If you have an email ending in @hotmail.com, @live.com or @outlook.com (or any other Microsoft-related domain), please consider changing it to another email provider; Microsoft decided to instantly block the server's IP, so emails can't be sent to these addresses.
If you use an @yahoo.com email or any related Yahoo services, they have blocked us also due to "user complaints"
General politics thread (was: General U.S. politics thread)
As I'm taking this quiz, I'm finding it scarily easy for me to answer quickly with the choice that I'm accustomed to think about when thinking about the question in a political context, rather than to draw from my own knowledge and experiences.
So I have to put the brakes on myself just to make sure that what I'm answering is something that's based on my own thinking and understanding, and to the best of my ability represents an accurate picture of the overall situation in the United States.
I'm not sure how many responses that has changed, but it's certainly slowed me down.
Not to mention that these are generally aspirational statements, the kind that I'm usually hesitant to make, in contrast with taking specific positions on concrete issues. These statements are like the reasoning behind the positions -- which I usually put less weight on as far as results are concerned, though they obviously have more weight as far as motivations are concerned.
Answering either of these choices can be a severe double-edged sword depending on the issue.
There are probably people who answer this simply by saying "duh! that's how I feel about it!" except I'm sitting here trying to go through a mental rolodex of political issues (human rights, intellectual property law, climate change, globalization and trade, nuclear nonproliferation, domestic and international terrorism, monetary policy, etc. etc. etc.) and trying to figure out which position might get me more results I want.
And it's not easy to think about at all. That said, this is probably the hardest question I've come across so far.
For those of you in non-US countries, I'm curious what your views are on this typology.
Also I agree about number 16, it's so lacking in nuance it couldn't even pass for a draft of a Madam Secretary episode.
I got the same as Stormtrooper, even though:
I literally answered the opposite way on 2/3 of these questions.
Now you see why I found it ironic (albeit understandable, especially given your country's circumstances) that you reacted really strongly against positions identified as "left" (the political "direction" associated with liberalism as that term is used in the U.S.) over on HH.
I felt like it was really obvious which position was the "liberal" and which one was the "conservative" one on each question, which made me wonder what is this about. This isn't some cheapo political personality quiz, either.
My guess is it's intentionally trying to "appeal to emotion" to tease out that effect, and if anything my approach to it might be the wrong one.
(Of the 17 questions, I answered 16 of them with the "obvious liberal position", and to no one's surprise, I got the result "Solid Liberal".)
Same, I answered the ladies' one and one of the two black peeps questions the other way around. I guess ultimately those are statements about the groups we 'belong in' rather than ourselves.
I've always thought a lot of our political issues would come as ironic to outside observers, it's something we're aware of.
Anyhows, HH taught me the important life lessons that I must stand strong against adversity in favour of what I believe to be right, and that when I'm surrounded by loads of people telling me I'm wrong, it's perfectly possible for me to be right and for them to be the wrong.
Yeah, to this day the more I think about it (and I've thought about it a lot) the more I've come to the conclusion that I should've reacted even more strongly. Ultimately I think their problem is that they in no way want to dissociate with socialist regimes beyond claiming to, they only mention it in "I don't agree with them but actually I do" disclaimers and are all too eager to stand up for them when they're attacked, the end result of this being that they'll one way or another shit on the problems of those of us who don't have the luxury of treating socialism as some distant, hypothetical concept. I'm pretty sure I did more not to associate the two than any of them did. Whatever, if they want to leave themselves open to being accused of sympathies with said regimes, all the better for me.
Still, that last "you don't like socialism, we know" argument we had was easily the most unpleasant experience I've had on the internet. I'm not unaccustomed to large concentrations of useful idiocy, but not from people who at one point I thought to be reasonable or who I had once tried to sympathize with, with me at the epicenter.
* Every time someone brings up increasing taxes on the wealthy back to their levels back in the 1970s or 1950s (hardly a "socialist" or "communist" time in the United States considering those were in the height of the Cold War), a darn lot of someones, somewheres, inevitably label increasing taxes on the wealthy as "redistribution of wealth", and is something that "communists" do, and then they point to the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin and the eventual failure of the Soviet Union and say "look what communism does!!1111" and compare tax increases (in a horrid slippery-slope argument) to secret police arresting and torturing political dissidents in forced-labor camps, with absolutely no sense of scope nor relevance nor irony. Hell, people repeatedly word it along the lines of "Why should MY money that I earned be taken from ME?".
