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October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror" 
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
s_on_my_chest wrote:
Republicans are corrupt
Democrats are incompetent


Both are as bad as each-other in both categories. I've long since given up using such labels due to the fact that most people are within the central portion of a venndiagram anyway.

We have a right to decide if we vote or not. Who is anyone to say it's 'bad' to not vote?


Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:07 pm
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Right on James, I agree 100%. No matter who I vote for, the government always gets in.

It is fairly obvious that little changes through the electoral process (although people will cite many irrelevant details to refute this). No matter the party in power, we still continue to drive ourselves over the cliff and pretend there is no consequence for our total fiscal irresponsibility, or for squandering America's traditional global competitive advantage (freedom from government). Thus, the decades-long bubble that is America's relative prosperity will soon burst, and we will revert to the global mean for standard of living, or worse.

No election will change this course. Better to enjoy what we've got, while we still got it, and avoid wasting our most precious resource (time) with the trivialities of irrelevant politics.


Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:21 pm
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
I agree with you James.

I don't like politics. I think they are important and I should care, but I don't. There are a few reasons for this.

1. I don't know enough to make an informed decision. How can I make my vote be for anyone unless I am certain it is the right person? I won't. I comb the internet looking for tips and advice on anything I want to buy. My truck, my new computer components, my new monitor. All these things get researched until I am happy I found the right one. Silly analogy, but I think it fits.

2. I don't know enough to make an informed decision because I can't trust anyone. All media is biased. All of it. They will put whatever spin on it they can to make it look better for them.

3. I think the electoral college is rubbish beyond belief. Get a new system in place already. I voted for Bush(only time I have ever voted), and I still think this is the worst way to elect the most powerful man in the world. How does my vote even count if I am not technically voting for the President.


For a while now, I have thought that you should be required to take and pass a test in order to be able to vote. Everyone is able to take the test, but you can only cast a vote if you pass. The test would consist of current topics that are relevant to that election. This would force people to actually learn the candidates and what they stand for.

OK, it is very late. I rambled.


Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:55 am
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
I disagree with JB completely on this point.

To say that both parties are the same because neither one has lowered taxes is a very narrow view of the political process. The two parties differ greatly on many critical issues, including health care, educational policies, the environment, abortion rights and many others. If you don't care about any of those issues, by all means do not vote. But then don't complain when the resulting laws are not to your liking.


Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:30 am
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
There are a lot of people on this board who say: "No, no, no! The two parties are different, they have different values!" And you know what? They're right. There are fundamental differences between Democrats and Republicans.

On paper.

Obviously, the two parties have different agendas and the elected officials representing them have different viewpoints. But being elected has a way of skewing the moral compass.

Politics is a game of compromises. It's all about getting votes from this guy from Nebraska or this other one from Rhode Island. The problem is that in order to do so you have to promise your own support to the Nebraska dude for his pet project. And so on.

After so much compromising, not much gets done at the end of the day. Certainly not the bright ideas which had been promised during election campaigns. This is what happens when every representative and every senator is free to vote as they see fit (or are simply for sale).

On the other hand, in the parliamentary system like here in Canada, there is a party line tradition where every elected member of a party has to vote like their leader. So a lot of stuff gets done when the leading party has majority. For minority government situations, it's back to negotiating and compromises.

The members of this board who take offense at the two parties being put in the same basket must be really young and hopeful (I don't want to use the word naive). But wait 10 years see how you see the world...

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Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:09 am
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
slksc wrote:
I disagree with JB completely on this point.

To say that both parties are the same because neither one has lowered taxes is a very narrow view of the political process. The two parties differ greatly on many critical issues.


I don't believe I said that the parties are the same because neither has lowered taxes. I merely used my property tax as an indicator that members of neither party keep their word. Governors in this state have been running on a "lower the property tax" platform for more than 20 years, and no one has done it yet. Remains to be seen if the current governor, who at least seems to be making an effort, will succeed.

