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Topics - velcro

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General Comments / What has George Soros done that is so terrible?
« on: November 05, 2018, 09:21:04 PM »
Please help me to learn more about this.

Actual evidence with sources please.  I won't quibble over your definition of terrible, but I will point out unfounded accusations, or distortion of facts and sources.

If the complaint is that he gives money to causes, keep in mind a few things:
-Is he open about where his money goes?  (Sure, if it is really secret, we would have no evidence, but that is not a valid argument.  I could secretly be Barbra Streisand, but absent any evidence, it is ridiculous to make the claim)
-Ignoring his philosophy, how is he different from the Koch brothers, or Sheldon Adelson?


General Comments / Pittsburgh Shooter
« on: October 31, 2018, 10:00:22 PM »
The gunman who killed 11 people in a synagogue in Pittsburgh posted this at 9:49 AM on Saturday:

“HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people.  I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered.”

At 9:54, the first call came in to 9-1-1.

We have seen these posts as well:

They don't care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country

Stop the onslaught of illegal aliens from crossing our Southern Border

This is an invasion of our Country

Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. This is a National Emergency

They want to open America’s borders and turn our country into a friendly sanctuary for murderous thugs from other countries who will kill us all

There are certainly problems with our immigration system.  But none of these baseless, hateful posts are beneficial.  They incite fear, and to a receptive audience, violence.

These posts should be condemned unequivocally.

And yes, the last five are from the President of the United States.

General Comments / Trump Orders NYT to Turn Over Writer to the Government.
« on: September 05, 2018, 09:51:42 PM »
Does the so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!

Let me get this straight.  The President is ordering a newspaper to "turn over" to the government the writer of an Op-Ed.  No investigation, no judge, no warrant.  No plausible national security threat.  The lead law-enforcement officer of the country is ordering this. Publicly, on what is considered official channels.

How is this not a house-on-fire constitutional crisis? How is this not a cut-and-dried violation of the Constitutional oath?

Is it because nobody actually believes he means it, including the entire Congress, and the entire Executive branch?  What does that say about how our country views the Presidency now that Trump is President?  How will we know he really means anything?  How can our country function with that kind of ambiguity?  How impotent and dysfunctional does it make our country look, especially considering that he hired the person he wants turned over?

I apologize for sounding shrill, but this is seriously, seriously, effed up.

General Comments / Misleading or False Claims by Trump
« on: September 04, 2018, 01:23:20 PM »
Just a sort of archive of the most egregious examples.  Please note that these are not "lies", so do not move the goalposts and claim they do not meet that standard.

In order to be lies, they must be false, but we must also know that the person telling them is aware of the false character.  I won't try to guess what Trump actually knows.  This will simply state what he said, and what the facts are.

Also, technically an intentionally misleading statement is not a lie.  But from a moral standpoint, I believe intentionally misleading statements are just as bad as lies.

Finally, if Trump says something like "Democrats are for open borders", please don't claim that to be an opinion, and therefore immune from characterization as false or misleading.  He stated it as fact.  Opinions are "I like ice cream" or "Rugby is better than football", which can't be disproven.

If anyone is curious, I am picking items from here.  Feel free to doubt that site - not all 4713 (as of today) false or misleading statements are particularly harmful, or well documented.  But please do not ignore the facts I present.

Here's one from yesterday.

SEP 3 2018
“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff.”

The investigations were not "Obama era".

Trump is referring to the recent indictments of Reps. Christopher Collins (R-N.Y.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.). He calls them "Obama era" probes but Collins was indicted for insider trading that allegedly took place on June 17, 2017; a video caught him making a call on Trump's White House lawn that was cited in the case. Hunter was cited for campaign spending violations by the Federal Election Commission in 2016 but there was also a House Ethics Committee investigation -- and it did not defer to the Justice Department probe until 2017. Both indictments were approved by a U.S. attorney picked by the Trump

As far as harm, those who think anything from the Obama era is suspect will have more reason to doubt the validity of the investigations, thus further eroding support for law enforcement.  I won't get into Trump's implication that anything from the Obama era is suspect, or that the party affiliation of those being investigated should be relevant in any way.

I will add to this as time permits.  I would ask for others adding to he list, try to make it as bulletproof as possible.  There are plenty of choices to pick from.

General Comments / Trump Putin Summit
« on: July 16, 2018, 10:47:03 PM »
Today the President of the United States:

-said he believes the leader of Russia over his own intelligence agencies.
-blamed the bad relationship between Russia and the US on the US, ignoring the fact that Russia meddled in our elections, stole Ukraine, assassinated British citizens on British soil, supports Assad, meddled in Brexit, and has a horrible human rights record.

