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Old 04-09-2008, 06:54 PM   #151
philabramoff
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CKFresh View Post
I think you may be looking to far in the th "HC" thing...
I was being semi-humorous. But...you probably know that.

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Originally Posted by CKFresh View Post
Why can't Colin Powell be more interested in politics? He's the one man who could truly unite this country. A true moderate, sensible, thoughtful man that appeals to both liberals and conservatives...
Partisan politics is truly a negative force in this country, and other
countries as well. How come people can't just run for office, and
we select based on what the person stands for, and not whether
the person has an R or a D next to their name?

Probably because big money is needed to run, and large groups need
to pool their resources. Unfortunately, candidates need to sell out
their core values, in order to appeal to the supporting group.

...I gotta get back to work...
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:01 PM   #152
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Originally Posted by philabramoff View Post
I was being semi-humorous. But...you probably know that.
Yeah, I gotcha! :thumbup:

Quote:
Partisan politics is truly a negative force in this country, and other
countries as well. How come people can't just run for office, and
we select based on what the person stands for, and not whether
the person has an R or a D next to their name?

Probably because big money is needed to run, and large groups need
to pool their resources. Unfortunately, candidates need to sell out
their core values, in order to appeal to the supporting group.
Good point. John McCain is a perfect example of that. He was once a moderate conservative with fairly liberal stances on key issues. Now, he is McBush.

You should check out a book titled Democracy Matters by Cornell West. He's a liberal professor, but I think you would still appreciate his point in the book. :thumbup:
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Old 04-10-2008, 05:35 PM   #153
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Originally Posted by CKFresh View Post
Good point. John McCain is a perfect example of that. He was once a moderate conservative with fairly liberal stances on key issues. Now, he is McBush.
I've never been thrilled about McCain. In fact, I haven't been thrilled about
any of the candidates this time around since day 1. Fred Thompson wound
up being closest to my set of values, but he wasn't really serious about
trying to get the actual nomination. Romney was sort of # 2, but he didn't
make me cream my pants or anything like that, either.

McCain's personal appeal is that he's a straight-talker, he's mega-experienced,
and he has the patriotism factor working for him. Unfortunately, he's a total
jelly-toast on a lot of issues, and his mixture of supporting some conservative
positions, and some liberal positions hasn't served to make him appeal to
both sides as much as it has served to put off people on both sides.

Taking him as he is now, I'll reluctantly vote for him based on his strong
stance on national defense, his stances against raising taxes (for reasons
I've described in detail to you before), his pro-life position, and support
of strict-constructionalist judges. But...that's about all I feel good about
concerning him.

Concerning Obama, although I see him AS a decent, honest, well-meaning
guy, I feel his inexperience in foreign policy and economic issues, and his
stance on taxes and the economy will be bad for the economy.

You're right...McCain is a McBush.
I say...Obama looks like a Carter II

Quote:
Originally Posted by CKFresh View Post
You should check out a book titled Democracy Matters by Cornell West. He's a liberal professor, but I think you would still appreciate his point in the book.
Don't know much about the writings of Cornell West, but the few times
I've seen him as guests on TV Shows, he just seemed a bit weird to me,
speaking in incomprehensible terms, and using a lot of very abstruse
rhetoric that was hard to follow. It was almost as if he had a habit of
way-overanalysing things.

I got a related issue to discuss with you...see next post...
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Old 04-10-2008, 05:57 PM   #154
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I want to get your take on Campaign Finance Reform...

The McCain-Feingold Bill...

Recall about a year ago that Russ Feingold's name was bantered
about as a possible Democratic Presidential candidate? Wouldn't
it have been ironic if Feingold DID run, and DID get the nomination?

The big McCain-Feingold bill "reforms" our campaigns, and then in
2008, the nominees are John McCain and Russ Feingold.
Well, wouldn't THAT be fishy???

(As an aside, I had the opportunity to vote AGAINST Russ Feingold
for Wisconsin Senator twice...in '92 and '98...Feingold is a decent,
honest guy with some heart-and-soul...I just disagree with most of
his politics.)

Alright, now to the issue...

The substance of campaign finance reform was to "keep the money
out of politics" primarily by limiting personal contributions to $ 2000
per person (I believe that's the limit). The theory was that huge
millionaires and big businesses were no longer able to "buy off"
candidates with six-figure donations. There were other restrictions
like full-disclosure conditions, which seem reasonable.

However, here's the effect as I see it....Instead of "keeping the money
outof politics" the reality is that politics has become MORE about money
than ever.

