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There's also the consideration of how data is gathered, and how things are classified. If we're looking at "murder" or 'homicide" rates, how are these terms defined and measured in each country. You'd think it'd be pretty cut and dry, but often it's not.  (I'm not saying it'd make a difference either way, or how much, but it's something that I haven't seen mentioned in any of the articles on this latest event.)

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1 hour ago, Doc Democracy said:

I reckon the statistics are more likely to vary widely when the population size is relatively low.  The bigger the city, the more stable the statistics are likely to be.  As with all statistics you are always better with a bigger sample size over a longer period...

 

I completely agree.  Trends are more reliably established with larger data sets.

 

Still, I'd love to see someone take a run at explaining why St. Louis has a murder rate 30-40x higher than a city of similar size in the middle of gun-nut Texas.

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2 hours ago, Toxxus said:

 

I completely agree.  Trends are more reliably established with larger data sets.

 

Still, I'd love to see someone take a run at explaining why St. Louis has a murder rate 30-40x higher than a city of similar size in the middle of gun-nut Texas.

Cause folks in Texas is friendly? ;)

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9 minutes ago, pinecone said:

Cause folks in Texas is friendly? ;)

 

I think its an extension of the behavior you see at a shooting range or in a gun store.  Everyone is *extremely* polite in a gun store for obvious reasons.

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Two things on St. Louis to keep in mind.

 

One, it is a massive transportation (and thus, transport) hub in the center of the country, and that means it's a hub for all things legal and illegal.

 

Two, stats that speak of just St.Louis proper have the crime rate higher, but the actual urban area extends well past that, and so the numbers become closer to other cities when that area is included, though still high.

 

Third, there is very serious infrastructure problems and structural inequality problems from how the city used the New Deal and later, desegregation, to force black St. Louis residents to North St. Louis and move investment away from there. This meant that my parents generation, if they were black St. Louis home owners, would not have a fraction of the home investment that they actually did, even less for the fact that they were almost guaranteed to be paying much worse rates on their loans. (To be clear, I am white and from Chicago, which has similar structural issues.)

 

Plano had nowhere near the population of St. Louis during those eras, and so didn't develop along the same lines. In fact, Plano was not even approaching the same size as just St Louis(not St. Louis county) until after 2000. Infrastructure is going to be a huge factor in any comparison that will make it hard to compare those two cities for other factors.

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9 hours ago, Toxxus said:

 

I completely agree.  Trends are more reliably established with larger data sets.

 

Still, I'd love to see someone take a run at explaining why St. Louis has a murder rate 30-40x higher than a city of similar size in the middle of gun-nut Texas.

 

Counter: St Louis is an outlier. It has an extreme murder rate for the whole country, and its most recent reported murder rate was its own personal worst.

 

It is similar to the way the NRA points out that London and New York have similar populations, but London has tighter gun laws and more homicides. They don't mention that New York is an aberration; comparing Chicago and London would be very different.It isn't adequate to compare individual cities when the frequency of violent crime and the lethality of violent crime have many contributing factors. As well point to the old men who smoke daily while a young non-smoker dies of cancer; it happens, but it doesn't mean cigarettes don't contribute to cancer

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9 hours ago, Sociotard said:

It is similar to the way the NRA points out that London and New York have similar populations, but London has tighter gun laws and more homicides.

 

That is also poor comparison.  I think there were one or two months recently where the longer term trend reversed but over the longer term, New York still has more murders (I think there are more murders in London early in the year but far more in New York in the Summer).  Here is a ten year comparison (2007 to 2017) which shows the massive improvement there has been in New York. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43628494

 

Doc

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On 6/17/2019 at 12:27 PM, Toxxus said:

 

I completely agree.  Trends are more reliably established with larger data sets.

 

Still, I'd love to see someone take a run at explaining why St. Louis has a murder rate 30-40x higher than a city of similar size in the middle of gun-nut Texas.

 

Well, just looking at Plano's online demographics, the city is prosperous, and the large majority of its population is white. Nearly half the population of St. Louis is black, and the city's economy has been in decline for decades. So at least two factors which tend to significantly promote violence, poverty and ethnic tensions, are notably less in Plano than in St. Louis.

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52 minutes ago, megaplayboy said:

https://newrepublic.com/article/154113/democratic-party-fighting-spirit-give-war-chance

 

Interesting hypothesis on what ails the Democratic party establishment.

 

Holy balls!  And I thought CNN was bad.

