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Messages - scifibum

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1
General Comments / Re: Weinstein mess
« on: December 11, 2017, 05:17:56 PM »
I don't think anyone was misled in a way that matters.  Whether they believed the annotation was written by the same person as the inscription and signature wouldn't, in my opinion, sway their opinion on whether it would have been a creepy move in the first place.  I think the only people who think this admission looks good for Moore are the same people who didn't believe her in the first place.

2
General Comments / Re: Weinstein mess
« on: December 11, 2017, 03:07:14 PM »
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There should be no confusion here, Nelson admitted this on ABC News
Thanks Crunch.  I had heard or read that was the case but thought maybe it was muddier than that due to DonaldD's post.  Will try and watch the clip later. 

I don't think you should thank Crunch just yet.  It's much muddier than "she admitted to forgery". 

She wrote an annotation with date and location under the part she claims Moore wrote. 

She has not admitted that she "forged" anything.  Admittedly it was dumb not to delineate the part she wrote and the part she claims Moore wrote from the get-go.  But look at what Crunch is doing here:

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So now we have a yearbook where at least some of it was forged (and the accuser admits to the forgery) and a key facet of the story built against Moore has been completely falsified.

1) "Some of it was forged" is only true if she represented the part she wrote as something that Moore wrote.  Did she do that, or was that simply one possible assumption people could make when they saw the yearbook?  She should have been clearer (her attorney certainly should have anticipated this as well), but she never specifically claimed that Moore wrote the annotation that she has now clarified that she added. 

2) The annotation was not a "key facet" and which person wrote the annotation does not speak to whether her allegations against Moore are true.  The "completely falsified" claim is completely false.



3
General Comments / Re: Weinstein mess
« on: December 07, 2017, 06:49:50 PM »
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Vetted by a group like WaPo?  :o Right.

Argument by incredulity works every time when it's the evil liberal  media.

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I just don’t go for mob rule, trying, convicting, and sentencing in the court of public opinion.

The sentence in this case would be NOT getting elected.  You want voters to wait for proof beyond a reasonable doubt?  That's pretty stupid, and I'd wager you've taken the opposite position with regard to other races and candidates. 

4
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How exactly did you do so? 

I used google for something like 60 seconds and found a clip from the time frame and sources that were supposed to have completely neglected the trial.  The clip was about the trial.

So the claim you posted was false, easily disprovable, and doesn't speak well to the reliability of the MRC if they are the source of the claim.

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Because that's virtually all the MRC does, time stories and look for bias.  Do you have a reason to doubt their measures on something that can obviously be measured on an objective basis?

Yeah, I doubt them because the claim was easy to disprove.  The claim was zero coverage on nightly news programs on ABC, CBS, and NBC.  That's not true. 

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Because network evening news has a LOT of viewers and, in my view, they're more passive than other news consumers.  They are the most persuadable, because they are the least likely to be active consumers of news, and it's it been my specific thesis all along that the media distorts the world to support the left and pull down the right.  Choosing to ignore a Senator's corruption trial because of party, when it would be on every night if the parties were reversed is good evidence of that.

What I was asking you is why the benchmark is MENENDEZ.  The MRC cherry picks its data if this is the measurement taken in isolation from other stories that are about the same type of thing, like the supposed corruption in the Clinton foundation. 

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I see.  Your argument is that in 2 months, there wasn't any time to cover the first trial of sitting senator for corruption since the 80's   Really?  Not enough time for a one minute update?  Lol.

As I pointed out, this is a false straw man, and you still apparently haven't checked whether it's true.

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the lack of coverage is just a fact, an objective fact

Yeah, how much coverage there was is an objective fact, but what that means is not.  MRC is not out to provide objective analysis, they are out to prove a conclusion that they formed decades ago. 

In my opinion, much of what is termed "liberal bias" is actually a more informed point of view.  "Conservative" viewpoints include creationism, widespread voter fraud, Trump isn't an embarrassing disaster, and a bunch of other erroneous positions based on ignorance.

5
It was pointed out to me that the trial of Robert Menendez, a sitting Senator, for corruption has received zero evening news coverage on NBC, CBS and ABC. 

It didn't take me very long to determine that this is not true. 

How much coverage on the nightly news on those networks was there?  It wasn't zero, that much was easy.  But I don't have a handy, exhaustive list of the stories that they DID run, so I don't know.  Why did you believe it was zero? How did you confirm that?

Why is this the benchmark we're using?  I have a feeling it's because someone wanted to find an angle that demonstrated the bias of the mainstream news media, and not the outcome of dispassionate analysis.

We also have two mass shootings, one of which was the worst ever, in the same time frame, the aftermath of some of the most destructive hurricanes ever, and a president who doesn't stop generating news - from simple gaffes to international incidents - on a daily basis even if we exclude everything Russia.

If that's not enough, how about you recall that there's also ubiquitous coverage of scandals involving HRC and the DNC.

I'm afraid your case isn't very persuasive. 

6
General Comments / Re: pardon me
« on: August 28, 2017, 12:45:21 PM »
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They could have overturned any detention...

:D  You've really jumped the shark, man.  If the problem is the sheriff is detaining too many people via illegal racial profiling, just "overturn the detentions".  Those people will get their lost time and money and dignity back.  It won't cost money like an appeal would.  :D

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The order that he not obey the law...

The order was based on a finding of fact that his version of "obeying the law" violated the constitutional rights of the detainees.  The "reasonable belief" standard in this law was never defined in a way that supports your claim that a reasonable belief somehow rules out discriminatory or unconstitutional practices. 

7
General Comments / Re: Charlottsville
« on: August 18, 2017, 12:26:18 AM »
Yep.  There aren't "two sides".  Antifa doesn't represent normal liberal demonstrators who made up the majority of counter-protesters.  And their tactics HAVE been repeatedly disavowed by groups that aren't antifa. 

Even so, antifa's tactics are deplorable but their aims aren't. 

It's wrong to:
1) equate brawling with vehicular homicide
2) equate violent antifascism with violent neo-Nazi white nationalism.  The violence is wrong but the ideological endgame is vastly different.
3) equate antifa with one of two sides.  Nope.  The left in general doesn't embrace antifa, antifa doesn't represent them, The Left can't control them, etc.  It's also wrong to equate the right in general with the alt-right.
4) ignore the context and impact of the actions of various factions

Also, Fenring, before I hurry up and forget my password again, I want to point out that your definition of terrorism is stupid.  You can figure out the implicit political demands in the alt-right's demonstration in Charlottesville.  You can do it.  You don't have to play dumb about what they want, and the symbolism of their torches.  Don't be so determined to stake out the centrist position that you end up acting dumb like that.

8
General Comments / Re: Destruction and theft of cultural heritage
« on: August 18, 2017, 12:14:11 AM »
<can't resist the low hanging fruit in this thread, digs up password>

Fenring, you should look up the creed - well, it's more of a values statement - of the Detroit Satanic Temple.  You couldn't be more wrong about the morality of their religion.  They don't worship evil, they don't even believe in the devil as a being.   They believe in empathy, justice, and other things like that. 

When you say something like this:

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if you want to be pedantic about it Hitler's got nothing on THE DEVIL.


you are arguing from within the context of religions that believe in the devil as a being who is purely/maximally evil.  Not from the context of the Satanists who wanted to erect a statue, whose beliefs are both atheistic and benignly humanistic. 