* About the same thing happens anytime someone talks about increasing the really meager services to help people out of poverty. Right-wingers spout a bunch of bullcrap about how "socialism" and "communism" mean the government robbing them blind of their paychecks (despite them often being in blue-collar professions that would be unaffected by tax rate increases on the wealthiest brackets, while not funding the federal government that way means more regressive taxes at the state and local levels to do the same things with less economy of scale) and using them to fund the poor. Oh, the poor? They are accused of living lavish lifestyles on the government dime, despite it being nigh-impossible to do so (outside of intentional abuses of the system, which should addressed by tweaking the policy, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater).
* Hell, our famous anti-communist president Ronald Reagan (of "tear down this wall" fame -- what irony these days, heh), worshipped like a founding father or a deity by Republicans (our right-wing political party), instituted massive tax cuts, made the "welfare queen" a meme, and was famous for union-busting, resulting in an economy today that is severely malnourished for investment in large-scale national projects (except for military defense), which ironically characterized the "greatness" of earlier decades (interstate highway system, space travel, etc.).
* Labor unions and collective bargaining tend to be weak in the United States, especially private sector unions (again, ironically, since they were a major social force in past decades); I think around a tenth of public sector workers are unionized and even less for the private sector? This is partly due to the decline of manufacturing jobs and the transition to a service economy, as well as the increased tendency -- rooted in the increased need -- for people to move around a lot for economic reasons. But starting with Reagan's famous breaking of the air traffic controllers' union strike, there's been a pretty monotonic decline of their influence in national politics. Due to this combination of factors, we middle-class folks in the U.S. today deal with an increasing risk of economic instability -- and this was really highlighted by the fact that people on the middle and bottom rungs of the economic ladder kept on scrimping and saving to make ends meet after the recent "Great Recession" despite the top rungs seeing a very healthy economic recovery. However, any policy discussion regarding collective bargaining rights, income inequality and the "wealth gap", and sometimes even stuff like paternity leave, can get tarred as verging on that dangerous thing called "communism" (despite labor leaders in various parts of the world actually opposing it). Right-wingers don't think we've gone far enough, because they keep pushing things like "right to work laws" and such, making it easier for employers to keep wages low and circumvent employees' demands for benefits like health insurance (by making them work just a little less than full time, for example).
* Oh, let's not forget healthcare policy. "Socialized healthcare" and "Why should I have to pay for other people's healthcare??" were the bogeymen of the day, anytime a single-payer system was mentioned (up until maybe recently), or even the Affordable Care Act (so-called "Obamacare") being grossly (and intentionally) misdescribed as enabling "death panels", again invoking the image of totalitarianism.
It is fucking impossible to have any sane conversation on the national political stage here in the U.S. when it comes to even the most modest changes in a variety of economic policies. Instead, we just get some combination of "individual liberty"/"libertarianism" championing "government so small [one] can drown it in a bathtub" (from that famous quote of Grover Norquist), alongside a random smattering of quotes of Thomas Jefferson opining poetically about government.
Not to mention that right-wing groups, broadly speaking, frequently embrace one or more of the following viewpoints on (mostly) non-economic issues:
* racism and xenophobia
* opposition to reproductive rights
* religious nuttery of various kinds, including the notion that the U.S. should be a theocracy, a desire to force their religious beliefs onto others, and an eschatological interest in either fighting against the U.S. government or the U.S. government representing Christianity fighting against fundamentalist Islamist terrorists, or some other eschatological stuff involving Israel
* opposition to science
* opposition to environmental regulation (sometimes with "look at how bad the pollution is in communist China!")
* "You'll have to pry my guns from my cold dead hands!!! D=<<" *buys another pile of guns after every mass shooting, to prepare to fight the government to the death if gun regulations are ever tightened*
* insisting that the United States's foreign policy position should essentially be "being an obnoxious tough guy"
This isn't to say that the so-called "left" in the United States (usually called "liberals" or "progressives", and generally associated with the Democratic Party these days) is perfect. There are various crazy folks on this side too, from anti-vaccination folks to "9/11 truthers" and such.
