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Fourthspartan56 Technocratic Progressive from Georgia, US Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Technocratic Progressive
Aug 10th 2018 at 8:02:18 AM

Like it bears repetition that Trump barely beat Clinton, if the Russians were capable of manipulating voting rolls or whatever they only had a measurable impact because of how close it was.

Obviously this doesn't mean that Russian interference doesn't matter but I am highly skeptical that this talk of them being able to single handily steal the election is anything other than alarmism and/or hysteria.

Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies. -Robert Kennedy
Aug 10th 2018 at 8:13:03 AM

I didnít say they stole the election.

Iím saying that election security is a Very Big Deal, and them having ANY access to voter rolls is a huge problem. I then gave examples of why. It doesnít take much to shift the needle, especially when thereís low turnout, a close race, or other voter suppression already going on.

My election law class last fall was real, real terrifying yíall. Our voter rolls are not secure, in many states the officials in charge of them have been conducting voter purges that disproportionately and deliberately target minorities, our districts are gerrymandered to the extent that in some areas, democrats would need to win by 20% or more statewide in order to get 51% of the state legislature seats... I could go on.

Robrecht Your friendly neighbourhood Regent
Your friendly neighbourhood Regent
Aug 10th 2018 at 8:14:46 AM

There's already an active military presence in orbit. You don't need to claim anything for that.

No. There's a passive military presence in orbit. There's military satellites, but those only perform passive tasks like intelligence gathering and communication, and there's probably satellites with anti-satellite systems, but those are covert, no one admits to having them and they're understood to be intended for a contingency, not for launching a first strike.

The 'Space Force' is an attempt to make the military presence in orbit active.

The situation you describe where military satellites fly over countries that have the means to shoot them down has already come to pass, and countries havenít started randomly shooting things down.

Yeah, because they don't have any excuse. The probable presence of armed satellites is, while an open secret, still deniable. Officially, neither the US nor any other nation on Earth other than the Soviet Union has ever had permanent weapons in space and therefore no nation can currently justify shooting down a satellite to the international community.

Establishing a Space Force, a branch of the military established for the express purpose of fighting in, and from, space, will mean that they can start shooting down enemy satellites under the excuse that they might be armed. It turns shooting down satellites from an act of aggression, which is what it would currently be viewed as, to an act of self defence.

Edited by Robrecht on Aug 10th 2018 at 8:16:55 AM

Aug 10th 2018 at 8:22:18 AM

[up] Thatís a purely arbitrary distinction youíve drawn for the purposes of the argument. Whether a satellite has a weapon or not makes no distinction if itís engaged in military activities, and our satellites certainly are. Not to mention, everyone has been permitted by law to have conventional weapons in orbit for a long time now.

The situation youíre worrying about just isnít realistic, and is directly contradicted by historical (and legal) precedent. Kessler Syndrome, which you brought up earlier, is a much more pressing situation.

Edited by archonspeaks on Aug 10th 2018 at 8:25:32 AM

Robrecht Your friendly neighbourhood Regent
Your friendly neighbourhood Regent
Aug 10th 2018 at 8:34:46 AM

Iím saying that election security is a Very Big Deal, and them having ANY access to voter rolls is a huge problem.

Very much this. The issue with Russians hacking the voter rolls in the US isn't that they might tamper with the rolls directly. That would be too obvious, any comparison between the current information, the back ups and paper trail and any evidence of incursion into the system would very clearly spell out that hackers had accessed the system and deleted information off the rolls.

No, the real danger is that having access to the voter rolls, in combination with the personal information they're harvesting elsewhere is that the Russian Cyberwarfare division can target their propaganda and misinformation campaigns with pinpoint accuracy at exactly those groups who are most vulnerable to it and they can advise their agents in the US on exactly which groups need to influenced or excluded.

Like, real talk for a second, people... Remember how, in the 2016 election, a shitload of people didn't go out to vote or even voted for Trump, because Hillary won the primary over Bernie? Yeah, well we know for a fact that Russian agents stoked the feelings among those segments of the population that Hillary wasn't their candidate, that Bernie had the nomination stolen from him and that voting for Hillary would be a betrayal of their ideals with targeted propaganda and misinformation campaigns.

