asthfghl: (Слушам и не вярвам на очите си!)
[personal profile] asthfghl
Not so long ago, US vice president Pence visited Montenegro. his visit was related to the Adriatic summit and Montenegro's entry to NATO. There were all Balkan leaders on that meeting, but the main event was Pence of course. Fortunately, he didn't shove the Montenegrin president off his path the way Trump did earlier.

Half of the former Yugoslav republics are already NATO members (Slovenia, Croatia and now Montenegro). The other half (Bosnia, Serbia and Macedonia) are either on the waiting list, or haven't made up their mind.

Macedonia seems the likeliest next addition to the alliance, especially after Zoran Zaev and his Socialists came to power. Serbia is still at a crossroads between the East and West, and Bosnia has got some internal problems and is not ready yet.


Read more... )
kiaa: (Default)
[personal profile] kiaa
Oooh, Donnie must be loving this...



Obama tolerance tweet becomes most liked

What a contrast. An article about a President of the United States that didn't make me feel unclean. It's been a while. Here we have a man with measured intellect. A man with class and bearing. A man humble but firm in doing good. A man polite but firm with enemies as well. A thinking man, well-read with deep understanding. Are you already missing all that like hell? All these attributes missing in Trump. President Obama would have been tough to follow for a merely competent person, but to replace him with a dishonest liar, now that holds me in stunned disbelief. I'm not sure those who supported him even realize that when America recovers its senses there will be hell to pay.

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oportet: (pic#11260946)
[personal profile] oportet
Recently, an American male in his late twenties made a statement - I suppose we could call it a political statement.

This statement was received well, or indifferently by some, but not so well by most others - because while it wasn't illegal - it made plenty of folks uncomfortable.

I'm sure you've heard the story, and I'm sure you know that - as of now - he's out of a job.

The company he was employed with is fairly large, fairly popular - so let's assume they've covered their asses - meaning legal problems stemming from not providing him with a job should be minimal, if not non-existent. Let's also assume that this company is too powerful for any boycott to be successful against. In other words, they're in the clear.

Sure, he has a platform now - it seems one side of the political spectrum is happy enough with him that finding a job should be easy - but the job he had, the job he was happy with? Not so much.

Do you feel sorry for him?

Even if you disagree, do you see the point he was trying to make?

Even if you believe in limits to free speech, did this really come close to crossing your arbitrary line?

Should the company have been more subtle, or maybe more obvious?

Do you think my post is too vague? (If so, do you know why?)

How would you describe yourself, politically?

And finally - Who am I talking about?
dreamville_bg: (Default)
[personal profile] dreamville_bg
Trump finally condemns Charlottesville racism, days after violence

Wow, he sounded so convincing. NOT.

Trump said what he had to, not what he wanted to and he was reading his speech from a teleprompter and he was advised to do it. Impossible to believe anything coming out of his mouth or tweets. It resonates untrue or insincere. In the last 200 days Trump proved us that he has no moral fiber and any intelligence. He is vain, arrogant, brutal, uncultivated and a downright racist and a pathological liar. He is not a leader.

His speech about Charlottesville came 2 days later, let's not forget about it. So what took him so long, eh? Could it have something to do with the white supremacists being very thankful to him for not condemning them?

Some people are saying Trump lost a chunk of his base by this talk. Nonsense. The delay in giving these remarks is all the indication they need that Trump didn't mean a word of it.

The fact that it took two days to get Trump to read this statement is disgusting.

There are confederate rallies going on all over the country. Some folks sure are going to be busy.

Sorry but this is the base he appealed to along with the rest of the as, McCain has always declared,. "The party of Lincoln". My question to McCain is to which Lincoln are you referring to, John? Cannot be Abraham. This seems to be the new base of the Republicans, good luck folks. Looking forward to seeing you pay for years for your cowardly performance.
luzribeiro: (Holycow)
[personal profile] luzribeiro
Yeah. It had to boil over at some point. And now people are asking themselves, what went wrong? And also, will white pastors finally take racism seriously? I mean the one they've been preaching from the pulpit?

Ultimately, church or no church, white or black congregations, none of that matters to Trump. His "brand" is all about sticking it to the other guy. He is like a shark; no morals, no ethics, no rules that apply to him.

