1044: “Romney Quiz”

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby SirMustapha » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:46 pm UTC

gruene wrote:This is extremely funny for people who follow politics regularly.


Yes, because all of them think exactly like you. For real.

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby Salzano14 » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:54 pm UTC

zoffenberger wrote:I think he's satirizing the process of straw-manning political candidates, which is really all the elections in our country are anymore. He's putting down real statements of substance (depending on your definition, not asinine like the ones in the MAD cartoon) by Romney juxtaposed with nonsense to show how ridiculous and counter-productive things like that are when there are real issues to be discussed. Not that the original parody isn't fun or funny; Mr Burns is my favorite character on the show and it's definitely a good way to suggest that Romney is out of touch. But it just continues this process whereby people look at a man and see everything but the policies and the issues, and that's what's really screwing this country right now.

inb4 everyone tells me I'm a Romney or Obama lover, I'm neither, I just want us to not fall into the same trap we do every election cycle.

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby J Thomas » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:07 am UTC

Rotherian wrote:
Klear wrote:
Rotherian wrote:Of course, I am selfish. Everyone I have met is selfish. If you really look deep enough inside yourself, there is likely a degree of selfishness. It is part of being a living organism. (Except perhaps mineral lifeforms, but I don't know enough about those to offer an opinion either way.)

Each breathe that I take is so that I can keep living; each bite of food that I consume is so that I can remain in existence. If I vote for a political party that has a better track record for giving raises (although past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future trends - there is no guarantee that the sun will be there tomorrow, but it is very likely that it will), it is so that I can provide for my family better. ....


Have a look at what's happening in Greece to see what's wrong with that attitude.

Edit: It's understandable, but also very wrong, if it is your only only criterion when voting.


It isn't any longer. I retired last year. However, I have a responsibility to ensure that my children and wife are fed, clothed, and have shelter. If one party will bring me closer to fulfilling that responsibility, since perfect candidates do not exist (merely ones that are really good at hiding the flaws), I can't consider that criterion a bad thing.


I agree that you have that responsibility. I say you have more responsibility than that. There's the question where you leave off and the rest of the world begins....

I'm not sure how to say this. Imagine you were a farmer. To the extent that you care about your own personal farm, what damages the farm damages you. You might choose to accept a few million dollars so somebody can destroy your farm and you go buy one somewhere else, maybe. But certainly while you farm there, that farm is part of you. If somebody flies a cropduster over your farm and sprays your land with a strong arsenic solution, they are harming you even if your body does not get poisoned.

And if somebody destroys the watershed upstream of you, they damage your farm and you. You don't own that watershed but to the extent you and your farm have rights to avoid damage, you have the right to try to stop them.

Anything that affects your environment could damage your farm and you. You could have some interest in any of it. If you look too narrowly you might hurt yourself. So for example, what happens if you vote for politicians that you think will increase your military pay, and then they get you into a useless unnecessary war? Sweet combat pay, but there are disadvantages.... And that one actually did happen in real life.

I say you are responsible at least some for trying to get what you think is best for the nation. (And the world too.) So for example, if you realize that you are part of a bloated parasitic military that is sucking the vitality out of your nation, that has expanded beyond any possible value, you have a responsibility to quit. Find a way to make your living that is actually productive, and vote against increased military funding. If instead you live a leechlike military lifestyle and vote for increased military funding, you are hurting yourself in the long run. You are creating a nation that your children and grandchildren will have a harder time surviving in.

And of course each person has to predict for himself what the nation needs. If you truly believe that your nation is well-served by a military that directly consumes 6% of GDP, then you might as well try to maximize your own income while you serve your nation.
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby TomSFox » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:26 am UTC

dmm wrote:… this comic is shouting "Vote Obama!" by comparing Romney to a kid in a silly movie.

Please tell me you are joking.

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby San Fran Sam » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:27 am UTC

Let me be the first to say it...

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby TomSFox » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:36 am UTC

Rotherian wrote:As someone who voted for Republicans consistently (because of the tendency of the Democrat party leaders, compared to their Republican party counterparts, to give smaller raises to the military, of which I was a member), I can tell you that I'm not very egocentric …

Yes, voting for a party just to get a higher raise is not egocentric at all.

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby BytEfLUSh » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:07 am UTC

Eternal Density wrote:b) Please let me know when abortion is safe for both patients.


Not that I care too much about the topic, but this argument... [deleted]

a) Please let me know when capital punishment is safe for both the executioner and the executed.
b) Please let me know when eating animal corpses that have been set on fire is safe for both parties.
c) Please let me know when having sex is safe for both participants.
d) Please let me know when fighting terrorists is safe for both sides.
e) Please let me know when __________________________________ ...

Of course, I'm not saying a fetus is the same thing as a convinced criminal, a terrorist, or whatever you imagine. I'm just saying that if you get appendicitis, no-one guarantees that you won't have complications. However, appendix will most probably not make it.
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby cathjb@gmail.com » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:22 am UTC

Charlie Bucket was a sensitive child who would never have said "Look at the little men Grandpa", it'd be as racist as saying "look at the aborigines". I would expect that more of one of his fellow contestants, say Veruca Salt.

Roald Dahl liked his heros/heroines to elicit the COMPLETE sympathy of the reader, they were more or less perfect. Charlie and Sophie were perfect children. Matilda Wormwood was practically messianic.

By the way I think it's perfectly OK and understandable that xkcd is hit and miss. I have a lot of love for xkcd.

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby netsplit » Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:23 am UTC

Rotherian wrote:
PhingerSpex wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:But yeah I mostly don't get it because US politics as seen from a British perspective is completely confusing.


[snip]

Normally I can see both sides of any confrontation, but it's difficult for anyone with any intelligence at all to understand Republicans as anything other than ego-centric, anti-science bigots. There are exceptions - Gary Johnson (R) is one of the sanest politicians in the USA.

[snip]



1. Just so that I understand you correctly, are you implying that anyone that votes for a member of the Republican party - and if asked will identify themselves as Republican - is necessarily invariably egocentric, against science, and a bigot?


Democrat party leaders, compared to their Republican party counterparts


It's the Democratic party. Thanks for demonstrating Republican bigotry though.
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby JudeMorrigan » Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:32 am UTC

babble wrote:The saddest thing of all in this disaster of a comic is that everyone is focusing on the (terrible) film adaptation(s) of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Wrong, sir! Wrong! You lose. Good day, sir!

I said: Good day!

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby Hirg » Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:46 am UTC

gormster wrote:Um, this seems... super positive on Romney. Is Randall a Republican?


I think he did a good job of choosing neutral-to-semi-neutral quotes. That way it's not a political statement, but a parody. It's still not that funny, but...can't really comment on Randall's politics based on this.

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby dp2 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:00 am UTC

Rotherian wrote:
dp2 wrote:
Rotherian wrote:... although I don't agree (in principle) with abortion, it is really none of my business what somebody else decides to do with their body - as long as I'm not being asked to pay for it. (I don't agree with rhinoplasty, in principle, either, but that is no more my business than abortion - unless I'm the one paying for it.)

Hold on there. I don't mean to single you out, but you said this thing that is often said, and I have to address it.

When people say "I'm against abortion but who am I to stop it?", it's like they're talking about body piercing or a nose job, as you suggested. It ignores the reason people think abortion is wrong. It isn't "You shouldn't do that to your body", it's "You shouldn't kill a human being". People try to avoid acknowledging that belief by calling it 'anti-choice' and otherwise ducking the question of whether a fetus is a human. You can argue that someone doesn't have the right to force their belief of what's human on other people. But then you'd have to apply that same thinking to other people who think other groups are less-than-human.

All this comes back to what I've said already in this thread. People don't want to listen to the other side of a debate. They villify them instead and assign sinister motivations -- Flipflopper! Communist! War on Women! War on Religion! -- rather than acknowledging what they're really thinking.


Ah, but there is the rub. Legally, there hasn't been a definition of "human being" since 1948. We can generally agree, though, that a human being is a person. However, in 1973, 410 US Code 113 stated that the 14th Amendment reference to "person" did not include the unborn. Later this was changed to a determination of viability (that is, the ability to survive outside the womb). Currently, the minimum gestation period for an unborn child to be considered a person is 24-28 weeks (6-7 months). Since "person" is roughly equivalent to human being, the subject of any abortion that takes place prior to the 6th month of gestation isn't legally a human being, and thus not afforded protection from induced death. 18 US Code 1111 para (a) defines murder as "the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought." If the unborn child is legally considered a human being, then the termination of its life is murder. If not, it isn't.