But given the current state of U.S. policy..."socialism doesn't mean the same thing here" is putting it lightly. It might be more apt to say "we're fucking tired of these shitty decades-old memes insisting that everything even vaguely leftward on a scale of economic policy is the work of Satan and the undead demonspawn of a gay orgy between Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao".
FWIW this is not to say that I necessarily like what communists do. Just recently the Chinese central government enacted a law restricting uses of the national anthem (mainly in response to some Hong Kong independence activists booing it at a soccer game, I hear). This comes ironically at the same time as Donald Trump is attempting to mandate specific forms of respect for the U.S. national anthem (and the pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag). I disagree with both of these policy efforts.
Otherwise, politics is complicated, so it's much easier to just dig your heels in than to have a sane conversation. Plus there are lots of people who just like to "win" arguments, and that always means using your trusty box of "moves"/talking points over and over until the other person gives up.
The devil's in how you apply it to specifics -- what specifics you use it to justify.
Anyhows, I don't think I get your point, surely if one is sick of being associated with communist regimes, the correct course of action would be not to go out of one's way to draw the association?
I mean, let's flip it around. What would you think of me if, in response to users at HH's US politics thread accusing some politician of being fascist for the 29171th time or the nth nazi comparision, I feel offended on fascists' behalf, stand up for fascism, preach the virtues of fascism and fascists like Felipe González or fascist countries like Sweden, mention that "fascism" is a mindless buzzword used by socialists to attack us, and so on? (This is disregarding the fact that typically nobody calls themselves "fascists" nowadays, but "socialist" is what socialists call themselves.)
The most benign interpretation of that is that I'm trolling, yet that's what happened the other way around several times over there regardless of context. Not only that, I'm then the one being accused of seeing everything through the lens of my own country's politics.
I sure as hell didn't feel a lick of effort on their part in trying to see things from our perspective. Me? I tried, and I do believe I succeeded.
(We've been talking about heapers all this time, right? I definitely was.)
A good lot of them are politically-aware people living in the U.S. who have political opinions that'd be described as liberal in the U.S., so yeah.
In either case, making serious accusations levied against you about sympathizing with communists turn out to be true is a really shitty idea, but maybe this is not what you meant either.
okay never mind dealing with the formatting
This is a list of all the national and state-level upcoming elections in the United States (plus some local/municipal races).
The biggest hurdle I've had is that over there there's confidence that, for better or worse, legality will be enforced
(within limits usually involving overpaid teams of lawyers), that it's a given that laws and the constitution indirectly have power and are not something one can bypass easily. It's not easy for me to get into that mindset.
Also people seem to trust polls much more.
Edit: actually nvm, the teams of lawyers thing is close to what I was talking about regarding legality.
One more! (Sorry Glenn, but I can't let this go.)
It occurs to me that our discussion on what we think of when we hear the word 'socialist' is actually kind of pointless, because in the end it turned out several posters over there do in fact believe in the socialization of the means of production or support those who do, including those I had the strongest disagreements with; they were just lying through their teeth doing that thing where they equivocate "socialism" with moderate left policies (healthcare, etc.) in order to not scare passerbys and demonize those of us who oppose socialist regimes.
As a matter of fact, I think if I hadn't tried to see things from an US perspective (where it typically happens the only other way around, as you explained), I'd have probably been able to see that sooner.
I tend to think that it varies depending on how much the person in question values international affairs vs. more domestic ones (or Russia-specific ones).
I can't speak for other countries, but in the States, I think it's because Russia wasn't really on people's radars that much except as a legacy adversary as an artifact of the Cold War, but then in the meantime
That's not to say it was on nobody's radars. Liberals in the U.S. had already been hating Putin for a while, for reasons including his suppression of political dissent, consolidating power in undemocratic ways (e.g. his position switcheroo with Medvedev), shacking up with churchy conservatives and persecuting gays, being in league with big oil and gas companies, and violating international norms by seizing Crimea and other screwing with Ukraine after Ukraine tried to side with Europe on the international stage. Also being close to various dictators, which thus includes (for some liberals, though not all), opposition to international actions supporting the Arab Spring movements.
