Trump presidency

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Dauric » Sun Apr 28, 2019 11:17 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:There's also another type of centrist, the "rational" centrists who see themselves as centrists because they only apply facts and logic, and ignore feelings, and thus do not side with either Republicans or Democrats - but facts are usually "common sense" or picked cherries, and logic usually just means arguing for classical liberalism as if philosophy is settled, or the definitions of words as if language is above critique, and this usually means they oppose social justice and side with Republicans.

https://theoutline.com/post/7083/the-ma ... love-logic



If a talking duck is running around calling itself an alligator does that make it any less of a duck or more of an alligator?

What you've got there in that article is neo-nazi shitheads arguing in bad faith, not a political centrist or moderate. It's an intentional deception from someone who is clearly not a political/philosophical centrist.

What do they get out of doing it? Two things mostly. First off is they get to cloak their arguments in a claim of middle-ground "I'm not really a Nazi" credibility. If someone's not quite paying attention (and a shocking number of people don't really pay attention to politics) they might just buy the bullshit long enough to cast a vote in the desired direction. Secondly: It can discredit "centrism" in the eyes of the progressives, who then go on to insult and associate crimes against humanity against centrists (and moderates given the ambiguity in the 'Webster Dictionary' definitions of the words), which drives the middle away from the progressives attacking them.

If someone classifies themselves as a moderate or a centrist then goes on to espouse reactionary policies, they are neither moderate nor centrist, and we should be careful not to let them get away with claiming that they are.

If a talking duck is claiming to be an alligator, but it still walks, quacks and swims like a duck, it's still a duck.

I also wouldn't use the word "Rational" with regards to the people discussed in the article, since as it is noted in the article their "rationale" are often flawed or outright wrong. Again, Just because the travelling snake-oil salesman claims his cure-all is made with the latest science and research doesn't necessarily make it so.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:14 am UTC

That's definitely true of Shapiro (who I don't think even pretends to be a centrist), but it's also applied to members of the New Atheist movement who opposed the religious right and feminists, and thus consider themselves to be in the center.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Dauric » Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:48 am UTC

Thesh wrote:That's definitely true of Shapiro (who I don't think even pretends to be a centrist), but it's also applied to members of the New Atheist movement who opposed the religious right and feminists, and thus consider themselves to be in the center.


.. A quick look of the Wikipedia article on New Atheism doesn't say anything about opposition to Feminism, and one of the leaders of the movement is a woman who escaped an arranged marriage in Saudi Arabia and has been a vocal critic of fundamentalist Islamic practices towards women since then.

From what I can tell any "anti-feminist" bend is largely about racial and gender diversity in the leadership, but I wouldn't say it was terribly out of line with similar issues in any other similar organization or corporate boardroom (which is to say it's pretty awful, but hardly an outlier and it's not an imbalance they advocate to perpetuate).

All in all they look pretty center-left policy-wise (On the U.S. scale anyway, not sure about European). Not much to say on most political topics, just anti-organized religion (and certainly pro-feminism with regards to misogynistic fundamentalist practices). I think the worst of their criticisms is the failure to research and understand what they're arguing against and being jackasses about it.

The article's attack on New Atheism strikes me as attacking all people who play computer games because of the Gamergate shitheads.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:53 am UTC

It's mostly the YouTubers like Thunderf00t who made like fifty billion videos about how terrible Anita Sarkeesian is.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Dauric » Mon Apr 29, 2019 2:01 am UTC

Thesh wrote:It's mostly the YouTubers like Thunderf00t who made like fifty billion videos about how terrible Anita Sarkeesian is.


That's shitheads saying whatever it takes to get views because view-counts are validation and they're desperate for it. It's hardly a New Atheism thing, any group large enough to have enough shitheads willing to validate each-other will demonstrate that kind of jackassery.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Mon Apr 29, 2019 2:17 am UTC

Here is a BuzzFeed article on the misogyny that was in the movement.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/markoppenheime ... t-movement

Basically, there was a sexual assault scandal that angered some new atheist bloggers and they went full anti-feminist. My point is simply that they are often considered centrist for being both anti-religion and anti-feminism.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Wed May 01, 2019 6:20 pm UTC

idonno wrote:
Yakk wrote:I am suspecting the difference has been that many measured, educated people have taken a look at those ideas and recoiled in revulsion.

