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jtr1962

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We'd probably be a lot saner as a country if we adopted a Parliamentary Government and found some new ways to derive the basis for our representation. But really, nothing is going to change except that the middle ground is going to become smaller and harder to find. I don't think we have the will to truly do anything about it.
A lot of the reason for the gridlock (and the rise of things like the arch-conservative Tea Party and religious right) has to do with the present system of government giving too much voice to sparsely populated rural states. There were reasons this was done back when the republic was founded to prevent more populous areas from overriding the concerns of farmers, who at the time constituted a much larger share of the population than now. Times have changed. Now with 2 senators per state regardless of population the concerns of urban areas often aren't being heard. NYC for example sends far more money to Washington and upstate than it gets back in spending. The subway system has been systematically defunded over the last four decades even though it's relevant in some way to probably 4% or more of the US population. And in general the US lags the rest of the world in local rail transit, high-speed rail, bike infrastructure, walking infrastructure, etc. These are valid concerns which are costing us economically. However, they're also unlikely ever to be addressed when people in states where only cars and highways matter have a disproportionate voice. We probably need to just go with one legislative body with representation proportional to population. I also think we should give the President some powers to cut programs, perhaps limiting this power to no more than a certain percent of GDP. The rationale for this is much government spending is sacred cows which often do little for us on any level, but which have been perpetuated for decades due to lobbyists. Farm subsidies come to mind, as does bloated defense spending. Do we really need to spend as much as the 7 other top nations combined on our military? Power to cut some amount of the budget each year, with no recourse for Congress to restore it, is a power needed by the President. A lame duck President especially can trim lots of unnecessary programs without worrying about political fallout.

The tax system needs to change as well. It's becoming increasingly harder to track income or decide what types should or shouldn't be taxed. There's a good reason the founding fathers disallowed an income tax in the constitution. We need to repeal the 16th Amendment and get rid of income and payroll taxes at federal, state, and local levels. Accountant lobbies have fought against this, but in the long run this will make us much more competitive.

I'd also like to see most legislation on all levels of government have expiration dates. All too often we keep laws on the books which serve no useful purpose. It may not matter if they're never enforced but often they are just to harass some segment of the population.
 
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Stereodude

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The founding fathers wanted gridlock and a gov't that had a hard time getting things done. That's not a problem, it's a feature. When they get things done the rest of us generally get screwed with bad legislation. Like the TPP, NAFTA, out of control spending, etc.
 

sedrosken

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Not banned but I think at this point nearly everyone here knows everyone else's views on a variety of political topics. No point repeating the same things for the umpteenth time.

My take on this year's presidential race is that it's scary both front runners have been compared to Hitler. I'm not even sure if either one is worth voting for. If I had to pick one, at this point it would be Trump but not on his merits. Rather, it's because of all the excess baggage Hillary is toting round. Also, and this has nothing to do with politics, I'm not a religious person at all but it wouldn't surprise me if her, her husband, or both had 3 sixes on their scalps. They're just evil people who give me really bad vibes. Trump is over the top with his rhetoric but I'm not sure if even he believes half of it.
That's my feelings on the matter too. I don't want Trump in office, but I definitely don't want Hillary either. Hillary is a pathological liar, Trump's just an angry old man with who thinks he will actually have absolute power as president. I'd personally prefer it if Sanders made it to the ballot but I'm pretty sure Hillary could pull some strings to get herself on it instead even if Sanders won every state by a landslide.

My first time voting, and I don't like any of the candidates but one, and he's probably not going to make it to the ballot. Might as well not even bother voting.
 

RWIndiana

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It is interesting to see how many Democrats say they won't vote for Hillary, and how many (around 40%, I'm led to believe) of Republicans are Never Trumpers. Should be fun to watch. And more relaxing, since every candidate I actually cared about has now been eliminated.

I might vote Libertarian this year. Austin Petersen 2016!
 

Mercutio

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I suspect that the ongoing argument that you're not voting for President, but rather which side gets to choose judicial nominees, will continue to carry a lot of weight in spite of general antipathy toward the presumptive nominees.

It's also fairly amusing that at least one of the Koch Brothers, many Fox News Commentators, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have all suggested that voting for Hillary might be a better overall option than a vote for Trump. I think it's still not out of the realm of possibility that the RNC Nominating Committee could pull the rug out from under Trump.

