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Signifyin(g)Monkey

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Signifyin(g)Monkey last won the day on November 11

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  1. He’s the only centrist not showing signs of senility and enmeshed in the same controversy that’s leading to Trump’s impeachment, so they’re probably that thinking yes, there’s a chance primary voters will break late for him a la John Kerry 2004 because the only other contenders pulling big numbers right now are, in their estimation, too far left. But when Yang wins Iowa and NH they won’t know what hit them.
  2. Good lord...That's literally the story of every empire that's tried to take over Afghanistan. Like, that's the exact same freaking mistake they all made. Could you take a goddamn history class and read about the area you're trying to conquer before bounding off to war there next time, please?
  3. I dunno, Maybe more WASPs are coming around to it. I mean, It has a nice ring to it. And some good nicknames, I.e. “Yo Mu, how’s it hangin’?” And with a WASPY surname you get some cool combos—‘Muhammed Stevens’, ‘Muhammad Johnson’, ‘Muhammed Anderson’, etc.
  4. For the record, I think an even better idea than blanket student loan forgiveness is a program that simply gives each American citizen a certain amount of money earmarked for debt repayment. (perhaps with the amount varying depending on an individual's debt-to-income ratio) That way someone who doesn't have student debt can instead pay off other debts they have, (credit card debts, auto-loans, etc.) making for an even more broad-based (and potentially less divisive) debt amnesty with even greater positive effects. Call it 'Universal Basic Debt Forgiveness'. But I also know that, however superior an option it might be, such a policy would be a much bigger undertaking than just forgiving student loans, and may not be politically possible in the US.
  5. Reducing the amount of debt overhead that diverts spending from goods and services into debt payment *would* benefit the lower and middle classes broadly--the only people who wouldn't necessarily benefit would be an already extremely wealthy and powerful creditor overclass. But it goes further than that--it also benefits the country's competitiveness internationally. This is not only because the middle class' spending is the working class' income--and vice versa--but because the increasing amount of rent extracted from the middle- and working class' income in the form of debt payments to the creditor class increases the overall cost structure of the economy by increasing the cost of labor (without generating any countervailing forces to weaken the national currency). With the cost of student debt payments being slowly built into the 'break-even' wage, companies can't price labor in a way that allows the country's exports to undersell its competitors on the international market--in other words, the nation as a whole loses. It's not just about 'stimulus'; it's about helping to restore a mutually beneficial (if inevitably transitory) state of equilibrium to the economy as a whole, from which it can begin to grow in a broad-based way. This is so because the most basic destabilizing factor in every economy in history is the growth in debt beyond the ability of society's collective ability to pay. When this is allowed to occur without any kind of 'reset' or 're-equilibration', societies inevitably polarize between creditors and debtors, and are beset by increasingly severe crises. While the specific historical circumstances are slightly different, this isn't some new, whacky policy. Repeated debt jubilees were what allowed the economies of the ancient bronze age societies in Sumer and Babylonia to continue functioning without a collapse for thousands of years; the same went for ancient Greece and Rome. Indeed, it was part of what laid the foundation for Western civilization. (you'll note that the Judaic tribes adopted the Babylonian notion of the 'clean slate'--hence why the jubilee year appears in Leviticus, and why the Hebrew word duror is a cognate to the Babylonian word for 'clean slate', andurarum--and that Christ essentially presented the proposition of debt cancellation as a necessity when he confronted the 'moneychangers in the temple' and in so doing more or less popularized Christianity among the laity) Contrast that to what happened when, due to the power of vested interests, the Western Roman empire stopped its practice of the jubilee year around the 4th century. Within the span of 100 years it polarized between creditors and debtors and collapsed into feudalism. Meanwhile, the Eastern Empire, which kept the practice, survived and thrived and eventually ended up surpassing the West militarily and technologically. I'll agree that a student debt jubilee ought to be paired with policies to reduce the cost of higher education--but to say it only benefits those who took out student loans, and is a disbenefit to those who did not, is wrong. A less debt-ridden economy benefits all classes--save, again, for the creditor overclass that is already obscenely well off--and helps re-stabilize and re-equilibrate society so that it can grow in a more stable and broad-based way that lifts all ships.
  6. The Dems need to sponsor a nationwide legalization bill that people can vote for on Election Day. Turnout goes up 5000%, Dem mega-landslide ensured.
  7. Negative rates have been a pretty clear failure wherever they’ve been tried, unless you define success by how much you financially enfeeble pension funds and people’s retirement savings. IMO, If the Fed resorted to them it would be seen as a sign of weakness and desperation, not monetary prudence. And it might even strengthen the dollar by triggering a flight to safety, thus accomplishing the opposite of what it’s supposed to.
