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  1. #21
    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    @Ruthie:

    Why is the weakening of political parties bad? PLease provide an example of how "strong" political parties are good. Just curious, not trolling.

  2. #22
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    @DiscoBiscuit: Did you really just use the phrase, "intellectual laziness in the American populace?" I was all for having a nice, respectful debate, but this is one of my major pet peeves about libbies... they're all so certain of their own intellectual superiority.
    This isn't an indictment of the populace. It's just stating the truth. People hate talking politics.

    What I said IS an indictment of the secretive practices of gov't who hide material information about governance from their populace.

    The populace (to a large extent) doesn't have access to the kind of information they need to make informed decisions. For example the inherent bias in the MSM, the fact that proposed legislation doesn't even have to be posted online for the people to read prior to it being passed etc. etc.

    But, I will not back down from asserting that people have become happily complacent in their ignorance. If everyone is as incensed about government as it seems they are, you would think that they would take the time to research several different online news sources with differing biases so as to make an independent informed decision for themselves.

    Too large a proportion of our populace are either apathetic, or cling all too fervently to the drivel disguised as information that comes from the parties and the MSM.

    I'm not intellectually superior.

    I just take the time to do the research to make sure I am making an informed decision.

  3. #23
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    The Supreme Court needs to act as a real check and balance against abusive Executive authority. They are touted as being a check and balance, but I can't recall any significant instances in my lifetime that they have acted as such.
    Here is a (very) brief synopsis of Hamdi v. Rumsfeld 542 U.S. 507 (2004).

    Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507 (2004) was a U.S. Supreme Court decision reversing the dismissal of a habeas corpus petition brought on behalf of Yaser Esam Hamdi, a U.S. citizen being detained indefinitely as an "illegal enemy combatant". The Court recognized the power of the government to detain unlawful combatants, but ruled that detainees who are U.S. citizens must have the ability to challenge their detention before an impartial judge.

    Hamdi was captured in Afghanistan by the Afghan Northern Alliance in 2001 and then turned over to U.S. military authorities during the U.S. invasion. The U.S. government alleged that Hamdi was there fighting for the Taliban, while Hamdi, through his father, has claimed that he was merely there as a relief worker and was mistakenly captured.

    Hamdi was initially held at Guantanamo Bay, but then transferred to a naval brig in Norfolk, Virginia when it was discovered that he held U.S. (as well as Saudi) citizenship, and then finally to a brig in Charleston, South Carolina. The Bush administration claimed that because Hamdi was caught in arms against the U.S., he could be properly detained as an enemy combatant[1], without any oversight of presidential decision making, or without access to an attorney or the court system. The administration argued that this power was constitutional and necessary to effectively fight the War on Terror, declared by the congress of the United States in the Authorization for Use of Military Force Act passed after the September 11th terrorist attacks. The government used its detention authority to ensure that terrorists were no longer a threat while active combat operations continued and to ensure suspects could be fully interrogated.

    In June 2002, Hamdi's father, Esam Fouad Hamdi, filed a habeas petition in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Honorable Robert G. Doumar ruled that Hamdi's father was a proper "next friend" having standing to sue on behalf of his son, and ordered that a federal public defender be given access to Hamdi. On appeal, however, the Fourth Circuit reversed the District Court's order, ruling that the District Court had failed to give proper deference to the government's "intelligence and security interests," and that it should proceed with a properly deferential investigation.

    The case was then sent back to the District Court, which denied the government's motion to dismiss Hamdi's petition. Judge Doumar found the government's evidence supporting Hamdi's detention woefully inadequate, and based predominantly on hearsay and bare assertions. The District Court ordered the government to produce numerous documents for in camera review by the court that would enable it to perform a "meaningful judicial review," such as the statements by the Northern Alliance regarding Hamdi's capture, the dates and circumstances of his capture and interrogations, and a list of all the officials involved in the determination of his "unlawful combatant" status.

