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Messages - Wayward Son

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General Comments / Re: michael Moore predicts Trump victory
« on: July 22, 2016, 04:50:19 PM »
It boggles the mind that a person can overlook the character of a woman, too.

I'm not so concerned about his character (hard to find a politician with any :)), but with his experience.

He glibly talks about, "Oh, I'll make a better deal on the TPP."  I don't think the fool has an inkling as to what that involves.

The TPP was negotiated over years with numerous nations, each sending a team of negotiators, each jockeying to create the best deal for themselves and screwing over the other guy if at all possible.  You're talking about dozens, if not hundreds, of different agendas, all competing with one another.  The fact that they got any deal out of it is a miracle in itself.

But the way Donald sees it, he can just call them all in and redo the whole thing to his liking.  ::)

The man has no clue on how difficult running a country is.  International relationships.  Internal politics.  National economics.  The inevitable scandals.  He blithely thinks that, because he ran some large businesses (some to bankruptcy), that he is qualified to do all that.  That his business experience alone gives him all the tools he needs.

A knowledgeable candidate with bad character may enrich himself with the office, but he'll keep the country going, if only to protect himself and his investments.  An egotistical ignoramus could make mistakes that will hurt the entire country without realizing it (such as threatening to renege on our promises to our NATO allies).  It's like that line from "Better Call Saul":  "...[it's] like giving a chimp a machine gun."  He may not even understand the damage he could do.

Trump strikes me as a guy at a bar who can solve the world's problems over a glass of beer.  Everything is so simple to him.  Because he hasn't had to actually try to do them...

He's lacking in character, sure.  But more importantly he lacks experience, humility, forethought, patience, and caution.  He doesn't worry about making a mistake, and doesn't care.  And that, more than any "good character," is what scares me about Trump.

General Comments / Re: question to resident democrats intent
« on: July 22, 2016, 03:31:54 PM »
Well, I'm certainly looking forward to the after-convention poll bump, as short-lived as it is.  If only to quiet those Republicans who will be gloating over Trump's poll bump after this week's convention. :D

General Comments / Re: GOP convention
« on: July 22, 2016, 03:24:57 PM »
Here's a question to mull over.

In Trump's acceptance speech last night, he told us of the many things he intends to accomplish while President.

Can anyone think of a better way to accomplish those objectives than the way Trump said he would?  Is there room for improvement in his plans? :)

General Comments / Re: michael Moore predicts Trump victory
« on: July 22, 2016, 11:43:41 AM »
Or perhaps the enjoinder, "Vote while conscious!" :)

General Comments / Re: michael Moore predicts Trump victory
« on: July 22, 2016, 01:55:11 AM »
Shambles?  No.  FiveThirtyEight currently estimates that Donald has about a 40 percent chance of winning the election.

But tour de force?  Hardly.  With delegates at the convention trying to free delegates to vote for someone else, John McCain staying at home in Arizona, and Ted Cruz refusing to endorse the candidate during a major speech at prime time...even the Republican Party is split over him.  We'll have Republicans locked arm-in-arm with Democrats decrying his win, if he should be so lucky.  That's hardly a tour de force in my book.

General Comments / Re: Is Trevor Noah supposed to be a comedian?
« on: July 21, 2016, 06:39:01 PM »

A democratic republic is absolutely not supposed to be a system of 'majority rules.' In fact the founders specifically did not want any given majority to just rule everyone else. The person with the most votes wins, yes, but nowhere does it say that is meant to be a majority, or that the majority is 'supposed' to rule a minority in some sense.

There is a very good quote in Babylon 5 about unity among a majority, where Delenn says that her race is at its most dangerous when it's united and doesn't have internal disagreement. The same, I think, is true for us here. Party unity is one of the worst of the already bad list of artifacts derived from having party politics.

While the majority opinion should be dampened by the rule of law, the basic idea of democracy is "majority rules."  We do what most people want to do.  It makes for easier governing, since it is backed by most people.

That's all well and good in principle, until you remember that the majority opinion, once in power, can change the laws to suit their interests. The U.S. just happens to enjoy a (now weakened) legal backbone that is very hard to modify, so while the extremities may develop issues from time to time, the legal core still holds firm.

There are a number of other nations where that isn't the case, and they end up losing decades of significant progress and legal reforms moving them towards democratic government within just a few short years. All because a populist leader convinced a majority of people it was a good idea to do so.

The obstructions the U.S. Constitution throws up on many "popular" movements may be very frustrating at times, but thank god it is that way. Even when it thwarts things I am at least somewhat agreeable to.

Which I heartily agree with.

However, we are not discussing laws here, but nominating a candidate for public office.  And, in this case, the nominated candidate is not even the choice of the majority of that party, but a relatively small minority.

While laws are a bulwark against the tyranny of the majority, what good is democracy if the majority cannot even select their representative for their party?  You might as well have a ruling elites, or ruling raucous minority, or ruling renegades, or whatever sub-group you want.  By each person voting strictly by his or her conscience, you almost guarantee that a minority will rule.

General Comments / Re: Is Trevor Noah supposed to be a comedian?
« on: July 21, 2016, 10:50:01 AM »
Is that your argument, Wayward? Vote for Hillary to save the Republican Party?

I submit when there is intelligent strategy, go with your conscience.  That way at least you don't die embarrassed.

What argument?  I'm just telling it as it is.  If Trump wins and is a lousy President, it will reflect badly on the Republican Party for years to come.  And from everything I've seen, I expect Trump to be a lousy President.  (Just this morning, I heard the Latino Chamber of Commerce, which has always endorsed the Republican candidate, has endorsed Hillary Clinton.  Trump is simply too big of a jerk. :))

I'm not telling anyone what they should or shouldn't do.  One should do what one's conscience dictates.  But there will be consequences, and even victory may lead to defeat in this case.

A democratic republic is absolutely not supposed to be a system of 'majority rules.' In fact the founders specifically did not want any given majority to just rule everyone else. The person with the most votes wins, yes, but nowhere does it say that is meant to be a majority, or that the majority is 'supposed' to rule a minority in some sense.

There is a very good quote in Babylon 5 about unity among a majority, where Delenn says that her race is at its most dangerous when it's united and doesn't have internal disagreement. The same, I think, is true for us here. Party unity is one of the worst of the already bad list of artifacts derived from having party politics.

