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Is Barack Obama a Socialist?

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by gauharjk, Mar 29, 2008.

  1. skyraider

    skyraider Peon

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    #21
    So you're saying the movement has changed. Now that's an interesting perspective. Policy makers have, indeed, also favored many other aspects of socialism besides direct control over the means of production. I'll check that out.SEMrush
     
    skyraider, Apr 1, 2008 IP
    SEMrush
  2. guerilla

    guerilla Notable Member

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    #22
    Wow. This thread has become kick@ss! Excellent last couple posts.

    You might want to also observe how policy is actually crafted for both sides by 3rd party thinktanks.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_tank#United_States_think_tanks

    Brookings, Cato, PNAC, Heritage etc.

    There are very few "policy makers" who craft their own legislation anymore...
     
    guerilla, Apr 1, 2008 IP
  3. d16man

    d16man Well-Known Member

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    #23
    Although most people look at shrillary and say she is a socialist, I think obama is even more left than her...and that is saying something.
     
    d16man, Apr 1, 2008 IP
    TechEvangelist likes this.
  4. northpointaiki

    northpointaiki Guest

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    #24
    Well, I suppose we can redefine terms to meaningless, or, we can go to the Socialist Party platform, as it stands today:

     
    northpointaiki, Apr 1, 2008 IP
  5. skyraider

    skyraider Peon

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    #25
    . . . we are talking about both Progressives and socialists here. They are very similar but not one and the same.
     
    skyraider, Apr 2, 2008 IP
  6. northpointaiki

    northpointaiki Guest

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    #26
    Sky, I wanted to mention I appreciate your posts; though I disagree with your conclusions, your call to a debate on policies, and not the smear we've seen too much regarding this candidate, is an honorable position to take, and an honorable debate to have.
     
    northpointaiki, Apr 2, 2008 IP
  7. Will.Spencer

    Will.Spencer NetBuilder

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    #27
    That's been my impression also, but that's based upon his voting record.

    It is effectively impossible to determine anything from his content-free speeches.

    Who do the liberal Democrats think they are voting for? Why would they support someone who speaks only in broad platitudes?

    When Obama preaches in favor of change, does every liberal Democrat in the audience believe that Obama's "change" is the same as their "change"?

    My idea of "change" would be to immediately eliminate at least 50% of federal legislation and close at least 50% of the departments of the federal government. Do you think that's what Obama means by "change"? :cool:
     
    Will.Spencer, Apr 2, 2008 IP
  8. rightit

    rightit Well-Known Member

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    #28
    no doubt, Barack Obama is a Democrat
     
    rightit, Apr 2, 2008 IP
  9. northpointaiki

    northpointaiki Guest

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    #29
    Will, this is convenient, but untrue. Firstly, Obama's stump speeches are not intended to be wonkish discussions. They are speeches, no different in timbre from JFK's, nor RFK's, nor MLK's, nor any other in a line of remarkable people for whom speeches were a chance to outline broad goals and renew hope in a deeply flagged electorate.

    Now, to his policies and plans (see http://www.barackobama.com/issues/, for one), it isn't surprising to me that Obama's fairly straightforward Democratic platform is troublesome to "Conservatives," "Neo-conservatives," or "Libertarians, depending on who you ask. There will never be accord between the Democratic platform and neo-conservative and/or Libertarian principles.

    To a general consideration, many here have complained about Obama's seeming bent to "compromise." I have defended the viewpoint.

    I, for one, do not see a virtue in the kind of presidency we have had in George Bush, which I characterize as a presidency of arrogance and almost religious conviction in the validity of his administration's policies, the reality notwithstanding. I applaud the ability to listen, the ability to be receptive to information - and changing information, as the reality is honed in on. I do not, for instance, necessarily take comfort in Clinton's oft-used line "ready on day 1," whether she would be "ready" or not. Personally, I am looking forward to a Commander in Chief who comes in with a willingness to listen to the folks who know better than he or she - say, the Joint Chiefs of Staff - about matters of national importance.

    Now, if Bush's fault was that he listened too little, Clinton's was that he listened too much. I honestly don't believe Clinton's flaw (among many) was that he waffled so much as he thought through things so completely - saw in various decisions the intellectual capacity for their polar opposite, that he could just fail to act in the face of the very real need to do so.

