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10 hours ago, DShomshak said:

I am sorry if this seems snarky, but my guess is that people who complain about "Tax and Spend" merely want someone else to do more of the paying, and to see more of the spending directed at them. 

 

Everyone complains about the former but I think it's the latter that's the more emotionally charged issue.  And not so much directed at them, but they object to money going to things they don't like.  Maybe it's space, or the arts, or some of the weapons systems.

 

That said, it's possible that the tax inequities are becoming a greater grievance.

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4 hours ago, death tribble said:

Just ask the Russians. They originated Molotov cocktails 

Excuse me, I think you'll find it was the Finns that thought it up -- at least the name. In the Winter War, the Soviets were bombing Finland. Molotov denied it, claiming it was actually food drops to alleviate the suffering of the poor, oppressed Finnish masses. So the bombs were dubbed "Molotov's breadbaskets", and the improvised fire bombs that were used to take out Soviet tanks got the name "Molotov's cocktails" as the perfect companion.

 

The Finns are noted for their dark humour. 

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So...

 

My time, it's 10:25 pm.  Just poured my New Years libation;  this year, it's an Ommegang Three Philosophers, Blueberry-Coffee.  It's a blend of a Belgian quadruple and a cherry ale...in this case, with additional flavors from the coffee and blueberry.  First sip, it's quite interesting, but I think I preferred the wine barrel version.  Ah well.

 

So this is taking the place of writing in a journal.  It's the end of another year, and time to think back.  Which is good to do, even if I don't want to remember much.

 

Because in some ways, this year was more painful than 2020.  2020 had the inevitability of a runaway train.  We knew it was gonna smash us.  With Trump still in power, once we heard that the coronavirus had escaped China...it was going to be a brutal year.  And it was.

 

But this year has shown that we're on course and racing down the Niagara River, swept up in the current.  While, OK, if Trump was still in office, the engine would be going full throttle as well, the best we can do is get the engines shut down.  We can't get out of the current because such a large percentage of us are fighting any move to direct the boat out of midstream.  And others are sabotaging the boat.

 

Where last year was hard and draining, this year has been more about depression and despair, at least for me.  Covid is starting a bigger surge than ever...because so many people fought so hard to make sure it became completely rooted in the population.  Democracy and the rule of law are at great risk.  Climate change is wreaking havoc *now*...more intense storms, serious heat waves particularly in cool zones.  Crop losses.  The Western drought is only getting more severe.  (Side note...we actually got 0.6" of rain today.  That tripled the 4th quarter total.)

 

And we have proven to be too narrow, petty, and self-centered to get anything much done, at least here in the US.  The Congressional Republicans have shown for years that they're just fine with the ship flying over the falls...because short term profits and stock prices are all they seem to recognize, and things like clean up, pollution limits, etc. might damage that.  Then the Democrats are held hostage to the coal mining industry and Joe Manchin.  Virulently anti-democratic voting legislation is trying to lock down several purple states to try to make them red states...like Arizona, which would normally be considered red but obviously wasn't red enough for them.    And there's grave concern that the Supreme Court may only, IMO, toss out the most rampantly egregious.  If they can't agree to block implementation of the Texas abortion law, then we need to be very, very worried about what they'll allow.

 

And...I think a lot of it for me is, I allowed myself hope.  And in so many ways, stupidity, or greed, or authoritarianism have blossomed, and crushed it.  That can't get better because too many people view anti-vax/anti-mask, or the election issues, or the like, to be the desired outcomes.  So the fracture lines just continue to get wider and deeper, and the ability to adopt sufficient policy shifts to make a difference becomes less and less viable.  

 

I stand a decent chance to see 2050;  my father's older now that I would be at that point, by a couple years.  Things won't collapse completely before then, probably, but I suspect smaller-scale, localized violence will be MUCH more common.  What starts as racial violence may well grow into any "non-normal" situation.  It's hard to say this, but the institutional blind eye for a lot of police abuses will only grow.  More Matthew Shepards.  More Pulses.  MANY more Marjorie Stoneman Douglases, as early alienation becomes more commonplace.  Greater income and opportunity disparity;  the American Dream may become unreachable unless you can connect to someone who's already made it.

 

And that's why this year's hit more.  Last year showed promise of a light at the end of the tunnel.  This year shows the brakes don't work.

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21 hours ago, TrickstaPriest said:

 

I want a president who will actually take climate change as seriously as it needs to be.

 

We had this with Obama.  The administration fought him every step of the way. He was able to sneak in several advances which were later reversed by Trump. I would like for there to be both a President and Administration pushing climate change, and make them nonchangable.