 

That article pulls so hard left it makes AOC seem like a bitter 90 year old ultra-conservative.

 

"Cory Booker, who seems like an obvious addition to the “moderate” bucket"  - I literally laughed out loud - at work - like a crazy person at this.

"Warren is, of course, correct. Fox News is a poisonous influence on our society, a propaganda organ that irresponsibly foments racial hate" - Alternately, it's just a right-leaning news site - like the only one remaining.

 

It's one thing if I think CNN is pandering to its liberal viewer base and another thing completely if I think it is secretly part of Russia's attempt to undermine our democracy and turn us communist.

 

One fun thing is to watch CNN and then Fox News and then realize those two news stations cannot be operating in the same reality.  They're not difference of opinion distances from each other.  They are alternate universe distances from each other.

 

I just assume they're both full of crap and the truth lies not in-between, but somewhere else completely.

 

Anyway, great article, read the whole thing.  Enjoyed it for entirely the wrong reason.

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On 6/18/2019 at 5:03 PM, Sociotard said:

"This is life, not the comments section"

 

The man should sell that on a t shirt

 

Also, am I the only one that wants to see Beaux interview a couple of the Democratic candidates on his show?

 

I don't always agree with Beaux, but never for one moment do  I doubt his sincerity.

 

And yes, I'd love to see that too.

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1 hour ago, megaplayboy said:

https://newrepublic.com/article/154113/democratic-party-fighting-spirit-give-war-chance

 

Interesting hypothesis on what ails the Democratic party establishment.

 

It's easy to see how this article would be incomprehensible to someone still hoodwinked by conservative media, but it's still accurate.  The Democratic Party keeps striving for centrism and bipartisanship, and in so doing alienates their base.  Actual independent/swing voters are rarer than hen's teeth in modern America; the key to victory is base turnout, not appealing to a class of voters that is practically nonexistent.  The GOP understands this--Trump has an unbelievably low 42% approval rating, but by God those 42% are going to the polls to protect Amurrica from "socialists" and brown people.  While the "socialists" and brown people look at their choice between a right-wing old man and a far-right-wing old man, shrug, and stay home.

 

If Democrats want turnout, they need to stand for policies that will make an actual difference, they need to stand against policies and people who hurt America, and they need to be vocal about it.  This is why Warren and Sanders are popular: extremely popular policies delivered with conviction.  If Biden's put out a concrete policy proposal voluntarily, I haven't heard about it, and I'm paying pretty close attention.

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Oh I want Biden to go away. I'll still vote for him if I have to, but he's burned so many bridges so fast in his attempt to be everything to everyone that it's not funny. Praising the same guys who helped bring about the 2008 banking tragedy at a fundraiser, then explaining how you know white supremacists can be worked with fine... and so on.

 

However, I will say it does seem like CNN wants to anoint him chosen nom here and now, and I'm not just talking with polls. I worry, they did to a large degree the same thing with Clinton, they assumed lackluster acceptance was the same as enthusiasm , assured everyone it was in the bag and then..bam... President Trump (Albeit because of the EC not popular votes)

 

They really do not need to repeat themselves

 

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21 minutes ago, Hermit said:

However, I will say it does seem like CNN wants to anoint him chosen nom here and now, and I'm not just talking with polls.

 

This is typical behavior for the corporate media.  At best, the people involved have been working with Biden for decades and it's just easier to give him coverage. 

 

 

21 minutes ago, Hermit said:

I worry, they did to a large degree the same thing with Clinton, they assumed lackluster acceptance was the same as enthusiasm , assured everyone it was in the bag and then..bam... President Trump (Albeit because of the EC not popular votes)

 

The EC, insecure electronic voting, and Russian interference.  None of which are going away in 2020.

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1 hour ago, Old Man said:

 

It's easy to see how this article would be incomprehensible to someone still hoodwinked by conservative media, but it's still accurate.  The Democratic Party keeps striving for centrism and bipartisanship, and in so doing alienates their base.  Actual independent/swing voters are rarer than hen's teeth in modern America; the key to victory is base turnout, not appealing to a class of voters that is practically nonexistent.  The GOP understands this--Trump has an unbelievably low 42% approval rating, but by God those 42% are going to the polls to protect Amurrica from "socialists" and brown people.  While the "socialists" and brown people look at their choice between a right-wing old man and a far-right-wing old man, shrug, and stay home.

