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Thread: Politics thread

  1. #3401
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    Quote Originally Posted by BulletMagnet View Post
    Fixed. True, we're not as completely dominated by far-right loons as we've been in recent years, but it's going to take a LOT more effort to instill anything resembling a truly Liberal-with-a-capital-L influence on the country's direction, considering how long we've been shifted forcibly to the right.
    You're overlooking the number of openly liberal Senate and House candidates who won in this election, as well as a number of hardcore right-wing candidates who got wiped out (such as Allen West, my now former Representative). A Presidential candidate won on a campaign of raising taxes, an idea that would have been a death sentence only eight years ago. Support for repealing Obamacare is at a record low (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics...macare-repeal/)

    Quote Originally Posted by BulletMagnet
    Seriously, a return to *gasp!* Clinton-era tax rates...for the very richest is still treated as a serious point of contention
    It's not a serious point of contention with the country. A plurality of voters now support raising taxes on the upper-rungs of the economy (http://www.businessinsider.com/obama...-romney-2012-7). 70% also support raising capital gains taxes to 30% (http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com...-buffett-rule/).

    We've legalized marijuana for the first time on a state level, and a handful of states passed marriage equality ballots through the popular vote as opposed to judicial or legislative order.

    The country is changing. Just because the country hasn't turned into Amsterdam overnight doesn't negate my points earlier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revuhlooshun View Post
    It's not a serious point of contention with the country. A plurality of voters now support raising taxes on the upper-rungs of the economy
    A plurality of voters support SCADS of liberal initiatives, and have done so for YEARS, under administrations of various stripes; the problem is that most of these are never implemented because those hordes of people have such limited representation in the halls of government where this stuff is actually supposed to take place. The recent election is a step in the right direction, I suppose, but we're still far more of a plutocracy than most of us would like to admit.

    The country is changing. Just because the country hasn't turned into Amsterdam overnight doesn't negate my points earlier.
    I suppose you're right as far as it goes, but it still seems to me that the "Center" marker in politics has been moved so far right over the past 30-plus years (again, if moving the top tax rate from 35 to 39 percent has such wide support, why is it constantly treated as such a controversial thing, even by the so-called "liberal" media, who parrot every corporate talking point ["I'll have to fire everyone if this goes through!"] they're fed?) that we need more than a handful more "liberals" in Washington - we need a constant, strongly-backed effort to (re-)redefine where exactly the line is, when you look at the big picture and at history. As long as some well-paid blowhard can go on cable TV and call any country with a public health care a "Socialist state" and not be immediately laughed off the stage with his career in tatters, we're not going to get anywhere no matter how many times we pat ourselves on the back.

    No, it won't happen overnight, but the fact that so many "liberals" seem to feel that they own the world after this election does not encourage me when it comes to our long-term prospects. A handful of victories, immediately followed by laziness and complacency...you do know what the next step in the sequence is, right?

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    Look at the country in 2002, and then look at it in 2012. Look at country's attitude then, and then look at it now.
    Last edited by Revuhlooshun; 11-16-2012 at 05:57 PM.

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    2002 isn't the best starting point, right after 9-11 the country went retarded and kow towed to the authoritarians for the sake of "safety". We're better in lots of ways, but the Patriot Act is still around and Obama hasn't done shit to roll any of that back (not that I expected any president to willingly give up executive powers).

    The Democrats have become a center-right party. With a few exceptions, they're pretty much what the Republicans were 25 years ago. The republicans doubled down on the religious crazy after 9-11 (having a new boogeyman in the form of Islam helped) and now they're far right. Democrats for the most part are only liberal by comparison.

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    In 1987, the Republican Party was calling for a further gutting of marginal tax rates, financial regulations, and environmental regulations; a perpetual increasing of defense spending and a projection of U.S. force across the entire globe; a crusade against any sort of health care reform; the segregation and removal of homosexuals from the U.S. military and the outright criminalization of homosexuality with anti-sodomy laws; and the privatization of Social Security. The very idea of government being capable of anything beneficial was one which was despised.

    Democrats of today do not sound anything like the Republican Party of 25 years prior. And indeed, most of the population does not support these initiatives in the numbers that they once did. 25 years probably is a better starting point, because it illustrates my point in a more drastic way. In only a quarter of a century, we've gone from the age of the Reagan Revolution that I just described to an age where almost all of its tenets have been rebuked, disproved, or done away with by the voting public.

