Trump presidency

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby addams » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:03 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Which leaves trolling as the more reasonable explanation for much of your conduct in this discussion.
Yep.
And; Other Threads, also.
I have never come so close to foeing, before.

What?
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:30 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:What'd be your suggested measurement system then?

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

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Sableagle » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:33 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Sableagle wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Well, every measurements going to be a proxy, right? We don't actually have a unit of utility that we can directly measure, utility's just an abstract concept for how we value a bunch of stuff.

What's a pair of actions in which a non-monetary comparison returns a superior result to a monetary one?
Your daughter made friends with a black man. They were walking along the side of the street, chatting, when some neo-Nazis in a van swerved into them and ...

a) ... killed them both instantly.
b) ... abducted them both, forced her to watch them beat him to death then shot her in the head.
c) ... abducted them both, forced him to watch them rape her, then shot them both in the head.
d) ... abducted them both, forced him to watch them rape her, forced her to watch them beat him to death then shot her in the head.

They then dumped both bodies in a field somewhere and drove off to Missouri. They'll never be caught.

Does any of those scenarios have a greater or lesser utility to you than any of the others?


All are deeply negative in terms of utility. Given that all end up with the same two people dead, and the perpetrators not being caught, you end up with very little to decide between. The latter three all include some degree of suffering as well. Suffering is, of course, a cost(we've already established that people will exchange money to avoid suffering), so they're worse. The last one appears to have the most suffering, it's the worst of the lot.

This is not a complicated question to compare, regardless of if one uses dollars as a metric or not, merely a morbid one.
Can you put a price on that suffering, though? Can you ascribe a dollar value to any of those things? Is there a price for which those people or people in general would agree to suffer those things? If you can't quantify that, you can't give it a price. Does that make it infinitely worse, no worse or "That sounds shitty therefore it's worse no matter what arbitrary numbers some bean-counter writes in his ledger" worse?

Hey, you're the one who voted for the guy who's making this kind of thing happen more often. You ought to have already considered this.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:30 am UTC

Your friend has a lot of money and/or property sitting idle, and because of it she enjoys a nice leisure life making paintings (that never sell). If you could steal her stuff, you could make much more productive use of it. You've figured out how do to it, the only downside is that your friend will know. Nobody else will, and your friend will not be able to prove it. If she tries, she'll be laughed out of town. Either way, you lose a friend.

Her (uninsured financial) loss will force her to get a job. She'll be less happy, but ultimately richer, and her employer will also have higher profits, because she's good at what she does, despite her dislike of the job.

You will of course be richer too. It's a win all around, except that you become (just the once) a thief, and you lose a friend.

Do you do this? Can you put a price on this?

In the ideal case, this is what Trump is doing. In the real case it's like that, except for the "just once" part, and the "everyone is richer" part. Only some people are richer. Others lose bigly.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Mutex » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:42 am UTC

sardia wrote:So did we just ignore the imprisonment of us citizens because they are brown in this thread?

Apparently so.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:11 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
ucim wrote:They may not benefit you or me, but they benefit somebody in power.

As mentioned before, the role of cost/benefit analysis is for society as a whole.

But ucim didn't say they benefited society as a whole, or you or me. He said they benefit somebody in power.

Did you miss that point or are you intentionally obfuscating?


Nobody missed that. It's just an is/ought conflict.

Gov ought to pursue cost/benefit for society as a whole. In practice, it falls short.

Sableagle wrote:Can you put a price on that suffering, though? Can you ascribe a dollar value to any of those things? Is there a price for which those people or people in general would agree to suffer those things?


Yes, all of those things can be given a specific dollar value. The most difficult to evaluate via choice is death, since people generally will not wish to experience that in return for money. Death is not a delta in these choices, so it doesn't need to be strictly evaluated to make a decision...one can simply realize that the fourth choice is strictly inferior to the rest, and make the call using lazy evaluation, since it must be worse. You don't need to evaluate the specific dollar value to determine it's the worst call.

But as it's a hypothetical example, I'll answer the question you're after. We put a value on things like death and other crimes all the time. We have to, as a result of determining what we spend money to prevent. Pouring more money into all sorts of things would prevent deaths/crime, so we always have a dollars/lives exchange rate in practice.

As of 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency set the value of a human life at $9.1 million. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration put it at $7.9 million — and the Department of Transportation figure was around $6 million. So, the government kind of does this, but it's sort of odd that different departments value lives differently.

Different countries use different values, typically lower. This makes a sort of sense, in that the US has more money than most countries, and so is able to spend more money to save a single life. However, we could probably get a better optimization of lives saved in the US by normalizing valuations, which would highlight transportation as a fairly cost/effective means of saving lives.

These particular crimes are somewhere in the neighborhood of 15.33 mil in terms of negative utility(2x normalized life value). Treble damages is a pretty reasonable rule of thumb for pain and suffering settlements, though exact amounts vary somewhat. The first option does not have this, and thus, is the least negative. The fourth option appears to have the approximate duration of additional suffering of both the second and third combined, so the additional negative utility added to it for suffering should equal the premiums added to both 2 and 3. So, the final option could reasonably be valued at approximately 107 mil in negative utility. This is enough to make it a fairly newsworthy event, similar to other significant disasters, and worthy of significant investment to avert.

I suppose one also ought to add in the cost of the van, but I doubt that's the bit in contention.

Sableagle wrote:Hey, you're the one who voted for the guy who's making this kind of thing happen more often. You ought to have already considered this.


If you've been following my comments, not merely those who ceaselessly accuse me of being a fascist or what have you for not being a sufficiently extreme socialist, you'd realize that I've never voted for Trump, and in fact, swapped my voter registration Republican to vote against him in the primary as well.

