The Republican Field

06/22/2011 11:00 pm
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Relax, this isn't going to be what you thought.

But seriously, how about some long overdue talk about the the November 2012 presidential election.

Here's a funny thought that I had this morning (and it's mostly nonsense, although if you think through what I'm about to say it makes total sense).

I'm not sure if the Republicans fully appreciate the unique nature of Jon Huntsman running for president. He is a current member of the current president's administration (in that he's an ambassador to a foreign country). While I would be a little surprised if he actually got the nomination, I think the GOP would be letting a golden goose slip away if he doesn't.

Why? He would be untouchable! Any attack ad that the Obama campaign ran could be turned around and used by the Huntsman campaign.

It could essentially play out like this:

Obama campaign commercial: "John Huntsman wants to take medicare away from our senior citizens" (or whatever the issue is, I'm not sure what Huntsman's position on the Ryan budget is)

Then the Huntsman campaign could run an ad using footage from the Obama commercial saying "President Obama appointed an ambassador who wants to take away your Medicare. Do you really want a president who will appoint some medicare killing hack like John Huntsman? I'm John Huntsman, and I approve this message."

It can't fail.

(it's sort of the opposite, yet similar results, slip up that Meg Whittman made when she ran an ad talking about how awesome California was when she first moved there and how bad it is now, and it turns out that the time she was referring to when it was good was when Jerry Brown was governor the first time)


In other news, does anyone else have any thoughts on the it-couldn't-be-any-further-away election of 2012?
jon.jpgJon - 1000000 posts (and counting!)
06/23/2011 @ 12:04:55 AM
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I thought Republican Field was the name of a new ballpark in Texas. This thread is a total letdown.
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Jon messed with this at 06/23/2011 1:46:50 am
vignette.bmpCarlos44ec - Tater Salad?
06/25/2011 @ 10:55:46 AM
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I want to hear candidates talk about real issues, not squabble about who can marry who (I support gay marriage, btw). The big things, budget, economy, jobs, war, reform, etc.

We have too many rights as it is, and I'm tired of people skirting issues because they don't want to be 'alarmist' or 'offensive'.

I won't get any of this straight-talk, we will have in-depth conversation on what someones nobody-daughter has to say about this guy, and what that lady doesn't do for MN, and all that other shtuff.
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scott.jpgScott - If you aren't enough without it, you'll never be enough with it.
06/28/2011 @ 02:32:28 PM
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Republican Candidates go after trade with China. Interesting, because I brought this up during the campaign with Feingold and Johnson, where Russ Feingold was making essentially the same argument that Mitt Romney is making here. Interesting.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
11/23/2011 @ 10:53:08 AM
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Anyone following the debates as they unfold? Can anyone find a statement where Iran's president said he wants to use a nuclear weapon against the united states? Anyone have a favorite candidate yet? Did anyone see Cain refer to Wolf Blitzer as "Blitz" last night?
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newalex.jpgAlex - 3588 Posts
11/23/2011 @ 01:41:15 PM
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I missed last night's debate but I've seen about 75% of the previous 6 or so. My favorite is Ron Paul just for the anti-establishment fun of it, but I've found the debates more useful in figuring out who I definitely would never vote for. Like Perry after the first debate.
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scott.jpgScott - No, I did not change your screen saver settings
11/23/2011 @ 02:01:33 PM
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I found last night's debate pretty intriguing. There was certainly confirming of people I wouldn't vote for under any circumstances (Perry or Bachmann). Gingrich speak well, seems very informed, and I agree with some of the things he says, but his problem is he might come out next week and say something completely contradicting something he said last night. So there's that. Romney seems reasonable and I would predict that he will end up being the candidate. Huntsman has some good ideas too, but he seems to have no chance of winning. It's probably because he says republicans shouldn't run from science. Anyway, if I didn't have a lifesized bronze statue of Obama in my livingroom, Romney could be someone that I could consider. Of course, I thought that about John McCain until he actually ran for president and then became a completely different politician. The McCain I liked in 2000 was not the same person that ran for President in 2008.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8387 Posts
11/23/2011 @ 03:18:12 PM
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lol
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Jeremy screwed with this at 11/23/2011 3:18:24 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 2884 Posts
11/23/2011 @ 05:59:21 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 02:01:33 PM
Huntsman has some good ideas too, but he seems to have no chance of winning. It's probably because he says republicans shouldn't run from science.


Or, because he's not really that different from Romney, except he's less well known, and less exciting (if that's even possible). If anything, he might come across to people as being to Romney's left. If you simplify the field into the center-right and the right-right, Romney pretty much has the center-right locked down and hasn't given anyone reason to look elsewhere (to Huntsman, for example). So the "undecideds" are the people who are looking for a not-Romney candidate, and are in the process of elimination now (first Bachmann, then Perry and Cain). Now they're on Gingrich, who will probably stick.

Scott Wrote - Today @ 02:01:33 PM
Of course, I thought that about John McCain until he actually ran for president and then became a completely different politician. The McCain I liked in 2000 was not the same person that ran for President in 2008.


Any politician is going to maneuver themselves somewhat according to the circumstances of the election, that's to be expected. Of course when you compare a more moderate Republican like McCain to other Republicans, you're going to focus on the differences and he'll seem much more moderate or left than he probably is. When you compare him to a liberal, like Obama, the focus again goes to the differences and he seems further right than he probably is.

This is amplified by the fact that when McCain wasn't running for President, he was used by the left and the media to try and score points against the right (and I think McCain enjoyed playing the part). When he was running for President, he was no longer useful and the gloves came off. The same people who were singing his graces, were now hammering him with all they had. That's one of the many reasons McCain was a flawed candidate, I don't think he expected that.
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2887.gifAlex - 3588 Posts
01/05/2012 @ 10:58:56 PM
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Giving this a bump along with a hijack. Let's not reelect anyone who voted for the National Defense Authorization Act. Not sure if any pres candidates have taken a stance on this bill.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=h2011-375
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=s2011-230

I include Obama in this too, "In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists." Presidentail fail.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-05/obama-signs-defense-spending-law-with-interpretations.html
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scott.jpgScott - Ma'am, can you make sure your computer is turned on?
01/06/2012 @ 08:40:12 AM
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Russ Feingold would have voted no.

Regarding the GOP candidates. It's tough to say what some of them might say. On one hand, it's something Obama signed, so by default they are required to say it's the worst thing ever. On the other hand, it falls in line with the spirit of the Patriot act, and it's intended purpose is to help kill terrorists, which conservatives think is the best thing ever.

Furthermore, we're at a point where the GOP candidates need to be careful in announcing any sort of alignments with the president. If they say he did a good job signing a certain bill, then Obama is essentially vindicated on that particular issue. If they say they are disappointed with the president's decision on an issue, they are cementing their differences. However, when the president does something that might be popular among conservatives, he can't be attacked by the GOP candidates on that issue or they risk alienating those they are trying to sway.
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Scott perfected this 2 times, last at 01/06/2012 8:49:22 am
2887.gifAlex - 3588 Posts
01/06/2012 @ 12:38:31 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 08:40:12 AM
On the other hand, it falls in line with the spirit of the Patriot act, and it's intended purpose is to help kill terrorists, which conservatives think is the best thing ever.


I'm not against killing terrorists who have killed people, even if the terrorists are US citizens, but the indefinite military detaining of US citizens without trial is another step, among many mainly since 9/11, towards a military police state.

Scott Wrote - Today @ 08:40:12 AM
Furthermore, we're at a point where the GOP candidates need to be careful in announcing any sort of alignments with the president. If they say he did a good job signing a certain bill, then Obama is essentially vindicated on that particular issue. If they say they are disappointed with the president's decision on an issue, they are cementing their differences. However, when the president does something that might be popular among conservatives, he can't be attacked by the GOP candidates on that issue or they risk alienating those they are trying to sway.


Unfortunately, probably true, but completely ridiculous to me. There's got to be a better way to not make everything partisan.
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2887.gifAlex - 3588 Posts
01/06/2012 @ 12:42:14 PM
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Matt Wrote - 11/23/2011 @ 05:59:21 PM
Now they're on Gingrich, who will probably stick.


I'm guessing you had the under then on Santorum for 25% of the Iowa vote.
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2887.gifAlex - But let history remember, that as free men, we chose to make it so!
01/06/2012 @ 12:46:04 PM
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This is some rumor based jibber-jabber that I briefly scanned through on someone's facebook post last night (so it must be true!) saying something about Newt and Santorum failing to get on the ballot in too many states so that if Romney wins big in New Hampshire (maybe required the same in SC too) Paul would really be the only one with a chance to actually beat Romney. Seems a little premature for that talk though, but could come into play before long.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/06/2012 @ 12:54:13 PM
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Alex Wrote - Today @ 12:38:31 PM
Scott Wrote - Today @ 08:40:12 AM
On the other hand, it falls in line with the spirit of the Patriot act, and it's intended purpose is to help kill terrorists, which conservatives think is the best thing ever.


I'm not against killing terrorists who have killed people, even if the terrorists are US citizens, but the indefinite military detaining of US citizens without trial is another step, among many mainly since 9/11, towards a military police state.


I'm in favor of going after terrorists too. But that comment makes more sense to my point when you don't cut out half the point in your quote emoticon. Conservatives like killing terrorists, but if it's Obama that's doing it, somehow it must be bad; or least it can't be lauded.

In the 2008 GOP primary battle, Romney mocked Obama for saying that if Bin Laden were in Pakistan, he'd go after him and get him. Romney characterized that, along with the conservative narrative for how Obama was going to deal with Iran as something along the lines of "He wants to sit down with our enemies and bomb our allies". Then when the announcement that Bin Laden was killed was made, conservatives across the board basically said "sure, it's a gutsy move, but it was really a no-brainer."
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8387 Posts
01/06/2012 @ 01:50:18 PM
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Baby Mario is mine. You can have donkey kong. emoticon
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8387 Posts
01/06/2012 @ 01:53:32 PM
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Also the "gutsy" move was the stealth mission to go get him, because that was tantamount to invasion. The diplomatically "safer" move was apparently to just bomb the shit out of them, because at least then no American boots hit the soil.


Edit: Mmmm....Stroud's
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Jeremy screwed with this at 01/06/2012 2:16:07 pm
scott.jpgScott - You're going to have to call your hardware guy. It's not a software issue.
01/06/2012 @ 02:15:54 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 01:50:18 PM
Baby Mario is mine. You can have donkey kong. emoticon


Didn't realize they were claimed. I'll remember that.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8387 Posts
01/06/2012 @ 02:19:22 PM
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The MBL claimed Waluigi and told me to use Baby Mario, after I used Waluigi, once upon a time.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/06/2012 @ 02:44:16 PM
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Matt Wrote - 11/13/2008 @ 04:19:29 PM
Waluigi is my go-to emoticon. You can have Baby Mario emoticon. emoticon


It would appear that you are correct. From 2008 Week 11
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2887.gifAlex - 3588 Posts
01/06/2012 @ 04:49:59 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 12:54:13 PM
I'm in favor of going after terrorists too. But that comment makes more sense to my point when you don't cut out half the point in your quote emoticon. Conservatives like killing terrorists, but if it's Obama that's doing it, somehow it must be bad; or least it can't be lauded.


Sorry, I just realized that in my first post I never said why the NDAA was evil so I wanted to clarify. And the quoting can get out of hand pretty quick so I usually try to snippet as much as I can without misrepresenting.

I just take for granted that all these politicians are talking out of both sides of their mouths, trying to have their cake and eat it to, and are habitual liars. #jaded

When I first heard about Ron Johnson and went to his website there were 2 things that I didn't like, one was that he supported the Patriot Act and I forget the other. Guess I just hoped that the farther we got away from 9/11 the less the federal government would be willing/able to infringe upon its own citizens' rights.
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hoochpage.JPGSarah - So's your face
01/06/2012 @ 06:06:28 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 01:53:32 PM


Edit: Mmmm....Stroud's


Did you somehow go to Missouri without me?emoticon
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Nutcan.com's MBL
01/06/2012 @ 08:42:08 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 08:40:12 AM
Regarding the GOP candidates. It's tough to say what some of them might say. On one hand, it's something Obama signed, so by default they are required to say it's the worst thing ever. On the other hand, it falls in line with the spirit of the Patriot act, and it's intended purpose is to help kill terrorists, which conservatives think is the best thing ever.

Furthermore, we're at a point where the GOP candidates need to be careful in announcing any sort of alignments with the president. If they say he did a good job signing a certain bill, then Obama is essentially vindicated on that particular issue. If they say they are disappointed with the president's decision on an issue, they are cementing their differences. However, when the president does something that might be popular among conservatives, he can't be attacked by the GOP candidates on that issue or they risk alienating those they are trying to sway.


Kind of like when Bush was President and everything he or the Republicans did was evil and/or criminal. That is, of course, until the Democrats controlled Congress and Obama was elected President and they did the same things. Those objections seemed to magically disappear then.

Like Alex said... they're politicians, that's what they do.
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Matt edited this at 01/06/2012 8:43:22 pm
scott.jpgScott - If you aren't enough without it, you'll never be enough with it.
01/06/2012 @ 10:38:27 PM
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I never said democrats didn't do it too. I would say John Kerry had a bigger problem of than Obama did simply because Kerry was actually running against a guy who was in office at the time.
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Scott screwed with this at 01/06/2012 10:40:16 pm
newalex.jpgAlex - Who controls the past now controls the future
01/16/2012 @ 09:25:55 PM
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Alex Wrote - 01/05/2012 @ 10:58:56 PM
Giving this a bump along with a hijack. Let's not reelect anyone who voted for the National Defense Authorization Act. Not sure if any pres candidates have taken a stance on this bill.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=h2011-375
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=s2011-230

I include Obama in this too, "In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists." Presidentail fail.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-05/obama-signs-defense-spending-law-with-interpretations.html


Well, there goes any chance of me voting for Romney. Didn't expect Santorum to be against this bill.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/19/2012 @ 10:24:47 AM
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Does anyone else get the impression that Romney heats his home by burning dollar bills in his fireplace? That being said, He's the guy I'm leaning towards for a couple of reasons. He's the only one I can see that could beat Obama because he's the only one that has experience having to court people other than the most conservative voters (Gingrich was a Rep from Georgia and Santorum was from a fairly conservative state). On top of that, If Obama would lose, He's the one I'd rather have. Santorum's a little too morally pious for my tastes, and Gingrich will say anything to anyone to get a good reaction, at least in my opinion (he blasted obama for calling himself a citizen of the world when The Republican Savior Ronald Reagan used the exact same phrase on at least one occasion when he was addressing the UN). Gingrich does seem to generally be the smartest guy in the room sometimes, but it's hard to tell what he's going to say sometimes, and if what he's going to say is going to completely and unexplicably contradict a position you thought he was in favor of in the past (ie health care mandate). To a certain degree, the same could be said about Romney I suppose.

Oh, and Perry's out. I was guessing he'd be out on Sunday, after the SC primary, but apparently he figured that since he wasn't going to win anyway, the "anyone but romney so that it can be anyone but obama" game required him to get out and support Gingrich.
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Scott edited this at 01/19/2012 10:27:52 am
scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/19/2012 @ 10:52:40 AM
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I think a funny Onion article would be one where all 3 or 4 of the remaining GOP candidates inadvertently drop out of the raise at the same time, with the result being that there is no GOP candidate and they all run as 3rd party candidates.
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scott.jpgScott - Resident Tech Support
01/19/2012 @ 11:40:04 AM
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Bachmann is more selective, apparently implying that the previous assertion of "anyone but Romney" is now modified to be "anyone but Romny or Gingrich".

"Through this exhaustive process of consideration, it was strikingly obvious that one candidate could not be less acceptable to be our party’s nominee. He lacks the poise, experience and moral fiber to represent our principles and values. That candidate is Newt Gingrich.”


These are the types of statements that could make Obama's job campaigning very easy. He won't have to produce his own attack ads. He can just replay things Republicans have said about their own eventual candidate.
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Scott edited this 2 times, last at 01/19/2012 11:41:04 am
jeremy.jpgJeremy - Broadcast in stunning 1080i
01/19/2012 @ 11:44:08 AM
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Both parties do that though. It's a really odd processes. Their own party not only digs up all the dirt for the other side, they even spin it in as unfriendly to their constituents format as possible.
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scott.jpgScott - Resident Tech Support
01/19/2012 @ 11:50:56 AM
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I only remember what happened in the last 6 months. If it happened in 2008, that's ancient history.

I do remember, however, that the 2008 Democratic primary process got quite heated between Clinton and Obama, but that was only 2 people. This year, every GOP candidate is getting ripped from every other GOP candidate. And with the awesome invention of Super PACs thanks to Citizens United, the attacks are much more numerous. If you (the general public) thought 2008 was bad, you may not want to turn your TV on at all this time around.