There are more rubs than that. For instance, I said "kill", not "murder". There are various ways a human (or person) can be killed without it falling under the legal definition of murder. Many anti-abortionists will indeed call abortion murder. Personally, I think that stark delineation hurts their cause because then they're calling all abortionists murderers and all women who have them done, as well as nurses and possibly even the fathers, accessories to murder. Again, villifying. By pointing at the pro-choice side and saying "That's murder!", they gloss over the uncomfortable issues that need addressing. So does saying "You hate women and are anti-choice!"

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby whateveries » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:03 am UTC

adanedhel728 wrote:Ok, all politics aside, I think it's awesome that Randall was able to make a stick figure picture look so much like Mitt Romney without even drawing a face. And it's not just the hair, it's the shape. Even if the name hadn't been there, I think we all would have recognized it.


I have wondered before if in fact Randall hasn't written some code to xkcdify a real person, and then I wondered if anyone else has, and then I wondered How I would go about doing it, probably in labview (oh quit with your boo hissing and scornful looks) . But I must not have wondered to hard, because I never googled it. and sometimes I wonder when google gets a request for something that does not exist as yet they have a team of engineers ready to go on any cool sounding concepts, because, if I owned google, that is what I would definitely be doing. But I don't own google, but I do own a dog, so I kind of play with her and the kids instead. it's a good compromise. except for the slobber and the stink, but thats kids for you.
it's fine.

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby Dojji » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:37 am UTC

PhingerSpex wrote:I know my irony was clumsy, but is yours even more underplayed?
So you're not anti-science, anti-anything-to-do-with-race-religion-gender, not a rabid pro-lifer... in short, pretty liberal in your views


Holy flaming fishnuggets. Is that really what it's come down to? Has it really reached the point where people unthinkingly buy into the stereotype without even seriously considering alternative reasons why someone would actually dare to be Republican?

No chance that someone might be a conscientious "ordinary Christian" who doesn't care that much about the big right wing religious hot-buttons but feels sufficiently alienated by the highbrow, condescending left-wing intelligentsia's take of Christianity that they feel they have no other party left to vote for? No chance that someone might be a soldier or ex-soldier who remembers Carter and Clinton and their relative disrespect for the American military? A small businessman who prefers their take on tax policy? A Libertarian getting in bed with the lesser of two evils? Someone who has honestly and intellectually examined society and reached the conclusion that the government needs to weigh in on moral issues in order to avoid having them be settled by default to conform to the path of least resistance?

No?

How is this typecasting of an entire section of the political conversation in this country any less offensive than a Conservative labeling every registered Democrat a dirty pot-smoking hippie with Mao's Little Red Book somewhere in his luggage? How have people who try to pretend they pride themselves on neutrality, even-handedness and a respect for the beliefs of others DARED TO ALLOW themselves to reach the point where this level of closedminded entrenchment exists in their minds?

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby Dojji » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:49 am UTC

dp2 wrote:There are more rubs than that. For instance, I said "kill", not "murder". There are various ways a human (or person) can be killed without it falling under the legal definition of murder. Many anti-abortionists will indeed call abortion murder. Personally, I think that stark delineation hurts their cause because then they're calling all abortionists murderers and all women who have them done, as well as nurses and possibly even the fathers, accessories to murder. Again, villifying. By pointing at the pro-choice side and saying "That's murder!", they gloss over the uncomfortable issues that need addressing. So does saying "You hate women and are anti-choice!"


Not to mention, that there are definitely areas where it is legitimately reasonable to be anti-choice.

I do not, for example, believe it to be reasonable that someone should have the choice of hauling out a .45 and randomly killing someone for no particular reason. That is not something I want someone to have the freedom to do. I'm sure black-hat would consider me anti-choice.

Similarly, the government imposes controls on the distribution of prescription medicines, and has reasoned that some potentially medically useful substances are not to be made accessable at all, usually due to side effects that are either too dangerous or too risky to allow their regular use at all. And there's a whole spectrum in between where the government allows their use but only in carefully controlled situations, usually to avoid addiction or substance abuse (such as with Morphine, and with Oxycontin). In each of these cases, choice is restricted.

The choice to drive while intoxicated is also restricted, making the government policy clearly anti-choice on the subject of combining automobiles and, a number of substances, including but not limited to alcohol.

Also, possession of firearms, even by relatively responsible people, is restricted and frequently carefully regulated. Even in the US there are definitely times and places where being armed is simply not something that will be permitted. That, also, is anti-choice

The common denominator of most of those anti-choice policies lies in the danger to the life and health of others if a practice is permitted by the government.

Which is an interesting source of debate when the subject of what constitutes "others" is properly broached.

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby Rotherian » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:10 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:
I agree that you have that responsibility. I say you have more responsibility than that. There's the question where you leave off and the rest of the world begins....

I'm not sure how to say this. Imagine you were a farmer. To the extent that you care about your own personal farm, what damages the farm damages you. You might choose to accept a few million dollars so somebody can destroy your farm and you go buy one somewhere else, maybe. But certainly while you farm there, that farm is part of you. If somebody flies a cropduster over your farm and sprays your land with a strong arsenic solution, they are harming you even if your body does not get poisoned.

And if somebody destroys the watershed upstream of you, they damage your farm and you. You don't own that watershed but to the extent you and your farm have rights to avoid damage, you have the right to try to stop them.

Anything that affects your environment could damage your farm and you. You could have some interest in any of it. If you look too narrowly you might hurt yourself. So for example, what happens if you vote for politicians that you think will increase your military pay, and then they get you into a useless unnecessary war? Sweet combat pay, but there are disadvantages.... And that one actually did happen in real life.

I say you are responsible at least some for trying to get what you think is best for the nation. (And the world too.) So for example, if you realize that you are part of a bloated parasitic military that is sucking the vitality out of your nation, that has expanded beyond any possible value, you have a responsibility to quit. Find a way to make your living that is actually productive, and vote against increased military funding. If instead you live a leechlike military lifestyle and vote for increased military funding, you are hurting yourself in the long run. You are creating a nation that your children and grandchildren will have a harder time surviving in.

And of course each person has to predict for himself what the nation needs. If you truly believe that your nation is well-served by a military that directly consumes 6% of GDP, then you might as well try to maximize your own income while you serve your nation.


I get it, you don't like the military. That is fine, not everybody does. I must ask, though: Exactly how long have you spent in uniform ready to defend your country's interests domestically or abroad? 21 years like me? 21 months? 21 weeks? 21 days?

If none of the above, I don't believe that you are in a position to judge what I did for the last two decades. You are welcome to your opinion. You are welcome to disagree with me. However, I haven't called you any derogatory names, nor have I characterized what you have done for the last 20, 10, or even 5 years as parasitic. Having not walked the proverbial mile in your shoes, I would have no basis for such a characterization. I only expect the same in return. I'm not asking that you like the military. I'm not even asking that you say only nice things. However, until you are ready to discuss actual facts rather than statistics, we will just have to agree to disagree.
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:20 am UTC

Rotherian wrote:I must ask, though: Exactly how long have you spent in uniform ready to defend your country's interests domestically or abroad? 21 years like me? 21 months? 21 weeks? 21 days?

I personally have helped to fend off every single foreign invasion of the United States which has occurred in my lifetime.

I have never been a part of any military or paramilitary organization and may not have ever fired an actual firearm.

Maybe ask again when there are actual armies actually attacking us to defend ourselves from.
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby Rotherian » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:35 am UTC

netsplit wrote:
Rotherian wrote:
PhingerSpex wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:But yeah I mostly don't get it because US politics as seen from a British perspective is completely confusing.


[snip]

Normally I can see both sides of any confrontation, but it's difficult for anyone with any intelligence at all to understand Republicans as anything other than ego-centric, anti-science bigots. There are exceptions - Gary Johnson (R) is one of the sanest politicians in the USA.

[snip]



1. Just so that I understand you correctly, are you implying that anyone that votes for a member of the Republican party - and if asked will identify themselves as Republican - is necessarily invariably egocentric, against science, and a bigot?


Democrat party leaders, compared to their Republican party counterparts


It's the Democratic party. Thanks for demonstrating Republican bigotry though.


