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  1. Sad
    TrickstaPriest reacted to Tom in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    I’ve never flown the flag, but I’ve also never put up yard signs  and I don’t plaster my car with bumper stickers either.  I’m just not the sort of person who advertises much about myself. 
    Having said that, I’m inclined to argue that as a symbol the US flag has become too diluted and used as a symbol of division too often to be considered a symbol of unity anymore.  I haven’t read the linked article because I’m disinclined to create yet one more account to do so, but I’ve spent a lot of time on the road for the past years and the number of (what I can only consider to be) bastardized US flags being flown in conjunction with (or in lieu of) “real” US flags is disturbing.  
    Flags with a blue (or red, or green, or some combination of the two or three) line dividing it in half and the black and white variant.
    Flags with the stars removed from the blue field and replaced with “2A” and the 2nd amendment printed on the white stripes. 
    Flags with the standard 50 stars replaced  by a circle of stars surrounding the Roman numeral “III”. 
    Flags that are the US flag for one half but the Confederate Battle Flag on the other.   Plus one variation I’ve seen which has a hand reaching across and lifting up the US flag to reveal the Confederate Battle Flag underneath. 
    Flags which have a Trump campaign poster superimposed in the center. I thought I had hallucinated that the first time I saw one…
    The part which really irritates me the most is that (judging by the politics being expressed) these are mostly the same type of people who “back in the day” would be getting all lathered up about the need for an amendment to protect the flag from being burned and here the flag is being treated like another piece of poster board for politics and profit. 
  2. Like
    TrickstaPriest reacted to wcw43921 in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    Capitol Riot Defendants Receiving History Lessons From Their Attorney
  3. Like
    TrickstaPriest reacted to Lord Liaden in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    This is where it has to start. Fear and hatred thrive on ignorance.
    But powerful political and economic factions in America have staked their survival on keeping Americans ignorant. That's going to make reforming education that much harder.
  4. Like
    TrickstaPriest got a reaction from Dr.Device in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    The more I think about this the more it drives me crazy.
    Literally the only way the lightbulb market (that was self restricting lightbulbs to 1000 hrs of lifespan, deliberately creating an inferior product) was 'disrupted' was by inventing an entirely new technology - LED bulbs.  Windows - it's only being replaced because the entire desktop machine is being replaced... by the phone market.
    Phone market.  We are seeing the smartphone market eliminate the ability to replace batteries in their phones across the board.  I had to buy a new phone and almost none of them allow you to replace batteries anymore.  The remaining marketshare is too small, obscure, and of questionable quality, incentivizing/forcing the average consumer to buy new phones twice as often instead of replacing old batteries.
    Internet.  Not even Google has been able to disrupt that market with new and superior technology... it exists across town from me, but I literally cannot get those lines from where I am.  It only exists across town because there was no houses there...  I may never be able to get those lines this decade without moving where I live.
    Hospitals you don't generally choose, that gets chosen for you.  Friends of mine literally had to do research to figure out which hospital nearby is covered by their insurance - it wasn't the closest one!  ...Plus the health infrastructure itself is insane.  When I asked my doctor to run some bloodwork another person requested, no one told me (or probably knew) that the insurance company wouldn't cover it.  I had to pay $800 out of pocket for bloodwork done out of the same lab by the same people I always get my bloodwork done, literally at the same time I got other bloodwork done that -was- covered by my insurance.
    Tractor companies have literally fought to prevent repairs to their own products, forcing farmers to hack the tractor software to conduct repairs on the tractors they owned.  If they didn't do this, they'd be waiting for weeks to get a tractor repair done, which is the same as shutting down their income for weeks.
    We haven't even included entertainment - does Star Wardz count as a market substitute to Star Wars?  If you can only get Star Wars on Disney+, then you can only ever get Star Wars from Disney... do market substitutes apply to entertainment products?
    Companies are actively incentivized to play obstructionist and bury complaints, buy and scrap competitors, bribe governors, and that's them being nice.  Big companies buy literal death squads, arbitrarily deny energy to drive up electricity prices, or just take things like water.  How does rigging the tax code factor into the market? 

    It's a long rant, but this is what I mean (in general, not to anyone in particular) when I say I need to see the research.  I just literally don't believe what people say "about the market" anymore.  I've literally seen too much abuse.  It's all illegal, but it's only illegal because we say so.  We can just as arbitrarily say "it'll get handled eventually", and I just don't believe that any more.
    edit: Definitely as pinecone says, the government is a necessity at some times to tackle issues with the market, but i wonder how much our 'wisdom about the free market' is just bunk?
    And what other examples can we collate of this blatant kind of abuse of corporate power?  I'm interested in things beyond what I already know, beyond Enron, Coca Cola, and lightbulbs.

