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Thread: Politics and Steak

  1. #1

    Default Politics and Steak

    Hello TWCers and thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I am grateful that you found me either interesting or detestable enough to come read this page. An even bigger thanks if you take the time to comment or attempt to converse with me on this blog, I'll try to answer questions and comments in the following entries.

    Short Biography:

    For those curious about who I am, where I come from, and how my life turned out up until this point; read along. I was born in 1994 in a post-Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan. I am ethnically a Korean. My parents, my grandparents, and generations of my ancestry are all Korean. I have uncles, aunts, and cousins, but I'm not particularly close to any of them really. Acquaintances and people to visit at most, though my family has an extensive network of friends all around the world. If you are interested in my particular Korean diaspora, here's an article that gives a basic gist of "my people." Culturally I am Russian. No, I don't like Vodka but I speak Russian, I read Russian news and media, I've visited Russia many times, and I watch the classical Soviet movie Irony of Fate every New Years'.

    I move to United States when I was 9 years old in the Summer of 2003. My parents won the Diversity Lottery and moved to Washington State. We lived with some friends of friends for a while, before getting an apartment, and eventually a house. My childhood is quite typical of the "Communist Gamer Basement Dweller Social Justice Warrior" crowd. I was never quite good at school. Though I consider myself to be intellectually capable, school tended to bore me. I was the typical ace the exam, ignore the homework, type of student. I will admit I was very bad at Japanese though. Language learning requires effort and studiousness, something that's still not a strength of mine. I was quite the voracious gamer, something that originally brought me to the site. The mods, Fourth Age Total War and Rome Total Realism were the first mods that caught my attention. I tried many other different ones, the one that stands out the most is probably XGM or Extended Greek Mod. The one mod that I still play to this day and something I consider a permanent favorite of mine is Roma Surrectum and its successor, Roma Surrectum II. Total War is probably my favorite franchise overall, but not really the only game I play. I played Gunz The Duel, Day of Defeat Source, Starcraft, Counter Strike, and others. Gaming is still a passions of mine and likely will be a life-long addiction. What originally drove towards games was my love for history, and history of war especially. Rome Total War and Starcraft allowed me to live out my fantasies of being greater than Alexander, of expanding the British Empire, of defeating the Swedish as the Russians. Who doesn't love to role-play such scenarios in their head? This is what games allow us to do. They allow us to relive out fantasies in reality instead of just our imagination. History and politics were my strongest subjects intellectually and I consider them to be my strengths today. Less so perhaps in actual encyclopedic and academic knowledge, but definitely in understanding and explaining such information.

    So I got through High School and College. There was plenty of drama, between my parents, school, and my girlfriend. I've been with her for many years now. School is difficult for me as I naturally question and abhor authority and structure. I consider such things constraining on my abilities. This has affected my life at work and I've worked many different jobs and continue to change jobs frequently. I do not enjoy being tied down and I find the idea that I have to slave at an organization for many years to be humiliating. I am definitely somebody who is arrogant. People who notice that tend to harbor a natural dislike towards me. On the other hand, I am naturally helpful, inquisitive, and hard-working. I enjoy solving problems, I enjoy learning, and I enjoy helping others. At the same time I am quite introverted, I never speak out, and I keep my emotions in check. Co-workers either like me quite a bit, or simply think I am a quiet and reserved individual. Many higher-ups tend to find me arrogant and difficult to work with. I am averse to failure, to laziness, and to negligence. I maintain a high level of quality to my work and I expect the same out of others. If I am under the impression that people are using me or trying to leech of my effort, I will lower my output to match theirs. I look for work frequently and I don't particularly have any issues finding it. Organizations I've worked with fall under two categories. They are either slow and inefficient, or they are too frantic and incompetent. Either way, I get tired of failure relatively quickly and tend to look for greener pastures. I mark my leave at project completion and I've genuinely enjoyed learning at all of the places I've worked at.

    I've worked in sales for several years as I was studying. It was easy money, soul-draining, and ultimately not something I'd want to do. The corporations or businesses that primarily deal with such things are... dishonest in almost every aspect of humanity. They pretend they are hard-working when they are not. They watch far too much "Wolf of Wall Street" and are either not as effective as they think they are, or effective to a point where they have little to no morals. I've done several aspects of sales. Retail, B2B, inside sales, and account management. Same sleazeballs everywhere. If there is an ethical and high-energy organization, I'd love to work there, but I don't think it exists. I've also worked as an Analyst in telecommunications. That was an interesting job, lots of numbers, lots of work to do. Unfortunately, also a lot of down-time, a lot of lazy people, and a lot of stress when things get dumped on you at the last second. The pay varies, depending on what industry and how high up your position is. Definitely a job for someone who enjoys that kind of work, but not for me. I need daily problems and assignments that are high priority. Which leads me to my final and current forays, Government. Working in government is interesting to say the least, there are a lot of different jobs within the apparatus. Some are slow-paced and some are high-paced. I've worked as an analyst, as a clerk, as a manager, and as an observer. Some positions tend to burn people out. Police dispatchers for example, pretty stressful. Not something I'd want to do. Then there's a lot of office work, which tends to be slow, relatively mundane, and people who do not appreciate the gravity of their decisions. Currently, I work for a Court and help them process stacks upon stacks of information into something senior analysts can process verbally. What are things I enjoy? Well, I enjoyed learning the software and I enjoy explaining information to people seemingly incapable of doing so. However, the office has problems communicating. Nevermind the fact that people come in whenever they want to. 6 AM, 9 AM, sometimes Noon (really?), but it is legitimately hard to find a project to work on due to lack of communication and the slowness of responses. Then, when there is an inevitable deadline, we are in crisis mode desperately having people beg me to do something in a day or two. This of course results in rumors of laziness and questioning my competency. Sigh, office politics, probably the skill people work on the most, yet ultimately the least productive one.