Not major, but hinting at the tone:
The Russian Foreign Minister described the outcome as "better than super"
Putin was an hour late and made Trump wait.
When Putin finished his prepared remarks, Trump went over, shook his hand, and whispered, "Thank you, thank you very much"
It's not clear, but it looks a lot like Trump winked at Putin.
Nobody's tougher on Russia than Trump, right?

Nothing substantive was agreed to on any issue during this summit, as far as I know.
Nobody was allowed to hear what was discussed, not even advisers, as far as I know.

This is after insulting our allies and starting a trade war.

Russia's goals are:
-break up Western alliances
-make Western democracies look ineffective and corrupt, so Russia does not look like a bad alternative

I am not claiming that Trump works for Russia.  I am saying that if he were working for Russia, he would be doing exactly what he is doing now.

Is it time for impeachment yet?

General Comments / Germany Is Totally Controlled by Russia
« on: July 15, 2018, 09:24:06 PM »
Had Trump pointed out, as other people have, that there are reasons to be concerned about the extent that Germany is dependent on Russian energy, I would not disagree.

But here is what President Trump said

“Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline. And you tell me if that’s appropriate, because I think it’s not, and I think it’s a very bad thing for NATO and I don’t think it should have happened.”

Nope. Untrue, and if it has a kernel of truth, it is lost in the complete hyperbole.

As Angela Merkel pointed out, East Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union.  That’s what total foreign control looks like. So the situation now is not even close.

And of course, the facts are wrong.  If all of their current supplies of natural gas are replaced by the pipeline, Germany will get about 60 to 70 percent of their natural gas from Russia.  Natural gas is less than 20% of their energy.  That comes out to 14% of their energy, at most. Add in coal and oil, and maybe you get to 25%.  That’s a lot smaller than 60 to 70%.

So the claim is wrong on two fronts.  Either he is ignorant or lying.

Is anyone going to claim he is right? (Let me guess...“totally controlled” doesn’t actually mean “totally controlled”.  We should have “understood that comment wasn't literal”, it was “not intended to be a factual statement”.  Uh huh.)

Is anyone going to claim that this is acceptable behavior, without an overdose of whataboutism?

Is anyone going to claim this is acceptable treatment of an ally?


Donald Trump, June 27 (Caps in original)

I never pushed the Republicans in the House to vote for the Immigration Bill, either GOODLATTE 1 or 2, because it could never have gotten enough Democrats as long as there is the 60 vote threshold.

Donald Trump, June 30

I see a few options:
1.  He doesn't know what he is talking about
2.  He doesn't pay attention to what he says from day to day
3.  He says whatever is best for him at the moment regardless of what he said before

Option1 means he is mentally incompetent, Option 2 means he is incompetent as any sort of administrator or leader, and Option 3 means he is perfectly comfortable flat out lying about important national issues, on what has been determined to be official government channels.

Did I miss anything?

Would any CEO of any public company still be working if they did this on a regular basis?

General Comments / Blatant Lies About Open Borders and Rampant Crime
« on: June 25, 2018, 08:30:20 PM »
The White House said Democrats would "rather have open borders and rampant crime than work with the President to create solutions."

The President tweeted that "Democrats want open Borders, where anyone can come into our Country, and stay."

Here are the facts.

Democrats voted unanimously for the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.  It passed 68-32 in the Senate in 2013, but was not considered by the House.

It would have increased border security by adding up to 40,000 border patrol agents. It also would have advanced talent-based immigration through a points-based immigration system. New visas had been proposed in this legislation, including a visa for entrepreneurs and a W visa for lower skilled workers.[4] It also proposed new restrictions on H1B visa program to prevent its abuse and additional visas/green-cards for students with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees from U.S. institutions. The bill also included a $1.5 billion youth jobs program and repealed the Diversity Visa Lottery in favor of prospective legal immigrants who are already in the United States.

This is what Democrats proposed.  To call this "open borders" is a lie.  We stopped about 300,000 people trying to enter the country from Mexico in 2017.  To call that "open borders" is a lie, so just keeping the status quo is not support for open borders.

There is no evidence to say that Democrats want open borders.  There is no evidence that they would prefer open borders to working with the President. People might suspect that, but to use the official channels of the government to make that accusation is reprehensible.

As far as rampant crime, all the data says immigrants commit crime at lower rates than non-immigrants.
The National Academy of Sciences
National Bureau of Economic Research
New York Times.

There is no evidence, as far as I know, showing otherwise.

General Comments / Ranked Choice Voting - Why Is It Bad?
« on: June 08, 2018, 12:40:03 PM »
Ranked choice voting involves ranking the candidates from first down, as far as you like.  If no candidate gets the majority of first choices, then the candidate with the least first choices is eliminated, and those votes get distributed to the second choice candidates.  That repeats until one candidate has the majority of votes.

Some people object to this process, but I can't understand why.

