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Old 06-09-2016, 12:45 PM
boffking boffking is offline
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Why do politicians waste so much time on stupid non-issues?

I don't want to hear Trump's racism (or Lepage's!) anymore. I don't want to hear about ISIS, bathroom laws, or how many post offices Hillary and Bernie renamed, or any of the other red herrings politicians put out. When are we going to focus on the real issues our country is facing, and stop wasting time with stupid bullshit?
Fixing things like education and infrastructure might not be flashy and exciting, but they are a politician's job.
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Old 06-09-2016, 12:51 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Because substantive issues require thinking, and are not compatible with easy answers. Bullshit issues motivate the base because they appeal to fear, anger and hatred, which don't require thoughtful consideration. People can just go with their gut without feeling stupid.

Last edited by Fear Itself; 06-09-2016 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 06-09-2016, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by boffking View Post
I don't want to hear Trump's racism (or Lepage's!) anymore. I don't want to hear about ISIS, bathroom laws, or how many post offices Hillary and Bernie renamed, or any of the other red herrings politicians put out. When are we going to focus on the real issues our country is facing, and stop wasting time with stupid bullshit?
Fixing things like education and infrastructure might not be flashy and exciting, but they are a politician's job.
There are 2 of those that are "real issues" for every American - Trump's racism and ISIS - and the bathroom laws are important for a significant percentage of the population.

So they may not be the issues you wish them to focus on, but they are, in fact, real issues that need discussing.
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Old 06-09-2016, 12:59 PM
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I would ask why you think some of these are "stupid non-issues", but I doubt you'll be back to the thread to even see this.

But I'll try... Do you believe ISIS is a stupid non-issue?

But more importantly, what's this about Bernie renaming post offices? To what? Does "posta bulegoa" reveal that he's a Basque Separatist? Or did that old Jewish guy want "פּאָסטן אָפיס"?
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Old 06-09-2016, 01:00 PM
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I think Trump and Lepage say racist things on purpose to distract us from the real issues. Lepage doesn't know what he's doing and I don't think Trump does either. The bluster about building a wall, or asking citizens to murder drug dealers is proof of this IMO. Neither of these two thugs has ever come up with a real solution to anything.
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Old 06-09-2016, 01:04 PM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is offline
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Originally Posted by boffking View Post
I don't want to hear Trump's racism (or Lepage's!) anymore. I don't want to hear about ISIS, bathroom laws, or how many post offices Hillary and Bernie renamed, or any of the other red herrings politicians put out. When are we going to focus on the real issues our country is facing, and stop wasting time with stupid bullshit?
Fixing things like education and infrastructure might not be flashy and exciting, but they are a politician's job.
Education & infrastructure are complicated. And they might require money--supplied by taxes.....

Better talk about problems that are more distant (ISIS) or nonexistent (Transsexual Molesters In The Ladies Room).
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Old 06-09-2016, 01:09 PM
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But I'll try... Do you believe ISIS is a stupid non-issue?
Yes. It is not our job to police the world. We have tried and failed too many times in the Middle East, and the only things those wars accomplished was trillions of dollars in debt, and millions of dead people. Now we want to keep it going because a couple journalists were murdered two years ago? As I've mentioned before, cracking down on drunk drivers will save far more lives than a vague "War On Terror".
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Old 06-09-2016, 01:12 PM
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The importance of an issue is not, as people would like to believe, the stature of the issue's relevance to the nation and the world at large. During a campaign, the importance of an issue is directly proportional to the ability to draw voters to the polls.

Thus, British Exit from EU, South East China ocean disputes, carbon pollutant limits are all hugely important for America and the world, but do squat to draw people to the polls. But tell them men are going to attack your women in bathrooms, or your religion will be asked to not lie to people, or you're getting a 1 cent tax on your cigarettes and people howl with anger and rush to the polls. That's why politicians spend more time on bullshit than the real issues.
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Old 06-09-2016, 01:21 PM
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I might urge a different term than "stupid non-issues" to describe some of those mentioned, but I strongly agree that they are nowhere near the top of the list of the most important issues facing our country over anything approaching the long run.

We have significant portion of our population who have no realistic possibility of leading a middle class life - the jobs just aren't there for the uneducated, unintelligent, and/or unskilled. The gulf between the rich and the poor is widening. Cities and states are going bankrupt, and our infrastructure is crumbling. There has to be a better way to provide minimum education, nutrition, and health care to those who need it. Social Security and Medicare need revision. Various macro energy and environmental issues, rather than an isolated pipeline. I could name several more issues that i think are the most important structural issues that I wish my leaders to address.

