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  #561  
Old 09-27-2017, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat View Post
Is there reason for doubt?
Many things can be said about Trump, but it doesn't seem fair to accuse him of being a thinker.
Speaking of which...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.a93938e55767

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In the wake of Hurricane Maria, pretty much the entire island of Puerto Rico is dark, hot and running out of supplies — quickly. Because it's an island, many lifesaving supplies will arrive by boat.

But Puerto Rico has to wait until American boats can reach its shores with supplies because of an obscure, World War I-era shipping law that the Trump administration is refusing to waive.

Trump's decision to keep the Jones Act in place is also feeding into a narrative that the president is aloof to Puerto Rico's problems. His administration lifted the Jones Act to help Texas and Florida after hurricanes Harvey in August and Irma this month.
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What the Jones Act does: It requires that ships going from American coast to American coast be American — built, owned, flagged and crewed. That means goods going from the mainland to Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam, or even from Texas to New England, have to travel on U.S. ships, even if they're not the most economical transport or readily available.
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Why that matters to hurricane relief: The law means than foreign ships in nearby countries can’t just zoom over to Puerto Rico with aid supplies. They either have to pay tariffs for landing at a U.S. port, or they would have to go to Florida first to drop off their goods with a Puerto Rico-bound U.S. ship.

“A foreign relief shipment to Puerto Rico, they have two choices,” said Scott Miller, an international trade expert with the Center for Strategic & International Studies. “One is to land in San Juan and pay tariffs associated with the Jones Act, or to take shipments to Jacksonville, offload the ship and reload it on a U.S. one.”

Puerto Rican officials have long despised the law, arguing that it makes their food and goods much more expensive than on the mainland.
This is asinine, and once again, there is one prominent republican who seems to be on the right side of this issue.

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Why the law still exists: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been leading the charge to get rid of it. It's antiquated, it hinders free trade and it makes goods more expensive, he argues.

But the U.S. shipping industry likes the law because it guarantees them jobs. And that may be enough of a reason. “The power of this maritime lobby is as powerful as anybody or any organization I have run up against in my political career,” McCain said in 2014.

Trump himself said as much when chatting with reporters briefly Wednesday: “We're thinking” about lifting it, he said, but “a lot of people who are in the shipping industry don't want it” lifted.
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  #562  
Old 09-27-2017, 08:54 PM
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Rand al'Fain Rand al'Fain is offline
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Originally Posted by Kimon View Post
Speaking of which...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.a93938e55767






This is asinine, and once again, there is one prominent republican who seems to be on the right side of this issue.
If times weren't so dire in the Caribbean area, then the Jones Act would merely be an annoyance. Now though? When so many people are in such dire need? Then its time to be practical and pragmatic. The Jones Act is only going to further erode the situation in the area.

As for the Kurdish ruling; with the right negotiators and mediators, an agreement could be reached that would at least be amicable amongst the Iraqi Government and Kurdish government. The region is only now stabilizing, and that is in large part due to the efforts of the Kurds. The Kurds know that, the people that live in the regions know that, and most of the international community knows that.

The last thing the region needs is to be plunged into another war; this time between the Iragi government and the Peshmerga. And only one of those held their ground throughout the entire war.

If any group in this is going to get the international community (not necessarily governments) to support it, its going to be the Peshmerga.
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  #563  
Old 09-27-2017, 09:25 PM
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If any group in this is going to get the international community (not necessarily governments) to support it, its going to be the Peshmerga.
If the only consideration was deciding between the Kurds and Baghdad, we would side with the Kurds. The complication is Turkey. It's the same complication that has made solving Syria so difficult as well, because Turkey would prefer ceding territory to ISIS to letting it fall into the hands of the Kurds.

If we side with the Kurds it will mean the end of any hope of rapprochement with Turkey. This is why Manafort's involvement in helping the Kurds seems so suspicious. This smells like Putin.