The thing with Bachmann's statement, however, is that it isn't just an "I haven't made up my mind yet" statement, which seems like it should have been. It is basically, if not literally saying "Gingrich is the worst possible candidate the GOP could ever think to nominate". Again, I don't have a history of past primary statement about one candidate attacking another, but this has to be one of the most damning statements about the potential candidate from your own party in recent memory, and certainly the worst from this current cycle.
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Scott messed with this 2 times, last at 01/19/2012 11:55:01 am
matt.jpgMatt - Washington Bureau Chief
01/19/2012 @ 04:16:37 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 11:50:56 AM
And with the awesome invention of Super PACs thanks to Citizens United, the attacks are much more numerous.


Thought experiment: If, as critics of Citizens United argue, corporations don't have a first amendment right to political speech, does that mean that Google and Wikipedia (and others) didn't have a first amendment right to do what they did to oppose SOPA and PIPA?
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/19/2012 @ 06:52:01 PM
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A few thoughts about that, although it's a fair point. For one, Google didn't funnel money into some orwellian named "we are for awesomeness" group that probably ends up being completely run by a political candidate or the business partner of a candidate. Google didn't hide what it was trying to do. If you went to www.google.com, you saw exactly what they wanted you to see. They are a publicly traded company that is subject to sec ruling and full disclosure of funds and documents to a certain extent. If Target or Wal-Mart or Bank of America want to put on their own website their political thoughts, I have no problem with that. When they all team up along with who knows how many other American and/or Foreign countries to form one massive collection of money, that seems a little bit different to me than a company that puts their views right next to their logo. That's one thought.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/19/2012 @ 08:50:57 PM
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If Ron Paul is right about anything, and he is right about some things, it's that the laws of our country aren't derived from the Declaration of Independence. The law of the land is the Constitution.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/19/2012 @ 09:04:47 PM
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One minute the South Carolina audience is booing Mitt Romney for not releasing his tax returns. One second later he says he's not going to let the Democrats make him apologize for his success and the crowd went wild. Which is it, South Carolinians?
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8387 Posts
01/20/2012 @ 03:50:53 PM
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I don't see what "free speech" google or wiki used. They have the right to shut down.
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 2884 Posts
01/20/2012 @ 04:02:53 PM
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They also combined that with text explaining why they shut down and urging people to oppose the bills. Pre-Citizens United, if Congress wanted to ban that type of activity, I think they could have.
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matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
01/20/2012 @ 04:04:51 PM
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Plus, you could argue that intentionally shutting down was not commercial activity, and thus was speech.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8387 Posts
01/20/2012 @ 04:19:24 PM
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I'm not sure what sort of "Words that are allowed to be on Google.com" law that would have violated, other than maybe SOPA and PIPA
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 2884 Posts
01/20/2012 @ 04:34:06 PM
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I don't think there was/is a law against what they did, my point was that pre-Citizens, there was nothing stopping Congress from passing such a law. If you can ban speech from corporations supporting or opposing candidates, you can ban speech from corporations supporting or opposing legislation.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - Pie Racist
01/20/2012 @ 04:47:11 PM
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I'm not so sure. I guess there's a chance that it could apply to specific bills, but in general there are entities (churches, other 501(c)(3)s, public access things, etc) that are allowed to discuss policy/positions, but not openly endorse a candidate.

So a Church can't say "vote for Romney", but they can pretty clearly define where they stand on the issues, and tell you that you should feel the same way, and vote that way, and leave little doubt who they're talking about.

I don't know what the old rule for corporations was, but I'm not sure why they couldn't support whatever they wanted. The only reason certain things can't is because they're receiving tax payer money.

I mean I guess you could say those rules could be defined either way until they're defined one way or the other, but that doesn't mean the opposite of the new definition was the old definition.
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Jeremy screwed with this 2 times, last at 01/20/2012 4:50:48 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 2884 Posts
01/20/2012 @ 04:58:44 PM
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There is a difference in having the fundamental right to do something that the government can't take away, and being allowed to do something because the government hasn't gotten around to banning it yet. As for the churches, I'm pretty sure that has more to do with tax-exempt status than anything. There are limits on their activities because of their tax-free status, not because they are a collection of people acting together. If a church or other non-profit entity wants to give up their tax-free status and advocate on political issues, they should have the right to do so.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8387 Posts
01/20/2012 @ 05:15:58 PM
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Right, like I said it's because they get tax money, I'm just saying that there's precedent for "can't endorse a person, but that doesn't mean you have to be mum on all things politics."

I also see little difference in the "fundamental" right vs being allowed just because there's no rule saying you can't. It's just explicit rather than implicit, but could ultimately be undone, if people wanted to. Yes, it would be slightly harder to journey all the way to the opposite than it would be from the implicit middle, but it's not carved into stone somewhere as some fundamental condition of a free society.

Plus AFAIK the main rules over ruled were intended to curtail the amount of money spent on campaigns, not necessarily "you can't say this because we don't think this classification of entity is allowed to have a position" per se.
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matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
01/20/2012 @ 05:58:31 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 05:15:58 PM
I also see little difference in the "fundamental" right vs being allowed just because there's no rule saying you can't. It's just explicit rather than implicit, but could ultimately be undone, if people wanted to.


The difference is whether I have a constitutionally protected right to do something even when nobody else thinks I should be able to do it, versus whether I have the privilege of being allowed to do something only if the majority thinks I should be able to.

The point of the original post was that it seemed that many of the people opposed to the Citizens United ruling (which said that corporations have the 1st Amendment right to independently spend their money on political speech), were now very supportive of companies speaking out on political issues. Yes, there are differences in what Citizens United wanted to do and what Google did, differences where a majority might approve one action and not approve the other. However, without 1st Amendment protections, what is stopping the Hollywood lobby from now lobbying for a bill that says no corporation can speak on any legislation within 30 days of the scheduled vote in Congress. Once that is done, they can try to get SOPA and PIPA back through, this time without as much opposition.
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matt.jpgMatt - Ombudsman
01/21/2012 @ 03:06:49 PM
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Matt Wrote - 01/19/2012 @ 04:16:37 PM
Thought experiment: If, as critics of Citizens United argue, corporations don't have a first amendment right to political speech, does that mean that Google and Wikipedia (and others) didn't have a first amendment right to do what they did to oppose SOPA and PIPA?


Lest anyone think I am actually capable of any profound insight on such things, I should note that I first came across this idea here via here.
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 2884 Posts
01/22/2012 @ 03:21:05 AM
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Scott Wrote - 01/19/2012 @ 06:52:01 PM
A few thoughts about that, although it's a fair point. For one, Google didn't funnel money into some orwellian named "we are for awesomeness" group that probably ends up being completely run by a political candidate or the business partner of a candidate. Google didn't hide what it was trying to do. If you went to www.google.com, you saw exactly what they wanted you to see. They are a publicly traded company that is subject to sec ruling and full disclosure of funds and documents to a certain extent. If Target or Wal-Mart or Bank of America want to put on their own website their political thoughts, I have no problem with that. When they all team up along with who knows how many other American and/or Foreign countries to form one massive collection of money, that seems a little bit different to me than a company that puts their views right next to their logo. That's one thought.


It seems that your main objections are to the combining of money and the potential anonymous nature of it. In my view, rather than being negatives, these are important aspects for free speech and the flow of information.

Let's say I want to present my views on an issue or candidate. I decide that to reach enough people and make an impression on them, I need to air a commercial on TV. I don't have enough money by myself to buy the air time, so I find a group of people who have similar views and we combine our money and can now produce and air a commercial to voice our opinions. Yeah, this is a simplified example, but I think the point that people or groups want to get the most "bang for their buck" scales up. Likewise, there may be an issue that affects me, and I want to speak out on the topic (or candidates' positions on that topic). Let's say I have some money to spend, but I'm a political novice and don't know the best way to use my money to disseminate my ideas. I decide to give my money to an organization that has the resources/knowledge/abilities to advance my cause in the best way possible.

As for anonymity, anonymous political speech has a long history in this country. From the Federalist Papers to Primary Colors people have written or spoken anonymously on political matters. There is a good reason for this. Imagine you have an opinion that is different from that of the majority of your friends/family/co-workers/bosses. Speaking anonymously might be the only way you feel comfortable or safe in expressing your view.

Now, you may say that these points are fine when applied to individuals, but not for corporations/unions/etc. I say, those are just collections of individuals. You shouldn't lose your right to speech and to petition the government just because you are also exercising your right of assembly/association. Furthermore, as long as decisions made by government can affect corporations and individuals alike, they should both have the opportunity to speak on behalf of their respective interests.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/22/2012 @ 07:41:31 AM
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Two words: foreign money. Are foreign companies and foreign individuals granted the same rights as american companies and American citizens?
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matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
01/22/2012 @ 09:52:09 PM
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In the broadest sense, I don't know. I'm pretty sure that if they are legally in the United States, they are afforded most, if not all, constitutional protections, though there may be certain restrictions.

As for the effects of Citizens United specifically, when critics say it will allow foreign companies to spend money, I think they are using that as shorthand for American subsidiaries of foreign companies (possibly to make it sound more nefarious than it really is). It doesn't really matter though, because according the guy in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh1SfOwE7dU), the Citizens United ruling had nothing to do with rules that were, and still are, in effect regulating foreign money.

This is consistent with my (admittedly limited) reading on the decision. From what I can tell, the ruling only said that corporations/unions/etc., have, essentially, the same rights to political speech as individuals. However, just like there can be limits on foreign individuals, there can still be limits on foreign corporations/groups/etc.

Interestingly, the decision also doesn't do anything regarding the disclosure rules in place. Only Justice Thomas held the view that they were unconstitutional (he may be right about that). This means that Super PACs do have to disclose their donor list after all.
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scott.jpgScott - On your mark...get set...Terrible!
01/23/2012 @ 08:33:10 AM
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I don't have time to do the research at the moment, but I've heard of loopholes that make it easy to make a mockery of disclosing the donors list, like forming a non-profit, non-political organization that doesn't require donor disclosure, and then using that organization to contribute to a super pac. In other words, create a non-profit called Friends of Everyone that has no political affiliation, get tons of people and corporations to donate to it, and then make payments from Friends of Everyone to your Super PAC, and the only thing you have to disclose is "Friends of Everyone contributed $500,000 last qtr to my super PAC." I don'to have all the details, but I don't think I'm that far off base.

To a certain degree, I feel like I as am American have a right to know where an attack is actually coming from. In other words, if I see an ad from Friends of Everyone that is making huge claims about Obama wanting to ban the use of internal combustion engines in America by the year 2020, even if this was true, it would be of some consequence to know that 70% of the contributions to Friends of Everyone came from oil companies.
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Scott messed with this at 01/23/2012 8:33:33 am
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Nutcan.com's MBL
01/23/2012 @ 02:45:24 PM
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I'm sure there are loopholes, there are always loopholes. That doesn't mean, though, that Citizens United was necessarily a bad decision because of them. The Government, like it usually does, created a law that overreached. If there are loopholes that can be closed, then it's up to them to find a way to do it without infringing on the 1st Amendment.

I understand the feeling of wanting to fight against arguments or assertions that you find misleading, but personally, I think the way to do that is with more speech. I don't want the government setting limits on who can talk and how they have to do it. Especially when it comes to political speech. Like the guy in the video said, it's the right of everyone to be able to hear all the arguments and give them whatever weight they feel necessary when making their decision.
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scott.jpgScott - Get Up! Get outta here! Gone!
01/23/2012 @ 02:57:05 PM
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Matt Wrote - Today @ 02:45:24 PM
Like the guy in the video said, it's the right of everyone to be able to hear all the arguments and give them whatever weight they feel necessary when making their decision.


Hopefully people give enough weight to Newt's non-family friendly past. Should Newt Gingrich win the GOP nomination, the GOP can no longer claim a moral highground particularly in the context of looking out for the best interest of families. Between Obama and Gingrich, Obama is clearly the only one can even remotely appear to be a spokesperson for family values. Personally, I think if Newt wins the nomination, I think it guarantees Obama a second term, for reasons not simply limited to this, but others as well. If the GOP wants to beat Obama, it has to be Romney.
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scott.jpgScott - On your mark...get set...Terrible!
01/23/2012 @ 05:44:29 PM
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I also don't bye the argument that this is solely a free-speech issue. Is someone's speech protected if there is corruption behind it? In my example above about Friends for Everyone, if the Super Pac discloses it's donor simply as "Friends for everyone", when "Friends for everyone" doesn't need to disclose it's donors, but in reality "Friends of Everyone" is being funded by a lobbying firm that is trying to get a guy in office who supports drilling because that lobbying firm gets paid $20million dollars from Exxon if that candidate gets elected, is limiting this transaction really an affront to free speech? I don't think it is at all. Since none of what I just said really gets to the public eye, we are lead to believe that "Friends of Everyone" actually is a friend of everyone, when really they are lying about where their interests really lie. And I don't think that simply de-regulating this is the answer either. When this farce that free speech is being robbed overlaps with rampant corruption, which side do we fall on?
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 2884 Posts
01/24/2012 @ 01:14:19 AM
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I don't want to spend the time trying to tie my semi-related thoughts into some sort of organized paragraph (or paragraphs), so I'll take the easy way out and do the list thing:

1.) I'm not sure that's necessarily what I would call corruption.

2.) Just because a group makes an argument for something that is beneficial to them, doesn't mean that they don't have valid points, and/or that their argument isn't the right/best/fairest/etc. argument.

3.) Going with your oil example, you seem to be worried that people will give their argument more weight than they should if they don't know who's behind the ads, which may indeed be the case. Can't that go the other way as well though? I'm assuming that there are a lot of people who have a negative view of oil companies for one reason or another. Doesn't it follow then, that those people might discount the message, not on the facts or the merits of the argument, but based on their prior feelings towards the industry (as rational or irrational as they may be)? Is that any better?

4.) If individuals donate to "Friends for Everyone" so they can argue for the Keystone XL pipeline because they think it will be best for the country, does it matter that unions also donate because they want the jobs it will bring, or certain companies, because they want the profits? Especially since the ad would probably be the same even if it was just one or two of the groups donating.

5.) In the end, I come back to the idea that people should care more about the arguments presented, not who is presenting them, or how they are being presented. If people want to take everything they hear at face value, well, that's up to them. If others decide to give less weight to ads presented anonymously (or at least by some group they've never heard of), that's fine too.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/24/2012 @ 08:57:05 AM
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2, 3, and 5 are all similar themes. I am all for judging the content of a message rather than the presenter of the message. In fact I get annoyed sometimes when guys like Bill O'Reilly claim to be portraying "no spin", and the way they go about doing that is describing the source in such terms as "he's a liberal guy". Essentially, this causes the viewer to discount the source based on the way that source is presented. However, I do think there is a good degree of importance in who the message is coming from when the stakes are so high. If someone sees an ad about oil drilling or whatever and the ad lists a bunch of figures and numbers and jobs to be created and whatever and that's it, a viewer might come away thinking, "ok, I'm going to vote for the guy who is in favor of this". There may not be any more investigation into it. But, if that ad is essentially funded by a company that has an extreme vested interest in the increase profit margins of the oil industry with little regard for any environmental impact or anything else, and also that company is also directly contributing to the guy who they are "indirectly" trying to promot with that ad, that raises a fairly significant degree of reasonable skepticism. If not skepticism, it should at least cause you to take the ad at something other than face value. I'm not saying discredit the ad, but now you have the motiviation to maybe do some of the research yourself to form a better opinion of it.

Addressing number 5 more directly: re: people taking everything they hear at face value. It shouldn't be up to them. Or better put, people who are going to take things at face value are probably going to do so no matter what. Those that want to be more critical are forced to sift through a bunch of muck in order to get around the veil of an anonymous political corporation. This isn't me wanting the government to control how people react to things. It's more about requiring information (especially about elections) to be open and honest, and knowing where the money is coming from is a big part of it. The result of citizens united is essentially making it completely legal to simply pull the wool over the eyes of the general public.

The idea is that our election process should have a certain degree of transparency, and I don't feel that this is really an affront on free speech.
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Scott screwed with this at 01/24/2012 9:04:38 am
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8387 Posts
01/24/2012 @ 03:27:29 PM
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I didn't read the whole back and forth, but I really don't see a way around the issue.

Even if it was illegal to mislead people, and I think to an extent it is, they would just get fuzzy on misleading you on how it's misleading.

It's a shame the situation is what it is, but I really don't see a way around it, and the more people try, the worse they make it.

It pretty much needs to be what it is, because anything less than that is telling people, or a collection of people, how they're allowed to spend their money.

Make it so they can't endorse a candidate, and they just attack the opponent. Make it so you can't mention anyone by name, and it would just go up a level of murk/sleeze because now they can say anything, because they "aren't" referring to anyone. "Here's a story about a man, we'll call him Teve Torbs. Teve Torbs is so pro choice he murdered his new born child for the insurance money. Vote pro life." Make it so publicly traded companies have to divulge every expenditure, and they'll just make the anonymous ones from some private off shoot.