 

If Democrats want turnout, they need to stand for policies that will make an actual difference, they need to stand against policies and people who hurt America, and they need to be vocal about it.  This is why Warren and Sanders are popular: extremely popular policies delivered with conviction.  If Biden's put out a concrete policy proposal voluntarily, I haven't heard about it, and I'm paying pretty close attention.

I find that conservatives generally have a very poor understanding of the internal politics of the Democratic party, and of the particular distinctions in left of center ideologies as well.  Many, for example , see little distinction between Biden and Warren ideologically, and only marginally distinguish Sanders' policies from "mainstream" Democratic policies(and exaggerate the extent to which he differs, at that.)  Some of this is due to a kind of information cocoon that many conservatives immerse themselves in--Fox/Info Wars/Breitbart/World Net Daily/Daily Caller/NY Post/WSJ/Limbaugh/Hannity are the only "valid" sources of news, and they aren't exactly bending over backwards to explain, "Well, actually, Democrats aren't all communists out to eliminate your freedoms and take all your stuff..."

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This will be long and off current discussion topics, for which I apologize.

 

As we all know, Donald Trump lies, constantly. Some lies are big, such as his tariffs extracting billions of dollars from China. Some are small, such as denying he said something a few days before, when it’s on film that he said it. Now we’re seeing the consequences with the oil tanker attacks.

 

First, here's a bit of history about why honesty matters.

 

Many years ago when I was in college, I attended a talk sponsored by Phi Beta Kappa that has stuck with me. A University of Washington emeritus professor spoke about his time as an advisor for Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War Two. There was debate in the administration about whether to suppress news about lost battles in the Pacific and about domestic troubles such as labor actions. This professor said no: “The government of the United States of America must never be seen to lie.”

 

His reasoning was simple. Any lie will be exposed, and any suppressed information will get out – and probably sooner rather than later. Any attempt would fail, and reduce American credibility at home and abroad.

 

So why does credibility matter in war? “Today, the truth seems bad for us and good for out enemies. Tomorrow, the truth will be good for us and bad for our enemies.” The Axis powers lied to their people – a lot. It was important, the professor said, that the people of the Axis countries trusted American promises. An in the case of Japan, it was vitally important that the leaders trusted American promises.

 

See, the Roosevelt administration knew Japan couldn’t win. The only questions were how long it would take and how high the cost would be for the US to win. And this was the project of which the professor was a part: “the most precisely focused propaganda campaign in history,” aimed at Emperor Hirohito and the half-dozen or so people with real power in the Japanese government. They had to be convinced that surrender to the US was not suicide. In particular, that the Emperor would be spared.

 

And it worked. Yes, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were important in crushing the will to resist. But the professor believes it helped that for years, very quiet diplomacy had been going on, telling the Japanese high command that unconditional surrender wasn’t really unconditional: The US would be generous in victory, and the Emperor would still live and rule.

 

The Roosevelt administration told the truth about defeats and domestic troubles. And it worked. The back-channel promises were believed, and Hirohito ordered Japan to surrender. The promises were kept, too.

 

Now look at the present. The Trump administration says irrefutable evidence that Iran attacked the oil tankers, though it won’t share anything except a grainy video that proves nothing. And I don’t believe it.

 

Here’s another historical incident. Between the First and Second Gulf Wars, Iraq’s prime minister Tariq Aziz appeared frequently on the BBC to respond to American accusations. He lied, a lot. When BBC presenters called him on his lies, he denied he’d ever said such a thing, even though it was on tape and millions of people had heard him. So when the Bush Jr. administration claimed Iraq still had WMDs, and Aziz insisted that no, Iraq didn’t, I thought Aziz was lying. Turns out, for once he told the truth. I found that the most surprising event of the whole invasion.

 

Okay, it could be Iran attacked the tankers. That’s plausible. The BBC, the Economist and other news sources say the Iranian government is getting desperate, and there are hothead factions that want open confrontation with the US.

 

But I won’t take this administration’s word for it. Trump lies so much, and his officials repeat the lies so much, that I don’t trust anything they claim. I find it equally plausible that someone else attacked the tankers. Either the Trumpies are duped, or they are supporting the fraud.

 

Other countries don’t seem that ready to take the administration’s word for Iran’s guilt, either. That is a loss of American influence, as a direct result of Trump’s lies.