But as others have mentioned, those issues are complicated. And to propose solutions would risk alienating certain segments of the electorate. You cannot solve difficult problems by pleasing EVERYBODY. You can't explain them in soundbites. And you have to pay for them. The primary focus of most politicians is raising funds to be re-elected. Short-term goals. Why risk alienating voters over longterm proposals?

Meanwhile, the 24-hr news cycle demands apparent conflict and drama, rather than in-depth debate and analysis. And we voters have ever shrinking attention spans.
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Old 06-09-2016, 01:27 PM
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For years Republicans have exploited single-issue voters. Want to pick up some easy votes? Condemn abortion. Want to get a bigger turnout of your base? Put anti-SSM proposals on the ballot. Make people think they'll lose their guns if they vote for a Democrat. All these things are easy, governing is hard. Solving problems requires thinking of a solution, which one party is incapable of doing since their mantra is "no new taxes for anything at any time."
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Old 06-09-2016, 02:08 PM
davida03801 davida03801 is offline
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I think Trump and Lepage say racist things on purpose to distract us from the real issues. Lepage doesn't know what he's doing and I don't think Trump does either. The bluster about building a wall, or asking citizens to murder drug dealers is proof of this IMO. Neither of these two thugs has ever come up with a real solution to anything.
When did Lepage and Trump ask citizens to murder drug dealers? I missed that one.
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Old 06-09-2016, 02:11 PM
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When did Lepage and Trump ask citizens to murder drug dealers? I missed that one.
Lepage did in January.

Last edited by boffking; 06-09-2016 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 06-09-2016, 04:20 PM
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Lepage did in January.
I missed that one, I admit.

Now for Trump ?
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Old 06-09-2016, 04:22 PM
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Trump was the one who blustered about building a wall.
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Old 06-09-2016, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by boffking View Post
I don't want to hear Trump's racism (or Lepage's!) anymore. I don't want to hear about ISIS, bathroom laws, or how many post offices Hillary and Bernie renamed, or any of the other red herrings politicians put out. When are we going to focus on the real issues our country is facing, and stop wasting time with stupid bullshit?
Fixing things like education and infrastructure might not be flashy and exciting, but they are a politician's job.
Bread...and circuses...

The thing is, there is the stuff they talk about when they are campaigning, which is basically sound bites and red meat for their bases, designed to touch on things their various base wants to hear and stuff that they can be seen to be strong on. Then there is all the day to day stuff, like education and infrastructure, both of which politicians ACTUALLY do stuff about already in the give and take of actual, real world politics. But that stuff is boring and convoluted in how it's actually able to be addressed, and it's not something they are going to campaign on in a realistic way.
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Old 06-09-2016, 04:58 PM
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Education and infrastructure spending are more state and local issues than national ones. Plus, if there were issues with either that could be fixed with more spending, they would be fixed already.

Obama was elected in part on the idea that there were a whole bunch of shovel-ready infrastructure projects that would increase employment and pay for themselves. There aren't, and it isn't as simple as that anyway.

We are going to spend a lot on education and infrastructure anyway. The teachers' unions and the trade group for civil engineers whose name I misremember want us to spend a lot more. But they say that no matter what.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 06-10-2016, 01:14 AM
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Education and infrastructure spending are more state and local issues than national ones. Plus, if there were issues with either that could be fixed with more spending, they would be fixed already.

Obama was elected in part on the idea that there were a whole bunch of shovel-ready infrastructure projects that would increase employment and pay for themselves. There aren't, and it isn't as simple as that anyway.

We are going to spend a lot on education and infrastructure anyway. The teachers' unions and the trade group for civil engineers whose name I misremember want us to spend a lot more. But they say that no matter what.

Regards,
Shodan
http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2016/0...ts-30-Year-Low

Not only is spending way down, but it's down while our infrastructure is crumbling, in the tail end of a depression based on lack of demand, and almost impossible to raise because, well, take a guess.
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Old 06-10-2016, 01:36 AM
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Education and infrastructure spending are more state and local issues than national ones. Plus, if there were issues with either that could be fixed with more spending, they would be fixed already.