In this example you've chosen, you're completely wrong.  They don't want to harm anyone; they aren't evil.  Except if you circularly define blasphemy as evil, which is understandable if you're arguing from Christian theology but absurd if you are trying to make a point about civics.  Hitler is evil by the standards of basic human rights enshrined in our constitution.  Baphomet as viewed by the Detroit Satanic Temple is no more evil than a statue of Zeus sponsored by an art appreciation club.

You've made another pretty egregious error in this thread, too:

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Can you imagine if someone suggested removing a Jewish monument on the grounds that they dislike the tenets of Judaism? There would be an outcry that would never stop.

1) the Ten Commandments ARE tenets of Judaism, and we've been around the block on that kind of monument already.  It didn't trigger the cataclysm of anti-anti-Semitism that you predicted. 

OK, fine, everybody conceived of those as Christian monuments.  Not because they weren't also representative of Judaism, but because Christians are such a bigger cohort in this country. 

But that still leaves:

2) "Jewish monuments" in public, that aren't also Christian, aren't much of a thing in this country.  Holocaust memorials don't represent Judaism, their purpose is to remind us of the immeasurable evil of the Nazi regime and keep us vigilant against similar evils.   

3) You're comparing symbols of a religious and ethnic identity - which happens to be a protected class in this country - with symbols of historical events that were brought about by the evils of racism and which symbols were largely erected for the purpose of promoting white supremacy, and further, mainly exist in places that continue to shelter and breed racism.   One of these things is not like the other. 

This difference is the same reason you can refuse to hire Nazis but you can't refuse to hire Jews. 

It's a terrible comparison. 

9
Pete, I didn't respond to your Facebook message because I have no desire to let anything that happens on this site intrude into any other venue.  Your message DID remind me to come check this thread which is why I responded to your posts shortly afterward. 

Calling that message an "olive branch" is not a fair characterization.  Feel free to post your message here in full if you want to dispute my disputing of that characterization. 

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It's hard to read your writing in "good faith," when you do stuff like this:
(1) come out and without any examples or specifics, accuse me of destroying Ornery.
(2) sit silent for a few days, failing to respond to any material points by anyone.
(3) hardly an hour AFTER I send you an olive branch personal message letting you know that I'm banned from the forum and that you can now enjoy it without me, you pop back on here and make more personal attacks on me, knowing that I cannot respond.
(4) You completely fail to enter any other discussions during the 2 weeks I'm banned.

So does this list explain your behavior, considering that all of it happened after the behavior I was complaining about? 

You didn't destroy Ornery, and it was dumb and hyperbolic to say that you are the reason it sucks now.  But the way you ignore details in my posts, don't follow links, and don't seem to make an effort to understand me?  That does suck.  And it's been going on a long time, and hasn't improved. 

Whether you're banned or not, I have a right to respond to you here, however prompt or tardy that response is. 

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I don't know what [factual errors] you're talking about, and you haven't given specifics in any of your personal attacks on me.

That's funny - because I did tell you what factual errors I'm talking about.  Page 1.   

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You are engaging in classic abusive behavior.  Blame me for abusing me, and then claim that I'm enjoying it.

Um, no.  I'm not blaming you for my bad behavior, I'm blaming you for yours.  You accused me of "making stuff up" and "playing stupid" before I got mad.  Page 1.

And, at the same time, were demonstrating that you hadn't really paid attention to the content of my previous posts, by not acknowledging that the Orlando attack HAD been counted in the comparison you were criticizing for not including Orlando, and that stories that didn't include Orlando were published well before Orlando happened.  That was stuff I pointed out, and also stuff that was supported in links I provided, by the time you were accusing me of dishonesty. 

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[scifi to Seriati]... That's pathetic.  ... It's called context.

You're quoting Seriati, here.  Do you see the pattern yet?

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But it speaks poorly of your integrity when you not only blame me for your incivility, but accuse me of engineering your misbehavior and laughing demonically when you misbehave.

I wasn't blaming you for anything I said to Seriati.  Where did you get that? 

My comment was this:
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If you're going to pat yourself on the back for getting me to respond with incivility, enjoy that.

Because you had just said:
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....someone needs to take the higher ground here.

I wasn't attempting to present any justification for anything that happened after you made the post I was responding to.  I hadn't even responded to Seriati at the point you made the post I was responding to.  How could I claim you were patting yourself on the back for events that hadn't yet occurred when the patting occurred? 

Your interpretation is bizarre and unjustified.

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The argument in question was a straw man.  You went into an Emperor's New Clothes frenzy, ridiculing me when I asked where Trump had suggested that refugees were going to massively increase the danger to all of us on the street.  In response to your ridicule, I asked you rather politely for a source, and you responded rather rudely that you didn't have to give me a source.

None of this is correct!  I claimed that Trump was fear mongering and trying to scare people and make them feel unsafe without his intervention.  You then required evidence that Trump claimed the average Joe was going to face direct threat in the street.  I told you that this was an arbitrary challenge, which is true (you were asking for something more specific than I had claimed existed). 

If you have read my posts, you'll already understand that I later provided specific examples of the fear mongering I was talking about.  If you had said "can you provide examples of fear mongering", I would not have called that an arbitrary challenge. 

But there was no "frenzy" about that. 

When I got mad is when you demonstrated that at the same time you were asking me to provide sources and back up my argument with specifics, you had not paid attention to specifics that I had already mentioned, and were accusing me of making things up.


Even in this most recent post where you are trying, again, to take me to task for incivility, you have quoted Seriati and chided me for his words.  You have bizarrely misconstrued my remark about patting yourself on the back, and said that your construction speaks poorly of my integrity. 


And you haven't shown that you understand your errors I pointed out on page 1, in my first post in this thread.  Those errors appeared to form a large part of the basis for your outrage expressed in the opening post. 


That sucks.  And asking me to repeat the specifics over and over doesn't wash.  I'm disgusted because of a long term pattern of misconstruing and misrepresenting my words, and making conclusory remarks if I don't dance to the tune you play when I object.

10
General Comments / Re: Day without a woman - wut?
« on: March 20, 2017, 05:40:34 PM »
Here you call for evidence of unfairness:

"provided no evidence of unfairness"

and proceed to explain why you won't accept any anyway, because who can really say what is more unfair.

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Feminists assume a priori that any such downside must be caused by systemic evils or sexism or whatnot but since they are blind to every factor but their own myopic obsession with economic ends they have zero credibility to make an honest assessment of the situation in its real context.

Your version of feminism is like representing "the 1%" with the Monopoly moneybags guy, or Snidely Whiplash.

Take a minute to think about how you just made a blanket statement about how feminists will behave in a generic hypothetical situation...as a criticism.

11
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I get why you want to burden flip, you have an impossible challenge to meet to show that virtually any of these refugees have been vetted to the extent that others would find reasonable.  But just because your burden is impossible doesn't make it mine.

What's ironic about this is that the Trump administration had an opportunity in court to demonstrate the urgency of the executive order, and had nothing.  Because he has nothing. 


Your point about documentation is off target.  Your position appears to be based on the assumption that those administering refugee admissions were previously not aware of the potential problems with documents and were doing nothing about it.  This is not true. 

There are plenty of sources out there that provide some of the high level details of the existing vetting process.  One key point: when the vetting is inconclusive, people don't get in. 

And this "burden" is still of your own imagination.  I have no idea why you think I need to show this.  I'm not trying to dictate the finer details of refugee vetting.  My point is that DJT, during his campaign and after, was misrepresenting and exaggerating the danger of Muslim immigrants and refugees, and that was the context for comparing Islamist jihad attacks against other terrorist attacks.  The motive was to help keep such dangers in perspective, not to malign and endanger the American right.

