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WHY did the worlds greatest military power FAIL to defend even its own HQ?

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Last week, I read about an attempt of the EU to mandate web browsers to carry state-sponsored certificate authorities (CAs) in some online identity vaporware bill.

Initially, I was unsure if Mozilla et al were making a mountain out of a molehill, but the language of a draft I found sounds pretty damning:

> Article 45

> Requirements for qualified certificates for website authentication

> 1. Qualified certificates for website authentication shall meet the requirements laid down in Annex IV. Qualified certificates for website authentication shall be deemed compliant with the requirements laid down in Annex IV where they meet the standards referred to in paragraph 3.

> 2. Qualified certificates for website authentication referred to in paragraph 1 shall be recognised by web-browsers. For those purposes web-browsers shall ensure that the identity data provided using any of the methods is displayed in a user friendly manner. Web-browsers shall ensure support and interoperability with qualified certificates for website authentication referred to in paragraph 1, with the exception of enterprises, considered to be microenterprises and small enterprises in accordance with Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC in the first 5 years of operating as providers of web-browsing services.

(from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52021PC0281 )

In a nutshell, when a browser connects to a website like google.com via https, it tries to validate the identity of the website to see if it is corrected to the legitimate operators of google.com or some attacker. The idea is that interwoven in the encryption, there is a certificate which is signed by some trusted authority, a CA. A browser comes with a some dozen "trustworthy" CAs preinstalled, few users ever change that list.

For a company, being included as a CA in the browsers is a license to print money. Every https website requires at least one trusted certificate per year lest their users are scared away by warning messages from the browser, and apart from Let's encrypt, CAs generally expect to be paid for that. See also: Honest Achmed's Used Cars and Certificates, https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=647959

The CA system is already an ugly mess, but every mess can be made worse by getting the government involved.

Right now the spooks can obviously get some CAs to sign phony certificates for google.com, but each such use risks discovery. If any CA gets caught issuing malicious fakes, they will likely fall into disfavor with the browser vendors. In fact, TrustCor managed to do so last year just by looking like a spook front without ever having been accused of issuing a false certificate.

However, if governments can mandate the inclusion of their CAs in the browsers by law, the risk of burning a CA no longer applies. And rather than forcing browser vendors to directly include CAs for your spying, why not first compel them to do so for some innocuous reason, like some digital identity act? Once your certificates are in the browsers and you have switched all government websites to them, another bill can empower them to use the CAs for "lawful interception".

I do not consider myself to be a conspiracy nut and do not expect an EU dictatorship, but I think that in any democracy there is a continuous struggle between those wanting more safety and those wanting to keep their freedoms. Still, I had hoped that "we will just force browser vendors to ship our CAs through laws" would be far from the Overton window.

Disappointingly, this topic seems to be of no interest to most mainstream media. The sites I read about it are computer nerd sites like the Register, heise or fefe. Even the EFF focuses more on pro-Palestinian messages being silenced on social media than this. Of course, us computer nerds will probably be the least affected by it as we can compile our browsers from the source code if the situation calls for it.

I would have hoped that post-Snowden, there would be some greater awareness for these issues outside the hacker culture, but I guess there is not.

Further reading: https://www.theregister.com/2023/11/08/europe_eidas_browser/

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Recently been down a city planning / autonomous vehicle rabbit hole.

Hoping to find someone that can explain why public transport doesn't take on an 'uber but for busses' approach? It seems like a much better and more efficient (not to mention more practical / useful) means to run a bus. Particularly in my city which is effectively a thin strip running east to west. Or for regional areas.. What am I missing?

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I think an Uber system would make planning routes very difficult. If you have a bus with 40 people, who all have different pickup and dropoff locations, what does the bus's route look like? Can you tell any of them how long the trip will take in advance, or how many stops it will be? Will the answer change midway when another rider wants to board?

For an Uber pool this is less of an issue because you only need to find four people who have roughly similar start and end locations, but for a bus route that covers the length of a city I imagine the complexity grows pretty quickly.

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LA has two services like that:



LA is big, so how it works is that there are multiple service areas (each ~20 square miles, and not the whole city is covered). You can request a ride from one point within a service area to another point within the same service area.

