Sandbox (4)

Sometimes very active discussions about peripheral issues overwhelm a thread, so this is a permanent home for those conversations.

I’ve opened a new “Sandbox” thread as a post as the new “ignore commenter” plug-in only works on threads started as posts.

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3,424 thoughts on “Sandbox (4)

  1. phoodoo:
    newton,

    You have at least 3 US supreme court justices currently serving who have doubts that same sex marriage should be legal (two who recently said it could be overturned), and they are not elected and they serve for life, so what’s your point?

    As a political matter, this is problematic. Currently there are about half a million same-sex marriages in the US, up a bit over 120,000 from last year. So the task of somehow making these go away is complex. Do you grandfather them? Or do you simply redefine them mostly away, for example by prohibiting them from adopting or raising children? Marriage is deeply entwined in US law, leaving a lot of scope for deciding same sex couples are in many ways less married, but not UNmarried, you understand.

    Beyond this, what would be the legal status of gay Americans who marry in other nations and return? Would their marriages be equal or would they not be recognized or restricted? Seems to me there would need to be a fairly hefty body of law created to manage all this, far more than a simple decision in favor of marriage inequality.

    As I understand this, those wishing to abolish same-sex marriage are claiming something called “religious liberty”, which is a code-phrase for DENYING religious liberty to any minority that disagrees. In Trump’s America, the liberty to deny liberty to others seems to be a primary liberty, above many others. This works because fanatical minorities tend to be well organized and well funded, whereas large majorities for whom these matters are peripheral find their freedoms nibbled away without their even noticing – until it impacts them directly. So our vote matters. Elections have consequences, and systems with NO elections also have consequences.

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  2. newton: Sure would be nice to know what Trump was going to tweet ahead of time. Money could be made.

    That was my immediate response. It’s distressing not to have seen any reporting whatsoever on the fact that there was a period (early 2000s?) when Trump made a number of public statements that caused stock-price swings in his favor. If he’s doing it now, then it’s not for the first time.

    “So I think this was a blessing from God that I caught it,” Trump continued. “I caught it, I heard about this drug. I said, ‘Let me take it’ — it was my suggestion — I said, ‘Let me take it,’ and it was incredible the way it worked, incredible. And I think if I didn’t catch it we’d be looking at that like a number of other drugs.” [source]

    Trump also said that he wants everyone to get the monoclonal antibody treatment for free. He has not said outright how that would happen, but I presume that he has a government purchase in mind. Trump is invested in Regeneron, the maker of the treatment. But I’ve seen only one news article report that fact. I sometimes wonder whether journalists read the news.

    It’s impossible to be sure, of course, but it does look as though Trump wants to make some bucks on the way out, should he lose the election.

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  3. Flint,

    Yes, but the bigger point is that Newton appears to raise this question in defense of the so called “US democracy” praise. That system that Omagain is bragging about, which results in the dumbest leader to ever oversee any group of citizens in the entire history of the planet.

    He is so dumb that I think the system never even anticipated what to do when someone so dumb is in charge, but the Senate likes it because they can manipulate him to do whatever they want. So you have an unprecedentedly unethical senate, propping up a mental retard, who can then appoint Supreme court justices for life, who decide what rules you have to live with. And this is great, its being argued.

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  4. Tom English: Trump is invested in Regeneron, the maker of the treatment.

    Trump reported capital gains on Regeneron and Gilead stocks in his 2017 financial disclosure, not in later ones. I’d wager that he’s again invested in Regeneron, if I had any confidence that the question could be settled.

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  5. phoodoo:
    Flint,

    Yes, but the bigger point is that Newton appears to raise this question in defense of the so called “US democracy” praise.That system that Omagain is bragging about, which results in the dumbest leader to ever oversee any group of citizens in the entire history of the planet.