Those who have not -- who are ok with mass murdering dictatorships

Given that the last two administrations have provided military support to the attempted genocide of Yemen, I think you may be overestimating the percentage of the population that is not okay with the US benefiting from mass murdering dictatorships. We just prefer to keep quite about it now.


If you are referring to the war against the Houthis, at least one of the following happened
1) They aren't really aware of what's going on
2) They took one look at the Houthi flag which is all "death to America" and immediately stopped caring
3) They are aware that the Houthis themselves are racist sexist genocidal maniacs and immediately stopped caring
4) They got some form of coverage fatigue after dealing with Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Morocco, Myanmar, China, The Phillipines, and just can't give a shit about yet another mass murdering regime

Yemen's war is basically another Syria really, but with even worse sides to choose from (including some of the same from Syria). More importantly, no refugee crisis in the news, sort of like Libya. We should probably not be involved in any of it.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby idonno » Wed May 01, 2019 9:20 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:If you are referring to the war against the Houthis

I'm talking about the attempted genocide of the population Yemen which is being conducted under the cloak of an arguably legitimate war with the Houthis. The Saudis have been bombing civilian food production and distribution systems in a country that they have already driven into a famine. It is very possible that over half of Yemens population of 28 million people will die. There is no other word for these acts than attempted genocide and the longer it is allowed to continue the more likely we will have to drop the word "attempted". The entire war effort relies on our supporting it. I can think of no worse option than being complicit in genocide.

The quote I was responing to was in relation to William F. Buckley Jr. I am not referring to random citizens who may or may not be informed or be suffering fatigue. I am referring to political and media machines that are demonstrably capable of reaching the masses but are disturbingly quite about this issue. Our leadership being complicit in genocide should be front page news until the problem has been rectified and any party that is not willing to sacrifice its own popular figures and make an issue of speaking out against it is not a party I want to be a member of.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 02, 2019 3:45 am UTC

It's a civil war; they usually DONT end without mass slaughter of civilians. Spanish, American, India/Pakistan. The only one I can think of that didn't was The Troubles, and even then it was still a few thousand dead.

As for what you were referring to, it seemed to me that you were referring to the American public. The public is overwhelmed by constant news media about everything, especially Trumptrumptrumptrumptrumptrumptrumptrumptrumptrumptrumptrump. A war in Yemen has to compete with the war in Syria, and right now people are overwhelmed by that as well.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Sableagle » Thu May 02, 2019 10:18 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:3) They are aware that the Houthis themselves are racist sexist genocidal maniacs and immediately stopped caring


Seven Killed in Bombing of Save the Children-supported Hospital in Yemen

Four children were among seven people killed today when a hospital supported by Save the Children in Yemen was hit by an airstrike. Two other adults are unaccounted for.

A missile struck a gas station near the entrance to Kitaf rural hospital, about 60 miles from the city of Saada in the northwest of the country, at 9:30am local time.

The hospital had been open for only half an hour and many patients and staff were arriving on a busy morning. They included a health worker who died along with their two children.

Also among the dead were two other children and a security guard. In addition to those killed and missing, an additional eight people were wounded in the attack.

The missile was said to have landed less than 50 yards from the facility’s main building on the fourth anniversary of the escalation of conflict in Yemen.

Save the Children, which reported earlier this week that 37 children a month had been killed or injured by foreign bombs in the last year, demanded an urgent investigation into the latest atrocity.


... racist sexist genocidal maniacs ...
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby solune » Thu May 02, 2019 4:36 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:3) They are aware that the Houthis themselves are racist sexist genocidal maniacs and immediately stopped caring


Sableagle wrote:something not relevant


What part of "they are both genocidal maniacs" did you try to address ?

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Mutex » Thu May 02, 2019 4:47 pm UTC

I think his point that it's not just the Houthis being killed, but many, many, many civilians. It's not just two groups of genocidal maniacs being killed and no one else getting hurt.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby solune » Thu May 02, 2019 4:50 pm UTC

But if it was only combatants being killed we wouldn't need to talk about genocide anyway.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby idonno » Fri May 03, 2019 3:29 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:It's a civil war; they usually DONT end without mass slaughter of civilians. Spanish, American, India/Pakistan. The only one I can think of that didn't was The Troubles, and even then it was still a few thousand dead.