12
A few more quotes:
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we have to stop people from pouring into our country.

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...this is a problem that, if we don't solve it, it's going to eat our country alive. OK? It's going to eat our country alive."

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"We have to stop the tremendous flow of Syrian refugees into the United States," Trump said this week. "We don't know who they are. They have no documentation and we don't know what they're planning."

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“Altogether, under the Clinton plan, you’d be admitting hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Middle East with no system to vet them, or to prevent the radicalization of their children,”

Trump was lying that we are letting refugees in when they have no documentation.  He's also lying by using the words "pouring" and "tremendous flow".  He lied that Clinton proposed a system with no vetting, and even lied about the number.

Do you know what it's called when you use falsehoods and exaggerations to try to stir up public fear?  Hint for Seriati: it starts with f

13
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Trump was making a valid argument, that we need a travel ban in place to change how we are vetting refugees.  He said that against an express background of refugees in Europe causing any number of legal issues both because of lack of cultural similarity and because of express interest in doing so.  He said that against a background of refugees themselves killing other refugees over religious differences and raping women and children refugees in camps. 

That's just factual information.  Rather than address it, you tried to distract by calling it fear mongering because he used a trigger word that has been used enumerable times and is easily understandable in context.

That's irrelevant factual information.  None of the bad things you listed are helped by the travel ban.  None of them are things that are ignored by the civil servants who are vetting refugees according to the current (carryover) policies.

I'm not investing more time in this, since you are engaging in apologetics.


14
General Comments / Re: Day without a woman - wut?
« on: March 20, 2017, 03:38:33 PM »
Seriati:
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When an issue is a societal issue, all members of that society have a stake, sometimes it has more impact on one group or another, and we, as a society, should take that impacted group's opinion into account and even give it a heavier weight, but it's poor logic to believe that society can do nothing but defer to the most impacted group's view, and that all other views are meaningless.  In a nutshell, if you aren't worried about credibility to people outside the group, then you shouldn't expect people outside the group to support you. 

I'm just going to point out that this is why 'privilege' has become a more prominent talking point.  "This thing you are complaining about doesn't make sense from my perspective, so I'm going to continue to believe it's not really a problem and withhold my support."  As you point out, this can stall progress on the issue.  Where I differ from you is that I think it's your failure, not theirs.

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We also have heard that certain types of success are tied to ability to generate business, and personality.  Clearly there could be no sexism involved there.

Whether there is or not, it's not generally possible to address.  Should you be forced to buy All instead of Tide because one has more female board members?  Or more female shareholders, or a female CEO?   If there are three women owned stores in your town, should you be forced to shop at them even if they don't sell what you need?  How do you address that on average full time working men work five more hours a week than full time working women?

It's great to express snide maxims like you're making a point, but if you can't articulate a workable solution, all you're doing is patting yourself on the back for something that doesn't effect you and costs you nothing. 

Workable solutions are tricky.  Honestly, we are still stuck on recognizing why things are they way they are.  There's a lot of people who will hear "full time working men work five more hours a week than full time working women" and think "oh, there you go.  That's probably why there's an earnings gap, and why there are more male CEOs."  But why are they working more hours? 

The same thing goes when we identify attributes that correlate with earnings and positions.  Why do those attributes land you there?  Should they?

These top level explanations are not evidence that there's not a problem, or that there's nothing to be done.  They shouldn't end the conversation.  That they tend to is a symptom of the inertia of inequality. 

Don't jump to the conclusion that I'd like to put the state in charge of correcting all of this at every level.  Mainly I'd like people - including many women who accept the status quo without complaint - to try harder to understand where feminists are coming from; to stop being so stingy with "credibility". 

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Many many of the differences in outcomes between men and women come from men and women having different goals.  Complaining about a wage gap, when income is the primary motivator for something like 80% of working men and only 30% of working women is nonsensical.  Women have different motivations and refusing to acknowledge that their working habits tend to meet those goals rather than men's goals makes this comparison meaningless.

How nonsensical is it to demand equality, when we want different things, and then to use a "male" measure to claim it doesn't exist?

This, again, is finding a surface explanation and then proposing that we stop thinking about it.  OK, women want different things.  Why is that?  How are their goals shaped by what they expect to happen?  (BTW, which women in what place and how was the question phrased?)

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Nobody needs to quote Harrison Bergeron to me, we don't need to equalize outcomes at any cost.  But it's pretty funny when the way male-dominated systems work is used as justification for the fact that they aren't female-dominated, unless you're intentionally saying "because we're in charge" is all the answer required.

"We're" not in charge.  No one is.  But you can't override people's choices and you can't expect them to not have consequences either.

You're saying that men aren't predominantly in charge, relative to women?  What if we look at CEO positions, or board seats in general, or elected government positions?  I'm trying to understand how they aren't. 

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Seriati:

"How 1960's of you.  Which parent picks kids up is a family decision, isn't it?"

Yes, it is.  But discussion about patterns in these decisions, and how they relate to workplace norms and career arcs when you take gender into account, is completely on point.  Men may tell their wives that they can't pick up their kids because they won't be taken seriously at work, and women may face social consequences that men don't face for opting out of this task.

I'm guessing you're either not married, or pretty old.  I don't know any man around my age or younger who would get away with telling their wives they had to pick up the kids because he wouldn't be taken seriously if he did it.  The only time that argument ever came up in my life is when we were considering whether we both should hyphenate.  You're living in the 1960's, seriously. 

I'm married, roughly 40, and this conversation hasn't happened in my household because I'm not an idiot.  I'm not "living in the 1960s", but other people are.  Did you really assume I was describing something I thought was acceptable?

I have dozens of firsthand data points from people around my age.  It's pretty common for men to assume that their wives will handle logistics involving their children during working hours.  One common pattern would be men who consider it acceptable if their wives - who have been at home with children for a number of years - take a job outside the home as long as it doesn't require paying too much for daycare or for the man to have to pick up duties the wife had handled previously. 

In fact, this pattern is preached from the pulpit in more than one church.  Men should be the primary breadwinners, and women should be at home with the children. 

I find your skepticism that many men assume that their job takes priority over child related duties kind of baffling.  Do you not know many conservative religious people?

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Explaining the earning gap isn't the same as addressing the reasons for it. 

It literally is, but perhaps you mean something else.

It's not a justification.  It doesn't solve the problem, or show that there is no problem to solve. 

So what do we do about it? 

Some proposed solutions might address something that seems more like a symptom than a cause.  But you have to keep in mind that there are chicken-and-egg sorts of cyclical and self reinforcing patterns.  Sometimes an affirmative action technique is the best option available.  I'm open to them on a case by case basis.  But in the meantime, I'm hopeful that more people can acknowledge that complicated, cyclical, self reinforcing discrepancies are worth acknowledging and discussing and labeling as unfair even if there is no clear and obviously fair remedy.  Because *just that* helps to correct the problems, by informing individual choices.   

15
Seriati

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What part of that strikes you as fear mongering?  Just the fact that he used the word "suicide"?  That's pathetic.  We have real examples of fear mongering everywhere, using descriptive language doesn't get there.  Particularly not in a quote where he references the Constitution at least four times.  It's called context.  Or do you think Rachel Maddow was "fear mongering" when she referred to "suicide" later in the same transcript?

He said the word "Constitution" a lot, sure, but I don't think he referenced any of its content. 

Rachel Maddow was talking about something else unrelated.  I think you're trying to distract.

