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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    Quote from Mockingbird »
    I'm going to need you to give me more specifics here because Hitler didn't enter power because he was elected as head of state. From what I'm reading, he was appointed Chancellor by the man that actually won the election with 53% of the vote in the second round of voting, and then Hitler snuck power to himself and the Nazis through parliamentary acts rather than gaining a majority.
    Okay, the leadership situation in the Weimar Republic was weird. The man who appointed Hitler Chancellor, Paul von Hindenburg, was the President of Germany. The President was elected in a separate election by direct majority vote, and occupied a position roughly comparable to the monarchs of parliamentary monarchies. Like a monarch, his duties included formally appointing the Chancellor, equivalent to a Prime Minister. But, again like a monarch, the expectation seems to have been that his appointment would be a formality in recognition of whoever won the parliamentary elections and successfully formed a government. (Even today, formally speaking, Teresa May is Prime Minister of Great Britain because she was appointed to that office by Queen Elizabeth II -- it's just that the Queen always appoints the leader of the winning party.) Now, the Weimar Republic was young and had a very unstable political situation, and Hindenburg seems to have been deeply ambivalent about Hitler on a personal level, so there was some question as to whether he would appoint the Nazi Chancellor or actually use his discretion. But in the end, apparently out of a desire to mitigate the instability, he did appoint Hitler, to the world's sorrow.

    Quote from Mockingbird »
    And since I'm on a time crunch at a moment, I'm not picking up on how parliamentarian selection of the chancellor works beyond secret ballot, so citizens technically didn't elect Angela Merkel, they elected the people that elected her, and I think that even then that requires a majority of Parliament in to be declared the victor.
    We technically didn't elect Donald Trump, we elected the people that elected him, and he required a majority of the Electoral College to be declared the victor.

    Furthermore, had Trump not gotten a majority of the Electoral College, the Presidency would have been decided in the House of Representatives, where he would again have needed a majority to be declared the victor (which he would have gotten).

    But you're right, the citizens didn't directly elect Merkel. They elected representatives from various parties who negotiated to create a majority coalition in Parliament. This coalition then elected Merkel. That doesn't mean as much as you seem to think, though. Like the monarch in a parliamentary monarchy, the coalition is always going to vote into the Chancellorship the leader of the plurality party. It's how that system works in practice. And the bare fact remains that of the ballots cast, only 35% were for Merkel's CDU/CSU party, which makes Trump's 46% look pretty good by comparison.

    Quote from Mockingbird »
    I feel like your comparisons, well at least the Hitler one, don't survive under scrutiny. I'm going to need to know more about German modern elections, but my first impression is that they select by majority selection rather than plurality of the vote like that exists in the United States.
    Again: the United States does not and has not ever selected the President based on the plurality of the vote. If no candidate gets an absolute majority of the Electoral College, we go to the House.

    Quote from Mockingbird »
    From what I'm reading, big tent parties have more trouble adjusting to major changes than a coalition of smaller parties. There's also that the discussion of ideas is either limited by both big tent parties having blind spots to the issue or by the issue being whittled down to two different viewpoints, cutting off discussion of other ways (ie. the environment is being addressed right now by not being addressed because it cuts into big business, but during the election in addition to that there was gradual change as proposed by Clinton and making the shifts an emergency priority as proposed by Jill Stein. Two people are not likely going to discuss three different viewpoints when one of their viewpoints is not either of their own. And even though Bernie took a more Green Party approach to the environment, his viewpoint never crossed the Republican path).
    This just means the primaries are really important for determining the direction of the party. Which this election cycle ought to have amply demonstrated.

    Quote from Mockingbird »
    This also means that two system parties can win over one issue voters. That example is that abortion is a complex issue, and if you take the pro-life choice, it has also been historically bundled with trickle-down economics. Those issues have nothing to do with each other, and until the rise and fall of Gary Johnson (who I think may have been pro-choice and trickle down economics... libertarians are a blind spot to me), there was no other option.
    What's different if you're a single issue voter in a multiparty system? Say you vote religiously for the Pro-Life Party. Well, they're not going to get an absolute majority in parliament, so they're gonna be forming a coalition with somebody. And politics being what they are they're probably only going to be forming coalitions with parties on the right. So a vote for the Pro-Life Party is essentially a vote for a right-wing coalition that has "bundled" laissez-faire economics, nationalism, social conservatism, and other issues. Now, the relative strengths of those issues may wax and wane with the fortunes of the parties pushing them, but the same thing happens in the Republican primaries as well. This time around, for instance, the GOP decided it wasn't too interested in social conservatism or laissez-faire economics.

    Quote from Mockingbird »
    This either 1. results in compromise (acceptable because in a multi-party system you're essentially electing someone to compromise on your behalf rather than making the compromise yourself) or 2. results in lower voter turnout because people don't want to compromise (not something I would find acceptable).
    Sometimes parties refuse to compromise too.

    Quote from Mockingbird »
    There is no rule that registering to a party or assuming the label of a party requires that person to vote for that party in a two-party system, and that rule doesn't exist in 3rd Parties or multi-party systems either. I fail to see the impact this observation.
    In a multiparty system, you can cast your vote for a party and then see that party form a coalition with the side you did not expect. It's rare in practice, but it's possible. Imagine voting for a Green candidate and then watching the Greens join Trump's coalition. Very different situation than you yourself deciding to vote for Trump, isn't it?

    Quote from Mockingbird »
    Also, let's follow this rabbit down the rabbit hole (more tangents, YAY!) Trump didn't win because he flipped enough Obama voters. The estimated number of voters turned away because they failed to meet ID requirements outnumbers them.
    [citation needed]

    Quote from Mockingbird »
    The downward trend of Clinton's voters to non-voters because of Comey's announcement he was investigating more Clinton emails has been documented by Nate Silver as a strong possibility for crippling Clinton's finish. Hillary Clinton was burdened by a psy-ops campaign by Wikileaks and likely Russia as well as subjected to a propaganda campaign that dates back well before the primaries even began. Then there's the fact she was mediocre candidate trying to follow Obama's in hindsight lukewarm second term.

    Just because some people defected to the right does not demonstrate that calcification is not taking place. Combined with everything else, it means that the Democrats are a weaker party than they thought. Even then, a strong Clinton cry in 2016 was it's Clinton or split the vote to Donald Trump. That's not a policy battle, that's weaponizing partisanship (which by the way in our current system is rewarding politics). By contrast, Donald Trump shored up his base despite being a terrible candidate with so much more baggage than Hillary Clinton. He had three 3rd Party challengers in his orbit, two of which that got mass media attention and more political experience (the third by the way was Constitution Party... which... yeah...but McMullin was probably a better candidate than Trump or Gary Johnson combined), yet both 3rd Party candidates support collapsed because putting Hillary Clinton in the White House was more terrifying than voting for everything that had been revealed about Trump (also, Gary Johnson demonstrated such ineptitude that he invented a new gaffe). So... yeah, it's blurry around the edges, but partisanship is what held Donald Trump together when Hillary Clinton didn't notice how wounded was in her final weeks of her candidacy, not Donald Trump's personality. I'd say that Donald Trump victory demonstrates calcification quite well.
    And in a multiparty system, Johnson and McMullin get more votes, but Trump still probably wins the plurality because he's a charismatic demagogue who can attract a lot of votes, and then forms a majority coalition with Johnson and McMullin. Yes, there are a lot of factors that contributed to Trump's win. You have yet to demonstrate how the first-past-the-post system was one of them in any predictable or systematic way.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    Quote from Mockingbird »
    Our broken electoral system put us in this position, and the drawbacks of first past the post voting positioned Donald Trump to win through that broken electoral process. Only 45% of Republican Primary voters voted for Donald Trump to be the nominee of the Republican Party. The other 55% split the vote between sixteen other competitors. However, all those competitors lost because they ran against each other, and instead of that 55% settling on a candidate a large minority (still a minority) gamed the Party and put the least qualified man in charge of their movement because he was the loudest.

    So while I appreciate that you have all-caps passion defending our current system, the voting system you are defending as necessary has put a fringe candidate with no qualifications into the White House. I despise the outcome First Past the Post has given us, the majority of Americans are not happy with what first past the post voting spat out of the Republican Primary, and while some others may think we should just put better people into that system, I feel that's a good reason to examine a new system.
    I'm confused as to why you're condemning our system for this result and advocating a multiparty system instead when it is routine for presidents/prime ministers in multiparty systems to enter office with much smaller percentages of the vote than that. Yes, first-past-the-post elected a demagogue this time around, but there is nothing in first-past-the-post that makes it more vulnerable to demagogues and nothing in a multiparty system that insulates it from them. A multiparty system elected Hitler, after all, and with just 33% of the vote. If you had been a German in 1934, would you be condemning the multiparty system for the result and advocating for a switch to first-past-the-post? But fast-forward to today: the Federal Republic of Germany still uses a multiparty system, but instead of Hitler they've got the humane and highly competent Angela Merkel (who took office with 35% of the vote, by the way). And looking back at our own system, out of forty-five presidents, we've only elected one Trump. Empirically, both systems seem to have pretty good track records, but nevertheless are still capable of occasionally failing in the face of demagoguery and a populace willing to fall for it.

    So maybe take a step back and take an examination of your own reasoning here. Because, bluntly, all I see is sour grapes.

    Quote from Mockingbird »
    This is actually a little off topic from ranked choice voting, but funneling Greens (and other left political positions) into the Democrat Party while the Republicans funnel Libertarians, Constitution Party, and other definitely at best adjacent right wing issues (and at worst extremist) is it amplifies societal echo chambers/political polarization/split.
    Walk me through the logic behind saying that big tent parties are worse echo chambers than small special-interest parties. Certainly the Communists I know who are willing to work with the Democrats are not nearly as batty as the Communists who only hang out with other Communists. Ditto Libertarians et al.