Obama was elected in part on the idea that there were a whole bunch of shovel-ready infrastructure projects that would increase employment and pay for themselves. There aren't, and it isn't as simple as that anyway.
Regards,
Shodan
Gee, the shovel ready infrastructure project I get benefit from on the way to work disagrees with you. Clearly the ones that were done employed people, right? I don't understand the paying for themselves part.
And as mentioned we could use more infrastructure projects at the low interest rates we have today, but thanks to Obama cutting unemployment is not that big an issue now.
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Old 06-10-2016, 04:02 AM
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The importance of an issue is not, as people would like to believe, the stature of the issue's relevance to the nation and the world at large. During a campaign, the importance of an issue is directly proportional to the ability to draw voters to the polls.

Thus, British Exit from EU, South East China ocean disputes, carbon pollutant limits are all hugely important for America and the world, but do squat to draw people to the polls. But tell them men are going to attack your women in bathrooms, or your religion will be asked to not lie to people, or you're getting a 1 cent tax on your cigarettes and people howl with anger and rush to the polls. That's why politicians spend more time on bullshit than the real issues.
This is a perfect explanation.

Politicians only want two things:

- to be re-elected
- to make loads of money (even after they retire)

Stating simple issues that get voters to the polls does this.
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Old 06-10-2016, 06:58 AM
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Well, boffking, I grew up in Northern New England in a small town and live in a neighboring state.

I know one of Lepage’s current themes is to lower the cost of energy in Maine. He wants to bring in more pipelines to upgrade the Nat Gas capacity while many oppose him and want to rely on alternative energy sources. Is that a stupid non-issue ?

If your one of the beautiful people along the coast I am sure you’re against it. After all you can afford the energy you need, it does not pinch your budget, it doesn’t affect your job, and certainly you want to feel good about yourself supporting environmental causes.

On the other hand you working in the interior where the winters are tough, and paying the fuel bill is a major concern perhaps it is much more of an important issue. Up there paying the fuel bill is a much higher % of your yearly budget. Bringing the price down for fuel would be welcomed. Also if you work in a factory and they have lower fuel costs they might stay around longer and you get to be keeping your job and not have that worry.

Seems to me that Lepage, for all his faults, is tackling an important issue, and tackling an issue that hits the little guy a lot harder than the rest of you think. In this case he has the interest of the average family in his mind more than you are willing to admit.
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Old 06-10-2016, 07:12 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Well, boffking, I grew up in Northern New England in a small town and live in a neighboring state.

I know one of Lepage’s current themes is to lower the cost of energy in Maine. He wants to bring in more pipelines to upgrade the Nat Gas capacity while many oppose him and want to rely on alternative energy sources. Is that a stupid non-issue ?
The natural gas LePage is talking about will be used for generating electricity, so it probably won't lower consumer gas prices. Do you have gas heat now? Because his proposal won't increase the gas infrastructure to the consumer.
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Old 06-10-2016, 08:08 AM
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Well, boffking, I grew up in Northern New England in a small town and live in a neighboring state.

I know one of Lepage’s current themes is to lower the cost of energy in Maine. He wants to bring in more pipelines to upgrade the Nat Gas capacity while many oppose him and want to rely on alternative energy sources. Is that a stupid non-issue ?

If your one of the beautiful people along the coast I am sure you’re against it. After all you can afford the energy you need, it does not pinch your budget, it doesn’t affect your job, and certainly you want to feel good about yourself supporting environmental causes.

On the other hand you working in the interior where the winters are tough, and paying the fuel bill is a major concern perhaps it is much more of an important issue. Up there paying the fuel bill is a much higher % of your yearly budget. Bringing the price down for fuel would be welcomed. Also if you work in a factory and they have lower fuel costs they might stay around longer and you get to be keeping your job and not have that worry.

Seems to me that Lepage, for all his faults, is tackling an important issue, and tackling an issue that hits the little guy a lot harder than the rest of you think. In this case he has the interest of the average family in his mind more than you are willing to admit.
I'm in favor of this. But you have to admit Lepage doesn't have much to do with it. Look up Unitil, Iberdrola, or Summit. The private companies that are working hard to expand natural gas service. Not because Lepage made them, but to expand their customer base. Why should government take all the credit for private industry's work?
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Old 06-10-2016, 09:02 AM
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I'm in favor of this. But you have to admit Lepage doesn't have much to do with it. Look up Unitil, Iberdrola, or Summit. The private companies that are working hard to expand natural gas service. Not because Lepage made them, but to expand their customer base. Why should government take all the credit for private industry's work?
I commented on that since listening to NPR earlier this week I caught some listening time in which he was catching a lot of heat for it. A lot.