While the majority opinion should be dampened by the rule of law, the basic idea of democracy is "majority rules."  We do what most people want to do.  It makes for easier governing, since it is backed by most people.

And while absolutely, lock-step unity is dangerous (and one of the major criticisms I've had with the Republican Party lately), severe disunity is not much better.  People will feel that they are not being represented, that the government is ignoring them and their issues, and will stop supporting or obeying it.  (Gee, sounds familiar, doesn't it? :))  That leads to anarchy, chaos, and eventual disintegration of the nation.  Not good, either.

So while disunity is good to keep outlier ideas from ruining a country, so is eventual coming together and compromising on ideas necessary to keep a country together.  Everyone can't hold fast to the purity of their ideals; there are just too many, and they are too diverse to allow agreement on many important issues.  We all have to give a little to keep things going.

Absolutes, on either extreme, lead to disaster.

General Comments / Re: Is Trevor Noah supposed to be a comedian?
« on: July 20, 2016, 06:25:36 PM »
NH, I'm not really sure what you're trying to say. What exactly is so bad about votes having been split up among many GOP candidates? It seems like there were many real choices and people were undecided about which was best. Isn't that democracy at work? I wish the Democratic convention had been allowed to go down that way. Is it your point that because the people chose Trump it was therefore 'bad' in some sense that they failed to all rally behind some chump who could beat him? And who exactly besides him was so good that we lost a noble Republican hero on account of bad collective strategy? Ah, but even this kind of mindset is a problem. There should be no collective strategy. No sense of "what we" should do in the election. Each person should vote his conscience and his understanding. Any kind of suggestion that 'the group' needs to 'focus' on a 'desired outcome' is, to whit, the bread and butter of fascism. Not that this describes you, but there is a danger is abandoning the individual conscience in favor of 'making sacrifices' for the 'greater good.' It sounds good on paper but leads to a loss of freedom.

I think by any objective measure, Trump is one of the worst candidates of the bunch, if not the worst.  For one thing, his nomination has split the Republican Party (when was the last time delegates tried to change the presumptive nominee on the first day of the convention? ;) ).  For another, his likeability ratings are worse than those of Clinton's, who the Republicans have been attacking for decades now.  That takes skill. :)  While we may quibble over whether one or another of the contenders might have been worse, he is definitely a lousy candidate.  And he could actually take the Republican Party down if he wins the election and is a lousy President.

And while you may say it is good democracy to have plenty of choices, IIRC he never won a majority of votes in the primary (unlike Hillary).  So what does that say about "majority rules" when you don't even have a majority? ;) Each person voted his conscience and understanding, and a majority thought that Trump wasn't the best choice.

Which is what I see as the problem.  When faced with a plethora of mediocre choices, it is not necessarily the best choice who will win, but rather the one that is marginally more popular and/or with marginally more enthusiastic supporters.  He is the compromise candidate, the compromise being that he is the one who had marginally more votes than the others.  So there is going to be compromise.  The only question is whether a majority of voters get a voice on who the compromise candidate will be and decide up front on one who would be a good compromise, or whether they will only get to choose whether they can stand the one that happens to be elected by a minority of the party.

So, no, I don't think voting on conscience is strategically much better.  It can easily lead to an even worse candidate.

General Comments / Re: Is Trevor Noah supposed to be a comedian?
« on: July 20, 2016, 02:21:30 PM »
Voting on conscience works if everyone does it, but fails (strategically) if only you do it and the others vote for the 2nd worst.

Actually, Fenring, I don't think it would work if everyone did it, either.

Take the Republican primaries this years.  Everyone voted their conscience among the 17 candidates.  And which one won?  The one who happened to have the most energized and (barely) larger minority among them all.  He started out with--what?--between 13 and 20 percent of the Republican voters.  But when all the other votes were split among four or six other candidates, that became the winning number.  But Trump never got a simple majority in any state until the end, when he had no competition.

The same would happen on a national scale, IMHO.  There would be a large number of candidates, and everyone would vote their conscience and the vote would be split so that no one would have a clear majority.  And we'd be left with a President elected by a small minority of voters.  Like Trump.

Sure, vote your conscience at the beginning.  But, like the nation as a whole, we need to compromise to come to a general agreement which includes more than just a small minority of people.  Because our nation is too large and diverse for everyone to agree based on their conscience alone.

I know lots of people on both sides who think their candidate is the admirable one. Personally, I hate them both to sufficient levels that I won't back either. Neither has made a single resonant proposal with any specifics. Neither shows any respect for the American people. I don't trust either not to change their positions following the election. I expect both to continue to spread our military around the world. I expect both to move us closer to a police state at home. I could go on, but my point isn't to advocate for others to adopt my views on this particular election - just to suggest that for each person at some point with some candidates it is valid to choose none of the above, and that not choosing one of them.

And that is a fair position, IF you truly believe there is no discernible difference between the outcomes.  And don't just look at the Presidential candidates, either.

Hillary will choose a Supreme Court justice based on her liberal principles and recommendations by her inner circle.  Donald says he'll choose based on the recommendations of the Heritage Foundation (IIRC).

Hillary will choose her Presidential staff based on who she knows from years of being involved in Washington and by her inner circle.  Donald will choose based on--who knows?  (Perhaps the same basis as he chose the speakers for the Republican Convention?)

Hillary's priorities probably will be based on the Democratic platform.  (See FiveThirtyEight analysis of the power of the platforms.)  Donald's priorities will probably be based on the Republican platform, along with whatever happens to interest him that day. :)

The bottom line is that we don't just elect the person who will be President, but also the whole party and structure behind that person.  Don't just say, "I don't like him or her."  You also have to say, "I don't like the Democrat or Republican platforms and people, and it doesn't matter which side wins."  Because you'll be getting the whole package.  You'll be getting the party that wants to ban abortions, including in the case of rape or incest, or you'll be getting the party that wants to put more restrictions on guns.

If you really don't care which policies are enacted, then go ahead and don't vote, or vote for someone who you'd truly prefer but has no chance of winning.  But if you really have a preference on some of these issues over the others, then vote for that preference.

It is better to have a government you dislike than one you absolutely hate.