So, not only do I not feel any particular responsibility for Trump, I suggest that anyone who didn't bother to vote would bear more responsibility for him than I.

ucim wrote:Your friend has a lot of money and/or property sitting idle, and because of it she enjoys a nice leisure life making paintings (that never sell). If you could steal her stuff, you could make much more productive use of it. You've figured out how do to it, the only downside is that your friend will know. Nobody else will, and your friend will not be able to prove it. If she tries, she'll be laughed out of town. Either way, you lose a friend.

Her (uninsured financial) loss will force her to get a job. She'll be less happy, but ultimately richer, and her employer will also have higher profits, because she's good at what she does, despite her dislike of the job.

You will of course be richer too. It's a win all around, except that you become (just the once) a thief, and you lose a friend.

Do you do this? Can you put a price on this?


It's hard to value "could make much more productive use of it" without any specific knowledge of what that use might be. It also presupposes a lot of knowledge of the future, and gives you responsibility for her actions. This is particularly odd. In actual practice, you do not know that she'll choose to get a job, or that this job will inherently be one she's good at.

However, we can evaluate some of these actions. The transfer of wealth neither creates or destroys anything intrinsically. While it may benefit *you*, it does not benefit society as a whole. Anything expended or destroyed in stealing is a cost, however. If you cut a painting to remove it from the frame, society has lost value by virtue of those damages.

We can assume pain and suffering for your former friend. That's a negative. Given the vague nature of what you are stealing, how much pain and suffering you are causing is hard to estimate, but it seems clear it's significant. Therefore, the net value of the act is obviously negative. If people generally did this, society would be the poorer for it. If you had more exact details, we could assign it a specific negative dollar amount if you wished to say, compare thefts to murders.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:29 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
ucim wrote:They may not benefit you or me, but they benefit somebody in power.

As mentioned before, the role of cost/benefit analysis is for society as a whole.

But ucim didn't say they benefited society as a whole, or you or me. He said they benefit somebody in power.

Did you miss that point or are you intentionally obfuscating?


Nobody missed that. It's just an is/ought conflict.

Gov ought to pursue cost/benefit for society as a whole. In practice, it falls short.

Your entire response to ucim was as if he were claiming the actions benefitted society as a whole. Which wasn't the claim that was made.

There's no is/ought conflict there, you just didn't respond to the post that was actually posted.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:43 pm UTC

The equivalence of {thing} and money is only valid if it goes both ways. If a tire is destroyed and I get $200 for it, I can take the $200 and get another tire, and be back where I started. But if my sister is destroyed and I get a million dollars for her, I can't just get another sister. And if I get clinically depressed and they give me $100,000 for it, although I can spend that money on treatment, I can't just buy happiness and be back where I started.

If it doesn't work both ways, it's not an equivalence.

Now, in unfortunate cases where {tort/injury} happens, often there is a monetary recompense. It's better than nothing. And although people speak of it as being "the value of" {tort/injury}, that is a metaphor, not an actual equivalence.

==

How much is the country worth? That is, if the country were "sold" to North Korea, to be ruled by them, how much money should we get for it? If we could get such a deal, would you vote for it?

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Sableagle » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:01 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
sardia wrote:So did we just ignore the imprisonment of us citizens because they are brown in this thread?

Apparently so.

Surely, no government would do such a th-
Home Office separating scores of children from parents as part of ...
UK immigration authorities separating children from parents
Irene Clennell came to the UK in 1988, married a British man and had a family. In 2017, she was deported.
-ingfuckitallwhy? Whose idea was that?

Oh, wait. Yeah. That guy. Of course.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:28 pm UTC

Gma, I have repeatedly noted that Trump is *not* running the country in anything like a cost effective way. I'm tired of it being cited as if it's something I ought to have to defend.

ucim wrote:The equivalence of {thing} and money is only valid if it goes both ways. If a tire is destroyed and I get $200 for it, I can take the $200 and get another tire, and be back where I started. But if my sister is destroyed and I get a million dollars for her, I can't just get another sister. And if I get clinically depressed and they give me $100,000 for it, although I can spend that money on treatment, I can't just buy happiness and be back where I started.

If it doesn't work both ways, it's not an equivalence.

Now, in unfortunate cases where {tort/injury} happens, often there is a monetary recompense. It's better than nothing. And although people speak of it as being "the value of" {tort/injury}, that is a metaphor, not an actual equivalence.


Commodity items are not the only ones with financial value. A specific property is unique, so if destroyed in some way that renders it ruined for habitation, you won't get an exact replacement. However, we are able to place a value on it. Replacement value is a convenient way of assigning value where it exists, I agree, but it's far from the only valuation method.

Financial compensation is intended to be something akin to equivalent value, not setting the clock back to before things ever happened. The latter is impossible regardless of the valuation system you use. The fact that two things have a similar value does not imply that they are literally the same thing. Equality of identity is unnecessary to valuation.

How much is the country worth? That is, if the country were "sold" to North Korea, to be ruled by them, how much money should we get for it? If we could get such a deal, would you vote for it?


North Korea has fuck-all for cash, so this is unpractical.

Additionally, the idea of selling yourself(either yourself as an individual, or a country selling itself en masse) doesn't work out. If someone controls you, they also effectively control your assets. So selling yourself doesn't work out as an economic trade. The buyer pretty much ends up with everything. Giving up everything for nothing is pretty much the definition of a bad trade. One could work out the value of the country as a whole, if you wanted to affix a specific dollar value for just how bad it would be, but it's so unreasonably bad that it's likely not worth the effort. Not worth considering seriously.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:03 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I have repeatedly noted that Trump is *not* running the country in anything like a cost effective way.
And I am saying that cost effectiveness is not the best metric of a country, and in many areas it is not even a good one. You focus too much on the fiscal; yes it's important, but it's not the measure of one's soul.