    I think Obama has a good mindset going in - he is surrounding himself with good people, is an extremely bright guy, and makes decisions well. Below is an excerpt from a memo analyzing Obama's health plan put out by David Blumenthal, David Cutler and Jeffrey Liebman, economic advisors to Obama, and respected Harvard faculty. Bios:

    David Cutler

    Jeffrey Liebman

    David Blumenthal

    The excerpted portion is part of their analysis of Obama's Health plan, in part, in terms of its impact on the economy:

    Excerpt:

    http://www.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/politics/finalcostsmemo.pdf

    Obama's progressivism is tempered by a market-based approach to policies, and that just doesn't square with the notion of Obama as "socialist" nor, to be honest, left-progressivism as it existed at one time. It's a fairly centrist platform. or so it seems to me.
     
    northpointaiki, Apr 3, 2008 IP
  10. guerilla

    guerilla Notable Member

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    #30
    NPT, weird. You posted three men's names by their initials, when discussing Obama's speeches, all of whom were shot.

    Yesterday, Jesse Ventura said on the Alex Jones show that the closer Obama gets, the better the chance someone takes him out.
     
    guerilla, Apr 3, 2008 IP
  11. TechEvangelist

    TechEvangelist Guest

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    #31
    I also agree. Everyone who runs for office tries to portray themselves as a moderate. His voting record (when he actually voted) speaks for itself and he is anything but a moderate.

    He has a huge special interest sponsorship from the labor unions and he vowed to revitalize the unions when he is elected (watch his speech when he announced that he was running for president).

    Obama is also one of the least qualified presidential candidates in the past 100 years and he is a lousy bowler. :D

    He is, however, the best speaker out of the gaggle of idiots that is running for president. That seems to be getting him a lot of mileage.
     
    TechEvangelist, Apr 3, 2008 IP
  12. skyraider

    skyraider Peon

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    #32
    A cap-and-trade program is not a 'market-based approach to policies.' Nor is a policy of high marginal rates and high capital gains taxes a market-based approach to policies. Generally speaking, he wants to 'unleash the forces of capitalism' by.... destroying market incentives through safety nets and regulation - and thus destroying the forces of capitalism. He supports measures like the inflationary "stimulus package" - which will do nothing but bolster rich Wall Streeters and the Chinese.

    There are many arguments against your claim that a govn't-run healthcare system is more efficient. One argument is our veterans' health care system. There are problems with single-payer systems; from cato.org:

    It is so silly to put the government in charge of health care and then call it a "market-based approach" or an exposition on the "forces of capitalism" or whatever. After destroying market incentives and market forces, the forces of capitalism don't exist or are vastly reduced. And after destroying the market and competition (as we're starting to do with specialty hospitals now), our quality of care will be reduced.

    Cato Institute quote from the same article:
    To specifically address the Harvard folks' claim that private industry has a higher overhead (a misleading claim at best), I have some info from freemarketcure.com:

    Also, I am really at odds with those folks you quoted for claiming that an "investment", as Obama puts it, in IT is the only way to reduce costs. If we had a free-market health care system, technology would have reduced costs significantly, just like Dell did with computers - or LASIK providers did with LASIK and PRK! But we don't have a free-market health care system - we have a heavily regulated mess that inhibits competition and natural price reduction.

    His rhetoric: rally around me, and we'll all become happier and our state of being will be more stable. That is - after the Masters of the Universe in Washington, who know more than you do, set us on the proper course. Smells like the Doctrine of Progress to me. His policies: ineffective redistributionism. massive bureaucracies are bad, he says, but he'll need loads of them to implement his welfarism.
     
    skyraider, Apr 3, 2008 IP
  13. northpointaiki

    northpointaiki Guest

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    #33
    Heading out to dinner with the family, so can only give a cursory reply for now.

    Obama's plan is inimical to Libertarianism, as I said;

    Libertarianism, in its call for completely unfettered capitalism, doesn't work;

    There has never been a state of laissez-faire in the United States, beginning perhaps most saliently with the collusion between the armed might of the government and heavy capital, against whatever nascent labor movement was extant at the inception of industrialization in the U.S.;

    "Market-based approach" meaning incentives to realize certain economically viable things like increased efficiencies, competitiveness, and so forth; no different from variable tax benefits for various market behaviors. This, as opposed to a simple cudgel of statutory regulations and counter-market directives.
     
    northpointaiki, Apr 3, 2008 IP
  14. guerilla

    guerilla Notable Member

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    #34
    @skyraider, very eloquent and well reasoned post. Thank you. That raised the level of discussion today!

    This is untrue. Libertarianism doesn't call for completely unfettered capitalism.

    Not to get snippy, but I have seen a lot of this, people who don't understand Libertarianism, attributing extreme positions to it.

    This link is fair, although to really get a feel for the soul of libertarianism, I'd recommend reading Human Action by Von Mises
     
    guerilla, Apr 3, 2008 IP
  15. skyraider

    skyraider Peon

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    #35
    Libertarians still observe the rule of law, and they understand that every market needs regulation. What makes them different from others is that they believe that the markets regulate themselves - if the government does not intervene in the form of safety nets or otherwise.