Apparently neither Trump nor Clinton has much in the way of coattails to offer down-ticket candidates. Hillary is supposed to be redistributing some of the money she collects back to the party and thusfar hasn't done so, and apparently Trump doesn't spend money on his campaign because he knows he can just say something reprehensible and get as much free attention as he wants.

Anyway, sed, go fuckin' vote, man. Even if you don't mark the big box, at least go and do it. Find out where your polling place is, take the five minutes and fill out the ballot. It's not hard and it's a good habit to get in to. Feel free to write in "Lizard People" or whatever, but at least participate in the process.
 

RWIndiana

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Merc, I'm not sure about that. What I've watched of Fox lately, they might as well be called the Trump Network. Glenn and Rush I do listen to regularly, and they've never suggested voting for Hillary. Glenn has said he will not vote for Trump, however.

I almost hope the RNC does pull the rug out from under Trump, even though that would result in even more chaos and pandemonium. Hard-core Trumpists are not normal people . . .
 

jtr1962

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Well, the fact so much of the Republican party is trying to stop Trump tells me all the pigs who usually feed at the trough stand to lose big if he wins. Putting aside all the negatives associated with him for a minute, I can say a Trump presidency at least wouldn't be boring. You probably won't know what to expect from one day to the next. And maybe that's exactly what the Republican party fears the most. I don't think even Trump himself knows what he'll do if elected.
 

Stereodude

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...and Rush Limbaugh have all suggested that voting for Hillary might be a better overall option than a vote for Trump...
Rush has never said that. He's said he will support the Republican Nominee whoever it was to stop Hillary.

Well, the fact so much of the Republican party is trying to stop Trump tells me all the pigs who usually feed at the trough stand to lose big if he wins. Putting aside all the negatives associated with him for a minute, I can say a Trump presidency at least wouldn't be boring. You probably won't know what to expect from one day to the next. And maybe that's exactly what the Republican party fears the most. I don't think even Trump himself knows what he'll do if elected.
I'm not a Trump guy. I preferred and voted for someone else in the primary. I'd say it's questionable how much different Trump will be from Hillary in office on some issues since he's not a principled conservative who thinks about things through the lens of ideology, but seeing the party turn over, the pigs lose their spots at the trough, and the entertainment factor can't be overlooked.
 

Howell

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Nobody likes chaos, but you accept a certain amount of it if you believe in a hands-off government. But Trump in the WH would be completely unpredictable and lead kill the market.
 

Stereodude

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Nobody likes chaos, but you accept a certain amount of it if you believe in a hands-off government. But Trump in the WH would be completely unpredictable and lead kill the market.
I don't see how you can draw that conclusion. Yes, the markets like stability. But, he's not the Heath Ledger Joker character in Christopher Nolan's Batman movies causing chaos for the sake of chaos. First, Trump is a business guy. Eliminating red tape and creating a pro-business environment will enhance stability. Second, he's not running for dictator. He can't rule by fiat. Bills will still have to pass Congress.
 

Stereodude

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God forbid he write more executive orders.
While I'm not sure what your political leanings are I find it strange that so many people only have a problem with extra-constitutional behavior when it's the other guy doing it. Regardless, he can't be another Obama. It won't work. He won't be able to get away with it. Should Trump try to use use his Pen and Phone while President, even close to the extent and outside the lines as Obama has done, the Democrats would be screaming bloody murder and the mainstream media would attack him relentlessly. This of course is in direct contrast to the press covering relentlessly for Obama and the Republicans in Congress trumpeted they wouldn't do anything to stop him. Only the conservative media was outspoken against it and the people who have taken legal in court against the actions.
 

snowhiker

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I'm in agreement with SD that the "entertainment factor" of the Trump v. Clinton train wreck can't be overlooked.

Trump definitely scares the poo-poo out of the "moneyed interests." Clinton, just like Obama, will allow and give the banks/big business anything they want.
 

Stereodude

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The idea of Trump with nuclear launch authority scares me a bit, too.
More than Kim Jong-Un (has 'em) or the nutjobs in Iran (will soon thanks to Obama and John Kerry)?

They said the same thing about Reagan... To the best of my knowledge he didn't nuke anyone.
 

Mercutio

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As a mild clarification: “The Republican establishment is prepared to vote for Hillary Clinton if it means holding onto their fiefdoms.” -- Rush Limbaugh, April 18, 2016.
Rush is of course the very definition of "the Republican Establishment"; in this case he might as well be using the royal We. I'm sure that provides a air of plausible deniability to his fans and I'm likewise sure that by next week, he'll have his marching orders and it will be as if he never supported any candidate other than Trump, but three weeks ago that was not the case.