Make it so the entity that aired the commercial HAS to say where the money comes from, and they'll just add a layer of obfuscation. "Sure, we got half of it from 'Families for Families' and the other half was from 'Families of Families'"
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Jeremy screwed with this 3 times, last at 01/24/2012 3:32:05 pm
matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
01/24/2012 @ 03:37:19 PM
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Also... make it tougher for groups to persuade the public, and they will focus more on lobbying the lawmakers. Which is probably what the lawmakers want in the first place.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8387 Posts
01/24/2012 @ 03:54:43 PM
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Make it so corporations can't give to issues, and they'll give to someone who can give to someone. Or they just pull a stunt where they "aren't" funding an ad campaign, they'll just give Fam4Fam $3 million dollars to sponsor a 10 person get together. (Kind of like how Packer Stock funds aren't allowed to be spent on player contracts, but any 3 year old can identify the out of one pocket and into another aspect of that.)
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Jeremy screwed with this 2 times, last at 01/24/2012 4:22:14 pm
matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
01/24/2012 @ 05:00:00 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 08:57:05 AM
2, 3, and 5 are all similar themes. I am all for judging the content of a message rather than the presenter of the message. In fact I get annoyed sometimes when guys like Bill O'Reilly claim to be portraying "no spin", and the way they go about doing that is describing the source in such terms as "he's a liberal guy". Essentially, this causes the viewer to discount the source based on the way that source is presented. However, I do think there is a good degree of importance in who the message is coming from when the stakes are so high. If someone sees an ad about oil drilling or whatever and the ad lists a bunch of figures and numbers and jobs to be created and whatever and that's it, a viewer might come away thinking, "ok, I'm going to vote for the guy who is in favor of this". There may not be any more investigation into it. But, if that ad is essentially funded by a company that has an extreme vested interest in the increase profit margins of the oil industry with little regard for any environmental impact or anything else, and also that company is also directly contributing to the guy who they are "indirectly" trying to promot with that ad, that raises a fairly significant degree of reasonable skepticism. If not skepticism, it should at least cause you to take the ad at something other than face value. I'm not saying discredit the ad, but now you have the motiviation to maybe do some of the research yourself to form a better opinion of it.

Addressing number 5 more directly: re: people taking everything they hear at face value. It shouldn't be up to them. Or better put, people who are going to take things at face value are probably going to do so no matter what. Those that want to be more critical are forced to sift through a bunch of muck in order to get around the veil of an anonymous political corporation. This isn't me wanting the government to control how people react to things. It's more about requiring information (especially about elections) to be open and honest, and knowing where the money is coming from is a big part of it. The result of citizens united is essentially making it completely legal to simply pull the wool over the eyes of the general public.

The idea is that our election process should have a certain degree of transparency, and I don't feel that this is really an affront on free speech.


The way I see it, it's probably safe to assume that any ad (anonymous or not) is funded with money from people with a vested interest (of which money is one, but not the only interest) in the issue/candidate. Therefore, it's up to the listener to judge the argument whichever way they feel is best. If the ad being anonymous makes the listener do a little research into the facts, then that is probably a good outcome. If the oil companies fund a pro-drilling ad, I think its better if the environmentalists have to argue against the facts presented, not just say something like, "Of course they want this, they are evil oil companies, don't listen to them, move along."

It seems like you are too worried that dumb* voters will be swayed by ads that they shouldn't be. Leaving aside the issues of whether one person is able to decide for the other how they should take an ad, or the fact that the other side is capable of making the same type of ads to try and persuade the simple-minded voter, the problem then isn't who tries to persuade these voters (or how they do it), it's that dumb people are allowed to vote. It's a fact of life and you can't change that without causing more problems along the way, and/or fundamentally changing the democratic nature of the country.

* By "dumb", I actually mean every single voter, since every side thinks that the people who don't agree with them are: of below-average intelligence; don't put enough thought into the issue; are too easily swayed by the other side's obvious propaganda; only think that way because they are paid to; etc. Plus, there is always the argument that anyone who votes is irrational, since the odds that your vote will actually make a difference is so minuscule that it's not worth the time to actually go and vote.
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Matt perfected this at 01/24/2012 5:01:12 pm
scott.jpgScott - On your mark...get set...Terrible!
01/24/2012 @ 05:44:10 PM
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Matt Wrote - Today @ 05:00:00 PM
Therefore, it's up to the listener to judge the argument whichever way they feel is best. If the ad being anonymous makes the listener do a little research into the facts, then that is probably a good outcome.


Anonymous ads, in my opinion, would make listeners/viewers less likely to judge the ad properly, not encourage it.

Matt Wrote - Today @ 05:00:00 PM
It seems like you are too worried that dumb* voters will be swayed by ads that they shouldn't be. * By "dumb", I actually mean every single voter, since every side thinks that the people who don't agree with them are: of below-average intelligence; don't put enough thought into the issue; are too easily swayed by the other side's obvious propaganda; only think that way because they are paid to; etc.

Well, inspite of your seemingly cynical, if not sarcastic description, there obviously is something to be said by voters being swayed by ads they shouldn't be...et al. If that wasn't the case, negative attack ads wouldn't work so well.

(and for the need to disclaim, democrats use attack ads too)
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/24/2012 @ 05:51:17 PM
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And while we're on the subject of not limiting free speech, why then don't we remove all election funding regulations and let corporations funnel money directly to candidates? I mean, anonymous free speech should allow you to give money to whomever you want for whatever reason, as well as accept money from whomever you want for whatever reason, right? Why have any regulation at all, since any regulation, by the Supreme Court's definition based on the Citizens United decision, is, to a certain degree, limiting free speech?
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Washington Bureau Chief
01/24/2012 @ 07:05:32 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 05:44:10 PM
Anonymous ads, in my opinion, would make listeners/viewers less likely to judge the ad properly, not encourage it.


We get back then, to who gets to decide what is the "proper" way to view something (and that's assuming there even is a proper way in the first place). I've made the argument that anonymous ads could allow for a better discussion, at least in my opinion. You feel the opposite way. I think that allowing both kinds of speech and letting people decide is better than allowing only one or the other (bonus thought: could the Government decide that all political speech must be anonymous? After all, it wouldn't be fair that a popular movie star's view be given more weight, just because they are famous). More to the point though, 1st Amendment rights are involved here. I think that the government should need more of a case than "some people feel that anonymous ads may cause people to act/think in a way that the original group doesn't think they should."


Scott Wrote - Today @ 05:44:10 PM
Well, inspite of your seemingly cynical, if not sarcastic description, there obviously is something to be said by voters being swayed by ads they shouldn't be...et al. If that wasn't the case, negative attack ads wouldn't work so well.

(and for the need to disclaim, democrats use attack ads too)


Again, who's to decide what ads should or shouldn't sway someone. Also, your point implies that there is something inherently wrong with negative ads, I don't agree.

Scott Wrote - Today @ 05:51:17 PM
And while we're on the subject of not limiting free speech, why then don't we remove all election funding regulations and let corporations funnel money directly to candidates? I mean, anonymous free speech should allow you to give money to whomever you want for whatever reason, as well as accept money from whomever you want for whatever reason, right? Why have any regulation at all, since any regulation, by the Supreme Court's definition based on the Citizens United decision, is, to a certain degree, limiting free speech?


I actually don't think it would be as horrible as most people would think. Most people might not even know a difference. I don't think most people care, or even notice when an ad comes from a campaign or a PAC. Sure you could say that politicians would act a certain way as to keep all the money coming in, but as Jeremy said, there are (and always will be) enough loopholes/other ways for that money to serve the needs of the campaign. Plus, there is the whole chicken/egg question of whether politicians vote the way they do because they are "paid" to, or do people contribute because of the way the politicians vote.

I also think you could argue that the more limitations you put on campaign spending, the more power you give to politicians and those who have connections with them.
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newalex.jpgAlex - 3588 Posts
01/24/2012 @ 08:15:03 PM
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Negative/attack ads are fine if they are true.

Matt Wrote - Today @ 07:05:32 PM
I actually don't think it would be as horrible as most people would think. Most people might not even know a difference. I don't think most people care, or even notice when an ad comes from a campaign or a PAC. Sure you could say that politicians would act a certain way as to keep all the money coming in, but as Jeremy said, there are (and always will be) enough loopholes/other ways for that money to serve the needs of the campaign. Plus, there is the whole chicken/egg question of whether politicians vote the way they do because they are "paid" to, or do people contribute because of the way the politicians vote.

I also think you could argue that the more limitations you put on campaign spending, the more power you give to politicians and those who have connections with them.


And the more government bureaucrats and lawyers get middle man money either from taxpayers or free speachers.
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2887.gifAlex - 3588 Posts
01/24/2012 @ 08:16:53 PM
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I give Obama's State of the Union a D so far.
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2887.gifAlex - 3588 Posts
01/24/2012 @ 08:45:54 PM
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The first part of his education talk sounded a lot like what's been done in Wisconsin over the last year...
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/24/2012 @ 09:07:49 PM
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Matt Wrote - Today @ 07:05:32 PM
I actually don't think it would be as horrible as most people would think. Most people might not even know a difference. I don't think most people care, or even notice when an ad comes from a campaign or a PAC. Sure you could say that politicians would act a certain way as to keep all the money coming in, but as Jeremy said, there are (and always will be) enough loopholes/other ways for that money to serve the needs of the campaign. Plus, there is the whole chicken/egg question of whether politicians vote the way they do because they are "paid" to, or do people contribute because of the way the politicians vote.


Wow, I thought about responding to my post saying "you don't need to reply to this, because it's just ridiculous". But if you agree with it. I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I see the lack of campaign finance regulation as an open door to corruption, bribery, and impropriety; and an environment where the one with the most money wins.
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Scott screwed with this 2 times, last at 01/24/2012 9:09:57 pm
matt.jpgMatt - Ombudsman
01/24/2012 @ 10:20:19 PM
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Have we had less corruption, bribery, and impropriety since McCain-Feingold passed (also, I'm pretty sure bribery is still illegal)? Has anyone even noticed a difference in elections since it passed, beyond the silly "I approve this message" thing? There will be shady stuff going on whether you have all the regulations in place, or none of them. If you're really worried about money influencing politics, then you should hop aboard the limited government bandwagon. When government no longer has the power to make or break an industry, perhaps then the industry will spend its money on making a better product, rather than lobbying the government.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/24/2012 @ 10:51:57 PM
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Why is bribery illegal? Is that not also a form of free speech?
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matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
01/25/2012 @ 04:52:38 AM
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No, because your money isn't going to promote a message or viewpoint, it's going to buy a vote or favor. Just like you can spend money to advocate for drug legalization, but you can't spend money to buy drugs.

Even if you did say it was speech, the Government does have the ability to restrict rights, including speech, in certain circumstances. Depending on the case, the courts use various guidelines to weigh whether the Government's interests can trump the people's constitutional rights. I think most people would agree that, to maintain the functioning of government, quid pro quo arrangements for votes or political favors can be outlawed.

This is also why we still have some campaign finance laws, while others have been struck down. In Citizens United, the Court essentially ruled that the reasons for banning corporate speech were not strong enough to outweigh the burden of infringing on that speech. The Court did find, however, that the balance tipped the other way in regards to disclosure regulations. They let those stand, with only Justice Thomas dissenting on that part (as I said earlier, I think he is probably right on this).

P.S. I am not a lawyer or constitutional expert, so my details may not be 100% right, but from what I've read, I think I got the gist of it right.
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Matt perfected this 3 times, last at 01/25/2012 4:57:53 am
2887.gifAlex - Ignorance is bliss to those uneducated
01/25/2012 @ 01:29:41 PM
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Matt Wrote - Yesterday @ 10:20:19 PM
If you're really worried about money influencing politics, then you should hop aboard the limited government bandwagon.


http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/unisex/popculture/939f/
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/25/2012 @ 02:07:29 PM
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US elections have been under pressure since the dawn of the country. From the first election where Alexander Hamilton pressured the electors to withhold their votes for other candidates (namely John Adams), so that Washington's total would be outmatched, federal elections have long been sought to be influenced in some less than spirited way by those with alterior motives. And it would be hard to argue that any form of big governmentism existed back then, other than Hamilton being a bit on the grandiose, national bank minded side.
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Scott messed with this at 01/25/2012 2:09:37 pm
scott.jpgScott - Get Up! Get outta here! Gone!
01/25/2012 @ 02:12:10 PM
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Matt Wrote - Today @ 04:52:38 AM
No, because your money isn't going to promote a message or viewpoint, it's going to buy a vote or favor. Just like you can spend money to advocate for drug legalization, but you can't spend money to buy drugs.

Even if you did say it was speech, the Government does have the ability to restrict rights, including speech, in certain circumstances. Depending on the case, the courts use various guidelines to weigh whether the Government's interests can trump the people's constitutional rights. I think most people would agree that, to maintain the functioning of government, quid pro quo arrangements for votes or political favors can be outlawed.

This is also why we still have some campaign finance laws, while others have been struck down. In Citizens United, the Court essentially ruled that the reasons for banning corporate speech were not strong enough to outweigh the burden of infringing on that speech. The Court did find, however, that the balance tipped the other way in regards to disclosure regulations. They let those stand, with only Justice Thomas dissenting on that part (as I said earlier, I think he is probably right on this).

P.S. I am not a lawyer or constitutional expert, so my details may not be 100% right, but from what I've read, I think I got the gist of it right.


Ok, so we've gotten to the point where we can agree that laws have been put in place that to a certain degree limit free speech, have we not? It's simply a matter of to what degree. I am of the opinion that it is in the best interest of government (and the governed) to keep elections free, or to a degree limited from outside money where one side can potentially be smothered by an entity if money is the limiting, or abling, factor. This is obviously where we diverge.
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Scott perfected this 2 times, last at 01/25/2012 2:15:21 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Washington Bureau Chief
01/25/2012 @ 02:16:17 PM
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I don't think I've claimed otherwise.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/25/2012 @ 02:18:29 PM
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Matt Wrote - Yesterday @ 10:20:19 PM
If you're really worried about money influencing politics, then you should hop aboard the limited government bandwagon. When government no longer has the power to make or break an industry, perhaps then the industry will spend its money on making a better product, rather than lobbying the government.


People of all ages when given the opportunity to influence government will attempt what they can to influence it. Big government/limited government matters not.
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Scott screwed with this at 01/25/2012 2:19:35 pm
jeremy.jpgJeremy - Super Chocolate Bear
01/25/2012 @ 02:32:41 PM
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I think there should be no restrictions on campaign money. It's a nice idea in theory, but in practicality, it's worse now than ever. If the politician himself/herself is signing off on it it would likely lead to much less of the type of ads people are worried about. (The "we can say anything we want, because there's almost no way for this to backfire" commercials.)

Agree with them or not, I think we'd all agree that Romney/Newt/et al or Obama would be more ethical/responsible with the money, and probably more on the hook to report where it came from (even if not obligated politicians often let people peek into their books), than some fly-by-night org assembled just to air some borderline slander/libel.

There's probably no less money being spent now, it's just being laundered through sleazy back alleys.
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Jeremy edited this 3 times, last at 01/25/2012 2:36:02 pm
matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
01/25/2012 @ 02:33:13 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 02:18:29 PM
Matt Wrote - Yesterday @ 10:20:19 PM
If you're really worried about money influencing politics, then you should hop aboard the limited government bandwagon. When government no longer has the power to make or break an industry, perhaps then the industry will spend its money on making a better product, rather than lobbying the government.


People of all ages when given the opportunity to influence government will attempt what they can to influence it. Big government/limited government matters not.


People will always try to affect elections or legislation. It stands to reason though, that the more power the government has, the more people will be seeking to affect these things, and the more money they will spend to do so.

I never said they can't regulate (or try to regulate). I said that in certain areas, in my view (and the Court's), the laws went too far and were unconstitutional. I've also said that in regards to disclosure regulations, I think that the right of free speech probably should trump over those as well. Lastly, I responded to your hypothetical of no campaign finance regulation, that I didn't think the result would be as horrible as you, or others, would predict. I never said that these were all unconstitutional or that they should be repealed, at least not all of them (though I am always open to aruguments).
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Matt perfected this at 01/25/2012 2:34:41 pm
matt.jpgMatt - Ombudsman
01/25/2012 @ 02:35:37 PM
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You guys need to stop adding to your posts while I'm in the middle of responding to them. emoticon
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/25/2012 @ 02:41:39 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 02:32:41 PM
Agree with them or not, I think we'd all agree that Romney/Newt/et al or Obama would be more ethical/responsible with the money, and probably more on the hook to report where it came from (even if not obligated politicians often let people peek into their books), than some fly-by-night org assembled just to air some borderline slander/libel.


Right, because Newt has never done anything to make some question his character or Ethics. That guy even slanders/libels himself without even knowing it sometimes.