    He is so dumb that I think the system never even anticipated what to do when someone so dumb is in charge, but the Senate likes it because they can manipulate him to do whatever they want.So you have an unprecedentedly unethical senate, propping up a mental retard, who can then appoint Supreme court justices for life, who decide what rules you have to live with.And this is great, its being argued.

    I don’t see what’s happening in the US the way you do, at all. What I see is a nation which has been morphing from a reliance on manufacturing (with the solid middle class that entails) to an information and service economy. And THAT sort of economy rests on fundamental inequality – the service people are low paid and less educated, while the information people live in McMansions, and have graduate degrees. The bottom 60% or so have not seen their real wages increase in 40 years, while the top people have prospered. There has been NO effective “trickle-down” effect, leading to a great deal of resentment.

    Now, resentment doesn’t just exist in the abstract, it is directed at someone. People by their nature form in-groups which implies out-groups viewed as inferior. At worst, this becomes bigotry. The resentment is aimed at those perceived as depriving them of opportunity, typically minorities easily identified. After two generations, you might not be recognized as Irish (for example) but you will forever be recognized as black, asian, latino. Foreigners stealing our jobs. Queers and abortion-lovers stealing our morality.

    You may regard Trump as an idiot, and perhaps in many ways he is, but he had the ability to recognize the national simmering bigotry and resentment and appeal to it. For Trump, policy is wonkish and irrelevant, except when policy can be directed at “getting back” at our tormentors, the invasion of our borders, the insult of affirmative action, the undermining of our religious intolerances. Trump has an inerrant instinct for identifying and appealing to these resentments. He hitched his wagon to the bigot vote, and he was right. And Trump’s base is impenetrable because this isn’t in any way an appeal to anyone’s knowledge or intellect or education. It’s an appeal to pure emotion. The more damage Trump does, the more his base revels in it, because he is damaging the targets of their resentment. The elites, the immigrants, the minorities.

    You are dead wrong about the Senate. They are trapped in their representation of the bigot vote, a majority in their states too large to ignore. They are well aware that candidates in Republican primaries who criticized Trump, no matter how accurately, all lost. Their careers depend on doing his bidding, despite most of them saying he’s a fool and a criminal, but well off the record. ON the record, they can only spout praise, or retire. It’s their voters doing this, not the Senators themselves.

    And I think it’s critical to recognize that Fox News is far and away the most watched network, while Rush Limbaugh dominates talk radio. Perhaps without these mouthpieces, Trump would have very little power. But you have to ask WHY such voices find such a willing audience, when their content weaves between hopeless slant and flat-out lies. Yeah, they’re telling people what they want to hear. But WHY do they want to hear it? So long as they are fed a steady stream of right-wingding lies, they flock to advertisers who result in Hannity being paid $40 million a year!

    Trump didn’t cause this situation, he simply exploited it. And I doubt that a viciously progressive tax structure and wealth transfer is more than a band-aid. The long-term solution lies in quality public education. It’s no accident that Trump’s secretary of education doesn’t believe in public education.

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  6. Flint,

    It’s no accident that Trump’s secretary of education doesn’t believe in public education.

    A phrase that has resonated in our own media-led populist backlash was former Education Secretary Michael Gove responding to predictions on the negative consequences of Brexit with: “I think the people of this country have had enough of experts”…

    While in post, he once affirmed that he wanted all schools to be above average.

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  7. Here’s an interesting snippet. I’ve been a bit sceptical of claims to have suffered Covid back in November 2019 – there seems to be a lot of “me too” about it; more anecdotal ‘cases’ than one might expect for a disease that only started to gain traction in late December.

    But, a friend spent a few days in Singapore en route to Australia. On the plane, she felt unwell, but said nothing. Very unusually, a cabin announcement advised anyone feeling unwell to make themselves known to cabin crew, prompting her to actually say something. She went rapidly downhill, 40-degree temperature, uncontrollable shakes. They gave her oxygen and antipyretics and she was blue-lighted to a Melbourne hospital on landing, where they said it was a viral infection, not sure what, but treated in ICU with generic antivirals. She had a rash, anosmia, breathing difficulties, all the classic symptoms … this was November 5th.