Glenn Beck was a huge Rubio supporter, finding the other major Republican candidates unpalatable for one reason or other. As I understand things, he had a meltdown the day Rubio dropped out that led to (perhaps rash on his part) statements about which of the remaining candidates he would support.
 

Stereodude

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As a mild clarification: “The Republican establishment is prepared to vote for Hillary Clinton if it means holding onto their fiefdoms.” -- Rush Limbaugh, April 18, 2016.
Rush is of course the very definition of "the Republican Establishment"; in this case he might as well be using the royal We. I'm sure that provides a air of plausible deniability to his fans and I'm likewise sure that by next week, he'll have his marching orders and it will be as if he never supported any candidate other than Trump, but three weeks ago that was not the case.
Uh... Rush is most definitely not part of the "Republican establishment" as he defines them. He's said all along he would support the nominee whoever it was because stopping Hillary was goal #1. You're trying to connect some subtle dots by ignoring clear unambiguous statements he's made.
 

Striker

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While I'm not sure what your political leanings are I find it strange that so many people only have a problem with extra-constitutional behavior when it's the other guy doing it. Regardless, he can't be another Obama. It won't work. He won't be able to get away with it. Should Trump try to use use his Pen and Phone while President, even close to the extent and outside the lines as Obama has done, the Democrats would be screaming bloody murder and the mainstream media would attack him relentlessly. This of course is in direct contrast to the press covering relentlessly for Obama and the Republicans in Congress trumpeted they wouldn't do anything to stop him. Only the conservative media was outspoken against it and the people who have taken legal in court against the actions.
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/orders.php

Has Obama really used executive orders more than the last several presidents?
If this data is correct we have to go back to the 19th century to find a president who used them less per year in office.

I also think we're very much living in a pro business society, at the detriment of most of our population.
 

Stereodude

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http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/orders.php

Has Obama really used executive orders more than the last several presidents?
If this data is correct we have to go back to the 19th century to find a president who used them less per year in office.

I also think we're very much living in a pro business society, at the detriment of most of our population.
So the retort to what the executive orders have attempted do is to focus on the number of them? :confused:

Sorry, but the President can't re-write existing immigration legislation with executive orders. It doesn't matter if that was his only executive order of the term. He doesn't have that power granted to him via the Constitution.
 

Striker

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So the retort to what the executive orders have attempted do is to focus on the number of them? :confused:

Sorry, but the President can't re-write existing immigration legislation with executive orders. It doesn't matter if that was his only executive order of the term. He doesn't have that power granted to him via the Constitution.
Your implication was that Obama has done something with EO that other presidents haven't done. I mistakenly took that to mean that you meant (as many do) that he has issued a lot of them.

You specify that he can't re-write existing immigration legislation.
I don't believe he did re-write them any more than Bush did. I don't necessarily agree with what he did, but I don't think what he has done during his presidency has been judged even close to fairly by those on the right.
 

Howell

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I don't see how you can draw that conclusion. Yes, the markets like stability. But, he's not the Heath Ledger Joker character in Christopher Nolan's Batman movies causing chaos for the sake of chaos. First, Trump is a business guy. Eliminating red tape and creating a pro-business environment will enhance stability. Second, he's not running for dictator. He can't rule by fiat. Bills will still have to pass Congress.
Trump is a Trump guy. I have no faith that he has the interests of average Americans in mind beyond tools for manipulation.

He has repeatedly stated that in negotiations he likes to keep the other side guessing. While I like that tactic in business, it can produce chaos when used against allies and enemies. I can absolutely see Trump bluffing with a nuclear arsenal. He will cause chaos because he wants to win, and does not have the experience to count the costs.

The number and impact of exectutive orders has grown in the last few decades with more encroachment on what used to be the purview of the House and Senate. You can get a lot done with executive orders. Take immigration for instance.

As for my political lenses:
I am a libertarian with a Kingdom core.
 

snowhiker

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The idea of Trump with nuclear launch authority scares me a bit, too.
Same types of things were said about Reagan. Trump isn't going to have a big red button on his desk to start WWIII all by himself. He's going to be surrounded by TONS and TONS of civilian & military advisors as well as the U.S. national security establishment that will guide him in his decisions. A U.S. based nuclear release won't happen unless it warranted.

WWIII is the least of my worries. Trump's big mouth will probably cause the most harm, not his finger on the "button."