Edit: Although, by "more ethical" might be the key word here.
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Scott perfected this 3 times, last at 01/25/2012 2:43:22 pm
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8387 Posts
01/25/2012 @ 02:45:53 PM
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Matt Wrote - Today @ 02:35:37 PM
You guys need to stop adding to your posts while I'm in the middle of responding to them. emoticon


Fine, then I'll make a new comment:

I liken it a little to prohibition (and perhaps the current drug laws). I don't agree with prohibition, but I have to imagine even many people who thought it was a good idea at the time realized that turning alcohol from something done above board to something done under the table, spawning powerful syndicates of shady people society now had to deal with, all while probably not even impacting the overall amount of alcohol consumed (or at the very least having the biggest impact in the occasional drinkers that weren't the problem) was probably worse than the problem they set out to solve.
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Jeremy messed with this at 01/25/2012 3:03:01 pm
jeremy.jpgJeremy - Always thinking of, but never about, the children.
01/25/2012 @ 02:47:12 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 02:41:39 PM
Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 02:32:41 PM
Agree with them or not, I think we'd all agree that Romney/Newt/et al or Obama would be more ethical/responsible with the money, and probably more on the hook to report where it came from (even if not obligated politicians often let people peek into their books), than some fly-by-night org assembled just to air some borderline slander/libel.


Right, because Newt has never done anything to make some question his character or Ethics. That guy even slanders/libels himself without even knowing it sometimes.

Edit: Although, by "more ethical" might be the key word here.


But, even if that were true, and I don't think the discourse would stoop as low, his name would be on it. So, it's better by default, because at least he's putting his neck on the line.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/25/2012 @ 02:53:05 PM
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ok, I'm slowly getting convinced (to a certain degree), some things are starting to make sense. There still seems like there has to be a better way to keep elections from being a contest of who has the most money, or whose side has the most money.

In my opinion, however, I still think it is in the best interest of everyone involved in the democratic process to know where the money is coming from that is influencing our elections, and again in my opinion, I feel like I have a right to know.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - Robots don't say 'ye'
01/25/2012 @ 02:58:53 PM
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The solution is to not have every election held hostage by the least informed nimrods who either base their decision to not vote for Kerry on the Swiftboat ad, or who run the following algorithm every election:

if(!$country->isPerfect())
{
$vote->setParty($last_vote->getOppositeParty());
}
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Jeremy perfected this at 01/25/2012 2:59:16 pm
scott.jpgScott - On your mark...get set...Terrible!
01/25/2012 @ 03:03:57 PM
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Let's get on to more pressing matters, like the fact that Romney's 15% tax rate is him playing by the rules that he helped create as Bain Capital sort of if not literally lobbied congress to kill a bill that would have raised the capital gains tax.


And if our least informed nimrod voters know java (C++? .Net? maybe?), then wow, we've got a pretty good country.
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Scott screwed with this 2 times, last at 01/25/2012 3:04:31 pm
scott.jpgScott - Resident Tech Support
01/25/2012 @ 03:06:22 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 03:03:57 PM
Let's get on to more pressing matters, like the fact that Romney's 15% tax rate is him playing by the rules that he helped create as Bain Capital sort of if not literally lobbied congress to kill a bill that would have raised the capital gains tax.


I saw this on the Daily show last night, so I'm trying to find more information on it to see if it's true to the degree that the Daily Show portrayed it as, as I usually do with such things.
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Scott messed with this at 01/25/2012 3:06:52 pm
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - Robots don't say 'ye'
01/25/2012 @ 03:10:42 PM
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That's PHP.

Well, I think we can all agree the biggest problem with the tax system isn't that billionaires can almost totally dodge it thus having an effective tax rate lower than most middle class families, despite all the blustering about how outrageous the rates are, it's that 45% of Americans aren't paying their fair share of the money they don't have.

Why worry about some rich person bilking the system he or she rode to prosperity out of $1000 if you can just take the last $5 they have in the world from 100 poor people?

Problem solved.
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Jeremy edited this 6 times, last at 01/25/2012 3:25:08 pm
scott.jpgScott - Get Up! Get outta here! Gone!
01/25/2012 @ 03:13:07 PM
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And so's your face emoticon
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matt.jpgMatt - Washington Bureau Chief
01/25/2012 @ 03:14:10 PM
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I pretty sure most economists don't advocate raising the capital gains tax, and may even say it should be lowered or eliminated if anything. This is for a variety of reasons: it's already double taxation; it would depress investment; etc. If Bain, or other companies, lobbied against a proposed law that would affect how they do business, that's fine by me.
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Nutcan.com's MBL
01/25/2012 @ 03:17:19 PM
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After all, you do have a 1st Amendment right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
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Matt messed with this at 01/25/2012 3:18:05 pm
scott.jpgScott - No, I did not change your screen saver settings
01/25/2012 @ 03:26:02 PM
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Well, that's true. In a certain way, I don't have a problem with lobbying persae, just that Romney says that he's paying 15% simply because "'dems the rules". He's not saying he helped create those rules. He's not saying because if I was taxed higher I would just pull out all of my money and go live in a grass hut.

This goes to really the only thing I have against Romney to this point...he doesn't seem to know how to talk about his wealth. He refers to his speaker fees of $300,000+ as "not very much", he made a (probably jokingly, but maybe not) $10,000 dollar bet that actually seemed to horrify Rick Perry, and then repeated the line when Rick Perry looked at him like "dude, seriously?", and then his tax rate is simply him "playing by the rules". To a certain degree, I personally don't care if a president can "relate" to me, because afterall, I'm not the president, and since most presidents have been fairly wealthy, I'm probably never going to be able to relate to them whatsoever. But the awkwardness of Romney is comical at times, tragic at others, and is talked about by everyone from MSNBC to Fox News.
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Scott perfected this at 01/25/2012 3:28:04 pm
scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/25/2012 @ 03:33:45 PM
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Matt Wrote - Today @ 03:14:10 PM
it's already double taxation; it would depress investment;.


If Romney's tax return shows that he was taxed at 15% on his income, where's the double tax?
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/25/2012 @ 03:35:21 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 03:33:45 PM
Matt Wrote - Today @ 03:14:10 PM
it's already double taxation; it would depress investment;.


If Romney's tax return shows that he was taxed at 15% on his income, where's the double tax?

Nevermind, I sort of figured it out.
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Ombudsman
01/25/2012 @ 03:38:44 PM
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I already started writing, so I'll just finish anyway. I'm not familiar with all the details, so there may be capital gains where this doesn't fully apply, but the gist is that business profits are taxed as a whole at the corporate level (35%, I believe) and then again at a 15% rate when they are distributed to investors.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/25/2012 @ 03:41:07 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 03:35:21 PM
Scott Wrote - Today @ 03:33:45 PM
Matt Wrote - Today @ 03:14:10 PM
it's already double taxation; it would depress investment;.


If Romney's tax return shows that he was taxed at 15% on his income, where's the double tax?

Nevermind, I sort of figured it out.

Well, maybe not. So you make your income like most people and are taxed at say 25% or 35% (assuming you aren't being given seed money because you have wealthy connections since your father is already a billionaire). So you made $1,000,000 and after taxes it's like $700,000. You then invest all of that money and earn 20% in one year, bringing your total to $840,000. You aren't being taxed on the $700,000 you invested, but the $140,000 you made. So that $140,000 is then taxed at (currently) 15%, which brings your net gains to $119,000. That $119k hasn't been taxed twice, just the one time. Am I thinking of that correctly?
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matt.jpgMatt - Nutcan.com's MBL
01/25/2012 @ 03:52:50 PM
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Again, I may be completely wrong on this, but here is the way I think of it. Let's say I own 10% of the stock in a company. The company made $10 million and will distribute it all as dividends. Without any taxes, I would be entitled to $1 million dollars. But the company is now taxed at 35%, so the $10 million becomes $6.5 million. Of that, I now get $650,000. However, I also pay 15% capital gains on that now and receive only $552,500. That's an effective tax rate of 44.75%.
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Matt edited this at 01/25/2012 5:33:08 pm
newalex.jpgAlex - 3588 Posts
01/25/2012 @ 05:39:18 PM
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I'm angry at all the teachers I've ever had for not putting me on a path to a profession where I could make $57,000 a day. Unless he can somehow crap gold nuggets, no one can actually do $57,000 worth of work in a day.
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matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
01/25/2012 @ 08:19:17 PM
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Are you talking about Romney, or Prince Fielder?
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Ombudsman
01/26/2012 @ 04:22:42 AM
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Matt Wrote - Yesterday @ 03:52:50 PM
Again, I may be completely wrong on this, but here is the way I think of it. Let's say I own 10% of the stock in a company. The company made $10 million and will distribute it all as dividends. Without any taxes, I would be entitled to $1 million dollars. But the company is now taxed at 35%, so the $10 million becomes $6.5 million. Of that, I now get $650,000. However, I also pay 15% capital gains on that now and receive only $552,500. That's an effective tax rate of 44.75%.


I was right!

Mitt Romney's True Tax Rate: 44.75%
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reign_of_fire_150.jpgMicah - They just want the damn ash of that field
01/26/2012 @ 07:17:04 AM
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Matt Wrote - Today @ 05:22:42 AM
Matt Wrote - Yesterday @ 04:52:50 PM
Again, I may be completely wrong on this, but here is the way I think of it. Let's say I own 10% of the stock in a company. The company made $10 million and will distribute it all as dividends. Without any taxes, I would be entitled to $1 million dollars. But the company is now taxed at 35%, so the $10 million becomes $6.5 million. Of that, I now get $650,000. However, I also pay 15% capital gains on that now and receive only $552,500. That's an effective tax rate of 44.75%.


I was right!

Mitt Romney's True Tax Rate: 44.75%


I really haven't been reading this post much, but this argument always drives me nuts. Let the resident tax attorney smack me down if I am wrong on any of this. First, in Romney's case, about $13 million of his income was from a carried interest loophole, which means it was paid out as a bonus or commission on financial profits, but was still taxed at the 15% capital gains rate. This money is not taxed at the corporate tax rate, so is not "taxed twice."

Second, you can't compare corporate and income taxes equally unless there was a tax on corporate revenue, not profits. Individuals are taxed on what they earn, and companies are taxed on what they profit. I would gladly pay a 35% tax rate (probably much higher) if I could deduct the cost of groceries, toilet paper and bar tabs from my income over the entire year. If you want to add the rates together, you need to take the corporate tax paid / revenue, and that is the equivalent tax rate to what we pay.

Third, reinvestment of revenue in the company is allowed to be expensed and not exposed to taxes, so high corporate taxes actually encourage expansion of the business, as this provides a shelter from the high taxes. It is absolutely debatable as to whether X company should expand, and they should probably have that choice, rather than being forced into it by a tax rate, but the taxes themselves do not discourage investment. They would discourage dividends, however, so those relying on a income stream from their investments may not fair as well.
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Micah edited this at 01/26/2012 1:36:08 pm
scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/26/2012 @ 08:28:11 AM
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Matt Wrote - Today @ 04:22:42 AM
Matt Wrote - Yesterday @ 03:52:50 PM
Again, I may be completely wrong on this, but here is the way I think of it. Let's say I own 10% of the stock in a company. The company made $10 million and will distribute it all as dividends. Without any taxes, I would be entitled to $1 million dollars. But the company is now taxed at 35%, so the $10 million becomes $6.5 million. Of that, I now get $650,000. However, I also pay 15% capital gains on that now and receive only $552,500. That's an effective tax rate of 44.75%.


I was right!

Mitt Romney's True Tax Rate: 44.75%


I think Micah sort talked about this, but it's a little deceiving saying that it's taxed twice, especially when talking about how it applies to Romney, or essentially the "end user" (for lack of a better term). Romney only was taxed once.
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2887.gifAlex - Who controls the past now controls the future
01/26/2012 @ 06:35:33 PM
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http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/technology-blog/newt-gingrich-promises-build-moon-colony-2020-u-211103078.html

Can I fly my roflcopter to the colony?
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/26/2012 @ 06:38:00 PM
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126800d1265706994-lolz-roflcopter9grpm2.png
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/26/2012 @ 09:37:18 PM
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Favorite moment from the debate tonight:
Wolf: Mr. Speaker, would you like to address your attacks on Romney's personal investements?
Newt: Wolf, that is a "nonsense question".
Wolf: You said Romney lives in a fantasy land of cayman islands....
Newt: sure, I set it in an interview, but this is a debate
Wolf: You should be able to defend your serious allegations
Newt: someone help me out here
emoticon
Romney: It would be nice if people who made such attacks were also willing to defend them on a stage like this. BOOM!
emoticonemoticon
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Scott edited this 2 times, last at 01/26/2012 9:38:34 pm
matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
01/27/2012 @ 08:07:20 AM
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Micah Wrote - Yesterday @ 07:17:04 AM
Matt Wrote - Yesterday @ 04:22:42 AM
Matt Wrote - 01/25/2012 @ 03:52:50 PM
Again, I may be completely wrong on this, but here is the way I think of it. Let's say I own 10% of the stock in a company. The company made $10 million and will distribute it all as dividends. Without any taxes, I would be entitled to $1 million dollars. But the company is now taxed at 35%, so the $10 million becomes $6.5 million. Of that, I now get $650,000. However, I also pay 15% capital gains on that now and receive only $552,500. That's an effective tax rate of 44.75%.


I was right!

Mitt Romney's True Tax Rate: 44.75%


I really haven't been reading this post much, but this argument always drives me nuts. Let the resident tax attorney smack me down if I am wrong on any of this. First, in Romney's case, about $13 million of his income was from a carried interest loophole, which means it was paid out as a bonus or commission on financial profits, but was still taxed at the 15% capital gains rate. This money is not taxed at the corporate tax rate, so is not "taxed twice."

Second, you can't compare corporate and income taxes equally unless there was a tax on corporate revenue, not profits. Individuals are taxed on what they earn, and companies are taxed on what they profit. I would gladly pay a 35% tax rate (probably much higher) if I could deduct the cost of groceries, toilet paper and bar tabs from my income over the entire year. If you want to add the rates together, you need to take the corporate tax paid / revenue, and that is the equivalent tax rate to what we pay.

Third, reinvestment of revenue in the company is allowed to be expensed and not exposed to taxes, so high corporate taxes actually encourage expansion of the business, as this provides a shelter from the high taxes. It is absolutely debatable as to whether X company should expand, and they should probably have that choice, rather than being forced into it by a tax rate, but the taxes themselves do not discourage investment. They would discourage dividends, however, so those relying on a income stream from their investments may not fair as well.


I'm not sure if you're mad at my (admittedly simplistic) example, the article about Romney's taxes, or some combination of both, but I'll respond with a few points.

I said in an earlier post that I wasn't sure if the double taxation argument applied to all capital gains or not. Scott asked what the double taxation argument was and I said what I knew (though on further review, I don't think dividends are actually considered capital gains, though they are taxed like them). Whether Romney's gains were double taxed or not, I don't know. The main reason I linked to the article was that I came across it soon after I wrote my post and it was confirmation that I got the basic argument (and the math!) right.

As for comparing corporate and personal income taxes, I'm not sure who, or how, they are being compared. I do, though, get that they're not completely analogous structure wise, but if you consider that, to an extent, profits equal income to owners/stockholders, then not taxing all corporate income seems to make more sense. Otherwise it would just translate into higher prices, fewer jobs/lower wages, or lower profits (which would be the same as a higher tax on only the profits, which the government could do anyway).

Lastly, I agree that taxes change incentives, and thus behavior. I also agree that it's debatable whether or not these incentives are always good or not. I'm not sure I agree that high corporate taxes don't discourage investment. While corporate taxes may encourage reinvestment of profits, to the extent that they decrease profits/"harm" a company, might outside investment be impacted negatively? Also, I always took the "discourage investment" argument to be applied mainly to the effects of increasing the capital gains tax, not the corporate tax.
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Matt screwed with this at 01/27/2012 8:12:30 am
scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/27/2012 @ 08:43:58 AM
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Someone explain to me the difference between RomneyCare and ObamaCare, other than one is at the state level and one is federal? Obviously they are similar in principal, and Santorum seems to hate RomneyCare as much as ObamaCare. Even Romney seems stumped to explain the differences in a way that makes his plan actually different.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
01/27/2012 @ 09:26:49 AM
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It probably won't necessarily help him among conservatives, but conservatives tend to hate anything done by the government for the people (I tried to think of a better, less aggressive way of writing that, but after watching Santorum last night, I'd say I'm pretty much right on), but I found this. RomneyCare actually doesn't look that bad, and might be a better solution if implemented by more states than ObamaCare. I'd say the problem with either plans is that they seem to do little to address the rising costs of health care and health insurance. Instead they simply seek to help insure everyone, but in different ways.
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scott.jpgScott - If you aren't enough without it, you'll never be enough with it.
01/27/2012 @ 09:38:47 AM
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from that same site I linked before:
So can conservatives support the use of an individual mandate? Absolutely! Conservatives don't need to allow their convictions in the value and conservative nature of an individual mandate to be overruled by party leaders or popular media pundits. Afterall, the idea was originally created and extolled by conservative sources! (Check here and here to read more about how an individual mandate is conservative.)

