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Everything posted by CapitalistSwine

  1. "Turns out the kids aren't alright: Some 23% of American teenagers have diabetes or prediabetes; 10 years ago, that number was 9%, a new study says. http://www.newser.com/story/146448/nearly-25-of-teens-face-diabetes.html
  2. Another lovely article the internet has graced us with on Ayn Rand I came across.... http://lfb.org/blog/name-your-favorite-ayn-rand-flaw/
  3. I apologize for failing to clarify my purpose in doing so. Some people within the Objectivist community have felt it sensible to tag me with the title of "Muslim Sympathizer" and one person even defriended me over it recently, so I am extra careful to clarify myself in this area when talking to other Objectivists, because I am in no way a Muslim sympathizer, I am cautious and very specific when it comes to foreign policy matters, and this is sometimes (somehow) mistaken as sympathy or approval. So I wanted to make it clear I don't approve of such barbaric practices such as stoning and I have no issue with bombing our enemies to the Stone Age 5x's over. I just don't want us to be careless when it comes to instigating military conflicts, which in the past this country has had a tendency to do. Sometimes people seem to be confused by what I am trying to say. As far as the defriending, you are probably correct. I believe this occurred after we had some sort of heated disagreement way way back on facebook, and I believe I felt that what I was saying had been misconstrued, and that had been the source of the argument. At any rate, I'd be more than happy to re-establish our facebook relationship if you have such a desire, as I have said already I value your commentary and input, although I don't always agree with it. Anyways, I am beginning to ramble, and this latter half of this post is probably better fit for a pm than a thread posting.
  4. I am not sure if you can currently see my postings on facebook but, for instance on Mark Nitikman's wall, I have been condemning such things outright when postedo n his wall as well as in the Open Objectivism group there. Now that I have made that clear, of course you won't hear about it, I don't hear about it either. You know what I do, I google it, and I find a number of examples of just that for pretty much any of these events. I am all for bombing the living hell out of any Muslim extremists that are a real and active threat against our country as long as things are kept in perspective of the broader context of the conflict (by that I mean, doing so in a way where we aren't actively facilitating blowback, which is something we seem to be experts at). So I am not sure what you are looking for, I would think what can be found easily enough with a 1 minute google search would be satisfactory, given that no one here woudl suggest that there is no such thing as extremist muslims or muslims that are prone to or advocate violence. I was speaking more in general, not about you, and I meant more in the way of basic conversational structure during disagreements or just normal intellectual debate.
  5. I am not sure how I feel about the fact I accurately predicted how this thread was going to go almost down to post specifics after I noted the participants on page two, with the exception of the apology to Diana, which certainly changes my view of Thomas, of whom I enjoyed and appreciated the presence of on my facebook until he mischaracterized over and over again after my numerous attempts to clarify and correct the misunderstanding. This seems to be a habitual problem with a certain subset of the Objectivist community and is quite frustrating as it breeds hostility and isolation when there are intellectual disagreements, rather that two people who disagree but have taken the time to bee sure they actually understand the position and views of their counterpart in the discussion. This is not conducive behavior to what is primarily an intellectual movement. In fact it is incredibly damaging when it occurs regularly. Far more so, I would argue, than anything Diana has done or is likely to do.
  6. I have been engaging in some discussions on this on a fairly regular basis with people as of late (they were always initiating the convo). Anyways, I don't want to focus on Iraq & Afghanistan, but rather these previous wars. Which do you believe were in the United States' rational self-interest (I am talking about involving ourselves, not whether or not we handled it properly once we decided to do so) and would be supported by the likes of Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand details at length at how war is one of the worst atrocities known to man but she also realizes that at times it is absolutely necessary. Unfortunately the United States has suffered from everything from super-pacifists and hippies to Wilsonian doctrine, Christian Just War theory, NeoCon Warhawks and everything in between. As a result we have often been criticized, and sometimes rightly so, for being overly adventurous when it comes to involving ourselves in such conflicts. Someone told me today they believe only the American Revolution and WW2 were justified, I told him I disagreed (I am assuming he left out the Civil War for some reason, but that one is such a mess on the details level that I would like to avoid much discussion of that one as well, as that was an internal conflict, not an external one). Now, I am not very well versed on some of these conflicts, especially the ones Pre-WW2 for obvious reasons, so I would appreciate some input. Here is a list of all US-involved conflicts: http://en.wikipedia....tary_operations I would primarily like to focus on the main ones, as they are of most import, such as the following, and any others I forget to mention: -First Barbary War (I only remember very little from a brief textbook overview in primary school about this) -War of 1812 -Mexican-American War -Civil War (lets exclude this) -World War 1 -World War 2 (If I remember correctly Rand suggested that the retaliation against Japan was both necessary and moral, no disagreement there, but I believe she also said we should have let the Western powers fight it out, having the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany weaken each other first, and I believe she implied we would not have had, or it would have been less severe...the Cold War period of Soviet power after WW2.) -Korean War -Vietnam War -Desert Storm I also think we should keep in mind that these decisions were made based on their knowledge and understanding of the situation AT THAT TIME and they were not able to look back on it like we are able to, with complete clarity.