General Comments / Re: Is Trevor Noah supposed to be a comedian?
« on: July 19, 2016, 05:39:54 PM »
Really, a protest vote or no vote doesn't favor either candidate.

But that should mean that the voter favors neither candidate, too.

If a voter really doesn't care if Hillary or Donald is in the White House, then a protest vote is fine.

But remember, you don't just get the President.  You also get all his/her advisors.

All her/his picks for the cabinet.  All his/her picks for the Supreme Court.  And have her/him as the face and representative of America.

A vote may not matter.  But how many candidates have been elected because their opposition thought their votes did not matter? ;)

If there is not any difference between the two candidates and the two political parties, then it doesn't matter if you vote or not.

But that means you are responsible for the one who won.  Because by not voting for him/her, you basically have equally approved of both of them.

General Comments / Re: Good thing Micah johnson only used guns
« on: July 15, 2016, 05:02:05 PM »
OK, Pete, you can blame me for using the word "blame." :)

Certainly ISIS and/or Al Qaeda shoulders the blame for publishing those how-to instructions.

But eliminating ISIS and Al Qaeda may not prevent similar attacks from happening, in that if the perpetrator is mentally unstable, he would just find another reason and method for the attack.  So understanding the reason behind the attack is important, if only to temper our expectations of what we can accomplish.

General Comments / Re: Good thing Micah johnson only used guns
« on: July 15, 2016, 02:58:10 PM »
The fact that some mass murderers are crazy, is not a free pass to paint all mass murderers as such.

Conversely, the fact that some mass murders are not "crazy" (depending on your definition of "crazy" ;) ) is not a free pass to paint all mass murders as sane. :)

Which makes it very difficult to assign blame in cases where there is no direct link between the terrorist and the supposed terrorist organization.

What prevents someone with mental problems to follow "the al qaeda open source cookbook" for his own reasons?  How do you assign blame?  If the person used a scene from a movie (e.g. "The Dark Knight") to commit an atrocity, does that mean he was trying to advance the politics of the movie?  If he used a scenario from a novel, does that mean the killer was trying to advance the politics of the author?  Would arresting the movie producers or the author help prevent further attacks?

If an organization provides direct support to a terrorist, then there is little question that they are to blame.  But if they just publish some instructions and someone with mental problems uses those instructions, eliminating those who published the instructions would do little good to prevent further attacks, unless you eliminate all such instructions from all sources.

While I have no problem characterizing this attack as a terrorist attack, the mental state of Bouhlel is material for our response.  ISIS and Al Qaeda should be eliminated for other things that they have done.  But if Bouhlel was mentally unstable, aka crazy, then don't expect the end of the war on terror to stop future Bouhlels.  They will simply find other methods and inspirations for their acts.

General Comments / Re: Robocop's first killing
« on: July 09, 2016, 10:00:00 AM »
The question I have is: just how much C-4 explosives do local police departments keep on hand?  :o

I don't feel so good knowing that my local PD is probably a munitions dump.

Funny comment from someone on Reddit:

"She intentionally wiped her server, yet was found to have no malicious intent...I feel like I'm taking f***ing crazy pills."

I think he was inadvertently referring to Bush. :)

General Comments / Re: A thoughtful defense of voting for trump
« on: June 29, 2016, 07:04:55 PM »
And here's the latest from the Trump campaign: Trump Junior sent an e-mail out, asking for contributions for his father's campaign.  To everyone.  (I think my wife got one, too.)

Including foreign dignitaries.  ::)

Needless to say, the result has not been pretty.

“Quite why you think it appropriate to write emails to U.K. parliamentarians with a begging bowl for your father’s repugnant campaign is completely beyond me,” Scottish MP Natalie McGarry wrote in response to fundraising solicitation from Donald Trump Jr. “Given his rhetoric on migrants, refugees, and immigration, it seems quite extraordinary that he would be asking for money; especially people who view his dangerous divisiveness with horror..."

May be Donald Trump bought lists - bizarre for grassroots campaign - but how does he opt out of foreign donations? ...
— Natalie McGarry MP (@NatalieMcgarry) June 27, 2016

Scottish MP Stuart McDonald was similarly baffled.

Dear @nytimes, could you pass a message to @realDonaldTrump for me? Please stop sending campaign begging letters to MPs. It's pathetic!
— Stuart McDonald MP (@Stuart_McDonald) June 27, 2016 ...

"Members of Parliament are being bombarded by electronic communications from Team Trump on behalf of somebody called Donald Trump," Conservative English MP Roger Gale said on Tuesday, according to Politics Home. "Mr. Speaker, I’m all in favor of free speech but I don’t see why colleagues on either side of the House should be subjected to intemperate spam."

The Icelanders and Australians weren't pleased, either.

Is this an example of how Donald Trump would run our country?  :-[

Can anyone tell me the new findings in this report that weren't addressed in the 8 previous investigations, that justifies the $7 million spent on it? 

Anyone?  Anyone? :)

For the record, it is interesting to see what James Dobson wrote about Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

How did our beloved nation find itself in this sorry mess? I believe it began not with the Lewinsky affair, but many years earlier. There was plenty of evidence during the first Presidential election that Bill Clinton had a moral problem. His affair with Gennifer Flowers, which he now admits to having lied about, was rationalized by the American people. He lied about dodging the draft, and then concocted an incredulous explanation that changed his story.  He visited the Soviet Union and other hostile countries during the Vietnam War, claiming that he was only an “observer.” Numerous sources reported that he organized and participated in anti-war rallies in the United States, Great Britain, and Norway. Clinton evaded questions about whether he had used marijuana, and then finally offered his now-infamous “I didn’t inhale” response. There were other indications that Bill Clinton was untruthful and immoral. Why, then, did the American people ignore so many red flags? Because, and I want to give the greatest emphasis to this point, the mainstream media became enamored with Bill Clinton in 1992 and sought to convince the American people that “character doesn’t matter...”

As it turns out, character DOES matter. You can’t run a family, let alone a country, without it. How foolish to believe that a person who lacks honesty and moral integrity is qualified to lead a nation and the world! Nevertheless, our people continue to say that the President is doing a good job even if they don’t respect him personally. Those two positions are fundamentally incompatible. In the Book of James the question is posed, “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring” (James 3:11 NIV). The answer is no.
(Emphasis from link.)