Tyndmyr wrote:A specific property is unique, so if destroyed in some way that renders it ruined for habitation, you won't get an exact replacement. However, we are able to place a value on it.
Sure, you can put a number on anything. But the National Parks, for example, are a treasure that does not readily translate. Yes, you could come up with a per-acre price for small sections, but you can't multiply that out to get the "total value". And the way land interacts with nature defies price (for example, a large tract of land can support {number} of {specific animal}. But if you put just one road through the middle of it, it can no longer support any of that animal. (I forgot what the animal was in this case; I think it's a migratory bird).

The National Park's value isn't in the land, it's (among other things) in the ecology that that land supports.

My point is that money is convenient, but it does not capture value, which is more like a vector than a scalar.

Tyndmyr wrote:Financial compensation is intended to be something akin to equivalent value, not setting the clock back to before things ever happened.
Agreed, but that's not my point. My point is that setting the clock back is not possible, and therefore the things that have "set the clock back" value cannot be valued in money. We fudge it where torts are involved, but it's a fudge. It is not reality.

Tyndmyr wrote:Additionally, the idea of selling yourself(either yourself as an individual, or a country selling itself en masse) doesn't work out.
Yes, but a country can be sold by others. It actually happens; cities on borders are sometimes sold or traded to neighboring states. All of a sudden the denizens are under the rule of the other government. Does this transaction define the "value" of that city and its people?

No. It's a transaction, and the people got rooked (or saved, depending on their political views). That's what I'm trying to illustrate.

This is one of the fundamental things wrong with Trump's... well, I don't want to call it "thinking". The US gets a lot of bang for their buck by "letting them pick our piggy bank". Peace, stability, alliances, and actually being the leader of the free world... stuff like that. Undermining this in the name of "getting a better (financial) deal" is ludicrous, not because it won't be "profitable", but because there won't be a free world to be the leader of.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:04 pm UTC

Tyndmyr, I'm not saying you're defending Trump as cost effective for the whole society or country, I'm saying you intentionally missed ucim's point that Trump's costly actions are in many cases beneficial *for Trump*. You argued against that point by saying those things weren't good for the country. Which no one was denying.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:26 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I have repeatedly noted that Trump is *not* running the country in anything like a cost effective way.
And I am saying that cost effectiveness is not the best metric of a country, and in many areas it is not even a good one. You focus too much on the fiscal; yes it's important, but it's not the measure of one's soul.


I can't verify that a soul even exists, let alone does anything, so dollar/cost wise, it seems that selling is the best move for those.

Tyndmyr wrote:A specific property is unique, so if destroyed in some way that renders it ruined for habitation, you won't get an exact replacement. However, we are able to place a value on it.
Sure, you can put a number on anything. But the National Parks, for example, are a treasure that does not readily translate. Yes, you could come up with a per-acre price for small sections, but you can't multiply that out to get the "total value". And the way land interacts with nature defies price (for example, a large tract of land can support {number} of {specific animal}. But if you put just one road through the middle of it, it can no longer support any of that animal. (I forgot what the animal was in this case; I think it's a migratory bird).


Why would that defy pricing? You've got a value for it as habitat, and a value for it as road. If the uses are exclusive, that actually makes comparing the values very easy.

Tyndmyr wrote:Financial compensation is intended to be something akin to equivalent value, not setting the clock back to before things ever happened.
Agreed, but that's not my point. My point is that setting the clock back is not possible, and therefore the things that have "set the clock back" value cannot be valued in money. We fudge it where torts are involved, but it's a fudge. It is not reality.


No money is reality, in that it's not intrinsic. The value of pain and suffering is no more intrinsic than the value of a cheeseburger. Money only has meaning as a metric of what we want.

Intrinsically, a dollar is just paper.

This does not stop us from calculating the price of a cheeseburger.

Tyndmyr wrote:Additionally, the idea of selling yourself(either yourself as an individual, or a country selling itself en masse) doesn't work out.
Yes, but a country can be sold by others. It actually happens; cities on borders are sometimes sold or traded to neighboring states. All of a sudden the denizens are under the rule of the other government. Does this transaction define the "value" of that city and its people?

No. It's a transaction, and the people got rooked (or saved, depending on their political views). That's what I'm trying to illustrate.


Oh yes, that definitely could be calculated. Advantage or disadvantage to the society from including or removing members.

It does indeed define the value. Value is exactly what people, well, value something at. If no entities existed to even observe something, then it wouldn't have value to anyone.

This is one of the fundamental things wrong with Trump's... well, I don't want to call it "thinking". The US gets a lot of bang for their buck by "letting them pick our piggy bank". Peace, stability, alliances, and actually being the leader of the free world... stuff like that. Undermining this in the name of "getting a better (financial) deal" is ludicrous, not because it won't be "profitable", but because there won't be a free world to be the leader of.


Peace, stability, alliances...things like these have actual economic value. The cost of war can be extreme. For a country that values lives like ours does, it means that the most cost effective way of fighting a war is expending expensive technology rather than spending lives in a roughly even matchup. This makes our military very expensive even just to maintain, and wars pretty much hemorrhage money. Peace definitely has economic value.

Alliances have significant economic value in that they contribute to the above while reducing the military investment. Given the extremely high cost of war, even modest contribution to peace can be cost-effective.