  7. I fully realize this. Why you are comparing Imperial Japan to Islamist groups is beyond me, however. I would argue this is entirely different as well, while you may be able to come up with a long list of similarities, the devil is in the details. This is a pretty strong claim. I have not seen evidence that Iranian government wishes to see it's own destruction. If you have any please feel free to provide it. Suicide is clearly forbidden in Islam, but the permissibility of martyrdom ops (Istishhad) is an altogether different topic, with scholars being split on the issue but has more support in general. "O ye who believe!... [do not] kill yourselves, for truly Allah has been to you Most Merciful. If any do that in rancour and injustice, soon shall We cast him into the Fire..." (Qur'an 4:29-30). The taking of life is allowed only by way of justice (i.e. the death penalty for murder), but even then, forgiveness is better. "Nor take life - which Allah has made sacred - except for just cause..." (17:33). In pre-Islamic Arabia, retaliation and mass murder was commonplace. If someone was killed, the victim's tribe would retaliate against the murderer's entire tribe. This practice was directly forbidden in the Qur'an (2:178-179). Following this statement of law, the Qur'an says, "After this, whoever exceeds the limits shall be in grave chastisement" (2:178). No matter what wrong we perceive as being done against us, we may not lash out against an entire population of people. Now, this is still done on a familial level by the Pashtun tribes in Afghanistan, but that is another matter. Obviously, there is an issue with this (as is the case with all religions) because whether or not something can be classified as martyrdom is dependent on your perspective. I have not seen any articles or writing that suggests that Islam is the reason for the higher use of suicide terrorism, as there have been other groups that have used it in the past. It is a startlingly effective tactic especially against a much more powerful opponent, but I digress, this is a side issue really.
  8. While I agree with your comments Grames, this seems to be an oversimplification of a lot of factors that are relevant and could very well change the course of how things transpire regardless of their beliefs. I also don't think the fact that man Soviets were atheists as opposed to the Iranian alternative necessarily increases the chances of such a thing. We could have had nuclear war on several occasions with the USSR which ended up being rather close calls. We also must keep in mind that there are two opposing leadership "groups" within the Iranian government.
  9. Also Re; the BBC article. I haven't read it yet, I will tonight, but its been made clear by other sources that it would be impossible for Israel to sufficiently deal with Iran's nuclear capabilities with the aircraft and bombing logistics involved. It would require a prolonged heavy bombing scenario ala several weeks ala Libya that realistically would almost certainly be met by the United States if such an event were to take place. They could take out some of their capabilities but in no way would they neutralize them such as was the case in their earlier attack to stop nuclear progress.
  10. No more risky than the USSR situation, in which case they could have obliterated our country even if we retaliated, instead of making a dead zone out of a single city (if they are lucky, and if they have a death wish for their own country). I would suggest that Pakistan (which is also and is in a destabilized zone) is of more import when it comes to the likeliness of a nuclear device being used against the United States or her allies. There seems to be a considerable number of people in defense/military/intelligence that have been airing worries over Pakistan as the number 1 nuclear concern for over a decade now. While there are certainly fanatical elements within their government, they are not stupid. I don't personally believe (though of course, I could be wrong) that they plan on using it for anything other than a deterrent. There is a VERY strong historical precedent that you cannot be pushed around by the big boys anymore (in which case, before then you are at their mercy in many respects) if you have even a single nuclear device, this carries not only from denouncements to UN sanctions and active military engagement. They are surrounded by hostile governments and bases so I don't find this to be a stretch. The question is what action is in the best interests of the United States both long term and short term, on a localized and a global level, and whether we will move forward in this respect with a healthy dose of caution or if we are going to jump the gun, pull the trigger before it makes sense to do so, and make a bigger mess than already existed for ourselves, which seems to be an American tradition as often as it is not.
