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Comment Re:Joke ? (Score 1) 801

She's gleefully in favor of infringing on constitutionally protected rights,

Taking your guns away once again, I assume?

supports nationally self-destructive immigration policies,

Are you referring to the couple thousand Syrian women and children fleeing the aftermath of your stupid war? Or the 12 million Mexicans he wants to load onto rail cars and dump into the desert, south of the 2000 mile wall you think he's actually going to build?

and wants to see the government involved in wildly more private sector activities, at both the business and personal level.

Does she want to dictate where iPhones can be manufactured? Or does she have a history of abusing eminent domain to seize people's property?

Comment The two-party system (Score 1) 801


That's only technically true. The U.S. Constitution doesn't actually specify that there can only be two parties, but it arranges a winner-take-all system that organically results in the emergence of a two-party system. For a third party to gain a foothold, one of the two major parties has to fission roughly in half. (The last time this happened was before the Civil War, when the Whigs split up.) The U.S. has always had third parties, but each one is a satellite of one of the two major parties. (The Libertarian Party is a splinter off the Republican Party, and the Green Party is a splinter off the Democratic Party.) The reason that these parties stay small is obvious- if a Democrat votes Green, he knows it will help the Republicans, and if a Republican votes Libertarian, he knows it will help the Democrats. So the third parties only get a small number of protest votes (and only if these people don't stay home and watch Netflix).

This clearly has an effect on Senate elections. Also on the Electoral College during presidential elections, but states are reluctant to apportion electoral votes by the proportion of voters- since it means voters in that state exert less of an effect on the outcome of a presidential election than voters in winner-take-all states nearby.

Meanwhile the House of Representatives is controlled not by a majority of voters, not even by a majority of seats, but by a majority of a majority of seats. And that majority-of-a-majority isn't even answerable to the majority of voters in their districts, but to the (generally nutcase) minority that votes in primaries. Even if you disregard the ridiculous gerrymandering of districts, this isn't government by the people; it's government by a minority of a majority of a minority of the people. It's an absurd perversion of democracy and one of the biggest bugs in the Constitution.

Comment Re:Absurd Pile (Score 1) 801

The vast majority of which owe their national security to the US. Security which we are not properly compensated for. Trump will force our lazier "allies" to get their houses in order and shoulder more of the burden for protecting themselves.

The United States pays only 22.1% of the direct costs of NATO- about $500 million annually. (Germany pays 14.6%, France pays 10.6%, the UK pays 9.8%, Italy pays 8.4%, Canada pays 6.6%, Spain pays 5.8%, Turkey pays 4.3%, and the remaining 20 NATO allies- the Netherlands, Luxembourg, etc.- pay about 1% each on average.) On a per capita basis, the U.S. spends considerably less on NATO than either Germany or France.

The indirect costs of NATO, of course, are somewhat higher, as you'd naturally expect when a country voluntarily spends 54% of its discretionary budget on defense. That's totally nuts, and the way to address it would be to simply reduce military spending. But that's obviously not what he's proposing, since he knows it would get him booed off the stage. He's talking about keeping the military budget at present levels, and instituting a shakedown of NATO allies with an explicit threat to disregard our treaty obligations if countries don't pay up and are subsequently attacked. (The NATO treaty has been ratified by a Congressional supermajority, so this would be unconstitutional, but Trump insists that he can "negotiate" his way out of it and get a "better deal"- albeit one that could not possibly net us any more than $1 billion.)

Regardless of whether he intends to follow through on these statements or not, the mere fact that he's describing NATO in public as a protection racket instead of a treaty has already undermined national security. It's not as if both our NATO allies and Putin can't hear these rants (via "our Internet"), and the leaders of several of these countries have already expressed their suspicions that the United States might be willing to abrogate its treaty obligations if this fool gets elected. In fact Trump is making it clear that there could be no point in signing a treaty with the United States at all. It's now obvious to the rest of the world that the American political system has reached an ominous level of instability which is possibly sufficient to elevate a cretin like this to the presidency.

Comment Re:The basest, vilest (Score 1) 801

I don't recall any of those attacks being blamed on a youtube video by a Secretary of State and a President, let alone going after and investigating someone who made said video and using them as a scapegoat. Nor do I recall a Secretary of State lying to the families of those victims while telling people in private emails that it had nothing to do with a video.

Perhaps you could enlighten me?

Perhaps bold text can penetrate your thick skull. Once again, from the same 2014 article:

On the day of the attack, Islamists in Cairo had staged a demonstration outside the United States Embassy there to protest an American-made online video mocking Islam, and the protest culminated in a breach of the embassy's walls- images that flashed through news coverage around the Arab world. As the attack in Benghazi was unfolding a few hours later, Mr. Abu Khattala told fellow Islamist fighters and others that the assault was retaliation for the same insulting video, according to people who heard him.

Comment Re:The basest, vilest (Score 4, Interesting) 801

Yes, the 87 does include some attackers (duh), but if you actually read what I wrote, you would "fucking realize" that many more Americans died during those attacks than in Benghazi.