    This meme that both parties are identical is exaggerated. Yes, they have overlaps -- that's a natural effect of living in a democracy. Uncontroversial issues which large swathes of the population support will be adhered and pandered to by both parties. We're seeing such a consensus forming on immigration as we speak, now that the Republicans have seen it is a losing issue for them and that it will be for some time to come. But there are still very significant differences which do matter and do affect people's lives.

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    This would be a great time for younger, saner conservatives to take control of the Republican party. Either it evolves or we can look forward to seeing it dissolved within our lifetimes. Ideally, one of the first steps would be to demonstrate that a traditional religious belief system isn't necessary for those who wish to represent the socially conservative lifestyle. For example, let's say we think traditional marriage should be upheld and strengthened in the public eye. That's admirable. However we don't need to legislate against gays to make that happen. We need to differentiate between sound public policy, and shit that people read in story books.

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    Obamacare was pulled straight out of the Heritage Foundation, it was originally proposed by the Republicans in the 90's as an alternative to Hillarycare. Average income tax for a family of four in 1983 under Reagan was about 11.1 percent, under Clinton in 1992 it was around 9.2. Now it's ridiculously low thanks to Bush, around 4.7. More recently there were plenty of Democrats that supported SOPA/PIPA until the entire Internet revolted.

    The theocrats need to be drummed out of the Republican party, and they need to drop the social issues like yesterday. That's going to end up killing them in another generation or two as more people start realizing that gays aren't possessed by demons and are just regular people who happen to be attracted to their own sex. Republicans need to actually get serious about the small government / smart fiscal sense platform they've been pretending to follow, because otherwise they're going to become more and more marginalized until they wake up and realize they're no longer relevant.

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    How would we have passed anything but Obamacare at the time? With what votes? Politics is the art of the possible. We barely passed the Heritage Foundation's plan due to Republican obstruction. Plenty of Democrats tried passing a Medicare expansion and even a public option at the very least, but if you don't have the votes, then you don't have the votes. Just because the party reckoned with reality and compromised to get something done doesn't mean that they've sold their soul to Ludwig von Mises.

    I don't see the importance of the Reagan/Clinton comparison. Clinton wasn't even in office in 1992 -- he was inaugurated in 1993. Both dates are also quite early on in each of their administrations (especially Clinton's, which was really in Bush I's administration) -- how can you measure the effectiveness of their policies after such a short time span, before they've had time to really go into effect? Those figures can easily change from year to year based on a number of variables.

    Clinton purposely ran as a conservative Democrat to undermine the rightward swing of the country. In his words, he was "a New Democrat." Nobody's contesting Clinton leaned to the right at the time in order to win. But this also speaks to the fact that the Democrats of 2012 do not need to run to the right to win like Clinton had to 20 years ago -- this further cements my point that there's been a very visible sea-change in the electorate. This is again further evidenced by the number of openly liberal candidates who won elected offices in 2012 and the number of openly conservative candidates who lost races.

    In addition: I see no sources for those figures. Where are you getting them from?

    As for SOPA/PIPA:



    SOPA/PIPA had 80 supporters from both parties and 31 opponents from both parties the day before it was protested on a large scale, tallying a grand total of 111 members who even voiced an opinion on the subject beforehand. As a reference: There are 438 members of the House (of which 193 were Democrats), and 100 members of the Senate (of which 51 were Democrats). At the time of this chart, there were 244 Democrats in Congress altogether. The total number of Democrats who voiced support for SOPA/PIPA before it became unpopular was 44 (as seen in that chart). 18% of the elected Democratic Party supported SOPA/PIPA before January 19th.

    I would not call that an overwhelming amount.
    Last edited by Revuhlooshun; 11-17-2012 at 02:27 AM.

  10. #3410
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revuhlooshun View Post
    Look at the country in 2002, and then look at it in 2012. Look at country's attitude then, and then look at it now.
    Nobody's saying that there's no difference at all, nor that there's "no difference between the parties" (you should know that I, of all people, wouldn't be the one to dig up that old chestnut), but I WOULD caution those happy overall with the election results to overestimate what exactly has been accomplished here. For instance, when statements like this are made...

    In only a quarter of a century, we've gone from the age of the Reagan Revolution that I just described to an age where almost all of its tenets have been rebuked, disproved, or done away with by the voting public.
    ...I begin to get very worried. It very much behooves all liberals (and neutral observers, if such people truly exist) to remember well that for the vast majority of the years since the "Reagan revolution" the country has been moving steadily rightward. The period in question was NOT a gradual rejection of "movement conservatism" - you are correct in saying that most everything about it has been rebuked or disproved by now, simply because most of it doesn't make a lick of sense, but a LOT of people still believe a LOT of the so-called "conventional wisdom" that the movement spawned, in large part because far too many liberals remained complacent for far too long.