    Quote from Mockingbird »
    Multi-party generally makes it a requirement for political parties to cooperate in order to operate the government, which requires politicans to run on willingness to cross party lines before entering office. The thought of doing that in the United States right now is a liability for being kicked out of office by a primary challenger.
    Yes, small parties have to form coalitions. Big parties are coalitions. And lest you complain that the coalitions are calcified by the two-party system, remember that Trump won by flipping traditionally Democratic states and demographics. It is as if, in a multiparty system, the Blue Collar White Guy Party defected from their traditional left-leaning coalition to form a government with the rightists. Only the decision was made at the individual level rather than the party level. Which actually seems more democratic to me.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    Quote from Mockingbird »
    Ranked choice voting helps 3rd Parties in other ways. It would help 3rd Parties expand membership, and that's probably more important to 3rd Parties than winning elections. For example, there are Greens in the Democrat Party (as in I've talked with people who have described themselves as such), and that hurts the Green Party.
    But, big picture, do we care whether something hurts the Green Party? If there are Greens in the Democratic Party (and we assume for the sake of argument that the Green platform is good), doesn't that make the Democratic Party better? And might that be a better outcome than segregating the Greens into their own little pigeonhole?
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Is radical skepticism good to follow?
    Quote from AzureDuality »
    But if it's not then how can we call it knowledge?
    For the same reason that we call anything by any word: that's the standard accepted definition of what the word means. When somebody tells you, "I know how to drive stick", you can safely assume that they're not telling you they possess absolute metaphysical certainty about the reality and nature of stick shifts. They're telling you they know how to drive stick. It is a very different, and much more practical, statement.
    Posted in: Philosophy
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    posted a message on Is radical skepticism good to follow?
    Quote from AzureDuality »
    Essentially the claim that nothing can be known and that our senses lie all the time, that reason tends to favor our desires. Some people claim that and say they maintain a matter of suspending judgment on just about everything.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrrhonism

    They call it Pyrrhonism and try to apply that non judging attitude to all of life. It claims that much of strife is based on human belief and opinions. That when we value what is good we suffer if we don’t have it and struggle to hold it when we do, I’m guessing valuing something as bad works the same way. So by maintaining an attitude of permanent indecision you “free your mind” from worry and find tranquility. Seems somewhat like Buddhism and that religion is pretty large. But I have to wonder how sound that is and whether or not it is practical? It has some points to it though, our senses are easily fooled so why believe them? Reason tends to be influenced by our desires and emotions. Can what we get from such things really be called knowledge?
    "The perfect is the enemy of the good."

    You've pointed out that our senses and reason aren't 100% accurate. Okay. It does not follow from this that they are useless. An instrument with a 99% reliability rating is still a hell of a lot better than nothing. Especially if we act scientifically: make repeated observations and compare notes with other observers. The results of this can absolutely be called knowledge. Knowledge is not the same thing as total certainty. We may not be correct about everything, but we're correct about enough things to, e.g., build airplanes that fly. So why on earth should we just sit on our hands and gaze at our navels while we wait for perfect information to come along? We have mountains of evidence that we don't need perfect information to get things done. In the face of that evidence, how is indecision rational?
    Posted in: Philosophy
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    Quote from DJK3654 »
    The protest votes rarely have sufficient volume to concern much concern in the US as far as I am aware.
    They probably threw the 2000 election to George W. Bush and possibly the 1992 election to Bill Clinton.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    Quote from Grant »
    Our ballots are randomised for exactly this reason. Is that not standard?
    Pretty much everything about the voting process in America varies by precinct, but yes, randomization is a thing that happens here.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    Quote from Kahedron »
    You've brought up the UK situation a couple of times Spirit and I can't disagree with you the situation is not ideal. But we only have 4 'States' that make up the union and one of those States accounts for 84% of the total population you are very quickly going to run into massive issues if you try and give each state roughly equal representation in the House of Commons.

    Atleast in the US you have 50 states so and disparity between the ideal numbers of representatives and the actual number they have is going to spread over a larger number of states so the effect on each individual state is reduced.
    Sure. Yours is a sadly acute case. An extreme example for illustrative purposes.

    I will add, though, that while the situation in America was never that disproportionate, Virginia was pretty massive back in the original-thirteen days.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    Lol, they were all slave states. There were no free states. Let's start there.
    You've asked me to take your education on American history seriously, so I'm going to assume that you know perfectly well the legal, political, and practical differences between the northern states and the southern ones on the subject of slavery, and are being willfully obtuse here in an attempt to score some meaningless points, rather than simply displaying a shocking level of ignorance as a less charitable reader might think.

    Then let's ask a very simple question: If you're going to assign seats to your legislator based on population size, do you need to know who counts as a person?
    One simple question deserves another: when slaves can't vote, does counting them (wholly or fractionally) for the purpose of apportioning political power to those who own them give them any justice, or does it compound the injustice? And another: after slavery has been abolished, does any citizen not count as one whole person for apportionment? And another: if every citizen today does count as one whole person for apportionment, then what the hell were you talking about when you said that "skipping the electoral college" would "finally give people whole votes"?

    If you want to have a meaningful discussion about this aspect of the American political system, then you need to make a coherent point. But if you just want to make nonsensical leaps so that you can feel smug about your outstanding moral bravery in denouncing slavery as a bad thing, then you need to do that somewhere else.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Third Annual Pi Day Extravaganza
    Quote from Lithl »
    Are you claiming 3.14 isn't an approximation? Tongue
    It's a truncated decimal expansion. Totally different. If you like, you can continue the expansion by proclaiming Pi Hour at 1 AM, Pi Minute at 1:59, and so on. But on the 22nd of July, you're just sort of... done.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    You misunderstand my point. I'm not suggesting it's a winning argument. Certainly, the US government would never allow their ability to collect Income Tax to be overturned. But, as for it being settled law, that's not entirely accurate or even relevant. Many issues have been seen as settled law only to be completely thrown out and replaced a century later: slavery, voting rights (who can vote), gay marriage, gun ownership, and a multitude of other things have been radically altered from the way they were for decades. Slavery was legal in the South. That was a matter of settled law until the Civil War began.
    Yes, slavery and voting rights were settled law. That's why, when it came time to alter them, we changed the law. Nobody is suggesting that it is impossible to amend the Constitution to overturn the 16th Amendment the way we amended the Constitution to abolish slavery. We can amend the Constitution to say anything we like. That's what the amendment process is for. But what you were suggesting was totally different: that the 16th Amendment as it currently stands is somehow invalid or improper. That is not true. That is the legal equivalent of a Bigfoot story.

    When Joshua Norton claimed to be Emperor of the United States, one might have adopted a conspiratorial tone and insinuated that Congress did not recognize his claim because of its vested interest in holding onto power. But the first and foremost reason Congress didn't recognize his claim is because it wasn't true. It's as simple as that.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    You are aware they are part of the same compromise, right? It even says so in your first wiki article.
    Yes, they were being discussed at the same time and they pertained to the same question of congressional seat apportionment. I'll grant that much. But they were not the same compromise. The House-Senate split was a compromise between large states and small states. The three-fifths rule was a compromise between northern states and southern states. The two rules stand independent of each other. We can know this because the Great Compromise as proposed by the (northern, non-slaveholding) Connecticut delegation was a House-Senate split independent of a three-fifths rule: only free citizens would have counted. And we can know the Great Compromise can work this way in practice because it's worked this way since 1865.

    So it does not make any sense to call the House-Senate split "a dumb relic of institutionalized slavery": it was not prompted by the institution of slavery, it was not adopted as a compromise with slavery, and functions just as intended without slavery. And in no way would getting rid of it "give people whole votes" as opposed to the three-fifths of a vote, because the Three-Fifths Compromise is already long gone, and even when it was still in force, at no point did anyone get three-fifths of a vote -- free people always got one, slaves always got zero, and the Three-Fifths Compromise never had anything to do with enfranchisement fractional or otherwise. Remember, for the purpose of seat apportionment, the slaveholders wanted slaves to count as whole persons, and the free states didn't.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    The ACLU is a left-leaning organization that actually argues in favor of racial discrimination as long as it benefits minorities. To any logical person, Affirmative Action is clearly an example of discrimination. But, neither the ACLU nor the US government is willing to admit that on the basis that it would be unfair to minorities NOT to give them racial preferences.
    You missed the point. No serious constitutional lawyer of any political affiliation is going to want to touch the argument against the 16th Amendment that you allege exists. It is, as you say of the First Amendment just a paragraph prior, a matter of settled law.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    Quote from DJK3654 »
    I think so. Democracy relies on people's views/interests actually being sufficiently represented among the candidates, else they have no choice that sufficiently represents them, and that goes against the point surely. With only two parties, which have only become increasingly polarised in rent years apparently, there will always be major sections of views and interests that aren't being represented. Third parties at least give a presence to more views and interests.
    Are you taking into account candidates in the primary election, or are you only talking about the candidates in the general election?

    Quote from DJK3654 »
    I mean popular vote to determine the state vote. The states electoral college numbers could still be adjusted as they are now, but the state vote would be based directly on popular vote in that state.
    It already is. A candidate gets the state's EC votes directly by winning the popular vote. (Well, except in Maine and Nebraska, and ruling out faithless electors.)
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    Quote from Kahedron »
    What does the Ninth amendment cover?
    The existence of non-enumerated rights. It's how we can talk about a constitutional right to privacy, for instance, even though the right to privacy appears nowhere in the Constitution. More information.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    Education may be mandated on the State level, but State laws cannot supercede Federal laws and if it was determined to be a violation on a Federal level, the States would not have the power to enforce it.
    Read the Tenth Amendment again:
    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    Additionally, the Department of Education which oversees public education is a Federal agency, not a State one. So, to claim that the States have any actual ownership over education is untrue.
    The role of the federal Department of Education is more limited than a lot of people assume. According to its own website, it coordinates federal assistance to schools, collects data on education, focuses national attention on major issues, and enforces anti-discrimination law. It does not establish, administer, mandate, or accredit educational institutions at any level in this country. If you are looking for the laws that do those things, look in state and local statutes.

    I understand the argument surrounding the 16th Ammendment. I said that there's an argument that can be made to de-legitimize the current tax code. And that's absolutely true. The fact that the courts have denied that argument means very little. For a century, the courts denied the argument that a black man is a person.
    Trained lawyers in the ACLU and other watchdogs will howl at the faintest whiff of racial discrimination or other civil rights violations. These same lawyers won't go anywhere near 16th Amendment denialism cases. They, the experts on the relevant law, know that there is no argument there.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Third Annual Pi Day Extravaganza
    22/7 is Pi Approximation Day -- the day for those who have abdicated all pride in themselves and their work, who are willing to shrug their shoulders and say, "Good enough".

    And even then, only in base 10.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    Our electoral college is a dumb relic of instutionalized slavery and really needs to go away. We no longer live in a country where we count some people as 3/5ths so we can finally give people whole votes by skipping the electoral college.
    You're conflating the two compromises you learned about in high school civics. The Electoral College is a consequence of the Great Compromise that based the House on population size but the Senate on statehood. The Three-Fifths Compromise pertaining to slavery was unrelated.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    Quote from DJK3654 »
    Preferential voting could help in increasing third party participation.
    Which would be different. Would it be better?

    Quote from DJK3654 »
    How could Gerrymandering be practically restricted?
    Redraw district borders through a special bipartisan committee rather than through the legislating body.

    Quote from DJK3654 »
    I think having a popular vote also probably makes sense.
    For Californians and New Yorkers. Not so much for South Dakotans and Alaskans.