    She’s just been antibody tested, and found positive. Of course this may indicate a later, asymptomatic infection, but the only reason to doubt the link with her earlier illness is the date.

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  8. Allan Miller: She had a rash, anosmia, breathing difficulties, all the classic symptoms … this was November 5th.

    She’s just been antibody tested, and found positive. Of course this may indicate a later, asymptomatic infection, but the only reason to doubt the link with her earlier illness is the date.

    Sounds convincing. I can take some comfort from the fact that she has antibodies nearly a year after the infection.

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  9. OMagain: If the richest in society don’t want to live there you’ve got problems….

    The reverse also applies , the society which the rich might feel the most comfortable in an oligarchy, which for the non-rich is also a problem.

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  10. phoodoo:
    newton,

    You have at least 3 US supreme court justices currently serving who have doubts that same sex marriage should be legal (two who recently said it could be overturned), and they are not elected and they serve for life, so what’s your point?

    It is a simple question. Right now same sex marriage is the law of the land in the US, is it the law of the land in China?

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  11. newton,

    No one in China cares about this. They don’t want guns and violence everywhere they turn. Different societies have different priorities. What makes you think what is important to you should be their first priority?

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  12. newton,

    Pence just got down calling the US the freest and most prosperous nation that has ever existed.

    This is the nonsense of America that the rest of the world laughs at. The freest nation that has ever existed?

    Total horseshit.

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  13. Corneel: Gay Chinese people might …

    But you think democracies should decide everything. So what if the majority thinks they should not have that right?

    Isn’t that how you want a country to be run? Let democracy run free?

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  14. phoodoo: But you think democracies should decide everything. So what if the majority thinks they should not have that right?

    Isn’t that how you want a country to be run? Let democracy run free?

    No, that is not how I want a country to be run. Majority rule should not be able to abuse governmental power in order to infringe other people’s civil rights.

    To my amazement, Anglo-Saxons do not have a synonym for the word Rechtsstaat. But that is exactly what I think a healthy democracy should look like. In a Rechtsstaat the safety and constitutional rights of its citizens are protected. No ganging up on minorities allowed.

    Needless to say, China is not doing so hot in this respect. China emphasizes human rights “with Chinese characteristics”, which basically means the communist party get to violently oppress dissenting voices without other countries being allowed to call them out for it.

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  15. Corneel,

    Who decides what is a “civil right”? There are lots of rights people don’t have in America. Can you do whatever drugs you want in America? Why not, isn’t that a civil right? Can you sell your body for money? What are you a bunch of barbarians or something?

    Every country decides what its citizens can and can’t do. There is no such thing as a “free” country as you call it.

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  16. Corneel,

    I recently heard that dog fighting is illegal in America. You can actually go to jail for this. WTF! You mean if I enjoy watching dogs bite each other to death, I can’t do that? Who decided that? What if I paid my own money for the dogs? The country is going to tell me what I can do with my pets?

    What happened to human rights?

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  17. phoodoo: Fuck off.

    The difference is, phoodoo, I’m not defending or justifying the things in those pictures or the existence of that camp.

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  18. phoodoo: Who decides what is a “civil right”?

    Not being put in a ‘re-education’ camp, is that a civil-right?

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  19. phoodoo: I recently heard that dog fighting is illegal in America. You can actually go to jail for this. WTF! You mean if I enjoy watching dogs bite each other to death, I can’t do that? Who decided that? What if I paid my own money for the dogs? The country is going to tell me what I can do with my pets?

    What happened to human rights?

    This ‘objective morality’ stuff is not all it’s made out to be.

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  20. OMagain: This ‘objective morality’ stuff is not all it’s made out to be.

