Gas Bandit's Political Thread V: The Vampire Likes Bats

North Carolina questioning 9th district Congressional election results. Bipartisan 9-0 vote refusing to confirm Republican candidate on voting irregularities that may stretch back as far as the primary. It's possible Harris shouldn't have even been on the ballot in November.
 
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Yes, so weird the millennials aren't purchasing luxuries when they can barely make ends meet....
I'm interested in what the longterm cultural changes are going to be. There are SOME things our generation can't go without (functional smart phones being a big one) but apparently we're willing to sacrifice damn near everything else to live minimalistically because we sorta have to. We were also the generation that did a lot of the original fighting in the forever wars over in the Middle East. So I'm wondering if we're going to see a lot of similarities, culturally, to the Lost Generation (1883-1900, fought in WW1).

We've already started the condemnation of the frivolous lifestyles of the wealthy like they did and expressed frustration on the death of the American dream, as well as our frustration with the rampant corruption in our society. That's basically a mirror of what they were.
 

Dave

Staff member
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I firmly believe if the US committed fully to winning we'd win. We're just too big. We have the technological and numeric edge.
 
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The problem is that winning requires a lot of innocent causalities.
A thousand times this. If the 24 hour news cycle didn't exist, the US military would have carpet bombed offending areas, blamed the carnage on local terrorist groups ("It was almost that bad BEFORE we bombed it") and only admitted to the carnage 50 years later. But now that it's hampered by public opinion and the quickness that news can be reported, we are completely unwilling to do what it would take to "win" in Afghanistan.

Don't get me wrong, this is a good thing; the amount of damage we'd have to do in order gain control of the region is staggering and unethical. Hundreds of thousands of people would be dead. But it also means that our standing military is basically worthless there. There's a reason that Russia and China are focusing on cyber attacks and media control in order to spread their influence.
 
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There's absolutely no sensible way to "win". What is your victory condition? The whole Afghan territory under uncontested control of an American-supporting elected government? Look at Libya, Syria, Palestine, Algeria, even Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey. Look at Zaire, Zimbabwe, Rwanda. Heck, look at Hungary, Brazil, Poland, even the USA itself. Look at 1920s-1930s Germany!
When things aren't going well, people are going to blame the government. When people are poor, and hungry, and see other people who do manage to get enough because they work for [fill in the blank, but "government" or "robber barons" or "drug cartels" are often here], they're angry and jealous. A Strong Man who will Clean Things Up and Get It Done is an easy, safe solution. Couple that with nationalism/patriotism/chauvinism - such as is always caused by, say, an alien invader coming in to determine which parties or views are "acceptable" and which aren't - and extreme conservative military leaders or groups, most often also strongly religious, will always win.

The Taliban - or the Muslim Brotherhood, or the Afghan Islam Party for Peace and Prosperity, or the Brotherhood of Nod, or whatever they call themselves - will simply win an election after you leave, because of a weak government, corruption, lack of power to affect change, propaganda playing on fear and hunger.
If you bomb enough people to make sure the Good Guys are in the majority -well, congrats, you've just caused a whole new generation to hate you, and they'll definitely vote against you soon enough.

This war, much like most others, can only be won by convincing the population to see you as liberators instead of oppressors. The US army is horrible, horrible, horrible at this (note that I'm not saying any other army is better at it). Russia-style Facebook influencing is more likely to bring peace to the region than simply keeping boots on the ground. You've now got a whole generation of Afghani who were born and grew up in a country continuously ravaged by war and hostile occupation. I'm sure many young Afghani don't particularly like the Taliban and their extremist islamist positions - but what's the alternative?

Imagine a world where the European Union steps in to secure human rights and free speech and such in the USA because the Republican party has gone overboard and has more-or-less installed a theocratic government, and stopped any other party from appearing on the ballot for elections. The EU bombs thousands of Americans, puts soldiers all over, burns the crops, pollutes the water - oh, and for some reason, they all insist on speaking German or French to you instead of English, and they think you should just learn their language, too. After 17 years of that, pretty much all American young people would hate the EU and all it stands for - even if the only real alternative is a Republic where Mike Pence is a soft moderate.
 

Dave

Staff member
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That is the main problem and I liken it to the whole "occupy" movement from a few years ago. You have to have a goal - a victory condition. Without a clear and distinct mission, there's no way to be successful. If we had that and if it was attainable, though, I don't see us being stopped.
 