    Are you watching what's happening in the UK right now between England and Scotland? Scotland's less populous so it's getting dragged out of the EU against its will? That's an extreme example of the situation that the makeup of the United States Congress (which is what's being reflected in the Electoral College) was constituted to avoid. The interests of the diverse states carry a certain weight irrespective of their population, plus additional weight dependent on their population.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    However, I disagree with your conclusion in this way: mandatory education almost certainly is a violation of the US Constitution. I don't know if there's ever been a serious attempt to fight it in court, but based on their attitude regarding dictatorial central governmental control, I'd bet that the Founding Fathers would been entirely opposed mandatory education.
    Education is mandated at the state level -- it cannot be a violation of the US Constitution unless the Constitution expressly prohibits the states from doing that (which it doesn't). And the Founders, although a collection of various men with a variety of opinions, were overall strongly in favor.

    The 16th Ammendment which is the justification for the Income Tax was never properly ratified and has language that can be reasonably interpreted to de-legitimize the current tax code.
    False on both counts.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    Quote from DJK3654 »
    To continue with your cake metaphor, mandatory voting means you have to show up to the party, it doesn't mean you have to actually eat it. Informal votes are a thing.
    I don’t see why it's so compromising to be oblogated to show up. It doesn’t give the government any real power to do anything.
    Wait, what? If I "invited" you to my birthday party and demanded a fine from you if you didn't come, this would be acceptable conduct?

    Quote from DJK3654 »
    I have just pointed out that turnout is itself important and it affects that.
    You really haven't.

    Quote from DJK3654 »
    It's going to take more than what you have given me so far to convince me it doesn’t help.
    You're the one proposing the change. The onus is on you to demonstrate that it does. "I think... I think... I think..." is not going to cut it.

    Quote from DJK3654 »
    So some systems are better but it won'tmake any difference... because? If it's better, surely it's going to make some difference by definition?
    No. The Mona Lisa is better art than Cecilia Jiménez's Jesus, but you could hang either in the Louvre and it wouldn't really make a practical difference.

    Quote from DJK3654 »
    That's going to be pretty hard to compare entitely different countries or multiple countries change across a significant time, while accounting for all the variables involved. For the purposes of this thread, that's a bit much with everything already going on.
    Then consider the possibility that the claims you're making are also "a bit much".
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    Quote from Kahedron »
    With the US in particular which is effectively a 2 party state bar a couple of enterprising independants there is no point in having a nuanced poll as it is effectively a binary choice, vote Republican or vote Democrat.
    To be fair, the two-party system is a consequence of the first-past-the-post process called Duverger's law. (Your own UK politics are unusual in somewhat resisting this effect despite having first-past-the-post elections.)

    Quote from Kahedron »
    The changes to the Voting system in the US that would have the biggest positive effect don't concern the actual mechanics of what you actually do in the voting booth. Its in all the background work that leads up to that point.
    Yup.

    Quote from Kahedron »
    Make it easier to vote, either by making it a federal holiday or increasing the availablity of postal voting
    There's no problem with the availability of postal voting. Everybody's entitled to it. But it's not a solution to the problem of unmotivated voters. It takes more motivation to remember to vote in advance than it does to turn up at a polling station on Election Day.

    Quote from Kahedron »
    Standardised Identification rules across the Union. If a driving licence allows you to vote in Wyoming the same driversID should be acceptable in Texas.
    In most states, no ID is required to vote. The institution in some states of rules requiring proof of identity is recent, controversial, and politically motivated.

    And if you're registered to vote in Wyoming, you can't vote in Texas. Because, y'know, you're already registered in Wyoming. If you happen to be in Texas on Election Day, that's what absentee ballots are for.

    Quote from Kahedron »
    Reduce the amount of Gerrymandering to reduce the amount of safe seats. If the parties aren't guarenteed a seat year in, year out they should pay attention more.
    This is a big one.

    Quote from Kahedron »
    Lastly try and find some way of making the damn thing cheaper, as the old saying goes he who pays the piper picks the tune. The only people who can currently afford to pay the piper are the large multinationals/multibillionaires and they again have vastly different concerns than the masses and if your local Senator/Representative needs to go to them every 4 years in order to get money out of them they are going to have to play ball when it comes to getting certain bits of legislation passed or dropped.
    I know it's weird for me to say with one of the wealthiest presidents ever (maybe) currently sitting in the Oval Office, but Trump's victory is actually proof that this isn't true. The Clinton campaign was vastly better funded and organized than the Trump campaign. Major conservative donors shunned Trump for a long time. The Koch brothers, the big bogeymen of the rich right, never backed him. Trump won because the masses didn't care.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    Quote from DJK3654 »
    And voting is an essential part of the democratic process...
    True, in the sense that there would be no democratic process if there were no voting.

    Quote from DJK3654 »
    ...that people are supposed to participate in.
    False. People have the privilege of participating in it. You're not doing anything wrong if you choose not to vote, any more than you're doing something wrong if you choose not to eat cake on your birthday. The cake is a gift. You can do what you like with it. To make cake-eating mandatory is to utterly miss the point. In fact, it's even worse than that: voting is the foundation of your power over the government, so for the government to exercise its power to compel a vote is downright perverse.

    Quote from DJK3654 »
    ...so if it can help, that's something.
    I have just pointed out that the empirical evidence suggests it doesn't help.

    Quote from DJK3654 »
    So do you genuinely believe all major proposed voting systems are truly equally good?
    No. But I don't think they make a significant practical difference. The same first-past-the-post voting system elected both Franklin Roosevelt and Donald Trump. The same parliamentary proportional system elected both Angela Merkel and Adolf Hitler. You are not going to improve the quality of governance by adding a few flourishes to the rules of the voting game.

    Quote from DJK3654 »
    If for no other reason, I think being able to cast preferences may encourage people to vote more because they don't have to commit to a single candidate.
    You shouldn't have to say "I think" here. This is an objective and testable hypothesis. Do the voter turnout data bear it out?
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    Quote from DJK3654 »

    2: Every voting system has its mathematical upsides and downsides.

    That's not really an answer.
    There is no right answer. They all have their undesirable quirks -- it's been proven mathematically that it is impossible to meet all the criteria for a desirable voting system. Instant-runoff voting, for instance, does not meet the monotonicity criterion: it is possible to harm a candidate's chances of winning by ranking them higher.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    Paying taxes is not a right, it is a responsibility.
    Sending your children to school is not a right, it is a responsibility.
    Voting is a right. When you make it a responsibility, it is no longer a right. You are proposing eliminating voting rights.

    Or from the empirical/pragmatic standpoint:

    Compulsory taxation vastly improves a country's governmental performance. Look at the U.S. government 1776-1788 compared to the U.S. government post-1788.
    Compulsory education vastly improves a country's social and economic performance. Look at European society in the 18th Century compared to European society in the 20th.
    Compulsory voting does not vastly improve a country's political performance. Look Australian politics compared to German politics, or Argentine politics compared to Canadian politics, or Brazilian politics compared to Swedish politics.

    So when you're proposing violating the citizenry's civil rights, you can argue that it's just a teeny-tiny little violation, but even if it is, there's still no reason for doing it.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Voting System in the US
    1: Hell yes.
    2: Every voting system has its mathematical upsides and downsides.
    3: No. Australia, I hate to break it to you, but you are violating your citizens' civil rights by making voting mandatory.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Third Annual Pi Day Extravaganza
    I see what you did there with that post count.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Third Annual Pi Day Extravaganza
    Today (3/14) is Pi Day. But only in base 10. Which is a pretty lame base, when you think about it. 10 doesn't have many factors: only 1, 2, 5, and itself. So if you want to talk about a half or a fifth of something with a decimal, you're fine, but if you want to talk about a third or a fourth, you're going to run into some complications. The British in their infinite wisdom understood this. It's why there are twelve inches in a foot rather than ten: 12 has 3, 4, and 6 as factors. And the French (naturally) didn't. It's why the metric system is terrible, and I can't have a third of a meter of string without having to deal with an infinite repeating decimal.

    But enough geopolitics. What is Pi Day in other bases?

    In binary (base 2) pi is 11.0010..., and Pi Day is therefore celebrated on March 0th (or January 10th, if you care nothing for accuracy and also kick puppies).

    In octal (base 8) pi is 3.1103..., and Pi Day was last Thursday.

    In dozenal or duodecimal (base 12), pi is 3.1848... and Pi Day is next Monday.

    And in hexadecimal (base 16), pi is 3.243F..., and Pi Day is going to require that March annex the first week of April (but let's face it, April has it coming).

    So what is the best base? When is the true Pi Day? Are we going to settle for the inadequacy of base 10 and the metric system? Are we going to cling to binary or hex because it's what our computers tell us to do? Are we going to embrace the factorizing possibilities of dozenal? Are we going to go way back to the sexagesimal system of fallen Babylon? Or are we going to go really crazy and say, "No, it's heptary, Pi Day is on the 6th!"?
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Why continue to live if you will eventually die?
    As this thread has repeatedly ventured beyond the realm of philosophical discussion, we have decided in the interest of everyone's safety and peace of mind to bring it to a close. Once again:

    If you are thinking about harming yourself or attempting suicide, tell someone who can help right away.

    • Call your doctor’s office.
    • Call 911 for emergency services.
    • Go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
    • In the US, call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.
    • To find a suicide helpline outside the U.S., visit IASP and Suicide.org

    It is not unreasonable to ask a family member or friend to help you make these calls or take you to the hospital.

    If you have a family member or friend who is suicidal, do not leave him or her alone. Try to get the person to seek help immediately from an emergency room, physician, or mental health professional. Take seriously any comments about suicide or wishing to die. Even if you do not believe your family member or friend will actually attempt suicide, the person is clearly in distress and can benefit from your help in receiving mental health treatment.
    Posted in: Philosophy
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    posted a message on Why continue to live if you will eventually die?
    Quote from AzureDuality »
    Whether the end of hardship has value or not, it is still something that all of life seems to strive for. Most organisms have some function or another that is used to avoid hardship.
    Doesn't this kind of give up the game? If you're taking the things that all of life strives for as things that we ought to strive for, then what does all of life strive for more than life itself? Do you know what hardship organisms will willingly suffer to stay alive? Have you ever seen a trapped animal gnaw off its own limb rather than die in the trap?

    And even if you're not impressed by such anecdotes, have you given a thought to the underlying evolutionary theory? Does it make any scientific sense at all for organisms' functions to be aimed at avoiding hardship, as opposed to sustaining life? What exactly is the selection pressure for that supposed to be? And isn't hardship itself just another one of those functions? Where do you think the sensations of pain and suffering come from, if not evolved features of your nervous system responding to certain environmental stimuli? So why do you think those features evolved? If all life is striving to avoid hardship, wouldn't the best way to do that be never evolving hardship in the first place? But since these features did evolve, is it possible that they evolved because they help keep us alive? Could it be that we feel pain as a signal to avoid dangerous things that might injure or kill us? And if so, wouldn't dying as a response to pain be completely missing the point?