Honestly do not know the names, or players up in politics up there. Sounded like the environmental lobby just totally disgusted by the proposal and his promoting it.
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Old 06-15-2016, 05:26 AM
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Well, after Sunday morning, I think the OP has an answer now.

The world does not begin and end on economic issues, and social issues are not irrelevancies that everyone can just ignore. For some people, they're a literal matter of life and death.
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Old 07-04-2016, 06:25 PM
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I don't want to hear Trump's racism (or Lepage's!) anymore. I don't want to hear about ISIS, bathroom laws, or how many post offices Hillary and Bernie renamed, or any of the other red herrings politicians put out. When are we going to focus on the real issues our country is facing, and stop wasting time with stupid bullshit?
Fixing things like education and infrastructure might not be flashy and exciting, but they are a politician's job.
The reason they talk about those things is they believe other voters care about them, even if you don't.
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Old 07-04-2016, 07:37 PM
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I don't want to hear Trump's racism (or Lepage's!) anymore. I don't want to hear about ISIS, bathroom laws, or how many post offices Hillary and Bernie renamed, or any of the other red herrings politicians put out. When are we going to focus on the real issues our country is facing, and stop wasting time with stupid bullshit?
Fixing things like education and infrastructure might not be flashy and exciting, but they are a politician's job.
Education-state issue
Infrastructure-Congressional issue

One of our problems is that few people really know what politicians should be talking about, which is why they talk about what we want to hear about.

The unsexy thing that a serious Presidential candidate would focus on is fixing the VA, making sure that federal employees carry out their jobs in a non-partisan manner, improving management practices throughout the federal government, and create systems that ensure accountability rather than systems that ensure that no one is ever responsible when something goes wrong.
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Old 07-04-2016, 10:03 PM
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Another thing I don't like about our political system is we focus too much on blame, not on fixing things. Everyone was calling for the governor of Michigan and the mayor of Flint to be arrested after the water crisis. The problem is, the water won't get cleaner by virtue of these men being behind bars. The water picked up lead from the pipes. It will continue to that as long as the lead pipes are there, and the water is being drawn from the river. My response to that is to replace the pipes, and improve the treatment systems.
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Old 07-05-2016, 06:35 AM
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There has to be accountability though. If anything, the government does do one thing well: they find out what went wrong, they make recommendations to prevent such occurrences in the future, and then they implement any solutions that don't involve increased accountability for individuals in the government.

The reason the government continues to fail is because the government doesn't cultivate leadership and accountability. It cultivates bureaucracy and vague lines of responsibility. Almost everytime something goes wrong, we find out that many people knew, one or two tried to warn someone higher up the chain, and then that no one could figure out who was responsible for correcting the problem. Often, they did know that the ones warning about the trouble were "troublemakers", so they often dealt with that problem.

It's the unsexiest issue ever, but we'll know we have a serious candidate when he or she talks about why government fails and how to fix it.
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Old 07-05-2016, 06:44 AM
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That's easy. Government fails because some elements of the government have a vested interest in making it fail in order to prove their political talking points, and the way to fix it is to stop electing those people.
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Old 07-05-2016, 12:31 PM
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Popular talking point, but not a serious one, since a) the problem is with the incentives, not the people. If there is no system of accountability, performance will be poor in any organizations, and b) all government policies are implemented by both Republicans and Democrats. If accounting for Republicans isn't part of your planning, it's a shitty plan.

This is an even better argument for accountability though. If the lines of responsibility are clear, if everyone has to stand for the decisions they make and their performance at their job, then we know exactly who screwed up and can vote accordingly. Right now, Democrats have two theories of government failure:

1) Democrats are in office, it's Republicans' fault for not making Americans pay higher taxes
2) Republicans are in office, it's Republicans fault because they are incompetent.

Yet this whole problem started under Democratic dominance and is worst in states where Democrats dominate today. Would you rather go to a California DMV or a Utah DMV?
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Old 07-05-2016, 01:49 PM
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As if Republicans are any less corrupt than Democrats. Tell me another fairy tale, Grandma.
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Old 07-05-2016, 01:55 PM
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IT's not about corruption, it's about creating a system where nobody is ever at fault and real change never comes.
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Old 07-05-2016, 02:13 PM
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There are 2 of those that are "real issues" for every American - Trump's racism and ISIS - and the bathroom laws are important for a significant percentage of the population.