    China has become an interesting case study. Basically, they have relaxed the economic regulation, so you can become a billionaire in China and pollute egregiously. But you can NOT lead or participate in any sort of political protest or opposition. So the experiment is determining the extent to which political and economic repression are related. The question is, can an absolute dictator for life successfully rule over a booming economy, or will the economic power obtained by many translate into political power in opposition. China’s experience suggests that economic vitality does not necessarily threaten the State.

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  21. phoodoo: China, with over 1 Billion MORE people than the US still has half a million LESS people in prison than in the good ol USA.

    That’s assuming the entire country isn’t a prison.

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  22. Mung: That’s assuming the entire country isn’t a prison.

    Could be; I haven’t lived in the US for a while so I don’t know how apt your description of the living conditions is.

    I do know the police treat everyone there like they are inmates so I can understand why you might feel that way.

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  23. phoodoo: Could be; I haven’t lived in the US for a while so I don’t know how apt your description of the living conditions is.

    I do know the police treat everyone there like they are inmates so I can understand why you might feel that way.

    Somehow I’m smelling apples and oranges. Any workable society requires behaviors on the part of the public that conform to some reasonably shared standards. I think there is a workable range of standards within any given system of commonly held values. It’s probably the case that a culture that imprisons a high percentage of its citizens isn’t working well, but it’s also probably the case that a low rate of imprisonment doesn’t necessarily imply a free society.

    To put it another way, intolerance for nonconformity can result in EITHER a low imprisonment rate (the population too cowed or terrified to step out of line) or a high rate (an intolerant State uses imprisonment rather than intimidation to control conflict). In either case, what’s missing is public expectation of justice.

    The US is analyzed pretty thoroughly, the results are published, and the population has good reason to believe that justice is far from blind. I can’t speak for nations where either such studies are not done, or the results are not made available to the public. I wonder if the State clamping down on the internet is a litmus test of sorts when the public is kept in the dark and fed propaganda. The US press might be labeled (by Trump) as the enemy of the people, but they can and do publish that Trump has told well over 20,000 lies. Most nations would permit neither the fact checking nor publishing the results.

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  24. Flint,

    No, you have been brought up on too much up US exceptionalism propaganda. Why do so many Americans claim their country is so free, the freest in the world!?

    The answer is propaganda, surface simple. There is no truth to this whatsoever, and yet it is such a prevalent recital. North Koreans think the same way.

    So if Americans are so misinformed about their own personal circumstances, why do you think it is so much worse in other countries.? You think the US citizens are the only ones who know what their political system is? That is clearly wrong.

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  25. Flint,

    “Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that,” he wrote, misspelling prosperity.”

    We do you think said this, Kim Jong Un ? Idi Amin? …

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  26. Neil Rickert: I think that was Senator Mike Lee from Utah.

    Indeed, and would anyone be surprised to hear the same thing from Kim Jong Un ? And the US public response would be, that’s terrible, totalitarianism!

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  27. OMagain: If the richest in society don’t want to live there you’ve got problems….

    Also when the richest in your country (and your president) do not pay taxes in your country, but prefer tax havens, you’ve got problems. Here USA, China, and Russia are in the same category.

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  28. phoodoo: And the US public response would be, that’s terrible, totalitarianism!

    Whereas the response from the China public is, well, whatever they say it is.

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  29. OMagain: Whereas the response from the China public is, well, whatever they say it is.

    No, you seemed to have not been paying attention. The US response is only this when it is someone from another country saying this. When a US senator says it, they mention it on yahoo, and then say, oh ho-hum.

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  30. Erik: Also when the richest in your country (and your president) do not pay taxes in your country, but prefer tax havens, you’ve got problems. Here USA, China, and Russia are in the same category.

    And these other countries are the ones the US considers some of the worst on the planet. Imagine if the US had to compare itself to ones they don’t think are so bad. How bad is the US then?