    Quote from AzureDuality »
    Yes it is logically possible for you to gain something by dying, by losing what was causing you pain and suffering in life. By losing everything, even "you", you gain an end to your suffering and pain.
    But there is no "you", so who exactly is gaining? If there's nobody to gain, then how can there be any gain? What logic is there in holding simultaneously that "X has property Y" and "X does not exist"? How can both be true?

    Quote from AzureDuality »
    But your response fails to address the promises of those who say things will get better if they live.
    Why do I need to address promises I haven't made?

    Quote from AzureDuality »
    Not to mention your car analogy falls flat since a car does not feel pain, and a car has no ability to terminate it's existence.
    Have you considered the possibility that pain might map to a different property in the analogy, one which the car does possess?

    Quote from AzureDuality »
    The rest of your questions are not relevant to my original point.
    You don't think questions about what value is and where it comes from are relevant to your point that life allegedly has no value?
    Posted in: Philosophy
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    posted a message on Why continue to live if you will eventually die?
    Quote from AzureDuality »
    I would prefer answers rather than a series of questions that don't address my point.
    I think if you're going to ask questions, you should be prepared to answer them as well. Try answering mine. You may find that they address your point after all. I mean, just for starters, I very explicitly suggested an answer to your original question using the words "how is this not a perfectly sufficient answer to your original question", so I'm quite unperturbed by complaints that I didn't do that, and rather more perturbed by the implication that you didn't read it.

    Quote from AzureDuality »
    Giving something value which has no value in itself is irrational.
    If the value of something is what you assign to it, how is it rational to expect the value to be in the thing before you've assigned value to it? If I established that books are written by human authors, and then immediately afterwards claimed that an author should only write a book if it has already been written by some nonhuman means, would that make any sense to you?

    Quote from AzureDuality »
    It's about the same thing as believing in the existence of god.
    What about believing in the existence of belief? Since the act of valuing is what generates value, and the act of believing is what generates belief, but the act of believing in God doesn't generate God, doesn't belief seem like a better analogy here than God?

    Quote from AzureDuality »
    Based on their view you have much to gain from dying since you aren't burdened by hope or suffering or the empty promises that it will "get better".
    How is it even logically possible for you to gain anything from dying when dying is by definition the event after which there is no "you" to gain or lose or indeed possess any properties whatsoever? Can you improve a car's performance by destroying the car?

    Quote from AzureDuality »
    What's the point of living if everything you do is a struggle?
    What's the point of avoiding struggle? How can the end of hardship have any value if there is no such thing as value?
    Posted in: Philosophy
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    posted a message on Why continue to live if you will eventually die?
    Quote from AzureDuality »
    That implies there is an objectively "best" way to live, which there isn't. It also doesn't explain how despite how much worse off our ancestors were they still decided to stick around.
    In sentence one, you deny the reality of objective metrics for life. In sentence two, you claim that our ancestors' lives were worse than ours according to some metric. There seems to be a contradiction here. How, exactly, were our ancestors worse off? If our ancestors were worse off, doesn't that imply that we're better off? If we're better off, might our descendants someday achieve a best, or at least continue to make progress towards it? And conversely, if there are no objective metrics, how can our ancestors have been worse off? If they weren't any worse off, what is there to explain about their lives and decisions?

    Quote from AzureDuality »
    It's assuming life has an inherent value by living it when it really does not. It simply is. Living it does not give it value, it's merely acting according to biology.
    Whence "merely"? What is insufficient about biology (or anything else on the table) as an external source of value? What possible external source of value would be sufficient? When you look for external sources of value, what are you expecting to find and not finding? And why are your expectations where they are? Could it be those expectations that are the trouble? And if there are no external sources of value, if value really does come from the self, so what? Is internally-sourced value less real or less valuable than externally-sourced value? If so, how so? If not, how is it not a perfectly sufficient answer to your original question?
    Posted in: Philosophy
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    posted a message on Muslim Ban and SEE YOU IN COURT
    Seriously, though, the exception for non-Muslims makes it on its face unconstitutional. And thus far it hasn't survived any legal challenges.
    To be fair, the challenges so far have mostly been on narrow procedural matters, the exemption isn't explicitly for non-Muslims, and the law does give the president very broad authority over immigration. I do expect it to lose in the Supreme Court, especially with the precedent of Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, but there's just enough wiggle room there that I'm prepared for disappointment. Especially if Trump issues a "brand new" order which fixes the due process problems that, as Lithl said, make the current one particularly radioactive to judges.

    And yes, challenging presidential power is a Good Thing. And I would say that regardless of who controlled which branches of government.
    When I objected to Obama's executive shenanigans, you would not believe how many liberals were like, "No, it's okay, because he's using this power for good!"

    "You would not believe" is an empty idiom, by the way. I'm quite sure you do believe it.

    But yeah, the power of the executive order has been ballooning for many administrations now. If there's any silver lining to Trump's excesses, it may be that they finally wake people up to the problem.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Muslim Ban and SEE YOU IN COURT
    Quote from Smells_Better »
    The presidents job is to protect the rights and well being of the AMERICAN people and if suspending an aliens entry is key to doing so, then he has every right to.
    That's a pretty big "if".

    Obama never suspended entry from these seven countries, and no visitor or immigrant from these seven countries committed a lethal terrorist attack on American soil during the Obama Administration.
    Bush never suspended entry from these seven countries, and no visitor or immigrant from these seven countries committed a lethal terrorist attack on American soil during the Bush Administration.
    Clinton never suspended entry from these seven countries, and no visitor or immigrant from these seven countries committed a lethal terrorist attack on American soil during the Clinton Administration.
    Reagan never suspended entry from these seven countries, and no visitor or immigrant from these seven countries committed a lethal terrorist attack on American soil during the Reagan Administration.
    In fact, no president has ever suspended entry from these seven countries, and no visitor or immigrant from these seven countries has ever committed a lethal terrorist attack on American soil.

    So you will understand that it is very difficult to swallow the claim that suspending entry from these seven countries is suddenly "key" to protecting our rights and well being. I myself have lived my entire life in this country and have not even once been murdered in my bed by a crazed Somali.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Muslim Ban and SEE YOU IN COURT
    Last I heard, Trump seemed more keen on issuing a "brand new" order (presumably one better vetted by White House counsel) than fighting it out over the old one in the courts.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on How does one live with uncertainty?
    Let's back off from tossing psychological diagnoses at each other. To the best of my knowledge, none of us here are accredited shrinks.
    Posted in: Philosophy
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    posted a message on US Election Day and results thread 2016
    Quote from Lithl »
    And unlike Magic, the law actually cares about intent.

    Yup.

    Although in both the Lukumi Babalu Aye case and this one, there was also a smoking gun of discriminatory intent in the text of the law itself: the exemption for kosher butchers in the one, and the exemption for members of religious minorities in the other. So even if you really are looking at the text alone, as Scalia was in Lukumi Babalu Aye, it's still unconstitutional.

    More discussion from a law professor.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on US Election Day and results thread 2016
    Quote from Hackworth »
    There's a lot to pick through here, but a key point is that on at least one occasion, Donald Trump appears to have signed an executive order without carefully reading it. [link]
    That's unfortunate. Normally presidents only sign bills without reading them.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on libertarianism.
    Quote from MTGTCG »
    1. Markets would bring about common law.
    Just saying this doesn't make it true. You're going to have to explain it. Preferably with historical examples to back up your assertion.

    And even what you say here has problems. Just for starters, "common law" refers to the body of rulings made by a state judiciary system. There is no such thing as common law in anarchism.

    Quote from MTGTCG »
    2. Who wants to subscribe to a rights enforcement agency that supports bad people? The answer is bad people. There are more good people than bad people, so good REAs beat bad REAs. It's not that hard...
    In a strange way, you're right. But only if the REAs' strength is determined by the amount of people behind it rather than an amount of money. That is to say, only if the "REA" is a democratic government rather than a private for-profit agency. We all subscribe to a democratic government for precisely this reason. In short, you are yet again making an argument that undermines anarcho-capitalism rather than defending it.

    Quote from MTGTCG »
    3. You would betray the cartel secretly.
    (a) It's not as if people haven't tried this before. The cartel is pretty good at catching them. Maybe you make it, maybe you don't, but it's a serious risk and a huge disincentive to betrayal.

    (b) How do you compete in the vaunted free and open market in secret?
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on US Election Day and results thread 2016
    Quote from Lithl »
    While there are certainly people who believe morality is objective, Ljoss said "moral and cultural relativism", which is subjective by definition.


    It's a bit more complicated than that. Think of it this way. The physical theory of relativity describes an objective, not subjective, reality. Different observers have different perceptions, but what a given observer perceives is predictable by law and irrespective of their personal opinion. There are theories of moral/cultural relativism that do the same thing.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on libertarianism.
    Quote from MTGTCG »
    Bad example, drug cartels are in active competition, which means there are no monopoly prices charged for drugs(although the prices are high due to the risky nature of the illegal drug business and drugs arent illegal in ancap society).
    We're not talking about monopoly prices, we're talking about actions taken against competition. You say drugs aren't illegal, but that's because there are no laws. Drug cartels already operate as if there were no laws. So if you want to see what happens in a market when there are no laws, look at the drug cartels. Take-home point: competition becomes very violent very fast.

    Quote from MTGTCG »
    Did you forget about private rights enforcements agencies?
    Of course not. Those machetes and AK-47s aren't going to wield themselves. You gotta hire guys to do your killing for you. They're even called "enforcers".

    Quote from MTGTCG »
    The "previous arrangement" people generally make is the establishment of a democratic government and police force.
    Not An Argument against AnarchoCapitalism
    Wait. Are you now claiming the establishment of a democratic government and police force is consistent with anarcho-capitalism? Because unless you're claiming that, what I said is a pretty direct argument against anarcho-capitalism.

    Quote from MTGTCG »
    Whenever I suggest to libertarians that if they don't like living under a government, they can just move, they complain that their home and family and friends and stuff are all where they are and they shouldn't have to move.
    Not An Argument against AnarchoCapitalism
    So you accept as valid what we might call the Just Move Principle: "If you don't like it, just move"? You'll stop complaining about having to pay taxes because if you don't want to pay them, you can just move?

    Quote from Lithl »
    Modern drug cartels aren't actually cartels. The name is a legacy from when the cocain trade actually did operate as a cartel, but that's no longer the case.
    And if you betrayed the cartel, what do you think would happen to you?
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on libertarianism.
    Quote from MTGTCG »
    In the case of cartels, it is beneficial to a business involved in one to cheat by going against the terms of the cartel.
    Imagine you're a member of a cartel. For the sake of concreteness, let's say you're a member of a Mexican drug cartel. These are, after all, real-world examples of organizations operating outside the bounds of the law to sell a product to consumers.