Do the conservatives on this page agree?
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8387 Posts
01/27/2012 @ 09:42:05 AM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 09:26:49 AM
I'd say the problem with either plans is that they seem to do little to address the rising costs of health care and health insurance. Instead they simply seek to help insure everyone, but in different ways.


We've talked about it before, but I think the point is largely that insuring everyone in and of itself will lower both costs, in at least two ways.

1) To a large extent system we have right now is already paying to insure everyone, just without the benefit of actually ensuring everyone. Those of us paying for healthcare pay more to, partially, make up for the "free loaders", and the hospital has to charge more than they otherwise might have to because they know they're going to have to eat the cost of 1 out of every N procedures.

2) A stitch in time saves nine. The uninsured wait until disaster strikes, at which point they generally hit up the ER, where they can't really be turned away, is the most expensive medical care, and, of course, what would have been a $50 prescription a year ago is now a heart transplant because a simple condition was left to fester and things are out of control. Many insurance companies pay for regular medical screenings themselves, because they realize that in the long run paying for a battery of tests, but staying on top of things, is cheaper.
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Jeremy messed with this 3 times, last at 01/27/2012 9:49:52 am
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Ombudsman
01/27/2012 @ 10:11:25 AM
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http://www.beaconhill.org/BHIStudies/HCR-2011/PR-HealthCareReform2011-0627.htm

This article says that RomneyCare drove up costs. The last paragraph also took the words right out of my mouth. Health care costs have been going up because demand keeps outpacing supply. Mandates that increase demand even more will not cause the price to go down.
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Matt messed with this at 01/27/2012 10:12:49 am
scott.jpgScott - On your mark...get set...Terrible!
01/27/2012 @ 10:14:35 AM
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Are the "health care costs" you are referring to the cost of insurance, the actual medical visits, or both? Because by insuring people, you may be reducing the demand for the "high demand" procedures (like ER visits), and modestly increasing the demand for things like a routine doctor's visit. Just speculation, but I feel like that statement is too complicated for a simple answer.

edit: of course, I'm basing my inquiries on what it feels like it should do, rather than what actual results suggest. If health care costs went up in MA, they went up. BUT, did they go up because of Romneycare? Health care costs in the US have been going up long before Obamacare, which is now what is being blamed for the rising costs.

edit2: I'm actually just asking questions now. I'm not convinced that Obamacare in it's entirety is the right solution. My above comments in this post aren't necessarily "counterpoints" as much as they are inquiries.
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Scott perfected this 3 times, last at 01/27/2012 10:17:58 am
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Nutcan.com's MBL
01/27/2012 @ 10:29:42 AM
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According to the study, costs increased more than they would have without the law. As for what the costs were, from the article:

"Specifically, the Institute found that:

* State health care expenditures have risen by $414 million over the period;
* Private health insurance costs have risen by $4.311 billion over the period;
* The federal government has spent an additional $2.418 billion on Medicaid for Massachusetts;
* Over this period, Medicare expenditures increased by $1.426 billion
"

I suppose you could say that higher prices aren't bad, if you got back a greater amount of "health" in return, but I doubt that is the case here.
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Matt screwed with this at 01/27/2012 10:30:38 am
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 1.21 Gigawatts!?!?
01/27/2012 @ 08:53:13 PM
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It's safe to say there's probably a greater health return, but I don't think that's the point.

It stands to reason that any plan like this will lead to an initial spike in expendature.

Much like in parks and rec you're going to have people who were never insured before pile 10 years worth of checkups and backlogged medical care into the first period. That demand will subside eventually.

Not to mention one of the key parts of it has to be looked at as an investment. Part of a stitch in time saving nine is actually making that first stitch.

Edit: I mean, take that $414 million from the state for example. Who knows how much of that was catching diabetes, heart conditions, cancers, and untold other progressive diseases early. Even if there's nothing "wrong" getting a baseline comparison of test results that a doctor can compare to later, or use to give you advice on can save later. Laying out that money on those people will save the state much much more in the long run. (Not to mention, that whole keeping thousands of people from suffering, or dying early, thing.)
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Jeremy screwed with this 2 times, last at 01/28/2012 2:22:32 am
matt.jpgMatt - Washington Bureau Chief
01/28/2012 @ 09:10:29 AM
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The problem is, though, that most of the uninsured are uninsured because they can't afford to buy it in the first place. They are dealt with by expanding Medicaid and other programs, and/or subsidizing their insurance. To the extent they were "freeloaders" in the first place, they still are now. Plus, when you subsidize something, you get more of it. Demand then, will almost certainly outpace supply and prices will go up. So, while you have solved the problem of this group not being insured, you are definitely not doing it in a way that decreases health care costs.

As for the people who can afford insurance, but don't buy it... Maybe you save money, maybe not. I think it depends on how different factors balance out. Yeah, you may prevent hospitals from having to eat the cost of procedures (and then passing it on to those who pay), but that amount may only have a small overall effect on prices. I believe that most of the people in this group are usually young and healthy. They don't use a lot of health care (and if they can afford insurance, they are probably paying out-of-pocket anyway), so the only cost is when a small percentage of the group needs major care. However, if you make this group buy insurance that they, presumably, didn't want before, then they may decide to use more health care since they are already paying for it. This could increase demand and thus prices. Ironically, depending on what level of insurance you make this group buy, they could end up having to pay for a lot more care than they can use/need, and thus would become the subsidizers while the original insured group would now be the freeloaders.

As to whether preventative care/screening saves money, again, maybe. For every person that saves money by catching something early, there are x number of people who get screened/use preventative care that would never come down with the condition anyway. Also, since we're strictly talking money here, I'll throw this out. The elderly use a lot of health care. Since they are covered by Medicare, the government ends up spending a lot of money on them. It's quite possible then, that by being unhealthy and dying young, you are actually costing society less than if you stay healthy and die older (hello death panels emoticon). Again, I'm not advocating that we let this happen. I'm just talking on strictly monetary cost terms.

A few final points:

1. Like everything else, health care costs are dependant on supply and demand.

2. A big factor on the demand side is that so much of the health care expenditures are through third-party payers (Medicare/Medicaid, employer provided insurance). The closer you are to the actual costs of the care, the more cost-effective you will be in making health care decisions. As people become less willing to buy care that isn't cost effective, demand will go down.

3. As for the supply side, we should look into easing the way for health care to be delivered in less costly ways. This can include things like getting rid of burdensome regulations, tort reform, etc. Also, and I'm not sure what all can be done to do this, we should find ways to increase the number of doctors (especially primary care docs) and other medical professionals.

4. Regarding people seeking non-emergency care in the emergency room. A lot of these people are not the uninsured, but people who lack access to primary care doctors. One factor is a shortage of primary care doctors. Another factor is that doctors are increasingly dropping Medicaid and Medicare patients as the reimbursement from the government for these patients is too low. They are then left with the emergency room as their only source of health care.
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Matt perfected this 4 times, last at 01/28/2012 9:23:54 am
jeremy.jpgJeremy - The pig says "My wife is a slut?"
01/28/2012 @ 11:47:48 AM
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But even if the higher demand is sustained, and obviously to some extent it would be, supply will catch up. You can't point to "not enough money in it" as a negative of entering a healthcare field, and then bemoan all the extra money being spent on it.

Obviously these plan might not actually save anything, but even if they cost more, it's money well spent. Either way I think it's way too early to call. It would be like convincing a group of people that generally speaking a college education is the ticket to greater overall wealth in life, then having them check the status of their wealth at 1, 2, 4, or even 6 years into the plan and going "what gives". It's not a slam dunk, but obviously the plans aren't going to look stellar in the main investment years.

As for the elderly, yes, they use a lot and keeping them alive longer will cost more, though I guess part of the problem with this conversation is we're using the same phrases to mean different things, sometimes in the same post. Healthcare expenditure as a country might go up while heathcare costs you or I less.

I have no problem with making people who can buy it buy it. If you get into a car accident with no insurance of any kind; you go to a hospital, and your car gets towed to a mechanic, the mechanic can say "well, you have no means of paying so...have a nice life". The hospital is just going to save you, and sort it out later. Obviously young/healthy people are using it less, but every human ever not born broken is healthy...until they aren't. Just like roads and schools and tons of other crap, you could use them, whether or not you do right now, so you should kick in something for when you do. I know the hospitals themselves aren't state run, but I think you could make a case some of the system should be. We're living in a society people.

However, yes, there are other things that need to change too. Most of our clients, as well as our parent company, are medical billers. Essentially between tangled, ever changing, regulations, dealing with what is and isn't covered by whom, and what to do when someone doesn't pay, hospitals look at the prospect of having to deal with that and say "the hell with it" and pay someone else to go get their money. Personally I think a lot of problems with the industry is just an IT problem.
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Jeremy messed with this at 01/28/2012 11:55:52 am
scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
02/16/2012 @ 11:09:15 PM
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Someone ought to remind Rick Santorum that millions of married couples (including married Christian couples) in this country use birth control.

Mike Huckabee wasfor contraception mandates without exemptions for church affiliated entities before he was against it.

Anyway, just some thoughts.
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Scott messed with this 2 times, last at 02/16/2012 11:29:43 pm
matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 01:54:06 AM
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Just so we don't start off by talking past each other, are you talking about any specific quote or proposal by Santorum that we should all be aware of?

As for Huckabee and the mandates, just from reading the story you linked to there seemed to be differences that make the Arkansas law a little less intrusive than the new federal regulation (though that still doesn't make it right, in my opinion). Also one of the ways that religious institutions got around states laws like this was by self-insuring. The new mandate now affects them as well.

Oh yeah, Barack Obama was against the individual mandate (in the primaries) before he was for it (after he got elected).
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - Pie Racist
02/17/2012 @ 09:15:33 AM
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When we were confirmed we had to have a meeting with the priest in a semi one on one. Maybe 4 of us "at a time" but I think we still talked more one on one as he asked us questions and then, as Sarah told me before hand, got exasperated by how little we knew after many years of CCD.

Anyway, we talked about the churches position on birth control, and how little sense it made to me, and he didn't really have a good answer. (Probably because there isn't one.) The Churches' position is that every time you have sex you should be "open" to the chance of having a kid. (Which kind of goes without saying from a "chance" perspective, but they mean that on some level you're doing it (heh) for the chance at a kid.) They think contraception violates that idea, even though they push the family planning method on people, which is conceptually the same thing. I asked him why if it's all about your "mindset" why trying like hell to avoid kids with family planning is any different and he said something like "Because that leaves you open to kids if God chooses." I asked if he thought God was weaker than half a millimeter of latex, and I think we just went around in circles.

Of course that was so long ago I might be merging 15 different conversations with 3 different people, but I definitely talked to him about it, and had that conversation with someone.

When Sarah and I were married we had to go to a weekend of classes, and one of the lessons was the family planning method. I worked at Menards at the time and told our IT guy about it and he said "Yeah, that's what we use. There's a name for people like us...parents."
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Jeremy edited this 2 times, last at 02/17/2012 9:29:01 am
jeremy.jpgJeremy - 1.21 Gigawatts!?!?
02/17/2012 @ 09:25:16 AM
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Also, I don't know the individual ins and outs of the mandate and whatnot, but I do believe that, in general, churches shouldn't be able to play both sides of the field. You're either a 501c(3) that receives tax payer money, which (rightfully) comes with certain strings attached that every other official charity in the country has to abide by, or you can stop taking tax payer money, and do whatever you want.
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Jeremy messed with this at 02/17/2012 9:27:19 am
scott.jpgScott - Resident Tech Support
02/17/2012 @ 09:52:36 AM
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Matt Wrote - Today @ 01:54:06 AM
Oh yeah, Barack Obama was against the individual mandate (in the primaries) before he was for it (after he got elected).


He also didn't pass legislation saying one thing and then harpoon his opponents for passing essentially the same thing. In some cases when he has seemingly gone back on his previous position, he as at least addressed and explained his change.

I wasn't addressing anything specific "could be taken out of context" thing that Santorum has said, other than that he has been wildly outspoken about birth control seemingly in any form. And he has done this without making any differentiation between single people and married couples. Couple that with the fact that birth control can be used for other womens health issues that don't have anything to do specifically with trying to prevent pregnancies. Women with heavy or painful menstral cycles can use the pill to help with this, and skin conditions like eczema can be treated with the pill as well.

I suppose it shouldn't be surprising to learn about Santorums views on this subject, considering he's Catholic and all. What is troubling is that he seems to be interested in changing laws to turn his religious beliefs into law, and I'm not sure what this would do to the millions of married couples (both Catholic, Christian, and non). Afterall, this is a guy who vehemently disagreed with the Supreme Court decision to overturn the Texas Sodomy law, which essentially made being gay in your own home an arrestable offense.

When Kennedy was running for president there seemed to be a big concern that he would simply be "the pope's guy in the white house". It would appear that those same questions should be asked about Santorum, and so far it seems like there is a much greater chance that it would be true about him.
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Scott screwed with this at 02/17/2012 9:58:30 am
scott.jpgScott - If you aren't enough without it, you'll never be enough with it.
02/17/2012 @ 09:59:02 AM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 09:15:33 AM
Anyway, we talked about the churches position on birth control, and how little sense it made to me, and he didn't really have a good answer. (Probably because there isn't one.) The Churches' position is that every time you have sex you should be "open" to the chance of having a kid. (Which kind of goes without saying from a "chance" perspective, but they mean that on some level you're doing it (heh) for the chance at a kid.) They think contraception violates that idea, even though they push the family planning method on people, which is conceptually the same thing. I asked him why if it's all about your "mindset" why trying like hell to avoid kids with family planning is any different and he said something like "Because that leaves you open to kids if God chooses." I asked if he thought God was weaker than half a millimeter of latex, and I think we just went around in circles.


In my pre-marriage counseling, my Christian counselor (the leader of the Eau Claire Navigators group at the time) put it this way. If someone wants to argue that you shouldn't attempt to prevent pregnancy in an unnatural way, are they then arguing that it should only be done naturally? Either way, you are attempting to prevent pregnancy. His point sort of being that marriage is for doing it; figure out how you are going to make children on your own.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 10:01:16 AM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 09:25:16 AM
Also, I don't know the individual ins and outs of the mandate and whatnot, but I do believe that, in general, churches shouldn't be able to play both sides of the field. You're either a 501c(3) that receives tax payer money, which (rightfully) comes with certain strings attached that every other official charity in the country has to abide by, or you can stop taking tax payer money, and do whatever you want.


It's also not churches that the thing applies to. It's "church affiliated" entities, like universities and hospitals. Churches and church employers, I believe, are still exempt.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 10:07:22 AM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 09:15:33 AM
When Sarah and I were married we had to go to a weekend of classes, and one of the lessons was the family planning method. I worked at Menards at the time and told our IT guy about it and he said "Yeah, that's what we use. There's a name for people like us...parents."


I think it's officially called the "rhythm method", and it is literally using a calendar to estimate the woman's ovulation schedule and then avoid doing it during the period of ovulation. While horribly ineffective, it also robs you of the time of the month when your wife would be most interested in doing it anyway, since ovulation has this pleasant side effect.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8387 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 10:08:25 AM
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Wives can be interested in doing it?
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 10:12:17 AM
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Well, if there was a chance, that time in which the Catholic church says don't do it would be your best shot.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8387 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 10:29:48 AM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 09:52:36 AM
Afterall, this is a guy who vehemently disagreed with the Supreme Court decision to overturn the Texas Sodomy law, which essentially made being gay in your own home an arrestable offense.


You don't have to be gay to have oral/anal sex. (Though I believe these laws were also generally selectively enforced against gays, which is just another reason they were totally asinine.)
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Jeremy screwed with this at 02/17/2012 10:35:01 am
scott.jpgScott - Ma'am, can you make sure your computer is turned on?
02/17/2012 @ 11:29:23 AM
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Slight change of subject, but it's politically relavent to a certain degree. Personhood Act Passes Overwhelmingly in Oklahoma Senate. A few questions that seem to be of no small significance.
1) since invitro fertilization for infertility creates embryos, does this become outlawed?
2) Will a miscarriage be treated as a homicide, or at least investigated the same way that a 1 month old death would be investigated?
3) will certain forms of birth control be banned? Some methods prevent the egg from being fertilized while others prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. Is one of these methods considered "abortion"
4) will lifestyle activities be outlawed for pregnant women, since some things are deemed to have a risk to the child?
5)relating to number 2, how will lifestyle activities be treated for women who are unaware of a pregnancy? If a women is pregnant but unaware, and continues to drink, causing misconception, is this treated the same as a mother feeding her 2 year old alcohol?