I don't think that the issue here is that Trump is *too* cost effective, but the reverse. In attempting to get a better deal, he risks expensive things. So long as the risk pays off(no trade war, etc), all is well. However, if he misjudges....he's gambling a large stake on a small payoff. I am concerned that, like an overconfident gambler on a winning streak, he'll keep pushing until he eventually fails.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:29 pm UTC

The thing you seem to keep missing is the lack of evidence that even Trump himself is trying to obtain the greatest benefit for the people of the United States.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:30 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:The thing you seem to keep missing is the lack of evidence that even Trump himself is trying to obtain the greatest benefit for the people of the United States.


He isn't.

I'm not advocating that he is.

I'm not sure why ya'll keep bringing this up. I'm criticizing Trump on the basis of cost-effectiveness. Others don't believe that this captures everything, or even can capture everything. That's the contention here. Nobody is defending Trump, either way.
Last edited by Tyndmyr on Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:33 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby arbiteroftruth » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:33 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Tyndmyr, I'm not saying you're defending Trump as cost effective for the whole society or country


gmalivuk wrote:The thing you seem to keep missing is the lack of evidence that even Trump himself is trying to obtain the greatest benefit for the people of the United States.


Well, that's about the fastest change of tune I've seen around here in a long time.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:54 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I can't verify that a soul even exists, let alone does anything...
It's a ch*rpin' metaphor.

Tyndmyr wrote:You've got a value for it as habitat, and a value for it as road.
So, what is the value?

Tyndmyr wrote:This does not stop us from calculating the price of a cheeseburger.
You keep confusing price with value. Price is a scalar. Value is a vector.

Tyndmyr wrote:Peace, stability, alliances...things like these have actual economic value.
Yes, but that is not the totality of their value. That's my point.

Tyndmyr wrote:I don't think that the issue here is that Trump is *too* cost effective
I'm not arguing that. I'm arguing that he's putting that out as his reasoning, and that you use the same reasoning, and that that reasoning is bogus because cost is a scalar and value is a vector.

You can argue that by Trump's implied metric Trump is being ineffective, and I would agree. But you also argue that Trump's metric is an appropriate metric. That's where I disagree. I will further state that by no decent metric is Trump doing a Good Thing. Even if he "wins" the trade and immigration war, the resentment among our erstwhile friends will bite us bigly down the line, and our abandonment of ethics and decency will bite us from now on.

Jose
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:11 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I can't verify that a soul even exists, let alone does anything...
It's a ch*rpin' metaphor.


Oh, sure, and selling souls was a bit of a joke, but it does connect up a bit in that the idea of inestimable value beyond money is an idea with significant religious history. 's a reason I referred to peoples values as sacred and otherwise.

There's no particular reason why people ought to have two categories, far as I can see. Why not three? Why not twelve? But in general, you pretty much have just the two, with a culture's religion largely determining exactly what is sacred for a given culture.

Tyndmyr wrote:You've got a value for it as habitat, and a value for it as road.
So, what is the value?


To give you a dollar value for a plot of land, size and location would be important. As well as the actual species using it for habitat. Surely it's value as habitat would be tied to the value of the species, as well as it's importance to the species.

Tyndmyr wrote:This does not stop us from calculating the price of a cheeseburger.
You keep confusing price with value. Price is a scalar. Value is a vector.


And what are the other components of the vector for the cheeseburger?

Look, even if the actual price for something is [$5, 100 Holy Points, and 5 happiness] or whatever you think it is, you can probably just calculate out how easily you can buy holy points and happiness, and simplify the whole lot. To require a vector for value, you need to have other things that cannot be exchanged with money.

As for those who say that money cannot buy happiness, I believe that's merely a convenient thing for the rich to tell the poor instead of giving them money. The rich generally appear glad to have it.

Tyndmyr wrote:I don't think that the issue here is that Trump is *too* cost effective
I'm not arguing that. I'm arguing that he's putting that out as his reasoning, and that you use the same reasoning, and that that reasoning is bogus because cost is a scalar and value is a vector.

You can argue that by Trump's implied metric Trump is being ineffective, and I would agree. But you also argue that Trump's metric is an appropriate metric. That's where I disagree. I will further state that by no decent metric is Trump doing a Good Thing. Even if he "wins" the trade and immigration war, the resentment among our erstwhile friends will bite us bigly down the line, and our abandonment of ethics and decency will bite us from now on.

Jose


I do not think that cost efficiency is Trump's metric. Not for himself, and definitely not for the country as a whole.

I suspect he is strongly driven by status, and would choose fame even when it were not cost-effective to do so. I don't believe that every action he takes is even best for himself(though he may believe or claim it is).

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:24 pm UTC

On the topic of money buying happiness and assigning the (negative) value of death: there are some things that just can't be done, at all, so throwing money at people to make them happen is futile because it won't actually make them happen. If you're unhappy for some reason unrelated to lack of money (like someone you loved is dead, say), or you're dead, throwing money at the problem won't actually fix it, because it's not something that can be fixed at all. But that's not to say it can't be evaluated in terms of money. You can just imagine that it was possible, and ask yourself what else you would trade to obtain that nigh-impossibility, and then figure out the dollar value of that thing you'd trade. Imagine there's an evil genie who will bring your beloved child back from the dead, but he will try to extract the greatest sacrifice from you he can in return for it. What would you be willing to sacrifice? Now, what is the dollar value of that thing? (E.g. what if bringing your child back from the dead will cost more money than you or your child have any hope of possibly earning in your lifetimes, and your debt is heritable by your child, guaranteeing you will both live in truly abject poverty and squalor, starving in the streets, for the rest of your probably-short lives. Is that worth it?)
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:30 pm UTC

arbiteroftruth wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Tyndmyr, I'm not saying you're defending Trump as cost effective for the whole society or country


gmalivuk wrote:The thing you seem to keep missing is the lack of evidence that even Trump himself is trying to obtain the greatest benefit for the people of the United States.