    Your argument, as I understand it, is that it is in your interest to betray the cartel of which you're a member. That this will be a good, wise, healthy, not-at-all-leading-to-torture-and-a-shallow-grave choice for you.

    I am inclined to disagree.

    Quote from MTGTCG »
    ...which would be unlikely because people living in that area shouldve realized the possibility of such a monopoly occuring and made previous arrangements before moving in...
    The "previous arrangement" people generally make is the establishment of a democratic government and police force.

    Quote from MTGTCG »
    ...the business with that monopoly would have to compete with trucks that could bring water to that area.
    Machetes and AK-47s are highly efficient means of competition.

    Quote from MTGTCG »
    The people living in that area could also move away to a place where they know that such a situation could not occur because of previous contract.
    Whenever I suggest to libertarians that if they don't like living under a government, they can just move, they complain that their home and family and friends and stuff are all where they are and they shouldn't have to move.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on US Election Day and results thread 2016
    Quote from Hackworth »
    That's probably not because he has mental problems (and people need to stop throwing the mentally ill under metaphorical buses), but because he's spent most of his life as a sheltered rich person, what with inheriting his dad's money and batches of sycophants.
    No, Trump has a mental problem. Not all sheltered rich people behave the way he does. His own daughter is obviously better adjusted than he is (jury's still out on his sons). And even if his behavior can all be traced to his upbringing, that doesn't make it any less of a mental problem. Narcissistic personality disorder is narcissistic personality disorder regardless of where it came from; the DSM is agnostic on the matter.

    Quote from Kahedron »
    So that has just removed one potential conflict of interest in the matter. That large political donation is still worrying considering that one of Trumps first actions made the ETP Chief Executive significantly richer.

    Whilst there is no proof at the moment and it is unlikely that any would surface,neither are idiots after all, it is smelling a lot like the cash for questions scandal we had over here.
    I don't like Trump any more than the next guy. But if we can't keep our facts straight, if we repeat everything we hear that makes our political opponent look bad and just shrug our shoulders when it turns out to be untrue... isn't that behavior pattern supposed to be why we don't like him?
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on US Election Day and results thread 2016
    Quote from Kahedron »
    Quote from Hackworth »
    Also, Trump's refusal to drop his financial ties means that the previously canceled pipelines he's used an executive order to keep building might be directly profitable for him. [link]
    There is nothing in the linked article which establishes or implies the conflict of interest you're claiming here.


    You sure about that?


    Shares of ETP, the company building the 450,000 barrel-a-day Dakota pipeline, ended the day up 3.5 percent in U.S. trading.

    Trump owned ETP stock through at least mid-2016, according to financial disclosure forms, and ETP's chief executive, Kelcy Warren, donated $100,000 to his campaign.


    That states that he had a very recent and potentially continuing interest in one of the companies that has directly benefited from the pipeline being approved. And that the chairman of that company donated a significant sum of money to Trumps Presidential campaign. Whilst Reuters are hedging their bets and not directly saying that Trump still has an interest in ETP, probably because they don't have absolute proof. The fact that so soon into his presidency he could be seen to be blatantly rewarding one of his supporters is worrying especially if the White house is going to be applying pressure to the relevant departments to expedite the approval process with out giving enough time for discovery.


    Dug a little deeper:

    Apparently Trump sold those shares.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on US Election Day and results thread 2016
    Missed that. Sorry, Hackworth.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on US Election Day and results thread 2016
    Quote from Hackworth »
    Also, Trump's refusal to drop his financial ties means that the previously canceled pipelines he's used an executive order to keep building might be directly profitable for him. [link]
    There is nothing in the linked article which establishes or implies the conflict of interest you're claiming here.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on How President Trump's Trade Agenda Could Effect the Entertainment Industry
    I hate to say it, but if you can in all earnestness start a post with...
    One of my biggest concerns about the Trump Administration is how they could effectively end the Entertainment Industry as we know it especially in regards to the Anime/Manga Industry, Video Game Industry, and the Trading Card Game / Collectible Card Game Industry...
    ...you're probably gonna be fine.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on US Election Day and results thread 2016
    Quote from Hackworth »
    Trump, and parts of his cabinet, are also still under investigation for treason/financial misbehavior.
    Even in the worst-case scenario they are not guilty of treason. Aaron Burr was acquitted for treason, and he conspired to carve an empire for himself out of American territory. The Rosenbergs were never even tried for treason, and they gave the USSR the atomic bomb at the height of the Cold War. In all, there have been less than thirty treason prosecutions in United States history. Treason is a very, very specific crime:
    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.
    Is a hypothetical Russian-Sleeper-Trump levying war against the United States? No. There is no war. Is Russian-Sleeper-Trump adhering to enemies of the United States? He's certainly adhering to a foreign power, and that foreign power is hostile to U.S. interests, but it is not legally an enemy of the United States. If, God forbid, we do go to war with Russia and Trump sells us out, then he would be guilty of treason. But that's what it would take. The allegations against Trump et al., if true, may merit a host of charges up to and including capital espionage (see again the Rosenbergs)... but it's still not treason.

    Quote from Hackworth »
    Violent protests (and violence at protests) don't change the fact that the number of hate crimes spiked last year, coincident with the US election and Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric (and, judging by the data, with the Republican Party's related push in anti-transgender laws). [link]
    Let's be careful with our figures. The number of hate crimes didn't "spike". It's up 6%. The number of violent crimes in general is up 5% or so. This is a troubling development, and we don't know why it's happening after a decades-long downward trend, but it does rather change the significance of that 6% hate crime statistic. The specific surges in crimes against Muslims and transgendered people are more credible indicators of a real problem, but there too we must be cautious. When I see that a stat has gone up 67%, that certainly looks like a dramatic spike. But when I see that it has gone up to 257, in a country with a population of 325 million, that number is so low that even a 67% change could be a result of mere noise. Think of it this way: If just a single bigot snaps and starts beating up a Muslim a day for a month before he gets caught, that one guy alone could account for almost twenty points of that 67%. If nothing like that happens next year, the figure would drop down again just as "dramatically". So it's really, really hard to take changes in such small numbers as conclusive evidence for a particular narrative. (And believe me, I would be saying the same thing in reverse if somebody were citing a 67% drop in anti-Muslim hate crime as sign of a positive cultural change.)
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on libertarianism.
    Quote from italofoca »
    But what collective wellbeing is ? The point is: defining wellbeing (specially "collective wellbeing") is already engaging in political ideology. So you can't care for one more then other.
    Two can play that game. Define "political".
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Russia, the possibility they hacked the DNC, and the possibility they're next for an Iraq WMD situation
    wrt: the comparison to Iraqi WMD, that wasn't the CIA saying Iraq had WMD. That was the White House themselves. They'd actually gotten the info from an Iranian agent, Ahmed Chalabi. They trusted the Iranians more than the CIA, just as Trump trusts the Russians more than the CIA.
    And the CIA have even vindicated themselves on the whole Fidel Castro thing by finally taking him down through the classic "wait until he dies" approach. So their track record right now is actually looking pretty good. Smile

    Also, in all seriousness, with respect to what happened after the White House asserted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, there is essentially zero chance of us "regime-changing" Russia. And there wouldn't be even if we had a Russia hawk in office instead of a quasi-Manchurian candidate (Muscovite candidate?). Russia, after all, definitely has weapons of mass destruction, of the "obliterate New York City from halfway around the world" sort, and it has them precisely to discourage this sort of thing. So given that a war is a virtual impossibility, I'm not sure what Mockingbird is asking about exactly when he raises the question of an "Iraq WMD situation".
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Is the future of the Democratic party purely cosmopolitan, being represented mostly by minorities and the professional class?
    Quote from combo player »
    Liberalism is losing appeal to capital in favour of fascism, what with Clinton's comical failure to secure the position the Democrats had given up most other politics for...
    Was it also losing appeal in 1980, 1984,1988, 2000 and 2004? Because all of those defeats except for 2000 were more decisive than this one. And was it gaining appeal again in 1992, 1996, 2004 and 2008? Because all of those victories were more decisive than this one too.

    Quote from combo player »
    ...and losing appeal to workers due to its insistence on punching leftwards.
    I hate to be the one to break it to you, dude, but mass hard-left sentiment in the working class does not exist. You are projecting, and you need to stop doing that if you want to understand what really happened. If "punching leftwards" were unappealing to workers, how the hell do you explain them preferring Donald J. Trump, who was more pugilistic by far than Clinton (or, for that matter, any other candidate in recent history)?

    Quote from combo player »
    Their main source of votes are urban professionals living in enclaves and people who view them as simply the lesser of two evils. Things are not going to go well for the Democratic Party if it doesn't get its ***** together as serious opposition and given that liberalism is incapable of fighting and prefers fascism over leftism I would say that the prospects are grim.
    Bluntly: communists make it something of a habit to try predicting the future through socioeconomics, but if they were any good at it the world would look very different than it does. Do try to keep that success rate in mind when evaluating the predictive power of your dogma.

    Quote from osieorb18 »
    I don't think the Democratic party has ever been what I would call a "champion of capital." That's more of the Republicans' realm.
    Nah, by his standards they are. When he says that he's just complaining that neither party is much interested in militantly seizing the means of production.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Is the future of the Democratic party purely cosmopolitan, being represented mostly by minorities and the professional class?
    Quote from combo player »
    The Democratic Party is facing more than simply adversity, it's facing a struggle for what it should even represent.
    I think it's more clear than ever what it represents. It lost an election, not an electorate.

    Quote from combo player »
    I'm not convinced that trying to take over the Democratic Party is worth it, not the least because the DNC is the party, so we're more likely to see something new instead.
    Here you appear to be conflating what you think is right with what you think is likely.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on US Election Day and results thread 2016
    Quote from warghoul »
    Stopped them from staling an underwater drone to...
    China reliably does something like this whenever an American president takes office, to test his resolve or show strength or some such dick-measuring nonsense. In 2009, they surrounded USNS Impeccable in international waters and tried to grab its towed listening array. In 2001, they sent fighters to buzz an EP-3 resulting in a midair collision and a major diplomatic incident. It's their way of saying "hello, new guy".
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Is the future of the Democratic party purely cosmopolitan, being represented mostly by minorities and the professional class?
    Quote from Pigglebee »
    Most Americans agree more with Democratic policies, even the ones who vote GOP (when you do not say which policy belongs to which party).
    You can write those sorts of studies to show that most Americans agree with Democratic policies and you can write them to show that most Americans agree with Republican policies. "This bill would financially assist parents in sending their kids to the school of their choice - agree or disagree?" "This bill would redirect funds from already-struggling public schools to affluent private schools - agree or disagree?" So how many Americans actually agree with school voucher systems? Depends on how you phrase the question. The real answer, of course, is that a lot of Americans don't pay that much attention and don't have an opinion until you ask them, and that both parties have policies which are well-intentioned and sound good to an undecided person when put to them sympathetically.

