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Politics: The Undiscovered Country

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Gromnir made a good point about how useful straws can be and I'd have to agree. In southern AZ where it's blazing hot and everything is super far apart straws are practically mandatory because everyone is always in their cars and taking the lid off is just asking for something bad to happen.

15 minutes ago, Gfted1 said:

I wonder how many straws to takes to equal one plastic water bottle?

Not sure but my local recycling place doesn't do straws but they will, of course, do bottles. You're in a bigger city so who knows, they might just load it all on a boat and ship it to another country.

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Free games updated 3/6/19

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20 minutes ago, Gfted1 said:

I wonder how many straws to takes to equal one plastic water bottle?

Here less than one, as over 99% of plastic water bottles are recycled, where over 99% of straws are thrown in general waste.

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It's the capriciousness of it that gets under my skin.  Some of us are trying to make a well-reasoned (or at least as well-reasoned as possible) case for his administration.  Mapgate was and remains silly crap, but it's not in isolation.  So, when he fires Bolton and announces it by tweet, it makes it more difficult to muster up a defense.  All the sudden, the ire over something silly gets hit with well deserved ire over utter chaos in terms of an incoherent foreign policy.  Yes, his base will support him no matter what, but the people I talk to in real life actually buy into my arguments because they trust me to play if straight down the middle.  I can be wrong, but I can't be dishonest.  Moreover, I don't *want* to defend Trump for planning secret Taliban meetings at Camp David, then publicly canceling them, and *then* firing his national security advisor by tweet.  It's maddening!

As an aside, while I sometimes roll my eyes at the hyperbole, I actually agree with Gromnir about the homelessness issue.  I've done work at a couple of mobile medical clinics and so I have at least a little bit of understanding of homeless populations.  The problem in California is pretty dire, mostly due to well-meaning but stupid policies, but it's California's problem.  Why the hell would any small government/states' rights conservative believe the federal government should charge into this issue?

The events of today have been particularly dismaying.  I'll still support Trump.  I honestly don't see any alternative at this point, but I hate the guy.  If I didn't know him and met him at a BBQ or something, we'd probably hit it off fine... as long as I didn't accidently make some offhand and innocuous comment that he could construe as criticism.  :shaking head in disgust:

Okay!  Okay!  Got that out of my system!


The woodwork beckons.

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Sacking Bolton by tweet is the least of the admin's faux pas and him going should make their foreign policy more coherent, not less. Indeed it would probably be more coherent if the next National Security Advisor were Bernie Sanders, given Bolton's hawkishness was way too much even for Pompeo and Bernie actually has more FP similarities to Trump. Bolton just ran around kicking anthills andor threatening to bomb people as if that by itself was a cohesive foreign policy, and he did so before they'd finished dealing with the previously kicked anthills. Pompeo/ Trump may be disliked by most foreign diplomats; but Bolton was actively loathed, didn't really work even as a 'bad cop' to make Trump/ Pompeo look more reasonable, and didn't have a single foreign policy success.

Talking to the Taleban is fine. If you want peace you have to talk to your enemies; if not prepare to either have a perpetual war or to kill them all.

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I suspect that we come at the issue from wildly different directions, Zora, but fair enough as regards Trumps more dovish positions.  However, the larger point is the capriciousness.  It's not that it's a great crime to fire people by tweet.  It's that it fits right into the perception that the guy is too small and petty for the presidency.  Yeah, before today, I might have said that the real problem was having a national security adviser with whom you do not share a vision of foreign affairs.  I might have said that having infighting in the administration looks like there's no real direction.  Firing Bolton by tweet is the culmination of chaos, and that's where I personally believe Trump is weakest with his conservative base.  Certainly that's true for this particular conservative.  :points to self:

I firmly believe this election will be decided on the edges of a few key states.  With the margins as they are at this point, every little bit has an impact.  ...And, hate it or not, optics (I know, what a terribly jargonistic word) matter.


The woodwork beckons.

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I'm not really sure that talking to the Taliban is fine, unless that talking is going to get them to stop oppressing everyone in the areas they control. These aren't just cultural differences, there are some serious human rights abuses happening here.

