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General politics thread (was: General U.S. politics thread)

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Comments

  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    Yeah, that's what the article says.

    I mean overall; Is there an endgame, is this the beginning of some sort of end that's sort of in the middle of the endgame, or is it just smoke that's distracting us all whilst Trump quietly fires Janet Yellen?
    I'd bet on the second one.
  • edited 2017-10-30 17:03:46
    Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    http://www.people-press.org/quiz/political-typology/

    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.


    For example:
    16. Which of the following statements comes closest to your view?

    (A) In foreign policy, the U.S. should take into account the interests of its allies even if it means making compromises with them

    (B) In foreign policy, the U.S. should follow its OWN national interests even when its allies strongly disagree

    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.
  • (Written assuming that 'this country' and such means the U.S.)
    Your best fit is...
    Opportunity Democrats
    along with 12% of the public.

    Democratic-leaning and financially comfortable, Opportunity Democrats have liberal attitudes on most issues including the environment, immigration and homosexuality. They stand out from other Democratic groups in their strong belief that hard work is enough for most people to get ahead and for being somewhat less likely to see structural barriers facing blacks and women. They are supportive of U.S. engagement abroad and involvement in global markets.
  • There is love everywhere, I already know
    Some of those answers, like:
    Immigrants today are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing and health care
    Feel like they've taken all the nuance out of how people (I assume?) feel about these things, and are like the clearly wrong answer (or maybe that's just how I feel? who even knows anymore).

    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:
    They stand out from other Democratic groups in their strong belief that hard work is enough for most people to get ahead and for being somewhat less likely to see structural barriers facing blacks and women.

    I literally answered the opposite way on 2/3 of these questions.
  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    (Written assuming that 'this country' and such means the U.S.)
    Your best fit is...
    Opportunity Democrats
    along with 12% of the public.

    Democratic-leaning and financially comfortable, Opportunity Democrats have liberal attitudes on most issues including the environment, immigration and homosexuality. They stand out from other Democratic groups in their strong belief that hard work is enough for most people to get ahead and for being somewhat less likely to see structural barriers facing blacks and women. They are supportive of U.S. engagement abroad and involvement in global markets.

    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.
  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    Some of those answers, like:
    Immigrants today are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing and health care
    Feel like they've taken all the nuance out of how people (I assume?) feel about these things, and are like the clearly wrong answer (or maybe that's just how I feel? who even knows anymore).

    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:
    They stand out from other Democratic groups in their strong belief that hard work is enough for most people to get ahead and for being somewhat less likely to see structural barriers facing blacks and women.

    I literally answered the opposite way on 2/3 of these questions.

    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".)
  • edited 2017-10-30 22:51:42
    I literally answered the opposite way on 2/3 of these questions.

    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.
    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'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.
  • edited 2017-10-31 02:24:48
    Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    If "dissociating oneself with social regimes" is a priority to you, perhaps you don't know the depth of what right-wing ideologies and sympathies have done here in the US.

    * 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
    * homophobia
    * 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.
  • There is love everywhere, I already know
    Is imposing overt nationalism/patriotism actual "policy"?

    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.
  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    Is imposing overt nationalism/patriotism actual "policy"?
    Some people think it is, but really, it's not. It's more an idea, lacking in specifics.

    The devil's in how you apply it to specifics -- what specifics you use it to justify.
  • edited 2017-10-31 05:57:10
    ^^^ For the record, none of that is new to me, I spent a good while trolling Conservapedia during my edgy troll wannabe teenager phase, and much of it is what one picks up from the internet anyways.

    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.
  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    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?
    Except liberals in the U.S. have already tried that -- presenting their policy opinions in a more moderate way and agreeing to compromises. But the other side is the one being disingenuous by moving the goalposts. Any argument against a tax cut could get painted as communist, with the exception of arguing on the basis of balancing the budget...at which point that argument would be turned around by right-wingers saying that the social safety net should be reduced in order to pay for the tax cuts.
  • I was referring to heapers.

    (We've been talking about heapers all this time, right? I definitely was.)
  • edited 2017-10-31 08:23:35
    Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    I was referring to heapers.

    (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.
  • edited 2017-10-31 09:04:04
    Well, heapers aren't an organized political group, they can't propose a public policy of their own that has a chance of being considered, have no leverage to make compromises with and points they make in arguments won't be directly confronted except by similarly unimportant people or groups (me or Tumblr users or whatever). Clearly that's not what you meant. You mentioned "liberals in the U.S", which makes sense but is not what I was talking about.

    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.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    Gave me Opportunity Democrats. I had a bit of a problem placing myself in the shoes of an American. Sometimes it's hard to say what kind of an opinion would I have if I was a natural-born American and grew up in an environment so different to mine.
  • edited 2017-10-31 18:35:23
    Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human

    okay never mind dealing with the formatting

    https://heapershangout.com/index.php?p=/discussion/comment/996340/#Comment_996340

    This is a list of all the national and state-level upcoming elections in the United States (plus some local/municipal races).

