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Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)


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42 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

 

I guess what I'm taking from this is, guns can often be a deterrent without shooting an aggressor, but if you're going to draw a firearm, be prepared to use it. If you use it, be prepared to gravely injure or kill your opponent. And be prepared to have your action scrutinized and to be able to justify it. If you aren't prepared for those potential consequences, don't use a gun.

 

 

And to circle back to the Rittenhouse case, if you're going to *carry* a firearm into a gathering, what does THAT say?  When you're, let's face it, a clean-cut white *kid*...does anyone *expect* that you'll actually USE it?  Not a skinhead.  Not black.  Not a strung-out druggie.  We don't know how he carried himself with the weapon, but it is reasonable to say that a significant number of adults *won't* be intimidated at all.  In fact, it'll be waving a red flag at them..."how dare this punk kid think he can scare ME?"

 

One thing would probably help the Wisconsin firearms law WRT minors...and *shouldn't* raise hackles that much.  Very simply:  require that when carrying an acceptable firearm, said minor must be accompanied by an adult.  If the fundamental standard in law is that a minor *generally* isn't considered competent to judge, in most situations.  Well if that's the case, then how can the law not explicitly prohibit an unaccompanied minor from carrying a deadly weapon?

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9 hours ago, Ragitsu said:

 

A firearm is not a "tool"; a firearm is a weapon. There's another problem: casual rebranding that steadily blunted the seriousness of the matter.

 

8 hours ago, Tom said:

Weapons are a subset of tools.  It's not much of a stretch since not everyone uses firearms as a weapon.

 

Yes, and tools are a subset of objects, and objects are a subset of stuff.  Put it that way, people should be free to carry guns, knives and explosives into schools, places of worship and courthouses.  After all, people routinely carry stuff into all those places.  😏

 

This logical fallacy is called the Fallacy of Division.  It can be easily avoided by calling things what they are and not that of which they are a subset.  So call them firearms, or if you want to include knives and bombs in the discussion use the term weapons.  However, unless this is a discussion about anthropology there aren't going to be many situations that it broadening things to the point of calling firearms tools adds anything good to the discussion.

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2 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

I guess what I'm taking from this is, guns can often be a deterrent without shooting an aggressor, but if you're going to draw a firearm, be prepared to use it. If you use it, be prepared to gravely injure or kill your opponent. And be prepared to have your action scrutinized and to be able to justify it. If you aren't prepared for those potential consequences, don't use a gun.

 

Pretty much sums it up IMO.

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8 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Narcotics, used properly, are beneficial in medicine.  Due to the implications of their improper use, their manufacture, sale and possession are highly regulated, with severe penalties when these rules are violated.

 

Are they more dangerous, in the wrong hands, than firearms?

 

Yes, they're more dangerous. Not more harmful; narcotics abuse has devastating effects on not just the user, but everyone they care about, and on society as a whole. But a pill or an injection can't be used to kill someone else at fifty yards.

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15 hours ago, Pattern Ghost said:

 

Also, guns aren't death rays. The vast majority of people who get shot survive. Sucks to be them, but they tend to survive.

 

James Brady survived his injuries in 1981 for over two decades.  That does not, to me, suggest that he was not a tragic victim of gun violence.  As well, his death over two decades later was still considered a homicide.

 

7 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

Yes, they're more dangerous. Not more harmful; narcotics abuse has devastating effects on not just the user, but everyone they care about, and on society as a whole. But a pill or an injection can't be used to kill someone else at fifty yards.

 

I would suggest the death or disability of an individual by gun violence also has devastating effects on not just the victim, but everyone they care about, or who cares about them, and on society as a whole.  For example, it creates a mentality in the nature of "I need a bigger gun so I can protect myself and those I care about."

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On a completely depressing and possibly not as directly related note, it seems the Sabre rattling from China over Tawain has intensified, kind of par for the course lately, but Russia is rumored to be gathering forces off Ukraine for another slice.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/teakvetenadze/2021/11/21/russian-possible-invasion-of-ukraine-reports-of-military-buildup-grow/?sh=1dca5e0b818c

 

Anyone wiser than me in the ways of international politics (Which might be all of you) have opinions if either is going to make a move?