19 hours ago, DShomshak said:

"Tax and spend" is how governments are supposed to work. Government exists to provide services: notably, protecting citizens from foreign enemies and from each other. That costs money, which the people pay in the form of taxes.

 

It's a much better system than "Don't tax but still spend," which various politicians have advocated. Or, "Extort money but provide no services," which has been a common setup through history.

 

I am sorry if this seems snarky, but my guess is that people who complain about "Tax and Spend" merely want someone else to do more of the paying, and to see more of the spending directed at them. But, well, humans. How often does anyone get on a soapbox and shout, "Raise my taxes! And spend the money helping people who aren't like me!" And some people talk tough, but not many really want to go back to Hobbesian anarchy.

 

I do not think that politicians of *any* party will ever speak honestly about what government costs, and how to pay for it. The public won't stand for it.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

Tax&spend is only the rule because people are taught that.  Many governments have operated on nontaxable operations only in the past and been extremely successful. Examples include the U.S., U.K., Russia, and many more. 

21 hours ago, TrickstaPriest said:

 

I want a president who will actually take climate change as seriously as it needs to be.

 

We had this with Obama.  The administration fought him every step of the way. He was able to sneak in several advances which were later reversed by Trump. I would like for there to be both a President and Administration pushing climate change, and make them nonchangable.

19 hours ago, DShomshak said:

"Tax and spend" is how governments are supposed to work. Government exists to provide services: notably, protecting citizens from foreign enemies and from each other. That costs money, which the people pay in the form of taxes.

 

It's a much better system than "Don't tax but still spend," which various politicians have advocated. Or, "Extort money but provide no services," which has been a common setup through history.

 

I am sorry if this seems snarky, but my guess is that people who complain about "Tax and Spend" merely want someone else to do more of the paying, and to see more of the spending directed at them. But, well, humans. How often does anyone get on a soapbox and shout, "Raise my taxes! And spend the money helping people who aren't like me!" And some people talk tough, but not many really want to go back to Hobbesian anarchy.

 

I do not think that politicians of *any* party will ever speak honestly about what government costs, and how to pay for it. The public won't stand for it.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

Tax&spend is only the rule because people are taught that.  Many governments have operated on nontaxable operations only in the past and been extremely successful. Examples include the U.S., U.K., Russia, and many more. 

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What a very depressing way to start the new year.

 

Watching bowl games, like many of us, right?  Started with the first one, which happened to have Penn State.  

 

Lo and behold, there's an ad playing while I'm not watching per se...about "opposing unconstitutional vaccine mandates."  ARGH!!!!   NOO!!!!  Later on, there's another seriously ReTrumplican candidate's ad.

 

These are for *Pennsylvania* Senate races.  So far both have run twice.

 

Oh god, it's gonna be a long year, isn't it?

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10 hours ago, Ragitsu said:

I'm still waiting on the Vulcans.

 

A portal to a fantasy world also sounds good; I am continually interested in hanging out with an isolated community of gnomes or elves.

I think the modern solution is getting killed in an accident, and being reborn in a fantasy world complete with harem.

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10 hours ago, Ragitsu said:

I'm still waiting on the Vulcans.

 

 

Keep in mind what happened in the official Star Trek universe time line before the Vulcans arrived. :angst:

 

Come to think of it, looks like our time line's not that far off it, so you may get your wish.

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1 hour ago, unclevlad said:

What a very depressing way to start the new year.

 

Watching bowl games, like many of us, right?  Started with the first one, which happened to have Penn State.  

 

Lo and behold, there's an ad playing while I'm not watching per se...about "opposing unconstitutional vaccine mandates."  ARGH!!!!   NOO!!!!  Later on, there's another seriously ReTrumplican candidate's ad.

 

These are for *Pennsylvania* Senate races.  So far both have run twice.

 

Oh god, it's gonna be a long year, isn't it?

 

Pretty much.  I've already been having to listen to the ads for the ReTrumplican candidates for the open Senate seat in Ohio, each one trying to out-Trump the other...

 

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1 hour ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

Keep in mind what happened in the official Star Trek universe time line before the Vulcans arrived. :angst:

 

Come to think of it, looks like our time line's not that far off it, so you may get your wish.

 

I vaguely remember the previous time we discussed this subject. It's not that I am particularly wishing for a third World War, but if it looks like that is on the horizon, well...hopefully something good and dare I say miraculous comes from the tragedy.

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1 hour ago, Tom said:

 

Pretty much.  I've already been having to listen to the ads for the ReTrumplican candidates for the open Senate seat in Ohio, each one trying to out-Trump the other...