The Kurds pushing for independence only serves to push Turkey further into Russia's sphere of influence. It forces us to choose between giving up on Turkey, or selling out a friend (the Kurds). And if we do side with the Kurds? Will we really agree to do enough to help them if Turkey and Iran are really serious about blockading their exports of oil and their imports of food? Would we be willing to fight Turkey and/or Iran & Baghdad (Baghdad being just an Iranian puppet anyway) for the Kurds?

Any choice we make would seem to be awful. Well any decision but diplomacy, but then this administration clearly has no clue on how to conduct diplomacy. I'm guessing we do nothing, and Turkey either starves the Kurds into submission, or invades and conquers them. Of course, if that happens, how will Iran respond to Turks in Iraq...
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  #564  
Old 09-28-2017, 04:41 AM
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The last thing the region needs is to be plunged into another war; this time between the Iragi government and the Peshmerga. And only one of those held their ground throughout the entire war.
Could that mess be solved if the Kurds simply conquered all of Iraq? I suspect they could get Syria (probably excluding the Golan Heights) too. I wonder what Netanyahu would say if he woke up to that.
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  #565  
Old 09-28-2017, 05:39 AM
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Could that mess be solved if the Kurds simply conquered all of Iraq? I suspect they could get Syria (probably excluding the Golan Heights) too. I wonder what Netanyahu would say if he woke up to that.
A BAD IDEA(tm).

Most of the non-Kurds might eventually reconcile to Kurdish neighbors. They would never reconcile to Kurdish rulers.

The big problems in the region largely stem from England ignoring tribal/ethnic boundaries when they drew line on a map to partition the region when they left.
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  #566  
Old 09-28-2017, 07:36 AM
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Most of the non-Kurds might eventually reconcile to Kurdish neighbors. They would never reconcile to Kurdish rulers.
Saladin.

That said, I would say there is at least some kind of chance that the Kurds would get a real democracy up and running, in which case people there wouldn't have rulers to worry about; they would have politicians instead. I'll admit the odds are not such that I would be happy to bet upon them, but it still seems more likely than that the current regime would get serious about human rights and fair treatment of minorities and such.

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The big problems in the region largely stem from England ignoring tribal/ethnic boundaries when they drew line on a map to partition the region when they left.
Nitpick 1: It wasn't when they left, it was when they arrived. (Actually before that, even.)
Nitpick 2: It was England and France, not just England.
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  #567  
Old 09-28-2017, 08:09 AM
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That said, I would say there is at least some kind of chance that the Kurds would get a real democracy up and running, in which case people there wouldn't have rulers to worry about; they would have politicians instead.

The Kurds don't have enough population to override the rest of the middle east's mob-rule. The Kurds might be the most reasonable people in the universe, but they won't control the government if they try to bring "a real democracy" to more than their traditional tribal territory.
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  #568  
Old 09-28-2017, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat View Post
Could that mess be solved if the Kurds simply conquered all of Iraq? I suspect they could get Syria (probably excluding the Golan Heights) too. I wonder what Netanyahu would say if he woke up to that.
They aren’t powerful enough to conquer either all of Iraq (since that would mean defeating Iran, i.e. the de facto rulers of the rest of Iraq), nor of defeating either Turkey or Assad in Syria. The question is whether they’re strong enough to hold the lands in both that they have taken - basically a 1/3 of both. But no port in either, and therein lies there greatest vulnerability.

This is where American diplomacy could help. I’d try to convince the Kurds to offer to return Kirkuk to the Iraqi govt in exchange for a recognition of full autonomy for Iraqi Kurdistan, and I’d likewise convince them to offer to cede all their spear-won territory west of the Euphrates in Syria back to Assad and/or Erdogan (perhaps along with an agreement to accept the forced removal of Turkish Kurds into Kurdistan) in exchange for the same in Syrian Kurdistan.
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  #569  
Old 09-28-2017, 10:14 PM
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I'm sure taxpayers will consider the apology worth the other $350,000 or so (CNN's estimate is much higher than the one listed here, they are suggesting circa $1 million), right?