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2 hours ago, Hermit said:

On a completely depressing and possibly not as directly related note, it seems the Sabre rattling from China over Tawain has intensified, kind of par for the course lately, but Russia is rumored to be gathering forces off Ukraine for another slice.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/teakvetenadze/2021/11/21/russian-possible-invasion-of-ukraine-reports-of-military-buildup-grow/?sh=1dca5e0b818c

 

Anyone wiser than me in the ways of international politics (Which might be all of you) have opinions if either is going to make a move?


From what I’m reading, Putin intends to roll tanks into Ukraine no later than January and China plans to invade Taiwan within the next three years. I have some doubts about Putin, Ukraine is no longer the pushover they were a few years ago and he knows that. I’d be shocked if the Chinese didn’t go after Taiwan though. 

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Vladimir Putin has a long history of testing the international community to see how far he can go before provoking a response. He knows Joe Biden is not Donald Trump and will probably be more cautious in the near future, but he isn't going to stop. He may, however, wait to see what turn American politics will take.

 

Xi Jinping has shown more interest in economic rather than military imperialism, although he wants to be a bigger influencer on the international stage; and the Chinese generally are feeling their strength and becoming more assertive as a matter of pride. But Taiwan for them is rather like Cuba for the United States. Their resentment is deeply personal, and their policies toward each other are not wholly driven by reason.

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22 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

Xi Jinping has shown more interest in economic rather than military imperialism, although he wants to be a bigger influencer on the international stage; and the Chinese generally are feeling their strength and becoming more assertive as a matter of pride. But Taiwan for them is rather like Cuba for the United States. Their resentment is deeply personal, and their policies toward each other are not wholly driven by reason.

 

China is now much less dependent on U.S. trade economically, especially after the unilateral trade war of the last administration.  More importantly, the glorious campaign to reunify the rogue province of Taiwan has been running for thirty years, to the point where the Xi regime will lose a lot of standing internally if it doesn't happen.  And lastly, the PLA took advantage of the U.S. distracting itself with ruinous wars in Asia to embark on a breathtaking arms buildup that includes state of the art submarines and guided missile destroyers, 4th and 5th generation fighters, and hypersonic missiles.  The U.S. and other interested parties are frantically arming Taiwan in response, recently upgrading their few dozen F-16s to the F-16V standard and stationing Patriot missile batteries all over the island, but it may well be a case of too little, too late.

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2 hours ago, Old Man said:

 

China is now much less dependent on U.S. trade economically, especially after the unilateral trade war of the last administration.  More importantly, the glorious campaign to reunify the rogue province of Taiwan has been running for thirty years, to the point where the Xi regime will lose a lot of standing internally if it doesn't happen.  And lastly, the PLA took advantage of the U.S. distracting itself with ruinous wars in Asia to embark on a breathtaking arms buildup that includes state of the art submarines and guided missile destroyers, 4th and 5th generation fighters, and hypersonic missiles.  The U.S. and other interested parties are frantically arming Taiwan in response, recently upgrading their few dozen F-16s to the F-16V standard and stationing Patriot missile batteries all over the island, but it may well be a case of too little, too late.

 

That "glorious campaign" dates back to Mao. China's Communist government has always maintained that China is indivisible. It's generational cultural dogma that every living PRC citizen has grown up with. That's why I likened it to Cuba and the American "commitment" to "liberate" the island from Communist dictatorship. That's been a given for almost every presidential administration since Castro's revolution, it drives domestic politics, but nothing ever comes of it, and no one really expects that to change.

 

China's military buildup would have happened regardless of the United States government being distracted by foreign wars, because Xi believes in bargaining from a position of strength. But China's military might still lags far behind that of the United States, and Xi knows that. However, he may be calculating that China is, or soon will be, strong enough that the United States intervening in an outright invasion of Taiwan would lead to loss of American lives unacceptable to the American people, and therefore politically untenable for the American government.