This is far different from the deaths in most civil wars. Civil wars may kill a lot of civilians. Civil wars may cause famines. I doubt that you can find very many civil wars where one side wants to cause a nation wide famine and indiscriminately kill off half the population. Engaging in military strikes to cause the deliberate starvation of an entire country is genocide and anyone provides support to such actions supports genocide.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Fri May 03, 2019 11:13 pm UTC

The purpose is more the threat of genocide rather than the intention, in order to force the Houthis into a surrender. KSA wants submission, not extermination. I'm not enough of an expert to know if the Houthis are that serious a threat to KSA (and the US and EU) to warrant such a course of action.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat May 04, 2019 11:06 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:The purpose is more the threat of genocide rather than the intention, in order to force the Houthis into a surrender. KSA wants submission, not extermination. I'm not enough of an expert to know if the Houthis are that serious a threat to KSA (and the US and EU) to warrant such a course of action.
I know little to nothing about the situation in Yemen -- but I know enough to tell you that you're wrong. Any country that's exterminating a group of people isn't going to slow down just because they've 'submitted'. No one starts a genocide, then stops once the other side cries "uncle".

People don't threaten you with genocide; people perform genocide. Once they've decided it's okay to exterminate you, no amount of "we give up" is going to placate them. Surrendering just means the bullets don't have to travel as far.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Sat May 04, 2019 2:30 pm UTC

What about Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Quite sure that was a case of threatened genocide.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby PAstrychef » Sat May 04, 2019 3:35 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:What about Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Quite sure that was a case of threatened genocide.

Not quite. We didn’t bomb those cities because they were full of Japanese people, we bombed them because they were cities of a sovereign government with which we were at war. Similar to bombing Dresden.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat May 04, 2019 4:37 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:Not quite. We didn’t bomb those cities because they were full of Japanese people, we bombed them because they were cities of a sovereign government with which we were at war. Similar to bombing Dresden.
Also, like Dresden, both cities had military importance. We also warned both cities prior to the attack, and (in the case of Hiroshima) dropped leaflets urging citizens to evacuate.

(Not that this justifies their bombings; the ethics of war-time bombing is complicated, and beyond the scope of this discussion. But equating Nagasaki and Hiroshima with the threat of genocide is silly; these were clear war-time targets with demonstrable military significance. You can argue it was wrong to bomb them, but you can't genuinely argue it was an attempt to extract submission through the threat of genocide.)

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Sat May 04, 2019 5:54 pm UTC

Summum ius, summa iniuria.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Sun May 05, 2019 1:54 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Huh.

I don't YouTube without context or at least a title.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Dauric » Sun May 05, 2019 5:45 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
Thesh wrote:Huh.

I don't YouTube without context or at least a title.


The TL;DW is that Trump is identical to a villain on the TV show "Dinosaurs".

On one hand Trump is essentially the example that the character was based on (his, first, infamous divorce and adultery scandal was in that period starting around 89 and ending in 92. The TV show aired 91 to 94), yet on the other hand Trump is little more than the 'real life' (to a certain definition thereof) collection of "Evil Industrialist" tropes that have been around since the days of Standard Oil. He's the physical embodiment of a caricature, and you could probably find close matches with Trump in any number of Evil CEO characters.

---

Aside: Whether we have rules around here about it or not, it's just good forum etiquette to summarize what you link to. Not everyone has unlimited data plans to stream media at will, and we don't always have the luxury of being able to listen to audio. Even text-only articles should be given a line or two of summary in case the person reading it can't access the link for whatever reason.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Mon May 06, 2019 2:35 am UTC

Off topic continued nuking discussion

Spoiler:
I'm not arguing that it was wrong to nuke H&N; I'd actually make the argument that it resulted in the best possible outcome. What I am saying is