    One observation I can make is that Americans tend to support Republican policies in the abstract and Democratic policies when they directly benefit. A.k.a. the "Slash government spending, but don't you dare touch my Social Security!" phenomenon.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on US Election Day and results thread 2016
    There's a difference between an audit and a recount. Audits are performed regularly. They're little random spot-checks aimed at spotting error or malfeasance through statistical anomalies. What you're talking about is a recount, which is an extraordinary and comprehensive process that takes a lot of time, effort, and money.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on US Election Day and results thread 2016
    Quote from Kahedron »
    The rest of the article can be found here if any one is interested in seeing what else we either rely on now or are very likely to rely on in the future got broken but I have snipped out the relevant bit to the thread.

    I have to admit that I am concerned that Halderman believes that his undergraduates would have been able to alter the results of the election. And whilst we haven't yet been able to difinetively prove that the election was hacked the old adage abscence of proof is not the same as proof of abscence.

    If I were a US citizen I would be petioning my State represnentatives, congress person and senators to get the minimum standards of security on these machines increased. Forget about voter registration this is potentially a far bigger cause of election fraud.
    I hate to say it, but this isn't news. Cybersecurity experts have been saying "Use paper, stupid!" for years.

    And many districts do. Including many of the districts that unexpectedly flipped red on Election Day. So while this is a very serious potential avenue of attack, I honestly don't think anything like it happened this year.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on SJW - Just A Pejoritive
    Quote from Tiax »
    If your criteria for rejecting them is that they are hate, why even ask for the studies in the first place? You knew they were hate from their conclusions.
    The conclusions would mean something different if they had come out of a reputable research institution. If Harvard or wherever publishes conclusions like this, you can't just shout "hate" and reject them offhand -- you have to take them reasonably seriously. Of course, Harvard or wherever doesn't publish conclusions like this, and that's why we don't take such ideas seriously. (Although it must be said that this trust of the research community is only valid if we know they're looking into these questions and coming up with negative results, rather than rejecting the questions on principle *cough*larrysummers*cough*)

    There are some differences between the races that are well documented with solid research, like the prevalence in people of African descent of the gene causing sickle-cell anemia (while protecting from malaria). If Person A tells me that black people are genetically more likely to get sickle-cell, and Person B tells me that black people are genetically more likely to get, say, Down syndrome, I can ask to see the studies. When Person A links me to the work of E. A. Beet and J. V. Neel in the British Journal of Haematology, and Person B links me to something in The Racist Pseudo-Journal of White Supremacy, I can tell pretty quickly that the sickle-cell thing is serious and the Down syndrome thing is bull*****.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on US Election Day and results thread 2016
    Quote from YamahaR1 »
    My reference to MTGS is because its not really that different. There's a long list of things (or views) you dare not express because you know exactly whats going to happen (say, immigration, abortion or... CLIMATE CHANGE ROFL!) Its either going to be the racist bat, the bigot stick or the dunce hat. And once anyone retaining the last of conservative views is gone, what's left? A group of people just nodding in agreement - like an echo chamber. How much is really achieved?

    Not to state the obvious, but this is the Debate section. Your views on immigration, abortion, and climate change are going to be challenged here, because that's the point. Everyone's views are challenged here. Does being challenged make you feel unwelcome? Would you rather we all just smile and accept your viewpoint uncritically? Do you think you might go find other forums where people will do that? Because if so, guess what: you're not condemning an echo chamber, you're looking for one.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Is the future of the Democratic party purely cosmopolitan, being represented mostly by minorities and the professional class?
    Quote from Verbal »
    I mean the US should absolutely have mandatory voting.
    Voting is a right, not a responsibility.

    Quote from Verbal »
    But way, way more than that it needs to reform its voting laws so you don't have to vote on a ******* tuesday, because seriously what the hell is that. (I mean I know why but it does tend to disenfranchise people). Failing that, a national public holiday every four years.
    Every year, actually. We do have elections in off-years.

    Quote from Verbal »
    You need to take districting out of the hands of partisans and into the hands of sane people like, oh, most countries...
    Yes.

    Quote from Verbal »
    ...and you need to get rid of the absurdity that is the electoral college.
    Which part of the electoral college? Because one of the most important parts we've already gotten rid of. It was the part where the college was a deliberative body not beholden to the votes of the electorate, in a measure intended to protect the country from populist demagogues. A lot of people wish we still had that part right now.

    Quote from Verbal »
    And, for preference, the states existing because I'd be willing to bet it is grossly ineffecient.
    *spit-take* I'd take you up on that bet in a hot minute. Name one modern country of any size that doesn't use some sort of regional government set-up. Hell, most of them (including yours) are federal systems modeled to a greater or lesser extent on the United States. History is unequivocal on this point: overcentralization is what's grossly inefficient.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on US Election Day and results thread 2016
    Quote from YamahaR1 »
    I believe social media, mainstream media, television and the internet do a very good job of silencing opinions they don't like. This leads people to believe that everyone (the overwhelming majority) thinks the same - that everyone is on the same page. On the night of the election, you could see just how shocked every news anchor (and comedians like Trevor Noah) were.
    First of all, the way the social media echo chamber actually works seems to be a little different than you might think.

    Now, sure, some people were shocked on Nov. 8 because of the echo chamber. The Huffington Post projected a Clinton win with 99% confidence -- that was clearly bull. But some people were shocked because the result was legitimately shocking. Polling data are not an echo chamber, and they really did favor Clinton from beginning to end. Trump himself has said that he went into Election Day expecting to lose. And, of course, Trump did lose the popular vote; the polls weren't that far from wrong.

    Were there people out there who were confident Trump would win? Oh yes. The Huffington Post may have given Clinton 99% odds, but I also saw Trump supporters projecting that he would be the first candidate to sweep all fifty states. They could only be so confident by being in their own echo chamber: one which insulated them from the data or told them to ignore them. This echo chamber also had to downplay Trump's naked self-interest, his utter contempt for facts, and his myriad failings as a human being while at the same time spinning Hillary Clinton into a criminal mastermind on the basis of no evidence whatsoever. So considering one echo chamber elected a man totally unfit for the White House, while the other chamber merely thought that guy would lose, no points for guessing which one I'm more concerned about right now.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Is the future of the Democratic party purely cosmopolitan, being represented mostly by minorities and the professional class?
    Quote from Teysa_Karlov »
    Doing what you propose would allow gerrymandering to do even more damage than it already does. Look at North Carolina. Basically whatever party is in power during the census would make it nearly impossible for the other side to win.
    I think that's going to vary from state to state. I live in Nebraska, one of the two states that splits its vote, and we don't have gerrymandered districts. Maybe because we only have three of them. But regardless, in the run-up to Election Day FiveThirtyEight had the NE-2 projected as the most competitive single electoral vote in the country. (Trump ultimately won by about 9,000 votes.) So it can work.

    But what you really want is a rule tying the electoral vote directly to the proportion of the statewide popular vote.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on New evidence uncovered by the Washington Post puts scary new spin on the "Fake News" Crisis -- It really was Russia all along
    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Do you have an email or money trail?
    Yes, an electronic trail consisting of IP addresses and Bit.ly accounts. Now, do you have an email or money trail for a 9/11 conspiracy? No. Do you have any evidence for such a conspiracy remotely equivalent to the evidence presented here for the Russian hack? No. So why do you believe in a 9/11 conspiracy? And don't try to give me the "not relevant" brushoff, because what constitutes evidence is very relevant. Tell me exactly why you are demanding a standard of proof to which you do not hold yourself.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    "FBI Agrees with CIA Assessment That Russia Wanted to Help Trump" LOL ok, Russia wanting to help Trump =/= evidence for Russian Government hacking or paying hacking group.
    I wasn't posting that as evidence of the Russia hack. I was posting that as evidence that you had made a patently false statement about the FBI's findings. At least have the decency to own your mistake.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    ...A strange reversal for an organization supposedly dedicated to freedom of information, don't you think?

    Still not relevant to this case.
    Impeaches credibility and establishes motive.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Because him saying he is not working for Russia would happen either way, it does not constitute evidence either way. Something is only evidence if it would not happen any other way.


    Still not evidence of the Russians doing it.
    Nor is it evidence of the Russians not doing it. You claimed that it was. That was incorrect.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    You setting them does not mean I have to answer. We are looking for evidence of Russian Hacking or support.
    You: Why are we talking about Russian hacking? The content of the emails is what matters!
    Me: Okay, show me evidence of a crime in the emails.
    You: ... Why are we talking about the content of the emails? The Russian hacking is what matters!

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    “Our primary targets are those highly oppressive regimes in China, Russia and Central Eurasia, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the West who wish to reveal illegal or immoral behavior in their own governments and corporations.” -- Julian Assange, 2006 (source 1 source 2)

    " but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the West who wish to reveal illegal or immoral behavior in their own governments and corporations" Even if they haven't published anything, still not proof of Russian Hacking or Support.
    Is the highly oppressive regime in Russia a "primary target" of Wikileaks? Obviously not. Assange did not tell the truth here.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    ...and not to belabor the point, but Russia kills journalists.

    Evidence?
    Are you freaking kidding me?

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Evidence?

    Hillary overthrowing Gaddafi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y
    Me: Show me evidence of the U.S. interfering in a foreign election.
    You: Here's eleven seconds of Hillary Clinton discussing the rebellion against a man who never stood for an election in his life, and rolling her eyes at the suggestion that she was involved.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    With or without the emails, Russia is still allowed to publish news against the USA illegal actions, which bias Journalists/editors seem to be missing out on.
    So wait, the emails don't matter all of a sudden?

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    They are saying the news is 'fake' without reason.
    When articles report fabricated and factually incorrect information, that's pretty good reason to call it "fake". And we're not talking about fake news, anyway.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    I'm just going to give my closing statement.
    *sigh* If only...
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Star Wars: Rogue One
    Quote from willdice »
    That's true, but there was another way to do it.
    Namely, what they did with Mon Mothma - just take two actors who look enough like Peter Cushing and young Carrie Fisher, and film them normally, maybe with heavy make up or prosthetics for Tarkin, but no CGI. Done!
    They did that at the end of Revenge of the Sith, you might remember. That didn't look great either. With Mon Mothma, they happened to luck out and find a dead ringer for Caroline Blakiston.

    Of course, we've got young Han Solo and Lando Calrissian coming up.
    Posted in: Movies
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    posted a message on New evidence uncovered by the Washington Post puts scary new spin on the "Fake News" Crisis -- It really was Russia all along
    Quote from Typho0nn »
    -There is no evidence, but 'magic' connecting WORDS that claim the Russians Hacked.
    Words and numbers. As in, lines of computer code and IP addresses. For the third time: that's more than you have ever had in support of any of your pet theories.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    -FBI, Ron Paul, Julian Assange have said it is NOT the Russians.
    Assange wouldn't tell us if it were.