  11. While I am certainly no fan of his "everything to the states!" stance, I think this oversimplifies it somewhat. I do believe, and I may be mistaken here, that this is not his stance on, for instance, same-sex marriage, in which case he is the best on that issue aside from Gary Johnson. I believe he wants to leave that up to the individual churches and their dealings with individuals, and has spoken out against the notion of having requirements for marriage mandates by government on a number of occasions, which is a fairly standard libertarian position these days. This certainly gives one pause, but at the same time, we must also keep in mind not only what these candidates support, what but they realistically could get Congress to do with respect to the passing of laws. People will have different degrees of concern over this, because some will view it as being an improvement over Gingrich, Romney, Santorum, or Obama who, without question, will violate individual rights massively on a federal level as per the status quo. Even if Paul accomplishes little, people can be sure he would make a concerted effort to fight the status quo, both in general political activity and corruption, and do far more than those others to lessen the violation of individual rights on the federal level. Whether or not people feel that this is a satisfactory give and take considering his other positions, well, I have seen that Objectivists are pretty evenly split on that based on what I have seen in my networking and it does not seem like either camp is likely to convince the other as it hinges greatly on their overall perspective of the situation America is in not only on an economic level, but a political and philosophical one. To successfully convince them to change their mind would require them changes their perspectives on a number of big subjects, where there tends to be a spectrum of variation among Objectivists. I know just as many Objectivists that would vote for Obama over Paul, as I do people that will vote for him over Santorum+Romney and/or Gingrich, as I do people that have decided they will vote for Paul and will not even consider anyone else to the point of being willing to do a write in.
  12. I pretty much agree with Steve on this word for word, with a few minor differences that aren't really worth mentioning unless this discussion fleshes out more.
  13. I agree with you on the philosophical level, but once we come into reality this is not so simple. This assumes that the President holds Objectivist views of what is right, and an Objectivist President would also likely suggest that a large portion of the population was at least sympathetic to Objectivist views. We are far from the latter and even farther from the former. Many Presidents have though things, massive genocide among them, to be right (or necessary) that were downright dictatorial. This is why those crusty old documents exist in the first place, i.e. to bar abuses of power. As far as the OP's comments on a pacifist Congress, I do not deem this terribly likely, but would be more willing to entertain the idea of an example from history was given, I am not aware of one. The only time the President should be able to go over the heads of proper procedure in the declaration of war (a very serious matter) would be if the United States was under thread of imminent attack and no time could be spared (as in, for instance a few days or a week time where we know for a fact the supposed enemy would be incapable of launching an attack, but were aware it was coming in which case an emergency session could be had). I do not see why any Congress, if there truly was credible evidence or reasoning to believe of a threat to national security that would require pre-emptive action, that you would have any issue getting the necessary majority votes for the declaration. If nothing else, self-preservation and personal safety always win out over ideological pacifism with all but the borderline insane, in which case I would ask why they are seated in Congress to begin with, rather than an asylum.
  14. This should never occur. The only political group that I am aware of that actually takes this notion seriously within its demographic is the anarchists, and that fact alone, if the obvious and horrifying implications of such a situation weren't already... should be enough to dismiss it out of hand. The legitimate areas of the government are, as Ayn Rand stated: 1. The Police (Domestic Security/Enforcement of the laws to protect individual rights) 2. The Military (Security from External Threats/Protect the society from threats to the rights and safety of its citizens) 3. The Law Courts (Judicial, to expound upon the law and to deliver justice between conflicted parties) Military weapons are the sole purview of the military. They are deemed miltary weapons because they are too dangerous, too destructive, or require a level of skill that can only be entrusted to a member of the United States military, which is an organization that has a high priority of keeping such items within skilled hand and well contained from those without them or without authorization to handle them.
  15. I sincerely hope this is not true. I am an Objectivist, I am as straight as an arrow and I have quite a few gay and lesbian friends. I think homophobia is, quite frankly, not only a sign of intense ignorance of the related science and other information about the subject that has been out for *at least* a decade but, in 2012, intellectually disgusting, and I have little interest in dealing with those people any more than is absolutely necessary in my day to day life. As they say...when ignorance begets confidence...
