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Author Topic: Politics #2: Do You Want to Form an Alliance?  (Read 19825 times)

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Morning Angel

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Politics #2: Do You Want to Form an Alliance?
« on: October 16, 2008, 06:25:17 PM »
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larrymcg421

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Re: Politics #2: Do You Want to Form an Alliance?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2008, 07:24:29 PM »
Okay, so the start of a new thread is probably the best time to do this.  The end of the last thread got a little heated. It seems like politics sometimes is perceived as a simple matter of us vs. them., and sometimes what gets lost is that people have real beliefs that shape who they vote for and why they support certain candidates.

I've made it no secret that I support Barack Obama. (Note: I supported Hillary at first, but switched to Obama right before the Georgia primary). But it's not because I don't like John McCain, or because I don't like Republicans. Also, I support Democrats over Republicans in all local elections. Again it's not because of like or dislike.

*I believe that the rich should pay a higher % of taxes. Not because I hate the rich. I honestly think in the long run, it helps them. When people at the middle and bottom get more money, they are more likely to spend it (instead of saving it), so therefore it goes back into the economy when they purchase items.

*I believe that health care is a right and every American should have access for it. I don't think people should have to make a choice on whether they pay their mortgage or they have something checked out at the hospital.

*The power of unions has decreased quite a bit, and that is shameful. People have a righ tto organize for their economic interests without the threat or fear of labor or government stopping them. My uncle was one of the air traffic controllers fired by Reagan, and I am proud of him to this day.

*I'm against the Death Penalty. I think it is applied in a racist manner, and it is too easy for an innocent person to be convicted (see the recent Troy Davis situation here in GA). Even if those issues were fixed, I would still be against the death penalty, because I think mercy is one of the strongest attributes that humans possess and anger or revenge is one of the weakest.

*I'm not a fan of abortion, but I'm not going to tell a woman what to do with her body, and I certainly don't think the government should. I think we should work to reduce the societal reasons that lead people to choose abortion.

*I think it is a shame that people are discriminated against based on sexual orientation. Gay marriage doesn't threaten "traditional marriage" and to deny people that fundamental human right is appalling to me.

*I'm opposed to the Iraq war, because I think it was fought for dubious reasons. If it was for national security reasons, we had several other far more dangerous countries to attack. If it was to protect people from the horrors and bloodhsed of a dictator, we should have been in Darfur.

*I think prosecuting people that are addicted to drugs is ridiculous. I consider addiction a health issue. Drug dealers should be arrested. Drug users hsould be treated.

*I strongly believe in privacy. The government shouldn't have a right to tap my phone, stop my car, search my home, look at my library or internet records unless they have reason to suspect I've done something wrong.

*I think free speech is the most important right we have. The government doesn't have a right to silence people who are trying to protest or express themselves. Even highly objectionable content like pornography (except when it involves children) should be protected, because when the worst of society is protected, then I know my speech is protected.

*I consider myself a Christian, but I'm strongly against attempts to merge religion with our government. "Under God" shouldn't be in our pledge. The Ten Commandments shouldn't be in courthouses. Organized school prayer shouldn't be allowed. In doing so, you create an environment that excludes people who believe differently.

That's not everything, but it's quite a bit. These are the coire beliefs that I hold and they are very important to me. This is why I support Barack Obama. It's not because I hate McCain. I actually have a great deal of respect for him. I respect his service to the country, and he's been a public servant for a long time. I really think he tried to avoid going negative, but was severely pressured into it, and I think he'll regret it in the end that he let some of the more extreme members of his ideology control the campaign and appeal to the worst in people. I do respect that he hasn't gone as far as racebaiting with the Rev. Wright issue, as some have tried to get him to do. I think he's fundamentally a good man. I simply disagree with him on almost every single issue that this country currently faces.

Anyways, i just wanted to get that off the chest.








NeverEnoughJam

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Re: Politics #2: Do You Want to Form an Alliance?
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2008, 07:41:51 PM »
All good, standard liberal positions.

I'm a moderate, however. I don't fit anyone's label, as far as I can see, and wind up in arguments with both sides. For example, I'm in favor of gay marriage and the right to an abortion (up to the last trimester, and even then I favor exceptions to save the mother's life), but I'm also in favor of gun ownership and the death penalty. Both sides consider me anathema. :)

I'd like to address, with respect, your manifesto on the death penalty, larry. While I admire your commitment to mercy, on death penalty issues I would say that justice must always precede mercy. It can never work the other way around. And the death penalty is never about revenge--that's the basis for vendettas and gang wars. State sponsored executions take justice out of the hands of the victim's family, and puts it in the hands of an impartial judge, jury and executioner. Our system of justice is set up to leach as much volatile emotion OUT of the trial and its subsequent proceedings as possible. It is intended to be as rational an examination of facts as possible, followed by a soberly weighed and measured punishment that fits the crime. Despite the maudlin maunderings of the media, an execution is NEVER about bringing "closure" to the victim's family. It's not about anyone's emotion. You cannot base a society or a system of justice on how you feel.  The death of a criminal is a deeply considered terminus to the life of someone who has violated the social covenant, who has proved he or she cannot live among us. As individuals are entitled to kill in self-defense, so society is allowed to kill in self-defense, be it war or the execution of a duly convicted criminal.