And the simple fact that a large portion of the "Republican Establishment" is distancing themselves from Trump is a big positive in my book.
 

Howell

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That the military does not have to follow unlawful orders, and that leaders have already verbalize that fact goes a long way.
 

mubs

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There was a Whatsapp forward I got many moons ago that was deleted then and there. It's a dialogue between Trums and entrenched bureaucrats (administration & military); he keeps declaring one after the other the things he wants to do in his brash style; they keep telling him no because..., no because..., etc. Was pretty funny when I read it.
 

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I reckon the GOP is getting it all wrong. They should draft in a well-known, perfectly qualified outside candidate with suitable experience and policy views compatible with those of the majority of mainstream Republicans. Her name is H. Clinton.
 

jtr1962

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That the military does not have to follow unlawful orders, and that leaders have already verbalize that fact goes a long way.
Also worth mentioning is we removed launch authority from submarine commanders a while back. No one man, whether the President or a rogue submarine commander, can start WWIII.

He has repeatedly stated that in negotiations he likes to keep the other side guessing. While I like that tactic in business, it can produce chaos when used against allies and enemies.

I think the intention here is to use this tactic mainly for economic matters. I'd personally like to see lots of economically related rules change on a random basis with little predictability on the types of changes. My reasoning here is lots of companies have used our relatively stable economic laws to figure out ways to avoid taxes, ship jobs overseas, underpay their labor force, and so forth. When they can't plan how to do this for the next quarter because they don't know what the rules will be they might actually just try to run their core business instead of engaging in practices which mostly funnel more money to the 1%. In the end the companies which remain successful for decades concentrate on their core strengths and don't try to nickel and dime their expenses. They also make due with regular reasonable profits, not one year mega-windfalls had at the expense of gutting the company.
 

Howell

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Jtr, I'm positive your views would change if you actually had to run our small business. While it is true that a business must focus on its core products all expenses reduce profits for a given sale price. It is difficult enough to develop a product that the market will support at a price that will cover expenses and a small profit. But then to change the rules randomly and force businesses to adjust to varting levels of profit is madness. How exactly do you plan for capital expenditures in that environment? You would have to rely on business loans which eat into the profit more. Not to mention reengineering the business processes and employee training. And in the end big business can afford to absorb the effects of the change and survive with fewer competition.
 

jtr1962

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I'm mostly referring to rules which let businesses outsource, relocate overseas, and so forth. Basically, I'm talking about the rules businesses now use to avoid taxes. If you didn't know what the tax consequences of outsourcing from India or Mexico might be in six months you probably would just opt to hire domestic employees whom you know you can write off as a business expense. I think the rules should be gamed to favor those who concentrate 100% of producing whatever it is they produce, not on corporate raiders who gut companies which were viable for decades to get golden parachutes.
 

jtr1962

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Anyone who can own four casinos and lose money isn't a businessman, he's a bloody miracle. And I don't mean the nice sort of miracle.
It could be worse. I read somewhere the US government lost money running a brothel. I don't see how that's even possible.
 

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So we have an obstructionist congress. What happens if Trump is elected? Rather than blocking democrats we have them fighting each other.
Whether that is a good or bad thing, I don't know.
Anybody know the actual voter counts for each candidate? I think this will be the real predictor of the general election results.
 

Mercutio

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We've had an obstructionist congress since at least the (first) Clinton administration. Even when one party has had full control of both congress and the Presidency, intra-faction fighting has done wonders to prevent any sort of lawmaking.

It's worth pointing out that the Dems have around a 70 electoral college vote lead based on past performance and demographics compared to whomever the GOP nominates. That's big enough that the Dems can lose both Florida and Colorado, states that are normally purple, and still comfortably win the White House. John McCain thinks that with Trump at the top of the ticket, it's possible he'll lose his seat in Arizona because of Hispanic (well, Mexican, anyway) turnout. I can only imagine that the GOP will be turning up voter suppression efforts in states with a big Hispanic population in a big, big way over the next few months.
 

Stereodude

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So we have an obstructionist congress. What happens if Trump is elected? Rather than blocking democrats we have them fighting each other.
Whether that is a good or bad thing, I don't know.
I could see some number of the Republican in Congress joining forces with the Democrats to play Veto override games in an attempt to make him irrelevant since they both really want the same things. Whether there's enough of them to hit the veto override threshold, I don't know. Considering most legislation Congress passes is bad for the average working people in the country a federal gov't that basically can't get anything done because they're in gridlock is a benefit, not a problem.
 
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