Firstly, instead of donating money to the candidate's campaign, big
donors now send their money to OTHER entities, like the Unions, and
527 groups like MoveOn.org that are unregulated. Before, money went
directly to the campaigns, whose ads had to follow various conditions
of truth (non-slander) and disclosures stating which organization is
paying for the ad. Now, a huge amount of the campaigning is done
through unregulated entities that can lie, distort, and slander, which
has horribly cheaped our democratic process.

Secondly, if a person decides that they want to run for political office,
that person better (A) already be a face in one of the parties, so they
can benefit from that party's resources, (B) be willing to spend all their
waking hours canvassing for money, (C) already BE independently wealthy.
Our congressional houses have now set the all-time record for having the
highest percentage of millionaires in history.

So, the effect has ultimately meant that the only people willing to run
are people who are willing to endure the intense negativity of campaigning
due to the unintended consequence of "deregulation" of campaign ad
content, and who either have tons of money already or are willing to
spend time raising money until the cows come home.

In short, campaign finance "reform" has horribly backfired. I honestly
believe we would have had a MUCH better field of candidates this year
if McCain-Feingold was NOT passed.

Your feelings on this, CK...
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:16 AM   #155
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I'm not sure about the field of candidates being any better without the reform, but I agree that the McCain Feingold bill has not achieved much of anything.

It's a shame because I don't see any way to really fix it. Rich people are always going to have an advantage in this country, whether it is politics or education. There is no way, that I can think of, to stop money from taking over campaigns.

It would take a true leader to fix this problem, someone who is not affraid to challenge the establishment, someone like Obama
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Old 04-14-2008, 04:14 PM   #156
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CKFresh View Post
I'm not sure about the field of candidates being any better without the reform, but I agree that the McCain Feingold bill has not achieved much of anything.
Actually, I firmly believe that McCain-Feingold had a negative effect
on our campaign process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CKFresh View Post
It would take a true leader to fix this problem, someone who is not afraid to challenge the establishment, someone like Obama.
I'm not so sure Obama is the answer, even if he would be able to effect
all the changes he says he wants to.

Unfortunately, it takes TONS of money to run for President, and that only
the truly power-hungry of our nation will want to go to all the trouble to
rise to that level of government.

Too bad we can't have a process that selects Philosopher-Kings, or
who selects the truly humble, as many religious communities do.
Unfortunately, processes like these are inconsistent with the structures
of representative democracy.

Next issue, next post...
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Old 04-14-2008, 04:49 PM   #157
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For some reason I feel tired today, and not much in the mood for
a high-powered post. I think of stuff over the weekend, and think
"this would be a good thing to throw at CK..."

I wanted to throw at you specifically two issues to get what you think...

The Kyoto Protocols, and the use of Ethanol.

I want to throw the Ethanol issue at you first, because I'm listening
to Mark Belling right now, and he's having a fascinating discussion on it.

He's pointing out what a disaster Ethanol is...not only in the fact that it
is a less efficient fuel (as a replacement for straight oil-based gasoline),
and that it has actually created more pollution because it requires so
much energy to produce it...but also this...

Ethanol is based in corn, and has required a huge amount of corn to
produce, creating this terrible domino effect...

1) A huge percentage of corn has been diverted from the food supply
into the production of ethanol.
2) Corn prices have gone way up, resulting in a huge cost of production
in all those industries that depend on corn. Poultry farms, for instance
(where half their cost is in the cost of feed) are strapped, and in some
cases, are going out of business. The cost of beef is now projected to
double within the next year or two.
3) Food supplies in other nations that depend on corn as a staple
(Mexico, for instance) are now suffering greatly.
4) As a result, the demand for other similar food sources, and other
industries that depend on corn, has gone way up, resulting in increases
in the cost of soybeans, wheat, cotton, and other crops.
5) Since a huge number of countries in the world depend on the corn
supply produced by the United States, starvation in other countries has
literally increased dramatically. You may be noticing the "food riots"
occurring in other countries, due to increased food costs.
6) It's also had a domino effect in increasing base food costs for
restaurants, grocery stores, stock prices for commodities, causing
unemployment from people losing jobs, and so forth.
7) Forests are being cut down in huge volume in order to plant crops
to compensate, resulting in fewer trees that remove CO2 from the
atmosphere.

I was shocked to learn that 40 % of the current US supply of corn is
being diverted into the production of Ethanol. Moreover, if the projections
for the switching over to Ethanol by the year 2025 are met, ALL of the
US corn supply needs to be used for the production of Ethanol.

Mark Belling points out that nobody really challenged the idea of Ethanol,
and that those who did were criticized for being "not in favor of wanting
to be 'eco-friendly'." He says that yes we should search for alternative
fuels (like maybe figuring out a way to use garbage as a fuel source).
However, Ethanol has been a disaster. Corn should be eaten, not put
into our gas tanks.

