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Politics US Edition Volume II


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21 minutes ago, Gorth said:

Of course, it isn't certain, but it wouldn't surprise me if he's going to spend the next decade fighting off lawsuits against him. Considering his financial situation, he might run out of money before the 2024 elections.

Edit: I.e. the legal fights are going to make headlines for a long time to come.

Perhaps. I don't think he'll be daily news though. At least I hope that won't be the case in the places where actual journalism still happens.

"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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47 minutes ago, Achilles said:

So far as I can tell, a lot of the disagreement on this point comes down to what is meant by "interfere".

Some people seem to think that only hacking voting systems clears this bar.

Yes you raise a valid point that leads to unnecessary confusion around what civil society deems is " interference " in any Democratic election and should it be fair or reasonable to raise legitimate complaints or issues with what foreign powers do 

Russia interfered in 2016 but its impossible to say how much they really convinced US citizens to vote Trump. Personally I believe the " anti-Hillary Clinton " bias was always there and the Russians just fed and encouraged this bias ....but they didnt create it. 

Pizzagate, for example,  was caused by choices US citizens made to believe misinformation that could easily have been disputed with common sense or a little research

But end of the day as you mentioned you dont need to be found to have somehow hacked and changed the final voting numbers to be accused of interference 

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"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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7 minutes ago, BruceVC said:

Russia interfered in 2016 but its impossible to say how much they really convinced US citizens to vote Trump. Personally I believe the " anti-Hillary Clinton " bias was always there and the Russians just fed and encouraged this bias ....but they didnt create it.

I'm paraphrasing here, but the sentiment I hear repeatedly is, "You can't create discord, you can only exploit it".

Quote

Pizzagate, for example,  was caused by choices US citizens made to believe misinformation that could easily have been disputed with common sense or a little research

Critical thinking isn't a skill that is taught in the US public school system. Nor it is particularly valued.

Case in point, Edgar Welch thought he had common sense and research on his side. Self-deception takes a lot of effort to overcome.

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"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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8 minutes ago, Achilles said:

I'm paraphrasing here, but the sentiment I hear repeatedly is, "You can't create discord, you can only exploit it".

Critical thinking isn't a skill that is taught in the US public school system. Nor it is particularly valued.

 

This may sound like we being pedantic but this is an interesting debate and relevant to all our Democratic elections and how to always try to improve  them and insure the elections are respected and no foreign power interferes ....there are a few very rare example to this but that is a different debate 

The point you  make  "You can't create discord, you can only exploit it" is an appropriate one and also something I have been involved in years ago in my views and travels to the ME and specifically the various ideological conflicts in that region

I believe there must be some historical precedent or political dichotomy already existing that allows the type of Russian interference to thrive and have any impact. The bias and mistrust between citizens in any country must be preexisting and then as you quoted you can exploit it

I like that quote. I am going to start using it, if you dont mind , in  some RL debates I have sometimes  :geek:

"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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5 minutes ago, BruceVC said:

I like that quote. I am going to start using it, if you dont mind , in  some RL debates I have sometimes  :geek:

It's not mine - and I'm pretty sure I'm butchering it. Do with it what you will :)

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"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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1 hour ago, Achilles said:

Self-deception takes a lot of effort to overcome.

I appreciate this quote above as well. Thanks, Achilles!

It reminds me of a Nordic expression, which roughly translates as: "You can't lift yourself by the hair."

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3 hours ago, BruceVC said:

This may sound like we being pedantic but this is an interesting debate and relevant to all our Democratic elections and how to always try to improve  them and insure the elections are respected and no foreign power interferes ....there are a few very rare example to this but that is a different debate 

The point you  make  "You can't create discord, you can only exploit it" is an appropriate one and also something I have been involved in years ago in my views and travels to the ME and specifically the various ideological conflicts in that region

I believe there must be some historical precedent or political dichotomy already existing that allows the type of Russian interference to thrive and have any impact. The bias and mistrust between citizens in any country must be preexisting and then as you quoted you can exploit it

I like that quote. I am going to start using it, if you dont mind , in  some RL debates I have sometimes  :geek:

Isn't this a bit naive and biased? 

 

Russians could by some theories pull it off in 2016, yet conflicted Chinese couldn't do it in 2020, when you have ample evidence of various institutions and individuals falling in line with their narrative? (Hong Kong and NBA, WHO and Covid in China+not recognizing Taiwan, various faculty members at US univeristies, etc.) 

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21 minutes ago, Darkpriest said:

Isn't this a bit naive and biased? 