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You're not using logic or math either.  You seem to believe that there is some amount of terrorism we should agree to accept as a trade off for bringing in refugees.  The facts on the ground are that if you bring in enough refugees you will be brining in a future terrorist.  It's not a scare tactic to acknowledge that and address it.

So what is your acceptable incidence rate for Americans killed by refugees?  Is it one American dead per 1000 refugees admitted, or is it greater or lower?

Talk about arbitrary challenges...

It would be stupid to say that there isn't some amount of tradeoff between national security and other priorities in ANY policy that involves other nations.  I'm a bit surprised to see you implying that we should not accept any risk of terrorism as a result of allowing refugees to come into this country. 

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I don't understand this fascination by the left to believe that prominent Republicans are dumb and its their advisers that control everything.  What do you get out of it?  Is it just the ability to make accusations against shadowy manipulators who you know don't have a platform to respond, or it something else?

As I have pointed out to you many times, Trump has a reality problem.  He frequently and stubbornly refuses to accept facts that are unflattering or otherwise bother him.  He also talks in absolutes and makes promises he can't keep.  These things reflect deficits in his intelligence.

I'm not talking about any other republicans here.  Just Trump.  Some of his advisers are obviously smarter than him.  Remember, Trump recently said that nobody could have known how complicated health care is.  Well, some of his team did know.  Trump didn't know.  He's not that smart. 

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Well then, acknowledge the problem with your position and make a case.  What number of American citizens being killed by terrorism is reasonable per 1000 refugees? 

Why are you using the stupidest arguments possible?  Why don't you show a deficit in Obama administration vetting of refugees instead?

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You should really do more research into the news, not just what's spoon fed to you.  He has specifically stated that the original 7 countries were selected and identified because they had been identified as having their records compromised.  Iraq was removed in the latest order specifically because the administration was assured their records could be trusted.

You're telling me to do more research than to rely on the news, then referring to the administration's press oriented spin.  In the meantime, the administration has offered no evidence about deficits in current vetting.  Neither have you. 

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I'm going to posit, that you have no idea what it entailed, and that most likely you wouldn't agree to use it to evaluate a person who you'd have to trust with your life.

I'm basing my argument on accounts from people intimately involved with the vetting - which takes about 2 years and involves extensive interviewing and cross referencing, and who would dearly love to enhance the effectiveness of what they are doing but are not aware of any gaps that the Trump administration is trying to fill. 

What are the gaps the Trump administration is trying to fill?

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Out of curiosity, how does it "misrepresent" BLM to point out that death by cop is far less likely and far more avoidable than death by gang member?  And that increased police presence is one of the few things that can lead to real decreases in that second point?

It misrepresents BLM by suggesting that BLM is about the leading cause of death, instead of about a particular kind of pattern of injustice.  And your point about "increased police presence" COULD be relevant, but you just introduced that.  And by doing so, you suggest that BLM is against "increased police presence", which they are not. 

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It kind of demonstrates you're arguing with strawmen instead of real arguments.

No, it doesn't.  Pete doesn't seem to have read or understood my posts. 

Pete:

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I've been here longer than youhave, Sci Fi, and I'm a lot nicer now than when you arrived.  I have changed for the better while you have changed for the worse.

You have not improved in your ability to read what I write and respond in good faith.  You haven't acknowledged the factual errors in your posts in this thread, and YOU attacked my integrity because I challenged your hasty and wrong conclusions. 

If you're going to pat yourself on the back for getting me to respond with incivility, enjoy that.  But if you ever want to convince me that I've misjudged you, it's going to take a whole lot less ignoring, distorting, and misrepresenting me.

16
Pete, your point about demoralization would hold a little water if Trump's immigration order was justified.  But it wasn't.  We are already vetting people, and he's not preventing demoralizing attacks with his order. 

17
Pete:

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Why don't you provide a quote where you show that Trump's saying that the average joe in the street will face direct threat from Syrian refugees?

Because that's a completely arbitrary challenge.

But if you doubt the scale of his fearmongering, here's an example where he explains that continuing the Obama administration's policies is "committing suicide" as a nation:

http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meet-press-july-24-2016-n615706

Here's a tweet from DJT about the TRO on his immigration order:

Quote
Our legal system is broken! "77% of refugees allowed into U.S. since travel reprieve hail from seven suspect countries." (WT)  SO DANGEROUS!

He is obviously trying to scare people, and make them fear for their own safety.  He is not expecting people to use logic and math to understand this.  Logic would involve understanding the current vetting procedures and evaluating their success and whether there are any gaps.  Math and logic would confirm that a high proportion of refugees would be expected to come from bad and scary places. 

For my part, I don't think Trump understands these things.  I think he's being prodded and flattered by Bannon and others who are smarter than he is.  But that doesn't mean his tactics get a pass.  And it doesn't mean that his fear mongering should go without a response. 

Quote
Scapegoating how?  You may be right; I'm not being rhetorical.

He has used attacks that were NOT performed by classes of people who would be affected by his immigration order as examples of why his immigration order is urgent and correctly targeted.   He is blaming the wrong people for bad things that have been done in order to justify his actions again them. 

Quote
Syrian refugees have murdered the Christian and Yazidi refugees right in the camps, so I don't think it's scapegoating to suggest that there are some bad seeds among them. 

No one has suggested that there aren't bad seeds among them. 

There is an extremely thorough and prolonged vetting process before the refugees are allowed to come here.  Trump consistently pretends (or indulges the delusion) that there is no vetting, and that Obama ignored the danger.  That's a big chunk of the justification for one of his campaign planks, and his immigration orders.  He hasn't identified any specific failing of the existing system - in court his lawyers couldn't provide a shred of evidence for the urgency of his ban to get the TRO overturned - he is just putting on theater to convince the dumbest of his followers that he's going to fulfill his misguided campaign promises. 

That dangerous refugees exist in camps outside the US does not support Trump's claim that we aren't doing enough to make sure they don't come here.  He hasn't bothered to try to support that claim. 

Quote
You don't see anyone trying to put BLM into "perspective" and point out that the actual percentage of black people getting murdered by police officers is rather small compared to other causes of death. 

I sure do.  I see constant efforts to misrepresent and undermine BLM using just that kind of argument.  All in an effort to distract from the uncomfortable reality that racism across many institutions allows unjustified killings to go unpunished.

Quote
Why play stupid about it now and pretend that it's about statistical death when you cannot produce a single frakking quote, even from Trump, to that effect?  Trump says enough dumb stuff on his own; you don't have to go making stuff up.

You're getting ahead of yourself.  Me not jumping to meet your arbitrary demands doesn't demonstrate a thing, Pete. 

Oops, I missed something.  There is one attack after Orlando included.  It's the left wing extremist attack, the 2016 Dallas police shooting.

And it's being counted as a right wing white extremist attack.  While Orlando isn't counted.   And you don't find that fishy?

OMG, Pete.  ORLANDO IS COUNTED.  I already told you that. 

The news stories that don't mention Orlando came out WAY BEFORE ORLANDO.  The source they used has BEEN UPDATED.  WITH ORLANDO.

The irony that you would attack me and suggest I'm making stuff up when you're too lazy to read my posts in detail and follow links and reconsider your hasty conclusions...

You're the reason this site sucks now.

18
General Comments / Re: Day without a woman - wut?
« on: March 10, 2017, 04:32:01 PM »
*he


19
General Comments / Re: Day without a woman - wut?
« on: March 09, 2017, 07:02:31 PM »
note: where I said "female dominated" I should have said "not dominated by either gender".  Sorry if that trips anyone up.