Were there nine investigations into them? No, zero. How many front page stories even mentioned them? Zero. Generally Americans don't give a shit about human life unless the victims are American citizens, so there's no point even mentioning total casualties. But aside from 9/11 (a day when GWB was "keeping us safe") it seems that even American lives are only valued when the GOP is not in power.

Comment Re:Theatres are terminal (Score 1) 272

The difference between theft and copyright infringement is one of immense philosophical complexity.

Deprivation of property is nothing more than deprivation of the labor entailed to obtain that property. You bought a car? That cost you $28,000, which you worked for; but why did you work for $28,000? Because the car salesmen spend time seeking out, talking with, and servicing customers; the cashiers spend time being available to take your money; there are delivery drivers who must bring SIX CARS from far-off to stock them in this enormous 500-car lot; someone makes those cars in the factories; someone makes the steel, the paint, and the plastics; someone mines for the ore, and produces the power required to make those things. These are all human labors, time which must be taken to make the thing.

If someone steals your car, they steal the outcome of nearly $28,000 of labor. It's probably more like $24,000-$26,000, and only that high because the automaker has negotiated for bulk purchase of steel and paint at razor-thin margins ($1 billion of profits at 0.1% vs no profits at your usual 15%, Mr. Carnergie), and the steelmaker has used the promise of an enormous contract to bid down the ore and coal miners on contingency of receiving and maintaining the automaker contract. These people's labors also went into production (organization and operation of production, which means less total human labor than self-organized artisans). You have to fork over all that cash to get a new one, or else insurance has to fork it over (and insurance rates are slightly higher than costs, meaning the cost of basic levels of theft is paid by the insured).

Theft isn't about tangible, physical objects; it's about time.

On the other hand, if you make copies of a work, that deprives no one of tangible property. There is no cost of labor of pressing a DVD for which you have stolen a man's life and livelihood; there is no cost of labor of shipping which you have taken without payment; there is no plastic or metal or ink which a man has made with his time and for which you have failed to pay. Why, then, would it be theft?

Movies are made by the labor of screen writers, actors, special effects artists, directors, producers, marketers, musicians, sound engineers, construction workers, fuel miners, energy producers, iron and steel manufacturers, and so forth. Seemingly-endless human labor time is poured into the production of a small piece of information, a tiny thing which you can reproduce with hardly a fraction of a penny's worth of additional human labor.

It is for this effort they demand compensation.

What justification do you have for depriving these people of compensation for their labor?

The only justification is that your particular action doesn't cost them anything, directly. They only labored at what we price at millions of dollars of wages to produce a thing which can then be copied for a fraction of nothing; you only took that fraction of nothing. They expect, for their work, some form of compensation, and you don't see why you should give them such a thing.

That is the philosophical comparison of theft of property versus theft of intellectual property. That is why it's called "intellectual property": it really takes the labor of a man to make it.

Comment Re:The basest, vilest (Score 5, Informative) 801

The blaming a Youtube video part happened pretty fucking definitely.

This is from a New York Times article in 2014:

On the day of the attack, Islamists in Cairo had staged a demonstration outside the United States Embassy there to protest an American-made online video mocking Islam, and the protest culminated in a breach of the embassy's walls- images that flashed through news coverage around the Arab world.

As the attack in Benghazi was unfolding a few hours later, Mr. Abu Khattala told fellow Islamist fighters and others that the assault was retaliation for the same insulting video, according to people who heard him.

In an interview a few days later, he pointedly declined to say whether an offensive online video might indeed warrant the destruction of the diplomatic mission or the killing of the ambassador. "From a religious point of view, it is hard to say whether it is good or bad," he said.

No one who obsesses about Benghazi seems aware that during the George W Bush administration, there were 39 attempted attacks on U.S. embassies, 20 of which resulted in fatalities. The total death toll in those attacks was 87, including three confirmed to be U.S. civilians, and another 21 who worked at U.S. embassies or consulates and were either of American or foreign nationality.

The reason you might not have heard of those tragedies is that unlike Benghazi, no one exploited them for politics.

Comment Concrete evil (Score 1) 801

Trump, despite all the mud being thrown this way, has done very little concrete evil in comparison.

A $7.8 million contract for Trump Plaza was awarded to S&A Concrete, owned by Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno. Trump World Tower was built with concrete from Quadrozzi Concrete Company, associated with the Lucchese crime family.

Comment Re:oh if only... (Score 1) 211

It'd be even better if they started covering the amount of economic and environmental damage every Olympic games causes to its host. The hosts think they're going to get a $500 billion tourism industry overnight, and expend tens of billions of dollars (a drop in the bucket for the U.S. Federal government; kind of hefty for a U.S. state; crippling for a city, U.S. or otherwise) ripping out forests, tearing down housing, excising shopping centers, and doing whatever else they need to do to place and supply an enormous stadium. Then it's over, and the stadium rots; tourism doesn't expand; and the heavy cost of hosting the Olympics turns into a long-term burden with no economic upside.

The media doesn't cover this because the Olympics gives them a big ad spot to sell, and destroying the Olympics would cost them. Independent print-only online media with no broadcast sponsor could cover it, and they would get minimal circulation. The only way to hit the public mind is to get CNN, Fox, and NBC.

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