Of course there are mistakes, and that only means we must strive harder to improve our judicial system. We don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. If we wait on executions until we have perfected our judicial systems, thousands of guilty people will never get what the punishment their actions have earned. It is vital to a free society to be vigilant watchdogs of the judicial system, and I am glad there are people like larry around who are aware of past errors, are appalled by them, and call them to our attention. It is a valuable service to society, for which I thank you.

I hope nothing I have said here is offensive to someone holding a different opinion. I respect everyone's right to an opinion and to its expression.
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larrymcg421

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Re: Politics #2: Do You Want to Form an Alliance?
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2008, 07:52:23 PM »
A couple of points I'd like to make in response to your well reasoned post...

*I don't see how execution of a criminal is self defense. If the criminal is captured and in prison, they are no longer threatening anyone.

*Even if we go along with that the Death Penalty should be allowed, that doesn't mean we keep it going while there are still massive mistakes in the system. The mistakes should be fixed first.  Right now we have a system in place where the color of your skin is a major factor in whether you're executed or not. right now we have a system in place where it is very likely that an innocent person can be executed. I don't think any system should be continued that allows these things to happen.

*I think life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is how the most heinous crimes should be dealt with. I think it is a very harsh punishment that achieves society's objectives, while still preserving life and allowing for the correction of errors. Many states do not currently offer this type of punishment. The reasoning is that if this punishment were offered, then juries would be reluctant to send people to death. What happens is some murderers have the opportunity for parole. I'd prefer these people be locked up for life. If they can prove they're innocent, then they get out. If not, then they should stay until the day they die.

The only other thing I'd say is my positions may look like "standard liberal" positions, but I didn't come to these beliefs because they are liberal beliefs. These are the things I believe in, and they just all happen to be liberal.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2008, 08:04:55 PM by larrymcg421 »

Ash86

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Re: Politics #2: Do You Want to Form an Alliance?
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2008, 08:00:30 PM »
Wow... larrymcg421 - I agree with all your political opinions which is a rare feat for me  :D

As a Brit who is heavily invested in the US election and US Politics in general (a political junkie who stays up to watch the US debates even though they're on at 3am our time! Sad I know...), I still find it baffling sometimes how so many people in Presidential elections can be undecided since the differences between both parties are so vast on the big issues. On issues like healthcare, the economy, security etc. the fundamental approach of both parties is different.

McCain and Obama could argue till they're blue in the face about the details of their tax plan and exactly how many people will benefit/suffer but the core values underpinning those policies are clear. The Democrats generally favour more taxation to fund public services - so having a smaller pie with more equal pieces for all, whereas the Republicans want as little taxation and govt involvement as possible leading to a bigger pie but much greater discrepancy in the slices of the pie that sections of society get.

Obviously that is simplifying it and ignoring the cultural issues in which Republicans want more govt involvement (abortion, gay marriage) and Democrats less, but crucially that vision of how you see the world guides all policies. Now I'm always gonna go for a smaller pie with more equal slices - that's just how I see things as being fair - a smaller gap between the rich and the poor and a generally more balanced society. I'm not saying that those who view things from the other angle are wrong - there are perfectly logical arguments to be made about why big govt can be bad and low taxes good. At the end of the day though, you have to make a choice - each side has it pros and cons.

At the presidential level the choice is clear - it's always between two competing philosophies. I'm not really sure how you can be in the middle... What it seems to me is that people become bogged down in things like "Who looks presidential?", "Who's more negative?", "Who do I like?"... which is all well and good but doesn't really affect your life in any meaningful way like the policies that that particular president will inact would....

In Britain and Europe more generally I understand floating voters a lot more because a political consensus has been reached to such an extent that there is very little difference in the parties. Both Labour and the Conservatives would continue to back free universal healthcare, fund public services. Neither would ever bring back the death penalty or ban abortion (even though on say something like the death penalty a majority of Britons when polled favour bringing it back!). But due to the consensus that has been reached it is not a political issue. So two parties which used to be very different - one very socialist and pro-govt, the other very capitalist and anti-govt have come to the centre to the point where maybe the way to judge them is to look at the leaders and see who "looks" the best!