For the record, I am indeed pro-life, with at the very least having exceptions for a woman's health/life being at risk (i'm torn about the other typical exceptions). This simply seems like it is oversimplifying a very complicated issue when the intention seems largely to be taking a back door approach to banning abortions.
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Scott screwed with this 4 times, last at 02/17/2012 11:41:56 am
matt.jpgMatt - Nutcan.com's MBL
02/17/2012 @ 11:38:24 AM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 09:52:36 AM
Matt Wrote - Today @ 01:54:06 AM
Oh yeah, Barack Obama was against the individual mandate (in the primaries) before he was for it (after he got elected).


He also didn't pass legislation saying one thing and then harpoon his opponents for passing essentially the same thing. In some cases when he has seemingly gone back on his previous position, he as at least addressed and explained his change.


Really? He said how he was against it in the primary because it was Hillary's idea, and then was for it months later because it was the only way he could keep the insurance companies at bay? I must have missed that. emoticon

It doesn't really matter, they're politicians. They do that kind of thing. Maybe both of them changed their positions because of political considerations, maybe they both changed their minds because of a good logical argument, maybe some of both. All I know is that I oppose the individual mandate, and I oppose the contraception mandate as well.

Scott Wrote - Today @ 09:52:36 AM
I wasn't addressing anything specific "could be taken out of context" thing that Santorum has said, other than that he has been wildly outspoken about birth control seemingly in any form. And he has done this without making any differentiation between single people and married couples. Couple that with the fact that birth control can be used for other womens health issues that don't have anything to do specifically with trying to prevent pregnancies. Women with heavy or painful menstral cycles can use the pill to help with this, and skin conditions like eczema can be treated with the pill as well.


A lot of conservatives have been talking about birth control in regards to the proposed mandate. I also know that people have been bringing up past statements from him about birth control. I'm not sure how much he has just decided to espouse his views. What I do know he said, though, was that his views on birth control are his personal views guided by his faith. He has also said he doesn't think that government should ban contraception, even if he disagrees with it personally. Whether he should/can be believed on that is, of course, up to each voter. I will note, however, that these kinds of situations are all over politics. You can be against drug use/drinking/smoking, but think it's no business of the government to completely ban it. You can be for healthy eating, but be against the government telling people what to eat. You can be against abortion, but still think that it's no business of the government, etc.

Scott Wrote - Today @ 09:52:36 AM
I suppose it shouldn't be surprising to learn about Santorums views on this subject, considering he's Catholic and all. What is troubling is that he seems to be interested in changing laws to turn his religious beliefs into law, and I'm not sure what this would do to the millions of married couples (both Catholic, Christian, and non). Afterall, this is a guy who vehemently disagreed with the Supreme Court decision to overturn the Texas Sodomy law, which essentially made being gay in your own home an arrestable offense.


Again, specifics would be helpful. Also, its almost impossible to completely separate religious and/or moral values from political decisions. Obama has repeatedly used the "we are our brother's keeper" idea from the Bible to promote various big government proposals. Does this make them inherently wrong, or does the actual policy do that.

As for the sodomy law (the case was Lawrence v. Texas), the dissenting view (at least as far I can understand) was that by overturning the law, you would, in effect, be stripping the basis for other morality type laws (some of which may be more favorable by the public than the ban against sodomy). Just because a law is a bad or stupid law, doesn't automatically make it unconstitutional (Justice Thomas called the law "uncommonly silly", and said he wouldn't vote for such a law, but it was still constitutional). From what I can remember, this was essentially Santorum's view on the case as well, a view that is certainly defensible, even if you disagree on the legal conclusions.

Scott Wrote - Today @ 09:52:36 AM
When Kennedy was running for president there seemed to be a big concern that he would simply be "the pope's guy in the white house".


They sure didn't need to worry about that! I think the Pope probably frowned upon extracurricular activities like this. emoticon
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Matt perfected this 2 times, last at 02/17/2012 2:32:05 pm
scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 11:44:17 AM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 11:29:23 AM
Slight change of subject, but it's politically relavent to a certain degree. Personhood Act Passes Overwhelmingly in Oklahoma Senate. A few questions that seem to be of no small significance.
1) since invitro fertilization for infertility creates embryos, does this become outlawed?
2) Will a miscarriage be treated as a homicide, or at least investigated the same way that a 1 month old death would be investigated?
3) will certain forms of birth control be banned? Some methods prevent the egg from being fertilized while others prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. Is one of these methods considered "abortion"
4) will lifestyle activities be outlawed for pregnant women, since some things are deemed to have a risk to the child?
5)relating to number 2, how will lifestyle activities be treated for women who are unaware of a pregnancy? If a women is pregnant but unaware, and continues to drink, causing misconception, is this treated the same as a mother feeding her 2 year old alcohol?

For the record, I am indeed pro-life, with at the very least having exceptions for a woman's health/life being at risk (i'm torn about the other typical exceptions). This simply seems like it is oversimplifying a very complicated issue when the intention seems largely to be taking a back door approach to banning abortions.


ok, so I found the text of the Oklahoma bill. It does include this clause: Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as creating a cause of action against a woman for indirectly harming her unborn child by failing to properly care for herself or by failing to follow any particular program of prenatal care. which I suppose addresses questions 4 and 5, but the other 3 seem to be completely up for grabs as far as how someone wants to interpret the new law.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 11:50:00 AM
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Matt Wrote - Today @ 11:38:24 AM
Scott Wrote - Today @ 09:52:36 AM
Matt Wrote - Today @ 01:54:06 AM
Oh yeah, Barack Obama was against the individual mandate (in the primaries) before he was for it (after he got elected).


He also didn't pass legislation saying one thing and then harpoon his opponents for passing essentially the same thing. In some cases when he has seemingly gone back on his previous position, he as at least addressed and explained his change.


Really? He said how he was against it in the primary because it was Hillary's idea, and then was for it months later because it was the only way he keep the insurance companies at bay? I must have missed that. emoticon


I'm not sure if your response was in any way a refutation of my point. A republican (huckabee in this case) actually passed a law mandating contraception, then schewers obama for doing the exact same thing. If Huckabee comes out and explains why what he did was wrong (as Obama has done with some of his position changes, like the health care mandate and the debt ceiling) it would be different.

Regarding Santorum, he has stated numerous times that the idea that Americans have a right to privacy is a myth.
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Scott edited this at 02/17/2012 12:00:11 pm
scott.jpgScott - No, I did not change your screen saver settings
02/17/2012 @ 11:59:28 AM
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Matt Wrote - Today @ 11:38:24 AM
As for the sodomy law (the case was Lawrence v. Texas), the dissenting view (at least as far I can understand) was that by overturning the law, you would, in effect, be stripping the basis for other morality type laws (some of which may be more favorable by the public than the ban against sodomy). Just because a law is a bad or stupid law, doesn't automatically make it unconstitutional (Justice Thomas called the law "uncommonly silly", and said he wouldn't vote for such a law, but it was still constitutional). From what I can remember, this was essentially Santorum's view on the case as well, a view that is certainly defensible, even if you disagree on the legal conclusions.


I understand that it's a thin line between legislating morality and protecting the greater good and whatnot, but by having a law that is 100% because of someone's moral conviction while completely stepping on someone's right not to literally have the government in their bedroom, you open the door to having any type of law passed from any level of government simply because it violates someone's moral conviction. People seem to love to play the "slippery slope" game with everything (like how allowing two men to live together will lead to man on dog action)*. It's also hard then to understand someone's concept of "limited government" when they are advocating for arresting people because of someone finds their private bedroom choices offensive.

*full disclosure, not accusing republicans of being the only party to play this game.
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Scott screwed with this at 02/17/2012 12:03:48 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Nutcan.com's MBL
02/17/2012 @ 12:03:25 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 11:50:00 AM
Regarding Santorum, he has stated numerous times that the idea that Americans have a right to privacy is a myth.


Yeah, and legal minds argue about whether he is right or not. There is no right to privacy explicitly mentioned in the Constitution. It was assumed from "penumbras and emanations" (look it up) of other explicit rights. Again, it's another case where you can be against the legal reasoning of the Court, while still being against the law the Court was arguing about in the first place.
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scott.jpgScott - Ma'am, can you make sure your computer is turned on?
02/17/2012 @ 12:11:11 PM
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Matt Wrote - Today @ 12:03:25 PM
Scott Wrote - Today @ 11:50:00 AM
Regarding Santorum, he has stated numerous times that the idea that Americans have a right to privacy is a myth.


Yeah, and legal minds argue about whether he is right or not.

Being president may make it more difficult to keep the "right or not" from actually becoming law. There are legal minds that think the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, but alas it is still the current law of the land.
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matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 12:15:17 PM
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Yeah, but the point was, that thinking that there is no full Constitutional right to privacy is different from thinking that the government then should be all up in your business.
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scott.jpgScott - Resident Tech Support
02/17/2012 @ 12:25:32 PM
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Matt Wrote - Today @ 12:15:17 PM
Yeah, but the point was, that thinking that there is no full Constitutional right to privacy is different from thinking that the government then should be all up in your business.

I agree with you. Except* you chould subsitute "should" with "could" in your statement and I could see that being a potential risk. If it's decided that there is no constitutional right to privacy (i'm looking at amendment 9, specifically), then the government COULD be all up in your business.

*edit: "except" not "accept"
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Scott perfected this at 02/17/2012 12:35:29 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 2884 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 12:40:47 PM
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Yes, but that doesn't mean that you should ignore what you understand/believe/know the Constitution to say, just because the government might do something with those powers that you don't like. That just means you should support libertarian groups (and perhaps the Tea Party maybe?) whose goals are to keep government a limited government.

Remember, arguments for a limited government based on what the Constitution says it can and can't do, and arguments for a limited government based on what you feel is the best for society often overlap, but they are not always the same thing.

And for the record, there is stuff I like about Santorum and a lot I don't, but I think his positions/views should be argued for what they actually are, not the liberal characterization of them.
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Ombudsman
02/17/2012 @ 12:44:06 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 12:25:32 PM
Except* you chould subsitute "should" with "could"
*edit: "except" not "accept"


Really Scott?emoticon
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - No one's gay for Moleman
02/17/2012 @ 12:47:10 PM
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Most fertilized eggs don't implant.

Santorum has stated that he thinks states should be allowed to ban contraceptives. *

The pope might have frowned upon JFK's antics, but it's safe to say the Papacy was fairly likely not in any position to take the moral high ground on a whole lot.

I think the biggest argument for overturning laws like both things mentioned here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griswold_v._Connecticut being the other) as things Santorum is against is that they were old, unenforced (and to a certain extent unenforceable), laws that only served as a danger to be selectively applied to violators.

You could support the tea party, except like many groups that trumpet "small government" they don't actually mean it. The don't like taxes, and the government in industry. There are a lot of those types of people who are perfectly fine with the government deciding what people should be able to do in their personal lives.

*And yes, of course you could be completely naive as to his personal, reiterated over and over, position on this issue and write this statement off as "that just means he thinks states should be able to do anything" but it's hardly a "liberal spin" to read between the lines on what he would like to see if he was given a magic wand and told he could make things anyway he wants.
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Jeremy edited this 2 times, last at 02/17/2012 12:51:45 pm
scott.jpgScott - You're going to have to call your hardware guy. It's not a software issue.
02/17/2012 @ 12:51:51 PM
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If Santorum got his way, Griswold v. Connecticut would have gone in favor of Connecticut, and "any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception" would be banned even for married couples.


edit: Woa, Jeremy and I were apparently writing pretty much the exact same thing at the exact same time.
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Scott perfected this at 02/17/2012 12:52:24 pm
matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 12:52:30 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 11:59:28 AM
Matt Wrote - Today @ 11:38:24 AM
As for the sodomy law (the case was Lawrence v. Texas), the dissenting view (at least as far I can understand) was that by overturning the law, you would, in effect, be stripping the basis for other morality type laws (some of which may be more favorable by the public than the ban against sodomy). Just because a law is a bad or stupid law, doesn't automatically make it unconstitutional (Justice Thomas called the law "uncommonly silly", and said he wouldn't vote for such a law, but it was still constitutional). From what I can remember, this was essentially Santorum's view on the case as well, a view that is certainly defensible, even if you disagree on the legal conclusions.


I understand that it's a thin line between legislating morality and protecting the greater good and whatnot, but by having a law that is 100% because of someone's moral conviction while completely stepping on someone's right not to literally have the government in their bedroom, you open the door to having any type of law passed from any level of government simply because it violates someone's moral conviction. People seem to love to play the "slippery slope" game with everything (like how allowing two men to live together will lead to man on dog action)*. It's also hard then to understand someone's concept of "limited government" when they are advocating for arresting people because of someone finds their private bedroom choices offensive.

*full disclosure, not accusing republicans of being the only party to play this game.


I think you miss my point entirely. There are numerous things that the government has the power to do, that they should never, in fact do. You can disagree with a law and still say that the government has a right to do it under the constitution. The proper remedy then, would be to seek to change the law.

As for your slippery slope argument, the argument wasn't that if we allow two men to live together then soon the world will be overrun by everybody having sex with their dogs. The argument was that if you say the government has no constitutional right to ban man on man action based on morality grounds, then you're saying that government has no constitutional right to say that man on animal action is illegal or that adult incest is legal, or that polygamy is illegal, etc. Now, that argument isn't foolproof either, but its much more defensible than the caricatured version of it.
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scott.jpgScott - If you aren't enough without it, you'll never be enough with it.
02/17/2012 @ 12:54:00 PM
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Matt Wrote - Today @ 12:44:06 PM
Scott Wrote - Today @ 12:25:32 PM
Except* you chould subsitute "should" with "could"
*edit: "except" not "accept"


Really Scott?emoticon


Well, I had originally mistaken wrote "accept you chould...", and then I changed it. And then I remembered you don't like it when I edit my comments while you are reading them, so I put an annotation on it, which probably made it more confusing.
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 2884 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 12:58:52 PM
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I don't mind editing for grammar or punctuation mistakes, or for changing words to make your point clearer, without changing the substance of the point. What I got annoyed with was when you guys seemed to be completely changing around what you were saying and/or adding and subtracting whole sentences when I was in the middle of commenting on the original.

Anyway, that wasn't what I meant here. What I was trying to point out was that you corrected the accept/except thing, and two words later missed that you invented a new word (chould).
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Matt screwed with this 2 times, last at 02/17/2012 12:59:43 pm
jeremy.jpgJeremy - Broadcast in stunning 1080i
02/17/2012 @ 01:00:09 PM
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Man on animal doesn't need any aspect of "immorality" from the mans POV to be illegal. It's animal cruelty from the animal's. Arguing that from a slippery slope perspective is a little like saying "if we allow sodomy, soon we won't be able to claim rape is illegal."

Incest might be sketchy, assuming consenting adults. I don't see much of an argument for making polygamy much of a moral issue at all, let alone a legal one.* I think in many cases those laws were a back door holdover for driving out Mormons.

Scott Wrote - Today @ 12:54:00 PM
Matt Wrote - Today @ 12:44:06 PM
Scott Wrote - Today @ 12:25:32 PM
Except* you chould subsitute "should" with "could"
*edit: "except" not "accept"




Really Scott?emoticon


Well, I had originally mistaken wrote "accept you chould...", and then I changed it. And then I remembered you don't like it when I edit my comments while you are reading them, so I put an annotation on it, which probably made it more confusing.


I assume he's talking about you saying "chould" instead of could

*Well, assuming of course consenting adults, and that the objection is the "multiple partners makes baby Jesus cry" aspect, and not that someone lied to the gov to ACTUALLY get married to more than one partner, in which case THAT's the crime.
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Jeremy edited this 3 times, last at 02/17/2012 1:04:00 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 2884 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 01:05:42 PM
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But isn't animal cruelty a moral decision as well? I mean we can eat them, but can't have sex with them (not that I'm advocating for this). Again, you can be happy with the result on libertarian grounds, and still think that there is a problem with the Court saying stuff is constitutional when you don't think it is, and saying things are unconstitutional when you don't think they are.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 1.21 Gigawatts!?!?
02/17/2012 @ 01:10:32 PM
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You can eat them, but you can't harm them for the sake of harming them. You can kill and eat a cow, if you were caught beating the shit out of one you'd probably go to jail. Obviously this is a moral judgment on some level because it's valuing animals, I'm just saying it's different than trying to set a moral rule when there's no one that can even be perceived as a victim.
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scott.jpgScott - On your mark...get set...Terrible!
02/17/2012 @ 01:18:55 PM
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do you guys work, or am I the only one wasting company money blathering on pointlessly?
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8387 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 01:20:49 PM
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emoticonemoticon
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - Cube Phenomenoligist
02/17/2012 @ 01:26:46 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 01:10:32 PM
You can eat them, but you can't harm them for the sake of harming them. You can kill and eat a cow, if you were caught beating the shit out of one you'd probably go to jail. Obviously this is a moral judgment on some level because it's valuing animals, I'm just saying it's different than trying to set a moral rule when there's no one that can even be perceived as a victim.