I guess character doesn't matter as much now. :)

I don't think GOP smear-doctors think of it this way since they would no doubt go after her for anything, whether or not she deserved it, but objectively it may be factually true that she is only exposed on a lesser issue but 'ought to' face charges on general principle.

The problem with this "general principle" is that it is applicable to any politician one thinks is guilty of wrongdoing, regardless of the merit of that belief.

And the GOP smear-doctors have been so busy, especially with the Clintons, for so long, that, like the boy who cried wolf, I don't believe anything they say anymore.  They'll make stuff up at the drop of a hat, in a long-shot hope that something will stick.

So while some believe that all this smoke around the Clintons means there is some fire, I just see a lot of smoke being blown.  And to say that she should be convicted of a "lesser issue" because she is guilty of a greater one would mean that the smear-doctors have won, and convinced people that she did things she never did.

General Comments / Re: The Brexit
« on: June 24, 2016, 06:44:19 PM »
It's always the Far, Far Right that has the real whoppers: Britain Just Left The EU, And This Will Eventually Lead To A Revived Nazi Germany That Will Go To War With Christendom.

"It's the end of the world as we know it..." :)

General Comments / Re: The Brexit
« on: June 24, 2016, 05:20:13 PM »
I fear for the future, especially if this vote indicates an international trend.

JDQuag, you might enjoy this analysis of why Brexit passed.

General Comments / Re: About-face on Trump
« on: June 24, 2016, 11:38:10 AM »
OK, Pete, I did not realize you had limited access to the internet

Right, like I've never told you that.

Sorry, Pete, but I forgot.  I don't hang on your every word. ;)

So I spent a couple of minutes and found these two sites.

Both put average U.S. gun deaths at around 31,000/year, accidental deaths around 700, and homicides at 11,000.  Which pretty much matches the figures presented by the BBC.

GIGO.  Center for Disease Control says it needs millions of dollars to answer the questions that Wayward thinks that he's just answered in 3 minutes of googling.  During which he's determined that all homicides are "murder."   ::)

I tried, folks.

So have I.

Pete, I asked before, if you have a better estimate, let me know and we'll use that.  I don't say that what I found is absolutely true.  They are just the best estimates that we have.  If you have a better one, or if you think they should be changed in some way, let me know.

If you think that 1000 murders should be removed from the estimate because they are "police shooting," fine, let's remove them.  If there are any other number that should be modified, let's take a look at it.

But you can't just dismiss the numbers because they are not completely accurate.

Well, actually, you can.  We could wait until some definitive studies have been made, and then discuss it then.

But, of course, that would also mean we cannot discuss any problems with gangs or Islamic terrorists.  We don't know if they are a bigger problem than domestic disputes or cop killings.  So any calls for cracking down on gangs or vetting Muslim immigrants are premature, too.

In fact, why are we discussing the Orlando shootings at all?  We don't have a good number on how many people were killed.  They say it was 49, but it could be 51, or 57, or 60.  Or maybe it was 47 or 27.  We don't know how many of them died from heart attacks or low blood sugar.  And without a certain number, we can't make comparisons at all.

But that also means that, without any estimates to work with, I can say anything I want.  So, Pete, you're wrong.  A vast majority of gun deaths come from regular people murdering each other.  Only a couple or so of "terrorist related" deaths occur each year.   Only homicidal maniacs want us to keep guns, in order to weaken the United States so it can be taken over by Mexico.  It's quite obvious if you look at what's happening.

Of course, that's only an opinion, but it's just as good and just as justified by the facts as any other.  In fact, better, since it comes from me. :)  So why don't you start thinking right and start thinking like me.

After all, since we can't even make estimates, you can't prove me wrong.  :P

General Comments / Re: About-face on Trump
« on: June 23, 2016, 12:55:04 PM »
Don't be an ass.  I've no resources to determine what the accurate numbers are.  I do have the talents and resources to demonstrate that the numbers you presented me are crap.

My proposal is simple.  Stop obfuscating.  Get good numbers, then let's talk.

OK, Pete, I did not realize you had limited access to the internet and could not do your own research.  So I spent a couple of minutes and found these two sites.

Both put average U.S. gun deaths at around 31,000/year, accidental deaths around 700, and homicides at 11,000.  Which pretty much matches the figures presented by the BBC.

So your contention:
Your linky reports gun HOMICIDES, not murders.  I see no reason to get "outraged" over another person's suicide.  It's a pretty screwed up calculus when you create moral equivalancy between people that take their own lives and those who murder strangers who pose no threat to them. completely fallacious.  Suicides have already been removed from that number.  It is only the homicides that are counted.

At 11,000 gun homicides a year, that means that 211 murders were committed in the week after Orlando, on average.  Actually, four times the slaughter.

But since it is spread out, and can be attributed to gangs or domestic disputes or such, we ignore them. :(

And this number ignores the 11 people accidentally killed by guns during that week, or the 350 who took their own life.

Which bring us back to my initial point.  I still had a four times better chance of being killed by a non-terrorist than a terrorist that week.  So which is the bigger problem?

Nothing vague about what I said.  The Supreme Court has said repeatedly and consistently that any curtailing of a fundamental constitutional right needs to be narrowly tailored and based on solid information.  So standing on a fresh grave and bellowing for vaguely defined change presents a clear and present danger to civil liberties.

A fair point, as long as you remember that the NRA et al also bellow that any curtailment of gun rights, whether it is narrowly tailored or not, regardless of how solid the information is, is "a clear and present danger to civil liberties."  Which is why such an object rings hollow.

When all gun restrictions are characterized as complete gun restrictions, it doesn't matter if the call is vague or not.  You (i.e. Hillary) will be characterized as "trying to take away our guns." :(

In response to your mindless complaint that I haven't addressed supposed proposals that you can't even be bothered to identify (other than saying that Clinton supposedly supports them) here is one specific measure that I'd like to discuss: narrowly tailored bipartisan legislation that would ban persons on the no fly list from purchasing firearms.  The measure also introduces a right to appeal one's placement on the list, something horribly lacking from the no fly list at this point.

