about the Iraq War resolution:

[url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/14/us/politics/14checkpoint.html]NY Times: In Defending War Vote, Clintons Contradict Record[/url]

[quote][i]By ERIC LIPTON
Published: January 14, 2008[/i]

WASHINGTON — Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton have repeatedly invoked the name of Senator Chuck Hagel, a longtime critic of the Iraq war, as they defend Mrs. Clinton’s 2002 vote to authorize the war.

In interviews and at a recent campaign event, they have said that Mr. Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, helped draft the resolution, which they said was proof that the measure was more about urging Saddam Hussein to comply with weapons inspections, instead of authorizing combat.

Mrs. Clinton repeated the claim Sunday during an interview on “Meet the Press,” saying “Chuck Hagel, who helped to draft the resolution, said it was not a vote for war.”

“It was a vote to use the threat of force against Saddam Hussein, who never did anything without being made to do so,” Mrs. Clinton said.

But the talking point appears to misconstrue the facts.

In October 2002, Mr. Hagel had in fact been working with Senators Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, and Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, on drafting a resolution that would have authorized the war.

But while those negotiations were under way, to the disappointment of some Congressional Democrats, the Bush administration circumvented their effort and reached a separate agreement with Representative Richard A. Gephardt, Democrat of Missouri, then the House minority leader.

That agreement resulted in a bill, sponsored in the Senate by Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, now an independent, which was slightly less restrictive than the proposal that Mr. Hagel had been helping to develop.

In the original proposal Mr. Hagel had backed, force was authorized only to secure the destruction of Iraq’s unconventional weapons, not to enforce “all relevant” United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq, which was the language in the version that ultimately passed.

It was the White House proposal, not Mr. Hagel’s, that Mrs. Clinton supported, explaining in an Oct. 10, 2002, speech on the Senate floor that it was time to tell Saddam Hussein that “this is your last chance — disarm or be disarmed.”

The repeated references to Mr. Hagel by the Clintons make it clear that they are trying to distance her from the Bush administration’s handling of Iraq, by associating her with a persistent critic of the war.

Bill Clinton has raised the claim at least twice, including in an April 2007 interview on “Larry King Live” and, most recently, at a campaign event in New Hampshire just before the Democratic primary there.

“Chuck Hagel was one of the co-authors of that resolution, the only Republican Senator that always opposed the war, every day, from the get-go,” Mr. Clinton said on Jan. 7. “He authored the resolution to say that Bush could go to war only if they didn’t cooperate with the inspectors.”

A spokesman for Mr. Hagel declined on Sunday to comment about the matter.

In an interview published in GQ magazine in January 2007, Mr. Hagel said that he helped shape the course of the debate — even if it was not his resolution that ultimately passed. He said he helped convince the White House to narrow its request for authorization to go to war just to Iraq. Initially, the administration wanted Congress to approve a broad measure that would not have necessarily specified Iraq as the only target, potentially allowing action elsewhere in the Middle East.

Phil Singer, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, said Sunday that the statements by the senator and Mr. Clinton accurately reflected the role that Mr. Hagel played in the overall negotiations, even if it was not his bill that Congress voted on.

“Senator Hagel not only played a key role in drafting the 2002 authorization,” Mr. Singer said, “but has spoken about those efforts at length.”[/quote]

 tallguy 2008-01-16 14:35

[quote=ewmayer;122525]Things just got more interesting in the wake of yesterday's New Hampshire primary: Did Hillary crying a few highly televised tears the day before get her a sympathy vote, or were NH voters deliberately going out of their way to deceive the pre-primary pollsters?[/quote]I am from NH, and can't speak to whether anyone attempted to deceive anyone else, although I highly doubt it... we're not that organized. :smile:

I will say, however, that it's an interesting experience to have this much attention thrown at us over a protracted period of time -- one year plus, reaching a fever pitch over the final six weeks. I have had literally dozens of candidate minions tromp up to my house to make their pitch.

Another interesting fact that some might not know (particular in other countries), is that NH is unusual in that you don't have to register for either party -- a plurality of registered voters here, including me and my wife, are independents.

Basically, the way it works is that I walk into my polling place and say "I'd like to be a Republican please", and they hand me a Republican ballot. I vote, pass in my ballot, and go to a table they have setup near the exit and say (via a cute little highly informal form), "I've had enough of being a Republican, I've now decided I'd like to be an independent".