 

So who else might it be? I think Saudi Arabia tops the list of suspects. Experts who claim to know such things say the Saudi government is locked in a struggle against Iran for influence across the Middle East, of which the war in Yemen is merely one front. Prince Mohammed bin Salman has also shown a fondness for dirty tricks (and considerable hot-headedness) in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. So maybe MBS thinks that he can sucker the US into war with Iran and destroying Saudi’s hated rival for him.

 

Could the Trump administration itself be behind the attacks? No. This administration is so leaky it can’t keep anything secret.

 

But the administration has allies: far-right business tycoons who see Trump as the key to lock in their own political influence. Some may be simple plutocrats; others, Evangelical extremists; and others, racists and anti-immigrant bigots. I suppose they could hire mercenaries. (Maybe from Xe, formerly Blackwater, created by one such far-right wacko, Erik Prince.)

 

I would like to believe I’m just being paranoid. After all, treating suspected motivation as evidence is a hallmark of conspiracy theory nuttiness. But enough crazy things – or at least wildly irresponsible things – have happened lately that I can no longer brush aside such suspicions with a jaunty, “Nah, it could never happen.”

 

Dean Shomshak

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Today on All Things Considered, Rep. Adam Schiff (D), of the House Armed Services Committee, said he found something odd in Trump's account of how he canceled a strike on Iran at the last minute. Trump said he canceled the attack on Iranian radar units and etc. after he asked the generals how many Iranians would be killed, and he decided that 100-150 was disproportional for shooting down an unmanned drone. Here's what Schiff thought was odd: What, Trump only received such an estimate 10 minutes before the attack was scheduled, and only because he asked? His military, intelligence and security officers should have given him such information much sooner, without him asking. Also, estimates of what Iran could and would likely do in response. It's just part of giving the Decider In Chief the information needed for making decisions.

 

Were top hawks Bolton and Pompeo keeping information from Trump? Is Trump spinning fiction about the actual decision process? Was there even really an attack planned? Who knows?

 

Dean Shomshak

 

CORRECTION: Rep. Adam Schiff is on the House Intelligence Committee, not the House Armed Services Committee. (I checked after a newspaper article mentioned he chairs the committee, and also quoted Rep Adam Smith of Washington as on the Armed Services Committee.) I don't know whether ATC misspoke or I misheard.

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Latest I read is that although the US military buildup in the region is continuing, there is no evidence an attack was actually launched outside of an FAA notification that civilian air traffic should avoid overflying the Persian Gulf.  It's possible Trump did cancel some plan to attack, though.  Pompeo seems to have a real hardon for bombing Iran.

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After everything that's happened to this point it's impossible to trust the accuracy or veracity of any information coming out of the White House. Let alone out of Donald Trump's mouth. It's why America's traditional allies are so reluctant to accept America's "proof" that Iran was responsible for that recent oil tanker damage. Trump has not only cried wolf too many times, he's claimed wolves are unicorns.

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11 hours ago, DShomshak said:

Today on All Things Considered, Rep. Adam Schiff (D), of the House Armed Services Committee, said he found something odd in Trump's account of how he canceled a strike on Iran at the last minute. Trump said he canceled the attack on Iranian radar units and etc. after he asked the generals how many Iranians would be killed, and he decided that 100-150 was disproportional for shooting down an unmanned drone. Here's what Schiff thought was odd: What, Trump only received such an estimate 10 minutes before the attack was scheduled, and only because he asked? His military, intelligence and security officers should have given him such information much sooner, without him asking. Also, estimates of what Iran could and would likely do in response. It's just part of giving the Decider In Chief the information needed for making decisions.

 

Were top hawks Bolton and Pompeo keeping information from Trump? Is Trump spinning fiction about the actual decision process? Was there even really an attack planned? Who knows?

 

Dean Shomshak

 

I think it's eminently more likely that Trump was told up-front about the potential casualties... and he simply didn't pay attention until he asked himself.  It was in one ear, out the other, with nothing in between to impede the progress.

 

He strikes me as the kind of boss that doesn't listen when you suggest a way to fix a problem... and then turns around and suggests the exact same fix as if he came up with it himself.

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18 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

After everything that's happened to this point it's impossible to trust the accuracy or veracity of any information coming out of the White House. Let alone out of Donald Trump's mouth. It's why America's traditional allies are so reluctant to accept America's "proof" that Iran was responsible for that recent oil tanker damage. Trump has not only cried wolf too many times, he's claimed wolves are unicorns.

 

Trump is credited with telling over ten thousand lies since his inauguration (so far), but don’t forget that the lies started 17 years ago with a hunt for WMDs in Iraq. 

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