So they may not be the issues you wish them to focus on, but they are, in fact, real issues that need discussing.
Bathroom laws weren't an issue until Republicans decided to make them an issue. It is an entirely manufactured issue, and the new laws are a solution in search of a problem. Even the South Dakota governor, a Republican himself, vetoed his state's bill and pointed out that he couldn't identify what problem these laws were supposed to correct.

This is - and has been - the Republican strategy for decades. They focus on idiotic and inconsequential issues (abortion, gay rights, bathrooms) which they know are (a) emotional (b) divisive and (c) irreconcilable. Because we are talking about matters of emotion and religion it is impossible to reason through them on the basis of evidence and fact, which means the matter can never be definitively settled one way or the other. You know, not that things like "Facts" and "Evidence" meant anything to the Republicans to begin with.

But OP is correct. The Republicans consistently focus on minute chickenshit and primitive Hebrew superstition rather than addressing the real problems facing humanity. (That is, how we are going to supply a clean planet and adequate drinking water for 8 billion people, how we are going to permanently stamp out extremist violence in all respects, and how we are going to deal with the maldistribution of wealth.)
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Old 07-09-2016, 05:47 PM
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Another thing I don't like about our political system is we focus too much on blame, not on fixing things. Everyone was calling for the governor of Michigan and the mayor of Flint to be arrested after the water crisis. The problem is, the water won't get cleaner by virtue of these men being behind bars. The water picked up lead from the pipes. It will continue to that as long as the lead pipes are there, and the water is being drawn from the river. My response to that is to replace the pipes, and improve the treatment systems.
By that logic you shouldn't ever arrest a murderer since that won't bring the victim back to life. The point of the suggestion is to find out whether the governor and mayor went ahead with the plan to cheapen the water supply knowing that some people would get high concentrations of lead in the water? Should they have known? Why didn't they know it, if indeed they didn't. And how big a kickback did they get? All things worth investigating for the usual reason we put convicts in prison.
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Old 07-09-2016, 07:47 PM
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Another thing I don't like about our political system is we focus too much on blame, not on fixing things. Everyone was calling for the governor of Michigan and the mayor of Flint to be arrested after the water crisis. The problem is, the water won't get cleaner by virtue of these men being behind bars. The water picked up lead from the pipes. It will continue to that as long as the lead pipes are there, and the water is being drawn from the river. My response to that is to replace the pipes, and improve the treatment systems.
The governor refuses to fix the pipes.
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Old 07-09-2016, 10:18 PM
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I'm glad to hear the OP say that bathrooms are not an important issue.

So, he thinks the Democrats should stop messing with North Carolina. Right?
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Old 07-10-2016, 12:16 AM
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I'm glad to hear the OP say that bathrooms are not an important issue.

So, he thinks the Democrats should stop messing with North Carolina. Right?
I'm unaware of any bathroom bills Democrats have passed in North Carolina.
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Old 07-10-2016, 12:16 PM
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I'm unaware of any bathroom bills Democrats have passed in North Carolina.
Liberals are treating the North Carolina bathroom issue as a VERY big deal. Loretta Lynch is devoting lots of time to it. Celebrities are boycotting the state.

Since the OP assures us that bathrooms are not a big issue at all, I assume he wants Lynch and the celebs to stop treating it as an important issue.

Right?
  #39  
Old 07-10-2016, 12:33 PM
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Liberals are treating the North Carolina bathroom issue as a VERY big deal. Loretta Lynch is devoting lots of time to it. Celebrities are boycotting the state.
Conservative politicians started it by making a big deal out of which bathrooms transgendered person should use, by passing asinine bathroom cop laws. That is the waste of time, not the response by citizens, whose time is not paid for by taxpayers.
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Old 07-10-2016, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
That's easy. Government fails because some elements of the government have a vested interest in making it fail in order to prove their political talking points, and the way to fix it is to stop electing those people.
Of course, the root cause is that voters keep electing those people to begin with, and so it is the voters who are ultimately at fault. A democracy, unfortunately, is only as strong as its median value, and when the voters elect to focus on who is taking a piss in which bathroom, the need to build a big wall to keep out all of the people who are artificially keeping our labor costs low, or the ficitious threat of organized Islamic mass terrorism in the continental United States, they can't be bothered with more complex issues like the urgent need for secondary and collegiate education reform, repairing the increasingly degraded infrastructure, funding basic scientific and medical research for eventual public value, or addressing the increasing socioeconomic gulf and its attentant effects on crime, drug use, and human trafficking. And of course, there are interests vested in manipulating public opinion to remain focused on the former and ignore the latter, and a media establishment which isn't sufficiently independent or frankly smart enough to buck those interests.