It should be pointed out that in general I am only arguing with the argument. I understand that the larger point is that courts don't make laws, that they're only there to decide what shouldn't be a law, according to the constitution, and actually making/changing the laws is the legislature's job. (Although personally I'm fine with them generally making calls on things that clearly are or aren't in the spirit of the constitution, though I understand that's also a somewhat uneven and nebulous approach. Also, I think erring on the side of personal freedom is, generally speaking, aligned with the spirit of the Constitution. )

For example, and I don't know what the ruling was is, or if this is/was a case, and maybe this is a simplistic open and shut case: The constitution obviously says/said nothing about the government tapping phone lines, or watching your email inbox. How could it? Still, it's fairly obvious, to me at least, that even though the 4th amendment applies to someone physically showing up to go through your shit, that if some legislature decided phone tapping = ok all the time that a judge could rule that the 4th amendment still fairly obviously applies despite the word "phone" or "wire" appearing no where.
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Jeremy perfected this 2 times, last at 02/17/2012 1:44:22 pm
scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 01:31:46 PM
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Actually, the courts aren't explicitly given authority to decide what shouldn't be a law in the consitution. I don't remember which case, but a very early Supreme Course did just that (ruled a law unconstitutional) and I remember a documentary on PBS saying "The supreme court has the power to declare a law unconstitutional because the supreme says it has that power". Not that it diminishes your point any, EXCEPT (not chould) that one could argue against that precedent and put an end to that practice.
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Scott perfected this at 02/17/2012 1:33:34 pm
matt.jpgMatt - Washington Bureau Chief
02/17/2012 @ 01:33:33 PM
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Marbury v. Madison, I believe.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 01:35:04 PM
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that seemed too cliche, but you are probably right. It seemed too much like answering "Jesus" in Sunday school.
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Scott perfected this at 02/17/2012 1:35:56 pm
scott.jpgScott - On your mark...get set...Terrible!
02/17/2012 @ 01:36:48 PM
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Marbury v Madison.
It was also the first time in Western history a court invalidated a law by declaring it "unconstitutional".
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matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 01:45:15 PM
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I started writing this before the thread sort of exploded in another direction, but I decided to finish it and post it anyway.

Scott Wrote - Today @ 10:01:16 AM
Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 09:25:16 AM
Also, I don't know the individual ins and outs of the mandate and whatnot, but I do believe that, in general, churches shouldn't be able to play both sides of the field. You're either a 501c(3) that receives tax payer money, which (rightfully) comes with certain strings attached that every other official charity in the country has to abide by, or you can stop taking tax payer money, and do whatever you want.


It's also not churches that the thing applies to. It's "church affiliated" entities, like universities and hospitals. Churches and church employers, I believe, are still exempt.


It's fine to say that if you take government money you have to play by the government's rules. What happens though, when government so controls the playing field that a) its almost impossible not to be under some kind of benefit/tax credit/etc. and b) without the government's implicit or explicit imprimatur, it's almost impossible to do the kind of service you want to do.

Take the drinking age. There are plenty of good arguments why the drinking age should be moved back to 18. Ideally, a portion of our 50 states would decide to do that and everybody else can see what happens. That isn't happening though. The Federal Government has tied federal highway funds to the drinking age of 21. Sure, the states could still technically decline the federal funds, but they would still end up having to pay the taxes that will now go to other states. And since the federal government already overtaxes us, it's much tougher to raise state taxes to make up the difference, without putting yourself behind in other areas. This is stupid.

Similarly, if the government decides to offer tax-free status for charitable organizations (presumably because the organizations do good, and as a society we want to encourage that) then I think it is silly to load that status up with restrictions made for largely political reasons, that will guarantee that you will either force people/groups to compromise their religious beliefs to provide a service, or drop out entirely. Seriously, is it really a net benefit if Catholic hospitals and charities go out of business, just so women can get "free" birth control (and mind you, this is what it's about. Not whether women should be able to use birth control, but whether they should get it for "free")?
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matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 01:48:42 PM
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And, of course, I put "free" in quotation marks because of TANSTAFFL.
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Matt perfected this at 02/17/2012 1:49:39 pm
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - Always thinking of, but never about, the children.
02/17/2012 @ 01:52:22 PM
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Sure, but it's because them not getting it for free means more of them NOT getting it, not taking it, having babies, and doubling their burden on society. "Spending" $10 a month to save thousands seems like a no brainier to me.

Also, obviously the religious objection to is indeed about the view that they "shouldn't be".

If a 501c(3) thought serving black people "compromised their core beliefs" should they get a pass? On some level if you want our money you have to play by our rules.
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Jeremy edited this at 02/17/2012 1:55:31 pm
scott.jpgScott - Ma'am, can you make sure your computer is turned on?
02/17/2012 @ 01:54:10 PM
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birth control is expensive, by the way.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 01:58:27 PM
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Is every hosptial that is called "St. Mary's Hospital" or whatever a "Catholic" hospital (or at least a church affiliated hospital)? How much of an association with the church do a lot of these entities have? The distinction between an entity like this that is simply associated with a church vs an actual church where the purpose of existence is religious is an important distinction, at least conceptually.
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Scott screwed with this at 02/17/2012 1:58:45 pm
jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8387 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 02:00:04 PM
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I'm not so sure that's the case*, and even if it is it's generally shown over and over to be one of the quickest and easiest cost savings mechanisms.

Walmart has a few for $9 a month. (With a prescription, of course.)


*Well, as with any medication I'm sure some are nothing and some are a lot.
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Jeremy messed with this at 02/17/2012 2:07:44 pm
scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 02:28:34 PM
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Although the issue at hand is more to do with the religious organization's relgious objection to offering birth control, not so much of "is this cost effective."
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matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 02:28:41 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 01:52:22 PM
Sure, but it's because them not getting it for free means more of them NOT getting it, not taking it, having babies, and doubling their burden on society. "Spending" $10 a month to save thousands seems like a no brainier to me.

Also, obviously the religious objection to is indeed about the view that they "shouldn't be".

If a 501c(3) thought serving black people "compromised their core beliefs" should they get a pass? On some level if you want our money you have to play by our rules.


I get back to something I've said before on this site. How far can the government go infringing on economic/religious/etc. liberties based on the premise that the government did X, so now it gets to do Y and Z. Or the government did X, and now has to do Y and Z to make up for the unintended consequences of X (Of course, soon we'll need A, B, and C to make up for problems with X, Y, and Z). Why not discuss first, whether or not we should just get rid of X?

I mean, forcing people to eat healthy may potentially save money for other premium payers, and/or the government. Should we force people to eat healthy?
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - As Seen On The Internet
02/17/2012 @ 02:44:38 PM
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They aren't infringing on anyone's liberties. They aren't telling them how to feel, just that if they want this money, they have to abide by the same rules that every other group getting that money does. No one is telling a catholic org they have to push this or that, just that it's a condition of taking tax payer money.

There might, perhaps, be a certain level of "extortion" there, but it is what it is. That money comes with strings, and we can debate those strings, but you shouldn't get to hide behind some lame shield and ignore them with your hand out.*

*I should point out I also don't think it's that big of a deal. There are places people can go either way. But in priciple they shouldn't be playing both sides of the "the government funds us....but I'll be damned if anyone thinks the government should have ANY say in what we do" field.

Even if this DID go though all that would happen is these places would technically give it out, they'd just find loopholes or roadblocks, such as only giving it to a woman after she attended 16 hours of classes on the virtue of abstinence, or other forms of making it possible, but impractical, to go through them.
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Jeremy screwed with this 2 times, last at 02/17/2012 2:52:00 pm
scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 02:49:38 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 02:44:38 PM
No one is telling a catholic org they have to push this or that, just that it's a condition of taking tax payer money.

That's a good point. And as of yet, not a single person arguing about the attack on religious liberty has once even hinted about the concept of the tax exempt status of these entities.*

In fact, small government conservatives should be outraged on the other side, about these freeloaders taking welfare from the government!

*at least not that I have heard.
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Scott messed with this 2 times, last at 02/17/2012 2:53:53 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Washington Bureau Chief
02/17/2012 @ 03:07:10 PM
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1. It's somewhat just semantics but, tax-free status does not fully equate with "getting tax payer money".

2. With regards to the current contraception mandate..... It's universal, doesn't matter if you're non-profit or not, it's all employers.
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Matt edited this at 02/17/2012 3:07:47 pm
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - I hate our freedoms
02/17/2012 @ 03:14:51 PM
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Well, another problem is if you allow for exceptions based on religious grounds you set up yet another thing for which you necessarily put the government in the position of deciding what is and isn't a religion/religious view, which of course has murky first amendment implications.
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matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 03:20:44 PM
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So why is the answer automatically, screw the religious organizations, rather than maybe it's not something the government should be doing in the first place? I mean, is it really a vital governmental function to see that women get "free" birth control, enough so that you are going to force other people/groups to things that are against their moral views (or really, just force them to do anything in the first place)?
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - I hate our freedoms
02/17/2012 @ 03:26:02 PM
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That's debatable. I'm just saying if it is, it is.
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matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 03:46:28 PM
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Also, with regards to strings attached to non-profit charities in general. I understand that there may need to be some strings attached, but they should be in as much of a neutral way as possible, and for a legitimate governmental purpose (ideally, meaning, something that is absolutely needed in order for the government to fulfill a constitutionally defined power).

Basically, what I'm trying to get at, is that if government is going to get involved in charity anyway, they should aim to me more flexible than to be more restrictive. For example, let's take soup kitchens. If the government decides to subsidize them (since they provide a useful service), the strings should be as close to "You feed the poor, you qualify" as possible. If a vegan wants to serve vegan meals (that still meet basic nutritional requirements), they shouldn't have to worry that the government will force them to serve meat or dairy, because the farm lobbyists want them to. Likewise, Catholics shouldn't have to serve meat on Fridays, Jewish and Muslim organizations should be able to keep their meals kosher and halal respectively, etc. Anything other than this, just means that more people will go hungry in the first place (and probably means that instead of partially subsidizing their meals, the government is now responsible for the full cost).
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Matt perfected this at 02/17/2012 3:47:39 pm
hoochpage.JPGSarah - 3521 Posts
02/17/2012 @ 09:15:46 PM
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OMG
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scott.jpgScott - Get Up! Get outta here! Gone!
03/20/2012 @ 08:56:07 PM
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Did George W. Bush bring up Reagan in every single speech he gave like these guys are doing?

And not only is Reagan not responsible for coming up with the phrase "city on a hill", he isn't even the first American president to use that analogy, which originates in the Bible.
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Scott edited this at 03/20/2012 8:59:40 pm
jon.jpgJon - 2366 Posts
03/20/2012 @ 10:54:17 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 08:56:07 PM
Did George W. Bush bring up Reagan in every single speech he gave like these guys are doing?


No, he usually quoted Ronald McDonald.

Folks![/hackerymockery]
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Jon screwed with this at 03/20/2012 10:55:43 pm
scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
03/23/2012 @ 07:44:12 AM
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http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/03/22/santorum-might-as-well-have-obama-over-romney/?test=latestnews

This won't come back to haunt the GOP at all.
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matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
03/23/2012 @ 04:28:11 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 07:44:12 AM
This won't come back to haunt the GOP at all.


I agree.
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Matt edited this at 03/23/2012 4:28:56 pm
scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
04/20/2012 @ 11:23:09 AM
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http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MCRFPUS1&f=A

I'm not sure where else to post this, other than in the defacto election blog. Republicans would have you believe that Obama is starving the country of oil. However, it is intersting to note the trend that oil production has taken year by year. Since the middle of the Reagan administration, crude oil production in the US has been on a steady decline. The first sign of increase was in 2009. Now I'm not going to credit Obama for suddenly opening the spigot and letting oil suddenly flow free, but it is true that currently we are experiencing the first increase in domestic oil production in quite some time. Of course, I'm not smart enough to know who gets credit for this.
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matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
04/21/2012 @ 02:04:29 PM
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What I've heard, is that oil production has increased on private land, but not so much on public lands. So, while domestic production is increasing, it could be increasing more if the administration opened up more land to drilling and loosened some of the burdensome regulations.

It's politics as usual. Obama has been taking credit for an increase in oil that he had nothing to do with, while simultaneously trying to placate the environmentalists, by refusing to take actions he actually can do to increase production even more.
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scott.jpgScott - Get Up! Get outta here! Gone!
04/21/2012 @ 04:41:28 PM
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http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/apr/13/crossroads-gps/crossroads-gps-ad-oil-production-obama/
2009 and 2010 saw increases in oil production on federal lands. 2011 saw a decrease from the previous two years, but the 2011 total was still higher than the previous 3 years prior to Obama taking office.

So whatever Obama seems to be doing one way or another (and whoever actually deserves credit for it anyway) Oil production is up over the past three years.
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scott.jpgScott - Get Up! Get outta here! Gone!
05/02/2012 @ 10:28:32 AM
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/05/AR2007080500702.html
"I mean, in one week he went from saying he's going to sit down, you know, for tea, with our enemies, but then he's going to bomb our allies," Romney said. "He's gone from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in one week."

In 2007, Romney mocked Obama for saying that he was going to get Bin Laden. Romney should be asked to respond to this statement. Because based on this statement, Romney cannot claim that he would have made the decision to go get Bin Laden. (Obviously, if every politician was held to this standard, there'd be anarchy or something, so it's a little tongue in cheek saying that I think Romney should admit that he actually wouldn't have made the raid).

I understand that it's politics as usual, but it still shouldn't go unchallenged. Conservatives have slandered and attacked Obama for 3 years and even prior to his election about how weak he is and how his policies leave us open for attacks, yet he has done more to knock off terrorist leaders than any other president before. And when he brings up the fact that his current opponent mocked the potential decision, it's called a cheap political trick. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. But it seems an equally cheap trick to claim it's a cheap trick when the guy you are essentially defending (Romney) is on record saying that the decision would be the dumbest thing ever, and then a "no-brainer" when it is made and is actually successful. (speaking of cheap political trick, remember the aircraft carrier and mission accomplished 3 months into a 8 year war?)

Obviously you can't go too overboard complimenting your opponent when you are trying to defeat them. But conservatives and Republicans complained that Bush was attacked like no other president before, and in my opinion, they are going one step further with their attacks on Obama.

All that being said, I'm admittedly somewhat undecided. I mean, in reality, if Presidents tend to govern as they have governed in the past and not necessarily as they've talked in campaigns. If that's truly the case, Romney can't necessarily be that bad, since he wasn't the "severe" conserative that he wants to convince Republicans that he was.
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Scott edited this 2 times, last at 05/02/2012 10:36:27 am
scott.jpgScott - Resident Tech Support
06/28/2012 @ 01:14:36 PM
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I won't comment on the Obamacare ruling, but it's sort of funny that the same people who have attacked Obama for "attacking" the supreme court on decisions he disagreed with are now attacking the Supreme Court, including John Roberts, in a much more vicious way than Obama has.
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Washington Bureau Chief
06/28/2012 @ 01:39:52 PM
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Like who and like what (and I'm not saying they won't be stuff out there, but there is a difference between internet comments and tweets from politicians/columnists/etc.)? Also, from the stuff I've been reading it's seemed relatively tame compared to what I was expecting had the decision gone the other way.
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Washington Bureau Chief
06/28/2012 @ 01:47:59 PM
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I was going to start a new thread, but since Scott brought it up, I'll post it here:

If you haven't seen it by now, the U.S. Supreme court upheld the individual mandate, and thus upheld the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The details are a little more complicated, however, so I'll attempt to give my thoughts.

First, what happened:

The Court said that the individual mandate is not constitutional under the commerce clause or the necessary and proper clause of the Constitution. However, they decided that it is constitutional under the Government's power to tax. They also limited the part of the law that would essentially force states to expand Medicaid if they wanted to keep the funding they already had. The Court said this was too far and that the Federal Government may give the option to expand Medicaid to the states, but can't penalize them if they reject it.

Now, my thoughts:

This is not the ruling I had hoped for, but there are still some silver linings in it. Obamacare proponents went in claiming that the mandate was constitutional under Congress' authority to regulate commerce. This was the big issue and the one everyone was debating. In the end, the Court found that this exceeded that power and, have finally put up some sort of limit to the Commerce Clause. Long term, this is probably a win for the limited government crowd. It means that the Government can't "regulate" anything it wants under the Commerce Clause. This is the underlying theory of government that the two sides were arguing about, and the limited government side won.

Of course, in the here and now, that doesn't mean much because the law that started the argument was upheld on other grounds. What's funny about the case, is that when the Democrats pushed Obamacare through, they claimed the mandate wasn't a tax. When they defended it after it passes, they claimed it wasn't a tax. But when they argued in Court, they then argued that, yeah it really is a tax and ended up persuading Chief Justice Roberts to join with the four "liberal" members of the Court (Ginsberg, Breyer, Sotamayor, Kagan) in upholding the law on the grounds that it is a tax and Congress has very broad taxing powers. This is also a little strange because the tax argument was viewed by many to be an afterthought and somewhat weak.