The issue isn't lowering taxes or raising taxes - it's putting into practice the pre-election promises. Neither party does that. As Bushteaser wrote elsewhere in this thread, there are vast philosophical differences between Democrats and Republicans - on paper. In practice, especially as they impact the "average" individual, not so much.


Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:21 am
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
How can you say that both parties are in anyway similar? This has been one of the most productive Congresses ever and that is with a completely obstructionist Republican minority. Would Healthcare reform have passed with Republicans in control? I doubt it and this is going to affect nearly everyone even if many people don't notice. Would we have a strong Financial Regulation? What kind of lame stimulus bill would we have had if deficit-hawk Republicans were in power and how much higher would unemployment then be?

And that is only at the Federal level. At your local level I suspect your vote matters even more (less people voting) and likely affects you even more. Yes, they all utter banalities and platitudes to get elected because that is what people want to here. Nobody will get elected by saying they are going to raise taxes. You betrayed your own favor of lower taxes by focusing on a tax to highlight how the parties are the same.

I agree that business plays too large a role in politics, but to perpetuate the myth that the parties are identical is disservice to your readers and to your normally intelligent posts.


Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:19 pm
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
James Berardinelli wrote:
As Bushteaser wrote elsewhere in this thread, there are vast philosophical differences between Democrats and Republicans - on paper. In practice, especially as they impact the "average" individual, not so much.


I'm sorry, but I can't accept the thesis that it doesn't matter to the "average" person which party controls Congress.

For example, you may hate the new health care plan, or you may think it's a step in the right direction. Regardless, I promise you that anyone who lives in the US will be significantly affected by it.

There's a law that determines whether human stem cells can be used to research potential cures for diseases that affect millions of people. Like it or hate it, this law is determined by the party that controls Congress.

Congress will establish pollution standards that may affect global warming on the one hand, or decrease industry and jobs on the other. Regardless of your opinion on the subject, is there anyone who is not affected by this issue?

And local votes are even more important. Every local election has bond issues that may either affect quality of life in your community or your property taxes. And, if you live in California, you can help determine whether recreational cannabis is legal in your state (!)

Think the current government is worthless? Unfortunately, apathy does nothing to help improve government; it only makes it worse.


Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:24 pm
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Look at the big picture people. You either have to be born rich or get in bed with various constituencies who will demand policies that favor them in exchange for the hefty donations they make towards the campaign if you want to be elected in any major position of power. Doesn't it say in the Bible somewhere (maybe it's another religious or otherwise ancient text I'm thinking of here; correct me if I'm wrong) that the person who desires power the most deserves it the least? Why do we keep electing self-interested, immoral evil fuckwads into office? Is it really a government by the people, for the people?

Moreover, I don't necessarily blame the government. I blame society. We're nothing but a bunch've of zombies, mindlessly consuming the bullshit that's spoon fed to us. Well, I'm waiting for us to turn into the dog that bit the hand that fed him.

VIVA REVOLUCION!

P.S. This post is saturated both with whole-hearted believes and cynical sarcasm. It's at YOUR discretion to decipher.


Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:40 pm
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
I just remembered something, when you were talking about the 2004 elections you said you were a huge McCain booster. What happened during the four years before the 2008 elections?


Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:54 pm
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Timmy Shoes wrote:
Look at the big picture people. You either have to be born rich or get in bed with various constituencies who will demand policies that favor them in exchange for the hefty donations they make towards the campaign if you want to be elected in any major position of power. Doesn't it say in the Bible somewhere (maybe it's another religious or otherwise ancient text I'm thinking of here; correct me if I'm wrong) that the person who desires power the most deserves it the least? Why do we keep electing self-interested, immoral evil fuckwads into office? Is it really a government by the people, for the people?

Moreover, I don't necessarily blame the government. I blame society. We're nothing but a bunch've of zombies, mindlessly consuming the bullshit that's spoon fed to us. Well, I'm waiting for us to turn into the dog that bit the hand that fed him.