I have no idea how it compares in cost/efficiency to standard buses, but it is definitely nice to use if you're in one of the service areas and want to get somewhere within that service area!

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Thank you!

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How is it better and more efficient?

Public transportation conveys large amounts of people from place A to place B at given, specified intervals. Considering that large numbers of people tend to often need to get from place A to place B at a specific, preknown time - such as getting to work, or getting back home from work - it serves such people just fine.

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The bus would be able to pick up / drop off (at or closer to) their intended destination (extremely helpful for disabled). No longer need the physical infrastructure of a bus stop (cost/visual). You could alleviate a lot of planning / zoning issues since good public transport could be at everyone's doorstep. Ability to run busses 'on demand' instead of circulating around a route while empty. Gaining significant analytics on where busses need to be.

I actually can't imagine how it wouldn't be better and more efficient. If you live in a city where public transport is just fine that's great. But it is woeful in my town and many cities around the world.

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> No longer need the physical infrastructure of a bus stop (cost/visual)

The physical infrastructure of a bus stop exists so buses can stop there though. Without a bus stop, buses need to stop in the middle of the street and disgorge passengers who need to pick their way through parked cars.

Also, many streets aren't wide enough for buses. Many corners, especially, are very unsuitable for buses.

What does it mean to run a bus "on demand"? I decide I want a bus to pick me up right outside my door (a bad idea for my particular street, but anyway) so a bus gets dispatched from the depot towards me? And we just hope there's enough people going in the same general direction that a reasonable bus route can be stitched together that will get everyone exactly where they're going in a somewhat reasonable amount of time, but there's no guarantees, especially since new stops keep getting added to the bus route while we're en route.

It makes more sense for people to walk to a bus route along a major road than for the buses to try to navigate the streets to pick everyone up from their front door.

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By ‘Uber for Buses’, do you mean a system where buses do not have specified stops but are ‘called’ to pick someone up and drop them off via an app?

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There is something very slight yet very uncomfortable I've noticed about older people in the anglosphere when they talk about the Russia Ukraine war. Everyone, from John Gray (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSS85bMSnYg&ab_channel=PoliticsJOE) to my relatives to my elected representatives are convinced that Putin said that Ukrainians and Ukrainian culture do not exist and this indicates genocidal intent with which there can never be any negotiation, until they get new orders. As best as I can tell, he never said this.

Instead, he said (https://www.prlib.ru/en/article-vladimir-putin-historical-unity-russians-and-ukrainians) that a separate Ukrainian state did not exist as a historical entity in the modern era before the Bolsheviks created one and he also "blamed" the Bolsheviks for promoting Ukrainian culture at various points in the history of the Soviet Union.

To me both of these statements are fair comment as historical summary but also firmly in the category of true but not particularly relevant or a good enough basis to justify internal interference and external invasion. Demonstrating that Canada and the US were once part of the same country primarily populated by genetically similar people from the British Isles would not seem to create any justification for a US annexation of parts of Canada which historically spoke with more american accents or had the most immigrants from the US in the 19th century.

Instead, the preferred US approach is to swim upstream and to deny things that don't need to be denied in a way that sound very silly to anyone with any familiarity as well as anyone outside of the US media bubble: https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/ukrainealert/peace-is-impossible-while-vladimir-putin-denies-ukraines-right-to-exist/

"The Russian dictator went on to repeat many of his most notorious historical distortions, including the claim that Ukraine had been artificially created by Vladimir Lenin and the early Soviet authorities “at the expense of southern Russian lands.”

The modern Ukrainian state has the borders of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic and Russian speaking populations *were* added to the republic precisely to make it less likely that separatist sentiment could permeate through the whole administrative unit. I understand that historically and even now it's trivially easy to lie to the american public for political gain.

But what I've found most striking is that when these errors are pointed out after I take great pains to assure them I'm also opposed to wars of aggression that leave hundreds of thousands dead, there is a defiant refusal to correct it or even acknowledge that there's any meaningful distinction between what they've claimed and reality.

I think there is perhaps something about the unipolar moment from 1991-2021 that changed American culture even more than the cold war.


"That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out."