NRA supporters complain that one would have to be denied buying a firearm before one could protest the list.  That seems to me a weak argument...
Why should I identify what you're complaining about? I don't know exactly which proposal you're against.  Why should I tell you what her proposals are??  So you can pick and choose which one you were thinking of? ::)

As far as the specific measure you mention, I do have problems with it because it is so easy and arbitrary to get put on that list.  But common sense does dictate that if someone is so dangerous that we forbid them from flying on a commercial airplane, they should be too dangerous to buy a semi-automatic gun.  Duh!

Which still makes me wonder which proposals you are talking about.

General Comments / Re: About-face on Trump
« on: June 21, 2016, 11:18:14 AM »
Quote from: Wayward Son on June 20, 2016, 06:22:26 PM

AFAIK, my numbers are accurate and relevant.

I've shown that they aren't.  And there's little explanation, either.

Not even close, Pete.  You've made assertions that the data from the Justice Department included suicides and accidental shootings, but you've have not provided any proof, or any estimate of how much of the data comes from such incidents.  You've simply brushed it away, saying because you think it's tainted, you don't need to address it.  That is very sloppy thinking, and proves nothing.

If you think the data is not accurate, then show my why you think so, why you think this was not taken into account with this estimate, and what a more accurate estimate is.  That's critical thinking.  Not just saying, "well, I don't think it's true," and then ignore it.  That's how climate change denialists work.

I'm very open to discussing gun restrictions.  What I oppose is beginning any discussion of gun restrictions based on lies, hysteria, and grave-dancing.  When a politician stands on a fresh grave, lies about who did it, and calls for broad laws that affect our civil rights, I can't help but think Patriot Act.

I'm glad you're open to discussing gun restrictions.  But why aren't you open to discussing Hillary's suggestions?

You've made a broad, vague statement about "Hillary's program of punishing all Americans by restricting our civil rights," but you haven't discussed what they are or why you object to them.  So far, all I've heard is the same rhetoric as from the NRA, who say that any gun restrictions are taking away our Second Amendment rights. 

So if you want to discuss gun restrictions, let's discuss gun restrictions.

If you don't think the data is accurate, then find some accurate data, and we can discuss that.

But if you want to make vague, broad attacks on Hillary, then you will get vague, broad answers, as in: the only people who object to Hillary's proposals are gun nuts and those who hate Hillary on other grounds.  We don't have enough restrictions on guns in America.  We are killing each other at a ridiculous rate, and not just from mass shootings.  More restrictions on guns will reduce the number of homicides in this country, and there is no sane reason not to implement them.  You may be offended that Hillary, et al, are using this latest mass shooting to justify calling for more gun control.  But that is just using the visible tip of the iceberg--the part that everyone is looking at now--to get people's attention on the rest of the ice chunk.  Restricting the easy access to guns will help prevent the next mass slaughter, and the next domestic dispute where the husband takes out a gun and shoots his wife.  No, homicides will never be eliminated in this or any country.  But guns are the deadliest weapons individuals can easily obtain (deadlier than knives, bats, etc.), so making them less available will save lives.

So don't freak out over those who use the Orlando massacre as an excuse to go after guns.  Because it was a problem before Orlando, and is still a problem afterward.

General Comments / Re: About-face on Trump
« on: June 20, 2016, 06:22:26 PM »
AFAIK, my numbers are accurate and relevant.  They are from a fairly reliable and authoritative source (BBC, which, IIRC, you have cited before).

You've made the affirmative case that they are not, so it is up to you to provide the correct numbers, or admit that, even if they are not completely accurate, they are in the ball park and we can use them for discussion purposes.

But right now you are implying that practically no one is murdered in this country, outside of gang warfare (which discounts collateral casualties, such as innocent bystanders).  Which is absolute bull-hockey, as any newspaper or police department will attest.

This country has been in the midst of a homicide epidemic for decades, and the NRA and other conservative organization have been in denial of the role guns play in that, because they love their guns more than they love human life.

And, BTW, I am not against the second amendment.  I am against people and organizations that refuse to even consider any common-sense restrictions on guns that might help prevent people from killing each other, and calling anyone who even mentions one trying to overturn the second amendment.  >:(

General Comments / Re: About-face on Trump
« on: June 20, 2016, 05:46:40 PM »
He would have found some other convenient cause if he hadn't used this one.

Another convenient cause might not have involved shooting up so many people.

Except that shooting people was the goal.  So whether it was Islam or Christianity or just homophobia, he would have found something that justified shooting.  (Otherwise he would have found justification in Islam for not shooting anyone. :()

And how many other people in the U.S. have been murdered with guns since Orlando?  Over three times by now (2.9 per 100,000 annually for 322 million people).

Your linky reports gun HOMICIDES, not murders.  I see no reason to get "outraged" over another person's suicide.  It's a pretty screwed up calculus when you create moral equivalancy between people that take their own lives and those who murder strangers who pose no threat to them.

Your source also says:
"In the same period, an average of 517 people were killed annually in terror-related incidents."

But that's dishonest, because terrorist incidents like this one, and other islamist gun attacks, are treated by our brainwasher in chief as generic gun incidents and not terror incidents.

Would you tell Black Lives Matter that they shouldn't complain about cops killing black kids because they are far more likely to be killed by other black kids?  Can you see that it's a patronizing and hateful message?

I can understand you questioning the statistics, but you can't just dismiss them like that.  If suicides are counted as homicides (which sounds fishy to me, this being America), then what are the actual numbers.  You know it ain't zero.  So it is only two times?  The same amount?  I'm sure it isn't less.  Does it make your point that only 100 people were murdered with guns since then?  Only 50?  Does that make it all better?

You talk about dishonesty and the "brainwasher in chief," but what am I to make of you dismissing all those murders just because you doubt my source?  Give me the actual numbers and we'll talk.  Otherwise admit that we have at least a Orlando massacre each week by non-Islamists, if not more, and tell me again how we should blame Islam instead of our own laws and society.  >:(

General Comments / Re: About-face on Trump
« on: June 20, 2016, 03:51:05 PM »
Trump's position on restricting immigration from countries that are riddled with groups that seek to murder Americans is problematic, but it looks a lot better to me than Obama and Hillary's program of punishing all Americans by restricting our civil rights in retaliation for Orlando, as if Islamism (imposition of Islamic law by force) had nothing to do with Orlando and other murders.

