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At some point, farmers mostly stopped planting fields with the help of a hoe and they hooked up plows to oxen or some other beasts. Then, the tractor was invented, making life even easier. Advance after advance after advance, and no one would think to say a farmer today is less capable. Sure, he could do his job with hand tools. But how many people would he be able to feed that way?
The GOP doesn't have a significant racist element. The American public (still) has a significant racist element. I spent the last 37 years in New Jersey, one of the bluest states in the union for a long time now. And I've heard plenty of vile shit myself. And not at political events. And not centered in one political affiliation either. So, feel free to put forth your anecdotal accounts of how racist the GOP is and all I have to say to you is, open your eyes and look around. Stop pretending that it's just the other guys that capable of things like racism. It happens on all sides and it's not a uniquely white problem these days either.
I can post links all day. Like, how about the teacher that started a website to organize a campaign to infiltrate tea party rallies carrying racist and other unsavory signs and to shout these things in proximity to media outlets who would then propagate the idea that these people were the scum of the earth? Oh, wait, that site was taken down right after it was discovered, but it was well documented, so there's still info around.
Kind of makes me wonder why you were at these rallies, considering your disdain for the people there. See, I've been to a number of events too. Most without any media coverage. And I've seen the warm welcome that black speakers and attendees have gotten. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that no real racist has ever attended a tea party rally. But you're either ignorant of the reality, or you're complicit in creating the illusion. I hope its the former.
As I said in another comment, usually the loudest opposition is the group with something to lose. This is why liberals absolutely abhor the tea party movement. It seeks to put an end to the big-government utopia that you've been trying and failing to build for decades. Tea party aside, it's in the best interest of the Democratic party to keep the race fires in the United States burning, and no one does it better. Hell, they do it better than the real racists.
I think maybe your perception of Republicans and racism has been shaped by a media who is complicit in blurring the truth about politics in this country. I mean, I can see why you'd think Republicans are a bunch of racists. Remember when one of them pointed out happily that then-candidate Obama "speaks with no negro dialect?" Oh, right, that was Harry Reid, Senate Democrat Majority Leader. Can you imagine what would have happened if a prominent Republican had said that? When that happened, they trotted out every excuse in the book and then poof, it was gone.
I don't doubt your concern or your sincerity about racial issues, but you really need to get your facts straight and stop pointing to the boogieman on the right to lay blame for all that is wrong in America. I won't sit here and pretend that the Republican party is perfect. Far from it. That's why there is a tea party movement. And, of course, predictably, they're labeled as racists, zealots, morons, and all sorts other insults, when all they are is regular Americans that are tired of certain things. They only have a few chief complaints. They want smaller government, adherence to the Constitution, and fiscal responsibility. Meanwhile they're demonized by all the people who have something to lose if those things come to be. Even Republicans early on were distancing themselves because they stand to lose too; power, money, whatever. But they quickly realized that these are large numbers of people and that they will be heard. It's just like anything else. Whether right or wrong, the loudest opposition comes from the people that have the most to lose.
And it's easy to see what side the media falls on because their coverage is anything but fair. They're highly successful at rewriting history in the minds of people and they're certainly successful in steering the issues of the day whichever way they see fit. I'm not even referring to the "talking heads shows." Those are opinion, and that's fine. I'm talking about what is supposed to be journalistic coverage. It's filled with one-sided stories, loaded words and phrases, and the like. Objectivity is dead, if it ever really existed at all. The problem today is, everyone is plugged in to the spin, so it's much more effective.
You're right, our current president isn't all that liberal, if you're looking toward the classical definition. And maybe he doesn't even cut the mustard when it comes to the modern definition. But tell me, what exactly did happen when he tried to release the prisoners from Guantanamo? Did he fail to get re-elected? Oh, that's right, nothing happened. He backed down because he's a political coward. For two years, he had the Congress in place to get virtually anything done that he wanted. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe he could have killed Guantanamo with a simple executive order. But he didn't. Despite making a promise to do so immediately upon taking office, during his campaign.
For the record, while I fall on the other side of the fence with respect to your examples of crime and punishment and strong defense (the key being defense, not a marauding imperialist army of Democracy-bringers) , I am not happy about Guantanamo and never have been.
That's completely false.
Prior to a certain point in history, the word "liberal" was used to describe a platform of liberty. In other words, the exact opposite of today. At some point, the progressives co-opted the term so that they could sound more appealing to people that loved liberty. Much like how many nations that ruled by communist or military dictatorships have had "Democratic" or "Republic" in their names. Also, around the time of the founding of this nation, the word "Democrat" was a slur, used to indicate that a person pandered to the whims of the uninformed, emotional masses. Just putting that out there.