20
Yeah, Timothy McVeigh used the biggest weapon he could.

Pete:
Quote
Blood libel = a lie defaming a broad group of people in a manner likely to inspire fear and murder.  For example, when Trump said that all Mexican illegal immigrants were rapists, that was blood libel.  It's a lie likely to get someone in the target group killed.

Yeah, I know how you mean it.  But it's not true.  The comparison you are referencing is not going to get anyone murdered.

Quote
That's how the study is being bandied around facebook, SciFi.  That White Christians are more dangerous than Jihadis.  Not than Muslims.  Than Jihadis.

You're ignoring the reason that this is going around Facebook, and you're outright denying that reason here:

Quote
"'But if the political question in the air is how much danger are you in from Islamist terrorism"

That's a ridiculous straw man, SciFi.  Come on.  Please point me to where on Fox News or even Breitbart News that anyone is saying that we need to be afraid to go out on the street because some jihadi will murder us?

Haven't you been listening to Donald Trump?  He literally claims that we have to stop admitting Syrian refugees right now because some of the ones that are currently getting through the vetting process are going to kill us.  He is scapegoating and fear mongering, and telling blatant lies about how things currently work and the level of danger involved. 

As I said, the comparison is in RESPONSE to fear mongering about Muslim immigrants and refugees and the danger they pose to Americans.  It is NOT intended to stir up fear and violence against right wing Americans.   I find your belief otherwise frankly paranoid.

21
General Comments / Re: Day without a woman - wut?
« on: March 09, 2017, 06:49:19 PM »
It's amusing to hear the explanation that women's rights movements would have more success if they earned more "credibility" according to men. 

We also have heard that certain types of success are tied to ability to generate business, and personality.  Clearly there could be no sexism involved there. 

It's pretty clear that if women were men, there wouldn't be a problem.

Nobody needs to quote Harrison Bergeron to me, we don't need to equalize outcomes at any cost.  But it's pretty funny when the way male-dominated systems work is used as justification for the fact that they aren't female-dominated, unless you're intentionally saying "because we're in charge" is all the answer required.

Pete, this is an interesting factoid (where'd you get it?):

"The wage gap is a lie. Women spend collectively twice as much as men do in the USA."

How does spending relevant to wages when people pool their incomes and spending is often a chore? 

Seriati:

"How 1960's of you.  Which parent picks kids up is a family decision, isn't it?"

Yes, it is.  But discussion about patterns in these decisions, and how they relate to workplace norms and career arcs when you take gender into account, is completely on point.  Men may tell their wives that they can't pick up their kids because they won't be taken seriously at work, and women may face social consequences that men don't face for opting out of this task. 

Explaining the earning gap isn't the same as addressing the reasons for it. 

22
It's actually interesting to juxtapose how the existence of Islamist terrorists affects how people feel about Muslims with how the existence of right wing terrorists affects how people feel about the American right.

Does anyone at all conflate "American Christian" with "terrorist"?  How about "Muslim" with "terrorist"?

I'm just not seeing the blood libel thing, Pete.  As a matter of fact, of all the many times you've used that term, I've never thought it made sense, but especially not here.  Not only is that not the effect of the comparison, it has nothing to do with the intent. 

The intent of the comparison is to put the danger of Islamist terror attacks into perspective, because of the hyperbolic focus of politicians, news media, and Americans in general on that specific danger. 

Drake, you're right that focusing on the number of deaths could be misleading.  If you, for instance, want to know how much we need to spend on anti-terrorism measures and where to allocate those resources, you need a much more detailed picture. 

But if the political question in the air is how much danger are you in from Islamist terrorism if things stay about the same relative to the past 10 years, then it's the right metric.  But the number by itself also needs context/perspective. 

We could also compare it to any number of much more likely causes of death.  But comparing it to other terrorist killings is pretty interesting and responsive to misleading rhetoric about the supposedly unique dangers of Islamic beliefs in relation to terrorism.

23
Oops, I missed something.  There is one attack after Orlando included.  It's the left wing extremist attack, the 2016 Dallas police shooting.

24
The news stories you linked to rely on information from this organization:

https://www.newamerica.org/in-depth/terrorism-in-america/what-threat-united-states-today/

From what I can tell, they are first isolating events that meet a certain definition of terrorist attack, and then grouping them.

I don't see a big problem here. 

1) The stories you linked to came out before Orlando.  As you can see from my link above, Orlando is not excluded from the comparison.  (But note, NOTHING after Orlando is included.)

2) Tampa and Burlington might be included at some point.  There's no evidence that they have been deliberately excluded; they are more recent than the most recent events that were included.

3) Boston Marathon IS included

4) No idea why you think Safeway should be included as a jihadist killing, and I don't think Al-Zahrani fits either.

On the other hand, Faisal Mohammad (UC Mercer stabber) probably should have been included.  And I'm not sure DC sniper should have been excluded - although his motives seem muddled enough that I am not sure he should have been included either. 

But since Orlando and Boston are included and a couple of other exclusions might be missing only because they are the most recent events, I think you've overstated the case quite a bit.

Now, if someone said "We must mount an anti-right-wing terrorism task force to combat the rising dangers of right wing extremists!!!" your point about lumping various attacks under the label "right wing extremist attacks" might carry more weight.  But that's not happening.  This is a response to hysteria about Islamist terrorism, not an attempt to whip up fear about right wing terror.

25
General Comments / Re: Trump 2.0
« on: March 01, 2017, 05:31:01 PM »
OK, so I agree with him on one thing.

26
General Comments / Re: Trump 2.0
« on: March 01, 2017, 05:01:58 PM »
I forgot to mention that I was pleased to see him sticking with his infrastructure spending promises, and mentioning high drug costs.  I think it's incoherent to talk about keeping health insurance plan prices down without an individual mandate (as long as single payer is off the table, which seems to be the case), so I can't give him much credit for that.

27
General Comments / Re: Let's talk about Corruption
« on: March 01, 2017, 04:58:58 PM »
WS, because the article relies on partisan sound bites. 

Some of the groups that received settlement funds don't appear to have any partisan alignment at all.  For instance
Quote
"It required JP Morgan to donate
$7.5 million to a third-party: the American Bankruptcy
Institute's (ABI) endowment for financial education and support
for the Credit Abuse Resistance Education Program (CAREP).
    CAREP educates high school and college students on the
responsible use of credit and credit cards
[...]
ABI is not an ideological group. It is a non-profit with a
reputation for good work."

The House report that I linked to doesn't appear to level the charge that is being reported by Fox - that this was abused as a way to steer funds to partisan causes.  In fact, here's another quote from the report:

Quote
It is not that DOJ officials are
necessarily funding bad projects, it is that, outside of
securing compensation for actual victims, it is not their
decision to make.

The report doesn't appear to contain or link to a list of such settlements, so I think it's a bit premature for Seriati or anyone else to suggest that only leftist groups benefited.

28
General Comments / Re: Let's talk about Corruption
« on: March 01, 2017, 03:42:13 PM »
From what I understand at this point, I think I agree with Pete. 

29
General Comments / Re: Trump 2.0
« on: March 01, 2017, 03:26:03 PM »
If he goes a few weeks without tweeting insults and lies, I'll think he's trying harder to listen to advice. 

If he ever acknowledges that a lot of the country disapproves of what he's doing (not just "fake news" about what he's doing) then I'll be hopeful that he's not as immune to facts as he has previously appeared to be. 