So my omission of two letters somehow demonstrates bigotry? (By the way do you refer to them as Democrats or Democratics, because I've only heard them referred to as Democrats.) This is what Merriam Webster defines as a bigot: "a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance"

Democrats (i.e. members of the Democratic Political Party of the United States of America - I put all that just in case you decide to try to use that omission against me as well), constitute neither a racial nor ethnic group, nor do I treat Democrats with hatred (the most I can manage is apathy for a majority of politicians in any party) and I'm certainly not intolerant of them. Just because, in my own enlightened self-interest, I have chosen to vote for the candidate more likely to keep my family comfortably clothed, fed, and sheltered (by comfortably clothed I mean that not too many of the clothes are hand-me-downs, by comfortably fed I mean three meals a day, and by comfortably sheltered I mean living in a place where it doesn't leak most days and we only get a couple of insect infestations a year when new neighbors that aren't too familiar with the concept of hygiene move in next door), doesn't make me intolerant. (Heck, my wife is the one that gets mad; I just walk around the house with a shoe in one hand and several sheets of tissue paper or paper towels in the other.)
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby Rotherian » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:38 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Rotherian wrote:I must ask, though: Exactly how long have you spent in uniform ready to defend your country's interests domestically or abroad? 21 years like me? 21 months? 21 weeks? 21 days?

I personally have helped to fend off every single foreign invasion of the United States which has occurred in my lifetime.

I have never been a part of any military or paramilitary organization and may not have ever fired an actual firearm.

Maybe ask again when there are actual armies actually attacking us to defend ourselves from.



Please read it again focusing on the underlined portion.
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby Arky » Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:20 am UTC

I remembered the Burns list so I got that it was a parody of that, but it's still just not funny. At all. It's not a parody to just do a version of the Burns list stripped of any humour or bite. It's Randall going "What if I did one of these parody lists that <i>completely misses the point?</i>"

Answer: If it completely misses the point it's useless.

Big misfire. They can't all be funny, I guess.
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby BlitzGirl » Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:43 am UTC

cathjb@gmail.com wrote:Charlie Bucket was a sensitive child who would never have said "Look at the little men Grandpa", it'd be as racist as saying "look at the aborigines". I would expect that more of one of his fellow contestants, say Veruca Salt.

Yeah, where's the Romney/Veruca Salt comparison? I want it now!
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby netsplit » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:39 am UTC

Rotherian wrote:
netsplit wrote:
Rotherian wrote:
PhingerSpex wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:But yeah I mostly don't get it because US politics as seen from a British perspective is completely confusing.


[snip]

Normally I can see both sides of any confrontation, but it's difficult for anyone with any intelligence at all to understand Republicans as anything other than ego-centric, anti-science bigots. There are exceptions - Gary Johnson (R) is one of the sanest politicians in the USA.

[snip]



1. Just so that I understand you correctly, are you implying that anyone that votes for a member of the Republican party - and if asked will identify themselves as Republican - is necessarily invariably egocentric, against science, and a bigot?


Democrat party leaders, compared to their Republican party counterparts


It's the Democratic party. Thanks for demonstrating Republican bigotry though.


So my omission of two letters somehow demonstrates bigotry? (By the way do you refer to them as Democrats or Democratics, because I've only heard them referred to as Democrats.) This is what Merriam Webster defines as a bigot: "a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance"


The only place in modern media I've heard it called "the democrat party" is Bush (idiot who ignored the housing bubble to focus on a trillion dollar fool war of false claims), and right wing spineless shills like Fox News. You going for demonstrating the Republicans brainless fanatics angle then? Also per Marriam Webster, the key word is especially. Since you apparently need the help, Marriam Webster defines as: "in particular : particularly <food seems cheaper, especially meats>".

Bigotry can simply about other creeds and view points, or other things.

For example Republicans are generally heavily bigoted on gay marriage.

So far you've...
Demonstrated getting information from only partisan sources: ✔
Ignorance of basic things: ✔

Just because, in my own enlightened self-interest, I have chosen to vote for the candidate more likely to keep my family comfortably clothed, fed, and sheltered (by comfortably clothed I mean that not too many of the clothes are hand-me-downs, by comfortably fed I mean three meals a day, and by comfortably sheltered I mean living in a place where it doesn't leak most days and we only get a couple of insect infestations a year when new neighbors that aren't too familiar with the concept of hygiene move in next door), doesn't make me intolerant. (Heck, my wife is the one that gets mad; I just walk around the house with a shoe in one hand and several sheets of tissue paper or paper towels in the other.)


Sadly you've been fooled. It was the Republican party who ignored a giant housing and credit swap bubble to focus on a trillion dollar war of false claims. It is the Republican party who fights initiatives to repair the economy devastated from that bubble. It is the Republican party who fights teaching basic science in the class room such as evolution out of pure religious fanaticism. How do you think your kids will do in the world with an education crippled by bronze age myths? It is the Republican party who fights healthcare reform.


UHC is shown to have half the cost in most other industrialized western countries, with longer life times and higher infant survival rates. How do you think the economic deadweight of our stupid healthcare bureaucracy effects the price of goods on the international market? Our healthcare system jacks up the prices of American goods and loses us business. Yet Republicans fight to keep it, taking food out of your mouth in the form of additional money you could be making. Apparently Republicans want more unemployed, and they want more dead babies.
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby J Thomas » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:33 pm UTC

Rotherian wrote:
J Thomas wrote:....

Anything that affects your environment could damage your farm and you. You could have some interest in any of it. If you look too narrowly you might hurt yourself. So for example, what happens if you vote for politicians that you think will increase your military pay, and then they get you into a useless unnecessary war? Sweet combat pay, but there are disadvantages.... And that one actually did happen in real life.

I say you are responsible at least some for trying to get what you think is best for the nation. (And the world too.) So for example, if you realize that you are part of a bloated parasitic military that is sucking the vitality out of your nation, that has expanded beyond any possible value, you have a responsibility to quit. Find a way to make your living that is actually productive, and vote against increased military funding. If instead you live a leechlike military lifestyle and vote for increased military funding, you are hurting yourself in the long run. You are creating a nation that your children and grandchildren will have a harder time surviving in.

And of course each person has to predict for himself what the nation needs. If you truly believe that your nation is well-served by a military that directly consumes 6% of GDP, then you might as well try to maximize your own income while you serve your nation.


I get it, you don't like the military. That is fine, not everybody does. I must ask, though: Exactly how long have you spent in uniform ready to defend your country's interests domestically or abroad? 21 years like me? 21 months? 21 weeks? 21 days?


I haven't worn a uniform since I was a boy scout. And I don't dislike the military. We need a military. Just, we can't afford the military we have.

If none of the above, I don't believe that you are in a position to judge what I did for the last two decades.


That is an utterly bogus argument. Would you say that if you didn't work at Enron you aren't in a position to judge Enron? If you haven't been a banker for 20 years you can't judge the banking meltdown? Consider that many people believe that the Moonies brainwash their recruits. Would you say that you can't judge the Moonies unless you've been brainwashed by the Moonies? The argument you are making is bullshit in general. It is a bad argument. Which does not say you did bad work for the military, only that your argument is worthless.

Further, there is no particular reason to think you understand the military, any more than somebody who spent 20 years on an assembly line should say he understands General Motors because of it. Spending 20 years being processed by the military does not at all imply that you understand the process. I've known veterans who spent hundreds or even thousands of hours of their retirements learning history to get an understanding of battles they were in. Because actually being there did not tell them what was going on.

You are welcome to your opinion. You are welcome to disagree with me. However, I haven't called you any derogatory names, nor have I characterized what you have done for the last 20, 10, or even 5 years as parasitic.


Wait, I have not said you were a parasite on the military. I'd be happy to give you the benefit of the doubt on that. For the sake of discussion let's say you competently did all the tasks the military assigned you. I'll go farther -- if you successfully retired from the military, that's evidence that you did things adequately to military standards. If you had been too incompetent they would have thrown you out. Further, didn't they have a policy of "up or out" for part of that time? Some fraction of the military had to be very good at following their directions or they would be declared redundant. So without knowing any details I'd say there's a strong chance that you competently did what the military wanted you to. I don't intend any personal attack here. Similarly, you could have worked for 20 years for Enron and done a superb job as a sysadmin or a database manager or whatever, without being in any way personally responsible for what happened at Enron and without even knowing there was anything wrong until the public did.

I'm not asking that you like the military. I'm not even asking that you say only nice things. However, until you are ready to discuss actual facts rather than statistics, we will just have to agree to disagree.


Statistics are cumulative facts. The US military gobbles around 6% of GDP. Do we need that much military? How would we go about finding out how much military we need?

Are the US interests abroad that our military protects worth 6% of GDP? How would we find out?

Should we trust the military to decide how much military we need to pay for? "Don't ask your barber whether you need a haircut."

