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On 7/22/2019 at 9:46 AM, Doc Democracy said:

A pure capitalist society is quite a brutal one, capitalism, like socialism is a broad church and their congregations overlap significantly...

 

Like most of philosophical leanings the more pure they get the more dangerous they get.

 

You can't boil down the complexities of existence and the human mind to a couple of bullet points.  Merciless competition is just as problematic as a world where the social safety net is so good you don't have to compete at all.

 

I had friends in high school who had this as their career plan:  Get pregnant and pretend I don't know who the father is.

I've known people who spent their entire working age years on welfare and their kids grew up and got on welfare.  The reasoning was simply that they couldn't make that much money with a job.  So why bother?

 

Granted I lived in an area with very good social benefits at the time so they were correct to some degree.  There was no entry level job that would pay even close to what they made not working at all.

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The latest issue of The Economist (July 20, 2019) has an editorial on The Trumpster's twitter war with the Squad, concluding that there's no deep plan here: It's just Trump being racist because being racist got him elected once, and it's reasonable to suppose it could get him elected again.

 

The "Lexington" columnist addresses the debate over which was more important in Trump's election, economic factors or bigotry. Apparently the evidence is very strong that bigotry was the deciding factor: Here are some relevant paragraphs, with source citations:

 

“The millions of working-class whites whom Mr Trump recruited in rust belt states did not buck that trend because of economic anxiety. They were no likelier to attribute their vote to it than they had been in 2012.

 

“Rather, they were unified by nothing so much as antipathy to America’s growing diversity,and an attendant feeling that whites were losing ground. Both were expressed in hostility to immigration, immigrants and welfare spending (which many wrongly believed was being slurped up by migrants). No doubt these feelings were exacerbated by economic as well as cultural and sometimes personal fears: people are complicated and America is changing. These sentiments also predated Mr Trump. Yet they had not been such a big factor in voting decision-making until he made them so, by drawing out his audience’s grievances, like a magnet tugging at a metal splinter.

 

‚ÄúIn their book ‚ÄėIdentity Crisis,‚Äô John Sides, Michael Tesler and Lynn Vavreck describe the rationalisation such Trump supporters made as ‚Äėracialised economics.‚Äô Only a small minority of voters hold old-style racist views on questions like black-white marriage, but a very large number believe that ‚Äėundeserving groups are getting ahead while [my] group is left behind.‚Äô An earlier study by the Voter Study Group found hostility to immigrants to be the best predictor of a Trump voter. One by the Public Religion Research Institute found much the same. There has been no serious counter-argument. Mr Trump‚Äôs rac card was the winning one.‚ÄĚ
 

Dean Shomshak

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59 minutes ago, death tribble said:

And now my country becomes a laughing stock as Boris Johnson becomes PM

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-49084605

 

Sympathy rep for Doc Democracy who actually works in government and will surely see up close and personal how bad this will be.

 

If you guys really wanted your own Trump that bad, we could have sent you ours.  Honest.

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In fairness, I mocked the U.K. in the summer of 2016 after the Brexit vote. How could an electorate be that stupid? Leave it to my fellow Americans to say ‚Äúhold my beer‚ÄĚ.

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Boris Johnson does share a number of similarities with Trump, both being populist, fear-mongering racists, but there are differences.  According to Joanna Kakissis on NPR, they are not the same because "Johnson is known for being funny and highly literate" and "he is very politically savvy and well-read".  Although I would argue that Trump has a degree of political savvy in his manipulation of his supporters.

 

Now the question is, which is worse?  Someone whose policies ruin your country intentionally or out of ignorance and incompetence?  

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The way I see it, Trump does intend to ruin America*; his incompetence is the only reason he's failed.  So far.

 

 

 

 

* For everyone but the rich, anyway.

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If you define "politically savvy" as "the ability to see a crowd and appeal to their basest traits for one's own gain ", then yes, I'd agree that Mr. Trump is politically savvy. 

 

This is in keeping with the old definition of a "leader" as "someone who sees a crowd on the move and gets in front of them".

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Remarkably, on NPR today I heard Trump say something that wasn't idiotic, lying or just plain vile. He said that if it came to it, the US could annihilate Afghanistan in 10 days. This had Afghanistan's president saying, more or less, "Excuse me?"

 

Thing is, while this was a very rude thing to say, Trump was probably telling the truth. I don't doubt that the US military has a plan drawn up destroying Afghanistan if this was judged necessary. Nukes for the cities, chemical weapons (or maybe just cluster bombs and incendiaries) for the villages, defoliants to kill the crops so whoever's left starves, etc. It's a really horrible thing to contemplate. I would not want this done, and I don't think it's likely that any circumstance could justify such total warfare. But, it's part of the military's job to plan for horrible scenarios and remote possibilities. (At least I hope they are remote.) I would have less respect for our strategic planners if I found they didn't have such a plan filed away in the bowels of the Pentagon.