    Why "Steak"?

    Because I love beef. I'm actually not a drinker, whatsoever. I used to be quite a heavy drinker when I was attempting to make up for my rather lame high-school years, but I generally don't even drink during holidays nowdays. I simply dislike alcohol. I do enjoy grilling. Burgers, steak, brats. If you pan-fry a steak, you're dead to me. Sorry, but stop ruining a precious commodity. I've recently discovered online butchers, which means I get to pay top dollar for the best cuts of meat. None of that lame ass "Prime Angus" crap at Safeway either. No more spending hours at a butcher looking for a cut with good marbling on it. I mean really, for a nation that loves meat and consumes the most meat on the planet, Americans are awful at producing it. On the other hand, just look at this delicious Angus-Wagyu crossbreed Ribeye. If I had to tell you why I love my country and globalization, it'd be the ability to order top shelf cuts to where I live.

    Sadly I haven't had any real Japanese A5 yet. I am far too scared to spend hundreds of dollars just to end up ruining the damn thing on my grill. I think I'll hold off until I either, A) can't take it anymore, B) go to Japan to taste a professionally done A5 steak.

    Politics

    This'll take too long, but it's coming. I'll be outlining my political positions on various issues and my reasoning behind them.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Politics and Steak

    Center Right

    So what does Center-Right mean to Sukiyama? It means that if I were to aggregate my political positions I would be around the center, but more towards the right side. In my opinion, being precisely in the center means you are essentially somebody who is for status-quo, theoretically. As far as my positions go, they are naturally, all over the place. On some positions I am extremely left, on others I am more towards the extreme right. In general, when presented with a new issue, I'd say I tend to lean towards the right in a cautionary manner.

    Economics

    There are a lot of issues in Economics and if I find more specific economic conundrums, I'll write about them. In general, my economic philosophy can be described thusly.

    A) A market solution is typically preferable.
    B) There are goods that the market cannot easily provide. (Public and Common goods)

    What would I do if I have to give an answer on an economic problem that I cannot find any information on? Ergo, if I'm put on the spot what do I say? I will almost always say that we should try a market solution first, before trying anything else.

    In Economics we generally want to allow the market's "invisible hand" to self-regulate goods and services between market participants. Markets, after all, are a cooperative force at the end of the day. What role should a Government play in a market economy? A government's main job is to define and enforce individual property rights and to interfere in flawed markets. This should be preferably, before market failure. This is why it is necessary to have anti-trust regulatory bodies and legislation. If I had to give an analogy, the government steers the boat away from cliffs and other dangers, but if we are in calm waters, the government should let the boat float and drift wherever it pleases.

    Healthcare

    This is a complicated topic, in particular when it comes to the U.S. since our healthcare system is so much more different from anybody else's. I'll probably have to re-write this section several times as I re-read it. Off the top of my head, I see several main issues with the healthcare market.

    A) It is tied to your employment.
    B) It is far too expensive
    C) Information assymetry
    D) Combination of adverse market forces and government regulation creates bad results

    I'd like to first talk about point D. In particular, while so many in U.S. want a European style system or "Medicare for all", what so many of these Socialists miss is that libertarians have a point. We cannot entirely blame market conditions for the state of US healthcare. US healthcare also has unique strengths that other national healthcare systems don't. Of course Libertarians also turn a deaf area towards points A, B, C, and the first part of D, so it's not like they are an objective source of information either. Having said that, it is necessary to recognize where market forces and government regulations compound together to make the original problem even larger. For example, Medicare Part D allows beneficiaries to afford prescription drugs that they otherwise couldn't. Unfortunately, the fact that Medicare cannot negotiate the drug prices results in ballooning costs and a siphoning of the U.S. treasury directly into the pockets of pharma companies. So Libertarian criticism of this program is certainly well-founded. However, repealing Medicare Part D means Medicare beneficiaries have less access to certain prescription drugs. The patent system ensures that some drugs and some treatments do not have alternatives. For some, it means discomfort or potentially death.