 

 

Yeah, but that's you in Ohio, getting hit with campaign ads for Ohio candidates.  (Please note my extreme restraint in not using a more accurate term.)

 

I'm in New Mexico, getting ads for Pennsylvania.    ARRRGHHH!!!!

 

That said, I don't *believe* I've seen any from Ohio during the Rose Bowl.  The situation is a tad different...there were 3 games going on in the morning slot, and of them, the Outback Bowl is the least prestigious.  It's NOT part of the New Year's Six.  So that suggests that 

a)  ads were probably less expensive

b)  slots were more available

c)  the money would be better spent, because a higher percentage of the viewers would be in their target

 

I don't see a third world war in my lifetime;  I wouldn't preclude one in the latter part of the century, tho, if climate change's impacts become more widespread and more serious.  That'll raise the desperation level to where it's more plausible.  That said, I do see a *possible* second Civil War before then.  Not likely, but possible.

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19 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

Keep in mind what happened in the official Star Trek universe time line before the Vulcans arrived. :angst:

 

Come to think of it, looks like our time line's not that far off it, so you may get your wish.

 

Thinking about that,  at times it seems as though it would be an improvement over what is happening presently.  Even if there is a WWIII, the loss of human life would be small (less than WWI). The primary effect would be on the tech infasture.  Since the war would mostly be fought by drones and other forms technology,  that's where most of the damage will appear and human losses would essentially be incidental aftereffects. However,  when the dust settles societies can rebuild more technologically robust infrastructure that (hopefully) will be more friendly to the people,  planet,  and everything else. This should also be more open to the innovators than modern society is.

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Wikipedia to the rescue!

 

Quote

Eugenics Wars and World War III

When the original series of Star Trek was produced, the 1990s were several decades away, and so various elements of the backstory to Star Trek are set in that era, particularly the Eugenics Wars. The references to the Eugenics Wars and to a nuclear war in the 21st century are somewhat contradictory.

The episode "Space Seed" establishes the Eugenics Wars, and has them lasting from 1992 to 1996. The Eugenics Wars are described as a global conflict in which the progeny of a human genetic engineering project, most notably Khan Noonien Singh, established themselves as supermen and attempted world domination. Spock calls them "the last of your so-called World Wars", and McCoy identifies this with the Eugenics Wars.

In the episode "Bread and Circuses", Spock gives a death toll for World War III of 37 million. The episode "The Savage Curtain" features a Colonel Phillip Green, who led a genocidal war in the 21st century. The TNG episode "Encounter at Farpoint" further establishes a "post-atomic horror" on Earth in 2079. However, the movie Star Trek: First Contact put the contact between Vulcans and humans at April 5, 2063.

The Star Trek Concordance identifies the "Bread and Circuses" figure as the death toll for a nuclear World War III, in the mid-21st century. Star Trek: First Contact firmly establishes World War III ended, after a nuclear exchange, in 2053, but with a body count of 600 million. The figure of Colonel Green is elaborated on in Star Trek: Enterprise. First Contact also deliberately describes the warring parties in World War III as "factions", not nations per se.

 

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On 12/31/2021 at 10:26 PM, unclevlad said:

Virulently anti-democratic voting legislation is trying to lock down several purple states to try to make them red states...like Arizona, which would normally be considered red but obviously wasn't red enough for them.    And there's grave concern that the Supreme Court may only, IMO, toss out the most rampantly egregious.  If they can't agree to block implementation of the Texas abortion law, then we need to be very, very worried about what they'll allow.

 

The Constitution guarantees the right to vote. It does not guaranteed that votes matter.

 

I actually find a rather charming naivete in Republican attempts to "fix" the 2024 election. They don't realize how easy it is. With their atempts to block voters (other than their own), rig the counting, and overturn results "in case of fraud," they are still trying to preserve an illusion of democracy. And they don't need to! Article II says that state legislatures choose the manner of appointing electors; and it and Amendment XII go into some detail about the rigmarole of the electors' voting. Nowhere is the voting public mentioned. There would thus seem to be no Constitutional impediment to a state legislature arrogating to itself the power to appoint electors directly, without need for any votes cast by the public. (The  public already voted, in a sense, by electing the legislature, right?) Or even just say, "The electoral votes go to the Republican candidate."

 

Any sane court would overturn such laws in a heartbeat, saying that the right to vote implies that the votes matter. But a strict constructionist could argue that unless the Constitution specifically enjoins or forbids something, government can do whatever it wants. And a sufficiently partisan court can say the Constitution means anything at all.

 

Dean Shomshak

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