Hell, the whole notion that the danger of Russian interference in the election lies in them messing with the voter rolls is partly spurred by their misinformation campaign to deflect people's attention away from the real threat.

Silasw A procrastination in of itself from a handcart heading to Hell Relationship Status: And they all lived happily ever after <3
A procrastination in of itself
Aug 10th 2018 at 8:38:18 AM

Remember how, in the 2016 election, a shitload of people didn't go out to vote or even voted for Trump, because Hillary won the primary over Bernie?

Nope, the numbers Iíve seen indicate that the Bernie to Hillary conversion rate was pretty standard.

"And the Bunny nails it!" ~ Gabrael "If the UN can get through a day without everyone strangling everyone else so can we." ~ Cyran
Robrecht Your friendly neighbourhood Regent
Your friendly neighbourhood Regent
Aug 10th 2018 at 8:38:19 AM

Whether a satellite has a weapon or not makes no distinction if itís engaged in military activities,

Not to you, maybe, but your personal opinion is, to put it bluntly, worth exactly nothing in international diplomacy, where that distinction is very damned important.

Edited by Robrecht on Aug 10th 2018 at 8:40:50 AM

Fourthspartan56 Technocratic Progressive from Georgia, US Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Technocratic Progressive
Aug 10th 2018 at 8:41:37 AM

[up][up]Yeah in many ways "Berniebros" as a political force were non-existent.

[up][up][up]Right but no-one is saying that Russian interference doesn't matter, what we're arguing against is the idea that they could directly manipulate electoral data instead of the more indirect targeted propaganda that they've been doing.

Edited by Fourthspartan56 on Aug 10th 2018 at 11:41:48 AM

Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies. -Robert Kennedy
Aug 10th 2018 at 8:54:10 AM

They arenít doing propaganda instead; the voter roll access and propaganda are two parts of a whole.

Aug 10th 2018 at 8:59:58 AM

[up][up][up] Uhh...you realize that distinction literally doesnít exist in international law or the laws of war, right? In your haste to write off my arguments donít forget I didnít just pull them out of my ass.

To use an example, an unarmed spotter directing fire for other elements could be legally engaged as a combatant. A satellite providing photo reconnaissance or communications is roughly analogous to that spotter.

If youíre saying that public opinion or something would be swayed by armed satellites thatís a different deal, but the legal and diplomatic reality is that the situation youíre describing hasnít come to pass.

Edited by archonspeaks on Aug 10th 2018 at 9:03:17 AM

Robrecht Your friendly neighbourhood Regent
Your friendly neighbourhood Regent
Aug 10th 2018 at 9:30:21 AM

To use an example, an unarmed spotter directing fire for other elements could be legally engaged as a combatant. A satellite providing photo reconnaissance or communications is roughly analogous to that spotter.

You're right on the first sentence, but not on the second sentence.

For the simple fact that there is no shooting engagement going on.

Yes, if there's ever a war between the US and China, you can bet your ass that both sides will be targeting each other's satellites as legitimate targets of war and the international community wouldn't remotely complain (except of course for complaints about the debris inevitably damaging their own satellites).

Right now, if a US military satellite that everyone knows is a reconnaissance satellite, but that formally is just a communications satellite, passes over China, that's not an act of aggression, because the thing's in orbit and if it wants to 'provide communications over' (i.e. take pictures of), say, ISIS installations in Iraq, it's going to have to pass over China at some point. China and the US both know that the thing is probably taking pictures of Chinese installations while it's passing over as well, but since China can't prove it and the US won't admit it and besides China's own military 'communication' satellites have no choice about passing over the US during their orbit either, the niceties of international politics require they just ignore it as long as it's not passing over any of the few zones both nations agreed they're not allowing foreign military satellites to pass over directly.