The obvious way for the US political process to decide how much military spending to do, is notice what a big voting block the military is, and then listen to lobbyists from the military contractors. But this is a bad way. It's like listening to the teachers' union tell the government how much to spend on education. US citizens need some kind of education. And they need some kind of defense. But we can't just let the people the government gives the money to, decide how much money they should get. That fails.

Clearly, the maximum military spending we can do is the maximum we can afford. So on that basis I propose we compromise. Cut the military budget in half, to 3% of GDP, and later expand it gradually when we are sure the economy is growing well. If real GDP doesn't grow fast enough, cut military spending more. The USSR tried to pay for more military than they could afford, and look what happened to them.

So we must reduce military spending until we can pay for it without a deficit. And not just military spending, other spending too.
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby dp2 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:50 pm UTC

Dojji wrote:
dp2 wrote:There are more rubs than that. For instance, I said "kill", not "murder". There are various ways a human (or person) can be killed without it falling under the legal definition of murder. Many anti-abortionists will indeed call abortion murder. Personally, I think that stark delineation hurts their cause because then they're calling all abortionists murderers and all women who have them done, as well as nurses and possibly even the fathers, accessories to murder. Again, villifying. By pointing at the pro-choice side and saying "That's murder!", they gloss over the uncomfortable issues that need addressing. So does saying "You hate women and are anti-choice!"


Not to mention, that there are definitely areas where it is legitimately reasonable to be anti-choice.

I do not, for example, believe it to be reasonable that someone should have the choice of hauling out a .45 and randomly killing someone for no particular reason. That is not something I want someone to have the freedom to do. I'm sure black-hat would consider me anti-choice.

Similarly, the government imposes controls on the distribution of prescription medicines, and has reasoned that some potentially medically useful substances are not to be made accessable at all, usually due to side effects that are either too dangerous or too risky to allow their regular use at all. And there's a whole spectrum in between where the government allows their use but only in carefully controlled situations, usually to avoid addiction or substance abuse (such as with Morphine, and with Oxycontin). In each of these cases, choice is restricted.

The choice to drive while intoxicated is also restricted, making the government policy clearly anti-choice on the subject of combining automobiles and, a number of substances, including but not limited to alcohol.

Also, possession of firearms, even by relatively responsible people, is restricted and frequently carefully regulated. Even in the US there are definitely times and places where being armed is simply not something that will be permitted. That, also, is anti-choice

The common denominator of most of those anti-choice policies lies in the danger to the life and health of others if a practice is permitted by the government.

Which is an interesting source of debate when the subject of what constitutes "others" is properly broached.

That's my other problem with the phrase. It masks the issue by broadening what the anti-abortionist is against, making them sound like they want NO rights for ANYONE. By the same token, as is often pointed out, calling yourself 'pro-life' seems counter to being in favor of the death penalty or wanting to nuke the Middle East into a glass factory. Yes, it's generally understood that these terms refer to the abortion debate, but there are still linguistic games being played.

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby Dojji » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:06 pm UTC

You know, that's weird.

I always felt that the LIBERAL position was the slightly more bigoted one. Theirs is the hand from which the race card is almost always played. More to the point, it always does seem to be the left that insists on dividing us up into races in the first place, and that's the textbook definition of racism.

Especially on issues like affirmative action. I mean think about it. How is affirmative action not a backhanded form of racism? "Oh well, we'd never expect a person of your race to have the fundamental ability to compete on equal terms with us, so here. Have a handout."

Seriously, that's insulting.
Last edited by Dojji on Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:37 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby Maxintech » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:13 pm UTC

I don't get it. Maybe it's because I'm not interested in U.S. politics and I don't know who the hell is Romney. :shock:

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby Dojji » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:14 pm UTC

dp2 wrote:That's my other problem with the phrase. It masks the issue by broadening what the anti-abortionist is against, making them sound like they want NO rights for ANYONE. By the same token, as is often pointed out, calling yourself 'pro-life' seems counter to being in favor of the death penalty or wanting to nuke the Middle East into a glass factory. Yes, it's generally understood that these terms refer to the abortion debate, but there are still linguistic games being played.


Yes, and even those who point that out can be guilty of applying broad-spectrum stereotypes based on partisan allegiance. It isn't that unusual to find pro-lifers who are neither particularly pro war, nor friends of the death penalty. No one agrees 100% with the party with which they align. The party system isn't wired to allow that to happen.

Frankly I think a pro life position on the abortion debate can be parsed with a support for the death penalty without hypocrisy. Simply put, there's a difference between executing a criminal, who made a series of conscious choices to become a criminal (even if they were seriously behind the 8-ball and their other options were limited, the choice to turn to crime was still theirs), and killing an unborn human who has had no chance to make any conscious choice that might forfeit their right to life.

As for my stance on abortion? It's based on my Christianity, but only to a point. As a religious man, I recognize the fact that the final authority we answer to is never that of law. I also recognize that all sophistries will eventually be outed as such, and that if we fail to recognize where we're applying sophistry in lieu of reason, we will eventually be giving an accounting for that, either to God or to history. I do not want it on my conscience, either now or before God's bar of judgment, that I silently assented to the death of tens of millions of children HE might consider "human enough" from His own perspective. Or for history to take a dim view of our sophistries when these issues are sorted out some time in the future.

I believe that regardless of the whatever medical sophistry one can apply to the abortion debate, the potential humanity of these unborn children, especially the 90% that are killed for no other reason than because a pregnancy was unwanted, must be conceded, with heavy emphasis on "potential."

At that point the question becomes not "what measure a human person?" and more "How can we dare to try to make that judgment call when the lives of tens of millions is in the balance on one side, and the convenience of women is on the other?

I do believe in making sure RILOM (rape, Incest, Life Of Mother) abortions aren't met with excessive red tape. But abortions of convenience is not something I believe we're wise to tolerate. Especially when there ARE alternatives to becoming pregnant in the first place.

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby CharlieWilson » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:48 pm UTC

Was at university the other day and and viewed the newest xkcd comic with my smartphone. In the process i encountered some Problems...

http://s7.directupload.net/file/d/2865/8grjp277_png.htm

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby J Thomas » Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:23 pm UTC

netsplit wrote:
Rotherian wrote:
netsplit wrote:
Rotherian wrote:
PhingerSpex wrote:[snip]

Normally I can see both sides of any confrontation, but it's difficult for anyone with any intelligence at all to understand Republicans as anything other than ego-centric, anti-science bigots. There are exceptions - Gary Johnson (R) is one of the sanest politicians in the USA.

[snip]



1. Just so that I understand you correctly, are you implying that anyone that votes for a member of the Republican party - and if asked will identify themselves as Republican - is necessarily invariably egocentric, against science, and a bigot?


Democrat party leaders, compared to their Republican party counterparts


It's the Democratic party. Thanks for demonstrating Republican bigotry though.


So my omission of two letters somehow demonstrates bigotry? (By the way do you refer to them as Democrats or Democratics, because I've only heard them referred to as Democrats.) This is what Merriam Webster defines as a bigot: "a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance"


The only place in modern media I've heard it called "the democrat party" is Bush ... and right wing spineless shills like Fox News.


This all looks petty to me. Republicans don't want to say the words "Democratic Party" because it sounds like they're saying that the party is in fact democratic, a word that sounds like a compliment. So they call it the Democrat Party and then Democrats object. Agreed, nobody uses the words "Democrat Party" unless they're fanatical Republicans. And fanatical Republicans will do it without any apology, because they are ruthless bastards who will at some point call you a whole lot worse and not apologize for that either.

Just because, in my own enlightened self-interest, I have chosen to vote for the candidate more likely to keep my family comfortably clothed, fed, and sheltered (by comfortably clothed I mean that not too many of the clothes are hand-me-downs, by comfortably fed I mean three meals a day, and by comfortably sheltered I mean living in a place where it doesn't leak most days and we only get a couple of insect infestations a year when new neighbors that aren't too familiar with the concept of hygiene move in next door), doesn't make me intolerant. ....


Sadly you've been fooled. It was the Republican party who ignored a giant housing and credit swap bubble to focus on a trillion dollar war of false claims. It is the Republican party who fights initiatives to repair the economy devastated from that bubble. It is the Republican party who fights teaching basic science in the class room such as evolution out of pure religious fanaticism. How do you think your kids will do in the world with an education crippled by bronze age myths? It is the Republican party who fights healthcare reform.


Those are all indirect things. If there's a bill in congress that gets soldiers a raise, that's direct. You don't have to think about it. It's completely obvious that the result is that soldiers get a bigger share of the government money, while everybody else gets a smaller share.