    The government appealed Judge Doumar's order to produce the evidence, and the Fourth Circuit again reversed the District Court. Because it was "undisputed that Hamdi was captured in a zone of active combat in a foreign theater of conflict," the Fourth Circuit stated that it was not proper for any court to hear a challenge of his status. It ruled that the broad warmaking powers delegated to the President under Article Two of the United States Constitution and the principle of separation of powers prohibited courts from interfering in this vital area of national security. After the Fourth Circuit denied a petition for rehearing en banc, Hamdi's father appealed to the Supreme Court, which granted review and reversed the Fourth Circuit's ruling.

    Hamdi was represented before the Court by the late Federal Public Defender Frank W. Dunham, Jr. and the Government's side was argued by the Principal Deputy Solicitor General, Paul Clement.

    Though no single opinion of the Court commanded a majority, eight of the nine justices of the Court agreed that the Executive Branch does not have the power to hold indefinitely a U.S. citizen without basic due process protections enforceable through judicial review.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halla74 View Post
    @Ruthie:

    Why is the weakening of political parties bad? PLease provide an example of how "strong" political parties are good. Just curious, not trolling.
    No, it's a fair question. I'll give a couple recent examples of what I've seen:

    In the past, the endorsement of a major political party was essential to getting elected. As a result, elected officials felt pressure to be "good soldiers" in their party's caucus. While that has led to the caricature of back-room deals, smoke-filled rooms, etc... it also led to most of the positive legislation we've had in the nation's history. It's how LBJ was able to peel off support of some Southern Democrats for Civil Rights legislation, for example.

    Fast forward to today. Candidates know that the best way to raise funds is to buck the party establishment (becoming Netroots stars like Michelle Bachman on the Right or Alan Grayson on the Left). They get elected owing nothing to political party, and owing everything to even narrower interests. Just as it had been in the interest of elected officials to support the party leadership, it's equally in the interests of today's elected officials to defy party leadership in order to distinguish themselves.

    Practical examples of how that is playing out today:

    1. This thing about Joe Lieberman threatening to join a GOP filibuster of the Senate health care bill if it includes a public option. OK, Lieberman won re-election in '06 as an independent (after losing the Dem nomination to Ned Lamont). As a result, Lieberman owes nothing to party loyalty and cannot be swayed by leadership. Instead, he has to rely on Connecticut's insurance companies to fund his elections, so a vote they want is more valuable to him than a vote the Senate leadership wants.

    2. The lack of basic consensus. Throughout U.S. history, progress has happened by building on basic national consensus: basic consensus about the value of elected government led to Constitutional amendments regarding enfranchisement, the Voting Rights Act, etc... Basic consensus about the need for a social safety net led to social security, Medicare, etc...

    Political parties serve as buffers for that consensus and allow debate to move forward. It's kind of tough to have an honest debate about immigration reform when 20 different sides have 20 different answers, ranging from "don't let the brown people in" to "wouldn't a world without borders be swell?" How does a nation go about figuring out appropriate business regulations when the debate ranges from absolute libertarianism to state-sponsored socialism? Without consensus, we end up at a complete standstill. We end up with people like these tea-party folks who believe that American history ended in 1789.

    3. Political opinion as narcissism. Political parties used to be functional: you choose the one you agree with the most - Democrat or Republican - and accept the fact that you may have disagreements on some issues. Somewhere in the 70s and 80s, political parties became something more like a brand, or more specifically, a vanity tag. Rather than forcing oneself to fit inside a narrow dichotomy, it was better to declare independence and throw stones at the 2-party system. Functionally useless, but satisfying to the ego.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    This isn't an indictment of the populace. It's just stating the truth. People hate talking politics.

    What I said IS an indictment of the secretive practices of gov't who hide material information about governance from their populace.

    The populace (to a large extent) doesn't have access to the kind of information they need to make informed decisions. For example the inherent bias in the MSM, the fact that proposed legislation doesn't even have to be posted online for the people to read prior to it being passed etc. etc.

    But, I will not back down from asserting that people have become happily complacent in their ignorance. If everyone is as incensed about government as it seems they are, you would think that they would take the time to research several different online news sources with differing biases so as to make an independent informed decision for themselves.