    We've been close. Growth of government is hard to control, so it's been a struggle.

    The problem is that Obama (well, not only Obama - really, the Democrats in general) is (are) incentivizing in the wrong areas and, sometimes, with the wrong kind of incentive. Here's one example. Obama wants a tax credit for E85, the inefficient ethanol fuel: http://obama.senate.gov/news/050420-obama_proposes_tax_credit_for_/

    The stimulus package is another example. It was not a tax reduction corresponding with a cut in spending like it should have been. It was a debt-financed welfare check! What makes me disgusted is that Bush supported this thing, too.

    Looking around the Obama website, I see that he wants to control credit card company policies, provide universal mortgage credits (what the heck?) and practice other forms of welfarism.

    Tax breaks are good things, but they are only truly effective an sustainable when they correspond to a decrease in spending. The practice of using tax breaks to reward certain kinds of behavior is risky because Democrats like Obama will come in and disguise welfarism as tax breaks.

    In short, we should let the market drive investment and because it will go after what's profitable and what works. Government will go after what's popular, and it may or may not work. Obama, McCain, and Hilary are guilty of using the tired call to national crises as an excuse to direct our money in ways that the market is supposedly not doing.

    The fact is that the market is directing its resources in the proper direction. There would be a lot more nuclear power plants if the NRC would open that industry up, for example. Nuclear power is a lot more efficient than solar/wind at the moment, so it's more profitable, and the market is going after it. But govn't wants to pursue these inefficient sources and direct market resources away from action that would lower the cost of energy. Ugh. And that's why government shouldn't be "investing" in alternative fuels! I hope that this example illustrated some of the drawbacks of government incentivizing when it becomes a method of forcibly imposed stupidity.

    I totally disgaree. We had that war won; we were training the South; then the Democratic congress cut off funding! What a dishonor and disservice to our troops and to the South Vietnamese!
     
    skyraider, Apr 3, 2008 IP
  16. guerilla

    guerilla Notable Member

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    #36
    On this point, we have to diverge. Not only was it an illegal war, a faked war, but the Vietnamese never wanted us there. They were only interested in communism after having been under French imperial rule, and desperately desiring land reform.

    Once we left and the North took over, Vietnam began to prosper, the domino effect did not occur, and today we are trading partners and friends.

    Don't fret over dishonor or disservice. Ending the war when they did, saved American lives. This should always be our first priority. Not putting our military in far off locations to fight some ideological war that has nothing to do with the defense of the nation. Needlessly and intentionally risking lives, even if they are soldiers, is evil.
     
    guerilla, Apr 3, 2008 IP
  17. skyraider

    skyraider Peon

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    #37
    I would not have pressed for war had I been in office, but we committed (well, sort of) then had them ready to defend themselves after about 60,000 Americans died. Then the Democratic Congress stopped funding the South Vietnamese military, and they couldn't get spare parts for the aircraft and what not - the soldiers basically had to go home. Disgusting!

    We were trying to do a good thing. Today, Vietnam has a record of human-rights abuses; the people have limited civil liberties. Is it our duty to free them? Not necessarily; according to the philosophy of our founding fathers, it's their duty. But someone is going to have to stand up for freedom in the word, and "giving peace a chance" or being a "shining city on a hill" doesn't always work (I think it would work with the people of Cuba if we raised the embargo; and, if we could engage them in business, the people of North Korea - but that is not going to happen). We are "friends" with Vietnam - but do you really think that the people like Communism? Do Cubans like Castro, or Russians, Stalin?

    Ultimately, we have to be wise in our decisions on foreign intervention. The war in Vietnam was probably not a very wise choice. But I think history has shown that "live and let live", especially with regard to some of the threats we are facing today, needs to be "live and let die." That's just how it is. I struggled with this for a while before finally deciding that Paul is wrong on Iraq because he's applying a very broad, intellectual idea to a very real, consequence-prone situation with which he is not intimately involved.

    Saddam killed his own people by the lot. The Khmer Rouge, Kim Jong-Il, Hitler... big threats require positive, affirmative responses. The appropriate response will vary based on the threat. The reality is that sometimes business engagement will work, and sometimes only war will work, and our self-isolation (which I know Paul does not support) will not work.