    Ron Paul is an unconnected third party whose opinion is meaningless.

    And the FBI said in no uncertain terms that it was the Russians -- you're just flat-out misrepresenting the truth there.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on New evidence uncovered by the Washington Post puts scary new spin on the "Fake News" Crisis -- It really was Russia all along
    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Not relevant to this exposure of Hillary's emails. Maybe nobody from China or Russia, has come forward.
    Oh, but they have. Just not on Wikileaks. You may recall the Panama Papers this year? The largest leak of anything ever in history? Among lots and lots of other stuff, it included damaging information about the finances of a close friend of Vladimir Putin's -- just how did a freaking cellist get his hands on billions of dollars? Now, Wikileaks was not responsible for publishing the Panama papers. According to the leaker, he attempted to contact Wikileaks multiple times with his information but they never got back to him. Furthermore, when the Panama Papers were published through another outlet, Wikileaks was critical of them, calling them an "attack on Putin" funded by the U.S. government (even though the government only funded the OCCRP, just one out of the many news groups reporting on the leak, which also included Russian papers Vedomoya and Novaya Gazeta, and the leaks also embarrassed many Westerners, bringing down the government of Iceland). A strange reversal for an organization supposedly dedicated to freedom of information, don't you think?

    All this was in the New York Times article you were bashing, by the way.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Is he working for Russia, that is yet to be proven. You calling it the truth means nothing.
    There are two possibilities: he is working for Russia or he isn't.

    If he is not working for Russia, he is going to say he is not working for Russia.
    If he is working for Russia, he is still going to say he is not working for Russia.

    Because him saying he is not working for Russia would happen either way, it does not constitute evidence either way. Something is only evidence if it would not happen any other way.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Hillary's emails from Wikileaks...
    Of which I still have yet to see you cite a single word of incriminating evidence. Which, again, has been the goalpost I set for you all along.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear are Russian.

    Still not the Russian Government.
    (a) Now who's moving the goalposts? (b) Yes, they actually are; that's what the "Bear" means.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    If you had evidence for a 9/11 conspiracy as solid as documented tactics, tools, server addresses, and online accounts used in the attack that are distinctive to a covert operations group known to be sponsored by the U.S. government and act in its interests, you would be shouting it from the rooftops.

    So you believe this one with its 'evidence', yet disbelieve 9/11 with its evidence?
    Reading comprehension, dude. "If you had evidence for a 9/11 conspiracy as solid as [this] = you don't have evidence for a 9/11 conspiracy as solid as this. You believe in that conspiracy on the basis of no admissions of guilt, no paper trail, no evidence of any of the sort that you're demanding here. Your bar for evidence is, in fact, absurdly low for it. But when it comes to Russian hacking, this for some reason you don't want to believe, so the bar suddenly becomes absurdly high, and all the real and demonstrable links to Russian agents -- the sort of links you do not have for 9/11 -- are just "speculation". Be consistent. Set the bar at the same standard for both cases.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    What promise?
    Our primary targets are those highly oppressive regimes in China, Russia and Central Eurasia, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the West who wish to reveal illegal or immoral behavior in their own governments and corporations.” -- Julian Assange, 2006 (source 1 source 2)

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Assange COULD just be going for a candidate that might pardon him. These Secrets don't matter to this case, he might have a bias in those that want to help him live.
    ...and not to belabor the point, but Russia kills journalists.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Their belief is not proof.
    Words for you to live by.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    I supported Trump cause I thought he was the most peaceful candidate that wanted to work with Russia to help defeat ISIS. Hillary wants to go to war with Russia and Take out President Assad.
    Do me a favor: google "Trump China Taiwan". Then try to tell me Trump is peaceful.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    The US is interfering in other countries elections.
    Evidence?

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Maybe Russia was maybe it wasn't but it was still using free speech, which is part of the US constitution.
    Accessing private email servers is not protected by the U.S. Constitution. If I hacked into your emails and published them online, I would be criminally liable. Notwithstanding that, it's a bit rich of you to praise Russia for exercising freedom of speech when that is a freedom the Russian government has been strangling to death domestically. Siding with Russia against the United States in this is siding with a nation that has one of the most extensive state-controlled media systems in the world against a nation that has enshrined journalistic independence as its literal first political ideal. Which, again, is why it's so bizarre that Wikileaks and Assange have decided to do exactly that.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    The opposing side should have used arguments to try and defeat them, but now they are silencing them and just calling them 'fake' without reason. The emails are real!!!
    Nobody here is saying the emails are fake.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Deadpool's Unicorn
    Spam thread locked.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on Star Wars: Rogue One
    Good movie. Some disjointed plot points, maybe could use a little more character development for the supporting cast, but it ends very strong. The first Star Wars movie that's really been a war movie. Recalls the classic WW2 commando films especially (and very deliberately, of course).

    • Vader should not have appeared in the middle of the film. His appearance at the end would have had more impact if it's the first we see of him. That said, Vader's discussion with Krennic confirming that he's kind of "meh" on the Death Star is some nice attention to character detail. That's his attitude in A New Hope, but a lot of writers would have just written him as being pro-Death-Star because it's easier. The Death Star is Tarkin's baby.
    • The CGI Tarkin and Leia weren't perfect, but you kind of had to have them. Tarkin especially. Like I said, the Death Star is his baby.
    • Did anyone else think that the Vader costume didn't fit the actor right? The mask looked loose around the neck to me.
    • R2-D2 and C-3PO don't make sense showing up where they do. They're at the rebel base when the fleet has already left? How are they on the Tantive IV in ANH?
    • But overall, in sharp contrast to the prequel trilogy, this movie actually feels like it makes sense leading into ANH. I didn't catch a line or bit of character knowledge that's out of place. The one thing I can think if is how many people saw the Death Star in action. Almost all of them die, but it's now canonical that Leia has seen it prior to the events of ANH, so maybe the destruction of Alderaan scene is changed in significance somewhat.
    Posted in: Movies
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    posted a message on libertarianism.
    Quote from Highroller »
    I'm rather confused about this talk of evolution. Should not evolution be responsible for all of human nature, whether it be our better nature or worse? Thus, shouldn't the capacity to be tribal, factional, and exclusionary also be argued as evolutionary?
    It definitely* is. But it's not the ethical part of our nature, any more than the shape of our eyes is ethical. "Ethics" is the label we've chosen for this one particular part of our nature.

    *Science is never definite.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on New evidence uncovered by the Washington Post puts scary new spin on the "Fake News" Crisis -- It really was Russia all along
    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Well neither 9/11 or Bill are reasons to discredit Assange on source of Hacked emails.
    Your logic is, "He didn't do it because he said he didn't do it."

    By that logic, Bill Clinton also didn't do it because he said he didn't do it.

    And the hypothetical 9/11 conspirators didn't do it because they said they didn't do it.

    If you think that Clinton did it, or that the 9/11 conspirators did it, you acknowledge the possibility that someone can do something even if they've said they didn't do it. Therefore, it is possible that Assange did it even though he's said he didn't do it. Therefore, Assange saying he didn't do it does not constitute evidence that he didn't do it.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    This is why I am defending Assange because he has proven to be a reliable source while the Washington Post and other corporate media outlets have not(WoMD).
    Assange started WikiLeaks promising to focus on revealing the state secrets of authoritarian regimes like Russia and China.

    Where are those state secrets, exactly?

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    A little bit more than what?
    You said he has every reason not to lie because lying would ruin his record. If the truth is that he is working for Russia, telling the truth would ruin his record more than lying about it.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Do you have documents with a money trail or a sound recording or...
    Do you? For this, or literally anything you claim?

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    If it has been used before, it could have been easily copied from someone else to use to make it look like the Russians.
    Or it could have been the Russians.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Coming from a time zone does not mean anything, you can re-rout around the world.
    Or it could have been the Russians.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    If it was them it is still not the Russians.
    In case you missed it somehow: Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear are Russian.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Someone can access it to if they used the same programs that these 2 groups have in the past.
    They didn't just use the same program, they used the same Bit.ly account.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    These 3 arguments are nothing but speculation and no evidence.
    If you had evidence for a 9/11 conspiracy as solid as documented tactics, tools, server addresses, and online accounts used in the attack that are distinctive to a covert operations group known to be sponsored by the U.S. government and act in its interests, you would be shouting it from the rooftops.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    It is not credible and there is no evidence, it is all speculation.
    If you're absolutely determined not to credit it, then I can't make you. But it is credible.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    How is bill relevant to discrediting Assange?
    Parallel logic, like I showed above.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Was just using the same standards.
    You really weren't. I quipped that WikiLeaks is a big site because you hadn't directed me to anything in particular on that site. For that matter, you still haven't. (Complain all you like about moving the goalposts, but it's a bit rich when you haven't even passed the initial goalposts.) So when you say that the Times is a big site when I have directed you to a particular article... like I said, faceplant.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    What evidence are you claiming that they have?
    They're chronicling Assange's public actions. All the evidence is out in the open, they're simply aggregating it to show that there's a pattern. Do you dispute any of what they say Assange has done, or that there's a pattern? I repeat: where are the promised state secrets from Russia and China?

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    They are even in support of Assange; "American officials say Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks probably have no direct ties to Russian intelligence services."
    They go on to explain how exactly they believe Assange is being used by Russian intelligence services. But that doesn't work as well for your position as an out-of-context quotation.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on libertarianism.
    Quote from nightwyrm »
    Evolutionary ethics is....difficult. Biological and social/cultural evolution can be quite different. For one, biological evolution does not "forecast". It is quite the anti-thesis to your outside-context sufficiently rational actor proposing an optimal solution.
    You can talk about the sufficiently rational actor in biological evolution too. Remember, he's not real, he's just a way of illustrating that the laws of nature are objective and work the same way for everyone. He's the guy mapping the optimization landscape. The guy who, for example, looks at the physics of fluid dynamics and says, "Well, then, an efficient wing should look like this." And biological wings tend to converge on that design. Not because the rational actor caused them to, but because they're responding through evolutionary pressures to the same natural laws that he is reasoning about.