So.... the net effect is that [I]which[/I] primary people decide to vote in is highly variable in each election cycle. For my wife & me, we ignore the whole darn circus (to the degree that is possible) and then make our decision the night before...

There are ample resources out there -- the candidates websites with their stated positions, video of all debates on the website of whomever sponsored them, voter guides, etc. -- to make an informed decision. Personally I think this approach makes it much easier to avoid getting overly influenced by the spinach in someone's teeth during debate #2 in July.

Ultimately, for us, the decision is made based on an amalgam of how closely the candidates align with our views, how "electable" they are, and our strategic desire to have certain candidates pushed further along in the process -- even if it isn't someone we would necessarily vote for in November.

In NH, opinion polls mean little. All that matters is who shows up on the day.:cool:[quote=S485122;122411]This is a misconception. In most european countries there is a gradual income tax system that should have the biggest incomes pay the highest rate of taxes. But that does not work well : it has been calculated in France for instance that a couple of minimum wagers pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes (income, sales and other taxes) than a couple where both are in middle management.[/quote]Warren Buffet has a [URL="http://www.blueoregon.com/2007/10/warren-buffett-.html"]standing offer[/URL] to give $1MM to anyone in the Fortune 400 richest people who can demonstrate that their effective tax rate is lower than their secretary's rate.  S485122 2008-01-16 17:18 [QUOTE=tallguy;122945]Warren Buffet has a [URL="http://www.blueoregon.com/2007/10/warren-buffett-.html"]standing offer[/URL] to give$1MM to anyone in the Fortune 400 richest people who can demonstrate that their effective tax rate is [b]lower[/b] than their secretary's rate.[/QUOTE]You mean higher ![quote]And to further prove his point, Buffett has challenged .. he's offered a million dollars to charity to any of the Forbes 400 richest people who can show on average that they pay a higher tax rate than their secretaries pay, but so far, Brian, he's had no takers.[/quote]Jacob

 tallguy 2008-01-16 17:53

[quote=S485122;122959]You mean higher !Jacob[/quote]Right! Duh...

 ewmayer 2008-01-17 17:34

Michigan Result: The Truth Hurts...

...the truth teller:

[url]http://powerplay.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2008/01/16/mccains-toxic-truth/[/url]

But, getting back to the tell-them-what-they-want-to-hear front:

[url=http://money.cnn.com/2008/01/16/commentary/birger_clinton.fortune/index.htm]Fortune.com: Hillary's modest plan (to completely wreck the housing market)[/url]

 ewmayer 2008-01-23 18:08

Bill Clinton: Political Hatchet Man

For once, I find myself actually in agreement with the NYT's Mo Dowd [It's not so much that I usually disagree with the substance of her op-eds - it's that her tone is usually so screechy that I can't read more than a paragraph or so]:

[url]http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/23/opinion/23dowd.html[/url]
[quote]Bill’s transition from elder statesman, leader of his party and bipartisan ambassador to ward heeler and hatchet man has been seamless — and seamy.[/quote]

 ewmayer 2008-01-28 21:15

NY Times Endorses Hillary...

...Not for any particularly good reason, just that she allegedly is "more capable" of tackling complex issues like healthcare. The maxim "damned with faint praise" comes to mind:

[url]http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/25/opinion/25fri1.html[/url]

[quote]Domestically, Mrs. Clinton has tackled complex policy issues, sometimes failing. She has shown a willingness to learn and change. Her current proposals on health insurance reflect a clear shift from her first, famously disastrous foray into the issue. She has learned that powerful interests cannot simply be left out of the meetings. She understands that all Americans must be covered — but must be allowed to choose their coverage, including keeping their current plans. Mr. Obama may also be capable of tackling such issues, but we have not yet seen it. Voters have to judge candidates not just on the promise they hold, but also on the here and now.[/quote]

So her first foray was admittedly a disaster, but the fact that she now talks a better game is a sign of "learn[ing] and change"? How do you know that she didn't simply learn to change her talking points to make her seem more clueful?