Well, that's about the fastest change of tune I've seen around here in a long time.

Those statements aren't contradictory so I'm not sure what change you think you see.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:46 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Look, even if the actual price for something is [$5, 100 Holy Points, and 5 happiness] or whatever you think it is, you can probably just calculate out how easily you can buy holy points and happiness, and simplify the whole lot. To require a vector for value, you need to have other things that cannot be exchanged with money.

Yeah, that's precisely what we're saying. There are values that cannot be exchanged for money.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Quercus » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:03 pm UTC

One problem I have with the "everything has a dollar value" model is that it breaks down when beings other than humans are regarded as having intrinsic moral worth. A lot of the examples of how to determine value come down to "work out what someone will pay to keep/obtain something". You can't work out how much a dolphin will pay to keep the oceans unpolluted, or an insect pay to have neonicitinoid pesticides banned. But if dolphins and insects have intrinsic moral worth, then their interests must be taken into account.

One could, I guess, create a dollar proxy based on how much moral weight a particular group of humans is prepared to grant to particular species/ecosystems. However, throwing out the moral calculus that led to the assignment of that value and using the value alone in subsequent discussions to my mind muddies rather than clarifies the issue.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby speising » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:05 pm UTC

i'd just like to interject that a vector can be converted to a scalar by calculating its length. you just need conversion factors for all dimensions.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Quercus » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:09 pm UTC

speising wrote:i'd just like to interject that a vector can be converted to a scalar by calculating its length. you just need conversion factors for all dimensions.


But by doing so you lose information, which I think is rather our point. Sure, you can convert all forms of value to dollars (in more or less sensible ways), such a conversion may indeed often be useful, but it is never going to be a complete representation of value.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:13 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:One problem I have with the "everything has a dollar value" model is that it breaks down when beings other than humans are regarded as having intrinsic moral worth. A lot of the examples of how to determine value come down to "work out what someone will pay to keep/obtain something". You can't work out how much a dolphin will pay to keep the oceans unpolluted, or an insect pay to have neonicitinoid pesticides banned. But if dolphins and insects have intrinsic moral worth, then their interests must be taken into account.

One could, I guess, create a dollar proxy based on how much moral weight a particular group of humans is prepared to grant to particular species/ecosystems. However, throwing out the moral calculus that led to the assignment of that value and using the value alone in subsequent discussions to my mind muddies rather than clarifies the issue.


That is somewhat more challenging. If we view non-human entities as akin to human, but can't communicate with them, it's difficult. If we can bridge the communication gap, then it ought to be possible, but human/dolphin communication regarding economics is a non-trivial problem.

The proxy does work, but it does introduce additional steps of estimation, with potential compounding error. I don't think it's wrong to use that, but it does affect our confidence level in our valuation.

Dolphins are the more interesting case of the two, I think. It's easier to discount the insect's individual moral worth. There are a ton of insects, and they are generally not terribly sapient. I suspect most humans would not grant an insect a great deal of worth over and above practical considerations. So any estimation ignoring that would introduce comparatively little error. A dolphin is quite a bit closer, while still being sufficiently different as to have potentially very different values, and a daunting communication gap.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:20 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:There's no particular reason why people ought to have two categories, far as I can see. Why not three?
Two is sufficient to make my point. There may be many, but I claim there are at least two.

Tyndmyr wrote:To give you a dollar value for a plot of land, size and location would be important. As well as the actual species using it for habitat. Surely it's value as habitat would be tied to the value of the species, as well as it's importance to the species.
First, I claim that a species has value that cannot be expressed in dollars. Second, there's a synergy component - if there are 1000 acres, and you can develop 3 acres with no effect on the species, but the fourth acre of development would wipe it out (this is a thing), then even if you could value the species in dollars, you can't put a consistent per-acre value on the land.

Tyndmyr wrote:And what are the other components of the vector for the cheeseburger?
I don't know. How many cheeseburgers is your girlfriend worth?

Tyndmyr wrote:To require a vector for value, you need to have other things that cannot be exchanged with money.
That is precisely what I'm saying is the case.

Tyndmyr wrote:As for those who say that money cannot buy happiness, I believe that's merely a convenient thing for the rich to tell the poor instead of giving them money. The rich generally appear glad to have it.
I've been rich, I've been broke. I've been rich again, I've been broke again. I have found that my happiness did not correlate with my wealth.

It was not quite independent; there were some third order and derivative components involved, and sometimes the correlation seemed negative. It could make me comfortable, it could get me out of a jam, it could let me do some things I otherwise couldn't, but it was certainly not the case by any stretch that money bought happiness.

speising wrote:i'd just like to interject that a vector can be converted to a scalar by calculating its length...
No, it cannot. You can create a function that outputs the length, but that's not the same as the vector. Ten miles north isn't the same as ten miles south. Similarly I could create a function that calculates the value of people by counting the letters in their name and prepending a dollar sign. It would be equally meaningful.

Tyndmyr wrote:the idea of inestimable value beyond money is an idea with significant religious history
That's not a reason to discard it. Morals and ethics also have significant religious history. You don't have to be religious to be ethical.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:23 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:
speising wrote:i'd just like to interject that a vector can be converted to a scalar by calculating its length. you just need conversion factors for all dimensions.


But by doing so you lose information, which I think is rather our point. Sure, you can convert all forms of value to dollars (in more or less sensible ways), such a conversion may indeed often be useful, but it is never going to be a complete representation of value.
Yeah, there are all sorts of functions that map vectors to scalars, but that doesn't mean all of them (or indeed any of them) are useful in a particular context.