    How do Libertarians approach this dilemma? They claim that market forces will attract innovation and drive down prices. What they never say, is how long that would take. What should millions do while a medical necessity is either extremely expensive or simply unavailable? This is precisely where we run into an issue. This is not to say that Libertarian don't offer solutions, I've seen some very clever community and HSA saving schemes that I agree with but they do not address the problem directly. The answer is ultimately that the people can't do anything if they are priced out of a solution. Innovation is never guaranteed. Some things simply have high barriers of entry and no amount of market forces will ever overcome that. Making Space Travel affordable for example, will cost billions upon billions regardless of market forces. The technology is simply not there. That's a fact, and no amount of Libertarian rhetoric will ever change that.

    So, when we run into Point D problems, we need to carefully weigh up our options and make a decision. I prefer a market decision, but many healthcare goods are not ordinary goods. Vaccination for example, is a public good. Prescription drugs, are effectively a club good that can be transformed into a public good. We cannot use a traditional market economy when it comes to these things. These are places where government interference is necessary. A temporary solution to Medicare Part D is relatively simple as well. Simply allow Medicare to negotiate prices, the private sector will adjust. It always adjusts.

    Immigration
    So immigration has been a rather hot topic in the last few days. I've been doing a lot of "opposing" instead of presenting my own ideas so here's my thoughts on the subject.

    Just because a lot of organized crime doesn't arrive by running the Mexican border doesn't mean I oppose making it impossible anyway. Infrastructure building creates jobs, and it makes sure that whatever trespassing is happening is gone entirely. Just because most drugs come through normal ports of entry and boats doesn't mean we shouldn't make smuggling through the desert impossible. We can address other forms of drug trafficking at the same time anyway. it, spend fifty billion instead of just five on border security. However, my opposition for the wall stems from the framing of the illegal immigration debate. I think enough evidence has been posted that we can safely conclude,

    A) Immigrants and illegal immigrants don't commit a lot of crime
    B) The economic impact is questionable at best
    C) We are indirectly responsible for a lot of these immigration flows anyway
    D) We spend quite a bit of money on the "useless" process of criminalizing illegals.

    My solution is to use the wall and border patrol to offer humanitarian aid to those who brave the border. If people aren't penalized for trying to immigrate into United States, they are less likely to engage in other illegal activity like paying smugglers or running drugs or w.e. We can use the border wall to push illegal immigrants towards entering the country through documentation which means we can track them better. We should offer a path to naturalization to illegal immigrants who are already here and those who want to get in. By treating illegal immigrants humanely and not instantly threatening them with deportion... we encourage people to "reveal" that they are illegal. People won't be frantic about hiding from authorities. At the end of the day, illegals often work jobs that legal citizens wouldn't. Illegal immigrants cannot properly access all of US resources. Illegal immigrants can't vote. So I don't see illegal immigrants as incredibly disturbing to the overall stability of economic well-being of the country. Offering a hard path to legalization or permanent residence without penalizing illegal immigrants will mean that these people are more motivated to integrate themselves into American society.

    Now people will criticize me about people who would rather remain illegal than naturalize. What if those people get sick? What if they need care, or food, or help? Well, I advocate denying federal sponsored resources to people who do not naturalize or document themselves. Otherwise, what's the point of citizenship besides voting? If nobody in your household is willing to learn at least rudimentary English, then I'm sorry but I'm not interested in giving you the privileges of citizenship. Besides, you don't need to be a citizen to have access to health insurance. You can always go back to Mexico for health services. Some will probably question or suggest that this will result in massive waves of Mexicans into United States. Why would that matter? I say, let these people in and then they can starve/suffer from the elements or whatever. Illegal immigration should and will ultimately self-regulate itself. We should be encouraging people to document themselves for moral reasons. We don't want to needlessly separate families. At the very least, we want to know if they have or had family with them so we don't deport a father who left his kids at home. So that we don't end up having to send children to immigration courts. Stuff like that. By removing harsh penalties on being undocumented and rewarding documenting yourself, we can improve the tracking of "illegal" immigrants and we can gather more information about them. We can finger-print them for instance and filter actual dangerous criminals/terrorists.

    We should also engage with our partners. Mexico and the rest of America should be constantly involved with our immigration policy and our war on drugs. We should aim to curb the flow of firearms into Mexican drug cartels across the border. In addition to that, we can improve trade relations and even create humane deportation programs in agreement with Mexico's government. For example, we can agree to transfer "illegal" immigrants along with their families to pre-determined locations in Mexico. We can get Mexico's help in identifying who qualifies for Refugee benefits and who doesn't. Hell, maybe we can even get Mexico to partner up with us in regards to immigration flows from the rest of South America. There's a lot of possibilities here.

    Now, why should we even bother with all of this? What's the point of embracing Sukiyama's immigration policy? There are several reasons.

    A) Human and progressive treatment of immigrants enhances our national prestige. This is yet another way of flexing our muscle.
    B) Demographics. We ensure a steady supply of motivated men and women in their working years.
    C) Illegal immigration will happen regardless of what we do. People always find a way. We should deal with this fact of life positively instead of creating systems that cause deep moral hazards.
    D) Improved immigration policy will also improve and motivate us to build better relationships with the immigrants' countries of origin.

    I may revisit this topic further as I revise my opinion and read comments.
    Last edited by Sukiyama; January 18, 2019 at 04:11 PM.

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