Now... If instead that satellite were (openly) armed and capable of launching an orbital strike on Chinese facilities or taking out geosynchronous satellites that China relies on for internal communication? Well, then having it pass over or even just anywhere remotely near China is a clear and present threat to their immediate safety and shooting that fucker down out of their airspace (spacespace?) is a completely appropriate response by international law.

A far better analogy than a spotter in a warzone would be the difference between a nation sending a diplomatic delegation to another country, with everyone involved knowing, but politely not acknowledging, that they'll be recording and reporting intel while they're there, and sending an armed Special Forces squad to the same country.

Aug 10th 2018 at 9:38:03 AM

[up] First off, we have surveillance satellites that are openly surveillance satellites passing over other countries. Surveillance from orbit is explicitly legal under the Outer Space Treaty.

Second, that is in no way an appropriate diplomatic response. By that logic, it would be appropriate for China to blast any naval vessel that transited within weapons range of its coast. Under international law that would be a crime of aggression, same for shooting down even an openly armed satellite.

Again, the situation youíre worried about has no basis in diplomatic or legal reality.

Edited by archonspeaks on Aug 10th 2018 at 9:38:21 AM

Robrecht Your friendly neighbourhood Regent
Your friendly neighbourhood Regent
Aug 10th 2018 at 10:06:18 AM

[up] If foreign military vessels (or foreign aircraft of any description) enter your territorial waters or airspace without alerting you, you are well within your rights under international law to shoot them to bits. Now... Most countries won't do that, they'll try to communicate with them and the government they belong to first, in order to prevent an avoidable incident... But if they refuse to communicate, down they go. (Which is why, for instance, no international sanctions were imposed on either side when Syria and Israel shot down each other's jets after they crossed into their respective airspaces.)

TerminusEst from Finland
Aug 10th 2018 at 10:25:52 AM

[up]

"Weapons range" is far beyond territorial waters.

Regardless, the branch is not particularly special in regards to goings-on in space. Militarisation is normal as capabilities grow. In terms of US defense policy, you could do far worse than what others are already doing.

Edited by TerminusEst on Aug 10th 2018 at 10:30:47 AM

Si Vis Pacem, Para Perkele
Aug 10th 2018 at 10:31:15 AM

[up][up] As hasnít already been pointed out, modern naval ships can comfortably engage targets on land from international water. And yet, countries donít destroy any ship that enters weapons range. In fact, by your logic of ďif it has the ability to attack us weíre allowed to destroy itĒ China would be within its rights to launch a strike on the continental US to destroy our missile silos here.

Thatís not how international law or diplomacy works, and thereís no reason to think armed satellites would change the game at all. Put simply, weíre allowed to use the non-atmospheric airspace of other countries for military purposes.

Edited by archonspeaks on Aug 10th 2018 at 10:34:45 AM

Mario1995 from Atlanta Relationship Status: Chocolate!
Aug 10th 2018 at 11:04:14 AM

Study: 24 million white Americans think like the alt-right

"It matters that 24 million Americans have a worldview similar to the alt-rightís, and not because all of them will be marching with tiki torches on Sunday evening. Itís because many of them might show up at the ballot box in 2018, 2020, and beyond."

And this is how Weimar Germany was able to collapse so easily: a huge swath of Germans had no desire in liberal ideals.

"Take your protein pills and put your helmet on." - David Bowie, "Space Oddity"
Fourthspartan56 Technocratic Progressive from Georgia, US Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Technocratic Progressive
Aug 10th 2018 at 11:09:35 AM

It's worth noting that unlike us Weimar Germany did not have nearly as long a democratic tradition, so while the risk of managed democracy is still very real it would be a mistake to think that we're as vulnerable as them.

But yes that's why white supremacists are so dangerous, they don't need every white American to be as extreme as them when a good chunk of White America are frankly ready and willing to be collaborators.


On a different note here's an article that I think provides some much needed positive perspective, The primaries don't show Democrats divided. They show a party mature enough to handle debate.

I think the article is completely right, the fact that there are different factions and divergent candidates like Ocasio-Cortez is not a sign of weakness but rather simply more evidence that our party can be dynamic and varied to appeal to various local conditions.