But the speech doesn't demonstrate much.  It resembles the one from inauguration but with more Priebus and less Bannon.  That's a positive shift in rhetoric - but I didn't see him acknowledging reality any more than he ever has, so I don't find it encouraging by itself. 

Here's an example from the opening remarks:
Quote
A new chapter of American Greatness is now beginning.
A new national pride is sweeping across our Nation.
And a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp.
What we are witnessing today is the Renewal of the American Spirit.

More than half the country thinks we're on the wrong track, and only 37% say it's headed in the right direction.  50% of the country disapproves of the job he is doing (compared to 43% approving).  This is a record low for a new president's approval rating.  These are honeymoon numbers. 

That he dares to use the lofty lines quoted above to describe the dismal state of his administration's effect on the "American Spirit" is either blatant lying or total delusion. 

He goes on:

Quote
Dying industries will come roaring back to life. Heroic veterans will get the care they so desperately need.
Our military will be given the resources its brave warriors so richly deserve.
Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our beautiful land.
Our terrible drug epidemic will slow down and ultimately, stop.
And our neglected inner cities will see a rebirth of hope, safety, and opportunity.
Above all else, we will keep our promises to the American people.

He has not articulated a plan for any of this!  And he's already broken some of his promises, such as releasing his tax returns and providing a plan to defeat ISIS in the first 30 days of his administration. 

Punchy rhetoric, but no more grounded than in the past.

He continued scapegoating immigrants and refugees, and stoking fears about America getting taken over by newcomers. 

And he dismissed all of his opposition as "trivial fights".

Looks pretty same-old to me, just a more scripted version. 

30
General Comments / Re: America Under a Supreme Leader
« on: February 22, 2017, 04:03:24 PM »
Quote
Further, it also puts emphasis on how non-representative that audience likely was in terms of the "real views" of people in his district.

I'm sure it was non-representative, but I think a vocal and concerned minority can matter as much as a complacent majority - depending on the particulars. 

And actually bothering to look at where that particular town hall happened, I can certainly see that particular Town Hall being packed with people from outside of his actual district. As he held the town hall on the extreme northern end of his Congressional District, not far from the South-Eastern quarter of the I-215 loop around SLC.

Basically the Utah equivalent of a Republican holding a town hall meeting within "convenient traveling distance" of UC Berkeley.

Well, his office picked the location, and the cities in that northern part of his district have a large chunk of his constituency. 

31
General Comments / Re: America Under a Supreme Leader
« on: February 21, 2017, 07:01:30 PM »
Quote
Rumor mill in the Utah area evidently is that many of the people who turned out to protest in SLC, and even some of those "thousands" that turned up to a particular Town Hall meeting were paid operatives.

Ugh, no.  This is not true.  There is no evidence for this.  Chaffetz appears to have made this up - he cited someone who said they weren't being paid by a national Democratic organization as evidence that they were being paid to attend by some organization which is really an embarrassingly bad logical fallacy. 

I am a member of Facebook groups that were used to recruit people to come to Chaffetz's town hall.  The people who made the event happen used those groups as their home base.  People were sharing talking points and suggestions for how to pin Chaffetz down on certain questions.  They were encouraging group members to show up and bring their fellow constituents.  They weren't offering money, even bus fare. 

Please don't spread such "rumors" which are actually disinformation designed to distract people from the very real and impassioned opposition to Trump's agenda and Chaffetz's complicity in the same.  If you don't believe Chaffetz would do that, then at best it's wishful thinking on his part - which would indicate he's on board with Trump's strategy of calling the disapproval of constituents "fake news". 

32
General Comments / Re: America Under a Supreme Leader
« on: February 13, 2017, 02:44:50 AM »
Quote
Except that's just a lie.  Republicans didn't go out and blacklist everyone they could find because they voted for the other guy, they didn't riot and throw giant tantrums.

So how many Democrats are blacklisting every Trump voter they can find and rioting?

Tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands more than with Republicans?  Kind of a silly point your making to try and argue away protests and brown shirt tactics, because millions of other people aren't directly engaging in them (and I note, they're barely condemning them, if they bother to do so at all).

You have some data to share?

Quote
Quote
Quote
They didn't flood their Facebook feeds with self-righteous hate speech.

They didn't?  I've seen a steady stream of hate for Obama ever since I joined Facebook - conspiracy theories, fake news, calling him a traitor and a terrorist and an enemy to America.  You didn't see this stuff?  You didn't see a flood of self-righteous hate speech against Hillary Clinton?

I don't think there's remote parity on the volume even for the limited subset you list.
Data?
Quote
However, what I'm referring to is the daily personal level hate I'm seeing on Facebook among other places.  People who are literally calling their grandparents racists and advocating defriending every Trump voter they know, breaking up their families unless people agree to let them control their future votes, insisting that anyone who speaks out neutrally be treated as if they are a Trump supporter and boycotted for "normalizing" Trump.

So no.  I didn't see anything equivalent.  I'm not aware of any Republicans personally who openly advocating blackmailing family members, or who advocated destroying every business where an owner doesn't agree to back every position they want. 

How about we advocate that Republicans do act this way?  That they start firing any employees with different political views to "boycott" using their money to support their families and "noxious" opinions.

You're exaggerating to an extreme degree - or generalizing extreme examples.  Neither is good argument.

Quote
Quote
Now with Trump, we are seeing some conspiracy theory stuff from the fringes, but that's not the bulk of the opposition.  The bulk is specific opposition to his policy ideas and nominations for concrete reasons, and outrage at the things he is actually doing (not the things we imagine he is doing).

Well except that the outrage predated the specific policies, which puts the lie to your argument.  Calls to impeach before he was even in office, etc. 

To the degree that we knew Trump's policies, they were abhorrent.  Kill the families of terrorists.  Ban Muslims from the country.  Sue news outlets who print criticisms ("open up the libel laws"). 

I'm not saying calls to impeach Trump before he did anything official were well-grounded in reality, but the indications he provided about what he wanted to do certainly were cause for outrage.

Quote
Quote
You say it's all a bunch of tantrums, but I say that people are justifiably outraged.

I say its both.  But the vast majority are engaged in poorly founded tantrums, and its the select few with barely justifiable outrage, not the reverse.

Vast majority, eh?
Quote
Quote
Quote
Democrats always take the surface message and miss the substance.  It wasn't blind opposition you saw, you just didn't seem to be able to understand the other side well enough to understand why they legitimately opposed you.

Um, irony alert.  The opposition you are seeing is anything but blind.  Maybe you should take more time to understand it.

Then enlighten me, I've spent years giving you the details on legitimate opposition to Obama's positions.  So explain away, you can even pick the topic.

Not sure it's worth the time?  You're engaged in apologetics here. 

Opposition to Betsy DeVos is grounded in her total lack of qualifications and fundamental disagreement with her ideas about education reform.

33
General Comments / Re: No body, no parole
« on: February 09, 2017, 01:34:34 PM »
Good point, Pete - someone wrongfully convicted could - understandably - profess false guilt and contrition in order to get early release, but they couldn't deliver a body. 

Seeing how this rule would perversely help real killers and hurt wrongfully convicted ones, it seems wrong. 

A version of this that gives something to the real killers in exchange for the benefits of finding the body, but doesn't take anything away from wrongfully convicted prisoners, might be better.  Funds for the commissary?  A (modest) cash payment to a relative on the outside?  Still a morbid business and hardly fair, but nobody ends up worse off. 

