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Quora Answers

Why do so many liberals still seem to think Obamacare is a success?

Precisely no one thinks Obamacare is a success. Anything that leaves millions still uninsured is not, by any reasonable accounting, a “success.” “Obamacare” isn’t what liberals called for in the first place. Some liberals see it for what it actually is: a handout to the insurance industry which was the only sort of healthcare reform the Obama administration could ever hope of getting past Republicans in Congress.

As it turns out, the handout system the insurance industry, and its bought-and-paid-for congressmen wanted hasn’t worked out the way they wanted, so now they’re attempting to paint it as a Great Liberal Catastrophe.

As various other answers note, what we now call “Obamacare” was, in fact, a conservative plan, back when the Heritage Foundation first proposed it. (How the Heritage Foundation, a Conservative Think Tank, Promoted the Individual Mandate)

Heritage can stamp its feet and whine all it wants now, but the centerpiece of what we got was an individual mandate for health insurance. This was supposed to be a band-aid on a broken system. When Heritage was first promoting it, back in the early 90’s, it was promised to be the better alternative to comprehensive, universal healthcare funded by taxes, or “socialized medicine” in the parlance of hair-on-fire conservatives.

What actual liberals wanted, what most of us still want, is single payer.

Original question on Quora:

Why do so many liberals still seem to think Obamacare is a success?

What is your real feeling to be a vegetarian?

I’m not exactly clear what the OP is asking.

How does it feel to be vegetarian? It feels like I don’t eat animals. I don’t feel different, or worse, than when I was 14 or 15 and still eating birds. I feel like me. Some days are good; some days aren’t. Some days I gorge on cashew milk ice cream and feel fat. Some days I don’t.

I’m a vegetarian for ethical reasons, so any touted health benefits are largely secondary, and I’m realistic enough to realize that lots of diets can be healthy, and that vegetarianism, by itself, isn’t a cure-all. I don’t particularly care about health benefits. I’ll take ‘em, but they’re not why I’m doing any of this.

Being a vegetarian, at this point, feels ordinary. I’ve been one for far longer than I wasn’t, so that shouldn’t be surprising.

Original question on Quora:

What is your real feeling to be a vegetarian?

Is it morally right for Jill Stein to raise money for election vote recount?

Is it morally right for Jill Stein to raise money for election vote recount?

I don’t think calling for a recount is a moral issue. I think systems that don’t allow for recounts as a matter of course are.

Either we can trust our election results, or we can’t. In states where the vote is close, the election results ought to be open to scrutiny. (They ought to be open to aduits and closer scrutiny everywhere, but particularly in states where the vote totals are as close as these.)

The voting systems in use in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have been declared illegal to use in California, because we know those systems are too open to tampering.

Regardless of whoever wins in a recount, why on earth should anyone accept electronic voting systems we know we shouldn’t be using? Why aren’t we able to get recounts in each and every state where vulnerable voting systems are in use?

We are not a direct democracy, but we are a democratic republic; people tend to emphasize the latter half of that, but if we want assurance that the former half still actually matters, recounts and hand audits are essential.

We know – we don’t guess, we know – that optical scan systems have undercounted votes, in the past, for example. This occurred in 2004, where optical scan systems were miscalibrated and missed tens of thousands of votes in one city (Toledo), and likely others. We have a system that doesn’t have rechecks and audits as a matter of course and requires voters or candidates to assume the costs of recounting, unless specific (and arbitrary) threshholds are met.

That is immoral.

We can either trust in the election results, or we cannot. If we’re to be able to trust them, they have to be open to scrutiny.

In 2004, the punch-card ballots were still widely used in some states. For example, most Ohio voters used punch-card ballots, and more than 90,000 ballots cast in Ohio were treated as not including a vote for President; this “undervote” could arise because the voter chose not to cast a vote or because of a malfunction of the punch-card system.

2004 United States election voting controversies – Wikipedia


Is Jill Stein’s recount just a 3 million dollar scam?

Is Jill Stein’s recount just a 3 million dollar scam?