1) the purpose of nuking H&N wasn't to reduce Japan's ability to wage war but their willingness to wage war
2) this was accomplished by the implication that the US and allies could and would kill millions of Japanese civilians should the war continue (bear in mind that the US and allies had already killed half a million Japanese civilians before resorting to atomic weapons)
3) the threat of killing millions of people is effectively threatening them with genocide
and of course bringing it back to Yemen
4) I don't believe Saudi Arabia's goal is the genocide of the Yemeni people, but they are threatening genocide, and again, I don't know enough about the war to say whether or not this is justified
5) and finally, pointing out that the US has previously threatened another group with genocide in a complicated and brutal situation where, well, I don't want to say "right" but perhaps "probably the least wrong" decision was made.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby idonno » Mon May 06, 2019 6:25 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:The purpose is more the threat of genocide rather than the intention, in order to force the Houthis into a surrender. KSA wants submission, not extermination.
By the time a tactic like that succeeds the genocide will have already occurred. The thing about people with power is they tend to be the last ones to run out of food. There is no honest way to soften the fact that the plan is genocide.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Angua » Mon May 06, 2019 8:58 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Off topic continued nuking discussion

Spoiler:
I'm not arguing that it was wrong to nuke H&N; I'd actually make the argument that it resulted in the best possible outcome. What I am saying is

1) the purpose of nuking H&N wasn't to reduce Japan's ability to wage war but their willingness to wage war
2) this was accomplished by the implication that the US and allies could and would kill millions of Japanese civilians should the war continue (bear in mind that the US and allies had already killed half a million Japanese civilians before resorting to atomic weapons)
3) the threat of killing millions of people is effectively threatening them with genocide
and of course bringing it back to Yemen
4) I don't believe Saudi Arabia's goal is the genocide of the Yemeni people, but they are threatening genocide, and again, I don't know enough about the war to say whether or not this is justified
5) and finally, pointing out that the US has previously threatened another group with genocide in a complicated and brutal situation where, well, I don't want to say "right" but perhaps "probably the least wrong" decision was made.

Spoiler:
Japan was already trying to negotiate surrender and the US knew about it. Certainly it can be argued that the bombings were unnecessary, much less two of them.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon May 06, 2019 10:24 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:1) the purpose of nuking H&N wasn't to reduce Japan's ability to wage war but their willingness to wage war
2) this was accomplished by the implication that the US and allies could and would kill millions of Japanese civilians should the war continue (bear in mind that the US and allies had already killed half a million Japanese civilians before resorting to atomic weapons)
If the goal was to threaten the Japanese with civilian death-tolls, conventional fire-bombing would have sufficed. Operation Meetinghouse remains one of the most devastating bombing raids in history, with death-tolls and infrastructural damage far outstripping both Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- and it was done with conventional ordnance (which, may I remind you, is far cheaper than dropping nukes).

By the way: Both Nagasaki and Hiroshima were among the US's targets for firebombing. We decided not to firebomb them, because we wanted clean data on the effects of the atomic bomb on previously undamaged cities. In other words, both these cities were already considered military targets prior to being selected for the atom bomb.

The goal wasn't to threaten Japan with civilian death-tolls; as you yourself noted, we were already doing that. If we wanted to threaten the Japanese with genocide, we would have just carpet-bombed cities based on population density -- not their war-time production capabilities. Again, Nagasaki and Hiroshima were military targets. The US government didn't want to kill Japanese civilians, but Japan had a nasty habit of dispersing their production and military infrastructure throughout residential and urban regions -- making carpet-bombing the only sure way to shut them down.

The goals were (in no particular order): 1) Gain accurate data on the effects of the atomic bomb detonated in a city, 2) Demonstrate to the Russians that we had the bomb (and were willing to use it), and 3) End the war by demoralizing an already demoralized Japan via an overwhelming display of military force (deployed against a military target). This wasn't about showing how many Japanese civilians we could kill; it was about hitting a military target with a bomb so powerful that you could hear, see, and even feel the explosion from miles away.
CorruptUser wrote:4) I don't believe Saudi Arabia's goal is the genocide of the Yemeni people, but they are threatening genocide, and again, I don't know enough about the war to say whether or not this is justified
Acts intended to demonstrate the "threat" of genocide are never justified. Anyone who behaves otherwise should immediately be stripped of their power and put on trial for war-crimes.