  8. No, they’re not monolithic, but regardless of political affiliation, you’re always going to be hard-pressed to frame something that implies the intentional, planned obsolescence of someone’s job as a jobs program to them. Just like you’re always going to be hard-pressed to sell big tariffs on agricultural products to farmers by arguing it’s ultimately ‘helping them’ in the big picture by fighting unfair Chinese trade practices, even when the tariffs are paired with big subsidies that are supposed to dull the pain. Farmers aren’t a monolithic group either, so you’ll probably get some support, but overall you’re fighting an uphill battle.
  9. You're still going to be facing the same problem. You can define labor however you want, but at the end of the day if your message to blue collar workers who either work in fossil fuel industries or in industries that depend heavily on the use of fossil fuels is, "We're going to close down your industries and you're all going to lose your jobs in the next few years, but we'll create new ones for you and beef up the welfare state so you'll be fine", it's simply not going to sell. Just like Trump's "I'm going to slap huge tarriffs on your products and ruin your margins but I'll give you big subsidies so you'll be fine" won't sell to farmers. There are certain demographics within the working class that the Green New Deal as formulated by pols like AOC or Warren, will simply always be toxic to. If you want to pass it in the form they've envisioned, where you phase out fossil fuels in an extremely small amount of time, you'll have to pass it without the support of those demographics, and hope that the portions of labor working in non-fossil-fuel dependent industries like tech are enough to get it done.
  10. I never said there was; I stated pretty unequivocally that I don't support what the military is doing here. Regardless, stepping down was still the right thing to do. A military coup is not the only way to dismantle a democracy; countless unravelings of democracies all over the world start the same way: "Popular president uses political power to get around term limits". Mugabe, Putin, Chavez, Lukashenko in Belarus, Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan, al-Sissi, Ortega in Nicaragua, Hernandez in Honduras...not to mention de facto despots in Togo, Gabon, Uganda, Chad, Cameroon, Djibouti, Congo, Sudan, Eritrea...the list goes on, and each case starts out with the same script. Things like term limits are put in place to prevent executive overreach and prevent democracy from collapsing into soft autocracy. (which has a tendency to harden into pure autocracy) Doesn't tampering with those safeguards take the 'democracy' out of 'social democracy', or even out of putatively 'democratic socialism'? Wouldn't a wise leader opt to keep them in place, give up the throne in the manner he originally agreed to, and let the people choose what kind of society they want without placing his thumb on the scales? The current malfeasance of the Bolivian military doesn't change any of that.
  11. C'mon guys--if Trump wins a second term, then in early 2024 holds a referendum on running for a third term and loses the referendum, and then has the referendum's result AND the pre-existing clause in the constitution prohibiting more than two terms overturned by a friendly court, and then runs again, and then declares victory even though an independent investigatory body audits the election and determines there to be fraud, would you really be defending him as the 'rightful president of the country'? Or would it be more reasonable for him to step down and call another election?
  12. He should have stepped down after his second term in accordance with the country's constitution rather than badgering the constitutional court into abolishing term limits so he could run again--especially after he lost the referendum on abolishing term limits in 2016. As positive as his reforms have been for the country, overreaching like that was a mistake and imperiled Bolivia's democratic institutions--and probably bolstered the position of whoever is now running the military takeover of the country. However, clearly the military is seizing power here in an unconstitutional way. The Bolivian constitution provides an order of succession just like the US which specifies who is in charge when heads of state step down, and the leaders of the armed forces are not on the list. So I guess my position on this disaster is A.)Morales was right to step down, and probably should have stepped down earlier but B.)the military is wrong to be seizing power like this and should be handing the country over to the individual specified in the order of succession, like a sane democracy would. And, of course, C.) It's really a damn shame that a country that has found, in recent years, relative stability and prosperity, is now disintegrating into just another Latin American basketcase.
  13. Arresting him now would be stupid. The army should just focus on properly administering the next election and follow the order of succession to determine whose in charge in the interim. Come on guys—handle this like grownups. It would be a shame if this blows up Bolivia’s democracy, just as the country is developing a middle class—the keystone to well-functioning liberal democracies.
  14. The OAS audited the last election and determined there was pervasive fraud; you could also call an election like that a ‘soft’ coup. Let’s not forget the mass protests against the outcome by ordinary people all over the country, too. Stepping down after the audit was the right thing to do. It might just save Morales from going down as just another democracy-trashing Latin American strongman like Chavez, who gets elected initially through democratic institutions and then corrupts and destroys them to hold onto power.
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