However, the question of Russia and Putin generally remained an international politics/policy issue, and thus not really a front-burner thing, until very recently, so liberals' opinion of Putin wasn't really relevant until recently.
Conservatives, on the other hand...well, they sort of have always wanted a bogeyman and I explained how Russia (and its economy being kinda crappy in post-Soviet years) being a convenient thing to point to. You're right, Russia was basically still viewed for a while as "that communist country that sucks because it's communist". But in the meantime, conservatives (a.k.a. right-wingers) have gradually gained a taste for...I'm not sure if there's any way to describe it other than "aggressiveness". Anger about the economy, resentment against modernity, and such, a fear stoked for votes by conservative politicians, gradually produced two results:
* an apocalyptic (for some people, even eschatological) view of the world -- how liberals are (supposedly) "killing" Christianity, religion, "traditional American values" (by which they mainly mean their comfort zone which is a fantasy version of the 1950s-ish U.S.), and driving a desperation to...
* a desire to strike back against these things, using any and all means possible. Once you see every social change -- from gays being able to marry (somehow) causing the "destruction" of traditional marriage, to the "secularization" of Christmas by supposedly censoring official mentions of the holiday's name for "political correctness", to (what they see as) taking their hard-earned tax dollars blue-collar coal miners to fund lavish lifestyles of minority welfare queens addicted to drugs in inner cities, to (what they see as) attempts to displace English from its longstanding role as a common language (and various other (stereo)typical U.S. customs) by introducing a variety of immigrants -- as something that's destroying the fabric of your society, well, you gotta do something about it. If the world's going to hell fast, you need to fight back fast and hard.
So, facing an increasing sense of desperation -- not helped by all those politicians stoking these fears for votes but not actually delivering on them because they're obviously bad ideas -- conservatives became increasingly aggressive in their political views and activities. First they worked to throw out those politicians who only "talked the talk", and instead voted in nutty true-believers. And when the courts and various other social institutions still blocked the results that they wanted, they turned to other solutions:
* embracing more radical ideologies. Fascism, Nazism, etc..
* harsher language and more threats (e.g. hanging nooses on trees to bring back intimidation of "uppity" black people).
* outright violence, in some cases. (The fringiest of them have been doing this for a while now, with vaguely related acts like the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the 2009 murder of abortion doctor George Tiller, but now it's bubbling to the forefront.)
* embracing politicians who are more gratifyingly aggressive with their rhetoric and stated intentions. Ironically, while conservatives claim that ideology is important to them, it's not that important, as Donald Trump has demonstrated -- what they're out for isn't ideological purity. What they want is vengeance, against a world that's wronged them. And Trump as a candidate, in their opinion, was a refreshing vindication of that intense anger. They were finally able to tell the world to go fuck itself, and they were sick of feeling ashamed of doing so. That Trump's style resembles authoritarianism and that conservatives want authoritarianism is not a surprise at all, knowing this. They wanted someone who would "get shit done", who would put aside niceties and force their pet worldview into reality.
Given that Putin's own authoritarian tendencies, and that he's in league with a number of other authoritarians and conservatives already, it really comes as little surprise that when liberals ask "Wasn't Russia your bogeyman for communism and failure?", U.S. right-wingers' response is increasingly "Well, we like Russia now because Putin shuts shit down and gets shit done, unlike that pansy-ass internationalist Obama who just wanted to be friends with everyone! So there! 'Russia' this, 'Putin' that, ...well fuck you, we like Russia now, enjoy having your mind blown."
TL;DR Liberals have hated Putin for a while but it's just not been front-burner until recently, while conservatives are throwing a giant tantrum and are in the mood for political strongmen.
Burning fossil fuels produces light, which produces righteousness, which stops sexual assault.
Not stated: because sexual assault is dark-type and weak to holy attacks.
or does that not matter in theoretical why did you do this to us Rick Perry RPG
just to make sure; grass and earth are week to dark-type right
Not even his next-door neighbor likes him. Apparently this is the result of an ongoing feud:
Though apparently Sen. Paul just tends to get into feuds with things: (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rand_Paul#National_Board_of_Ophthalmology )
I guess it's not a surprise that he's one of the more outspokenly opinionated members of the U.S. Senate.