    Cutting taxes (especially for the rich) not only enriches the general population but increases government revenue. Poor people are only poor because they're lazy and unmotivated - Cadillac-driving welfare queens are stealing your hard-earned money via government programs. Government health care is an utter failure in every place it's been tried; they have death panels over there. Liberals and gays own Hollywood, educational institutions, and the media, and are using them all to indoctrinate your children and further their agenda. Saddam DID have weapons of mass destruction and WAS involved in 9/11. Regulators want to outlaw cars, take away your guns, close down churches and stop you from eating anything with too much salt in it. FDR's policies had absolutely nothing to do with getting the nation out of the Depression, and Hoover and his predecessors' had nothing to do with getting us into it. The USA is God's chosen country and can do no wrong, as long as God-fearing people are running it.

    A nation in which a sizable percentage - in some cases, I'd wager, a clear majority - of people still believe, and are openly told to believe, by people who keep their jobs for decades by doing so, ANY portion of the above (especially after all we've been through since Reagan) is NOT a country where liberals have been making a competent counter-argument and are just now reaping the rewards for all their hard work. McCain and Romney were both terrible candidates (and moreover selected perhaps even more loathsome running mates), and yet both came FAR too close to the country's highest office for me to buy into the "liberalism is back, baby" rhetoric.

    Yes, things ARE better in some respects, nobody's denying that, but anybody who doesn't think that we've still got one HELL of an uphill battle ahead of us if we want to get anything done is just as hyped up on happy pills as any Foxbot ever to roam the earth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BulletMagnet
    A nation in which a sizable percentage - in some cases, I'd wager, a clear majority - of people still believe, and are openly told to believe, by people who keep their jobs for decades by doing so, ANY portion of the above
    I don't want wagers, I want evidence and sources. You just went on a very partisan rant and accused half the country of believing very absurd things with nothing to support that claim. That is an extremely broad and specific brush that you just painted 150+ million people with. It's not very fair, especially without any sources.

    Quote Originally Posted by BulletMagnet
    McCain and Romney were both terrible candidates (and moreover selected perhaps even more loathsome running mates), and yet both came FAR too close to the country's highest office for me to buy into the "liberalism is back, baby" rhetoric.
    Nobody is asking you to buy into anything. We're looking at trends. The political orientation of the country has changed from what it has been in the last 25 years. Candidates can now run openly on traditionally liberal stances and win races, a thing which could not be done only a decade or so ago. The Democratic Party has become an actual contender in American politics under the guidance of Barack Obama. These are demonstrable facts, no more, no less. They'll change eventually -- the country ebbs and flows between the two parties. But right now, we are in the middle of a leftward trend that can be traced as far back as 2006. Your resistance to this idea though seems to boil down to purely self-interested political reasons:

    Quote Originally Posted by BulletMagnet
    Yes, things ARE better in some respects, nobody's denying that, but anybody who doesn't think that we've still got one HELL of an uphill battle ahead of us if we want to get anything done is just as hyped up on happy pills as any Foxbot ever to roam the earth.
    With all due respect, I don't care about any uphill battle, nor am I hyped up on "happy pills." Not everyone views these things through a partisan lens. I'm trying to analyze this from a neutral perspective, not cheerlead for a football team. Take the voting population from 1987, 2002, or 1995, and it is markedly different and more right-leaning than the population of today. You can offer all of the caveats you want, but it doesn't change that difference. Just look at the demographics: Hispanics, which break largely for the Democrats, are swallowing up voting share from whites who traditionally lean Republican. Much of this leftward trend is fueled by the simple fact that the Republican base is evaporating from existence, along with a lot of other factors colliding into each other at once. It's pretty easy to see this trend in motion if we can put the partisan blinders aside and look at it objectively. This shouldn't be this controversial.
    Last edited by Revuhlooshun; 11-17-2012 at 03:20 AM.

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    Tax numbers in my previous post were from googling median tax rates for a family of four under various administrations after filtering out sites known for partisan spin and number juggling. Was trying to keep my kid from splitting his head open on the fireplace hearth while watching the Avengers so I completely failed at communicating my point, which was that Reaganomics is fucking retarded, and that we should have pushed for even higher taxes during the 90's tech boom under Clinton. Trying to juggle too much at once, should have just left it out. My bad.

    SOPA/PIPA thing: Nearly a fifth of democrats supporting those terrible fucking bills means that way too many democrats supported those terrible fucking bills. None of them should have. I suspect most of them did it to make corporate campaign donors happy.