    I honestly wouldn't mind hearing more about economics and what can be said about the market in general - I use incidents to inform me about a subject, but that doesn't teach anything positive in this subject.
    I've heard from others saying something to the effect of:
    "The market" requires a fast turn around time on a definable take-home product in a non-critical situation. 
    It doesn't apply to a number of situations I think:
    life-or-death products (my mother flew off a highway, her car tumbled.  insurance claims it was human error, but one of the new Firestone tires exploded) any services (handymen, doctors, dentists, car repair) a company controlling a platform environment (Windows dominating PCs, Amazon dominating shipping) nor does it apply if you would find out about a problem a decade later (see all the issues with contamination - plus I have problems taking supplements because they don't list their actual real ingredients) Plus long-term products - you can't really complain much about cars until you become an expert in them, or have multiple bad experiences with the same type of vehicle... which could take 20-30 years to actually pass.  It could take ~100 years to 'adjust the market', where everyone responsible for the initial issues is literally dead and buried. And of course deliberate market collusion to make inferior products.  like the lightbulb example I had posted  
    I think it generally takes multiple "generations of product abuse from a definable abuser" for enough purchasers to create enough pressure to change the market to begin with.  But a lot of the time it's hard to say "how bad is my doctor, really?", "I need a new electrician but I don't know any of these guys", "my new tires should be fine, they won't explode or anything", and "well I guess I am stuck with an X phone because I really don't have the time to learn how to use these weird 'other software' phones".
    What kind of soft factors weigh against the power of the market to rectify a problem?
  5. Like
    TrickstaPriest reacted to Starlord in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    I do...but symbols mean different things to different people.  
  6. Thanks
    TrickstaPriest reacted to unclevlad in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    "Market forces" can frequently take a very, very long time to adjust a market, and are themselves subject to manipulation.  5 of us agree to sell a mediocre product at an inflated price.  Our cost is pretty consistently $10 per unit;  we sell for $30.  You come by;  you can make the same quality for $8, and you'll charge $16.  We agree to drop the price to $15, in a rolling manner while passing subsidies back and forth between us so our overall profit doesn't get particularly hurt...until you're so financially crippled that we buy you out.
    Microsoft cut sweetheart deals to have Windows pre-installed;  that killed OS/2, which was its only potential rival in the business market.  They leveraged that to kickstart Office.  Between them, they *dominated* their markets.  In terms of full-function desktop machines, they still have no competition.  No, neither Android nor Chrome counts, in my book, as a full-function desktop OS.  (Neither does IOS.)  They've made it, IMO, functionally impossible for a true competitor to arise.  An alternative, yes...macOS, desktop Linux...but they put you into completely different software universes.  The OS isn't critical;  the apps are.  And Windows' apps library is the elephant to Linux' or Mac's gerbil.
    IBM had a similar position into the 80's...and they got gutted.  So you can say it's possible this could happen to Microsoft.  But IBM didn't lose its market share;  it lost its market.  The PC created a paradigm shift, and thereby a complete redefinition, of the market space.  Phones, tablets, and small notebooks created a *partial* shift and redefinition, but their human-interface limitations are such that they can't function as complete replacements.  The redefinition allowed Android and iOS;  the notion that many people don't *need* a full-function desktop, but something more like a tablet...made Chromebook practical.
    In other industries, utilities being a major example, the fundamental barrier is the initial infrastructure investment.  If more than one company tries to work its way into an entire, larger market (say the greater El Paso area) then each is having to amortize their infrastructure costs over only a fraction of the populace...which means probably both higher prices to consumers and slower rollout.  Whether it's one or several companies...as the rollout does happen, the window for another company narrows.  Their chance to create an alternative...they'd have to build yet another backbone structure, and their potential customer base has been reduced...shrinks rapidly.
    Not quite sure what you mean by purity laws;  there's a few things I think that could mean.
    But...labeling laws didn't exist.  Why were they developed?
    --Societal needs were recognized...allergen information, for example.
    --Correct abuses.  "Low sodium!!"...the regular version has 400 mg, the "low sodium" has 350.  Hardly noticeable.  The potential consumer is swayed by the unjustified qualifier.  If there is no labeling requirement, the smart consumer can't tell anything...and it's utopian to assert that with optional labeling, that only a very small minority *won't* be swayed by just the misdescriptive label. 
    --Eliminate ambiguity.  What does it mean to label something "organic"?  Organic, non-GMO...pesticides go back millenia, but the recognition of their hazards came about in the 50's and 60's.  GMOs date back only to 1973;  selective breeding is something completely different.  So what exactly is necessary to be considered organic?
    More generally...new problems will always be recognized.  Some of them can be managed within the existing framework;  others disrupt it.  Precedents get built up under a set of social and technological conditions;  they fly apart at times similarly.