Anyway, two days later the NYT gets in effect repudiated on its own Op-Ed page in the most public, high-profile way possible:

[url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/opinion/27kennedy.html]Caroline Kennedy: A President Like My Father[/url]

And two of their own regular Op-Ed columnists remind us of the kind of baggage Hillary carries, namely "I won't be a shadow president - just a shadow husband" Bill:

[url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/26/opinion/26wills.html]Garry Wills: Two Presidents are Worse than One[/url]: [i]Bill Clinton is not the kind to be a potted plant if he re-enters the White House as the first spouse.[/i]

[url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/28/opinion/28kristol.html]William Kristol: Desperate Husband[/url]: [i]Bill Clinton has been playing the race card, and doing so clumsily.[/i]

 jasong 2008-01-30 01:10

[quote]She understands that all Americans must be covered — but must be allowed to choose their coverage, including keeping their current plans.[/quote]
Off-topic: I'm not much into politics, so I may simply be uninformed about what's going on, but why don't politicians ever seem to have the same opinion about Social Security. Given a choice of having to pay into Social Security, or having to choose between Social Security and investing, I'm sure people would choose to invest in droves. Social Security is a piece of garbage that most knowledgeable investors would choose to avoid, if they could. Even if you were still required to put aside the same amount of money as Social Security, and not be able to access it until you were 65, it would still be a better deal by miles.

 Prime95 2008-01-30 01:24

I think I found the flaw in your logic

[QUOTE=jasong;124303]...people...knowledgeable...[/QUOTE]

 S485122 2008-01-30 06:53

[QUOTE=jasong;124303]Given a choice of having to pay into Social Security, or having to choose between Social Security and investing, I'm sure people would choose to invest in droves. Social Security is a piece of garbage that most knowledgeable investors would choose to avoid, if they could. Even if you were still required to put aside the same amount of money as Social Security, and not be able to access it until you were 65, it would still be a better deal by miles.[/QUOTE]One example of social security is the allowance paid to handicapped people. Garbage indeed !

It is just like insurance, why pay for the insurance of your house ? It is so much better to invest the money. (This is heavy sarcasm)

Social security is something different from a pension scheme (be it by capitalisation or by repartition.)

Social security is no more than insurance, one difference with private insurance is that it is mutualised, each pays according to her or his revenues, but benefits equally. Some people indeed do not need social security : they have the means to invest. Most people (over 80 %) could not afford their medical costs without some form of insurance.

Jacob

 garo 2008-01-30 12:12

I agree with Jacob except that we need to do away with the illusion that Social Security is a separate entity. The money that comes in from social security is used for the day-to-day spending of the federal government (there is no lock-box) and payers are promised that at some point in the future they will get something in return. It is not mutualised insurance because any insurance company worth it's salt would be giving a far better return than the U.S. federal government does.

@jasong: I think that by the end of 2008 - certainly by 2009 - those knowledgeable investors will not look so knowledgeable. In the past 25 years the trend in the US has increasingly been to privatise profits and socialize losses. When people lose their retirement savings on the stock market they will invariably ask the government to intervene. And it will, like it did with LTCM. In the end, private investment would prove to be more costly to the taxpayer than social security.

Also note that IRA already provides a means for people to invest their pensions. No point duplicating that with social security. And if there is no social security, as Jacob points out, where will the money to help the disabled come from?

 tallguy 2008-01-30 13:05

[quote=garo;124329]Also note that IRA already provides a means for people to invest their pensions. No point duplicating that with social security. And if there is no social security, as Jacob points out, where will the money to help the disabled come from?[/quote]FYI - IRA is something of an antiquated term here in the USA, as individual retirement funds are now called 401(k)'s (or 403(b)'s for non-profit employers) or Roth IRAs. They are separated because their tax treatment is radically different.

I agree regarding the disability portion, for sure. I was gainfully employed my whole life until I was disabled two years ago. I have lost all of my retirement savings, have enough debt to choke a horse farm, but have thus far been able to stave off bankruptcy and loss of my home due to social security disability benefits.

Without it, I have no idea what would become of me and my family whilst I try to get myself back into condition to work again.

As for the retirement portion, I believe it should be viewed as a social 'safety net' as well. That would entail 'means testing' so that middle class and wealthy retirees would not be receiving benefits while the system (it's not a "lockbox", I know) is headed for bankruptcy.

 garo 2008-01-30 13:30

Hi tallguy,
Thanks for your post. I know that I was simplifying things a lot by using IRA as a catch-all phrase but you get my point, don't you?