  • edited 2017-10-31 23:35:16
    As a (final?) comment I want to add that I've been in many places on the internet and HH is the only one where I've had such problems.
    Sometimes it's hard to say what kind of an opinion would I have if I was a natural-born American and grew up in an environment so different to mine.

    ikr

    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.
  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    meanwhile someone found something out (this is a multi-tweet thread; first tweet is linked):
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    I still find it funny that since a few years ago, suddenly it's the left that dislikes Russia and the right that's all buddy-buddy with it. Not just in the States, mind you.
  • edited 2017-11-01 02:41:17
    As a (final?) comment

    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 still find it funny that since a few years ago, suddenly it's the left that dislikes Russia and the right that's all buddy-buddy with it. Not just in the States, mind you.

    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).
  • edited 2017-11-01 03:02:11
    Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    lrdgck wrote: »
    I still find it funny that since a few years ago, suddenly it's the left that dislikes Russia and the right that's all buddy-buddy with it. Not just in the States, mind you.

    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.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    Around here, Russia has always been the traditional bogeyman, and mind you, I won't be the last to say it's for good reason. But then, the anti-establishment righties got in power. (That's the key, by the way - Russia does not follow the established rules, so anti-establishment folks, or anti-liberal-establishment so to say, are all fawning over it.) The rest of the anti-establishment righties in the EU generally tend to buddy up with Russia, for various reasons, so now our righties tend to dismiss the influence of Russia - even though anti-Russian sentiment and conspiracy theorism was their chief weapon in political combat. It's a bit like paying lip service to the concept while concentrating on non-Russia-related parts. Meanwhile, the center and left plays up the Russian connections in hopes of discrediting the righties, but it generally isn't as awkward because like you said, Russia already wasn't the darling of liberal left because of all the gay bashing and stuff.
  • There is love everywhere, I already know
    Speaking of the U.S. and Russia, there's this interesting article reframing of the whole "Don't trust Kaspersky they're Russian" thing with "what would the U.S. do if it were actually at war with somebody, considering how they have almost every single computer software company?"
  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    There are so many people dead in Puerto Rico that they haven't even figured out how to count them yet.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/27/us/puerto-rico-uncounted-deaths-isabel-rivera-invs/index.html
    https://www.buzzfeed.com/nidhiprakash/puerto-rico-cremations
  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/rick-perry-says-fossil-fuels-can-prevent-sexual-assault-n816896

    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.
  • edited 2017-11-03 17:55:56
    There is love everywhere, I already know
    but fossil fuel light comes from dark-type exploitation or oppression moves

    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
  • edited 2017-11-05 04:51:38
    Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    http://www.wave3.com/story/36764371/update-rand-paul-assaulted-by-neighbor

    Not even his next-door neighbor likes him. Apparently this is the result of an ongoing feud:
    According to the neighbor, Senator Paul and Boucher have had ongoing problems. Senator Paul and Boucher share a corner adjacent to their homes.

    Though apparently Sen. Paul just tends to get into feuds with things:
    In 1995, Paul passed the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO) boards on his first attempt and earned board-certification under the ABO for 10 years.

    Prior to this, in 1992, the ABO had changed their certification program, which had previously awarded lifetime certifications, instead requiring doctors to recertify every 10 years. Those who had already been given lifetime certification were allowed to keep it (according to the ABO, they would not legally have been able to rescind these certifications).[23] Shortly after this change, Paul began a campaign to protest it. This effort culminated in 1997 with him creating, "along with 200 other young ophthalmologists", the National Board of Ophthalmology (NBO) to offer an alternative certification system, at a cost substantially lower than that of the ABO.[23][24][25] Its certification exam, an open book take-home test, was described by one taker as "probably harder" and "more clinically relevant" than the ABO's exam.[23]

    Named board members were Paul, his wife, and his father-in-law.[26] The NBO was never itself accepted as an accrediting entity by organizations such as the American Board of Medical Specialities,[18] and its certification was considered invalid by many hospitals and insurance companies.[23] Paul let his own ABO certification lapse in 2005, which did not affect his practice in Kentucky, since the state does not require board certification.[23]

    By Paul's estimate, about 50 or 60 doctors were certified by the NBO.[23] The NBO was incorporated in 1999, but Paul allowed it to be dissolved in 2000 when he did not file the required paperwork with the Kentucky Secretary of State's office. He later recreated the board in 2005, but it was again dissolved in 2011.[27]
    (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.
  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    > November 7, 2017 regular and special general elections

    Holy crap, stuff happened. [/understatement]

    I'll write up more when get around to it.
  • edited 2017-11-11 08:23:13
    Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    Let's see how much of this I can recount without it getting too long:

    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).

    Municipal-level races:
    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.
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