 

Russians could by some theories pull it off in 2016, yet conflicted Chinese couldn't do it in 2020, when you have ample evidence of various institutions and individuals falling in line with their narrative? (Hong Kong and NBA, WHO and Covid in China+not recognizing Taiwan, various faculty members at US univeristies, etc.) 

The Chinese are very effective at cyber-espionage, meaning they use state sponsored hacking to basically steal and hack IP from global companies. The Russians are very effective at cyber-warfare, meaning they use state sponsored hacking to directly interfere in countries elections and state controlled institutions like the US 2016 elections and the attacks on the Ukrainian power grid 

https://techcrunch.com/2020/10/19/justice-department-russian-hackers-notpetya-ukraine/

Its not that China cant do it but its not there normal way of engaging in hacking and general interference when it comes to the USA ....China generally commits other types of cybercrime but I dont believe at all they would interfere, or could even do it, in the way some Trump supporters are suggesting is the reason Trump lost 

Such widespread voting irregularities with not enough evidence is not at  all realistic or should be convincing to anyone 

 

"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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1 hour ago, BruceVC said:

Its not that China cant do it but its not there normal way of engaging in hacking and general interference when it comes to the USA ....China generally commits other types of cybercrime but I dont believe at all they would interfere, or could even do it, in the way some Trump supporters are suggesting is the reason Trump lost

China is in it for profit and neither presidential candidate suits their need, so they'll just use their G5 network to do what China does best, steal intellectual property and user data. Something I'm certain The US does too, which is why all company mails really should be encrypted.

Russia on the other hand seems to prefer Trump as president (greetings and congratulations to Biden noticeably absent from The Kremlin). Presumably because they consider Trump a weakening of a rival (The US). A **** storm seems to be easy to stir up in the US and sway public opinion once the masses are enraged.

That leaves Iran and they can't even defend themselves against Israeli cyber attacks, so I'll just write them off as a non-player in the US election when it comes to interference.

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35 minutes ago, Gorth said:

China is in it for profit and neither presidential candidate suits their need, so they'll just use their G5 network to do what China does best, steal intellectual property and user data. Something I'm certain The US does too, which is why all company mails really should be encrypted.

Russia on the other hand seems to prefer Trump as president (greetings and congratulations to Biden noticeably absent from The Kremlin). Presumably because they consider Trump a weakening of a rival (The US). A **** storm seems to be easy to stir up in the US and sway public opinion once the masses are enraged.

That leaves Iran and they can't even defend themselves against Israeli cyber attacks, so I'll just write them off as a non-player in the US election when it comes to interference.

You make some good points here. Interestingly enough China liked Trump in the beginning of his presidency but Trumps natural impulsive, erratic  and capricious nature made it very difficult for most world leaders to predict what he was going to do or say next around the way presidents are suppose to behave and act.....especially the US president considering the role the US plays in geopolitics

Trump generally confused Asian leaders the most and China has never known how to read or placate him. Thats one of the things I will miss about Trump...it made a welcome change, at times, to see no normal obsequiousness towards China and to see valid public criticism towards the CCP

But I dont think it was worth the negative Trump brought around his domestic policies for me to want to see this type of US global statesmanship continue   

"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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China does have the developing tradition of what translates as "water armies" - basically a building full of geeks all running dozens if not hundreds of fake social media accounts to help shape/direct public perception and opinion. However, from my raw understanding, that's generally more of an internal, within the country thing, quite often used for celebrities and companies more than anything else.

Russia has that developed as part of their cyberwarfare program as a means to shape opinions in other countries, and obfuscate any stories that involve Russian interests.

That's what a lot of Trumpists seem to ignore, Russian interference wasn't in creating fake votes, it was designed to shape public perception, create discord, and convince people. Basically, all the things that any normal politician is doing these days. It was creating slanted news stories and making sure they get fed into peoples news feeds on an endless cycle, reinforcing beliefs and attitudes.  Its psychological and social, not fraud and artificial votes.

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2 hours ago, Gorth said:

A **** storm seems to be easy to stir up in the US and sway public opinion once the masses are enraged.

Yep. I'm thinking it would be much harder to "interfere" in US elections if sizable fractions of the US population weren't susceptible to the idea that their rulers are literal demon-worshipping paedophiles.

But crying that big bad Vlad stole the election is much easier than working on fixing the underlying problems that make US internal stability so fragile.

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Personally, I don't think China is too concerned about the US, right now. Before Trump, the US was already losing power and influence, internationally, relative to China. Post Trump, it seems like there isn't a whole lot the US can do to slow China down.  The withdrawal from TPP, the whole stupid tariffs thing and the Trump admin generally being a headless chicken with ADHD were certainly a huge boon for China, when China was already starting to move ahead anyway, without help.