Again, genocide is not a thing you "threaten" people with. It's a thing you do. By physically demonstrating your 'willingness' to commit genocide, you have committed genocide. Once I start exterminating ethnic groups, I can't claim I'm just using genocide as a "threat" -- because I am now committing genocide.

It's like "threatening" to kill someone by stabbing them twenty times in the chest. That's not a threat; you're literally trying to kill them.

EDIT: Just so we're clear, I'm not just pulling this stuff out of my ass. This was what I studied in college (specifically, the history of genocide). Even the most extreme positions against the dropping of the atom bombs acknowledge that Nagasaki and Hiroshima do not constitute genocide, but rather, democide. You might get some historians who will argue that this is only because the legal definition of genocide is too strict -- but no one who legitimately studies this thinks the US was threatening to destroy the Japanese people.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ijuin » Mon May 06, 2019 2:58 pm UTC

I think that in this thread we are making an unstated distinction between attempted genocide and completed genocide. Attempted genocide happens whenever an attempt is made to significantly depopulate specific ethnic groups, but completed genocide only happens when the depopulation has become sufficient to degrade the group’s ability to function as a culture and society.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby idonno » Mon May 06, 2019 8:00 pm UTC

I made a distinction back toward the beginning but the only real difference between attempted genocide and successful genocide is that the people group is still alive if it fails. I made the distinction because there is still time to remedy the situation not because I think one is less morally reprehensible. CorruptUser is trying to add a third category of threatened genocide and seems to be arguing that it is somehow not as morally reprehensible.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Mon May 06, 2019 8:02 pm UTC

Genocide is not just about people being alive, it's about their culture ceasing to exist as well. Even if you don't kill everyone, forcing them to assimilate to your culture is still genocide.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon May 06, 2019 8:03 pm UTC

ijuin wrote:I think that in this thread we are making an unstated distinction between attempted genocide and completed genocide. Attempted genocide happens whenever an attempt is made to significantly depopulate specific ethnic groups, but completed genocide only happens when the depopulation has become sufficient to degrade the group’s ability to function as a culture and society.
Such a distinction is largely immaterial. That's the point. Demonstrating your willingness to try demonstrates your willingness to succeed.

CorruptUser is distinguishing between genocidal acts that seek to achieve a political end through the threat of genocide rather than genocide's "completion"; I'm pointing out that anyone willing to perform genocidal acts to achieve their ends is, in fact, just doing ordinary genocide.

Did Hitler really want all the Jews dead, or was he just scapegoating them for power? Does it honestly even matter? Caring too much about these distinctions skirts precariously close to genocidal apologism. You determine whether genocide has occurred by looking at what people have done, not by what goals they "hope to achieve". Your intent is demonstrated by your actions.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby CorruptUser » Tue May 07, 2019 4:06 am UTC

Hippo, I'll defer to your education with regards to H&N, but I still disagree regarding the existence of "threatening genocide". However, it's kind of a moot point, considering that whether KSA is threatening a genocide or actually about to carry out that threat, it's still so far beyond the pale as to not make a material difference.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby idonno » Tue May 07, 2019 4:56 am UTC

They are not "threatening" or "about to carry out that threat". It is in the process of being carried out. At this point, without direct intervention to prevent it, it will be carried out. The action has already begun. The body is bleeding out and you are saying they are threatening to stab them to death.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ObsessoMom » Wed May 08, 2019 10:29 pm UTC

Well, that's one way of reducing the number of impoverished people:

New York Times; Trump Administration Seeks to Redefine Formula for Calculating Poverty

Spoiler:
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is proposing regulatory changes that could result in cuts in federal aid to millions of low-income Americans.

The proposal by the Office of Management and Budget on Monday would change how inflation is used to calculate the official definition of poverty used by the Census Bureau to estimate the size of the country’s poor population. The measure is also often applied to determine eligibility for government benefits.

Lowering estimates of the inflation rate could mean that the poverty level would rise at a slower rate, resulting in fewer families and individuals able to qualify for food assistance like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, health assistance like Medicaid and other government programs.

Critics seized on the proposal as the administration’s latest broadside against those struggling hardest to make ends meet. Over the past two years, the Trump administration has also sought to cut housing subsidies and tried to expand the work requirements needed to qualify for food stamps.