    BTW:  the diamond cartel controls the market by colluding to not pay anything CLOSE to wholesale for pre-worn stones, thereby ensuring the demand for new stones.  The "blood diamonds" marketing is something completely separate.
  7. Like
    TrickstaPriest reacted to unclevlad in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    CNN is reporting that the Arizona Republic has published an article detailing that Trump et al pressured Maricopa County election officials, a la his Georgia actions.  CNN played 3 calls to election officials, 2 from the Court Jester and one from Kelli Ward, the Trump sycophant who is the chairman of the Arizona Republican Party.  They're pretty bad.
    Can't link to the original article;  it's for Arizona Republic subscribers only.  
  8. Thanks
    TrickstaPriest reacted to DShomshak in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    One of the people I used to game with was a Libertarian (though he claimed he wasn't a Rand Cult Objectivist) and the rest of us brought up questions like this. As one of my friends put it, "Surely there must at least be a law that if the label says 'steak,' the package can't contain Play-Doh." And Mister Libertarian said, "No, there mustn't." If businesses start pulling shenanigans like this, that ceates a markt for private rating agencies that consumers can check to see whether a company that proclaims to produce steak is in fact selling steak. It took the rest of us all of one second to suggest how that would fail: Fake rating services, or fake reviews by paid reviewers, but Mister Libertarian still insisted it would work.
    I know there are varieties and degrees of libertarianism, that many (or at least some) insist they don't want anarchy, just a more skeptical eye to what needs legislation. It's not hard to find instances of laws and state actions that are foolish, frivolous, or blatant attempts to privilege one business or segment of society. That doesn't mean that law and government are the problem. We *know* what happens when the State will not or cannot assert itself, and the result isn't political liberty or a free market: it's state capture or outright gangsterism.
    Dean Shomshak
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    TrickstaPriest reacted to unclevlad in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    Of course it is.
    I read Atlas Shrugged back in high school.  Tail end of it, after things totally fall apart and one of the characters is writing the new Constitution based on Rand's Objectivist notions, one of the core lines is "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of production and trade."  Does this mean that my store's scales can read 10% heavy?  Or I can engage in collusion and price fixing?  Can I take apart a company's hot new product and duplicate the design?
    There are few, if any, real-world, human interactions and behaviors where a blanket "anything goes" policy can work.  
  10. Sad
    TrickstaPriest reacted to Pariah in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    Well, if buying senators and representatives isn't enough to get your point across, I suppose you can buy the National Guard, too.
    GOP donor funds South Dakota National Guard troops in Texas
  11. Like
    TrickstaPriest reacted to unclevlad in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    I have to disagree.  That ship never existed.  It was less real than the Discovery One...but Trump does do a good job of being HAL, so the confusion may be understandable.
    On one hand, the threat of a civil war is just hot air, IMO.  And, realistically, why should their minds have changed?  It was utter delusion from the start, and nothing has happened to disturb that delusion.  On the other hand, tho, you do have to be concerned that there's enough of a mass of these fools to potentially cause a serious problem.
  12. Haha
    TrickstaPriest reacted to Simon in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    Could be worse -- when someone asks me how I managed to pay for college, I can honestly tell that that I used to strip and grind for cash.
    I was materials science and engineering -- spent summers working in a concrete research lab, stripping and grinding samples.  
  13. Like
    TrickstaPriest reacted to Matt the Bruins in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    Didn't it give them to everyone? 😬
  14. Haha
    TrickstaPriest reacted to Lawnmower Boy in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    Look, as much as I hate to kick Tennessee when it's down, the state has the most fervent Aquaman fans in the Union. Sheesh. Says it all, I think.
  15. Like
    TrickstaPriest got a reaction from Cygnia in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    I was trying to avoid saying "X-ian Caliphate" but...
    Yes, this is more or less what I've been trying to warn about.  This follows with the pattern of increased attacks following the pandemic - these shootings and attacks go up because of desperate circumstances.  The real question is whether there will be other significant emergencies over the next few years.
  16. Thanks
    TrickstaPriest reacted to DShomshak in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    Personally, I think there's a strong likelihood of significant armed insurrection -- bombings, massacres, Middle East-level semi-organized violence -- within 5 years. But not civil war, as such.
    Dems won't try capturing the government by violence because Dems can get everything they want by normal political and electoral means. Polls show that even large numbers of Republican voters want what's on the current Democratic policy agenda.
    Most Republicans are still sufficiently committed to the process of government (vide all the elections officials who did their jobs honestly in 2020 and certified the result) that they won't back an outright coup attempt or war.
    The plutocratic far right is shrewd enough to get what it wants regardless of who runs the government.
    That leaves the culture warriors who have boundless rage but no real institutional backing fro other segments of society, and entrepreneurs of violence who think they might be able to ride the chaos into power. Some of whom would no doubt turn to Russia, China or other geostrategic rivals of the US, acting as mercenaries against their own country.