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Sure there are, but if that's a consistent metric for talking to people you'd be refusing to talk to dozens of countries including multiple US allies and China. The question with such things should always be whether the 'cure' for the oppression is worse than the oppression itself. In this case 18 years of conflict with no improvement from 15 years suggest it really doesn't deserve even an air quoted 'cure' description.

And talking to the Taleban doesn't mean agreeing with them, or giving them all of what they want. Practicalities are that the Taleban have significant support in Afghanistan even after 18 years so the options are some sort of status quo where lots of people die every year for the forseeable future and the country is permanently destabilised or talking with them and maybe getting at least their more moderate wing into the political process.

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I agree with Zor that talking with them is acceptable* because killing them hasn't given us the results we've been looking for. It's been 18 years, a trillion dollars, and most importantly, thousands of Americans have been killed and many, many more injured. 

*not on or around 9/11 though, that's poor judgment 


Free games updated 3/6/19

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The problem with talking to the Taliban is expecting them to negotiate in good faith.  It's naïve to assume that they're doing anything other than getting into the best position to strike the first time there's any domestic discord that will tie our hands.  You cannot negotiate in good faith with terrorists who are clearly, and sometimes openly, not keeping faith.  My argument would be practical, although I personally sympathize with Hurlshot's post.

EDIT:  as for ShadySands, if we're going to quit the game, quit it.  There's simply no good solution to this.  I never thought we should invade Afghanistan with the purpose to stay in the first place.  Anything other than staying in force will make us look weak.  There's no appetite to keep a significant force in the country.  What to do?  What to do?

Edited by Captain Corcoran

The woodwork beckons.

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15 minutes ago, Hurlshot said:

I'm not really sure that talking to the Taliban is fine, unless that talking is going to get them to stop oppressing everyone in the areas they control. These aren't just cultural differences, there are some serious human rights abuses happening here.

clinton brought arafat to camp david, and destroyed barak in the process. historical precedent is not favorable, but it does exist.

the thing is, even if you paint the most rosy and optimistic portrait o' welcoming the taliban to camp david, you ignore fact that the taliban is a terrorist organization with only a kinda/sorta leadership, which shouldn't be a surprise as is based on cell "organization" as is most terrorists. 

what possible concessions could trump get from the taliban? even if he managed promises, what would such promises mean from a practical perspective? is not as if trump could impose meaningful sanctions on the taliban and a military option requires far more troops than anybody, no matter how hawkish, would be willing to invest. 

am generally not favoring diplomacy with terrorists, though "terrorist" likely gets thrown around far too often to make such a position actionable. if everybody you disagree with is a terrorist, and there is no negotiating with terrorists, then diplomacy is pointless save with allies, which is problematic in our estimation. 'course, am thinking terrorist label clear applies to the taliban. even so, am generally not favoring, but if there were signs o' real and possible peace...

2000 camp david were a mistake on multiple levels and with trump being such a student o' history, he would no doubt avoid repeating such mistakes? *groan* a 2019 version with a far more tribal and purposeful disorganized taliban than were the plo is hardly a starting point we would want.

maybe trump would be satisfied if he got a very nice letter from... 

...

is likely the real reason the talks were called off. trump were predictable more interested in the show than in any substantial peace talks, and the taliban doesn't have anybody with enough Star Power to make all the effort worthwhile. 

HA! Good Fun!

 


"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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I think we should keep all options on the table because what we've been doing isn't working. That's why I said it should be acceptable to have talks not necessarily that we should talk to them. Still, it's not like we don't already negotiate with terrorists. I also don't think they should come to the US for any talks either. If the president wants a face to face meeting it should be held in some 3rd country.

Realistically, if we aren't willing to go all in, which we aren't, then we need to get out. Bad optics or not, how long do we keep throwing our people and our money away? It's insanity.

Sorry, I have strong feelings on this issue.