One problem with an idea of "length" in particular is that the length of a vector isn't in the same units as any of its components. 4 dollars + 3 happiness points has a "length" of 5 (under certain assumptions which there's no particular reason to assume in this case), but that's not the same as saying it's equivalent to 5 dollars (or to 5 happiness points).
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:32 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
First, I claim that a species has value that cannot be expressed in dollars. Second, there's a synergy component - if there are 1000 acres, and you can develop 3 acres with no effect on the species, but the fourth acre of development would wipe it out (this is a thing), then even if you could value the species in dollars, you can't put a consistent per-acre value on the land.[/quote]

The same is true if you want to put in a shopping mall. Sell off too many small chunks from a big chunk, and you can no longer put in a shopping mall. It's a routine factor in valuing property, it's not at all challenging.

Tyndmyr wrote:To require a vector for value, you need to have other things that cannot be exchanged with money.
That is precisely what I'm saying is the case.


I'm curious as to what the other unit of value is. This claim has been repeated many times, but serious details on what, exactly, the other elements of value are have been vague. There's some sort of implication of happiness, but it seems as if it's mostly a vague "some other value there".

Tyndmyr wrote:As for those who say that money cannot buy happiness, I believe that's merely a convenient thing for the rich to tell the poor instead of giving them money. The rich generally appear glad to have it.
I've been rich, I've been broke. I've been rich again, I've been broke again. I have found that my happiness did not correlate with my wealth.

It was not quite independent; there were some third order and derivative components involved, and sometimes the correlation seemed negative. It could make me comfortable, it could get me out of a jam, it could let me do some things I otherwise couldn't, but it was certainly not the case by any stretch that money bought happiness.


Circumstances in life vary. If more money will compensate for one's circumstances or not, well...it depends. That said, I've been both decently well off and quite poor, and I much prefer the former. Sure, I might get hit with, say, an unfortunate illness, and that would diminish my happiness, but I would be happier to face any given illness with money rather than without.

At the end of the day, a great many sources of unhappiness can be solved or reduced with money, and I can exchange money for things that bring me joy. Money may not be equivalent to happiness, but it can definitely be traded for it.

Tyndmyr wrote:the idea of inestimable value beyond money is an idea with significant religious history
That's not a reason to discard it. Morals and ethics also have significant religious history. You don't have to be religious to be ethical.


It's not reason to discard it out of hand, but I am generally skeptical of ethics derived from religion. If they're worth a damn, they ought to be derived entirely independently, and I believe that religious values can easily outlive any rational purpose.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:44 pm UTC

What do you mean "derived from religion"?

Because if you're thinking too narrowly, then the problem is your ignorance of other nonreligious but also non-monetary accounts of value.

And if you're thinking too broadly, then the problem is now you have to throw out utilitarianism too because the first people with ethics that looked like utilitarianism were theological thinkers.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:58 pm UTC

The earlier discussed dichotomy of values frequently being divided into sacred and non-sacred. The specific division may vary, but it's a remarkably common way of ordering values into two classes, with offense being taken at trading the sacred for the non-sacred.

Religion holding a particular value doesn't guarantee that it's wrong...but viewing it with a good bit of skepticism is appropriate. Some rules, like not murdering, have held up fairly well. For certain definitions of murder that may or may not have always been constant. Others, like not wearing clothes of mixed fabrics, are wildly strange. Substitute for examples of whichever particular faith you please.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Quercus » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:01 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It's easier to discount the insect's individual moral worth.


I think you will find that this is a point on which we differ, probably quite profoundly.

There are a ton of insects, and they are generally not terribly sapient. I suspect most humans would not grant an insect a great deal of worth over and above practical considerations. So any estimation ignoring that would introduce comparatively little error.


Again, this is back to assigning value from the perspective of humans. If insects have any significant moral worth, individually or on aggregate (and I believe that they do, especially as I don't believe moral worth is determined exclusively by sapience) then it matters not a jot what worth humans in general grant them; they have worth in-and-of themselves.

My point in the context of this thread is that the adequacy of dollars as a sole measure of value varies dramatically depending on which moral axioms one lives by.

Oh, and if we're being sceptical about religious ideas, the idea that humans are the moral pinnacle of life is a doozy:

Genesis 1:26 wrote:Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:10 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It's easier to discount the insect's individual moral worth.


I think you will find that this is a point on which we differ, probably quite profoundly.

There are a ton of insects, and they are generally not terribly sapient. I suspect most humans would not grant an insect a great deal of worth over and above practical considerations. So any estimation ignoring that would introduce comparatively little error.


Again, this is back to assigning value from the perspective of humans. If insects have any significant moral worth, individually or on aggregate (and I believe that they do, especially as I don't believe moral worth is determined exclusively by sapience) then it matters not a jot what worth humans in general grant them; they have worth in-and-of themselves.

My point in the context of this thread is that the adequacy of dollars as a sole measure of value varies dramatically depending on which moral axioms one lives by.


Mm, how does one assign moral worth, then? Is it equal on a per species basis, meaning all human lives are as nothing compared to the worth of the beetles and parasitic wasps? Or on a per mind basis, which would also reflect poorly on humanity?

I agree that it does look very different if you start with those axioms, but if starting from those axioms give us results that are unworkable, ought we not to discard those axioms and find others?

Oh, and if we're being sceptical about religious ideas, the idea that humans are the moral pinnacle of life is a doozy:

Genesis 1:26 wrote:Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."