Politicians are doing exactly what 'we', in the aggregate, want them to do. That they are not doing what the more thoughtful and reasoned people in the room see as real problems is a core feature of democracy. But it's still at least marginally better than living under an authoritarian despot. At least, for now.

Stranger
  #41  
Old 07-10-2016, 01:01 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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Originally Posted by Fear Itself View Post
Conservative politicians started it by making a big deal out of which bathrooms transgendered person should use, by passing asinine bathroom cop laws. That is the waste of time, not the response by citizens, whose time is not paid for by taxpayers.

Again, the OP said this is a non-issue. So why are liberals making a fight over it? Why don't they just shrug and move on?
  #42  
Old 07-10-2016, 01:55 PM
Johnny Ace Johnny Ace is offline
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Originally Posted by astorian View Post
Again, the OP said this is a non-issue. So why are liberals making a fight over it? Why don't they just shrug and move on?
All about the slippery slope. Those well-intentioned conservatives want to control others' behaviors that they (in some really twisted logic) deem as infringing on their right of religious freedom. It's always the same. Abortion rights...prayer in schools...gay marriage...transgender bathroom requirements.

Yep, it's stupid and pointless. But if they get an inch they take a mile.

Last edited by Johnny Ace; 07-10-2016 at 01:55 PM.
  #43  
Old 07-10-2016, 02:55 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Originally Posted by astorian View Post
Again, the OP said this is a non-issue. So why are liberals making a fight over it? Why don't they just shrug and move on?
My wearing black shoes isn't a big deal right up until you punch me in the nose for wearing black shoes. At that point, I have to respond, because if I don't, you'll break my fucking jaw the next chance you get.
  #44  
Old 07-10-2016, 03:09 PM
Philliam Philliam is offline
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Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
Of course, the root cause is that voters keep electing those people to begin with, and so it is the voters who are ultimately at fault. A democracy, unfortunately, is only as strong as its median value, and when the voters elect to focus on who is taking a piss in which bathroom, the need to build a big wall to keep out all of the people who are artificially keeping our labor costs low, or the ficitious threat of organized Islamic mass terrorism in the continental United States, they can't be bothered with more complex issues like the urgent need for secondary and collegiate education reform, repairing the increasingly degraded infrastructure, funding basic scientific and medical research for eventual public value, or addressing the increasing socioeconomic gulf and its attentant effects on crime, drug use, and human trafficking. And of course, there are interests vested in manipulating public opinion to remain focused on the former and ignore the latter, and a media establishment which isn't sufficiently independent or frankly smart enough to buck those interests.

Politicians are doing exactly what 'we', in the aggregate, want them to do. That they are not doing what the more thoughtful and reasoned people in the room see as real problems is a core feature of democracy. But it's still at least marginally better than living under an authoritarian despot. At least, for now.

Stranger
Whenever I read another well-reasoned and thoughtful comment from SOAT I think there may yet be hope for us all.
  #45  
Old 07-10-2016, 08:31 PM
foolsguinea foolsguinea is offline
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Originally Posted by boffking View Post
Another thing I don't like about our political system is we focus too much on blame, not on fixing things. Everyone was calling for the governor of Michigan and the mayor of Flint to be arrested after the water crisis. The problem is, the water won't get cleaner by virtue of these men being behind bars. The water picked up lead from the pipes. It will continue to that as long as the lead pipes are there, and the water is being drawn from the river. My response to that is to replace the pipes, and improve the treatment systems.
Well, that's presumably because you're a consequentialist, who wants to fix things instead of assigning blame and beating people up. That seems the obvious way to be.

But this is America! I expect neither the Democrats or the Republicans particularly want to raise taxes on white suburbanites to help poor colored people in Flint. So the GOP pretend there's no problem, and the Democrats just yell and point fingers.

glee got it right. While some politicians are civic-minded, many are just "looking out for Number One."

ETA: I may be too cynical. Also, Hari Seldon made a good point.