-It is very slightly more complicated, but not actually difficult.
-It allows third party candidates to get votes without voters worrying about wasting their vote
-It prevents splitting of votes between two popular candidates, allowing a much less popular third candidate to win
-Catering to the extremes is less successful, in that you are less likely to get any second choice votes

Any thoughts on its disadvantages?

I'm pretty sure this hurts our economy overall.  A few steel and aluminum producers will do better.  Many more steel and aluminum consumers will do worse.  Steel and aluminum exports will suffer.  Cooperation with our allies will suffer, as well as long-term trust.
We are punishing our closest allies under the guise of protecting our industry for national security reasons.  Do we think Canada will not sell us steel if we are in a war?  If we wanted to focus the effects on China, we could.  But we are not doing that.

Am I missing something here?

General Comments / Good Rules for Meaningful Discussion
« on: May 28, 2018, 05:45:58 PM »

General Comments / Trump Claims His Spokesman Is Not a Real Person
« on: May 27, 2018, 08:26:37 AM »
The New York Times reported a statement by "a senior White House official" about the North Korean summit.

Trump replied
The Failing @nytimes quotes “a senior White House official,” who doesn’t exist, as saying “even if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12 would be impossible, given the lack of time and the amount of planning needed.” WRONG AGAIN! Use real people, not phony sources.

Fox news agrees that the source actually exists.
The quote that President Trump said was fake apparently was real

I can understand that a President does not know everything that his administration is saying.  Nobody is perfect.
I can not abide a leader who does not recognize that fact, and without doing any research whatsoever spouts his unfiltered thoughts to the world, with no concern for the consequences.

If any CEO of any public company did something this offensive and careless, he would be out the door.  Trump, afaik, has not even acknowledged, never mind apologized for, this show of ignorance and lack of control.

Think about it.  It would have taken him less than 5 minutes to find out if the quote was real. It was given in the White House briefing room to dozens of reporters.  Trump decided to just go with his gut, facts be damned. 

The President of the United States accused an established news organization of fabricating quotes, with absolutely no evidence to back it up, and evidence to prove him wrong right at his fingertips.

Is that really the type of person you want running your country, or your company?

General Comments / What Deals Has Trump Made as President?
« on: May 24, 2018, 12:54:25 PM »
Trump advertised himself as a great deal maker.  What deals has he made as President?

Any progress on renegotiating NAFTA, TPP, or the Paris Accords?
Did he get Mexico to pay for the wall?
Did he get China to do anything other than make vague promises?
Did he get Congress to agree on anything? (He signed bills, but did he broker any real agreements?)
He just backed out of any North Korea deal.
He backed out of the Iran deal, but that is not making deals.  And as shown on another thread, there is no benefit to his backing out.

It's been 16 months, plenty of time to get some deal, somewhere.

Today President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear accord (JCPOA). There is no evidence that Iran violated the agreement*, but nonetheless the President withdrew.

The downsides are obvious:
-Iran is free to continue developing nuclear weapons without external inspections or oversight, if they choose. While the JCPOA was in effect, the progress was halted.
-We are back to the situation in 2015 when Iran was actively developing weapons (despite sanctions), but we do not have billions of dollars in frozen assets to offer, and we do not have the cooperation of our allies in maintaining a sanctions regime, i.e. our negotiating position is much worse now.
-Rather than some controls being phased out in several years under the JCPOA, all controls could be eliminated very quickly if Iran chooses.
-The United States has broken an international agreement, which reduces our credibility in future negotiations, e.g. North Korea
-The Trump administration has provided no path forward in preventing Iran from getting nuclear capability, other than the hope that they might negotiate a better deal. Neither our allies nor Iran has expressed any interest.  (Trump promised to renegotiate TPP, the Paris Accords, and NAFTA, but nothing has come of those.)

Other than the slim possibility that Iran will negotiate a better deal, is there any upside?

*Iran occasionally went over the 130 ton limit on heavy water by a fraction of a ton, but quickly resolved the issue. And while ballistic missile testing violates UN resolutions, it does not clearly violate the JCPOA

General Comments / What Are the Worst Things Hilary Clinton Did and Said
« on: December 01, 2017, 09:07:20 PM »
I've been wondering this since the election.  For those who voted against Clinton, or for Trump:

Can you please list the worst things she did or said, in any capacity?
Please make an effort to verify the truth of the offenses. (e.g. selling uranium to Russians didn't happen.  Someone in her department voted with 8 other agencies to approve the sale of Canadian uranium mines that can't export any uranium outside the country.)
Please don't copy and paste some list.  Pick your top 10 that really mean something and have some sources.

Please don't bring up Trump
Feel free to fact check amongst yourselves.

This is not a troll.  I won't be responding except maybe to nudge things back on topic.
This is for me to see both sides when evaluating Trump and his shortcomings.

Obviously I can't make rules here, and you can do whatever you want, but I hope that with some structure I can learn something.


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