34
General Comments / Re: America Under a Supreme Leader
« on: February 09, 2017, 01:26:33 PM »
Quote
Except that's just a lie.  Republicans didn't go out and blacklist everyone they could find because they voted for the other guy, they didn't riot and throw giant tantrums.

So how many Democrats are blacklisting every Trump voter they can find and rioting? 

Quote
They didn't flood their Facebook feeds with self-righteous hate speech.

They didn't?  I've seen a steady stream of hate for Obama ever since I joined Facebook - conspiracy theories, fake news, calling him a traitor and a terrorist and an enemy to America.  You didn't see this stuff?  You didn't see a flood of self-righteous hate speech against Hillary Clinton? 

Now with Trump, we are seeing some conspiracy theory stuff from the fringes, but that's not the bulk of the opposition.  The bulk is specific opposition to his policy ideas and nominations for concrete reasons, and outrage at the things he is actually doing (not the things we imagine he is doing). 

You say it's all a bunch of tantrums, but I say that people are justifiably outraged.

Quote
Democrats always take the surface message and miss the substance.  It wasn't blind opposition you saw, you just didn't seem to be able to understand the other side well enough to understand why they legitimately opposed you.

Um, irony alert.  The opposition you are seeing is anything but blind.  Maybe you should take more time to understand it.

35
General Comments / Re: French "Feminist" defends the "Duty to Abort"
« on: February 09, 2017, 12:14:25 PM »
I don't think that novelty or facility makes something not theology. 

36
General Comments / Re: French "Feminist" defends the "Duty to Abort"
« on: February 08, 2017, 06:21:30 PM »
While there's not usually much progress to be made in using scientific discoveries and reasoning to argue against religious beliefs, since those beliefs are usually based on a completely different epistemology, I think there IS a simple logical contradiction between two beliefs that are often held in tandem:

1) The bible is the literal word of god and has all the religious law you need to know contained therein.
2) A new person that we shalt not kill exists at the moment a sperm fertilizes an egg. 

The latter is predicated on knowledge that isn't in the bible and isn't compatible with relevant verses in the bible. 

I don't think this is as much a problem for Catholics as it is for fundamentalist sects who tend to believe #1.  I don't think people who hold both beliefs agree with me that there's a logical contradiction, but I think that is because of ignorance.

So anyway I support the effort to respond to a religious argument that "life begins at conception" - or even the 3rd party summation of that belief in those terms - with an attempt to establish terms that have a consistent definition.  It doesn't establish a common semantic framework for the discussion, sadly, but it gets us closer.

37
General Comments / Re: French "Feminist" defends the "Duty to Abort"
« on: February 08, 2017, 04:45:20 PM »
Couple of quick points (wish I had more time but I don't):

I've had this discussion with Fenring before and unfortunately couldn't get past the logical contradictions.  There is no consistent definition of "living being" that draws a line between "is a living being" or "may become a living being".  Pete knows this and knows that "the beginning of life" is too muddled and self-contradictory a term to work with. 

Sperm-fertilizes-egg is a neat definitional milestone for almost every person (I'm fairly confident someone has produced a human clone by now, and if not it'll be soon), but since that's an event we can't detect and most of those events don't result in an implantation, it doesn't seem to have any practical value.  It also may result in multiple people.  "This is a person" doesn't really work when it may later be two people. 

And, in fact, chimeras are possible too - two different zygotes can turn into one person.

Life is continuous.  When it begins is billions of years ago.  When it ends is in a future holocaust. 

For legal and ethical purposes we need to look at when personhood begins, and "upon fertilization" is impractical and unable to cope with twinning and chimeras. 

It may be that we need multiple legal concepts instead of a person/not-person dichotomy to best cope with the process of reproduction, embryonic and fetal development, and birth. 

38
General Comments / Re: Pelosi Townhall
« on: February 06, 2017, 01:33:53 PM »
Seriati: you missed it.  Here's a really recent one:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/12/politics/paul-ryan-town-hall/

39
General Comments / Re: Mormonism tl;dr?
« on: February 02, 2017, 03:46:34 PM »
* Family relationships can continue in the afterlife

If the family members are "sealed" (one of the temple rituals) and they are sufficiently righteous.  "Families can be together forever" is one way they put it in songs and lessons. 

---

Source: born and raised, but I no longer attend or believe in it.

40
General Comments / Re: Mormonism tl;dr?
« on: February 02, 2017, 03:37:18 PM »
This probably sounds like a funny and unspecific question, but since there are some people here knowledgeable about Mormonism, can someone please tell me basically what it's about and what distinguishes it from other kinds of Christianity? I was inspired to ask because of the brief tangent in the other thread about the trinity in various Christian denominations.

Here are some things that distinguish Mormons (though they aren't all unique):

* Belief that they have a more complete version of the gospel

, including additional ordinances that are necessary for higher degrees of glory in the afterlife (bigger and better salvation, see TheDeamon's explanation of degrees of glory and outer darkness).  This was supposedly lost from the earth in the early centuries after Christ but restored through the prophet Joseph Smith in the early to mid 19th century.  The successful practice of this complete gospel requires unbroken priesthood authority from Christ which was also lost and then restored and is now unique to this church.

* Certain ordinances take place in temples to which access is limited.

Access is granted to members who are judged sufficiently obedient.  Some of the ordinances appear to be modified Masonic rituals (Joseph Smith was a Mason before he introduced them) but they tie in to church doctrine.

* Saving the dead

Mormons belief that proxy ordinances for dead people can make salvation available to those who didn't get there before they died.  These proxy ordinances happen in the temple.  It's why LDS are famous for genealogy. 

* Belief in ongoing revelation and an open canon. 

Joseph Smith "restored" the fullness of the gospel but in theory all the church presidents that followed have had the same prophetic authority and access.  None of them have contributed more than a tiny fraction of what Joseph Smith contributed to the canon, though, and it has been quite static for many decades except for a blip in 1978.  A lot of what early Presidents taught has been officially excluded from the canon.

* The church organization is hierarchy of men

with one president who is often called "the prophet", and a series of councils and areas and stakes and wards which each have their own presiding authorities.  While the authority is concentrated in men, there are auxiliary women's and "Primary" (instruction of children) organizations with their own hierarchy of women.  However, at each level they are presided over by men. 

Some women members have recently been asking for equal priesthood authority.  This change is unlikely because the orthodox and official belief is that sex-based roles are divinely established and eternal.  Some leaders of the Ordain Women movement have been excommunicated.

* Everyone is supposed to be entitled to revelation

that helps them with their church job (aka calling) or just in general.  The concept is that you can get revelation that applies to your place in the hierarchy.  An average member can't get revelation that supersedes what the church president has received, but he can get revelation for his own family (should we take the job in Nebraska?), or for the class he is assigned to teach (how can I get Timmy to listen and learn?).   However, the big caveat is that you have to be spiritually in tune, which requires obedience.  If you aren't obedient you can become "spiritually dead" meaning you can't perceive the revelation and confirmation that would otherwise be yours.

* Recruitment is really important

The church maintains a large force of missionaries, mostly young men from 18-20 and a smaller chunk of young women from 19-21.  It's also common for retired married couples to serve a mission.  They wear suits or dresses and wear badges and often ride bikes.  They knock on doors and (increasingly) also use social media and networking techniques to find people to teach.  They teach a simplified version of the history of the LDS church and the salvation that it offers and hope to baptize converts. 

They do service projects some of the time.  Their mission service is away from home and they have to stay with a companion of the same sex at all times (except married couples who just stay with each other).