Want your thoughts, CK...

For my part, Ethanol is a PERFECT example of an issue that SOUNDS
good, but is actually horribly bad, but nobody actually thinks it through.
In fact I didn't even realize this until I heard this analysis of it.
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Old 04-14-2008, 08:35 PM   #158
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I've never been a fan of ethanol, for the many reasons you point out.

I am of the opinion that we should be using several alternative fuels, and should have been using them 10 years ago. Unfortunately, nobody really cares. Anytime someone brings up the environment and alternative fuels, they get accused of being "environmentalist wackos." It's a shame, the environment should be a top issue among candidates, but most voters just don't care.

The most intriguing fuel I've studied are biodeisels. That is the stuff like grease from the fry machine at fast food joints. People have cars that run on the stuff right now. It is cheap, efficient, and the stuff is going to waste as we speak.

Now on to a related issue. I don't mean to pile on George W. Bush, but I want your thoughts on this.

George W. Bush and his family have been involved with "big oil" for years. They have close ties to the entire oil industry. Don't you find it a bit suspicious that while he was president, oil prices more than DOUBLED, oil companies are making RECORD PROFITS, and alternative fuel research has received minimal funding from the federal government. Until recently George W. Bush denied global warming.

While the American people struggle to pay their bills, the oil executives around the country are taking in record profits. Don't you think this is a problem? Shouldn't the president be more interested in helping the American people instead of oil executives?
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:45 PM   #159
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Quote:
Recall about a year ago that Russ Feingold's name was bantered
about as a possible Democratic Presidential candidate? Wouldn't
it have been ironic if Feingold DID run, and DID get the nomination?
I was really hoping to see Feingold run, but he didn't because he's Jewish, and a Jew has even less chance of winning than a black guy or woman. Personally, I would've voted for him, as he's probably the most honest, hardworking polititian that I've ever heard of. He's one of the few senators that will absolutely not sign a bill with earmarks.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:10 PM   #160
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deavobadger View Post
I was really hoping to see Feingold run, but he didn't because he's Jewish, and a Jew has even less chance of winning than a black guy or woman.
Demonstrably false. Remember Joe Lieberman, who came within a
hairs-breadth of become VP back in 2000 ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by deavobadger View Post
He's one of the few senators that will absolutely not sign a bill with earmarks.
If this is a major issue for you, then vote for McCain, who never
signed an earmark one single time in his senatorial career.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:48 PM   #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CKFresh View Post
I've never been a fan of ethanol, for the many reasons you point out.
Glad of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CKFresh View Post
I am of the opinion that we should be using several alternative fuels, and should have been using them 10 years ago. Unfortunately, nobody really cares. Anytime someone brings up the environment and alternative fuels, they get accused of being "environmentalist wackos." It's a shame, the environment should be a top issue among candidates, but most voters just don't care.
The most intriguing fuel I've studied are biodeisels. That is the stuff like grease from the fry machine at fast food joints. People have cars that run on the stuff right now. It is cheap, efficient, and the stuff is going to waste as we speak.
Some fuels, like the ones you describe, may work, but there just may
not be enough of it to meet our needs. This was the problem with
wind power. Not enough of it was able to be harnessed to make it
worth how many windmills we'd have to build.

Personally, I'm coming around on nuclear power. We're starting to
have the technology to contain the waste, and I'm learning that the
volume of the waste is actually very minimal. The reason why Cherbobyl
and Three Mile Island happened was because the technology to
contain the waste was poor.

I've heard that some gasoline replacements using substances like
alfalfa can be developed. For me, I agree with developing alt fuels,
but, in the meantime, we need to replace our worn-out oil refineries,
and drill for oil where it's available, like off-shore of California and Florida,
in Alaska, and in Montana and Colorado.

For the argument against drilling in Alaska, in terms of the pollution
factor, I say better WE drill, since we can do so with careful restrictions
and the technology to minimize pollution, rather than rely on the Middle
Eastern nations, who are the most notorious polluters in the world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CKFresh View Post
George W. Bush and his family have been involved with "big oil" for years. They have close ties to the entire oil industry. Don't you find it a bit suspicious that while he was president, oil prices more than DOUBLED, oil companies are making RECORD PROFITS, and alternative fuel research has received minimal funding from the federal government. Until recently George W. Bush denied global warming.
It is bothersome, I agree. Whether it's directly due to GWB, I'd not be
so sure.

A few comments...