Honestly I think that places like Twitter make things worse by making things look worse then they are, internet spat fights do need to reflect real party disunity.

Edited by Fourthspartan56 on Aug 10th 2018 at 2:13:55 PM

Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies. -Robert Kennedy
BlueNinja0 The Mod with the Migraine from Taking a left at Albuquerque Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
The Mod with the Migraine
Aug 10th 2018 at 11:21:41 AM

In financial news, the Congressional Budget Office published that Medicaid is cheaper than Obamacare, which seems bad for the ACA except the cheapest alternativenote  is a single-payer system like progressives have been asking for. Given how conservative the CBO usually is, that sounds like good news to me.

    Full article text 
Emphasis mine, plus a graphic in the article showing the cost projection over the next 10 years.
Hereís a data point that I fully expect to see fans of single-payer health care cite in the future: For the federal government, helping Americans buy private insurance under Obamacare is now more expensive per enrollee than simply covering them through the lawís Medicaid expansion.

Thatís according to the most recent estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, which were highlighted Wednesday in an article by Susannah Luthi of Modern Healthcare. This year, Capitol Hillís official scorekeeper predicts that Washington will spend an average of $6,300 on each individual who purchases subsidized health insurance through the Affordable Care Actís exchanges. Meanwhile, itís set to spend just over $4,900 for each Medicaid recipient who enrolled thanks to the lawís expansion of the program.

That wedge will only widen in the coming years, according to the CBO. By 2028, the federal government will be spending 57 percent more, on average, to cover people who purchase subsidized coverage on the exchanges than it will paying for peopleís Medicaid benefits. Even if you include state spending, signing up folks for Medicaid will still be cheaper for taxpayers than helping to foot the bill for private insurance.

It is possible that the CBO is overestimating how high premiums on Obamacareís exchanges will rise in the coming years. If they increase less dramatically, the cost gap between Medicaid and private coverage wonít be as severe. Nonetheless, the prognosis looks bad for the marketplaces, at least from a budget perspective.

Why are these numbers important? If Democrats ever return to power in Washington, it seems all but certain that the party will try to pass some sort of legislation extending health insurance to more Americans. As of now, most of the policy conversation around this possibility has tended to focus on the merits of single-payer, or bills that would greatly expand Medicare without immediately lumping everybody into it. One alternative to those approaches, which some Democratic moderates might embrace, would be to super-size Obamacare instead, by making more Americans eligible for private insurance subsidies through the law. (Currently, subsidies are only available to families that make up to 400 percent of the poverty line.)

But thereís an obvious problem with that strategy, which this new report highlights: Compared to Medicaid, private insurance subsidies just arenít very cost-effective. You get a lot more bang for your federal buck by herding people into government coverage.

Thatís not exactly a shock. Medicaid keeps costs down by paying fairly low rates to providersófar below than what most private insurers can manage. Obamacareís exchange coverage, on the other hand, tends to be pretty expensive before subsidies, and the federal government picks up most of the tab for the lower-income families that buy it. When the Congressional Budget Office originally scored the Affordable Care Act in 2010, they expected that, per enrollee, the cost of subsidizing private coverage would pull roughly even with the cost of the Medicaid expansion this year. In 2011, they revised their calculations a bit, and concluded it would actually become more expensive around this time. (They projected the average subsidy would be $6,120, which is remarkably accurate, given all the grief the CBO gets for missing its initial enrollment estimates.)

Itís true that marketplace coverage would probably cost less were it not for Donald Trump and the Republican Partyís attempts to sabotage the exchanges. One reason the CBO expects subsidy costs to rise so much in the coming years, for instance, is that Congress repealed Obamacareís individual mandate, which was supposed to keep premiums lower by making sure more healthy Americans purchased coverage to make up for all of the sick customers insurers were required to enroll. But the current White House isnít entirely to blame for the price of private insurance under Obamacare. The cost of subsidies pulled more or less even with per-capita Medicaid spending last year, before Trumpís campaign to undermine the law really hit its stride. Private insurance has just turned out to be kind of expensiveóas the CBO predicted.