Last edited by foolsguinea; 07-10-2016 at 08:34 PM.
  #46  
Old 07-10-2016, 08:42 PM
foolsguinea foolsguinea is offline
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Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
Politicians are doing exactly what 'we', in the aggregate, want them to do. That they are not doing what the more thoughtful and reasoned people in the room see as real problems is a core feature of democracy. But it's still at least marginally better than living under an authoritarian despot. At least, for now.
I think maybe you're not giving authoritarian despots a fair shake. I mean, if you had an authoritarian despot who had a little better judgment than Rupert Murdoch, and he had Murdoch put to the sword, that would be a small step up in the quality of the state's decision-making process.

More generally, the press is terrible. And large-scale commercial broadcasting, which has economic incentives to favor great concentrations of wealth, is particularly counterproductive. You want to change this country? Go after TV and radio, somehow.
  #47  
Old 07-10-2016, 10:21 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
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Originally Posted by foolsguinea View Post
More generally, the press is terrible. And large-scale commercial broadcasting, which has economic incentives to favor great concentrations of wealth, is particularly counterproductive. You want to change this country? Go after TV and radio, somehow.
Although I agree news coverage and commentary is terrible, and of course the major corporations which own most of the news outlets have a desire to avoid addressing genuinely controversial issues, but there is also a reluctance to give time and coverage for positions that don't neatly fit into a dichotomy that can be characterized on a single axis political spectrum, in large measure they just don't want to or cannot spend the time to address issues which may have many nuances, such as long term energy policy, socioeconomic disparity and the attendant disenfranchisement of whole classes of people, or the consequences of ceding the lead in intellectual and research science to other nations because we cannot devote more than a tiny fraction of tax revenue to fund it. And then there are things like infrastructure, water-use politices, and tax reform that are too complicated and frankly boring for even most of the people reporting on it, much less the viewing public. It's not that the actual people reporting and presenting the news have a specific agenda to bolster their corporate masters and hidden overlords; it's mostly that they're too dumb, or believe (often with good reason) that their viewers are too ignorant to understand the details. They are, as John Stewart so adroitly put it, "partisan...hacks" who are just creating theater rather than reporting or analyzing news.

Here's an example that covers all bases: gay marriage. This was framed by opponents as a liberal vs. conservative "public morals" argument, even though the only people who should really give a flying fart about the moral implications are those participating in it. But there are several other issues which received sparse coverage, including the issues allowing homosexual couples to join in by-state "civil unions" or "domestic partnerships" but the lack of consistency for dealing with legal implications across state lines including medical and benefits coverage, resolution of assets upon death or dissolution of the partnership, dealing with support and visitation rights of adopted children of such a union, and so forth, not to mention expanding the market of the wedding industry by increasing the available demographic. In fact, the arguments against gay marriage--that it would undermine male-female marriage, that it would force churches to approve and adjudicate such marriages, et cetera--was reported as matter-of-fact "presenting both sides" even though one side was almost purely baseless scaremongering.

These are the people who gave Donald Trump a platform from which to freely (both as in speech and beer) spew baseless xenophobia and nonsensical solutions. And because it suited their purposes, they even treated him with enough seriousness that he started treating himself seriously, and down that slippery slope we've slid headfirst into a mudpit, albeit without Kathleen Turner at the end. And they did it not because they love Trump, but because the ratings he pulls in. The only people who should be giving Trump the time of day are comedians like Seth Meyers and John Oliver, and only to highlight what a puerile clown he is for espousing pure idiocy from beneath what appears to be a dead ginger tabby stuck to his head.

Stranger

Last edited by Stranger On A Train; 07-10-2016 at 10:23 PM.
  #48  
Old 07-11-2016, 02:06 AM
Princhester Princhester is offline
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Many people vote based on perceived cultural similarity rather than policy. In other words, they don't look at their own policy preferences and the policies of particular politicians and decide which will best advance their preferences. They say "I like this guy/gal because he seems like my kind of guy/gal". And such people are more likely to be swinging voters because candidates change but fundamental policy divisions do not.

Politicians spend substantial time on (relatively) minor social issues because they permit cultural positioning. Good education and infrastructure are something everyone wants. Being in favour won't mark you out as being of - or not of - the culture of the particular swinging voters you are chasing. But taking a position on some talking-point-de-jure will.
  #49  
Old 07-15-2016, 01:25 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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If my meaning wasn’t obvious earlier, I’ll be more blatant: most of the time, when someone says, “Why can’t we stop dwelling on minor, unimportant issues and concentrate on what’s IMPORTANT,” he is being dishonest. Most of the time, we’ll find that the person DOES, in fact, regard those issues as important. He simply thinks everybody who disagrees with him should shut up and go away.