Whether it really is a tax, I don't know. It does seem like Roberts had to twist language a bit to make what was described in the law as a penalty, into a tax, but I really am not familiar with the history of taxing powers. I will say that in my mind, if the Court is saying that the Government has this much power under the taxing power/Commerce Clause/whatever, it seems like the whole spirit of the Constitution as establishing a Federal Government of few and limited powers, has been tossed aside.

One thing about the decision that is of interest to how Obamacare will be implemented is that Roberts, in his opinion, gave as a reason the penalty could be construed as a tax, the fact that the penalty was rather small compared to the cost of insurance. Of course, opponents of the bill have been saying this for a while now, that a lot of people will just pay the penalty until they need insurance and then just buy the insurance since they can no longer be denied. This is unworkable, and now the government can't fix it by raising the penalty too much, or it will cease to be a tax under the Chief Justice's logic.
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 2884 Posts
06/28/2012 @ 01:51:52 PM
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Also, I meant to put this in but forgot so I'll tack it on now. The reason the Democrats didn't want to call it a tax at the time, was because people don't like taxes and they would have had an even tougher time ramming the bill through. The bright side here, is that future Congresses will have a tougher time playing this game (though they will probably still try and will maybe even succeed). Now they will have to justify their actions as raising taxes, not on regulating commerce.
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scott.jpgScott - If you aren't enough without it, you'll never be enough with it.
06/28/2012 @ 03:42:49 PM
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I'm as surprised as anyone. Especially I'm surprised about Roberts being the one to conclude that it is a tax and therefore within the federal government's power. The reading of the comments from Roberts and the dissenting justices, you'd think Roberts and Scalia were close to coming to blows.

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2012/06/us/scotus.healthcare/?hpt=hp_t1
Whether federal spending legislation crosses the line from enticement to coercion is often difficult to determine, and courts should not conclude that legislation is unconstitutional on this ground unless the coercive nature of an offer is unmistakably clear. In this case, however, there can be no doubt.--Scalia

The values that should have determined our course today are caution, minimalism, and the understanding that the Federal Government is one of limited powers. But the Court's ruling undermines those values at every turn. --Scalia

Upholding the individual mandate under the Taxing Clause does not recognize any new federal power. It determines that Congress has used an existing one.--Roberts

no you're wrong. No YOU'RE wrong

Although, Rand Paul says forget the decision. Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be ‘constitutional’ does not make it so. That might seem "tame", but what's the difference between that and Obama saying essentially the same thing about other decisions (like Citizens United)?
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Scott edited this 3 times, last at 06/28/2012 3:48:44 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 2884 Posts
06/28/2012 @ 04:09:20 PM
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It's surprising that it was Roberts, mostly because it's usually Kennedy these days who will side with the "liberal wing". However, Roberts has always been fond of being too narrow rather than too broad and has, apparently, shown signs of giving more deference to government than some of the other "conservative" justices. Taking that into view and it becomes a little more understandable. He may have seen a way where he could limit the government's power without overturning a major piece of legislation and taken it.

Of course, there is also the theory out there that he did this as some sort of John Marshall type decision where the Court gave the administration an apparent victory in the short-term, but set the stage for a long-term "win" for limited government, without the scrutiny that would have come had they invalidated the whole thing. (see here: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/scocca/2012/06/roberts_health_care_opinion_commerce_clause_the_real_reason_the_chief_justice_upheld_obamacare_.html). I don't necessarily buy that, but who knows?
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Matt edited this at 06/28/2012 4:29:18 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Ombudsman
06/28/2012 @ 04:44:17 PM
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As for the Rand Paul thing, I kind of agree with him. To the extent that there is an absolute (but perhaps, unknowable) answer to whether something is constitutional or not, it doesn't necessarily follow that 5 of 9 judges will arrive at the "correct" decision all the time. In other words, things may have to be treated as constitutional when the Court says so, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they made the "right" choice when they decided. The fact that the Court overrules itself on occasion supports this. Segregation in schools was declared constitutional in Plessy and then declared unconstitutional in Brown. I think most people would say that even when Plessy was "the law of the land", the actions it upheld still violated our Constitution.

With Obama and Citizens United, I think a lot of the criticism was that he (and his supporters) often misstated what the opinion actually held, in a way that looked to be a bit of scare-mongering. It didn't help when he did this at the State of the Union address. This happened most recently with the WI recalls. Everyone started to complain about how CU let Walker spend all the money and win, when, in reality, everything he did was legal before CU and after.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
06/29/2012 @ 07:37:27 AM
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What we can all agree on, however, is that requiring someone to purchase health insurance because of the high burden not having it puts on not only the individual but also society is exactly the same thing as the government being able to force you to eat broccoli. I can't believe we didn't see this before!
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
06/29/2012 @ 08:15:37 AM
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Matt Wrote - Yesterday @ 04:44:17 PM
The fact that the Court overrules itself on occasion supports this. Segregation in schools was declared constitutional in Plessy and then declared unconstitutional in Brown.


Brown, without people mentioning it by name for fear of being called racist, is generally the poster child of supreme court cases for those that oppose and decry "judicial activism", is it not?

Also, I saw a worse case scenario for Obama's relection chances being that the law would be ruled unconsitutional in it's entirety. I didn't see this coming, but I feel like this is the second worse case scenario: having it upheld by considering it a tax. While I think it would be inaccurate to call it a "middle class tax increase" because it only will "tax" those that don't get health insurance, that concept is still there looming and now Romney (the father of Obamacare) can run on Obamacare being a tax. In other words, I think there is a chance that this decision may end up costing Obama relection.
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Scott messed with this at 06/29/2012 8:16:16 am
matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
06/29/2012 @ 11:40:19 AM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 07:37:27 AM
What we can all agree on, however, is that requiring someone to purchase health insurance because of the high burden not having it puts on not only the individual but also society is exactly the same thing as the government being able to force you to eat broccoli. I can't believe we didn't see this before!


The point was that the power claimed by the government to do healthcare would also mean that they could mandate anything else, like buying broccoli. Of course now, after the ruling, they can't "force" you to do either, but they can "tax" you if you don't.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
07/01/2012 @ 11:53:18 AM
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Well, if someone wants to cynically try to argue that broccoli and health insurance are the same thing (and Scalia and others basically did), go ahead, and good luck. Not being able to afford health insurance is one thing. Not having health insurance because you choose not to is no different than driving a car without insurance. You can't predict when you are going to get in a car accident, and you can't predict when you are going to get some life altering disease or even just something like broken bone. Not having health insurance when you have the ability to do is not only irresponsible from an individual point of view, it is basically giving the middle finger to the rest of society who will then be picking up your tab*. For all conservative talk about individual or personal responsibility, I don't think I have even once in my life ever heard a conservative utter anything remotely relating to the concept of "social responsibility". Having health insurance is as much a social responsibility as it is a personal one.

I'm not necessarily in the "Obamacare is the greatest thing that ever rained down from above" camp. I'm just not a fan of stupid, insulting arguments, and the health insurance = broccoli, in my opinion, is one of those arguments. Everyone is essentially stupider for it having been brought up, because since it was brought up it has to get discussed, and it has nothing to do with the actual argument at hand.

*although I see the point that inability to for an insurance company to deny coverage for a pre-existing condition would seem to weaken this argument. It would seem that they could pass a bill that says that if you have had to pay the penalty, then that doesn't apply to you, or at least you have to get insurance for a full year before it's covered or something like that.
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Scott messed with this at 07/01/2012 12:07:26 pm
jon.jpgJon - many posts
07/01/2012 @ 03:18:15 PM
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Is cauliflower the more appropriate vegetable there?

As for conservatives and social responsibility, you're kind of painting with a pretty broad brush there with your characterization. I think there's plenty of concern for it from the conservatives. But it's probably not likely to be categorized that way by non-conservatives. Related specifically to this debate, isn't it very socially responsible to prevent the federal government from exercising powers it may not have the right to exercise? Or did dissent stop being the highest form of patriotism once Bush left office and democrats started implementing their own programs? [/snark]

Even the noblest of social causes can create bad government programs and dangerous legal precedents. (Not to mention programs not fiscally sound enough to work in practice over time.) Maybe this is one of those programs and maybe it isn't. I have my opinions, but I won't pretend that I know enough to argue all the details either way. Now, if you feel "Obamacare" doesn't raise red flags on any of those fronts, then it probably seems like only a socially irresponsible a-hole could be against it. Isn't it likely, though, that a lot of people are against it because they feel it'd be very irresponsible to ignore the red flags they see in it?

p.s. I pretty much despise political threads and I'm quite upset that you somehow tricked me into commenting on this one.
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Jon screwed with this at 07/01/2012 3:22:11 pm
matt.jpgMatt - Nutcan.com's MBL
07/01/2012 @ 06:34:53 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 11:53:18 AM
Well, if someone wants to cynically try to argue that broccoli and health insurance are the same thing (and Scalia and others basically did), go ahead, and good luck. [...] I'm not necessarily in the "Obamacare is the greatest thing that ever rained down from above" camp. I'm just not a fan of stupid, insulting arguments, and the health insurance = broccoli, in my opinion, is one of those arguments. Everyone is essentially stupider for it having been brought up, because since it was brought up it has to get discussed, and it has nothing to do with the actual argument at hand.


With Obamacare (and with laws in general, really) there are two main questions to be answered. 1. Is this good policy? 2. Is this constitutional? A hypothetical broccoli mandate may or may not be applicable to decide on whether a health insurance mandate is a worthwhile policy, but it is definitely helpful to help illustrate a problem with the law's constitutionality. That is the area in which the "broccoli argument" was made.

As you know, the Federal Government is one of limited powers under the Constitution (theoretically, at least). The individual mandate attempted to stretch one of these powers (the power to regulate interstate commerce) further than it had ever been stretched before, by regulating not just economic activity, but now, economic inactivity. The government argued that the choice to not buy insurance affects the market enough to allow these people to be "regulated" into buying the product they "should" be buying. Opponents argued that this was a step too far, and that if the Government had the power to do this, they would have, essentially, unlimited power to force people into buying all sorts of products, for example, broccoli. After all, many people probably don't eat as well as they should. This can lead to obesity and other health problems. This will affect the health care market (and the food market). This means we can require people to buy healthier food.

To do one, requires the power to do the other, that's what matters. If you don't think the Government has the power to force people to buy broccoli, then you don't think the Government has the power to force people to buy insurance, regardless of the relative policy merits of each case.


Scott Wrote - Today @ 11:53:18 AM
Not being able to afford health insurance is one thing. Not having health insurance because you choose not to is no different than driving a car without insurance. You can't predict when you are going to get in a car accident, and you can't predict when you are going to get some life altering disease or even just something like broken bone. Not having health insurance when you have the ability to do is not only irresponsible from an individual point of view, it is basically giving the middle finger to the rest of society who will then be picking up your tab*. For all conservative talk about individual or personal responsibility, I don't think I have even once in my life ever heard a conservative utter anything remotely relating to the concept of "social responsibility". Having health insurance is as much a social responsibility as it is a personal one.

*although I see the point that inability to for an insurance company to deny coverage for a pre-existing condition would seem to weaken this argument. It would seem that they could pass a bill that says that if you have had to pay the penalty, then that doesn't apply to you, or at least you have to get insurance for a full year before it's covered or something like that.


Speaking in policy, not constitutional terms, the thing about Obamacare is that it doesn't really treat health insurance like car insurance. People don't buy auto coverage for things like tune-ups (do they even exist anymore?), or oil changes, or new tires. The coverage is usually for liability and damage. A health insurance equivalent would be something like a high-deductible/low-premium catastrophic plan, to cover you in case of say, a major illness or a broken bone (i.e. things that are unexpected and costly). These policies actually make sense for a lot of people, like young adults, who don't get sick very often. Unfortunately, the mandate will likely only allow much more comprehensive plans that will essentially result in the younger and healthier subsidizing the older and sicker. Of course the younger are usually poorer than the older, so this mandate and the penalty/tax that goes along with it is essentially a massive regressive tax.
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Matt perfected this 3 times, last at 07/01/2012 6:39:40 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Ombudsman
07/01/2012 @ 07:00:50 PM
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Jon Wrote - Today @ 03:18:15 PM
Is cauliflower the more appropriate vegetable there?

As for conservatives and social responsibility, you're kind of painting with a pretty broad brush there with your characterization. I think there's plenty of concern for it from the conservatives. But it's probably not likely to be categorized that way by non-conservatives. Related specifically to this debate, isn't it very socially responsible to prevent the federal government from exercising powers it may not have the right to exercise? Or did dissent stop being the highest form of patriotism once Bush left office and democrats started implementing their own programs? [/snark]

Even the noblest of social causes can create bad government programs and dangerous legal precedents. (Not to mention programs not fiscally sound enough to work in practice over time.) Maybe this is one of those programs and maybe it isn't. I have my opinions, but I won't pretend that I know enough to argue all the details either way. Now, if you feel "Obamacare" doesn't raise red flags on any of those fronts, then it probably seems like only a socially irresponsible a-hole could be against it. Isn't it likely, though, that a lot of people are against it because they feel it'd be very irresponsible to ignore the red flags they see in it?

p.s. I pretty much despise political threads and I'm quite upset that you somehow tricked me into commenting on this one.


I agree with Jon here, and I'll just add one thing.

What I don't like about this whole "liberals care about social responsibility/society/the poor/etc., and conservatives don't" thing is that liberals seem to believe that the only way to address things like this is through the government. You're active in church programs, you give to or start your own charity, you start a business that creates jobs for people, etc. Nope, doesn't count. You support a government program, regardless of how well it works and how cost effective it is, because the name says it will help people. Yup, that counts.

Needless to say, I do not hold to that.
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Matt screwed with this 2 times, last at 07/01/2012 7:02:59 pm
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - The pig says "My wife is a slut?"
07/02/2012 @ 09:38:02 PM
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Matt Wrote - Yesterday @ 06:34:53 PM
Unfortunately, the mandate will likely only allow much more comprehensive plans that will essentially result in the younger and healthier subsidizing the older and sicker.


Which is different from the current set up somehow? We're already paying for everyone, skewed toward the old/sick.
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matt.jpgMatt - 2884 Posts
07/02/2012 @ 10:41:34 PM
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Sort of my point. Obamacare won't fix what is really wrong with the healthcare system, and will probably make things worse.
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scott.jpgScott - 6076 Posts
07/03/2012 @ 01:44:51 PM
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Jon Wrote - 07/01/2012 @ 03:18:15 PM
As for conservatives and social responsibility, you're kind of painting with a pretty broad brush there with your characterization. I think there's plenty of concern for it from the conservatives. But it's probably not likely to be categorized that way by non-conservatives. .


I couldn't agree more. I actually thought this shortly after I wrote it, then decided I didn't want to remove and appear a coward or something, then felt a little ashamed about it. I was probably moreso responding to the rhetoric from the vocal, public conservatives/Republicans (the Glen Becks, Rush Limbaughs, and even some politicians) who were vilifying pretty much everyone involved with supporting the bill and the Supreme Court decision, including John Roberts who apparently has lost friends because of his opinion. So for that, I apologize.

I know for sure that Democrats too often don't talk about personal responsibility and tend to rely or set up systems of reliance for those that aren't able to help themselves (I'm referring to those that want to but don't have the means to do so, not those that are just lazy and irresponsible). Often, these programs become so sweeping that they include those that probably could get by on their own, those that are just looking to freeload, or those that have made terrible choices and now need bailing out for the Nth time.

On the other hand, my feeling is that Republicans harp on personal responsibility, limited government, and the like, but what I don't hear is the encouragement to do the social things. Maybe it's there, but in my opinion they aren't very good at advertising it if it is. What you do hear are the loudmouths that claim social responsibility or social justice is just a veiled form of Communism (like Allen West calling 80 members of the HofR Communists), and right or wrong this is what is heard and absorbed.

I never intended to two concepts to be mutually exclusive, and I certainly didn't mean to insult everyone that sits somewhere right of center, nor commend everyone left of center. So for ruining the otherwise civil discourse that is a signature of NutCan (emoticon), I apologize.

I won't apologize for making Jon comment on Nutcan though. Geez, where have you been? What could be so important (other than everything) that you can't comment about everything you are thinking on NutCan on a daily basis?
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Scott edited this 2 times, last at 07/03/2012 1:57:49 pm
matt.jpgMatt - Washington Bureau Chief
04/05/2014 @ 11:45:32 AM
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Matt Wrote - 01/25/2012 @ 04:52:38 AM
The Court did find, however, that the balance tipped the other way in regards to disclosure regulations. They let those stand, with only Justice Thomas dissenting on that part (as I said earlier, I think he is probably right on this).


http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303987004579481502667817472
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