UHC is shown to have half the cost in most other industrialized western countries, with longer life times and higher infant survival rates. How do you think the economic deadweight of our stupid healthcare bureaucracy effects the price of goods on the international market? Our healthcare system jacks up the prices of American goods and loses us business. Yet Republicans fight to keep it, taking food out of your mouth in the form of additional money you could be making. Apparently Republicans want more unemployed, and they want more dead babies.


There's a point of view here that you are missing. I will try to express it, since I'm pretty sure nobody else will. It's politically expedient for the people who hold this POV to be kind of hypocritical in public, because part of it doesn't sound good. To myself part of it seems like simple good sense but then part of it doesn't work in the big picture and part of it sounds unpleasant.

I'll start with something I heard in the 1980's, when I was in school. The claim at that time was that people thought of India as a poor country full of starving peasants. But the truth was that India was a developed nation, with about the population of France and the technological development of France and the economy of France. And in addition they had many millions of starving peasants.

Imagine that was true, and you were in charge of economic policy for India then. What should you do? If you were the kind of socialist who wanted to make everything equal, and you got your way, you could turn India into a poor country full of starving peasants. If you wanted India to improve its economy at the fastest rate, you would invest in the things which got the best return. Hi-tech stuff etc. You would ignore the starving peasants who would have a very low rate of return for resources invested in them, and instead do what worked. And in fact that's pretty much what India did. As a result they now have a much stronger economy if they choose to tap it to help peasants. They don't have as many rural peasants, because they developed policies that made it easier for affluent farmers to push peasants off their land and then extract more crops from that land. The poor peasants couldn't grow enough food to feed India. The rich farmers can.

The USA is in the same fix India is, but less so. We have a lot of poor people who are bad investments. We have a prosperous core which can take very good care of itself, but which can take only limited care of the mass of bad investments. You want to quote statistics about national averages, but that comes from your own goals. You want us to do well as a nation. But a lot of people know that we could transfer lots and lots and lots of resources from the people who have them to the people who don't, and those resources will then get consumed, and that's the total result. You can take away all my nice things and give them to poor people who'll tear them up, and then nobody has them.

See, it's two entirely different points of view. You imagine an economy where we could educate people to the point they could all have good jobs and we could take good care of everybody. They imagine a world of scarcity, where there isn't enough to go around. They succeed because they have what it takes to be successful. Give expensive opportunities to the chronically unsuccessful and they'll only waste them. Or worse, what if the poor would do just as well as me if they had my opportunities? Should we spend my tax money to help them outcompete me?

It could be argued that the USA has the best medical care system in the world -- for those who can afford it. But then because our politicians give more than lip-service to equality, we try to extend that level of medical care to people who can't afford it. We wind up with an expensive system of insurance adjusters, whose function is to anonymously deny services to the insured. They have a complex paper trail and it's hard to even find the name of the private-company bureaucrat who signed off on denying you treatment. If you find her, she was only applying the directives she found in the computer database, she was only following standard procedure....

We pay for the obfuscation. We do not want to provide medical care for poor people, but we don't admit that we do not want to. So we pay heavily to pretend. If the government stayed entirely out of the medical industry and the medical insurance industry, things would settle out to something we can afford. People with money would get good healthcare and poor people would get what they got.

Similarly with education. Traditionally we used property taxes to approximately tax the parents of the kids who went to each school system. If you want your kids to have a good school, live in a place where property taxes are high so you can pay for it. Or if you want a private school you can pay for that. When the federal government gets involved and tries to make good people pay for poor people's schools, the result is their money is wasted.

It's part of the argument that pretty much everything the federal government does results in just wasting the money. Better for the government not to waste that money trying to do things. Except for the military. Somehow military spending is not a waste like everything else. Everything the military spends money on is good and justified, and we should spend whatever it takes to support our boys in uniform. They deserve it.

I tried to get the POV across. If I failed, perhaps you might show me what's still confusing, and I can try to fix it.
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby JorickHorn » Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:31 pm UTC

I don't get it, either.

I understand it's a parody, but parodies have to have relevant content of their own or they fall flat. I just didn't find it funny at all. That's okay, though, Umwelt was so awesome, Randall bought himself forgiveness for up to about three months' worth of complete failures.
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby Dojji » Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:55 pm UTC

Are the US interests abroad that our military protects worth 6% of GDP?


Quite possibly.

Don't underestimate what control of the oceans means for us. A lot of that military spending goes to the Navy to maintain the ships, crew strength and technology to exert a high level of control over the open ocean. And if you want to wonder why the US has never been invaded since the War of 1812, that's a good place to start. People would have to get to the United States with hostile intentions and a sufficient force to permit conquest first. And that isn't likely.

It's hard to overstate the economic significance of that ocean control. It allows us to crack down on piracy to the point that the only places it really rears its head anymore are in territorial waters that aren't particularly friendly to us, such as Somalia and China. This allows the vast amount of international sea trade to continue to run at higher volumes at lower cost, maintaining our place as the world's great importer, and making America the world's most desirable trade partner.

If you control the seas, than people trade on your terms. We get trade concessions in some quarters as a result of our naval strength that amount to a virtual danegeld.

I can't speak for the military as a whole, but the Navy probably does pay for itself in the long run.

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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby Rotherian » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:16 pm UTC

netsplit wrote:
Rotherian wrote:
netsplit wrote:
Rotherian wrote:
PhingerSpex wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:But yeah I mostly don't get it because US politics as seen from a British perspective is completely confusing.


[snip]

Normally I can see both sides of any confrontation, but it's difficult for anyone with any intelligence at all to understand Republicans as anything other than ego-centric, anti-science bigots. There are exceptions - Gary Johnson (R) is one of the sanest politicians in the USA.

[snip]



1. Just so that I understand you correctly, are you implying that anyone that votes for a member of the Republican party - and if asked will identify themselves as Republican - is necessarily invariably egocentric, against science, and a bigot?


Democrat party leaders, compared to their Republican party counterparts


It's the Democratic party. Thanks for demonstrating Republican bigotry though.


So my omission of two letters somehow demonstrates bigotry? (By the way do you refer to them as Democrats or Democratics, because I've only heard them referred to as Democrats.) This is what Merriam Webster defines as a bigot: "a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance"


The only place in modern media I've heard it called "the democrat party" is Bush (idiot who ignored the housing bubble to focus on a trillion dollar fool war of false claims), and right wing spineless shills like Fox News.
Even the Democrats call themselves Democrats My usage of Democrat as opposed to Democratic was not meant as an insult toward the members or constituents of the party. You chose to interpret it as "Democrat party" + "leaders", when my usage was meant as "Democrat" + "party leaders" - however, my reference to the Republicans was meant as "Republican party" + "counterparts" so I can see where the confusion occurred. It wasn't my intention to insult a political party, regardless whether I support their tenets or not. Therefore, to avoid confusion, I will henceforth refer to them as the Democratic party. I was not aware of the controversy involving the usage, since I generally have better things to do than research things of a political nature. Now that I am aware of the controversy, I will not use the phrase.
netsplit wrote:You going for demonstrating the Republicans brainless fanatics angle then?
I haven't evinced any brainless fanaticism. I am quite willing to change my viewpoint on the basis of convincing rational discussion. I haven't witnessed any so far. What I have witnessed is a series of ad hominem and reus consociationis attacks.
netsplit wrote:Also per Marriam Webster, the key word is especially. Since you apparently need the help, Marriam Webster defines as: "in particular : particularly <food seems cheaper, especially meats>".

Since you appear to only want to discuss the first part of the definition, which is fine with me, let us do so. "A person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices[.]" The key words here are obstinately and intolerantly. I am willing to change my opinions of the basis of evidence which can be both quantified and verified. Therefore, I'm not obstinately devoted to my own opinions, or my prejudices. I don't believe that any race, religion, gender, political party, or any other differentiating factor has a monopoly upon conduct with which I, personally, do not agree. That isn't to say that I don't have any prejudices. I tend to believe that drivers that violate traffic laws aren't very intelligent, but I realize that is probably an unreasonable belief with no scientific basis - it is merely a snap opinion based upon reaction to stimuli (in this case, almost getting hit by another car). The key is that I'm not devoted to that opinion, and can be swayed with scientific evidence to the contrary. So I think we have established that I am not obstinately devoted toward my own opinions or prejudice. Therefore, we will need to discuss the "intolerantly" portion of the definition. My personal belief is that what a person or group of people do as adults is strictly a matter of personal preference, provided that they don't try to force me to participate. More on this in a bit.
netsplit wrote:Bigotry can simply about other creeds and view points, or other things.