 

And not just for Afghanistan, a country that served as a base for sworn enemies of the US and could become such again. I hope there are war plans, for every grade of severity, for every country in the world, even our closest allies such as Canada, the UK or France. Just as I would expect the militaries of those countries to have plans for war against the US, if it should become necessary. They owe it to their own citizens to consider such possibilities.

 

It isn't nice. It certainly isn't diplomatic to admit such things. But the bizarre and improbable does sometimes happen, and it's better to be prepared than to be taken by surprise.

 

Dean Shomshak

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Goddamn double posting! But this time I can edit and replace with another post.

 

Also heard today on NPR: The Pew Research Center came out with poll results on "What Americans Know About Religion." Relevant, as American politics so often becomes entangled with religion. A few highlights mentioned:

 

American Jews know more about Christianity than American Christians know about Judaism. No surprise there, I think.

 

Atheists tend to be more knowledgeable than average about religion.

 

Depressing ignorance: Only 1 in 4 Americans know there's no religious test to hold government office in the US.

 

Greater knowledge of different religions correlates with greater tolerance for different religions, with one exception: Greater religious literacy correlates with worse views about Evangelicals. Diplomatically, the report does not speculate about potential reasons for this discrepancy.

 

Dean Shomshak

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4 hours ago, DShomshak said:

Remarkably, on NPR today I heard Trump say something that wasn't idiotic, lying or just plain vile. He said that if it came to it, the US could annihilate Afghanistan in 10 days. This had Afghanistan's president saying, more or less, "Excuse me?"

 

Thing is, while this was a very rude thing to say, Trump was probably telling the truth. I don't doubt that the US military has a plan drawn up destroying Afghanistan if this was judged necessary. Nukes for the cities, chemical weapons (or maybe just cluster bombs and incendiaries) for the villages, defoliants to kill the crops so whoever's left starves, etc. It's a really horrible thing to contemplate. I would not want this done, and I don't think it's likely that any circumstance could justify such total warfare. But, it's part of the military's job to plan for horrible scenarios and remote possibilities. (At least I hope they are remote.) I would have less respect for our strategic planners if I found they didn't have such a plan filed away in the bowels of the Pentagon.

 

There's a reason these things are filed away in the bowels of the Pentagon: making them public knowledge can have huge political and diplomatic ripple effects, internationally and at home. If Trump is aware of those plans and not just boasting as he always does, it was idiotically irresponsible of him to blurt them out. But "idiotically irresponsible" is the short definition of Donald Trump.

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Batman, a fictional character, has detailed plans to take out every other member of the Justice League should they go rogue. It would be a little disheartening to learn but the people in charge of our military weren't as smart as Batman.

 

And yes, I expect that our military could take out Afghanistan, or any other nation we deemed deserving, on a very short time frame--if we were willing to use our full military capacity (e.g., nuclear, chemical and biological, etc.). It would be really easy to break almost any nation in the world if we didn't care about civilian casualties and collateral damage.

 

The fact that we do--the fact that we put our own young men and women at risk to preserve, as much as possible, the lives of non-combatants--is what separates a nation from a terrorist state.

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I agree; but don't overlook the practical consideration that such an all-out attack would almost certainly unite and mobilize the other powers of the world against the United States, as an existential threat to any and every nation, starting World War III. The US is still militarily stronger than any other country, but not stronger than every other country together. In such a fight the whole globe could go down in flames, but America as the target definitely would.

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That's an excellent point. If there's anything that could bring the Russians and Chinese back into one another's good graces, it would be a common threat like the United States.

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11 hours ago, DShomshak said:

Atheists tend to be more knowledgeable than average about religion.

 

Hopefully this won't be taken too harshly, but ... I honestly think that's because atheists tend to read multiple religious works with a critical eye and spot their inconsistencies and contradictions, while the religious only read one bit of religious literature (their own) and focus only on the parts they agree with.

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2 hours ago, CrosshairCollie said:

 

Hopefully this won't be taken too harshly, but ... I honestly think that's because atheists tend to read multiple religious works with a critical eye and spot their inconsistencies and contradictions, while the religious only read one bit of religious literature (their own) and focus only on the parts they agree with.

 

I find that many "religious" rarely even read their own religious literature let alone that of any other faith.

 

I liked the Bhagavad-Gita.  Confusing as hell, but plenty of action.

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11 minutes ago, Old Man said:

 

I find that the religious rarely even read their own religious literature let alone that of any other faith.

 

I liked the Bhagavad-Gita.  Confusing as hell, but plenty of action.

 

If your religious beliefs can't survive exposure to another belief system then you're probably better off without them.

I have, as a Christian, read among other things: The Tao de Ching, The Koran, multiple books on Atheism, books on witchcraft, hypnotism, etc.

 

It's a mixed bag as I suspect it is among atheists.  Some are genuine truth seekers and others just want a community to belong to without really understanding why they believe what they say they believe.

 

Voting trends based on religious beliefs on the other hand - strong correlated.

 

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