    Too large a proportion of our populace are either apathetic, or cling all too fervently to the drivel disguised as information that comes from the parties and the MSM.

    I'm not intellectually superior.

    I just take the time to do the research to make sure I am making an informed decision.
    But your assumption is that your "informed decision" is the same one others would make if they took the time to research various media outlets. I read quite a range of online media - ranging from stuff I would agree with in general to the stuff that I couldn't disagree with more (I'll even read Reason magazine when I'm really in a mood to get my blood pressure up). I don't see how that makes me any more equipped to make a judgment about policy or politics than someone who watches Brian Williams a couple nights a week. It was a bunch of very well-informed, well-read ideologues who got us tangled up in Middle East politics. Ignorance certainly wasn't their sin.

    Just throwing around the term MSM as a pejorative doesn't make you better informed.

  6. #26
    it's tea time! Walking Tourist's Avatar
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    NIMBY can be good, as in, I don't want a toxic waste dump in my back yard, or it can be mean, as in, I think that poor people need a place to live but not near me.
    I'm a little teapot, short and stout. Here is my handle and here is my spout. Every time I steam up, I give a shout. Just tip me over and pour me out.

  7. #27
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post

    The way things currently break down, it seems like like like there are about (these are ballpark figures and are just being used to prove the concept)

    30% moderate democrats
    30% moderate republicans
    20% extreme democrats
    20% extreme republicans

    The moderate republicans would be inclined to join the LP (that I envision not necessarily as it currently exists).

    The moderate democrats would just stay Democrats.

    The extreme republicans can stay Republicans.

    The extreme democrats could create a socialist party and just get it over with.
    Wait a minute. I definitely don't understand this breakdown. How would moderate republicans become libertarians and extreme republicans stay republicans? Where would you put someone who was socially moderate/conservative (ie, non-libertarian) but supported a great deal of government intervention in the economy? They certainly wouldn't be moderate democrats, as moderate democrats support a limited amount of gov. intervention (and are generally in favor of balanced budgets, etc...)

    IF you were going to have to break it down into 4 parties (which I completely disagree with), it would have to be the good ol' 2 directional axis...

    Generally supportive of government: Populists (or socialists in the extreme).
    Generally opposing government: Libertarians (or anarchists in the extreme).
    Government in economic, but not private life: Modern Democrat.
    Government in private, but not economic life: Modern Republican.

  8. #28
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    What would you define as market failures?

  9. #29
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    But your assumption is that your "informed decision" is the same one others would make if they took the time to research various media outlets. I read quite a range of online media - ranging from stuff I would agree with in general to the stuff that I couldn't disagree with more (I'll even read Reason magazine when I'm really in a mood to get my blood pressure up). I don't see how that makes me any more equipped to make a judgment about policy or politics than someone who watches Brian Williams a couple nights a week. It was a bunch of very well-informed, well-read ideologues who got us tangled up in Middle East politics. Ignorance certainly wasn't their sin.

    Just throwing around the term MSM as a pejorative doesn't make you better informed.
    When did I ever say that someone would come to the same decision given the same information?

    All I'm saying is that people should be provided with clearer more accurate information from which they can make decisions concerning elections.

    I'm also saying that people should take the time to actually think and digest information from multiple view points before making a decision.

    It definitely makes you more well equipped, because in searching for news from multiple viewpoints, you minimize the effect of the inherently biased nature of information coming from major news outlets. Just because someone surfs politico, new republic, etc. doesn't make their policy judgments objectively more valuable than someone who just tunes in to Rush. What it does do, it minimize the chance that they are making a decision on faulty information.

    I wasn't trying to sound intellectually superior, and still am not.

    Feel free to ask me what my motives are if you are curious.

    EDIT: ruthie its going to take me longer to respond to your other argument b/c crim law is starting and I have to go to the gym after that.

  10. #30
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    EDIT: I support Libertarianism*. I don't want to define myself by a politic system. I generally don't make such sweeping statements, but realistically, anyone who does not recognize Libertarianism as the best of the political systems we have is wrong-footed... IMHO, naturally

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