  16. "does war need to have officially started before somebody may be charged with treason for providing support to the enemy country which may help them in their hostilities?" Treason is an outdated concept these days, things are far easier from the governments perspective to just slap on a vague designation. As such, that person could be held indefinitely, without charges being filed against him or her, without a court hearing, and without legal counsel. For a time, this was only applicable to non-citizens as was decided by the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Boumediene v. Bush then overthrew this ruling but there was a loophole that has now been closed, where there was no legal time limit which would force the government to provide a Combatant Status Review Tribunal hearing. Prisoners were, but are no longer, legally prohibited from petitioning any court for any reason before a CSRT hearing takes place. As far as citizens, the NDAA, as I understand it, has concretized the ability to allow for indefinite detention of American citizens without legal recourse. At the same time, the Obama administration has dropped the enemy combatant designation, but I do believe there are other vague designations, I believe in the NDAA its called "associated forces" that allows for the same. Congress approved the indefinite detention of persons who "substantially supported...associated forces." As far as the wartime issue, the Constitution states As far as I am aware, this can be applied, if not normally then through legal tricks, to apply to those both in war time as well as potentially out of war time if the nation clearly has had hostile intentions or the individual is clearly attempting to undermine US national security for the purposes of another government.
  17. It seems the person I was debating with has switched to another perspective, which I find far more tenable, though it is speaking more in the general moral sense than in the reality of today's situation:
  18. So I was having a casual debate with someone recently regarding whether or not sanctions are an act of war. This seems to be an idea that is candidly absurd from my personal perspective but I am willing to be convinced otherwise. It suggests, to me, that if this is an act of aggression then it must have costs to human life that are akin to that of actual military violence, and even then, this would only be applicable in some cases. The way I see it, a sanction is imposing a ban or restriction on trade, certain goods and services, or various conditions of a relationship between two countries as a result of the sanctioned country not meeting the conditions necessary for an unaltered relationship with the imposing country. To suggest that this is an act of war, to me, seems to suggest that these countries have a *right* to these services, trade, or what have you with this other country regardless of what they may be doing, be it dictatorial behavior in their own country, violating UN agreements, or even initiating covert or potentially hostile military actions against the interests or security of the imposing country. At the same time, I do believe that the vast majority of the time sanctions are counterproductive and actually end up backfiring. That does not suggest, however, that they do not have their place, but rather that they have not had the level of scrutiny necessary before being imposed. Some say that, whereas earlier nations used to impose blockades and the like, that sanctions are effectively the modern version of the same tactic. To me, this does not hold up. A blockade restricts all trade from that port or location, it does not restrict goods or services from the nation imposing it, but all trade. Further, a blockade is a clearly military action, as it requires military ships, it is a naval blockade. Whereas sanctions are imposed through the diplomatic process via the UN or that specific countries Congress/Presidency. Withholding a product or service does not violate their rights. It could violate the rights of our citizens, but that's an internal issue. I also argued that, just because a country see this imposition as an act of war does not make it so. When I think of this I think of the oil embargo on Japan, which, according to various individuals, was the reason they attacked Pearl Harbor. The fact that is often left out however, is they were militarily engaged with China and several other groups that were part of our interests, and there was no reason for us to actively support them with one of the main economic tools for continuous warfare. Then we have the controversial food sanction on Iraq, that led to many dead, particularly children. There are times when we impose these sanctions on dictators and they instead have a renewed strength in their governing as they use these sanctions as a way to demonize the country imposing them. Then there are other instances where I would consider them to have been successful. Sanctions are usually seen as an alternative to warfare, as a way to peaceful coax one nation into doing something or stopping something. This person I was debating with also said that the Strait of Hormuz being closed by Iran would be an act of war. Now this I need to think more on before I come to a conclusion, but: 1. Would that be considered a sanction? I don't see it as that way. I see it as a military blockade or what have you (they would use their cruise missiles/ships to close the Strait) on a critical world trade route, this is not a directed and concentrated attack against one nation, and it clearly is not done with the goal of being peaceful. 2. While Iran has domain over the Strait, I do not believe they are considered as owning it, this is not the same as restricting goods and services from a particular country. Is this correct? 3. I do believe that if they closed the Strait, while this would severely hamper many nations around the world by drastically driving up oil prices and the like, this would also have major economic, not to mention political consequences, for their own country. As such, I view this as more of a threat without any backing, and that Iran would likely only do this as a last resort if they felt they were, for instance, under real threat of invasion. Curious to hear opinions on this, as well as if the comparison to the closing of the Strait was appropriate.
  19. I would recommend four books: The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible The Invisible Heart-An Economic Romance The Bastiat Collection (the law, government, etc. being part of that along with his economic sophisms etc.) Uncle Sam The Monopoly Man (this is out of print,so you need to buy it used off of someplace like Amazon.com, which is what I did) I have had a large degree of success using these four books in tandem, and, I used to be a socialist, so that helps me to understand what needs to be undermined to convince these people, and how best to go about undermining those ideas they have accepted without the necessary level of skepticism and inquiry.