I will agree that the particular passage there is often used to justify some dumb stuff. Also, the idea that eh, the end times are coming anyways, it doesn't matter if we fuck things up. But eh, I'm getting way off topic then.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ucim » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:53 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I'm curious as to what the other unit of value is. [...] it seems as if it's mostly a vague "some other value there
Yeah, it's vague because it's hard to quantify. That's my point. Not only is it hard to quantify, it's on another axis. There could be several such axes. One of them could be "ethicity" - how Good or Evil something is. No matter what religious leanings you have, you would probably agree that immolating somebody has a high value on the evil axis, and punching them in the nose has a lower quantity of evil. Teaching somebody to fish probably rates a moderate negative evil (or positive good) rating. But I doubt you could do this with precision. Outside the Catholic church there isn't a market for good and evil, nor is there a unit of exchange for it.

Tyndmyr wrote: I am generally skeptical of ethics derived from religion. If they're worth a damn, they ought to be derived entirely independently
You're the only one that's saying ethics derives from religion. Ethics is a thing independent of religion. Ch*rp, even animals have ethics, as many a pet owner will tell you.

Tyndmyr wrote:The earlier discussed dichotomy of values frequently being divided into sacred and non-sacred.
Nobody said that. Certainly =I= didn't say that. I said they can be divided into dollars and non-dollars (and maybe other things), where non-dollars are at least orthogonal. Converting between them is a sensible as converting from temperature to orbital parameters.

Or for a more apt example, from color to temperature. Light bulbs have a color temperature rating, but that gives only a vague notion of the color quality of the resulting light.

Tyndmyr wrote:I agree that it does look very different if you start with those axioms, but if starting from those axioms give us results that are unworkable inconvenient, ought we not to discard those axioms and find others?
FTFY. And, no. That's not morality, that's marketing.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Quercus » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:00 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Mm, how does one assign moral worth, then? Is it equal on a per species basis, meaning all human lives are as nothing compared to the worth of the beetles and parasitic wasps? Or on a per mind basis, which would also reflect poorly on humanity?


No, definitely not equal on a per-species basis, as you say that's utterly unworkable (under such a system the most moral action for humanity would be immediate mass suicide). As I mentioned in my spoilered comment above I tend to give moral weight to sapience, complexity, diversity and uniqueness; roughly in that order* (and if you're thinking that that means that it's not only living beings that have moral worth in my thinking, you would be correct). In practice I also give qualitatively different worth to humans compared to other species, which I think is pretty inevitable to some degree given the evolutionary forces which have shaped our brains.

That ultimately leads to a broad hierarchy: humans, great apes and cetaceans, cephalopods, corvids, other vertebrates, plants and invertebrates, microorganisms, non-living complex systems.

Also, the notion of moral harm looks a bit different across species for me - as the species become more different to humans it become less and less about harm to individuals and more about harm to the species as a whole, and the consequential harm to the wider ecosphere.

Tyndmyr wrote:I agree that it does look very different if you start with those axioms, but if starting from those axioms give us results that are unworkable, ought we not to discard those axioms and find others?


I don't find that it does give unworkable results. It certainly gives inconvenient results if your goal is to be as rich and comfortable as possible. And it's not like it's some totally idiosyncratic system that's impossible to convince others of, at least on a local level. I find the best way is through direct encounter with the more-than-human world, and through learning about the lives of other beings.

Ultimately I find our sense of the moral worth of things comes through our capacity to have meaningful interrelationship with them, and that's certainly not restricted to humans, or even to animals in my experiences. Some of my best friends are trees, and I'm only about a quarter joking when I say that. There are individual trees for which I feel love, and would weep for at their death. I cannot in good conscience give no moral weight to beings about which I can so feel.

* I tend to collapse sapience and complexity into one, as least for living organisms, since we don't yet have a good measure for sapience

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:30 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Mm, how does one assign moral worth, then? Is it equal on a per species basis, meaning all human lives are as nothing compared to the worth of the beetles and parasitic wasps? Or on a per mind basis, which would also reflect poorly on humanity?


No, definitely not equal on a per-species basis, as you say that's utterly unworkable (under such a system the most moral action for humanity would be immediate mass suicide). As I mentioned in my spoilered comment above I tend to give moral weight to sapience, complexity, diversity and uniqueness; roughly in that order* (and if you're thinking that that means that it's not only living beings that have moral worth in my thinking, you would be correct). In practice I also give qualitatively different worth to humans compared to other species, which I think is pretty inevitable to some degree given the evolutionary forces which have shaped our brains.

That ultimately leads to a broad hierarchy: humans, great apes and cetaceans, cephalopods, corvids, other vertebrates, plants and invertebrates, microorganisms, non-living complex systems.

Also, the notion of moral harm looks a bit different across species for me - as the species become more different to humans it become less and less about harm to individuals and more about harm to the species as a whole, and the consequential harm to the wider ecosphere.


Doh, I think I accidentally misread a "not" into giving moral weight to sapience and what not, which led me down the path of considering equality. The above criteria makes a good deal more sense.

I would imagine that something akin to your hierarchy is fairly common to most folks. Maybe not exactly, but as we get down to plants and onward, I would imagine fairly little disagreement exists. There is the religious ideology of "god gave dominion over beasts to humans", which seems to be an exception, but in practice, those folks still tend to treat a kitten different from a housefly, so I think that practical valuation looks somewhat similar. However, they might object to a number of animal lives being explicitly treated as equal to a human life, which does derive from explicit financial valuation of everything.

I think the significant difference here is that when looking at clearly non-sapient things, I'm essentially only assigning an economic value...but that economic value does contain elements like biodiversity. Potentially breaking a part of the ecosystem that is costly to something I care about is a risk, which can be assigned a cost. If we're talking about wiping out a subspecies of mosquito, I'm not morally opposed to that at all, my only concerns would be in terms of practical cost/benefit.