At this point, only China can stop itself, I imagine.

I believe the following video more or less sums up China's reaction to Trump:

 

"My hovercraft is full of eels!" - Hungarian tourist
I am Dan Quayle of the Romans.
I want to tattoo a map of the Netherlands on my nether lands.
Heja Sverige!!
Everyone should cuffawkle more.
The wrench is your friend. :bat:

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https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/national-international/california-inmate-who-fought-wildfires-and-completed-sentence-now-faces-deportation/2404103/?_osource=SocialFlowFB_BAYBrand&fbclid=IwAR0ZU-usHlqC7A92aO8IiXnBU2PRnrPcvWo_5kOdblvoRaUG2VZahVpmAtQ

Here is another ridiculous immigration story. This guy is a legal resident and has been in the US since he was 2. He spent most of his life in the prison system after committing a crime at 16 (which seems like a completely different issue.) Apparently he did well enough in prison to qualify for the firefighter program and has been active during the recent wildfire seasons. Now that he has finished his sentence, they have detained him and are trying to ship him back to Laos. He has no family there. 

I don't understand how this is Laos's problem. He grew up in the US, joined a gang here, committed his crime here, and served his time here. The US is 100% responsible for whether he is able to function as a member of society. 

This is happening in California, for all of those that think it is some liberal sanctuary for illegals.

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There are a couple of documentary series on Netflix about immigrants' plight in the US since ICE got turbo boosted by Trump's admin. They are filled with situations similar to that and are at a times truly painful to watch.

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"My hovercraft is full of eels!" - Hungarian tourist
I am Dan Quayle of the Romans.
I want to tattoo a map of the Netherlands on my nether lands.
Heja Sverige!!
Everyone should cuffawkle more.
The wrench is your friend. :bat:

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49 minutes ago, Hurlshot said:

https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/national-international/california-inmate-who-fought-wildfires-and-completed-sentence-now-faces-deportation/2404103/?_osource=SocialFlowFB_BAYBrand&fbclid=IwAR0ZU-usHlqC7A92aO8IiXnBU2PRnrPcvWo_5kOdblvoRaUG2VZahVpmAtQ

Here is another ridiculous immigration story. This guy is a legal resident and has been in the US since he was 2. He spent most of his life in the prison system after committing a crime at 16 (which seems like a completely different issue.) Apparently he did well enough in prison to qualify for the firefighter program and has been active during the recent wildfire seasons. Now that he has finished his sentence, they have detained him and are trying to ship him back to Laos. He has no family there. 

I don't understand how this is Laos's problem. He grew up in the US, joined a gang here, committed his crime here, and served his time here. The US is 100% responsible for whether he is able to function as a member of society. 

This is happening in California, for all of those that think it is some liberal sanctuary for illegals.

This does seem very unfair....and I am surprised its happening in California which is notorious for sometimes being  lax around enforcing correct immigration laws 

"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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3 minutes ago, BruceVC said:

This does seem very unfair....and I am surprised its happening in California which is notorious for sometimes being  lax around enforcing correct immigration laws 

Because Laos is non-muslim Asia, so for Californians they are the same as privilaged Asians. 

 

I'm 100% sure, that if that would be some african, this would not be happening

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1 hour ago, Darkpriest said:

Because Laos is non-muslim Asia, so for Californians they are the same as privilaged Asians. 

 

I'm 100% sure, that if that would be some african, this would not be happening

You could be right, I hope you not but this could be about where he comes from...except Laos is definitely not a wealthy country. Its basically another failed Communist\Socialist experiment ...I dont consider the citizens privileged at all ?Its not in the same league as other wealthy or stable  Asian countries like SK, Japan and Vietnam 

"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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1 hour ago, Pidesco said:

There are a couple of documentary series on Netflix about immigrants' plight in the US since ICE got turbo boosted by Trump's admin. They are filled with situations similar to that and are at a times truly painful to watch.

Highly recommend Immigration Nation to anyone who wants to binge watch something this weekend.

3 hours ago, 213374U said:

Yep. I'm thinking it would be much harder to "interfere" in US elections if sizable fractions of the US population weren't susceptible to the idea that their rulers are literal demon-worshipping paedophiles.

But crying that big bad Vlad stole the election is much easier than working on fixing the underlying problems that make US internal stability so fragile.

I'm not sure I would pay much credence to anyone who said "big bad Vlad stole the election". I think the voices worth listening to were much more interested in shining a light on what did happen and what needed to be done, from a cybersecurity standpoint, to prevent it from happening again.