VIVA REVOLUCION!

P.S. This post is saturated both with whole-hearted believes and cynical sarcasm. It's at YOUR discretion to decipher.


Careful! Last time I quoted the bible in these forums, despite it being entirely relevant, I received an utter nailing to a bit of shitty wood.

True though, society is made up of wankers. The problem is, nobody bothered to point out that it's a bad thing... maybe if we started treating the stupid the way we treat sex offenders, we'd be on easy street.


Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:26 pm
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
So I voted, and I almost never vote a straight party line ticket. I considered doing so for the Democrats this time, simply because I'm so disgusted with the Republicans in general. But I couldn't. Our one state senator, who is a Republican, is a guy I've met and talked with a few times, and he's genuinely a decent person. So I voted for him.

The rest of the races, I spread my votes among the Democrats and independent candidates. At least my preferred choice for governor won. Yay.

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Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:19 am
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
I vote for people based on very specific issues, as in general most politicians are vague and try not to get too specific. For example if I find out a senator does not believe in evolution there is no way I would vote for them. The same goes for if they believe there should be no separation of church and state. Little things can really give me a good idea what they think about a whole range of issues. It's not perfect and you aren't guaranteed to get the best people in, but there are so many clear examples of people who are so damned stupid and make it in that I feel like I need to do my part in promoting less idiotic people.


Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:27 am
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Patrick wrote:
I just remembered something, when you were talking about the 2004 elections you said you were a huge McCain booster. What happened during the four years before the 2008 elections?


In 2000, I was a McCain booster because (in a limited sense), back when he was running in the primary against Bush, I found him to be a breath of fresh air. He never made it to the general election (which is usually what happens when someone refuses to toe the party line), so there was no question of voting for him. By 2008, he was a shell of what he had once been, having compromised everything that made him an interesting candidate in order to win the nomination.

I wasn't quite as cynical in 2000 about politics as I am today. Events of the '00s have hastened my journey down that path.


Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:10 am
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
James, James! What were you thinking!? Inciting a flame war on your own otherwise civil forum!? It's madness I tell you, madness! :o


Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:16 pm
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
majoraphasia wrote:
Not only is the cynicism being advertised tremendously unappealing but it's almost as if you've reduced politics down into how the media covers it.
You could probably make a good argument that politics is synonymous with what people are saying about it.

Anyway, outside of anarchists who hold that voting is a coercive exercise in mob mentality, I don't much care for arguments that try to muzzle the importance of voting. If you're an informed, rational citizen, voting is a civic duty. If you're not wealthy or influential, it's your one chance to say exactly what's on your mind. I'm not addressing anyone in particular--this is more the general "your," directed at America and all her ships at sea.

There are a lot of candidates. Between the Democrats and Republicans, there often isn't a hell of a lot to write home about, but Democrats and Republicans are hardly ever the only ones running. You can't tell me that out of the entire pool of candidates, there's not a single one whose values and ideas are reasonably in sync with your own. (Actually, I will concede that there is a chance--a very minor one--that this could happen. In that case, choosing not to vote is a valid choice. Otherwise, it isn't much of an excuse.) As for how much the vote is going to matter, that depends on why you're voting. If you're only voting because you think you can win, then your vote has never mattered and never will.

As for the enormous preponderance of idiots in the population, so what? Do you really think that the entire human race has ever united to make a collective leap forward in human progress? History will inevitably be decided by a small minority of intelligent forward thinkers, just as it always has been. Faith in humanity means faith in our ability to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps in spite our notorious resistance to change.

Believe me. I understand the appeal of cynicism. If you're convinced that it's all going to shit and that nothing can be done about it, you're freed from having to care about it in any meaningful way. But it's not an especially productive attitude, nor even an insightful one. It's an evasion of social responsibility.