    Such an insurrection could not overthrow the US government. But it could cripple the US for years, creating a power vacuum that Russia and China could fill, not to the benefit of the rest of the world.
    I would of course prefer to avoid such a conflict. I hope that the blood-and-guts screaming from the farthest right is just hot air; that if the Capitol insurrection showed the depth of their rage, it also showed the depth of their incompetence at political violence. It's a good sign that the DOJ seems to be elevating domestic right-wing terrorism as a concern.
    And the population of Angry White People is dropping, which is part of what makes them so angry. In 10-20 years, it's over.Repuvlicans might gain a few decades through voter suppression and gerrymandering, but that's it. And if  the insurrection actually happens, they lose everything.
    Dean Shomshak
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    TrickstaPriest reacted to unclevlad in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    "Armed conflict" is rather nebulous.  Demonstrations and counter-demonstrations that turn violent?  Probably.  Anything resembling a civil war?  I hope not.  Another incident like the Capitol Insurrection?  Possible.  Individual-on-individual shootings, arson, etc.?  Yes.

    And the time frame is also "not tomorrow and probably not particularly soon."  Its taken, what, 30 or so years for things to sink to this point...which is another reason why I'm a pessimist...so the rot doesn't spread *that* quickly.  Nor can it be reversed quickly;  perhaps the best lesson would be to teach people to think for themselves, but good luck with that.  And that will still take decades.
    Plus, honestly, I don't think we have the conditions to do so.  The cost of this pandemic is going to be coming back to bite us HARD.  I think climate change is starting to show significant negative impacts on food production, therefore cost, which will add to it.  We're only starting to see major, disruptive hacking to toss in further disruptions.  What all of this does, is make sure that we can't readily come together, even if we were inclined to do so.
  18. Thanks
    TrickstaPriest reacted to unclevlad in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    Not lost the will.  Multiple factors in play:
    --any change is in a zero-sum game...so if you win, I lose.
    --"If you're not first, you're last."  Ricky Bobby.  Or I suspect, the inspiration:  Dale Earnhardt and "Second place is first loser."  How about "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."  That's Vince Lombardi...still THE Coaching God, with all due respect to Belichick or even Wooden.
    NOT a good combination.  It devolves to "I'm for any change that helps me!"  But it's impossible to have a meaningful change that doesn't have some downsides.  So, real change is extremely difficult to manifest until it's clear that without that change, EVERYONE loses.  Even then, there will be objectors...c.f. the current pandemic...where some view a greater opportunity by denying the situation.  It's particularly ugly in that Fox has proven just how successful that approach can be.
  19. Sad
    TrickstaPriest reacted to Hermit in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    They break my heart.
  20. Sad
    TrickstaPriest reacted to unclevlad in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    The comments thread shows this country is a lost cause.
  21. Sad
    TrickstaPriest reacted to Hermit in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    How can the State Govt of Tennessee, make other states look saner than us?
    I KNOW, let's threaten to disband the department of Health because they're promoting the vaccine to teenagers
    I feel the need to apologize to Florida
  22. Like
    TrickstaPriest reacted to Simon in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    Champ was over 13 years old - that’s a long life for a GSD. It’s rare that there’s an autopsy when a dog that old passes, unless there was some cause for concern or other mystery to the passing beyond simply being time.
    Run free, Champ.
  23. Like
    TrickstaPriest reacted to unclevlad in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    If that recording is legit...........................................................
    Wow.  OK, well, IF it's legit, I sit corrected.  If ANY of it is legit...well, OK, I stopped listening after 2 minutes, but by that point he's *repeated* his threats.  And his tone is such that hey, he's got no plans to stop there.  If you listened, feel free to chime in, but from those first two minutes, my take is, the speaker didn't think Trump went NEARLY far enough.
    I'm glad I haven't gotten lunch yet, cuz I'm not sure I'd have kept it down.....
  24. Like
    TrickstaPriest reacted to Lord Liaden in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    I suppose in a Republican Party which encourages doing and saying anything to win, it was inevitable they'd turn on each other.
    I also consider it a testament to how far the GOP has sunk that I would be willing to believe either of them.
  25. Sad
    TrickstaPriest reacted to archer in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    GOP candidate Anna Paulina Luna filed a restraining order last week against fellow Republican William Braddock, who is also planning to run for Congress in her district.
    "I received information yesterday (at midnight) regarding a plan (with a timeline) to murder me made by William Braddock in an effort to prevent me from winning the election for FL-13," wrote Luna in a petition for injunction, which also claims that Braddock is conspiring with "political opponents" Matt Tito and Amanda Makki to "take her out."
    Trumpists: the comedy gift which keeps on giving.
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