Decades ago, on William F. Buckley’s old Firing Line series, a liberal Catholic priest and a very conservative priest were arguing about the Latin Mass. At first, the liberal priest was very charming, amiable and gracious. He explained at great length that it didn’t really MATTER what language the Mass was said in, that it didn’t really MATTER what forms the ritual took. Surely, he said, what REALLY matters is that all Catholics are gathering together in the spirit of brotherhood, So, he asked, why can’t we stop arguing about such a trivial issue and concentrate on IMPORTANT issues, like serving the poor.

The old priest, an advocate of the Latin Mass, disarmingly replied, “I’m glad to hear you say that it doesn’t matter what language we use or what rituals we use. So, since it doesn’t matter to you, why not just agree to do it our way, the Latin way, and then we can move on to discussing how to help the poor.”

The liberal priest went ballistic, and started insulting the old school Church in every possible way. Which just went to show… all his talk about how the language and ritual were unimportant was BALONEY! He thought the language and rituals were very, very important indeed. So important that his opponents had a duty to clam up and stop obstructing progress.

And so it is today. When a liberal says, “Come on now, it doesn’t MATTER which bathroom a cross dresser uses,” he’s full of beans. He DOES, in fact, think the issue is extremely important. That’s why he’s so determined to crush the people of North Carolina for having a different opinion.

Same with gun control. Liberals will occasionally talk sweetly and nicely, and try to “reason” with their gun owning brethren. “Come now, NOBODY is talking about confiscating all your guns, so why can’t we put our differences aside and concentrate on IMPORTANT issues.” Of course, the reality is, LOTS of prominent liberals ARE talking about confiscating guns! Every time President Obama or Hillary brings up Australia’s experiences, the clear implication is that, like Australia, we must have a mandatory buyback program (i.e. confiscation with compensation).

So, suppose a reasonable NRA member says, “Fine, if you say this isn’t really an important issue, we can agree to disagree. All you have to do is guarantee that you won’t support a confiscation program later. Then I’ll agree to discuss fixing our roads and bridges.” Think liberals will say, “Fantastic! We’re finally finding common ground”?

NO! The liberal will show his true colors and yell, “Just give up your damn guns, already, or we’ll TAKE them!”

Feminists like Anna Quindlen like to say, “I’m TIRED of arguing about abortion. Why can’t we move on to the REAL issues?” I’d like to tell her, “Great, I’m glad you’re tired of the argument. Since you don’t think this is a ‘real’ issue, why not agree to overturn Roe Vs. Wade, and move on to those ‘real’ issues?” Think she’d agree? Nope. She’s not “tired” of abortion, she’s just tired of people disagreeing with her.

Whenever you’re tempted to say, “Come on, let’s stop talking about unimportant issues,” ask yourself: do you REALLY regard this as an unimportant issue? Unimportant enough that YOU’RE willing to let the other side win?

If not, face facts: it’s NOT an unimportant issue to you, and you shouldn’t expect your enemies to let you win any more than you’d capitulate to them.

Last edited by astorian; 07-15-2016 at 01:26 PM.
  #50  
Old 07-15-2016, 01:39 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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Now, AFTER that long spiel, will I acknowledge that some election hinge on issues of no relevance to the job at hand? Sure.

Back in 1977, when Ed Koch and Mario Cuomo were vying for the job of Mayor of New York City, the main issue was... the death penalty (Koch was for it, Cuomo ardently against it). Now, regardless of where you stand, can we all understand that the issue was absolutely, completely irrelevant?

Not unimportant, just IRRELEVANT! The Mayor of New York City can't execute anyone, nor does he have ANY Say in whether the death penalty is legal. The state legislature determines that. So, Koch and Cuomo spent most of their time arguing about a hot button issue that would NEVER come up during the mayor's term.

THAT is worth ridiculing. A mayor's job consists largely of important but unglamorous tasks. Like sitting through long budget meetings, negotiating contracts with the garbagemen's union, figuring out how to pay for pothole filling, calculating if there were enough plows to clear the streets of snow next winter.

Mayoral candidates arguing about the death penalty, Comptroller candidates arguing about abortion, Sheriff candidates arguing about affirmative action... THAT is pointless and stupid.
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