Holy crap, stuff happened. [/understatement]
I'll write up more when get around to it.
Virginia - regularly scheduled elections
This was probably the site of the biggest drama on Tuesday. All three statewide positions (governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general) were up for election, plus all 100 seats in the House of Delegates. Virginia is a swing state with a slightly blue lean, and Democrats won all three seats by margins of about 6%pt to 10%pt, after a season of very heavy campaigning, holding all three. But more unexpectedly, a bumper crop of Dem candidates challenging Republicans in the HoD bore excellent fruit for Dems: Republicans lost at least 15 seats, taking them from a 66-34 near-supermajority to at most a razor-thin 51-49 majority, assuming recounts in three races favor them. If they don't they might be facing a power-sharing agreement (50-50) or actually becoming the minority. The last time such a huge swing happened in Virginia was in 1899. And among the 15(+?) winners was a particular satisfying one: Danica Roem (D) became the first transgender state legislator by defeating notorious homophobe and transphobe Bob Marshall (R).
New Jersey - regularly scheduled elections
The governorship and all 120 seats of both houses of the state legislature were up. Governor Chris Christie (R) was termed out of re-election, though considering how much his constituents hated him (15% approval rating, reportedly) he probably would have been flattened anyway. Instead, his lieutenant governor Kim Guadagno (R) ran, and got somewhat less flattened, losing 42%-56% to Phil Murphy (D). Both legislative chambers already had notable Dem majorities, and Dems gained two state senate seats while losing one, and gained two state house seats.
Other notable state-level races:
Washington's 45th senate district - Washington had eight state lege special elections this day, but only one of them changed party control and it was this one key seat. Before this election, Democrats technically had more seats in the state senate but one of their members caucused with the Republicans for whatever reason giving the Republicans the majority. This election replaced a Republican (who had passed away) with a Democrat, giving Dems control of the senate even without their turncoat colleague.
Georgia's 6th senate district - previously represented by a Republican, there was a jungle primary to fill the seat and two Democrats emerged as the top two finishers, ensuring a party switch...which also breaks the Republicans' supermajority in the state senate.
Georgia's 117th and 119th house districts - another two special elections that resulted in R to D flips this past Tuesday.
New Hampshire's Hillsborough 15 house district - another special election that resulted in an R to D flip this past Tuesday.
Michigan's 109th house district - a Trump-won district that Dems were defending. They defended successfully.
Pennsylvania's court races - Pennsylvania came close to changing the partisan composition of one of its three major statewide courts, but didn't. Dems came close in a Supreme Court race but fell short, leaving a 5-2 Dem majority; they also won only 3 or 4 Superior Court races they contested, leaving a 8-7 Repub majority; finally, they won 1 of 2 Commonwealth Court races, resulting in a 7-2 Repub majority.
Maine Medicaid expansion - Voters in Maine chose to expand the Medicaid program in accordance with the Affordable Care Act, following the state legislature passing it but it getting vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage (R).
A number of cities and counties saw Dems make significant gains, such as gaining the mayoralty of Manchester, New Hampshire and county executive positions in Nassau County and Westchester County, New York (in all these cases, knocking off potential rising-star Republican candidates for higher offices). Dems also swept a variety of other cities and counties such as Delaware County and Chester County, Pennsylvania; Warren County, Ohio, and there were notable gains in various other places, such as several Connecticut towns, some New Jersey and some other New York townships, and Annapolis, Maryland and Loveland, Colorado. Dems held the mayoralty of St. Petersburg, Florida, which was a difficult hold against a Republican former mayor. That said, Dems did also lose a few mayoralties, such as Murray, Utah (I think it was Murray but not sure if it was Draper) and Auburn, Maine.
A Douglas County, Colorado school board which really liked school vouchers -- enough to want to fight for them all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court -- was defeated for re-election.
Also Miami Beach voted to continue its practice of selling alcohol until 5am (when asked if they wanted to move it to 2am), while Miami approved a bond funding to address climate change impacts.