    Ultimately, what I'm saying is the country has been fed a lot of "AMERICAN FUCK YEAH GONNA MESS UP SOME COMMIE ISLAM BOOGEYMEN CAUSE WE'RE JESUS'S FAVORITE" over the last couple of decades and things are finally swinging away from crazy land. Nobody's arguing that the country isn't shifting towards the left or that both sides are the same. The point I'm trying to make is the country took a hard turn to the right earlier and now the calibration is wonky and we've got Democrats occupying many of the same places that Republicans once held, simply because of the state of the political landscape. The D's had to shift right to survive. Now they're able start dragging things back to the left, but we've still got a way to go before we get to the center again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aarony Mxy Yost
    Nearly a fifth of democrats supporting those terrible fucking bills means that way too many democrats supported those terrible fucking bills. None of them should have. I suspect most of them did it to make corporate campaign donors happy.
    Just highlighting this bit because I don't really have a problem with anything else.

    The thing we need to keep in mind here is that the country will always be near-evenly divided. I've mentioned this a few times in this thread, but it bears repeating: At the time of the Revolutionary War, a third of the people wanted independence, a third wanted to remain a part of Britain, and another third simply didn't care one way or the other. Historians peg the size of the forces loyal to Britain at around 500,000 (source here: http://countrystudies.us/united-states/history-33.htm) and the size of the Continental Army to have been under 400,000 (source here: http://www.history.army.mil/books/Re...sch/chpt-1.htm), figures which include men, women, and children in both combat and non-combat roles out of an estimated colonial population of 2.5 million. These divisions continued even after we won the war when the founding fathers split off into the bitter factions of the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. We've always been a divided nation

    American politics is a contest between 90% of the electorate fighting over the remaining 10%. As such, we're always going to have some Democrats who will be more conservative in conservative areas and some Republicans who will be more liberal in liberal areas. 1/5th of elected Democrats may have supported SOPA/PIPA, but 4/5ths didn't. You have to allow breathing room for members in more conservative districts in order to retain a majority in either house. We will never see 51 solid, die-hard Democrats in the Senate, nor will we see the same thing with conservative Republicans. You cannot win as a party in American politics without gravitating towards that center and towards that remaining 10% on some issues. Even Mitt Romney recognized that towards the end of his campaign.

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    I think that's where the Republicans have made their mistake. They invited the preachers and the John Birch crazies into their party, while for the most part the Democrats have booted their extremists out so they go Green Party or wherever. Republicans need to do the same, so we can have a center right and center left party willing to actually work together, keep each other in line, and do what's best for the country. I have a bad feeling the conservatives are going to double down instead though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revuhlooshun View Post
    The thing we need to keep in mind here is that the country will always be near-evenly divided.
    See, that's just the thing: when it comes to a lot of issues that people are most starkly divided on, one side is provably right and the other is provably wrong. Not all of them, but a lot of them: some issues are and always will be a matter of opinion, or at least involve situations that can't be easily predicted or quantified (i.e. "Would we be better off as a colony or as an independent nation?"), but "Do tax cuts for rich people increase revenue?" is NOT a matter one can "disagree" on and still be considered a legitimate position. You might as well still insist that the earth is flat...and then kowtow the media into giving you equal air time, accusing them of "bias" if they don't. And the rest of us are just supposed to shrug and say "Well, that's the way things always will be."

    So yeah, I suppose I am speaking from a partisan point of view, and insisting that such "electoral shifts" as this one mean little if nothing of note actually gets accomplished as a result. I do not do so, however, just for the heck of it; I do so because I believe that, for the country to endure (especially if it wants to remain a superpower), it needs to at the VERY least be working off of, whenever possible, a set of tangible facts, not a slurry mixture of half-truths and outright fantasy. For the moment, at least, one side of the political equation is sticking much more closely to known factual matters to guide its policy than the other, and thus should ideally be the one to command the tone of the debate (and hopefully shame the other party into joining the "reality-based community" and actually be of some use), but the fact of the matter is that it simply hasn't, for decades now, and though things are swinging a bit back into its direction of late there's still a LOAD of misinformation and misinformers out there, and these DO, like it or not, influence a big chunk of the electorate (not sure offhand where they keep the latest statistics on who believes what...the only ones that show up above the fold are the ones about ghosts and space aliens). There will always be outliers who will latch onto any silly thing that sounds good to them, but there's no way that such blatant falsehoods should hold as significant a place in what passes for our national debate: to put it bluntly, a country in which Rush Limbaugh is awarded an honorary Congressional membership from grateful lawmakers for helping to swing elections their way (and let's not even get back into Citizens United...by the way, how goddamned daft is Alito on this?) is not a country that can continue to function, let alone lead others by example.