  20. "Ron Paul's foreign policy is suicidal." I have seen plenty of foreign policy suggestions on here that are far more suicidal, and I would contend that is something agreed on by most foreign policy experts that have the real world experience and backgrounds to have such an opinion. While I don't think you have to read his books to understand him, as was discussed earlier, I do think this applies in the case of foreign policy specifically, and not the other areas. I do not prefer his foreign policy, but I do prefer it to the current widespread appeasement, misdirection, and inaction that has been the governing policy of the last few decades of our foreign policy, which has created us far more enemies than friends, and even our friends are barely worth such a title. Either way, he won't win, so either get ready for more of the status quo of the last few years or a war with Iran which will devastate our economy and stretch our military thin, regardless of what delusions lead you to believe such over concrete, well known intelligence facts we've had for years. Have fun with that. You all vote for who you want, but I've already decided I won't be voting for those 3 clowns. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night.
  21. Leftistspew, if you want the perfect progress you seem to want, you are going to be waiting until long after your grandchildren are dead. It may be wrong, but it sure as hell isn't as wrong or as destructive as the increasing and dare I say frighteningly militaristic statism of both the Democrats and Republicans.
  22. I have this game as well as the two earlier Elder Scrolls games, Morrowind and Oblivion. My main nitpick is that the Imperium is far more Roman than British, much in the way of their names, culture and architecture is borrowed from the Romans. You will hear things from various citizens of Skyrim that will help solidify your decision as time goes on. The issue here is over the banning of one of the Skyrim heroes (Talos) who was said to have become a divine. The Thalmor, which are High Elves, basically do not feel this is correct and have through the White Tower Concordat which was an agreement between the Emperor and the Thalmor to impose this banning throughout the regions under imperial control. There are a few main concerns: 1. The Empire is faltering and thinning and is having trouble keeping control in its regions since it's main province, Cyrodil, has fallen into disarray over the 200 years of time that has passed between Oblivion and Skyrim timelines. 2. The Empire agreed to the White Tower Concordat because, as is the belief of many who side with the empire, the Thalmor would reignite a conflict otherwise and would most likely defeat the Empire, causing more chaos and disarray. It seems to be the consensus by the game population that the Thalmor would beat the Empire down in an open conflict and that they almost did once before. Further, it seems to be the general consensus that many of these regions may not be better off without the Empire tying them together rather than being independent given the events of the last several hundred years and the current time in the game, but maybe not. 3. The Thalmor are stuck up snobs that think they are better than everyone that is not a high elf. 4. Some citizens say that while the banning was not good but that most people just kept private little shrines to Talos in their homes and prayed. It was not until the leader of the Stormcloaks started causing chaos and assassinated the High King of Skyrim that the Thalmor and the Empire felt the need to crack down to ensure the Concordat was not broken, which would most likely lead to the aforementioned war. It is also mentioned, though it is uncertain whether or not this is pro-empire rumors or not, that the Stormcloaks had little support up until recently. 5. The Jarl that would have a key leadership position within the Stormcloak rebellion is extremely racist and prejudice towards outsiders, this does not necessarily speak for the overall movement. 6. Both groups are viciously hostile towards each other when it comes to speaking to the soldiers of either group. 7. You will see from time to time a military escort of Thalmor taking a Talos Worshipper to a town as a prisoner, or Imperials escorting a stormcloak prisoner, you may intervene in either of these instances. The point of the game is not to make either choice obvious however. "They just have to outlaw the worship of their most popular diety." Good way to make millions of people extremely pissed at you. I think Ichor hit the nail on the head. This is not a game that puts forth a strong duality, the strongest sense of morality was often attributed to the Dark Brotherhood missions in Oblivion. It is mostly about taking in the lore and the world and the civilizations and environment all as one and making it into your own adventure. You will notice that most of these factions have been in a large scale war with each other at some point or another if not multiple times throughout the Elder Scrolls historical record, and that the factions of both elven-types, human-type and others are very distinct from each other in numerous ways everything from their homelands to their beliefs. The elves aren't one single group and man another etc.
  23. His foreign policy views and the related subjects are far more fleshed out by him in his books than what you will get from debates and interview soundbites. I dare say if you read his books withouthaving seen a single tv appearance of his you would view his foreign policy views much differently than someone that has only seen him on tv/congress.
  24. http://xray-delta.co...out-steve-jobs/ and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/04/steve-jobs-on-bill-gates_n_629238.html#s84659&title=Gates_Copycat for extra insight
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