As for fixing the "underlying problems", that's hard to do when only half of the population is politically engaged and even that subset of people can't agree on basic facts.

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"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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1 hour ago, Achilles said:

I'm not sure I would pay much credence to anyone who said "big bad Vlad stole the election". I think the voices worth listening to were much more interested in shining a light on what did happen and what needed to be done, from a cybersecurity standpoint, to prevent it from happening again.

As for fixing the "underlying problems", that's hard to do when only half of the population is politically engaged and even that subset of people can't agree on basic facts.

Yes, it's a bit of a feedback loop. The very dissatisfaction that arises from the sorry state of politics keeps driving people to cynicism and political extremes, which only exacerbates current problems with politics. Much as with the Social Security issues discussed previously, deep reforms are needed but those are impossible in the current climate of polarization -- even if there was someone with the political capital and will to undertake them. And as you said, in the so-called post-truth era, getting the other guy to agree that the day after today will be tomorrow is one hell of an accomplishment.

Snr keeps getting worse, but I doubt that's something that can be fixed by fiat.

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6 hours ago, Raithe said:

China does have the developing tradition of what translates as "water armies" - basically a building full of geeks all running dozens if not hundreds of fake social media accounts to help shape/direct public perception and opinion. However, from my raw understanding, that's generally more of an internal, within the country thing, quite often used for celebrities and companies more than anything else.

That is the big difference, and China's focus on suppressing/ monitoring internal dissent within their own already tightly controlled environment means that when they turn their attention to external matters and trying to influence them they tend to be spectacularly tone deaf and counterproductive (eg their awful 'wolf warrior' system which sounds/ works great internally) because they tend to start from the position that the CCP is obviously great and aren't used to having counter arguments or having to actually persuade/ influence people as opposed to using more direct leverage and control. The Russian internet is far more open and they have far more exposure to how people actually behave and think outside the very tightly controlled 1984 style Chinese system. Even then the Russian influence, such as it is, tends to be leveraging idiots as most propaganda from everyone does.

The big exception for China and their big advantage is that they are very good at leveraging diaspora Chinese, almost all of whom have relatives still in China or assets that can be used against them. It is for example amazing how completely differently Mandarin language newspapers report things here as opposed to English language ones and they put a lot of effort into fostering the belief that any criticism of China/ CCP is inherently racist.

Then there's the more direct political influence. We had a Chinese spy- literally literally, Jian Yang MP taught Chinese spies English at their academy and outright lied about it when he migrated here- in our Parliament up until 6 weeks ago, and both the ethnic Chinese MPs we have now were members of stridently pro CCP groups; and you also have the Australian situation where having said some stuff China doesn't like suddenly a lot of their agricultural products don't make Chinese standards any more, and you have a lot of businessmen whining about how their trade with China is being impacted by pesky human rights and other similar concerns.

It's pretty obvious that Chinese influence is both more overt and more directly effective than any Russian influence, it's just by and large nowhere near as politically expedient to expose- much as rich Russians donating to the Tories or laundering money through London financial institutions is a topic the British government doesn't want to talk about; but for most of the world and on a larger scale.

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5 minutes ago, Zoraptor said:

The big exception for China and their big advantage is that they are very good at leveraging diaspora Chinese, almost all of whom have relatives still in China or assets that can be used against them. It is for example amazing how completely differently Mandarin language newspapers report things here as opposed to English language ones and they put a lot of effort into fostering the belief that any criticism of China/ CCP is inherently racist.

That's one of the things I've noticed in reading a few things, is that within China there is a, not quite sure I'd say racist/nationalist crossover attitude or belief that no-matter where in the world you are, no matter how many generations have been living in a different country, if you're of Chinese descent then you are Chinese!(tm) and are traitorous slime if you don't defend the country or do whatever the state requests of you for the glorious country of your ancestors birth...

And especially if you make the attempt at reading some of those webnovels that Chinese authors put out, the sense of "Everybody in the world picks on us!" when they view the world outside of China hits fairly heavily.  I'm never sure whether to take that as actual attitudes or just what the authors have to put in to make sure their stories get past any censorship.

"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

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At least under Xi it's absolutely official state policy that China Is Great, and anything to the contrary is everyone else being racist. It was a lot less so under his immediate predecessors though as they were a lot less dictatorial. The policy formulators don't actually believe that of course, but it's good for internal politics to frame anyone supporting reform as anti Chinese, and it is good for deflecting/ changing the narrative when it comes to external relations too.

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