So, you can see how that worked out because people like you are running around saying how liberal the Republicans used to be. Yes, they were. They loved liberty. Some still do, but unfortunately, many have come along that like use fear of terrorism to increase the power of the federal government and thus reduce liberty. But that's not just a Republican issue, because the Democrats kept it going when they had the chance to change things.
And while I'm not really a religious person myself, I have to recognize that faith has been an important part of the lives of many, many, many people since the birth of this nation (and obviously long before that). The Republican party did not ally itself with the "bible-thumpers". The Republican party is the most logical place for them. Your words are tinged with disdain, and that's your prerogative, but try and understand history before you come off spouting about the "bible-thumpers" as if religious people have not been around since the beginning, and as if they don't deserve a place in modern society and a say in government.
Oh, sure, that analogy doesn't use tax money. For some reason, though, defense seems to be this whipping boy for this kind of "profits are evil" attitude. I can't even begin to guess how many computers the government procures in a single year. Or ball point pens. Are you screaming for Dell or Bic to make sure the government gets its cut before they do? Why is this example any different? Surely, the government could spin up departments to manufacture PCs or writing implements so much cheaper by cutting out the greedy Monopoly guy who just steals profits from the taxpayers pockets, right? Well, there are good reasons why they don't. It's because they *can't* do it cheaper or better. Why do you think military technology would be any different?
The cycle you talk about isn't unique to defense contractors either. Labor unions are one of the biggest players in that kind of cycle. So are energy companies, health insurance companies, and a number of other entities. I'm on board with you that the cycle needs to change. And the way to do that is by holding your elected representatives accountable.
At the same time, I am of the belief that defense spending is important for the future. I'm not saying that we should be maintaining some kind of imperialist world domination scheme and jumping into wars all over the place just because we can. If it were up to me, I'd drastically reduce the amount of money we spend in keeping our reach extended and active in the rest of the world. But I also believe that spending on new military technology is crucial because other countries who aren't so friendly to us are doing it. If we were to fall far enough behind the curve, it would be the beginning of the end. Still, there's a ton that could be safely cut from the defense budget (intelligently), without putting our nation at risk.
And there's also a ton that can be saved by improving the way contractors do things. And it's not because of evil profits. It's partly because of the way they have to operate within the system that is imposed upon them. There's a saying that if you subsidize something, you get more of it. When government mandates all kinds of CMMI/SEI process on its products, simply because it seems like a good idea, and they're willing to pay for it, then they get exactly what they asked for: huge unnecessary costs heaped onto the simplest of things. If you knew what it cost to change one line of code in a production QA system for the government, you would probably become physically ill. Obviously there are things contractors can improve in the way they do things too, and those kinds of improvements are actively being made all the time, because of pressure to do things faster and cheaper. And that will probably result in a net improvement in the way business is done.
The point being, yeah, that seems reasonable if you look over the previous ten years, but I don't care about those. I'm looking at the next ten years.
On the other hand, it's not that liberals inherently favor the government. It's that they tend to believe that the government is the primary tool that makes things better for the individual, by restraining the Monopoly guy from getting rich off his/her exploitation, by promoting justice, and by evening the playing field between the little guy and the powerful business entities (i.e. via promotion of things like labor unions and heavy regulation). The problem that I see with that philosophy is that it makes the government bigger, more suffocating, and definitely more menacing than the big businesses for which they have general disdain.
Like you, I hated the Kelo decision, but I actually agreed with the Citizens United decision. The reasoning is that things like corporations and other organizations are simply groups of people who come together for a common purpose. That purpose might be to make profit, or it might be to further some social or political agenda. Corporations and organizations don't exist for their own benefit. They exist for the benefit of the individuals of that have a stake in them. And as such, I believe it is not constitutional to squelch the voices of these individuals, just because they've come together in a group in an organized fashion, and because they tend to have more money, and thus a louder voice.
I know it kind of feels wrong, but it's not much different from 10,000 people picketing outside of some building. They come together for some unified purpose to amplify their individual voices into one large one (sort of). We rightfully recognize that peaceful assembly as a right of that group because it's a right of each individual. So, the same hold true for people that are even more organized and who focus their voice in a different direction. That holds true be it for the NRA or Citizens United, or for labor unions, or for Exxon, or for any other groups like that.
I'm not saying there aren't improvements that can/should be made in how these entities communicate their desires to our elected officials and how our elected officials act upon that pressure. But we have to be very careful about letting them have their voice because that one collective voice is really the voice of many individuals, which is protected by the First Amendment.