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  31. phoodoo: No, you seemed to have not been paying attention. The US response is only this when it is someone from another country saying this. When a US senator says it, they mention it on yahoo, and then say, oh ho-hum.

    No, rather I’m pointing out that the response from the Chinese public is whatever the government says it is.

    https://rsf.org/en/china

    Jinping has succeeded in imposing a social model in China based on control of news and information and online surveillance of its citizens.

    We understand that you don’t believe in democracy, rather that all should follow one leader unquestionably, forever.

    My only actual question is how much do they pay you?

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  32. phoodoo: And these other countries are the ones the US considers some of the worst on the planet. Imagine if the US had to compare itself to ones they don’t think are so bad. How bad is the US then?

    As noted upthread, on objective measures of actual personal happiness China is far far down the list from the USA.

    The objective fact remains that people are happier living outside China then in. You don’t seem to want to acknowledge this. Would you get a pay cut if you did so?

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  33. https://rsf.org/en/china

    Under tougher Internet regulations, members of the public can now be jailed for the comments they leave on news items posted on social media or messaging services, or even just for sharing content.

    Better watch what you say phoodoo. This site is not even https enabled so it’s trivial to see the traffic.

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  34. http://chinamediaproject.org/2018/09/27/informants-in-the-chinese-classroom/\

    it’s 1984 in China every year!

    Discussants on social media then started digging, and exposed the various “informant systems” (信息员制度) in place at universities. In fact, they realized, universities in China had organized teams of student informants as early as 2008. Ferreted out by one user, a document from the Hunan University of Commerce showed that this was characterized as “intelligence work” (情报信息工作) that was “secretive in nature” (具有隐秘性). It was also paid work. Generally, student informants would receive between 20 and 50 yuan for providing a single piece of information, and for information regarded as more critical they could be paid 200 yuan.

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  35. phoodoo: And these other countries are the ones the US considers some of the worst on the planet. Imagine if the US had to compare itself to ones they don’t think are so bad. How bad is the US then?

    Omagain is quite successful with his “look how bad China is” tactic. So, USA’s freedoms and social indicators are marginally better than China’s in some aspects. So people in USA do not have it as bad as in China, arguably. This is a very low bar globally.

    Come on, Omagain, you should really find some different country to compare yourself with. Who you compare yourself with defines a lot about yourself.

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  36. Erik: Omagain is quite successful with his “look how bad China is” tactic. So, USA’s freedoms and social indicators are marginally better than China’s in some aspects. So people in USA do not have it as bad as in China, arguably. This is a very low bar globally.

    It’s the comparison phoodoo is intent on making.

    Erik: Come on, Omagain, you should really find some different country to compare yourself with. Who you compare yourself with defines a lot about yourself.

    I’m merely pointing out that on every metric that phoodoo chooses to compare with, China is demonstrably worse on that metric. Should phoodoo choose another country to compare with then it’ll either be the same or I will note that he is in fact correct.

    What country do you suggest Erik?

    And is it really “arguably”, after all that’s happened in Hong Kong? Dissent is and will continue to be crushed and I simply don’t see that level of violence happening anywhere else in the world against legitimate protest as a matter of course in a so called ‘developed’ nation.

    So despite its problems, current and historical, individual freedom is far greater in the USA then in China, that’s clear.

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  37. phoodoo: But you think democracies should decide everything. So what if the majority thinks they should not have that right?

    Isn’t that how you want a country to be run? Let democracy run free?

    It’s amusing how you then stop instead of detailing what the alternative is where you are and why it’s better.

    phoodoo: You think the US citizens are the only ones who know what their political system is? That is clearly wrong.

    And as noted in several articles I’ve linked agitators in your society know better then to cause trouble because paid informants are at every level of society.

    phoodoo, I dub thee Mr. Charrington.

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  38. phoodoo: I think one of your great senators called it akin to a frat toga party. What’s the big deal?

    Absence of face masks. Lack of social distancing.

    Somehow I bet Trump is to blame.

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