Edited by ShadySands
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Free games updated 3/6/19

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is good reason not to negotiate with terrorists as doing so functional legitimizes terrorism. the thing is, while we were indeed taking a jaundiced view to arafat at camp david, given the decades worth o' bloodshed resulting from that conflict, we tried to keep an open mind.

to say 2000 camp david didn't work out is understatement, but  even so, given the interminable situation in afghanistan, am not opposed to idea o' negotiations. the taliban at camp david bit, unfortunate, appeared doomed to fail before it ever got started and am not seeing the positives o' a photo op o' failure. 

wrong people. wrong place.  is admitted no right time. 

HA! Good Fun!

 


"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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5 hours ago, Captain Corcoran said:

The problem with talking to the Taliban is expecting them to negotiate in good faith.  It's naïve to assume that they're doing anything other than getting into the best position to strike the first time there's any domestic discord that will tie our hands.  You cannot negotiate in good faith with terrorists who are clearly, and sometimes openly, not keeping faith.  My argument would be practical, although I personally sympathize with Hurlshot's post.

At the moment there's no faith to keep. It's not like the US stopped attacks on the Taleban while the preliminary negotiations were taking place; so there's no reason for the Taleban to stop attacks either.

Negotiation can work in Afghanistan- the case of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is an example of a unrepentant 'terrorist' who stopped via a negotiated settlement. The big issue with the Taleban is that unlike Hekmatyar they are if not actually winning at least doing well enough that they have significant leverage and expectations from negotiations; and they aren't a wholly monolithic entity so there would be a likelihood of extremists not accepting any negotiated settlement.

As for keeping faith after an agreement, it certainly wouldn't be a Vietnam 1975 type situation even if they 'broke faith' because the Taleban never held the entirety of Afghanistan even at their strongest; and while they aren't getting weaker they're still well behind how strong they were in 2001. They would run into the same issues they had last time, ie the ex soviet stans would support their minorities and Iran would back the shia. But, End of the Day, if the Taleban could stroll back into power after foreigners leave despite 20 years of nation building then there's no realistic prospect of them not being able to do so in a further 20 years anyway.

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6 hours ago, ShadySands said:

Sorry, I have strong feelings on this issue.

No problem there. The natural outcome of having first hand experience serving in the ME.

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"Don't blame me! I voted for Kodos!"

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Mulvaney pushed NOAA to disavow forecasters who contradicted Trump on Alabama: report

'cause the 2+2=5 nonsense is actual important and shouldn't be forgotten 'cause o' new trump wacky.

Trump pushed staff to deal with NOAA tweet that contradicted his inaccurate Alabama hurricane claim, officials say

lie is bad enough, but having goons make threats to force support o' the lie is disturbing.

terrible but am suspecting neil jacobs is the guy who is gonna be forced to take the heat for this.

HA! Good Fun!


"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Yellowhammer

 

Guys here  is an interesting " worse case " for what happens to the UK if they leave with no deal, it obviously focuses on real and potential risk and makes at times some grim reading

Anyway if you want the core points then just skip to "Areas of Risk " .  I have real ancestral, family and economic ties to the UK so I want as less disruption as possible to the overall stability we now see in general social, political and economic terms  being part of the EU 8)

Edited by BruceVC

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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We can only hope this all leads to a united Ireland. And maybe Scottish independence.

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Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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Hmm, that was interesting, I guess. Did anyone else catch the debate? Thought it was a bit odd of one of the talking heads to so openly support Biden during the debate. I think I heard her say something about him twice but I didn't expect it to happen so early in this race during breaks at the actual debate. Maybe earlier too because I only tuned in for the back 9. No idea who she was either.

It's probably weird that's my biggest takeaway. Maybe I'm just overly sensitive because I do not like Biden very much as the nominee.


Free games updated 3/6/19

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Ann Coulter is apparently impressed by Klobuchar. Not sure if it was a particular moment or overall performance since they didn't quote or refer to anything.

Nobody had a huge breakout, but nobody did terrible either.

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warren has been consistent solid during all the debates and she hasn't resorted to the cheap theatrics a few o' her fellows. smart and prepared. too bad she is a bit left o' where we feel comfortable voting 'cause she is one o' the few democrats we hasn't been able to genuine criticize, based on performance, at some point during the debates.

HA! Good Fun!


"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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