The Coffee Party Agenda

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Moderator » Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:54 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Watch out, Barber may be in the CIA.

You still for literacy tests Steven?


(I'm not, but I have been checked out by them, the NIA and the FBI, Frank. How's that grab you?)

I was never for literacy tests, per se. I am all for tests demonstrating that you have a grasp of the fundamentals of the issues at hand when you're voting. And that when someone registers to vote they ought to pass a basic citizenship test (something like these sort of questions: http://www.theusgov.com/citizenshippreptest.htm ), demonstrating that they have some understanding of what the Constitution actually says, and what this country is all about.

Voting in ignorance defeats everyone's purpose, and defending someone's right to be an ignorant voter is the same sort of logic as the Tea Party's vehement defense of rich people's tax rate (both of which ultimately slits everyone else's throat).

It doesn't mean we test to make sure everyone agrees, and you don't test for party affiliation or probable voting behavior. We test to make sure people have an understanding of what they are doing. You don't hand car keys or a gun to people who just walk in the door, so why shouldn't we be asked to demonstrate some basic knowledge of American civics before we can vote? (Or perhaps less controversially, make HS students pass the test before they can graduate.)

I realize it may be a slippery slope, but NOT testing for it hasn't exactly kept us off the ice. http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valley ... immigr.php
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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby FrankChurch » Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:38 pm

Ok, we are going to do war games with South Korea, not caring that that is why North Korea is bombing. Then we give 67 billion dollars worth of war toys to Taiwan, but still expecting China will help us out in chilling the north. How fucking dumb is our foreign policy? We seem to love being hated.

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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Moderator » Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:09 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Ok, we are going to do war games with South Korea, not caring that that is why North Korea is bombing. Then we give 67 billion dollars worth of war toys to Taiwan, but still expecting China will help us out in chilling the north. How fucking dumb is our foreign policy? We seem to love being hated.


Frank, you really have no knowledge of the history of the Korean conflict, do you?

Chilling North Korea is fundamentally in China's interest. If NK goes to war China will be forced into supporting them militarily, which they flat out do not want to do. Secondly, there would be a massive exodus of refugees into China from NK, again something China has cause to fear.

History shows the NK has demonstrated repeatedly that they will push the military envelope in the hopes that the US and South Korea will back down. We have done so repeatedly in the past, which is why it is now on the edge of nuclear brinksmanship. NK has little to lose by rattling its nuclear-tipped saber. The only deterrent for them is if the consequences far outweigh the low-cost threats they issue. They've sunk a warship, bombed a civilian target, and threatened war. Stamping their feet every inch along the way.

At what point do you propose we stop giving in to NK blackmail? When Seoul vanishes in a nuclear puff, requiring as a response that we glass over the rest of NK? Where, precisely do you envision China would come down on that little scenario? Glass over Los Angeles perhaps?

Seriously, Frank. I'm as idealistic as any liberal can be -- but reality is reality and NK has shown itself to be a very dangerous and ruthless blackmailer. And even when we accede to their demands they STILL go to the next level. If they had demonstrated, even once, their reliability as a negotiating partner I would feel differently. But history demonstrates that they are thoroughly unreliable and two-faced. China knows this as well.

I'm kinda startled you're defending such a ruthless dictatorship, who puts military posturing, blackmail and nuclear weapons above the wellbeing of their own citizens. And you're saying we should appease them for the hundredth time. Pretty damned heartless position to take.

Fucking dumb would be to back away from planned wargames and let the brutal dictator win another round -- further emboldening him in the future. Bombing civilians is only the latest in a long line of agitations.
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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Lori Koonce » Sat Nov 27, 2010 4:51 pm

Frank

When does it become necessary to stick up for an ally? How many people have to die before you'll be all right with us committing a warship or two to the cause of justice.? As Barber pointed out NK bombed both a civilian and a military target, and we are now aware they have been lying about their nuclear capabilities.

I can only speak for myself, but I'd much rather take care of a possible threat before it gets out of hand rather than after. I'll be the first to admit that I don't know how to do that, but someone has to figure it out!

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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Anthony Ravenscroft » Sat Nov 27, 2010 10:12 pm

My immediate impression was that the timing is such that Kim Jong-il is firmed up as The Crazy Guy, so that when he hands titular power over to Kim Jong-un, the new kid will have LOTS of leeway to weird out & still be seen as an improvement.

("Hey, Beavis -- he said 'titular.' Huur huur huur.")

Remember, the official leader of North Korea is STILL Kim Il-sung, despite being slightly dead since 1994. We've got us a sorta Caligula situation going here.

What bugged me about invading Iraq was NOT that I liked Saddam Hussein, but that North Korea presented a much more immediate threat, what with nukes & what-all else they've got. I think what the U.S. might end up doing is saying to China, "If you don't squish the bug, we will -- your choice."