Now of course, Karl Rove denies having ever said this. But the specific attribution doesn't matter because it works so well as an explanatory hypothesis. I think it's a good description of how many if not most Americans of a certain age and older have been trained to see the world, regardless of their political affiliation. There is so much spending power in the hands of not only the American elite but the American middle and lower classes that whatever enough of them believe really does become reality.


When it comes to tourism and culture this is fairly innocuous even if understandably irritating to people concerned about preserving their culture in the face of a multi-trillion dollar american cultural onslaught. But when it comes to history, politics, or war, this belief seems more dangerous.

It's not simply that they are engaging in war propaganda in a cynical and self-aware way. That would be nothing new or unique, truth has been the first casualty of war since antiquity. The belief is instead that what they believe _really is true_ or will be revealed to be true at some point the future.

I almost wonder if this can be expanded to conspiratorial thinking and the paranoid tendency in America. Ie, we could imagine a conspiracy theorist who has eventually walked back some of their claims after being cornered implying if not saying "I know it doesn't look like the government planned 9/11 as a false flag right now, but more evidence will come out that proves I'm right!"

It's not exactly delusional thinking as has been postulated by others. There's also a force of will behind it, a conviction so certain that they'll do anything to make sure the truth wins out, even if they have to fabricate everything themselves!

Stalin and his cronies talked in didactic marxist terminology and analysis in private and archived all the confessions of the great purge as if they were exculpatory for the regime, while members of the Bush Administration expected to build on Reagan's legacy and create a permanent majority in their favor rather than limping out of office with a 31% approval rating and two wars of occupation most serious analysts regarded as already doomed.

Wars are not (only) a racket. Yes they make a lot of money in wars, yes there's a military industrial complex, but it's not only about money. The true horror is that we're not (only) being manipulated by cynical and selfish people who want guaranteed profits and big megayacht.

Far more concerning is how much of American policy set by both elected and unelected officials is coming from highly emotional and driven people governed by few or no external mechanisms for anticipating likely outcomes beyond their own half-assed intuitions intermingled with what they hope to be true.

All the numbers and calculation and intelligence reports are usually just for show: when they support a decision that's already been made, they're trotted out. When they would seem to undermine it, they're ignored, suppressed, forgotten. It is certain that a CIA analyst somewhere knew that the Afghani government was highly likely to collapse and wrote a report no one higher up wanted to hear, just as it is certain a GRU analyst somewhere knew that Putin's invasion plan was very unlikely to work given Ukrainian force concentrations, training, and equipment. Ignorance is not just the absence of knowledge, it can also be a very active and sophisticated process.

I couldn't sleep and this comment got incredibly out of hand, I would be very gratified to get any response in the unlikely event anyone reads this far.

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In 1954 there was a huge celebration in the USSR: a 300-year anniversary of Ukraine reuniting with Russia. So that takes us back to 1654. Reunification. Putin was around for that. It was taught is schools.

His blatant lie about Bolsheviks “creating” Ukraine in 1918 is just that. A lie. Nothing more.

Putin lies. All the time. This is no exception.

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Are you saying that the borders of modern day Ukraine are not the borders created by (one-party, totalitarian, dishonest, etc.) Soviet heads of state for the Ukrainian Soviet Republic?

Putin is most definitely a liar, but you're an even bigger liar than he is if you're saying that the borders of present-day Ukraine come from a 1654 treaty. Are you saying that the modern nation-state existed in 1654 among the cossacks? Are you saying the Crimean Khanate didn't exist, or that it was already Ukrainian, or... what? I don't get it.

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Nov 10, 2023·edited Nov 10, 2023

I’m saying none of these things, you are saying them. And then accuse me of being a liar. Name one thing I wrote that was not true.

On the subject matter: none of todays countries have the same borders they had in 1654, this is an absurd idea to entertain. Ukraine had internationally recognized borders, including by Russia, who also:

1. Promised to respect them in 1994 explicitly in exchange for the nukes.

2. Worked for a decade to carefully demarcate the common border and finalized the work in 2003.

It would be good for you to work with arguments and not call your people who respond to you liars.