Answer by Ward Chanley:

It is nothing of the sort. If you think that the Stein campaign is raising money for no useful purpose, you’re welcome to that opinion, regardless of the fact that I disagree with you. But the costs of the recount are real. If you have issues with that, take it up with the state boards of elections in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.


Why does it cost so much?

The cost is a function of state laws. A portion of the money raised goes toward state filing fees, while the bulk goes toward legal fees and the cost of recount observers in each state.

Why does it cost so much?

What will Jill Stein gain from the recount?

What will Jill Stein gain from the recount?

Answer by Ward Chanley:

In the short term? Absolutely nothing.

But you’re working under the assumption that the Stein campaign is only working from a short-term-gain basis. As with other efforts to reform the electoral process, including things like challenging restrictive debate access, and ballot access minimums, and advocating for ranked choice voting, the Stein campaign is calling for a recount in the interests of remaking the entire electoral process, and moving away from the anti-democratic, corporatist corruption that influences too much of our electoral system, presently.

As the campaign itself says,

Despite the many rumors swirling on the Internet, the Stein/Baraka campaign genuinely believes in the power of grassroots democracy. Independently funded candidates like Jill Stein cannot stand a chance if our electoral system is rigged in favor of establishment, corporate-funded candidates.

The recount is specifically aligned with the current Green Party platform, which calls for:

…”publicly-owned, open source voting equipment [deployed] across the nation to ensure high national standards, performance, transparency and accountability; [use of] verifiable paper ballots; and [institution of] mandatory automatic random precinct recounts to ensure a high level of accuracy in election results.”

Why are you really doing this?

If a black president was elected twice by the American people then why are they called racist now?

If a black president was elected twice by the American people then why are they called racist now?

Because your premise is flawed. The election of a black president in no way means racism is over.

The election of that president led directly to this:


The election of that president in no way prevented this:


…which led directly to this:


…and this:


If racism is suddenly over, somebody forgot to inform a whole shitload of white people.

Edit: For the half-dozen, or so, of you who’ve attempted to white-’splain to me what does or doesn’t constitute racism, this is (no surprise) not at all different from straight folks, who’ve never experienced homophobia, who attempt to preach to me about what is, or isn’t homophobic.

You quite simply do not know what you’re talking about.

Are you glad Jill Stein is demanding a recount in 3 states?

Are you glad Jill Stein is demanding a recount in 3 states? 

Answer by Ward Chanley:


I don’t expect it will change the outcome of the election, but if there are issues with the voting machines in use in Michigan, Wisconsin, or Pennsylvania, then recounts are warranted. Even if there aren’t issues with these specific machines, the elections were close enough to trigger a recount, had the Clinton campaigned asked for it, and transparency in our elections is an important goal.

Do you think your marriage will last forever?

This was a question on Quora.

Do you think your marriage will last forever?

Of course not; one of us is going to die first.

All right, you may really be asking, “do you think your marriage will last until one of you dies?”

I hope so. I don’t really think anything one way or the other about it. I hope, and I’ve organized my life around that hope, and this partnership we’ve built, and are building, bit by bit.

Without that hope, I wouldn’t have married him.

When I knew I could trust him enough to allow myself that kind of hope, I knew I could marry him; not just that – I knew that I wanted to, as soon as humanly possible. I wanted to stand up in front of a group of our friends and say, out loud and in public, “I choose you. I love you, but almost more importantly I trust you enough to hope that this is going to outlast petty arguments, stinky morning breath, whichever of us didn’t load the dishwasher. I trust you enough to invest in you my hope, the kind that makes me want to be there when you fall ill and I’ve got to watch you slip away in front of me, and I’ve been down that road before, so allowing myself that kind of hope is a pretty big deal. I have hope that gives me a kind of certainty that I won’t run from it; I trust you enough to know, as much as I can know anything, that you’d be there if it was me who was sick, instead of you. I say I hope, I say I’m invested in that hope, because when that Big Thing comes, as it surely will, I’ll be there because loving you means so much more than losing you.”

That’s what my marriage is: it says, I trust you enough to choose you, and invest in you my hope for the future. Maybe that future is two ninety year old dudes in rocking chairs, complaining about the kids these days, with their polymorphous sexualities, and their polyamory networks, how they’ve grabbed marriage and defined it to suit themselves, and not us, and how – underneath it all – no matter how confusing it is to crotchety old gay dudes, who’ve been married for forty-odd years, that’s all right.