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare...n-travel-costs

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Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price will reimburse taxpayers just under $52,000 for the cost of his charter jet travels for official government business, which is estimated at more than $400,000.

Price is “taking the unprecedented step of reimbursing the government for his share of the travel,” an HHS spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement to The Hill. “Secretary Price will write a personal check to the US Treasury for $51,887.31. The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for his seats on charter planes.”
How exactly hasn't he been fired yet? Though, I suppose if he fires Price, he'll have to fire Zinke (and Mnuchin for his Kentucky eclipse trip) too...

http://thehill.com/homenews/administ...-travel-report

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  #570  
Old 09-29-2017, 04:43 AM
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Maybe the Dems should've picked Sanders after all.
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  #571  
Old 09-29-2017, 08:08 AM
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Maybe the Dems should've picked Sanders after all.
Bernie was even worse than Hillary. The problem was that both dem candidates were awful. They should have convinced/forced Joe Biden to run.
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  #572  
Old 09-29-2017, 08:56 AM
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Point is that the Republicans had lots of dirt against Hillary. Sure, much of it was fake, but that didn't matter, did it?
Against Sanders, all they could have said is "he's a socialist", to which he would have replied "Yep!", so that wouldn't have been particularly effective. It would have made him a disaster 50 years ago, but not now.
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  #573  
Old 09-29-2017, 09:12 AM
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Point is that the Republicans had lots of dirt against Hillary. Sure, much of it was fake, but that didn't matter, did it?
Against Sanders, all they could have said is "he's a socialist", to which he would have replied "Yep!", so that wouldn't have been particularly effective. It would have made him a disaster 50 years ago, but not now.
I feel like we’ve had this discussion before, many times. The dems had a good mainstream dem option (Joe Biden and John Kerry would have both been good candidates, Kerry had the baggage of already losing once, but had been a good Sec of State after Hillary, and had less personal baggage than she). They also had a good leftwing dem option in Elizabeth Warren (Sherrod Brown would have likewise been fine). Instead they left us with Hillary, who would have been a good president, albeit if she had a dem congress (admittedly her entire presidency under the current republican congress would have been endless hearings on her email and Benghazi, and she likely would have already been impeached by the House, then narrowly acquitted by the Senate), or Bernie, a demagogue only one more loose screw away from being just as foolish as Jill Stein.
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  #574  
Old 09-29-2017, 04:44 PM
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Price is gone.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/29/po...price-resigns/

Wonder if he ever actually wrote that token reimbursement check? My guess is no. It also begs the question, is Zinke next?
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  #575  
Old 09-29-2017, 08:14 PM
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Bernie was even worse than Hillary. The problem was that both dem candidates were awful. They should have convinced/forced Joe Biden to run.
A definite matter of opinion; I would have voted for Bernie instead of "None of these candidates."

He might be a radical and a flake, but I don't recall any smell of corruption attached to him. He couldn't have been much worse than Jimmy Carter.
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  #576  
Old 09-29-2017, 08:43 PM
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A definite matter of opinion; I would have voted for Bernie instead of "None of these candidates."

He might be a radical and a flake, but I don't recall any smell of corruption attached to him. He couldn't have been much worse than Jimmy Carter.
I agree in principle with Bernie on single payer, but he seems unwilling to ackowledge that the dems had already accomplished far more than they ever had, and had indeed accomplished by learning from their mistake back in the '90s and co-opting the insurance and hospital lobbies rather than making them enemies again. And while I think his stance on trade is foolish, it isn't exactly an idiosyncratic stance for a dem. What had me smelling a demagogue was his constant advocacy for free college. That was either irresponsibly foolish, or flat out demagoguery.

The only way free college could be at all cost effective is by making it a merit based system, thus closing it off to only the top 10-20% of ACT/SAT scorers. That would create enough public backlash to doom such a radical reform already, but it would also cripple or close around 90% of the colleges in the US, thus crippling the economies of many small college towns, and laying off tens of thousands of university staff across the country.