Alexdi wrote:
This is basic civics. You can't lament the state of things while refusing to take advantage of the system to change them.
This sums it up nicely.

Robert Holloway wrote:
I just scanned the article - what does he have to do with Orson Welles? Your description makes him sound like a totally crap actor. What films has he been in? I can't find him on IMDB
I love you, sir.


Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:35 pm
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Regarding ballot strategy, bad choices between candidates, etc...

You can always not vote for any candidates, and still vote "NO" on all the various Bond Issues, Property Tax increases, etc... that may be presented on the ballot.

Also, you could vote to unseat all the judges, etc. etc..


Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:30 pm
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Interesting ReelThoughts. A few quick comments.
Quote:
A counter-argument to this philosophy is that if enough people feel like this, the absence of such a large bloc of votes could make a difference.


I would argue that this is, in fact, what is going on. The fact that roughly 45% of eligible voters don't vote is specifically the large bloc that you speak of. If it weren't for their apathy, I expect things could be different, though I gather you don't share this belief. Otherwise, I share your feelings about the general state of things, though I don't suppose I feel as defeated, yet, as you do. I think the fact that Obama was able to pass legislation that was in direct conflict with many of the dangerous special interest folks (insurance and credit card companies), was a step, albeit a small one, in the right direction. Unfortunately, I think the two parties inability to work with one another will put a swift stop to any progressive legislation, at least for the next two years, and probably longer.
James Berardinelli wrote:

In 2000, I was a McCain booster because (in a limited sense), back when he was running in the primary against Bush, I found him to be a breath of fresh air. He never made it to the general election (which is usually what happens when someone refuses to toe the party line), so there was no question of voting for him. By 2008, he was a shell of what he had once been, having compromised everything that made him an interesting candidate in order to win the nomination.

I wasn't quite as cynical in 2000 about politics as I am today. Events of the '00s have hastened my journey down that path.


I share your feelings about McCain almost to a T. Though I'm admittedly liberal, I had a significant respect for the John McCain of old, "The Maverick". Though I didn't necessarily agree with him a lot of the time, I respected his willingness to break with his party and reach across the aisle to push legislation he felt was important. I think many people forgot that he was working with Ted Kennedy on immigration reform. He's had a mega "flip-flop" on that issue, of course, and now aligns himself with the Tea Party. "Build that damn wall!". Anyway, there was a terrific article in the last issue of Vanity Fair that addressed this issue specifically. I agree with their assertion that perhaps he never was the idealist we suspected him to be, but rather was always willing to do what it took to keep his office and had nothing to principle.

Here is the link to the article. It's a good read. http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2010/11/mccain-201011

Anyway, I like the new direction of ReelThoughts. Thought provoking stuff.


Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:33 pm
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Unke wrote:
Personally, I think that people who chose not to vote cannot legitimately complain about their government.

Here is a pretty good point in favor of the exact opposite view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIraCchPDhk


Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:17 pm
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
I'm guessing James has a little Ron Paul in him.

As an aspiring political science doctoral student it'd be rather weird for me to not vote. I've voted in every single election and I'm fairly happy with this past election's results--I won't pretend to be anything other than a libertarian leaning conservative, and I was rooting for every Democrat in the country to lose (though Joe Manchin winning wasn't too bad of a matter), as I probably will in 2012.

People look for perfection too much and then get jaded when candidates invariably prove to be, well, human. I have no illusions that the GOP won't do everything that I want it to. Heck, there are a few issues where the GOP leadership has a different position than I do--I favor decriminalization of several drugs, not because I ever want to use illicit narcotics but because I don't think the government should bother legislating against them, and I'd love to see a significant change in the immigration policy toward a very minimalistic role for government, allowing the natural flow of labor migrants.

But that won't happen. So as long as the GOP does enough for me I'll be content and probably vote for whoever the GOP runs in 2012, as long as it's not Sarah Palin.

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Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:28 am
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