But maybe that future is one of us getting hit by a bus next week.

The hope I’m talking about isn’t about certainty or guarantees, because there aren’t any, but maybe it’s acting as if they exist anyway. Not in the sense of fooling yourself – one of us really could get hit by a bus. Maybe he’ll get cancer, and I’ll have to live through that again…but I’ll choose to, because like I said, I love him so much that losing him pales in comparison to just how much I love him, and just how much I want to see him, to be with him, that it’ll be worth it to stick it out, even if that means an ICU, and watching him disappear slowly in front of me, bit by bit.

Love breeds this strange kind of hope that makes you certain, to your bones, to your marrow, that you’re in each other’s lives, for the rest of your lives, no matter what happens.

When I knew I had that hope, I knew I was marrying this man.

So, our marriage will last however long it lasts, but certainly not forever, because nothing ever is. But it’ll last, because it’s more important than seemingly irreconcilable differences, because we love each other enough to move past those, for the sake of our marriage, for the sake of that commitment we made to each other, standing up in public.

Maybe that’ll mean we get to 90 year old gay dudes sitting in rocking chairs. I sure as hell hope so.

But maybe it won’t, and that’s okay, because I love him so much that it overrides pretty much everything else.

Charlie Hebdo poked fun at the victims of the Italy earthquake. Do you think CH went too far?

This was an answer to a question over on Quora.

Charlie Hebdo poked fun at the victims of the Italy earthquake. Freedom of speech includes the freedom to offend. But do you think CH went too far?

Charlie Hebdo goes entirely too far for me.

I will very likely never subscribe.

But did Charlie Hebdo go too far for anyone? Who gets to decide? Me? Why do I get to decide what is too far for someone else? I mean, maybe I do – but I’m not making that claim, and if someone else is, the onus is on them to explain why “going too far” for everyone ought to mean going too far for them, specifically.

Freedom of speech does include include speech that offends. It simply does. It’s very likely that a Hebdo cartoon that made fun of earthquake victims would, indeed, offend me. The thought of it offends me as I’m writing this answer, and I haven’t seen any issue of Hebdo, ever. (Again, I will very likely never subscribe.)

But no one was ever actually harmed by being offended. They’re simply offended.

People get to offend me. I don’t have to like it, and I can say it’s in extremely poor taste, and I will never subscribe, and I do say all of those things.

But I still don’t get to decide that if something offends me, it’s gone too far for everyone.

I only get to say it’s gone to far for me.

Can gays get along with straight wives?

This was an answer over on Quora.

Can gays get along with straight wives?

For any question that takes the form, “can members of group x do y?” the answer is nearly always going to be, “some will. Some won’t.”

The point, as always, is that in any case where you’re attempting to generalize all gay people into one monolithic class if some members of x do, indeed do y, that still doesn’t tell you anything useful about the class as a whole. It only says something about those members of the class who are x and do, in fact, do y.

Can some gay men (presumably men, given the wording of the question) get along with straight wives? Yes, some can. Closeted gay people of any gender have been marrying people of other genders for as long as human societies have sought to prevent homosexuality.

It hasn’t ever actually prevented anything, but that’s a different discussion.

But the fact that some gay men might be happy in a heterosexual relationship doesn’t really tell you much. It only addresses that subgroup of gay men who can be happy in a straight relationship. It doesn’t say anything about gay people in general, or gay people as a whole. In parts of the world where being gay probably won’t get you killed, where we can live more openly, very, very few of opt for relationships with partners who aren’t the gender(s) we’re attracted to.

In other places, where being openly gay is actively dangerous, sure, lots of gay men will opt for straight marriages. That doesn’t mean much of anything other than a desire to avoid getting hurt or killed.

It doesn’t suggest that those people wouldn’t opt for a same-gender relationship given the right circumstances.

I could marry a woman… we’d probably get along fine. I generally think women are awesome.

But it wouldn’t be anything like my marriage with my husband, and I would actively want that relationship with a man, even if I got along well enough with a woman.

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