    We are kind of half-and-half in Iraq, just like we were half-and-half in Vietnam. Whether it be business engagement with the people of a country or direct military intervention, it better be affirmative from now on! Nobody really knows for sure what response is best for each type of situation because world events are extremely difficult to fully and absolutely understand. But when we choose a course of action, let's follow through. Up until now, it is that indecisiveness, not our interventionism, that is our main problem.
     
    skyraider, Apr 3, 2008 IP
  18. guerilla

    guerilla Notable Member

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    #38
    Ok, but you understand that the Bay of Tonkin incident, where the NVA supposedly attacked us, never happened? That it was all BS?

    60,000 Americans died, MILLIONS of Vietnamese died. Don't take this personally, but I always find it funny that we go to these countries for the good of the people we are rescuing, yet their death totals aren't reported as though their lives are meaningless. It's a great irony.

    Isn't that their right, not ours, to choose?

    Actually, Paul isn't applying some "intellectual idea". He's actually based his position on sound intelligence thinking. Robert Pape is a Pentagon funded suicide terrorism researcher. He was a Paul campaign adviser. Paul consults with Michael Scheuer, who is so Machiavellian, he would have reduced half of Afghanistan to rubble to kill rather than catch Bin Laden. Remember, Paul wanted to go after Bin Laden by putting a very large price on his head, and allowing the President to issue Letters of Marque.

    But Iraq was wrong, and he was right about that. And after reading what General Odom said in his testimony yesterday, I'd say he's also right now.

    Sure Saddam killed his people by the lot. We helped put him in and keep him in power. We helped supply him. Paul's intervention is staying out of the internal affairs of other nations. How did we help the Iraqi people by subjecting them to Saddam for 25 odd years, then bombing and occupying them for 6? Think they are still going to shower us with candy and flowers?

    On the contrary, they probably have some Arabic version of "Yankee go home!" perpetually on their lips.

    Far from a positive result to an affirmative response, wouldn't ya say?

    I reject the notion that every situation requires aggressive intervention. The primary and most important issue, is the safety of the United States and it's citizenry. I think at this point, it's obvious that the CIA's blowback is a dangerous consequence of our intervention that undermines that responsibility.

    Some people say we have a moral responsibility to get involved all over the world because of how prosperous, and moral, and advanced, and free, and educated we are.

    I say all of those reasons are precisely why we do not have a moral responsibility for intervention but rather non-intervention, trade, diplomacy and travel.

    Indecisiveness is what we should have had before we went into Iraq. Vietnam too. We could have saved a lot of lives, and left the world a better place. The biggest sin of the government in the last 6 years, is that it refuses to acknowledge a mistake in Iraq, and that continuing mistake costs American lives every day.

    *mumbles* not to mention I can't understand how anyone can justify Iraq given that it is bankrupting us */mumbles*
     
    guerilla, Apr 3, 2008 IP
  19. skyraider

    skyraider Peon

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    #39
    Sometimes it can be extraordinarily difficult to exercise that right. We did it successfully - but many revolutions have failed. For all practical purposes, there are a lot of people around the world who don't have a right to rise up.


    I think Iran would seize on the opportunity. So do some other high-ranking military folks:




    You can see that the arguments can go both ways with equally reputable sources.



    No, you're incorrect that the Iraqi people gave us a negative result and a negative response. Remember, the insurgency in Iraq was originally caused by foreign fighters and leaders coming over the border. That's just not correct to guesstimate that the Iraqis hated us at the time of the invasion - because it's generally not accurate. We left them out to try a couple of times, but at least Bush Sr. had the wisdom not to go in and do what we're doing now, because it's quite the mess. But that doesn't mean that it is in our best security interests to retreat.



    So does everyone else in this country. I'm just saying that if we choose to do something, let's carry it out fully.



    Ok, you can reject that moral responsibility. But you shouldn't reject our responsibility to our own security. Now that we're on the interventionist track, we can't just pull out of everywhere and make everything hunky dory. It's like a bad Democratic social program. You can't just cut benefits. You have to phase things out.



    Vietnam today is NOT a better place that a free South Vietnam would have been. You cannot make that argument. We would have been a better place without that war, yes. When Paul says that we are friends with Vietnam, he means that we are trading partners. It's going to take a long time and lots of sacrifice on the part of the Vietnamese people to attain freedom.



    War is expensive. War kills people. War is not always definitely necessary.


    Look, maybe Saddam wasn't spinning enough uranium for the bomb yet. Imagine you were Rumsfeld. What would you have done? Just leave him there until he did?
     
    skyraider, Apr 3, 2008 IP
  20. Will.Spencer

    Will.Spencer NetBuilder

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    #40
    Hey guerilla, how 'bout you take your inane ranting against Pax Americana to a new thread and leave this one for a discussion of Barack Obama's socialist plans for America's future?
     
    Will.Spencer, Apr 3, 2008 IP