For example Republicans are generally heavily bigoted on gay marriage.
What two men, two women, a man and a woman, or a dog and a cat choose to do with one another is no threat to my marriage, and is purely a matter of personal preference. All I ask is that they don't try to consummate the marriage in front of me. (That includes the man and woman.) So I think between this, and my previous posts, we can establish that I'm not intolerant (not even lactose intolerant, although I don't have any issues with those that are lactose intolerant - their condition leaves more milk products for those that enjoy them).

So, if none of the portions of the definition of the word bigot apply to me, how am I a bigot?

netsplit wrote:So far you've...
Demonstrated getting information from only partisan sources: ✔
Or, politics is not a central aspect of my life, and therefore, I was not aware of any controversy about the use of the word Democrat as opposed to Democratic. If you weren't referring to that, the only source I cited was Merriam-Webster. As far as I know, M-W isn't partisan.
netsplit wrote:Ignorance of basic things: ✔


I understand that the Earth orbits around the sun. (Basic thing - ✔.)
I understand that the Earth is not flat. (Basic thing - ✔.)
I understand that, aside from parthogenesis and asexual reproduction, procreation generally involves a male and a female of a given range of similar species. (Basic thing - ✔.)
I understand that constituents of a given political party do not necessarily embody all, or even most, of the values of that political party. (Basic thing - ✔.)
I understand that hyperbole and generalization are not components of rational discussion. (Basic thing - ✔.)

Rotherian wrote:Just because, in my own enlightened self-interest, I have chosen to vote for the candidate more likely to keep my family comfortably clothed, fed, and sheltered (by comfortably clothed I mean that not too many of the clothes are hand-me-downs, by comfortably fed I mean three meals a day, and by comfortably sheltered I mean living in a place where it doesn't leak most days and we only get a couple of insect infestations a year when new neighbors that aren't too familiar with the concept of hygiene move in next door), doesn't make me intolerant. (Heck, my wife is the one that gets mad; I just walk around the house with a shoe in one hand and several sheets of tissue paper or paper towels in the other.)


netsplit wrote:Sadly you've been fooled. It was the Republican party who ignored a giant housing and credit swap bubble
(the origin of the FNM problem beginning in 1993 with the establishment of the "Opening Doors" campaign)
netsplit wrote:to focus on a trillion dollar war of false claims. It is the Republican party who fights initiatives to repair the economy devastated from that bubble.
(All political parties have culpability - so far, none have been able to resist putting things into economic legislation that have little or no relation to the economy. If all sides would put aside special interest groups and focus on things that are necessary, the economy would have recovered a long time ago. None of the parties do what is best for the country unless it happens to coincide with that party's interests.)
netsplit wrote:It is
a portion of
netsplit wrote: the Republican party who fights teaching basic science in the class room such as evolution out of pure religious fanaticism. How do you think your kids will do in the world with an education crippled by bronze age myths?
One of my responsibilities, as a parent, is to make sure, despite what the public schools teach (or fail to teach), that my children understand the process of intellectual reasoning and are familiar with the existing views of science. To abdicate that responsibility is unconscionable.
netsplit wrote:It is the Republican party who fights healthcare reform.
Can you honestly state that, in your considered and reasoned opinion, you think that the healthcare reform bills are devoid of amendments that almost guarantee opposition?

netsplit wrote:UHC is shown to have half the cost in most other industrialized western countries, with longer life times and higher infant survival rates. How do you think the economic deadweight of our stupid healthcare bureaucracy effects the price of goods on the international market? Our healthcare system jacks up the prices of American goods and loses us business.
There are plenty of other factors, as well. If heathcare reform happened tomorrow, although it might result in a slight boost to the economy, it would not be an overly significant boost. Add to that the fact that China has, until quite recently, been keeping their currency artificially devalued toward the dollar, thus preventing the dollar from reaching an equilibrium state, and you have a much more significant factor in the state of our economy.
netsplit wrote:Yet Republicans fight to keep it, taking food out of your mouth in the form of additional money you could be making.
Is it that they are fighting to keep the existing system? Or is it that they disapprove of the riders?
netsplit wrote: Apparently Republicans want more unemployed, and they want more dead babies.


This is what you seem to be saying, syllogistically:
S1: Republican politicians are against certain provisions being added to a bill.
S2: Those provisions were added to a bill concerning health care.
C: Therefore, Republican politicians must be against healthcare.

S1: Republican politicians tend to look favorably upon corporations which contribute to their campaigns.
S2: One or more of the corporations which contributed to the Republican campaigns, terminated the employment of one or more employees, for one reason or another.
C: Therefore, Republican politicians must look favorably upon unemployment.

S1: Republican politicians are against certain provisions being added to a bill.
S2: Those provisions were added to a bill concerning health care, which also contained provisions which would reduce the national infant mortality rate.
C: Therefore, Republican politicians must be in favor of dead babies.

I think that you are smart enough to understand that the conclusion drawn from each pair of statements isn't the logical conclusion from the combination of the two statements.
There are two general categories of opinion: regular opinions and informed opinions.
Please do not argue with me unless your opinion falls into the latter category.
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exadyne
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby exadyne » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:19 pm UTC

San Fran Sam wrote:
Djehutynakht wrote:Romney's actually not that bad. As a Massachusettian I've heard from everyone I know who grew up with him that he always acted just as their friend's father. Politics.. meh. I don't know. The healthcare thing hasn't caused turmoil here though, so...


Oh, dammit Randall. You reminded me of a rant I was going on during my ride to a bioenginnering symposium today.

Willy Wonka is an ass. Think about it. He throws a tantrum over a few workers being unfaithful, closes his factory in a fit, and lays off hundreds if not thouands of local workers and plunges the city into a chocolateless depression. Then, while many of his workers spiral into poverty, he spends off his vast fortunes on building elaborate and unneccessary decorations and contraptions inside of his factory. And then, when this mad industrialist decides to open up his playhouse to five children, the world goes insane with love for him, despite the town still being in depression and all of the workers still unemployed, their jobs given to cheap foreign (possibly) child labor.

Or so I say.


Wait a second. Are we talking about Willy Wonka or John Galt?

Definitely Willy Wonka. For one, Wonka had a real product (Galt's requires violating the laws of thermodynamics), and Galt wouldn't have child labor. Child labor would mean Ayn would actually have had to address the issues of applying her philosophy to children.

Rotherian
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby Rotherian » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:07 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Rotherian wrote:You are welcome to your opinion. You are welcome to disagree with me. However, I haven't called you any derogatory names, nor have I characterized what you have done for the last 20, 10, or even 5 years as parasitic.


Wait, I have not said you were a parasite on the military.


I apologize for misinterpreting your statement, then. It seemed that you were implying that the military and all of its members were parasitic in nature. Every member of the US military pays standard taxes upon their income, unless deployed into specific regions of the world where, by treaty or agreement with the host nation, our government is not allowed to take a portion of earnings. Additionally, although the military budget may consume 6% of the GDP, military pay is a very small portion of that amount. Most of the military budget goes toward equipment and programs (such as programs to change procedures toward more environmentally-friendly actions - spill prevention, recycling, etc.). The position which I held prior to retirement was roughly equivalent to that of a Project Manager (albeit one that manages several projects at any given time). In 2011, the average base yearly salary for a Project Manager was a little over $94,000. Conversely, just prior to retirement, my yearly salary was slightly less than $53,000 before taxes. (For most of my career, it was considerably less.) $53,000 sounds like a lot, until you realize how much of it went toward paying utilities, rent, income tax, FICA, etc.

J Thomas wrote:Statistics are cumulative facts. The US military gobbles around 6% of GDP. Do we need that much military? How would we go about finding out how much military we need?


Statistics can also be used to mislead. Which is why I generally don't trust them unless I can see the source document(s) from which they were derived.
There are two general categories of opinion: regular opinions and informed opinions.
Please do not argue with me unless your opinion falls into the latter category.
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J Thomas
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby J Thomas » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:03 pm UTC

Rotherian wrote:
J Thomas wrote:
Rotherian wrote:You are welcome to your opinion. You are welcome to disagree with me. However, I haven't called you any derogatory names, nor have I characterized what you have done for the last 20, 10, or even 5 years as parasitic.


Wait, I have not said you were a parasite on the military.


I apologize for misinterpreting your statement, then. It seemed that you were implying that the military and all of its members were parasitic in nature.


I don't exactly say it's their fault. If somebody asks you what it would cost to achieve some unrealistic goal, and you quote them a high price, and then they hire you to do it at that price, is it your fault? Do you have any responsibility to tell your customer that what they're ready to pay you to do is not worth doing?