    Quote from nightwyrm »
    Evolutionary processes cannot get you (or your society in this case) to your global optimal if you're currently stuck in a local optimal and you need to cross a valley of bad solutions which leaves you temporarily worse off then you currently are (I'm using global and local in terms of solution-space). Every step of the way needs to be better, or at least just as good, as the previous step and there's no leaping. If you're stuck in a local optimal, there has to be outside perturbation that jolts you out of the rut or the environment has to change in such a way as to create a path out of it. This is one of the reasons I'm somewhat skeptical of utopian societies that requires a period of severe societal disruption where everything is worse off for everybody until you get to something better on the other side. People will just not be willing to enter and endure that period of "badness". Cultural evolution might be able to "forecast" and "leap", but I'm not an expert in this aspect and I'm still somewhat skeptical due to my background.
    It's certainly possible in principle to "forecast" and "leap" because, after all, we are dealing with humans who are capable of doing that. We even do it for biological evolution, with the selective breeding of domesticated organisms and now their direct genetic modification. But you're right to be skeptical that it's a major driving force in social evolution. Most humans through most of history lived their lives without thinking too hard about the ethical constitution of their societies. When people do think about it and try to give it a total overhaul, they do not seem to have thought about it very well -- communist revolutions and utopian societies, as you note, diverge in outcome from intention pretty radically and painfully. Which of course is natural selection at work again.

    Those "revolutions" which can be chalked up as success stories, like the American one, are much more incremental in the changes they make, and so might be better analogized to biological evolution as mutations than leaps: they're trying out a nearby point on the optimization landscape to see if it's an improvement. Now, it can be said that unlike mutations these revolutions are intelligently directed. And yeah, they are. But given how badly the communists and utopians think about this stuff, it may not be wise to assume the incrementalists are thinking about it any better. A cynic could argue that revolutionaries push their societies in effectively random directions, and if some incremental revolutions are successful it's only because they're not trying to leap across an optimization chasm.

    Just some food for thought.

    Quote from nightwyrm »
    There is also no guarantee that evolution makes things better for a society's individuals. Evolution just tells us that traits that work out better than your competitor tends to be retained and get passed on to the next generation. It may be that societal traits of liberal democracy is currently more competitive, but if the environment changes in such a way to favour authoritarian regimes then that is what will survive and spread. Drones in a beehive lives a pretty crappy life, all considering, but bees are one of the most successful insect species. Evolution is amoral in that sense. Whenever I see evolution being used as if it was some sort of universal force that promotes the well-being of everybody, it really annoys me.
    Sure. But the empirical evidence is that liberal democracy is more competitive than authoritarianism. And I don't think that's just a happy accident of the current environment. Humans aren't bees. Individuals are highly intelligent and autonomous, actively pursuing their personal desires for well-being. When a system doesn't let them do what they want, they resist. This fact in and of itself constitutes a selection pressure in favor of freedom and individual dignity, and it's not going to change as long as humans are humans.

    Quote from nightwyrm »
    Now, our ethics is certainly a product of evolution and a solution reached by game theory. We have a strong incentive to cooperate with our in-group and we have evolved mechanisms which tells us to punish members of our in-group which refuses to cooperate. But there is also strong evolutionary incentive to poorly treat an out-group with whom we do not come into contact regularly. What worries me a lot is that it seems the world is currently moving in a direction where in-groups and out-groups are becoming very strongly defined.
    I see the general trend as in-groups enlarging, and in-group/out-group divides breaking down. With travel and mass media there are fewer and fewer out-groups with whom we do not come into contact regularly. I'm not going to pretend the current resurgence of populist nationalism in America and Europe isn't troubling, but it's also a flash in the pan historically speaking. Get back to me in a half-century or so, but right now I'm far from convinced that it constitutes a reversal of the liberalizing trend.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on libertarianism.
    Quote from Typho0nn »
    I was providing examples of how societies that looked after well-being tend to fail, using examples of different scale. (It was a counter argument, not that you should even need to be told how to argue)

    Alright... and how do these relate to; "Cultures with norms that promote their members' well-being tend to survive and expand; cultures with other norms tend to collapse and disappear." How are they doing better from "Human rights" and "moral sense" and expanding. I can't see how you have argued that these things are allowing to survive and expand. Rights are constantly violated when expansion is needed. Government will forcefully buy out any property for expansion as in China and has happened here in Adelaide with the Southern Express way/Port rd expansion.
    You are simply not talking about what I'm talking about. You're echoing my words without understanding what they refer to. And to be blunt, I'm not interested in trying to teach evolutionary ethics to someone who's going to fight me every step of the way. So let this one go. If you're truly interested in the topic, you can start by reading Leviathan and The Origin of Species, then maybe a modern synthesis like Darwin's Dangerous Idea or The Better Angels of Our Nature.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on New evidence uncovered by the Washington Post puts scary new spin on the "Fake News" Crisis -- It really was Russia all along
    Quote from Typho0nn »
    So Bill has admitted guilt and confessed. Julian has denied the claims. Innocent till proven guilty... GrrrAAAAAH Can you see the difference?
    Has anybody that you believe was responsible for the 9/11 attacks admitted guilt and confessed? Or does "innocent until proven guilty" only apply to the people you want to be innocent?

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Julian has 100% accuracy rating with Wikileaks, he has every reason not to lie to maintain his record.
    If Assange admits he is a catspaw for Russian intelligence, don't you think that would ruin his record just a little bit more? Nobody's going to say, "Oh, this person we thought was an independent crusader for freedom of information is actually a Kremlin spy, but at least he's honest about it! What a great guy!" (Oh, and the Russians probably won't be happy he outed their operation either. And remember, the Russians kill journalists.)

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Even when independently verified the likes of the WP has claimed, they still give no evidence or names.
    It's probable that they don't know the names of the individual hackers, any more than you know my name or I yours. But they do have the name of the groups -- "Fancy Bear" and "Cozy Bear" -- and the evidence consists of the classic triad of means, motive, and opportunity.

    Means: The DNC hack was performed by the same malware code, written by a Russian-speaker in the Moscow time zone, used by Fancy Bear in previous attacks, and it sent information back to the same server. The Podesta hack was performed with the same Bit.ly spearphishing tactic used by Cozy Bear in previous attacks.
    Motive: Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear's attacks have consistently targeted enemies of the Russian state, and this attack against a presidential candidate who is resistant to Russia's neo-imperialist interests and whom Putin seems personally to dislike is no exception.
    Opportunity: We can see the malware in the DNC's servers that have Fancy Bear access to them. We can see the very spearphishing email that was sent to Podesta, and the email from his tech support accidentally telling him it was "legitimate". We know he clicked the link, giving Cozy Bear the opportunity to access his emails. We know they were in there.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Doesn't an argument still stand if it is not disproven?
    No. You yourself say why:

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    And if you can't prove an argument, then it's not an argument.
    Yes, basically. Arguments require credible evidence. Which we have.

    So to sum up, if an argument cannot be "proven" (more precisely, "supported with evidence"), it doesn't need to be disproven or discredited. It doesn't have any proof or credit to begin with.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    You have done the same with the Bill argument.
    How?

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    And Lithl had done the same with the "It's an extremely biased right-wing rag with "institutional racism," to quote one of their own reporters." argument. Why did you not correct him?
    I'm not debating with Lithl. I'm debating with you. If I corrected every logical fallacy on this site, I'd be working full time at it. But for the record, yes, Lithl's statement does not constitute discreditation. So you shouldn't do what he did.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    I think we need to set up some standards in order to continue this debate. One argument works for your side, but when I use the same tactic it is not viable. this is **goal posts moving**
    Even if your accusation is true, it's not moving the goalposts, it's a double standard again. Please, please, please have some idea what the terms you're using mean before you use them.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    The Times is a big site, you are going to have to be more "specific" about which claims you want to be argued.
    Please stop trying to be clever by echoing me. You only ever faceplant. I didn't point you to the Times, I pointed you to a single article by the Times. If you can't read one article, that's on you.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    And its not fake if its been Hacked!!! We should be more worried about the content of the hack rather than who did it, with the Clinton foundation fraud among other things.
    What Clinton foundation fraud? Where's your evidence for that? All the emails have been out in the open for a while now, and the FBI has certified that they've gone through them. If there were evidence that the Clinton Foundation was engaging in fraud, well, that's a crime, and they should have indicted her. So I want to see a specific document where Clinton admits to criminal behavior. Or else -- by your own standard -- she is innocent until proven guilty.
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on New evidence uncovered by the Washington Post puts scary new spin on the "Fake News" Crisis -- It really was Russia all along
    Quote from Typho0nn »
    People who are accused of wrongdoing tend to deny it.

    not disproof. Argument Still Stands.
    Ergo, Bill Clinton really did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky, I guess. Rolleyes

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    "His account cannot be independently verified."

    Not disproof.
    You asked for discreditation, and it is that. If a statement by someone who has every reason to lie cannot be independently verified, we cannot trust it -- i.e., we cannot credit it -- thus it is discredited. Maybe it's true, maybe it's false, but it's not proof of anything.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Your first 'source'
    "individuals with connections" connections is not proof....

    Second source
    "believe are spies..." belief is not proof.
    Do you notice how, for your arguments, you're saying the argument stands if it is not disproven, but for my arguments, you're saying the argument fails if it is not proven? That's called a "double standard". By your own standard for yourself, we should believe my sources, because you have not disproven their claims. And by your own standard for me, we should not believe your sources, because you have not proven their claims. Either way, you lose.

    Quote from Typho0nn »
    Third 'source' NY times, has been supporting WOMD lies. It is bias.
    Now, this is an actual ad hominem argument. You are using discredit a claim based on a(n alleged) fact about the source that is not relevant to the claim. Is any claim the Times makes about Assange untrue? If so, which ones, and what's your evidence that they're untrue?
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on libertarianism.
    Quote from Typho0nn »
    I wasn't saying you were talking about socialism, I was saying you didn't add any references or examples. You just blanketed. I was giving some examples of where the 'well-being' of people was looked after in the terms of socialism and communism and had failed. But could you add some references or examples to your 'argument'/statement.

    Facepalm Me, two posts before what you quoted, because you didn't read the thread for context like I told you to (not that you should even need to be told): "I will say that we do have some instinctive recognition for human rights in the form of our moral sense, because evolution has been chugging away at this same problem for millions of years."

    A little bit earlier: "Give Hobbes and Locke another look -- especially Hobbes. Rights aren't just any old social contract; they are the optimizing contract. Think of human society as a math problem and rights as the solution."

    You think I may have been talking about human rights, perhaps? "Life, liberty, and property" and all that?
    Posted in: Debate
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    posted a message on New evidence uncovered by the Washington Post puts scary new spin on the "Fake News" Crisis -- It really was Russia all along
    Quote from Grant »
    I wonder whether the (accredited by a non-partisan organisation and required to be transparent with regard to sources) fact-checking organisations will now be accused of bias.
    "Will they be accused of bias?" Does a bear crap in the woods? Is the Pope reptiloid?

    But I'm more concerned with what effect they think a nannying little message like "Before you share this story, you might want to know that independent fact-checkers disputed its accuracy" is going to have. That tone is only going to piss off people predisposed to believe the story.
    Posted in: Debate
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