Another thing that people forget is that Medicare and social security taxes are disproportionately levied on the poor and lower income groups as any income above a certain limit is excluded from this assessment. Look at Warren Buffett's bet about Fortune 500 CEO's having a lower effective tax rate than their receptionists for an extreme example.

 tallguy 2008-01-30 13:35

[quote=garo;124337]Hi tallguy,
Thanks for your post. I know that I was simplifying things a lot by using IRA as a catch-all phrase but you get my point, don't you?[/quote]Yes, of course. Sometimes I can get a bit persnickety about unimportant details. :rolleyes:

[quote=garo;124337]Another thing that people forget is that Medicare and social security taxes are disproportionately levied on the poor and lower income groups as any income above a certain limit is excluded from this assessment. Look at Warren Buffett's bet about Fortune 500 CEO's having a lower effective tax rate than their receptionists for an extreme example.[/quote]Absolutely, they are regressive taxes on the working poor and middle class. That being said, I've now taken out way more than I ever put in, so I don't complain. :smile:

 garo 2008-01-30 13:43

[QUOTE]Absolutely, they are regressive taxes on the working poor and middle class. That being said, I've now taken out way more than I ever put in, so I don't complain.[/QUOTE]

Yeah but that's the way with insurance isn't it?

 tallguy 2008-01-30 14:55

[quote=garo;124340]Yeah but that's the way with insurance isn't it?[/quote]How so? Wouldn't that make [I]anything[/I] -- other than fine automobiles, seaside real estate, and caviar -- a regressive tax on the poor? How is insurance any different?

 garo 2008-01-30 15:24

Sorry should have been clearer in my post. I meant that with insurance most people don't claim anything - in a specified time period - but those who do claim generally get more back than they put in. My comment referred to the second sentence and not the first.

 ewmayer 2008-01-30 17:40

Edwards a goner ... Giuliani's "just wait 'til Florida" non-strategy similarly dooms him to the deadpool ... McCain's clever "stealthy Lazarus" strategy has his GOP rivals reeling ... Super Tuesday gonna be really interesting, I wonder if there may be a surprise due for HillBillary in California - Hillary thinks she's got the Hispanic, Asian and Women vote locked up, just like she thought things were "close" in South Carolina. [And the pollsters agreed].

Purely subjectively, my issues with Hillary and "the voice" [a la [i]Dune[/i]] have coalesced into this: the thought of having to listen to that shrill, strident, nagging sound near-daily for the next four years fills me with a dread beyond words...take the amorphous [i]Wahwahwah[/i] parody of adult voices from the animated [i]Peanuts[/i] cartoons, mix with a dollop of [i]60 Minutes[/i] Andy Rooney whine [e.g. [i]"Whyyyyyyy do they call it 'taking a leak'? I meaaaaaan, you're not really taaaaaaaking it anywhere..."[/i]], apply to a background sonic canvas of fingernails-on-chalkboard, and that is roughly the effect it has on me.

 tallguy 2008-01-31 03:21

[quote=ewmayer;124355]Purely subjectively, my issues with Hillary and "the voice" [a la [I]Dune[/I]] have coalesced into this: the thought of having to listen to that shrill, strident, nagging sound near-daily for the next four years fills me with a dread beyond words...take the amorphous [I]Wahwahwah[/I] parody of adult voices from the animated [I]Peanuts[/I] cartoons, mix with a dollop of [I]60 Minutes[/I] Andy Rooney whine [e.g. [I]"Whyyyyyyy do they call it 'taking a leak'? I meaaaaaan, you're not really taaaaaaaking it anywhere..."[/I]], apply to a background sonic canvas of fingernails-on-chalkboard, and that is roughly the effect it has on me.[/quote]Priceless... spot on.

 Brian-E 2008-01-31 10:22

Priceless... in the USA you can democratically choose the voice you like best.

 davieddy 2008-01-31 12:21

[quote=Brian-E;124387]Priceless... in the USA you can democratically choose the voice you like best.[/quote]
Personally I got irritated with the sound of GWB even before
he first got "elected". Even Bill Clinton grated after a while.
Mind you, us English can get snobbish about "powers of oratory".
Obama's diction comes across most favourably to my ears.

 tallguy 2008-01-31 15:37

[quote=davieddy;124389]Personally I got irritated with the sound of GWB even before
he first got "elected". Even Bill Clinton grated after a while.
Mind you, us English can get snobbish about "powers of oratory".
Obama's diction comes across most favourably to my ears.[/quote]This is where I am jealous of the Brits... they [I]all[/I] sound fantastic. :smile:

 garo 2008-01-31 16:31

No they don't! While I disagree with the characterization "fantastic" I'd like to point out that it's mainly the upper-class that sounds that way.

Someone once pointed out - tongue in cheek of course - that if you wanted to sound like that all you needed was to stuff marbles in your cheeks and a stiff rod at the other end :missingteeth:

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