Except, Pete, this guy couldn't tell Sunni terrorists from Shiite terrorists (much like most Conservatives), so how much of a Islamist could he be?  He's just some Joe who mouthed the ideology, but couldn't care less about the substance.  He would have found some other convenient cause if he hadn't used this one.

And how many other people in the U.S. have been murdered with guns since Orlando?  Over three times by now (2.9 per 100,000 annually for 322 million people).  But no one is outraged at that, because a) it's spread out all over the country, and b) it happens all the time.

So tell me again how it's Islamism that I should fear, when I have well over a 300 times better chance of being killed by some American lunatic with a gun.  :P

General Comments / Re: About-face on Trump
« on: June 20, 2016, 03:33:02 PM »
ISIS is actually going to want Trump to get elected because he is playing right into their hands by sowing animosity against America by Muslims everywhere with his anti-Islamic rhetoric so that is actually going to cause more terror attacks by ISIS as they step up their efforts in the run up to the election in order to help Trump and turn more Americans against Muslims, like a realization of Manson's dreams of helter skelter. Trump is actually going to increase ISIS terrorism and get more Americans killed.

The only way to reduce this type of terrorism, in this instance by the son of a Muslim immigrant allowed in thirty years ago, is to actually allow millions more Muslims into America. The more Muslims a country has, the less terrorism it experiences. Well, maybe not everywhere. In fact, maybe not anywhere, but that's how it will work here because we're so special.

That's me trying to think like Obama and Hillary, by the way. I'm not quite sure I'm ready to buy it though.

Cherry, don't try.  You are incapable of doing so.  All you can do is create a two-dimensional straw man, and it looks damn silly. :p

General Comments / Re: Orlando massacre
« on: June 15, 2016, 05:53:06 PM »
Says the guy who takes Hitler and Goebbels' word that they were "Christians" because of their public statements, ignoring statements they made in private denying that they were Christian.

Pete, who are you to say that Hitler and Goebbels weren't Christian?  Christians do all sorts of things.  They lie, cheat, steal, murder, rape, sodomize infants, torture, just about every God-damned thing (literally, not a swearing) in the Book.  You know that if you think about it for half a minute.  I remember one guy who sent a woman's husband into battle to get killed, just so he could marry the babe.  And he was called "a man after God's own heart."  ::)

Why?  Because Christian is just a label.  It just means someone says they accept Jesus as their savior.  No more, no less.  They may not mean it, but who are you to say they don't?  What makes you think Hitler and Goebbels weren't lying in private when they said they weren't Christian?

What it means to be a Christian differs with each person.  There is no one definition that fits them all.  Hell, sometimes I think I'm the most Christian person on this board, and I haven't gone to church in decades.  I'm not even sure if God exists.  But sometimes it feels that my morals are closer to God's than any of you other guys. ;)

Christians are warming, loving and forgiving.  Christians are also bigoted, hateful, and selfish.  Everyone is their own Christian.  And you can't decree who is or isn't one.  Only God can.

Which applies to Muslim, too.  Otherwise, how can you reconcile cherry's list of Muslim countries that ban homosexuality and the Pew survey that shows that Muslims in America are more accepting of homosexuality than Mormons?  Because Islam means different things to Muslims, too, depending on their culture, their upbringing, and their individual personality.

So stop freaking out over what Christian means, and who is or isn't one.  It doesn't matter.  It's a label that you nor anyone else has control over.  Only God himself can clarify what it means.  And so far, He hasn't deemed it necessary to come down and clean up the mess.

And stop thinking that all Muslims are alike.  They are as much alike as The Church of Latter Day Saints and the Westborough Baptist Church.  Just because one is a bunch of idiots doesn't mean they all are.

General Comments / Re: Orlando massacre
« on: June 15, 2016, 03:21:32 PM »
Meanwhile, FiveThiryEight crunched some numbers and discovered that "single-bias hate crimes" are much more frequent against the LGBT community than any other group (including whites).  :(

General Comments / Re: Orlando massacre
« on: June 15, 2016, 03:19:30 PM »
OK, got a second opinion.

He says he's also the most handsome guy in the universe.   ;D

General Comments / Re: Orlando massacre
« on: June 15, 2016, 01:39:57 PM »
But apparently none of those answers are correct because the smartest guy in the universe just found the real culprit for all of these ISIS and al-Qaeda attacks from the Mumbai massacre to the attacks in the Philippines, Paris, Israel, Brussels and of course 9-11. The responsible party has been right in front of our noses the whole time. It's Donald freaking Trump! Dun-dun-dun...

Huh?  That's strange.  From what I've heard, the smartest guy in the universe is Donald Trump.

I know this for a fact.  He told us himself.

Maybe I should get a second opinion... :)

General Comments / Re: Orlando massacre
« on: June 14, 2016, 04:03:46 PM »
Take me up on my challenge, show me the majority Muslim country where you would recommend you gay friends could move safely.  It's trivial to find majority Christian countries where they could do so.

How about Lebanon?  They even have an LBGT center in Beirut.

It is also trivially easy to find a majority Christian country where your gay friends wouldn't be safe.

So what does that prove?

General Comments / Re: Orlando massacre
« on: June 14, 2016, 03:21:13 PM »
I won't address any particular argument (mainly because the conversation is moving so quickly, by the time I type up a response I'm already 2-3 posts behind :( ), but I think this article has some pertinent facts to consider: Stop Exploiting LGBT Issues to Demonize Islam and Justify Anti-Muslim Policies.

For instance, the article references a Pew Poll in 2015 that shows that Muslims are more accepting of gay marriage and homosexuality in general than evangelical Christians, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses.  It also points out that while Muslim countries internationally are deeply anti-homosexual, so are many Communist and Christian-majority countries.  So Muslim norms are not particularly far-out from the norm.

Islam, like other religions, is not as accepting of homosexuality and other LGBT issues as I feel they should be.  But there is no reason to single them out compared to any other religion with similar attitudes.

General Comments / Re: Orlando massacre
« on: June 14, 2016, 10:41:11 AM »
* What law(s) would you change or introduce to reduce the likelihood of this happening in the future?  Primary, remove the laws which ban the carrying of concealed weapons into such establishments.