 

Xi's policies seem to be focused on raising his personal prestige and cementing his control of China, but he's been patient and methodical in working toward that goal. If he thinks invading Taiwan will bring him more of those things, I absolutely expect him to go for it, but only when he's confident of success. (I imagine Donald Trump returning to the White House would seal the deal.)

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4 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

So "sucks to be the poor guy who got shot" is the best we should do?  How very humanitarian of you.

 

I believe you "forgot" the context for the quote you pulled:

 

If you are attacking someone with lethal force and sustain a horrific injury, then yes, it sucks to be you.

 

Remind me again, who was Brady attacking with lethal force when he was shot? That's right: Nobody.

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3 hours ago, Old Man said:

 

Does it, though?

 

It does. Military budget for the United States in 2020 was between $738 billion and $778 billion, depending on the market exchange rate used to analyze it; or 3.7% of GDP, which adds up to at least a third of all government military spending on Earth. China's, which is #2, was between $193 and $252 billion, or 1.7% of GDP. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

 

The US could literally cut its defense spending in half, and would still outspend China by 50% or more. The Chinese have immense manpower they could draw from, but that doesn't weigh nearly as much in today's warfare as hardware. American hardware is vastly deeper, and among the most advanced on the planet. And even on the manpower front, American servicepeople receive the finest training in all aspects of modern war.

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No, they couldn't. Half of the American fleet is on the Pacific side of the country. They could start mobilizing as soon as American spy satellites showed the Chinese preparing their forces for war, besides positioning their ships already at sea in the region. If the US government wished to it could at least match any force China could deploy to Taiwan; and the Americans would presumably also have the assistance of the Taiwanese military in defense of the island. The question is whether the US would be willing to match that force in defense of Taiwan. In today's political climate I think that's unlikely. I haven't given up hope that we won't have to find out.

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13 hours ago, Pariah said:

I fear we may be starting to drift into ad hominem territory. No good end awaits us there.

Correct you are.

 

Keep the discussion to the post and not the poster, folks.  

There are two folks that stepped out of line here and both should take this warning to heart as it would be a second warning point for either of them.  

Hugh - you know better...or damn well should by now.

Pattern Ghost - I was extremely close to giving you a warning for your initial response.  Going forward, know that editing your post will not avoid a warning.

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6 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

No, they couldn't. Half of the American fleet is on the Pacific side of the country. They could start mobilizing as soon as American spy satellites showed the Chinese preparing their forces for war, besides positioning their ships already at sea in the region. If the US government wished to it could at least match any force China could deploy to Taiwan; and the Americans would presumably also have the assistance of the Taiwanese military in defense of the island. The question is whether the US would be willing to match that force in defense of Taiwan. In today's political climate I think that's unlikely. I haven't given up hope that we won't have to find out.

 

Thanks to you and Old man for your opinions, and I mean that non sarcastically. I'm afraid I've grown quite cynical about the direction the world is taking, maybe even fatalistic. I have a nightmare scenario in my head where China and Russia each make a move on Taiwan and Ukraine respectively at the same time (pre arranged but neither will admit it). America has the scariest military in the world, but .. I don't think we can be counted to come to anyone's defense with our current political divisions and at least one of those two (Ukraine or Taiwan) would be screwed- Perhaps both. I understand that some European leaders think it is time to build up their own military as a group with the rest of the EU, one less American reliant. While I don't want NATO to break up or anything, I think it might be a wise precaution. 

 

 

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Hermit, Anne Applebaum's recent article in The Atlantic suggests your nightmare scenario is not unlikely at all. The despots have coalesced into a bloc. They aid each other, from evading sanctions to undermining democratic governments. Like, Balarus' Lukashenko gets aid from both communist Cuba and theocratic Iran.

 

Let's see if I can type in the link:

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/12/the-autocrats-are-winning/620526/

 

To add top the gloom, my local paper includes a squib that the Stockholm-based Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance added the US to its list of "democratically backsliding" countries in its Global State of Democracy 2021 report. More than a quarter of the world's population now lives in democratically backsliding countries.

 

Dean Shomshak

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