Actually, it doesn't take a palm reader to see into the Trumpian future: since he takes such delight in vanquishing his foes, once he, at least in his mind, has vanquished the liberal crowd who have tried to enact and enforce regulations on Trump, he will need another enemy. He's already shown he is more than ready to go after the likes of McCain and McConnell, so the rest of the moderate GOP will be in his crosshairs. After that, he'll still need to be the hawk looking for a field mouse, so his own supporters are next.

When he "eats his own" that surely will be his downfall. It will be quite the show when the Trumpist crowd realizes what a tiger they've had by the tail.
kiaa: (funky)
[personal profile] kiaa
Admit it. Videogames have shaped your generation too. They continue to influence popular culture today of course, but can you tell us which videogames had the most influence on you?


A while ago, Time came out with a comprehensive list of what are probably the most influential videogames of all time. From Mortal Kombat to Super Mario to Sim City, Tetris, Pac Man, etc etc.

Oh, and if you had to be a (human) videogame character, which one would you pick? I'd say Lara Croft.
fridi: (Default)
[personal profile] fridi


The rightful heir of the iron missle!
johnny9fingers: (Default)
[personal profile] johnny9fingers
Thesis: Once some sort of democratic civilisation is attained tax rates and civilisational complexity are necessarily linked.

The attempts by the Alt-Right and Libertarians to decouple tax from civilisational complexity and the needs of the participant voters in democratic institutions will IMHO lead to even further alienation of the voting public. Which is sort of the point really. When voters feel completely alienated from the political process they may riot, but it won't do much good, and will do a lot of harm. And the totalitarians can pick up the pieces.

The thing is that the folk at the bottom of the heap have to be looked after too. Even the Roman Empire had the dole. When the layers and the structure of society get so complicated, it takes resources to keep the thing going. Another as important thing is simplification is worse. By a country mile.

So... my contention is that the folk who deny the costs of modern life, and who live in some mythical past of rugged frontiersmen, or noble Lords sufficient unto themselves, just aren't socialised properly, or are playing with a few cards missing.

So how is the thesis flawed; wherein is the worm of doubt? Surely there must be a point where, maybe with AI, civilisational complexity can be managed cheaply? Resources can be directed where they are needed, with little wastage or excess. This may be possible, however, we might balk at the prospect of letting our lives be run in some respects by an AI. And that's not about money or reduced tax-takes.

I would contend that if we don't want cheap solutions, because they unsettle or offend some part of ourselves, we have to be prepared to pay for the expensive ones.

But I'm pretty sure there are other opinions out there.

policraticus: (Default)
[personal profile] policraticus
August 09, 2017

Dear Political Typology quiz group creator,

Our records indicate that you created a version of Pew Research Center’s 2014 Political Typology Quiz for your community or group. Access to the results from 2014 community quizzes will no longer be available after September 1, 2017, as we prepare to release an updated version of political typology and a new quiz this fall.

If you would like to save the data from your community quiz, we recommend copying, taking a screenshot or printing the results page before September 1.


http://www.people-press.org/quiz/political-typology/results/group/109957/

So, I have no clear memory of doing this. But apparently, 265 talk_politics members took the quiz and their results have been duly tabulated by PEW. I offer this as a look back at the way we were, in 2014. Post-Obama, pre-Trump; post-last Korean Crisis, pre-next Korean Crisis, etc, etc.

Make of it what you will.
halialkers: Green-skinned alien with four lights behind him caption "There is no war in Ba Sing Se" (War is peace)
[personal profile] halialkers
 Well, in the last few days, things have escalated very rapidly indeed with North Korea, illustrating ultimately that the world escaped the tragedy of a Cold War nuclear crisis to get the farce that may well finally end the nuclear taboo with North Korea and Donald Trump's America. 

North Korea goes from sadly amusing to genuinely frightening )

A crucial bit of context that changes the pucker factor not a bit )

Trump goes Trumanesque )

Nuclear war with North Korea, and a President who was a source of satire for old cartoons and the basis of the villain in an 80s sci-fi film. 

This would be the scenario of a grimdark satire in any other reality, but it is the one that actually exists. 

And the worst bit is that it would literally matter not at all who won the Presidential election in the USA here. North Korea was developing these weapons since the George W. Bush years. It ended the armistice of Panmunjom in 2013, at one stroke ending all diplomatic possibilities it could use in favor of a cycle that ultimately only ends in a nuclear exchange. Other Presidents wouldn't use Trumanesque rhetoric posturing about nuclear weapons, perhaps, but the broader geopolitical picture would be no different, nor would the existential threat of a nuclear war. 