This probably explains why I find US politics so much more fascinating than my own since the stakes are so much higher. I know if my Prime Minister changed tomorrow and the Conservatives came to power, fundamentally little would change - schools, hospitals, police etc would still be funded as before. In the US, whoever is President dictates who will be on the Supreme Court, what happens to healthcare, the economy, education... The difference in tone and direction is clear. If one looks at policies rather than media hullaballoo then a choice either way - McCain or Obama should be obvious to most people based on their core values and beliefs.

Sorry for the rather long and rambling post - I'm truly fascinated by this whole election season  :)

NeverEnoughJam

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Re: Politics #2: Do You Want to Form an Alliance?
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2008, 08:05:13 PM »
*I don't see how execution of a criminal is self defense. If the criminal is captured and in prison, they are no longer threatening anyone.

Murderers may kill again, either in prison or by escaping. In any case, a convicted murderer has proven that he or she cannot or will not live within the law, and the law has an obligation to remove this threat to its authority. Fundamentally, though, the death penalty is a punishment. If we do not execute murderers (and I don't advocate execution for any lesser crime), we devalue human life.

Quote
*Even if we go along with that the Death Penalty should be allowed, that doesn't mean we keep it going while there are still massive mistakes in the system. The mistakes should be fixed first.  Right now we have a system in place where the color of your skin is a major factor in whether you're executed or not. I don't think any system should be continued that allows that.

We cannot delay justice while we wait on the Second Coming, or whatever. I understand your concerns, and I sympathize with them, but I am not convinced of your argument.

Quote
The only other thing I'd say is my positions may look like "standard liberal" positions, but I didn't come to these beliefs because they are liberal beliefs. These are the things I believe in, and they just all happen to be liberal.

No disrespect was intended. I have great respect for all the positions you outlined; I do not think the word "liberal" is a dirty word. I think it's a great word, deriving from the Latin root for "freedom".
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larrymcg421

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Re: Politics #2: Do You Want to Form an Alliance?
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2008, 08:20:10 PM »
Here's an example of a current case that really scares me...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troy_Davis_case

I fully believe that this man is not guilty. The state of Georgia is about to murder an innocent man on October 27th and that saddens me so much that the best I can do is to try and not think about it.

Ash86

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Re: Politics #2: Do You Want to Form an Alliance?
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2008, 08:31:49 PM »
Murderers may kill again, either in prison or by escaping. In any case, a convicted murderer has proven that he or she cannot or will not live within the law, and the law has an obligation to remove this threat to its authority.

The point is that in so many cases convicted murderers are found innocent decades later. With DNA evidence now being used so many people are being released after serving sometimes 30 or 40 year sentences that it sickens me. To my mind I'd rather a 100 criminals go free than 1 innocent man be in prison for there is no greater crime then punishing an innocent individual. Putting yourself in the position of that person - how would you feel to know you had done nothing wrong and were imprisoned wrongly?

For that reason alone I think the death penalty is abhorrent. Of course some crimes are so heinous that they deserve the harshest punishment. But to me that is not the death penalty - that is life without parole. If I was given a choice of life without parole or the death penalty I'd personally go for the death penalty because to me having to live without freedom in a cell for say 50 years and think about what I've done is much worse then getting an injection to end my life.

I have moral objections to the death penalty ranging from the fact that to me it is hypocritical to say murder/killing is wrong and then endorse government sanctioned murder. To me it is counterintuitive and playing a role that humans should not. Plus every study ever done shows the death penalty to be extremely ineffective as a deterrant - removing the death penalty does not result in an increase in crime. Policies such as prisoner rehabilitation and fighting the causes of crime are better long term than stringent punishments purely because a criminal does not think they will be caught or even if they believe they may be caught they still think their current situation is bad enough to risk that. (I am discounting those with mental illnesses or the truly deranged psychotic killers - they may get the headlines but they are very rare indeed thankfully.)

So for those reasons and others I would oppose the death penalty. But even if I didn't feel that way and thought the death penalty was a workable option - the fact that it will NEVER be foolproof is enough to put me off - how many innocent deaths are okay? What if you or your family member was that person? I think often people believe they would never be in that situation or that there's no smoke without fire but unfortunately you never know what may happen - and that person is ultimately someone's son/father/brother - the agony for their family - to have an innocent relative imprisoned/killed, is as bad if not worse than for the victim of the murder.

Quote
Fundamentally, though, the death penalty is a punishment. If we do not execute murderers (and I don't advocate execution for any lesser crime), we devalue human life.