There are many ways in which college debt can and should be addressed, but his was an insanely irresponsible suggestion, but one that was very popular with a large segment of democratic primary voters.

This however is typical of Bernie, seen again more recently with his pointless championing again in the Senate of single payer. That is a pointless endeavor. Try to save the ACA, don't simply help the republicans by pointing out that some on the left seem to hate the ACA nearly as much, if not more, than do republicans. Bernie is an iconoclast who seems far more intent on picking fights with his allies rather than assisting those allies fight the real enemy.

He's a schmuck.

Last edited by Kimon; 09-29-2017 at 08:45 PM.
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  #577  
Old 09-30-2017, 05:10 AM
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Or perhaps he is one of the few politicians left who remember that political opponents are supposed to be opponents, not enemies.

Aside from that: do you think he is a worse schmuck than Trump is? If not, then do you think Sanders is bad enough that he would have made you sit out the election?
I think he would have gotten all the votes that Clinton got and also a fair handful of votes that she didn't get. Thus, if the Dems had opted for their principles rather than for Wall Street, they would have won the White House.
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  #578  
Old 09-30-2017, 11:48 AM
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Or perhaps he is one of the few politicians left who remember that political opponents are supposed to be opponents, not enemies.

Aside from that: do you think he is a worse schmuck than Trump is? If not, then do you think Sanders is bad enough that he would have made you sit out the election?
I think he would have gotten all the votes that Clinton got and also a fair handful of votes that she didn't get. Thus, if the Dems had opted for their principles rather than for Wall Street, they would have won the White House.
He's better than Trump. That's not the issue. You're asking why I didn't support him in the primary against other dems.

As for winning the election, Hillary should have won the election too. And probably would have but for her foolish attempt to win places like Georgia and North Carolina instead of making sure that places like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were all securely still in her corner. The growing impression is that the place where the Russians had the best success with their shenanigans was in Facebook ads focused on those three usually blue states.

Would Bernie have won? The Bernie crowd is far more confidant of that than am I. Just take for example me. Do I seem like I hate Bernie nearly as much as Trump? Twelve percent of Bernie voters ended up voting for Trump. That percent of Hillary voters would have been far smaller, but would more than 12% of her voters either have refused to vote or voted for Johnson (had Weld been the top option rather than the bottom of that ticket, that alone might have accounted for 15% of Hillary voters).

Would Bloomberg have entered the race as an independent if the general election was Trump vs Bernie? This is what I think would have happened. Many in the Hillary crowd would have preferred Bloomberg over Bernie. I would have.
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Old 09-30-2017, 12:21 PM
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Would you have voted for Bloomberg if there had been any chance that vote would get Trump into the White House?
A lot of people who probably would have for Sanders now voted for Trump because they preferred him over Clinton. That's the real issue, and it is an issue which the Democrats still aren't willing to face. Realistically speaking, Trump did not win; they lost. They gave away the presidency so that Hillary could have a go at it.

The Dems should stop being stupid; they can not win that particular contest anyway, though they do make a good attempt on far too many occasions.
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Old 09-30-2017, 12:25 PM
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Would you have voted for Bloomberg if there had been any chance that vote would get Trump into the White House?
A lot of people who probably would have for Sanders now voted for Trump because they preferred him over Clinton. That's the real issue, and it is an issue which the Democrats still aren't willing to face. Realistically speaking, Trump did not win; they lost. They gave away the presidency so that Hillary could have a go at it.

The Dems should stop being stupid; they can not win that particular contest anyway, though they do make a good attempt on far too many occasions.
I think Bloomberg would have won the election. That said, if the poll numbers were making me nervous, I would have held my nose and voted for Bernie. And I definitely would have voted for Bernie if Bloomberg didn't throw his hat in the ring.

I still think Hillary's worst mistake was failing to recognize just how wide the schism was, and doing more to reach out to the Bernie crowd by picking Warren (or even Bernie) as her running mate.
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