And when, not if, the cycle continues to escalate unless somehow it's broken and neither Trump nor North Korea seem to care overmuch to do that, the nuclear taboo will finally be shattered. 

And when it is, the chain leading to a global nuclear exchange of some sort shifts up tremendously quick as the Chinese are unlikely to accept a US nuclear strike next to their border without flexing their own arsenal, and the Chinese lack the military ability to deal as much damage to the USA as it can do to it. Scary times, to be sure. 
mahnmut: (Default)
[personal profile] mahnmut
Mike Pence Rejects Report That He Is Positioning for 2020

Mesays, of course he isn't getting ready to be POTUS in 2020. He's gearing up to be POTUS in 2018*. Ooooh snap!

Of course he'll deny it. He's got to. He's been around the Don long enough to realize he's got to show 110% loyalty to his lord, or else he'd feel the wrath of the Tweet-master.

* I may be wrong... I don't really put much stock into all this. Besides the fact that the above article probably had a target demographic of exactly one (the guy who came up with it, anyways), and though nothing is entirely implausible in the Trumpian era, I'd say it's still highly unlikely. But then again, this administration has defied any conventions in so many ways, so who knows... This could be another first: the first VP who ran against the POTUS for his chair.

On the other hand, the Don may've had a private talk with him, and told him he really hates the job and he's out after one term, so start getting ready now buddy. Or something like that. One only hopes (but is it really better to have prez Pence? IS IT?)

Whatever the case, the next election, whenever it may occur (HA!) is going to be one big COVFEFE!

But here is a conspiracy theory! )
dreamville_bg: (Default)
[personal profile] dreamville_bg
Human embryos edited to stop disease

I think there is far too much hysteria about this. We already operate on newborns to correct a thousand or more conditions. The only reason not to operate on a foetus is the risk of miscarriage.
So if we can avoid the utter misery of genetic defects which not only cause pain, and endless misery for the suffering, but blight siblings and the whole family - do it.

There are two main problems.

1) Abuse to select gender as there is still far too much cultural bias towards males. China now has such an imbalance due to selective abortion that huge numbers of males can't marry. For the majority, who are hetero this is a bad fate, and promotes rogue males.
But we already have systems to monitor this kind of abuse via foetus test & abortion, and such systems could be made stronger.

2) Long term implications as wiping out certain types of humanity* would be permanent, unlike blocking via abortion.
Serious defects are by definition undesirable and are highly unlikely to be helpful in terms of genetic diversity.
Less serious defects - harelip? for example, could be regulated so it stays as a post-birth op.
It really comes down to how we regulate, and how strictly - but whatever moral issue we consider, not just about this, will throw up borderline cases that push the boundaries. It's part of a human society to deal with this.

* Evolution depends up to a point on mutations which may have also some deleterious effects. The type of genetic engineering which is being considered may therefore prevent long term beneficial evolution. That doesn't mean that genetic engineering should be avoided at all cost, but the fact is that we are still too ignorant to fully understand the consequences of everything we try in the field of genetics. It's like life extending efforts. The longer we live the slower we evolve. Living very long and having few children may be a disaster rather than a blessing, as far as our long term evolution is concerned. We should be very careful about all these exciting possibilities.
kiaa: (Default)
[personal profile] kiaa
I recently came across a few proposals for dealing with North Korea, so here's a list of them in an ascending order in terms of aggression (short of an all-out war). So have a look, and have your say:

1) Announce that any country may have economic dealings of any sort with NK if they want, OR with the US - and that it's impossible to have economic dealings with both countries. This would most likely mean cutting all economic ties with China, which would automatically mean austerity kicks in the next day. Sounds bad.

2) Shoot down any tested NK missile as soon as it leaves NK air space. I'm not sure the US has the ability to do this outside test conditions though (if at all). Please advise.

3) Increase the pressure on China to put its client state in line, and threaten to sell nuclear missiles to Japan, China's arch-enemy, unless China stops NK's nuclear program. Except, Japan probably doesn't want nuclear weapons...

I've got 4 other options too: 4) Ignore NK. 5) Surrender. 6) Withdraw from NK. 7) Bomb the shit out of them and be done with it.

Also, install nukes in Taiwan, maybe? What say you?
luzribeiro: (Default)
[personal profile] luzribeiro
"The U.S. special counsel investigating possible ties between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia in last year’s election is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe.