The main reason gas prices have gone through the roof is that nations
like China (who have dumped socialism as an economic system, and have
adopted more capitalist practices) are now competing in the international
oil market. We Americans forget that India has 3x the population of the US
and China has 4x. WAY MORE people competing for the oil. Supply and
demand = skyrocketing oil prices.

In California, for instance, there are no oil refineries newer than 20 years
old. Worn out oil refineries, and the need to drill for oil in new sources.
Part I place on the Democrats, in resisting oil companies who would drill
for oil off-shore, and in Alaska, for "environmentalist" reasons. My
suspicious side wants to believe that the Dems will resist opportunities
for us to drill for oil, and then blame Bush for high oil prices....but I won't
go there as a simple-explanation-to-explain-it. Then again, we COULD
get off of Middle Eastern oil (the 11% we get from that region) easily
if we drilled our OWN oil in Alaska, Colorado, Montana, and off-shore.

Thirdly, I reject that the Iraq War was about "stealing their oil" and I
can basically prove it. While our oil interests are a factor, we could
BUY all of Iraq's oil for about 80-100 billion dollars, so the half-trillion
we spent on the War does not compute. It would be like a kid paying a
bigger kid a dollar to go into a candy store to steal 25 cents worth of
candy.

Still, maybe the oil companies in America are relishing this situation.
Some ARE making out like bandits. I'm not sure if it's necessarily Bush
by himself who is causing all of this. Moreover, none of us really knows
what dirty deals have gone on behind the scenes, and WHO has ever
been involved, from either side of the aisle.

I've always giving GWB the benefit of the doubt, and taking him to be
basically an honest guy...but am always open to the possibility that I
could certainly be wrong about that in the end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CKFresh View Post
While the American people struggle to pay their bills, the oil executives around the country are taking in record profits. Don't you think this is a problem? Shouldn't the president be more interested in helping the American people instead of oil executives?
Ultimately, let's let these oil executives drill in Alaska, Montana, Colorado,
and off-shore. Then, maybe they won't need to be so hoardy about the
oil they have to sell. Furthermore, it's the best way to get us out of the
Middle Eastern oil market.
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Old 04-15-2008, 02:51 PM   #162
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Demonstrably false. Remember Joe Lieberman, who came within a
hairs-breadth of become VP back in 2000 ?
That was the reason that he gave for not running. He would actually make a really good veep, however, so I think that he might be a darkhorse pick for that. 50% of people in America would refuse to vote for a non-Christian for President, but don't seem to mind them as VP.

Quote:
If this is a major issue for you, then vote for McCain, who never
signed an earmark one single time in his senatorial career.
This is one of the many reasons that I strongly considered voting for McCain in the Rep. primary, over Obama in the Dems. He has also vowed to put some Democrats in his Cabinet, I believe. Some of the best presidencies in American history had bi-partisan cabinets, and I think it's time for another.
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:30 AM   #163
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But the big advantage of ethanol is that would enable us to give the Arab oil blackmailers the proverbial middle-finger salute - something we are going to have to do sooner or later.

In the short term, however, we are going to have to drill in the Arctic, and even offshore; the loss of, say, Santa Catalina as a beach resort is more than an acceptable price to pay for not freezing in the dark.
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Old 04-16-2008, 11:44 AM   #164
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I, as one that has a "stake" in ethanol (no I'm not invested in a company, nor do I farm anymore), like seeing the farmers of my area making some money. They nearly all use their own products whenever they can. They use biodiesel and ethanol blends in their tractors, trucks and personal vehicles.
I would have no problem removing the subsidy for the product. If it can make it on its own, fine. If not, also fine. Ethanol can be produced to sell for about $2/gallon with a reasonable profit for the producers. The starch is all that is removed from the corn and the "mash" is sold to local cattle and hog farmers as feed. It is not wasted. Alternative products are being used -- switchgrass, lawn-clippings, etc., so there should be no problem with the price of food rising to an unacceptable level.
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Old 04-16-2008, 11:53 AM   #165
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By the way Phil, do not be concerned about the US not being able to produce enough corn to meet the demands. OUr farmers and seed companies are amazing. I have seen (several years ago now) hybrids that can yield 400 bu/acre -- nearly double what is currently being used. The seed is very expensive and is not readily available, yet, but the day will come when it will be. Seed production is something I grew up around and the US farmers use technologies from 20+ countries in their fields annually. US seed companies have working arrangements, either through direct ownership or licensing, with companies in South and Central America, Africa, Australia, Europe and Asia, so production and testing goes on 12 months a of the year. There is no down-time anymore. This, by the way, is one of the good things to come out of NAFTA.
Don't be concerned about the production. It will be fine.
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