I don't think you've thought this one through, D.W.  You are advocating that the laws be changed to give anyone the right to bring firearms into "such establishments."

Pulse is a nightclub.  Which almost doubtlessly means they serve alcohol.

You're advocating giving people the right to bring guns into a bar.

You want people to have a firearm handy when they go out and drink, some of whom will get drunk.  Do you seriously believe that intoxicated people are responsible enough to handle a firearm?  ::)

I don't know the answer to such situations.  But I very much doubt lives would be saved with such a policy.

General Comments / Re: I may have to vote for Trump
« on: June 09, 2016, 06:26:53 PM »
Deamon, what the **** are you talking about?  La Raza Lawyers Association was founded in 1977.  It doesn't date back to the 1920s.  The founders probably weren't even alive in the 1920s.  ???

Please don't tell me you're being sloppy like that article, and getting them mixed up with the National Council of La Raza.  ::)  Otherwise, I'm going to have to start talking about how the Republican Guard doesn't make the Republican Party look good. ;) :D

General Comments / Re: I may have to vote for Trump
« on: June 09, 2016, 12:39:28 PM »
And Curiel's membership in a group that called itself "La Raza" isn't racist at all? Why of course not. A group that calls itself "The Race" can't possibly be racist just like an organization that calls itself "IS" or the "Islamic State" is neither Islamic nor a State.


So no conflict of interest there.

California La Raza Lawyers Association is a lawyer's group whose "purpose and goal of this association is to promote the interests of the Latino communities throughout the state and the professional interests of the membership."  It is not particularly radical, and is more of a special interest group like a women's lawyer association, or a black lawyers, or Mormon lawyers, or Christian lawyers.  If association with such a group alone would disqualify a judge, then only judges that agree with the plaintiff would be qualified to judge a trial.  ::)

Also, the article you linked is sloppy.  They inserted a paragraph describing the actions of the National Council of La Raza, which is a completely different organization.  They mention that "La Raza Lawyers of San Diego is not a local chapter of the national organization," but since it has nothing to do with the organization, why mention it at all, except maybe to try to make a connection that isn't there? ;)

So, to answer your question, no, based on his membership with La Raza Laywers Association, there is no conflict of interest, at least beyond what any judge might or might not have regarding Trump.

It says he was at the White House.  It says he was informed of the situation.  It says he was available for consultation and decisions if necessary (since they knew where he was and could talk to him).

What more do you need to know?

And why do you need to know it?  What are you looking for?

One shouldn't use an extreme solution until you know that all other solutions won't work.  And a President in Washington ain't gonna know if or when we reached that point. ;)
Well certainly not if he's taking a nap instead of being in the situation room.

Not clear to me why we're getting bogged down though in the  particulars.  This is really a simpler question than that.  Do you believe that we have a right to know where a President is or not during a crisis?  Do you believe that is a question they are obligated to answer?

Yes, you do have a right to know.

Here's your answer.

The President was in the White House in Washington D.C. on the night of the attacks. Senior officials, including the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have testified that they personally informed the President about the attacks, and the President immediately ordered the military to deploy all available assets to protect American lives. Military leaders report that the President was “well informed” and his staff was “in constant touch” with the Pentagon, which “is the way it would normally work.”

But, of course, that's not enough for you, is it?  Just like his birth certificate: he provides an answer, and the opposition wants more.  And more.  Never satisfied, always questioning.  And blaming him for not providing enough info.

Was he awake the entire time?  Probably not.  If he was needed, he was eminently available.  He didn't micromanage the response.  He didn't have the expertise.  But he had people who did who were working on it.

Why do you need to know more?  Why do you need to know whether he was sleeping or pacing the situation room?  He did what he could, and was available to do more if needed.  He apparently handled it responsibly.  Why do you need to find something that shows he didn't?

Why are you so intent on finding fault with the man?

"Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" is a solution that would require the President's approval, but not one that would originate with him, I would hope.  That is a decision that would require someone who is intimately knowledgeable of the full situation.

One shouldn't use an extreme solution until you know that all other solutions won't work.  And a President in Washington ain't gonna know if or when we reached that point. ;)

Sure, say if you want Wayward.  Hope you aren't implying that I did that though.  I have never leveled a single criticism of the decisions President Obama made with respect to the embassy attack in real time.  I have repeatedly criticized the lies his administration unnecessarily told afterwards.

This more in the vein of that second idea.  There is no reason we shouldn't know what he was doing.  If Bush had covered up that he finished reading the story, and kept it an unexplained mystery where he was at the time, I'd find that just as inappropriate.

Just to be clear, I did not imply that anyone has defended Bush for not responding more quickly to 9/11 or attacked Obama for not responding appropriately, either.  (Mainly because I don't keep track of such things. :))  I leave it to each individual to recall what they did or did not do in the past.

And while it could be interesting to find out what Obama was doing during the attack, I don't think it is germane.  IIRC, it occurred during the night in Washington, D.C., so the most likely activity Obama was doing was snoring. :)  If anything required his attention, he was available to be waken.  And while it is nice to imagine that certain military and diplomatic decisions and actions would require his personal attention, I find it hard to believe that anything that was truly necessary could not have been accomplished without him.  After all, do you really think that a military transport would have to wait until he finished a speech or got off the potty? ;)  The government runs better than that.

General Comments / Re: I may have to vote for Trump
« on: June 07, 2016, 03:29:14 PM »
AI thanks for that link. It proves to me the lack of rigor you are employing in making your assertions.  I should point out, if you find that persuasive, it's hard to see how you'd pick Clinton as your candidate, since a similar list of equal or even better quality could be drafted about her many scandals.

To be fair, AI was pointing out that, if you consider Clinton guilty as hell, you should also consider Trump guilty as hell.  He did not say he considered either Trump or Clinton guilty as hell. ;)

The oddest part of your post, though, is that you say "a similar list of equal or even better quality could be drafted..."  Odd because the article included a link to such a list of Clinton's scandals.  Which, perhaps, would have been more appropriate to this thread... :)

I think too, if you ever even implied criticism for Bush finishing the story for the kids on 9/11, you have to take a serious look at yourself after making the statements you did.