The president told the New York Times on Wednesday that any digging into matters beyond Russia would be out of bounds. Trump’s businesses have involved Russians for years, making the boundaries fuzzy so Special Counsel Robert Mueller appears to be taking a wide-angle approach to his two-month-old probe."


Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions

"The roots of Mueller’s follow-the-money investigation lie in a wide-ranging money laundering probe launched by then-Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara last year, according to the person.

FBI agents had already been gathering information about Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, according to two people with knowledge of that probe. Prosecutors hadn’t yet begun presenting evidence to a grand jury. Trump fired Bharara in March."


Read more... )
asthfghl: (Гацо Бацов от ФК Бацова Маала)
[personal profile] asthfghl
A cool festival of avant-garde arts happened in a remote Balkan village called Staro Zhelezare (Old Ironville).


Caption: The real avant-garde is born in the countryside! Long live the authentic rural art!

There was a parade on the village streets. A mock event of some sorts. A tractor followed by youngsters carrying commie-time style slogans, dressed in garments from that epoch. The slogans were much in the spirit of commie propaganda, except now they were praising avant-garde art. But the big hit on the day was the graffiti. Murals painted all around the village, on brick walls and houses, depicted some of the world's most prominent politicians, celebs and other figures of importance, in unusual situations. Some examples:

Read more... )
luzribeiro: (Holycow)
[personal profile] luzribeiro
Our Friday nonsense installment features the teaching story of one Michael Elliott from Oregon, who received a piece of fake news on his death bed. Fake, but enough to put his soul to rest in his final moments:

"And the last thing she said to him was "Donald Trump has been impeached." Upon hearing that he took his final, gentle breath, his earthly work concluded."

Damn! She lied to him on his death bed? That deserves a haunting for sure! Or maybe God gave Mike's ex a peek into the future? One can only hope...
dreamville_bg: (Default)
[personal profile] dreamville_bg
Historical Revisionism is a good monthly topic. And for us folks in the Balkans, the most obvious example that instantly comes to mind is probably the way the new nation of Macedonia has been crafting its new identity where none existed: by stealing history from neighboring nations. We've all heard of Skopje 2014, the huge, majestic, ultra-megalomaniac re-doing of the city center of the Macedonian capital. They put a huge golden statue of Alexander the Great on a horse - so huge that when you stand on this huge square and look to the statue, the only thing you'd see is the horse's golden balls. And that's just the centerpiece of a much larger complex of buildings that look as if they're in the capital of the Roman empire at its zenith. All the while, the rest of the country sinking in squalor and being torn to pieces by lingering ethnic tensions.


What a mess, eh? )
nairiporter: (Default)
[personal profile] nairiporter
I'm beginning to think Trump has put a secret goal ahead of himself, to set a new record in US history. A record of the fastest change of staff at the White House, and shortest terms of his top-ranking officials. That should be the only explanation for what happened with Anthony Scaramucci, who was first hired director of communications, a "step in the right direction" as the President said, and now is a gone less than a week later. Within a short period, Trump fired Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus (chief of staff), and now Scaramucci. This would have been just a source of puns and jokes on Colbert's show, if it didn't speak of a serious systematic problem with this administration. Despite assurances from the President himself, things are starting to look dramatic.


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abomvubuso: (...I COULD MURDER A CURRY.)
[personal profile] abomvubuso
Hey! Time for our new monthly topic. The one you guys chose for this month is:

Historical Revisionism



Some details )

The poll for September )
kiaa: (Default)
[personal profile] kiaa
A secret automobile cartel between Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, BMW and Daimler has been alleged by a recent report that's threatening to engulf these companies in a huge scandal. The German car manufacturers conspired for two decades to have a unified policy in all areas of future development: from their diesel and gas engines, to brake systems, to the gear-box, etc. It is alleged that they secretly coordinated between themselves about which suppliers they would use, what the price of the car parts they produced would be, the way they would process the waste gases from the diesel engines, and the prices of their new car models.

The scandal could possibly turn out to be related to the earlier one about the diesel engines, if the investigation finds out that there were also secret agreements about using too small AdBlue carbamide tanks. The substance has the capability to extract nitrate oxides from waste gases. If all allegations are proven right, that would mean there was indeed a cartel agreement that helped these corporations artificially maintain high prices for the customers, and low prices for their sub-contractors.

Read more... )