Well, if you think about it, Trump told people he had money, when he didn't, and that worked to lift him out of poverty. So it's a proven strategy.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Wed May 08, 2019 10:33 pm UTC

Republicans have been pushing for this a long time now. The problem with chained CPI is that people make substitutions when prices go up or budgets goes down and the chained CPI it treats the purchasing of a cheaper substitution as a decline in the cost of living.
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ObsessoMom
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ObsessoMom » Wed May 08, 2019 10:41 pm UTC

Also, if they really want a more accurate index of poverty, it should be based on housing costs in addition to just food costs. Although if you're living in your car, I suppose that makes your housing costs go way down....

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Thesh
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Wed May 08, 2019 11:14 pm UTC

We need to study how much it costs to actually be healthy.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby addams » Wed May 08, 2019 11:21 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:We need to study how much it costs to actually be healthy.
umm...
That has been studied.

Well...I know it is an established FACT that poor people have less healthy choices.
Poor communities are 'Food Deserts'.

A little light entertainment.
A documentary series by HBO.

The Weight of a Nation:
Part 1.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pEkCbqN4uo

Part 2.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLv0Vsegmoo

Part 3.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T24B6T-hp0E
Last edited by addams on Thu May 09, 2019 12:01 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Wed May 08, 2019 11:24 pm UTC

How much it costs to be healthy varies from location to location. Some places don't even have access to healthy food, and that needs to be taken into account.

http://frac.org/obesity-health/low-inco ... on-obesity
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby idonno » Thu May 09, 2019 3:53 pm UTC

The proper way to compute the food portion of cost of living is with the food cost of what a healthy diet should consist of. I was going to say that it is easier said than done with a lot of areas but there is a CPI dataset I looked at once that has average values of food goods by geography. I'm going to have to find that again and see how specific the geographies are. Probably nothing better than county but even that would be a lot more accurate than just applying inflation.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby pogrmman » Sun May 12, 2019 4:04 am UTC

But if you look at it like that, you'll get endless debate about what a "healthy" diet should consist of. Realistically, even in areas that aren't food deserts, the average person does spend a lot on foods that might not be considered healthy. It would be fascinating to compare the average food cost for a "healthy" diet vs. an average diet across different parts of the US, but I don't think it's practical to use for a cost-of-living calculation.

And I agree that CPI isn't a good way to calculate that, either. Heck, on the Bureau of Labor website, they specifically say that
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics wrote:One limitation is that the CPI may not be applicable to all population groups. For example, the CPI-U is designed to measure inflation for the U.S. urban population and thus may not accurately reflect the experience of people living in rural areas. The CPI does not produce official estimates for the rate of inflation experienced by subgroups of the population, such as the elderly or the poor. (emphasis mine)

Yes, it's currently used for precisely that: estimating the cost-of-living experienced by poor people. The C-CPI doesn't change anything in that respect.
For a proper cost-of-living estimate, the weighting of different categories should probably be different for people of different income levels. According to this data, looking at the bottom 4 deciles of earners (roughly less than $39k/year before tax), they spend a greater share than average on healthcare (9.7%, 1.5% more than mean), housing (38.0%, 4.9% more than mean), utilities (8.6%, 2.2% more than mean), food (15.1%, 2.2% more than mean), among other things. Not to mention that their expenditures make up a much greater portion of income than higher groups -- expenditures average 209.0% of pre-tax income for the bottom 40%, while the mean is 81.6% for all earners. As a comparison, for the top 10%, expenditures average 57.8% of pre-tax income. Expenditures are higher than pre-tax income for about the bottom 50% of earners (for the 5th decile, mean expenditures are about $1200 more than mean pre-tax income). Heck, I think even if you just excluded the top decile of earners, you'd get a more accurate cost-of-living estimate.

Also, I knew income inequality was huge, but I'd never looked at actual numbers before. Wow. The top decile mean income is over 40 times of that of the bottom decile! The median income is $45,559, but the mean income is $73,573 (which is somewhere in the 7th decile of earners). I mean, I knew it was massive, but looking at the numbers really puts it into perspective.


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