Out of interest NeverEnoughJam, do you think that every other western civilisation in the world devalues life by not having the death penalty? The only "westernised" nations to have the death penalty apart from the US are Japan (which very rarely applies it) and Singapore. In terms of the number of executions carried out the US shares company with Iran, China, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

To be clear, I'm not attacking the US or you here. Everyone is obviously entitled to their own opinion. Simply curious as to why it is that other countries seems to have come to a very different conclusion  :)

I know the death penalty is a tricky topic so if I have offended I'm sorry - not my intention at all - simply curious as to people's thoughts  :)



EmilyHalpert

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Re: Politics #2: Do You Want to Form an Alliance?
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2008, 08:51:31 PM »
At the presidential level the choice is clear - it's always between two competing philosophies.

Well, besides the obvious you don't agree with either of the choices, I know in other elections (granted, I was only able to vote in one other election), I agreed with both parties. I am very socially liberal. And right now, that is the driving force behind who I want to vote for. I am pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, etc. I feel that that is something to fight for right now. And I am tired of Bush, and think we need a change of leadership to help our place in the world. For me, for better or for worse, those are the ideals I'm basing my decision on this election.

However, both of my parents are Republicans, and I was raised being told the Republican ideals were the 'right ones'. I still believe some of those ideals.

I also know I don't have enough knowledge or life experience to be able to vote on other issues. I don't understand enough about the economy. I don't know enough about how different tax rates will influence my paycheck or my community. I understand it in theory, but its very different than what it is in real life. I don't know what I feel about health care, and I know what I want out of it, but again, how that ties into my life, I don't. I know what I want as the end result, but I don't know the way to get there, and I may decide the end result isn't worth the trip.

I really probably don't even understand enough about how the different branches of government interact to really say getting a Democratic president vs Democratic Congress or half and half and how that will influence all of the above.

So, yeah, I can understand the conflicts and the undecided. I've known that I am making my decision based on a very small section of the issues. But to me, those were what mattered in the here and now. Economy is crap. That is something that I should make a decision on. But I honestly don't think I could at this point in my life. I made a decision based on what I know and feel and that I can judge on now. And I'm hoping that those are enough to make the right decision for everything else.

funkybutt

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Re: Politics #2: Do You Want to Form an Alliance?
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2008, 08:19:52 AM »
Did you guys catch the Alfred Smith Memorial dinner last night? Obama and McCain were pretty funny roasting each other.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2008, 12:07:04 PM by funkybutt »
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zeebee

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Re: Politics #2: Do You Want to Form an Alliance?
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2008, 12:02:47 PM »
funkybutt, I only watched a little bit from both speeches, but they were really funny, thought.

So, what's the world coming to when David Brooks, a conservative columnist at the NYT, becomes an Obama groupie? Thinking About Obama

And this is one of his from a few weeks ago about what's gone so wrong with the Republican Pary:  Class War Before Palin

And since when do I agree with David Brooks?


Morning Angel

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Re: Politics #2: Do You Want to Form an Alliance?
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2008, 12:35:19 AM »
Dear Ms. Palin,

Instead of showing up on SNL and parodying yourself, you probably should be meeting with journalists or going on Meet The Press or you know, some kind of political show.

Sincerely,
Morning Angel
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kells8995

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Re: Politics #2: Do You Want to Form an Alliance?
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2008, 12:36:40 AM »
Dear Ms. Palin,

Instead of showing up on SNL and parodying yourself, you probably should be meeting with journalists or going on Meet The Press or you know, some kind of political show.

Sincerely,
Morning Angel

lol - I just posted about this in the TV thread.  But I gotta say...I don't care for Palin, but that rap and Amy Poehler was really pretty funny.  A rarity on SNL these days, lol

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Re: Politics #2: Do You Want to Form an Alliance?
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2008, 02:42:01 AM »
Sadly, she'll probably get more votes going on SNL than on Meet the Press.  Going on SNL makes some people think "Wow, she has a good sense of humor.  Maybe she's okay."  Meet the Press will be seen by a more educated public and she'd have to actually impress people with her words.

Morning Angel

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Re: Politics #2: Do You Want to Form an Alliance?
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2008, 03:15:45 AM »
Sadly, she'll probably get more votes going on SNL than on Meet the Press.  Going on SNL makes some people think "Wow, she has a good sense of humor.  Maybe she's okay."  Meet the Press will be seen by a more educated public and she'd have to actually impress people with her words.

Oh, don't I know it...  That's the depressing part.

I kind of hate this trend of politicians showing up on comedy shows to grab votes and as a shortcut to popularity.  Being able to laugh at yourself qualifies you to be a good neighbour or a fun person to play poker games with... not a top leadership position. 
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