    Yes, I'm ranting, but I find it absolutely amazing how few people seem concerned about how little factual information matters in this country: I'm not accusing you of willful ignorance here, as you definitely aren't the misinformed type, but I would argue that taking a "neutral stance" towards what this election means is not really an option under the present circumstances. One side aims to go by what it knows; the other aims to go by what it wants. I really don't see a way that any interested citizen could just stand by and say "Hmm. That's interesting" and leave it at that. Yes, the Republican party is inarguably a smaller tent than it used to be, but if that small tent is still able to exercise disproportionate influence over the nation's direction by openly misrepresenting both what it stands for and how the world works then it doesn't mean a thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BulletMagnet
    but I would argue that taking a "neutral stance" towards what this election means is not really an option under the present circumstances. One side aims to go by what it knows; the other aims to go by what it wants. I really don't see a way that any interested citizen could just stand by and say "Hmm. That's interesting" and leave it at that.
    I spoke nothing of taking a "neutral stance." If you cannot look at data from a neutral perspective, you cannot interpret it correctly. This is an entirely different thing from taking a neutral or indifferent stance on an issue.

    This "us vs them" mentality is counterintuitive to analysis. If you're just as partisan as Sean Hannity is, then you'll end up being just as misinformed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revuhlooshun View Post
    I spoke nothing of taking a "neutral stance." If you cannot look at data from a neutral perspective, you cannot interpret it correctly.
    Well, I suppose it depends on what you mean when you say "interpret", at least concerning the two of us here: both of us look at the election results as well as the historical trend and both acknowledge that things are moving in a generally liberal direction, so on that level, at least, we agree. Where the path forks is just how significant a shift we each detect, and where we think things are likely to go from here: you appear to predict that the trend will continue for the foreseeable future, because the American public is genuinely turning to liberalism for solutions to what ails it, while I detect more of an anomaly born partially out of desperation (and the missteps of the opposition) at work, and see the trend fading very quickly if a better case isn't actively made on our end. Not sure if there's any definitive "validation" of either viewpoint at this stage of the game...

    This "us vs them" mentality is counterintuitive to analysis. If you're just as partisan as Sean Hannity is, then you'll end up being just as misinformed.
    Again, to a point I'm in your camp on this, but it also has a whiff of the "everyone's viewpoint is always equally valid" brand of discussion that's helped so many disasters along in recent years, though I know that isn't your intention. Sure, I have pretty strong feelings when it comes to politics (though I'd stop short of labeling myself a Bizarro-Hannity...as much as I dislike Bush I never called him a Fascist, let alone nightly, live in front of millions of viewers for a fat paycheck), but as unsavory as it sounds there IS a very powerful and very determined "them" who are out to willfully muddy the waters for their own personal benefit at the expense of millions (if not billions) of others. No, most people who call themselves conservative are not "them", but are being taken advantage of on a daily basis; responding to this state of affairs by saying "I'm just analyzing things neutrally, I don't want to ruffle any feathers" is something I, for whatever it's worth, have a hard time doing. Maybe I'm too far gone, or something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BulletMagnet
    Where the path forks is just how significant a shift we each detect
    No it doesn't. You're reading the things I'm writing and then morphing them. I never specified how long the trend would last, only that it existed. I don't claim the ability to see into the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by BulletMagent
    but it also has a whiff of the "everyone's viewpoint is always equally valid" brand of discussion that's helped so many disasters along in recent years
    No it doesn't. This is again extrapolating what I've written. There's no need to assign hidden meanings to the things I write. Trust me when I say that if I want to say something, it will be said.

    Quote Originally Posted by BulletMagnet
    responding to this state of affairs by saying "I'm just analyzing things neutrally, I don't want to ruffle any feathers" is something I, for whatever it's worth, have a hard time doing. Maybe I'm too far gone, or something.
    Again you are extrapolating. I ruffle feathers for sport. I have no concern for egos when it comes to breaking down an issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revuhlooshun View Post
    No it doesn't. You're reading the things I'm writing and then morphing them. I never specified how long the trend would last, only that it existed. I don't claim the ability to see into the future.
    Perhaps a better way to phrase it would be that you believe the recent election results have deeper roots than I do, something like that?

    Trust me when I say that if I want to say something, it will be said.
    Really? I always had you pegged as the reserved type.

    In the meantime, Obama once again shows what a European-style radical he is, forcing Rupert Murdoch to take on his usual role of illuminating the situation for mere mortals like ourselves.

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