The Clinton Administration had been brokering a deal to defuse North Korea's nuclear program by underwriting "safe" nuclear power plants (as in not producing weapons-grade materials). What was one of Junior's first acts in office? Killing that negotiation dead & engaging in sabre-rattling. Thanks, Georgie.

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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Anthony Ravenscroft » Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:11 am

Can we diffuse Fatherland Security yet?

http://www.myce.com/news/dept-of-homeland-security-raids-dmca-compliant-music-site-37037/

I'm against efficiency in government. I know that sounds weird at first pass, but (IMNSHO) the U.S. version of Democracy was intentionally meant to have huge dollops of inefficiency built into it, not the least being the whole "checks & balances" thing.

Junior had it right when he said there's nothing wrong with dictatorship so long as he's the dictator -- Benny Mussolini made the trains run on time. An efficient bloated bureaucracy is NOT a good thing for the citizenry. If it gets too efficient, it starts creating new classes of criminals so that it can keep itself busy, & soon enough ignores actual physical threats in order to go after low-hanging fruit -- imagine the "war on drugs" if marijuana had been decriminalized in 1980 or 1960 or 1940. In a time of Al Qaida & assorted white-supremacist "patriot" nutboxes, DHS is beating up on hip-hip fans.

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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby FrankChurch » Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:43 pm

Tony, you are dead on. This is one good thing about the GOP and their built-in corruption--you don't have to worry about another Hitler. Palin alone can easily be bought. She makes the lowest street whore look like Golda Meir.

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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Anthony Ravenscroft » Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:54 pm

Here's the sort of world I want to live in:

Image

The last clause is what TOTALLY sells it.

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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Anthony Ravenscroft » Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:55 pm

Well, crud -- THAT didn't work. Here's the page:

http://failblog.org/2010/01/19/funny-signs-you-are-leaving-the-ski-resort-you-can-die/

...damned HTML...

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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Moderator » Sun Nov 28, 2010 1:33 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Tony, you are dead on. This is one good thing about the GOP and their built-in corruption--you don't have to worry about another Hitler. Palin alone can easily be bought. She makes the lowest street whore look like Golda Meir.


I don't fear another Hitler so much as another Mussolini.
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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:59 pm

Tito gets zero respect.

God, I sound like Mike.

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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby NeonMosfet » Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:00 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Tony, you are dead on. This is one good thing about the GOP and their built-in corruption--you don't have to worry about another Hitler. Palin alone can easily be bought. She makes the lowest street whore look like Golda Meir.

Were it up to Palin, Golda would have been. Is this Kaffee Klatch going to brew something, Like a counter balance? Or, am I taking what amounts to a political joke much too seriously?
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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby Moderator » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:17 pm

I've been enjoying the discussion, but it has seemed to veer from the original intent. (I should know, I started the thread.)

I've got a couple more ideas on the agenda, but need to hone them first.
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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby FinderDoug » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:05 pm

May I propose a goal that stands with plank 4 of the agenda?

Congressional Term Limits. While the argument is that if a constituency didn't want a politician to represent them for 20+ years, they wouldn't keep voting for them, the truth is that the ability for anyone to be a career politician encourages behaviors that work against the interests of the people: entrenchment with corporate sponsors/campaign donors, with lobbyists, with special interest groups; and the kind of political alliance building that works long-term to put politics ahead of people and makes serving in Congress a lifestyle choice instead of a service to the people.

To that end, I propose a concentrated effort to establish Congressional term limits, with active work towards a Constitutional Convention to bring the matter to a vote by the people of the fifty states, since the current Congress (submitted as such without bias towards either party) has demonstrated through their actions that they feel they are no longer answerable to the people, and thus cannot be trusted to self-regulate in this matter (which would be required, as the only other path to an amendment is through Congress, and we saw how well that worked in the 1990s).

I would add that the process for Congressional Pay Raises be restructured to either a) require a majority vote of the people of the United States as a federal referendum, as opposed to being self-regulated, or b) reflect real-world work considerations, e.g if voting on legislation is a requirement of your job, and you show up for 30% of votes, you receive corresponding pay for the level of effort you expend on that aspect of your job. (If American workers must work to get paid, so should American representatives; and if I showed up 30% of the time or did 30% of the job, I'd be unemployed - the same standard should be borne by elected officials.)

I propose these two measures as two common sense ways to help bring elected officials more in touch with the realities of the world inhabited by the people they represent.

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Re: The Coffee Party Agenda

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:38 pm

Bill Kauffman has a book out where he actually makes the case that secession may be a good idea:

http://www.alternet.org/books/149103/by ... ssion_now/

Progressives in Vermont want it to be a separate country, people in the south want to be separated. Northern California and southern Oregon could be made into one country. I am on either side, because Kauffman makes some good points. He is an old-school conservative, by the way.


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