Tyndmyr wrote:I agree that it does look very different if you start with those axioms, but if starting from those axioms give us results that are unworkable, ought we not to discard those axioms and find others?


I don't find that it does give unworkable results. It certainly gives inconvenient results if your goal is to be as rich and comfortable as possible. And it's not like it's some totally idiosyncratic system that's impossible to convince others of, at least on a local level. I find the best way is through direct encounter with the more-than-human world, and through learning about the lives of other beings.

Ultimately I find our sense of the moral worth of things comes through our capacity to have meaningful interrelationship with them, and that's certainly not restricted to humans, or even to animals in my experiences. Some of my best friends are trees, and I'm only about a quarter joking when I say that.

* I tend to collapse sapience and complexity into one, as least for living organisms, since we don't yet have a good measure for sapience


Sapience/complexity works for this purpose. Scientific knowledge is imperfect, but still, we rate things the best we can. Imperfect knowledge is a necessary shortcoming of all measuring systems, but it's not a special problem to either viewpoint.

Relationships are important for the individual, but I'd wager that, generally speaking, it's difficult to have a relationship with, say, houseflies as a whole. I think the "harm to species" aspect of moral harm would be less about relationship potential, yes? It's more of an expression of genetic diversity or similar traits, than a particular potential relationship. Does that difference matter in terms of valuation? IE, is it more reasonable to assign a fixed dollar value to say, bacteria than to a dolphin?

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ObsessoMom » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:20 pm UTC

Is this still the Trump presidency thread?

If so, this happened today:

Spoiler:
Rosenstein announced indictments against 12 Russian officials for conspiring to interfere in the 2016 US Presidential elections.

Earlier in the day, the president had downplayed Russian meddling efforts, reiterating his claims that the special counsel's probe was a "rigged witch hunt" and saying it hurt his efforts to draw the two countries closer together.

"We do have a political problem where, you know, in the United States we have this stupidity going on. Pure stupidity. But it makes it very hard to do something with Russia," Trump told reporters during the joint press conference with May on Friday. "Anything you do, it’s always going to be, ‘Oh, Russia, he loves Russia.’ I love the United States. But I love getting along with Russia."

In a statement issued after the charges were made public, the White House shrugged off the idea that the administration would be negatively affected by the news.

"Today’s charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result," Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement. "This is consistent with what we have been saying all along."

The president's attorney Rudy Giuliani called the charges "good news for all Americans," and called on the special counsel to "end this pursuit of the president and say President Trump is completely innocent."

The indictment made no mention of the president.


Reassuring to know that their priorities are in the right place.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby addams » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:55 pm UTC

We have an Active Serviceable Russian Asset inside our Governance at the highest level.
We have a loud Majority of Sore Winners using our Halls of Power for Performance Art.

And; We, the XKCD Forum, can do no better than chase each others tails
using Economic Calculus as a proxy for Real Conversations about Real Scary Stuff??

Trolls win.
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A little gossip might be good for us.

Old News from Mar 23, 2017
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxMWSmKieuc

Older News from Feb 23, 2017
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsOuSmSLGOs

(sigh...) It may be too late for us.
The Asset and his Handler meet, today?

The Trump presidency will make it into the History Books.
We have a Seat at the Show. We should talk about it, a lot.

EDIT: Oops...Ninja'd by MaMa Bear.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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pogrmman
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Location: Probably outside

Re: Trump presidency

Postby pogrmman » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:55 am UTC

Whoa. While I’ve, admittedly, given the guy the benefit of the doubt, the fact that there was an attack after that idiotic comment about finding missing Clinton emails seems suspicious to me. I haven’t really been following the news today, but I wonder how Fox et al. are covering this. Are they going to try and argue that this means the investigation is partisan and should be closed?

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cyanyoshi
Posts: 386
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:30 am UTC

Re: Trump presidency

Postby cyanyoshi » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:16 am UTC

pogrmman wrote:Whoa. While I’ve, admittedly, given the guy the benefit of the doubt, the fact that there was an attack after that idiotic comment about finding missing Clinton emails seems suspicious to me. I haven’t really been following the news today, but I wonder how Fox et al. are covering this. Are they going to try and argue that this means the investigation is partisan and should be closed?

Giuliani is certainly trying to spin it that way.
@RudyGiuliani wrote:The indictments Rod Rosenstein announced are good news for all Americans. The Russians are nailed. No Americans are involved. Time for Mueller to end this pursuit of the President and say President Trump is completely innocent.

The investigation is still ongoing, last I checked, so it's a bit too early to say that no Americans are involved, no?

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addams
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby addams » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:19 pm UTC

Trump, the Asset, is meeting with his Boss on Monday.
Trump insists No American. other than he alone, may attend the meeting.

He did not allow any Americans at his Russian White House meeting, either.
He seems to be at his most relaxed and happiest when alone with Russians.
https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... ajaxhist=0

(sigh...) It would be nice if he, just, went home with Putin.
Like Manifort's last Boss did. They can yuck it up in Moscow.

I know.
I know.

Putin has Work for him to do, here.
It is a Sleeper Agent's big moment.

Very Few Human Assets are as successful as this PR/Con Man has been.
What are his Orders? How will he be reassured? What is the next move?

We may never know what Putin says to him.
Why don't the CIA, just, 'bug' him. Rules??

If you play by the Rules and Pay your Bills You are a Loser in the squinty eyes of Trump.
He really likes people that are Not Losers. But, Losers sure seem to like him. (sigh...)

Personally, the No American in the room 'thing' bothers me.
That man, at least on paper, Works for Us! We need to see!
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.


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