That's a fair point, Seriati.  Bush trusted his staff enough to handle a surprise attack on U.S. soil by an unknown number of agents in an unknown number of places without panicking, trusting them to take appropriate action and immediately inform him if there was a crucial decision that needed to be made.  So reading a book about a goat to children was a reasonable action to take, with those assumptions.

Of course, that would mean that, conversely, anyone who criticizes Obama for not trusting his staff to handle a surprise attack on a small U.S. embassy in Libya, trusting them to take appropriate action and immediately inform him if there was a crucial decision that needed to be made, should also take a serious look at themselves if they defended Bush, even implicitly, for his inaction in a far worse and far less certain situation.  In fact, I would say that anyone who criticizes Obama more than Bush for a far less serious situation should hide his head in shame for his blatant partisan hypocrisy, wouldn't you?

Conversely, the Right Wing Media will tell you there is a pile of dirt ten feet high in silicon chip manufacturing room if they thought it would slander Obama. :)

\But, fortunately, even though this has dragged on for almost 2 years, the end is in sight.  They know that they will have all the info they need just before the election. Coincidently. :)

Or more aptly, the Obama Admin will data dump on them the day before the election, and they won't have a chance to sift through it until after the election, so whatever they're given won't matter because Lame Duck. The Obama Admin has taken slow walking inconvenient information to heights other admins could only dream of.

Sorry, Deamon, but that's not according to the timetable.  They aren't going to wait until the day before the election.  They will have all the information they need for a report just a few weeks before the election, regardless of what info the Obama Admin does or doesn't give them.

They aren't waiting for info.  They already know when they are going to finish.  And you can't do that unless you either have all the info you need, or have decided to come to a conclusion regardless of how much info you have.  This isn't that type of investigation. ;)

General Comments / Re: I may have to vote for Trump
« on: June 03, 2016, 02:21:05 PM »
Regarding the state department staff, maybe they (like many employees in the world) cut corners now and then, but did all of them have regular access to top secret classified information as part of their basic duties? If not, then it's another red herring. And should low-level staff be held to the same security expectations as the Secretary of State? Did each of them receive personal security briefings from top intelligence personnel?

Interesting point, Fenring.  Although it makes me wonder--how many times do you need to commit a crime before you should be indicted?  ;)

Because, remember, this is about indicting her with a crime.  Not reprimanding her for bad judgment.  Not firing her for not following the stated rules.  But charging her with a crime, I assume for reckless endangerment of government secrets by handling classified information on the internet and saving it to her personal server instead of the government controlled server

But, of course, there has been no indication that anything was hacked from her personal server.  And I'm still not convinced that sending classified information over the internet (through various intermediate servers) is sufficiently secure, whether it is going to a personal server or a government server.  And even lower-level staff handle secret information at one time or another, whether they realize it or not at the time.  (Or are we only going to count the times that Hillary knew for certain she was handling sensitive information? ;))

So it's not a red herring.  We're talking about a crime here.  And the only potential crime that I can see is sending sensitive information to an unsecured server.  But Hillary's server was no less secure than a gmail, hotmail or att account.  So if she is guilty of such a crime, then we should also make sure those other 9200 e-mails didn't include some sensitive information, too.  And certainly, we shouldn't excuse someone for committing a crime just because he or she did so only a few times, or because they were lower-level staff and not the head honcho.  Unless, of course, it really isn't a crime, but some other, lower-level offense.

Let the indictments flow! :)

The Colin Powell rebuttal has been debunked long ago.

Do you have a link to a good debunking?  I haven't seen one yet (although, to be honest, I haven't searched for one, either).

General Comments / Re: I may have to vote for Trump
« on: June 02, 2016, 03:34:30 PM »
Speaking of violating terms of international agreements, Trump apparently said yesterday that "on his very first day as president, he will begin calling the leaders of allied nations to inform them that the U.S. will no longer honor commitments to defend them in case of a military conflict."

Trump said that these allied countries will “have to pay” much more for protection, adding, “What, are we supposed to get into World War III over a country that doesn’t respect us enough to pay what they’re supposed to be paying?”

General Comments / Re: I may have to vote for Trump
« on: June 02, 2016, 03:18:27 PM »
Lol, that's an interesting read of the IG report.  Did you read it, or just the spun comments of the Hillary supporters?

Can't say I read it (gov't reports tend to be boring), but I did reads some quotes from it.

OIG identified more than 90 Department employees who periodically used personal email accounts to conduct official business....OIG also reviewed an S/ES-IRM report prepared in 2010 showing that more than 9,200 emails were sent within one week from S/ES servers to 16 web-based email domains, including,, and former Director of Policy Planning wrote: “State’s technology is so antiquated that NO ONE uses a State-issued laptop and even high officials routinely end up using their home email accounts to be able to get their work done quickly and effectively.”

And the article concludes:

...Colin Powell did it [conduct official business on a personal account] too, as well as dozens of other State employees.

So if conducting State Department business on a private e-mail server is a crime, then she apparently has a lot of company.  And I'm sure the Justice Department will not target Hillary alone if she is indicted, but will go after all those other scofflaws, too.  Otherwise it would look like it was a mere partisan attack, and not actual justice. ;)

General Comments / Re: I may have to vote for Trump
« on: June 02, 2016, 01:13:14 PM »
Well, Seriati, all I can say is if Hillary is indicted, I hope they indict all those other scofflaws that the IG report identified as similarly ignoring the rules.

It will make for one hellava indictment.  ;)

General Comments / Re: I may have to vote for Trump
« on: June 02, 2016, 01:11:23 PM »
UNU is interesting but the problem is that it doesn't seem to accurately account for preference bias or distribution bias.  The Derby won't have a strong bias because no one is deeply invested in which horse wins - people are heavily invested in their individual candidate, and there are generally more Sanders supporters in Reddit and other forums due to age distribution of internet users (which skew younger).

This seems to be born out by the primary elections so far, since Hillary has received far more votes than Bernie, and looks like will end up winning the Democrat primary on votes alone.

General Comments / Re: I may have to vote for Trump
« on: June 01, 2016, 05:50:33 PM »
It's worse for Trump than we thought.

We know Latinos in general are against Trump.  But apparently many Latino Republicans can't stomach him, and plan not to vote at all.  He's actually polling worse among Latino Republicans than Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.  ::)

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