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I was in San Francisco in 2005 and somebody didn't know what Canada was, and thought that there was "nothing" above Montana, etc, because it was blank on all the maps she'd ever seen. She thought we were "funning" her with the idea that there was a whole country to the north of the USA. She seemed like a "normal" 20-something woman to all outward appearances before this.

Thus that story is 100% credible to me.
 
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Not available in Canada. :(

All I saw was the preview image. Steve Martin. I'm sure it would have been funny.
"in Canada" sheesh, way to keep up the joke.

That said, also not available over here in...Err....Where was I from again? We agreed upon this, shit, errr.... .Luxemburg? Right.
 
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I was in San Francisco in 2005 and somebody didn't know what Canada was, and thought that there was "nothing" above Montana, etc, because it was blank on all the maps she'd ever seen. She thought we were "funning" her with the idea that there was a whole country to the north of the USA. She seemed like a "normal" 20-something woman to all outward appearances before this.

Thus that story is 100% credible to me.
They're not even
A real country
Anyway


--Patrick
 

Dave

Staff member
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Not available in Canada. :(

All I saw was the preview image. Steve Martin. I'm sure it would have been funny.
I wondered about that. Problem is NBC has a deathgrip over SNL clips. I'll try to find one you can see but I wouldn't hold my breath.
 

GasBandit

Staff member
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No, we can't trust the government to police itself.

Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel was the only FCC commissioner to dissent from the new ruling against the FoIA request. "What is the Federal Communications Commission hiding?" Rosenworcel asked in her dissenting statement. (Since the departure of Mignon Clyburn, Rosenworcel is the only Democratic commissioner.)

Rosenworcel pointed to the widespread fraud in the net neutrality proceeding, saying that "as many as 9.5 million people had their identities stolen and used to file fake comments, which is a crime under both federal and state laws."

"Something here is rotten—and it's time for the FCC to come clean," Rosenworcel said. "Regrettably, this agency will not do this on its own. So it falls to those who seek to investigate from outside its walls."
 

GasBandit

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This is an agency policing itself. The whole point of a government policing/controlling itself to is to have independent entities controlling each other. You know, checks-and-balances wise. Of course that's sometimes just a theory and not a practice, but the idea is there, anyway .
We've moved into a post-checks-and-balances era, plainly.
 
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We've moved into a post-checks-and-balances era, plainly.
That’s because being caught doing something awful no longer matters to the voters so long as there is a political opponent. Having a racist/bigot/corrupt/ democracy killer is fine so long as they are on your side.
 

GasBandit

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That’s because being caught doing something awful no longer matters to the voters so long as there is a political opponent. Having a racist/bigot/corrupt/ democracy killer is fine so long as they are on your side.
You'll not hear me disagreeing.
 
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Anyone who says [some people should be allowed to pay less for insurance] (such as by offering to “reward” people who actively work to minimize their individual risk, for instance) is trying to play favorites and shift the costs of that privileged minority onto the backs of those who really need the insurance. e.g. “I don’t know why I’m mandated to buy some kind of health insurance.” Because the more people who buy it, the cheaper it gets, that’s why!
[...]
And in case anyone thinks I’m talking out of my ass, here, YSK that I used to work in the insurance industry, so yes, I know exactly what I’m talking about, and now YOU know why I get so incensed about it.
Just switched my auto insurance (not to GEICO) and the insurance agent sent me a quote "...and I went ahead and added a discount that just needs you to add an app to your phone to monitor your driving habits over the next 90 days..."

No.
I'll pay the little bit extra, and I explicitly decline that discount unless mandatory for that carrier, and if it IS mandatory for that carrier, then find me another carrier.
Fuck that shit.

--Patrick
 
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GasBandit

Staff member
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Right about the time I decided to sell some stock to get ahead in my debt, the value of my portfolio fell about 30pct.
So I haven’t sold yet.
I hope I’m making the right decision...

—Patrick
Me too, man. I've still got everything in PRWCX, and I'm biting my nails. I'm tempted to sell as well, despite having just lost all headway for the year. Every indicator is screaming "RECESSION INCOMING."

Thing is, PRWCX isn't taking new investors anymore... so if I sell it off... I won't be able to get back into it.
 
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