* Local leaders aren't paid

General authorities and mission presidents get stipends and reimbursements that permit a comfortable standard of living with some perks.  But stake and ward leaders do not get paid even though the demands on their time are very high.  Active church members usually have a calling (or several), these are also unpaid.  It used to be common for people to claim that the LDS church had no paid clergy (sometimes this was called "priestcraft"), but this is not really accurate above the local level. 

41
General Comments / Re: Trump - armchair analysis
« on: February 02, 2017, 12:20:53 AM »
I think Conway's in it for the long haul.  I think she actually thrives on the challenge of a palatable spin. 

Spicer will be out before long.  If not by choice, then because Trump wants someone who won't choke on his talking points.

42
General Comments / Re: Ham-handed rollout, or masterful?
« on: January 30, 2017, 03:21:03 PM »
https://lawfareblog.com/malevolence-tempered-incompetence-trumps-horrifying-executive-order-refugees-and-visas

Of course we can't prove that the point here was to give a middle finger to Muslims, but since the wording was sloppy, the vetting of the policy with relevant agencies was non-existent, the inclusion/exclusion criteria were nonsensical....

I have to agree with the writer. 

It's also possible that Trump (by which I mean Bannon) wanted a lot of attention and noise on this issue to distract from something else.  Russia sanctions, maybe.  Although if so I don't think that game is going to work as well as they hope. 

43
General Comments / Trump's Twitter patter
« on: January 26, 2017, 07:05:49 PM »
I'm following Trump's personal twitter account as well as @POTUS.  Between the two, over 30 million followers but there's probably almost total overlap, so let's call it 22 million or so.


He's using this channel to do some interesting things:


1) Attack mainstream news outlets and call them "fake news."  He's equating CNN's coverage of the existence of an unsubstantiated dossier with completely fabricated stories meant to troll the masses and gin up outrage.  By doing this, he gives his supporters - and maybe himself - permission to equate quoting CNN with forwarding and repeating the complete fabrications that actually earn the "fake news" moniker.  He encourages his followers to continue to prefer "alternative facts". 


2) Promote his TV appearances. 


3) Hamfisted diplomacy.  He got Mexico's president to back out of a meeting by trying to keep alive his always-and-forever-ridiculous promise to make Mexico pay for his wall. 


4) Try to steer consumers to products and media companies he likes.  (He likes the ones that stroke his ego, of course.)


5) Attack entertainers for having opinions that don't flatter him.


6) Threaten to "send in the feds".  Granted, nobody seems to be able to make sense of this, but we're left with two options: he doesn't understand how anything works, or he wanted to do something extreme like declare martial law in Chicago.


7) Provide information about the executive orders, meetings, and other things he's working on.


Only one of these things is arguably a good thing (in case you are wondering, it's the last one, and it's not necessarily a good thing if it stands in for reporting and analysis). 


For the rest, he seems to have an incredibly thin skin, poor impulse control, and the inclination to use his bully pulpit to try to pick winners and losers in the marketplace. 

Is there any reason this shouldn't disturb everyone? 

44
General Comments / Re: What the CIA report *actually* says
« on: January 18, 2017, 04:41:22 PM »
Quote
Honestly, are you really concerned that Trump is untrustworthy?  I'd think you'd be more concerned that he does keep his promises.

I'm concerned by a consistently demonstrated refusal to deal with reality.  He's been convinced that vaccines cause autism and that Obama was born in Kenya long after it was remotely reasonable to hang on to those beliefs.  He still lies constantly - has done all through the campaign.  Right now the public overwhelmingly dislikes and disapproves of him, and he is literally in denial about that.  He says the polls are rigged.  It would be one thing to acknowledge the disapproval and continue with what he believes is right anyway, but he refuses to believe the facts. 

Someone like this has bad judgment.  They can't be trusted with responsibility.  They do incredibly stupid things like hiring anti-public education figures to run public education. 

But yeah, he's untrustworthy.  He promised to drain the swamp.  So far he's hiring two kinds of people: swamp creatures and boot lickers. 

45
General Comments / Re: The Obama Lovefest
« on: January 18, 2017, 04:34:53 PM »
Yeah, it does turn out that the GOP's full court press of obstructionism, suspicion, and derision worked in a few ways.  It limited what Obama could get done, it sabotaged things that could have worked much better than they did, it kept ignorant voters convinced that Obama was literally an enemy of the American people, and it demonstrated that the federal government was dysfunctional (clearly demonstrating, in some way for some people, that electing more of the people who were throwing sand in the gears was a good option - although we have to give the GOP credit for gerrymandering much of their own success here).

Still, he held it together better than most people saddled with his opposition would have done, and accelerated some of the movement toward improved justice for people who have been marginalized.  He inspired millions of people in ways that will pay dividends for a very long time.  If you think that sounds stupid, I think you lack heart.

But the biggest reason he's getting a lot of love right now: there's nothing to improve your opinion of the current boss like confronting the reality of a much worse boss. 

46
I'm in favor of government transparency to a degree that most people would probably consider unrealistic, but I also am not sure that this commutation won't contribute to other leaks of the reckless endangerment variety. 

But if President Obama thought it was best, I would have to say that he's presently in a better position than pretty much anyone else to make that judgment call.  And I think he must think it's the right thing to do: I think the PR is a net negative and he would have known it would be. 

47
General Comments / Re: Will any Trump supporters abandon him?
« on: January 03, 2017, 04:36:47 PM »
Quote
Don't think it takes a "secret" plan to defeat ISIS, just a real commitment to do what it takes.

But his plan, if it exists, IS a secret.  Is that why it is a secret?  Because "what it takes" is a horrific civilian death toll, or furthering instability and radicalization in the middle east, or a cost far higher than anyone would want to pay?  Most likely a combination of these things? 

I don't think he has a plan, I think he was blustering (just like with the rest of his platform).  But if he does have a plan, the hints we have to go on suggest it's along the lines of bigger and more bombs. 

Quote
Trump is not a master manipulator...

His primary talent is persuasion.  He doesn't have better business ideas than other people, he just convinces investors to give him money and keep the risk.  He didn't win on policy, he won on promises that frequently didn't make any sense and to some extent on exploiting fears and hatred. 

"Primary talent is persuasion" is true of most politicians, of course.  But most of them are constrained by reality and have more or less coherent proposals.  Not Trump.

Trump is nothing if he is not a master manipulator. 

But on this I agree with you: If he doesn't make his base feel like things are going better, then he will lose support.  But the ways he can make his base feel like things are going better do not equate to good policies with objectively better results. 

48
General Comments / Re: Trump's remaining picks
« on: December 16, 2016, 06:53:42 PM »
:D

49
General Comments / Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« on: December 12, 2016, 02:23:06 PM »
Trump is either negotiating for a better price (good) or diddling the stock market, (very bad)

He's actually punishing Boeing for a story that was published - minutes before he started complaining about the high costs - where one of the execs was critical of him.  He has a long and pretty consistent track record of lashing out whenever his fragile ego is threatened by someone with sufficient fame or wealth for Trump to consider them relevant. 

I consider this very, very bad.  Because this guy needs some diplomatic restraint and this is another indication that he might not be able to muster any.

50
General Comments / Re: Alt-Center, Moderate extremists of the world unite
« on: November 29, 2016, 07:12:25 PM »
Admittedly part of the problem is that sensible ideas are distorted and maligned by pundits and news outlets until they sound dystopian.  But as others pointed out, nuance is hard to sell. 

I'm pretty discouraged right now, since Trump is appointing people with terrible, terrible ideas to his cabinet.

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