That wouldnít necessarily be a strike against the exchanges if private coverage was significantly better than Medicaid. But it isnít always. Some of the most popular (meaning, cheaper) offer narrow doctorsí networks just like Medicaid, but stick patients with far, far higher co-pays and deductibles. Overall, Medicaid enrollees also appear to be a bit more satisfied with their coverage than people who buy insurance on the exchanges. When it comes to exchange coverage, it seems like the feds are paying more for less.

So whatís the takeaway here? You might look at the CBOís numbers and assume that the government would save money by further expanding Medicaid instead of paying for private coverage. Thatís not necessarily true. After all, many people who are eligible for Obamacare donít necessarily sign up. A lot of those folks would enroll in Medicaid if it were offered to them for free, or cheap, possibly leading the government to spend more overall compared to the current system.

But again, Medicaid is more cost-efficient than private insurance. And if your goal is to provide insurance to every single American, then efficiency is what matters. Itís possible that, if Medicaid were to be expanded further, Congress would have to increase its payment rates to doctors, which are even well below Medicareís. But if you believe the CBOís numbers, Medicaid is going to be so much cheaper than private insurance going forward that it could pay providers more and still save the government money.

And this brings us back to why I think fans of single-payer are eventually going to tout this new report. It turns out that Obamacare is offering us a real-world test run, pitting the value of public insurance against private coverage. When it comes to the federal budget, government coverage is pretty clearly winning.

TBH, his ego doesn't need more stroking. Nor does any other part of him. - M84
Parable State of Mind from California Relationship Status: Star-crossed
State of Mind
Aug 10th 2018 at 12:16:38 PM

[up][up] The podcast I was listening to earlier, Pod Save America, noted the same thing, pointing out several cases where the supposed progressive vs establishment primaries were just two mostly progressives with minor differences.

And it's a long way forward, so trust in me. I'll give them shelter, like you've done for me
Fourthspartan56 Technocratic Progressive from Georgia, US Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Technocratic Progressive
Aug 10th 2018 at 12:31:46 PM

[up]Quite, usually it's simply a question of messaging and implicit priorities.

Sanders focused on an economic message with the implicit assumption that he would focus political capital on that, while Clinton focused on a social message with the implicit assumption that she would focus on that.

Of course regardless what a candidate focuses on the party as a whole can still address both.

Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies. -Robert Kennedy
Mio
Aug 10th 2018 at 12:33:09 PM

[up][up][up]As the article points out, the main reason Medicaid is cheaper is because it pays health providers less then private insurance, or even Medicare.

Thatís probably one of the reasons (among others) ďMedicare for allĒ is a more popular idea then a Medicaid for all, despite Medicaid being much closer to how people actually envision ďMedicare for allĒ working.

Edited by Mio on Aug 10th 2018 at 3:33:03 PM

TroperOnAStickV2 Call me Stick from Redneck country Relationship Status: is commanded toó WANK!
Call me Stick
Aug 10th 2018 at 1:35:46 PM

That, and I think Medicare is the term people are more familiar with.

Edited by TroperOnAStickV2 on Aug 10th 2018 at 4:37:40 AM

Hopefully I'll feel confident to change my avatar off this scumbag soon. Apologies to any scumbags I insulted.
Mario1995 from Atlanta Relationship Status: Chocolate!
Aug 10th 2018 at 1:37:30 PM

Right-wing conspiracy theorists are doing everything they can to escalate climate change.

"Take your protein pills and put your helmet on." - David Bowie, "Space Oddity"
Aug 10th 2018 at 1:42:06 PM

[up] That fucking asshole set the fire near where I live! The smoke turned the sky completely orange here yesterday!

Edited by CookingCat on Aug 10th 2018 at 1:47:16 AM

Mario1995 from Atlanta Relationship Status: Chocolate!
Aug 10th 2018 at 1:47:41 PM

[up]"There's a lot more of us than them," they said. Too bad they didn't count on "them" having all the technology and weaponry needed to cause catastrophe that threatens our existence.

"Take your protein pills and put your helmet on." - David Bowie, "Space Oddity"

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