I tend to think you do have that responsibility when it's the US government. And if they are paying the military to become a bloated organization that is becoming less able to do the work it should do even while it's preparing to do things it shouldn't, you have some responsibility to quit and do something more useful. But I can see the other side. If you can't see anything better to do, why not take the government money and coast along? Somebody's going to get in on the government gravy train. Why not you?

J Thomas wrote:Statistics are cumulative facts. The US military gobbles around 6% of GDP. Do we need that much military? How would we go about finding out how much military we need?


Statistics can also be used to mislead. Which is why I generally don't trust them unless I can see the source document(s) from which they were derived.


Here's a start.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_b ... 011_budget
The GAO was unable to audit the 2011 military budget because the spending was too disorganized. The estimate for 2012 is somewhere between $1.03 and $1.415 trillion.

http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/nationa ... elease.htm
US GDP for 2011 was $15.32 trillion.

If we assume a 3% growth in US GDP for 2012, which would be very good but not totally implausible, that would give us military spending in the range of 6.5% to 9% of GDP.

If you disagree with the wikipedia estimates of US military spending, you could argue with them about it.

Through the later Bush years various people claimed that US military expenses were around 4% of GDP, conveniently ignoring another 2% of GDP in off-budget supplementary funding to pay for the wars. I don't see that a 6% estimate should be controversial.

I'm not sure what to say about Dojji's claim that the US Navy is providing us with extra-cheap imports because our control of the oceans lets us intimidate foreigners into dropping prices. How does that fit into your idea that China hurts our economy by selling stuff so cheap? (Through manipulating exchange rates.) I very much agree with you about China doing that, but I'm not at all clear what to do about it. I don't expect another US land war in asia would really help.
Last edited by J Thomas on Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:51 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

MaximumLength_ThirtyCharacters
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby MaximumLength_ThirtyCharacters » Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:39 pm UTC

I don't see why the comic is being construed as a political message. It's just a silly non sequitur. I thought it was pretty funny.

Dojji
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby Dojji » Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:26 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
I'm not sure what to say about Dojii's claim that the US Navy is providing us with extra-cheap imports because our control of the oceans lets us intimidate foreigners into dropping prices. How does that fit into your idea that China hurts our economy by selling stuff so cheap? (Through manipulating exchange rates.) I very much agree with you about China doing that, but I'm not at all clear what to do about it. I don't expect another US land war in asia would really help.


Do you do this all the time? This incredible twisting of someone else's words into an agenda driven strawman for you to knock over?

Because it's really infuriating and you should seriously consider knocking it the **** off.

I'm not talking about bullyragging nations into giving us stuff. I am talking about national security -- which for the purpose of doing international or domestic business business is A Very Good Thing -- and trade route security, which is another Very Good Thing for every international market, obviously including our own. Trade route security guarantees the worldwide flow of goods through the sea lanes at the best possible prices, because without significant interference from pirates and rogue nationals freighters can trim overhead because every modern Indiaman analogue no longer has to have a squad of marines to repel the modern analogue of Barbary Pirates and such piracy as there is is confined to territorial waters where the US can't operate with impunity.

We honestly don't know what it would look like for the world if the United States navy didn't exist. The last time there wasn't one nation maintaining a naval near-hegemony was probably the years between the Battle of the Armada and the Glorious Fourth. Certainly the modern industrial era as such was marked by one nation, or another, dominating the seas. Most of us benefitted from the resulting security when Brittania ruled the waves (unless you were French), and when she started the process of devolving her empire into a Commonwealth and turned over that role to the United States following WWII, we've carried on. If we ever had anything to seriously contrast it with, I'd imagine we would discover that the material gain in wealth for the US and her citizens outstrips the cost of maintaining an advanced blue-water navy.

nccn
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby nccn » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:14 pm UTC

First time poster! Yay! I just wanted to say three things.

1) Been reading for a year, and this is arguably the worst comic he's done. At best it is in an unfunny commentary on the Simpsons Romney/Burns thing (which I assume is the case for the inclusion of Romney) or worse it has nothing to do with the Romney/Burns thing and is trying to make some point that nobody can come to a consensus on. The first requirement of parody is you know what is being parodied, the second is you know in what manner they are being drawn out of character to exploit comedy. This comic fails on at least on ground.

2) There's really no point in discussing politics on the interwebs, but for the sake of going along with the crowd here I will give an xkcd-themed response. To the extent this website attracts professionals, grad students, and lovers of high-minded nerdistry there is a real problem with a certain political party in America. This party seems to have completely eschewed the scientific method. They argue that because there is "debate" about global warming, evolution, economics, research, etc. that we should either not move forward or move backward. A former leader of this party used the phrase (paraphrasing) "All the science isn't in yet", and people who visit this website should know what a stupid phrase that is. Other people in this party believe that because something is continually subjected the criticism, it must not be true. By this logic, since we lack a unified theory, our policy should not endorse physics. In still other cases there exists ample evidence that a certain course of economic action does not appreciably improve the wages of over 60% of the people for over 30 years, and yet they argue that doing the action in the future will.

That is ridiculous.

I obviously have a particular party in mind when I speak. And I understand that people vote Republican (I don't mention them above to point out how non-partisan it should be) because they have a personal philosophy, or exist in the sliver of the populace that is truly helped by their policies, or simply because they dislike the other choice, but you can vote Republican and still say "Hey this stuff is wrong". I am about to discuss J Thomas' remarks below, but at least he does not hide the fact that he is in favor of increasing the value of the state or the corporation instead of the person, and I am fine with that. I'm not fine with people essentially lying that a given course of action will do X when there is copious evidence that X won't occur, or that because we lack the FULL sum of possible knowledge in the world we simply shouldn't do anything with the knowledge we have.That is crazy. I hope there is at least some concensus on this site about that.



3) Notwithstanding the fact that discussing politics on the internet being pointless. I do have to quote J Thomas some, because I was somewhat shocked by what he said.

I'll start with something I heard in the 1980's, when I was in school. The claim at that time was that people thought of India as a poor country full of starving peasants. But the truth was that India was a developed nation, with about the population of France and the technological development of France and the economy of France. And in addition they had many millions of starving peasants.

Imagine that was true, and you were in charge of economic policy for India then. What should you do? If you were the kind of socialist who wanted to make everything equal, and you got your way, you could turn India into a poor country full of starving peasants. If you wanted India to improve its economy at the fastest rate, you would invest in the things which got the best return. Hi-tech stuff etc. You would ignore the starving peasants who would have a very low rate of return for resources invested in them, and instead do what worked. And in fact that's pretty much what India did. As a result they now have a much stronger economy if they choose to tap it to help peasants. They don't have as many rural peasants, because they developed policies that made it easier for affluent farmers to push peasants off their land and then extract more crops from that land. The poor peasants couldn't grow enough food to feed India. The rich farmers can.


That's kind of an amazing attitude. First off, those millions of peasants are people too. If there were two countries, RichIndia and PoorIndia, and RichIndia was France, and PoorIndia was a peasant ghetto, I could understand the course of action. But it is only one country, and the government has a social contract with everyone in that country. People who have a poor rate of return are people, and shouldn't be consigned to live in the slums just because they happened to be born into one family rather than another.

Second, again assuming your knowledge of India to be correct, isn't that the exception rather than the rule? I think historically it has been shown that when a large segment of the population lives in squalor while another segment lives grand lives, the rich segment tends to find their heads upon spikes. In fact, you note that India had the technological and economic level of France, but didn't France get that way by killing off a monarchy that said "Let them eat cake"? Isn't France much closer to the pure socialism you deride in your example?

The USA is in the same fix India is, but less so. We have a lot of poor people who are bad investments. We have a prosperous core which can take very good care of itself, but which can take only limited care of the mass of bad investments. You want to quote statistics about national averages, but that comes from your own goals. You want us to do well as a nation. But a lot of people know that we could transfer lots and lots and lots of resources from the people who have them to the people who don't, and those resources will then get consumed, and that's the total result. You can take away all my nice things and give them to poor people who'll tear them up, and then nobody has them.


This is another example of confusing your cause and effect. The increasing global nature of economics and communications makes the "prosperous core" not what it used to be. For example, pharmaceutical companies are extremely wealthy, and Americans pay a ton of money to them, but if we were to remove patent protection for drugs in the US, do you know how much it would matter? Almost zero. The companies are required to publicly disclose the same information in a foreign patent as the American one, and the FDA protects the end product. This is why you could get the same pills in Cuba for a nickel that cost $100 here. One could argue that by Americans not paying billions to these companies there would be less innovation, but I see two problems with that: First, it makes no sense for Americans to be financing drugs that get globally developed and distributed just because we're the richest people. Second, the money saved by paying in to pharma pockets could easily justify innovation elsewhere. The "prosperous core" of things like health insurance companies, pharma, the military, etc are largely only prosperous because of laws that make them that way and not because they really do anything of tangible import. They're not laying railroad tracks anymore, they're just collecting taxes-by-another-name because the law lets them.

Also, the "prosperous core" only exists because the "bad investments" allow it to exist. One cannot escape the ultimate socialism of biology, Superman doesn't exist, and the range of human experience is not so wide that there exists a man who is so powerful that a handful of other men can't bring him down. No amount of "nice things" or gated communities will safeguard one from a desperate person who feels they have no other way. I'd submit to you that is part of the reason why crime is so high in the US. In short, if rich people get too rich, the poor people will kill them. The law is only a deterrent if people believe the law to be fair, or if (in the American system) they fear punishment by their equals, or if the enforcers don't sympathize with the criminal. By a similar bent, because everyone gets one vote, the rich can only continue to be rich as long as they continue to convince the more numerous poor that the imbalance is good for both sides. This is especially true in the American economy, because the free market doesn't pick out people it likes, it picks out whomever happens to be offering the desired good at the right time. People are not rewarded because they are "better" than their fellow man, and if tomorrow one ceased to exist then the day after someone else would step into the vacuum that was left, and the world would keep turning. More rich people need to understand that there is nothing particularly special about them. The rich exist because of the poor, not despite them, and they continue to exist by their grace, and not for any other reason.

There's a point of view here that you are missing. I will try to express it, since I'm pretty sure nobody else will. It's politically expedient for the people who hold this POV to be kind of hypocritical in public, because part of it doesn't sound good. To myself part of it seems like simple good sense but then part of it doesn't work in the big picture and part of it sounds unpleasant.


I'm not sure if this is cover for your own views or if you really think that people think this way. Either way, to the extent it is really thought of by some people I would submit it's wrong, and not wrong in the moral sense but wrong in the literal sense, as in, a tribe of people cannot be led in such a way. Unworkable. I understand this may not be you I am arguing against, but I know that some Republicans do essentially hold this view. During one of the primary debates a question was posed to the Ronpaul that said "Let's say that you have a young man with no health insurance and he gets hit by a bus, or an incurable disease and he can't afford treatment, you don't believe in socialized medicine, should society just let him die?"

Paul's answer was that places like churches or other things would solve the issue. Ignoring the stupidity of that essentially being a form of socialism (merely one enforced by social norms rather than government), the more interesting issue was that people in the crowd cheered that the man should be left to die. There exist people, in this country, who are so dumb that they would cheer that. Despite the moral issue of a human life (even one that made a stupid decision), despite the economic issue that there is no point in spending money to feed and educate a person and then just let him die off, despite the fact that people would revolt against such a system, Republicans cheer for it. If it were just people in a crowd that would be one thing, but essentially the same stance has now been parroted by Romney purely to draw a contrast between his healthcare plan and the national healthcare plan that was based on his plan.

tl,dr: The fact that there are two competing views doesn't make them equally valid, and when one is logically inconsistent or unworkable it is not a valid viewpoint. People are entitled to their own viewpoints, but some are objectively more valid than others. You are not entitled to your own reality. Now excuse me while I join Ms. Johannson atop Shadowfax as we ride out to crush the Zerg.

chefandy
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby chefandy » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:37 pm UTC

... It was answered on the first page! It's really simple. It's a parody of this:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/04/who-said-it-mitt-romney-or-mr-burns-picture_n_1319468.html

which is a dumb comparison of quotes between Romney and Burns. Anybody with half a clue could very easily tell the difference between the speech of Romney and Burns, which is the takeaway from this particular parody. It's just putting it into a slightly more ridiculous context. The hope, I'm sure is to infer that bandwagon mentality probably makes people less discriminating than we should be with political commentary.

It's should be a snicker for anybody who has seen that other, extremely popular comic. Anybody who has seen the other comic and is confused, or driven to anger, should probably just turn off their computer and start watching TV.

I mean... come on people... shit.

J Thomas
Everyone's a jerk. You. Me. This Jerk.^
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Re: 1044: “Romney Quiz”

Postby J Thomas » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:43 pm UTC

Dojji wrote:
J Thomas wrote:
I'm not sure what to say about Dojii's claim that the US Navy is providing us with extra-cheap imports because our control of the oceans lets us intimidate foreigners into dropping prices. How does that fit into your idea that China hurts our economy by selling stuff so cheap? (Through manipulating exchange rates.) I very much agree with you about China doing that, but I'm not at all clear what to do about it. I don't expect another US land war in asia would really help.


Do you do this all the time? This incredible twisting of someone else's words into an agenda driven strawman for you to knock over?

Because it's really infuriating and you should seriously consider knocking it the **** off.


No, I don't do that.

I'm not talking about bullyragging nations into giving us stuff. I am talking about national security -- which for the purpose of doing international or domestic business business is A Very Good Thing -- and trade route security, which is another Very Good Thing for every international market, obviously including our own. Trade route security guarantees the worldwide flow of goods through the sea lanes at the best possible prices, because without significant interference from pirates and rogue nationals freighters can trim overhead because every modern Indiaman analogue no longer has to have a squad of marines to repel the modern analogue of Barbary Pirates and such piracy as there is is confined to territorial waters where the US can't operate with impunity.


Yes, you said all that. Shorter, but I think all of it was at least implied. The part I responded to was this:

If you control the seas, than people trade on your terms. We get trade concessions in some quarters as a result of our naval strength that amount to a virtual danegeld.


You said that too, and I thought it fit into the other guy's points in an interesting way.

We honestly don't know what it would look like for the world if the United States navy didn't exist. The last time there wasn't one nation maintaining a naval near-hegemony was probably the years between the Battle of the Armada and the Glorious Fourth. Certainly the modern industrial era as such was marked by one nation, or another, dominating the seas. Most of us benefitted from the resulting security when Brittania ruled the waves (unless you were French), and when she started the process of devolving her empire into a Commonwealth and turned over that role to the United States following WWII, we've carried on. If we ever had anything to seriously contrast it with, I'd imagine we would discover that the material gain in wealth for the US and her citizens outstrips the cost of maintaining an advanced blue-water navy.


Yes, agreed, we don't know what it would be like without the US Navy. As it is, we don't stop pirates much, and we don't stop other navies much. Nobody challenges our supremacy so we don't have to. The last significant naval battle in the world was the Falklands, where the USA officially avoided taking sides so our navy stood by while Britain and Argentina slugged it out. Many of our new naval weapons and particularly defenses have never been used in combat. Theoretically they should work very well. But nobody knows how they would do if we came up against some enemy's new weapons.

When we came up against Somalian pirates it turned out that our Navy wasn't very good at that kind of work. But presumably we would do OK against other kinds of piracy. Say somebody stole an oil tanker on the high seas and then took it somewhere else to sell the oil. We could see where it was going and go get it and take it where it belonged, right? With our carrier groups we could stop piracy in 12 places at a time. Or at least sink the pirated ships. On the other hand, that would work fine without a navy, if there was a real international trade system going on. Who would buy stolen oil and resell it, when the whole world knows what happened? They would get sanctions if they did. The navy is more a backup, in case the world economy breaks down.

Here's what scares me about this whole situation. Someday aircraft carriers will be obsolete. It happened to galleys, it happened to wooden sailing warships, it happened to battleships, that day will come. Every nation in the world except the USA has reason to research weapons that can kill carriers. Nobody but us has reason to invent better carrier defenses. When our carriers are obsolete we won't know it. We'll believe we still have all the trumps. We could go for years believing that because our navy never gets tested. We have not had a significant naval conflict since WWII. When it comes and we start losing carriers, everybody in the world who thought they depended on the US Navy to keep this or that stable will suddenly find the rules have changed. I don't know who in the world believes they depend on the US Navy outside the USA, but there could easily be some important people who do. And in the middle of losing a war is the worst possible time for us to rethink everything we believe about freedom of commerce on the seas, piracy, US naval strength, danegeld, and the rest of it.

I really think we ought to back off from those commitments ahead of time. Find out how the world behaves when the US Navy doesn't interfere, while we still have a navy that we can restore order with if we need to. As it is, we spend more than 1% of GDP for our navy when nobody in the world knows what it does for us. Nobody knows what the alternatives are.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.


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