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You haven't answered the original question and are now bringing up things which are irrelevant to me since I am and have always been opposed to Putin's invasion. Perhaps you're simply confused about the difference between an internationally recognized state, the legal concept of a successor state, and the existence of a people/language/culture.

> His blatant lie about Bolsheviks “creating” Ukraine in 1918 is just that. A lie. Nothing more.

Read literally, you seem to be saying that it's a lie that the current Ukrainian state and it's internationally recognized borders come from being a successor state to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic created in 1918-1920 with westward increases from formerly Polish territory in 1945 and the transfer of of Crimea in 1954.

If that's not what you're saying, then what did you mean? I'm starting to suspect you don't know yourself but are blindly attacking anything Putin has ever said about any topic because you incorrectly think that a blanket denial, even if itself a lie, is a more effective argument than a nuanced deconstruction of Putin's ultimately faulty historical claims.

For me there's no argument: I've asked you a simple question multiple times and you aren't answering it.

Who drew the internationally recognized Ukrainian borders that were used in 1991 to declare independence?

My answer is those were drawn by Lenin, Stalin, and Khrushchev. Who do you say drew them?

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Ok if we are going into this level of specifics, here you go:

There was no "internationally recognized" border between Ukraine and Russia, simply because in the Soviet times it was a poorly demarcated administrative boundary within a single state. Once Ukraine declared its independence in 1991, and the USSR came apart on Jan 1 1992 (this is also a fuzzy timeline as various constituent republics declared independence on various dates), the hard work of figuring out the border started. There were committees on both sides, and after much wrangling, stalling, trading back-and-forth, the border was finalized in 2003.

So you can say, if you want, that the current internationally recognized Ukraine border was drawn by Kuchma and Putin. Will this work?

On a different note, it would really help your case if you stopped calling people who engage with you liars, confused, and in general inventing motives and intentions not evident from the comments you are responding to. You know nothing about me outside of the text in the comment box. Engage with that. Who I am and why I am writing here doesn't matter. The words in the box is all you have to go by.

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The most recent revision* was made by Kuchma and Putin, it did not change the Ukrainian constitution ratified by vote on December 1, 1991 that states that Ukraine is the legal successor of the Ukrainian SSR.

It's true that "it was a poorly demarcated administrative boundary" but it's not true to say it was not, in international law terms, a state. It's obviously true that this was a bit of stalinist sophistry to obtain more votes, but in terms of international recognition, Ukraine was one of the signatories in the creation of the United Nations along with the Belarusian SSR: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukraine_and_the_United_Nations

If you're arguing that we should nullify previous international understandings and agreements because the soviet state was illegitimate, that unfortunately is exactly what Putin's position is too.

"In 1939, the USSR regained the lands earlier seized by Poland. A major portion of these became part of the Soviet Ukraine. In 1940, the Ukrainian SSR incorporated part of Bessarabia, which had been occupied by Romania since 1918, as well as Northern Bukovina. In 1948, Zmeyiniy Island (Snake Island) in the Black Sea became part of Ukraine. In 1954, the Crimean Region of the RSFSR was given to the Ukrainian SSR,


Therefore, modern Ukraine is entirely the product of the Soviet era. We know and remember well that it was shaped – for a significant part – on the lands of historical Russia. To make sure of that, it is enough to look at the boundaries of the lands reunited with the Russian state in the 17th century and the territory of the Ukrainian SSR when it left the Soviet Union."


Is there anything in the first paragraph you would say is factually incorrect?

Your initial reference to 1654 is exactly complementary with Putin: his argument that he is expressing (illegally through force) is that the legality doesn't matter and the "right thing to do" is to disregard legal fictions of an illegitimate state and "undo" the territorial gains realized by Ukraine under the Soviet Union.

So I'm not being pedantic when I'm focusing on things like legal successor states and nominal independence; these are the basis upon which Ukrainian territorial integrity hinges, not historical claims to differentiation with no legal basis.

Of course a Ukrainian people has existed with a distinct history, language, and culture from Russians for at least a thousand years. Putin has never denied that, and if you say that he has, I would want a citation. My understanding of his claims are that he has this romantic-nationalist assertion that Ukrainians are one of the "little Russian" ethnicities who are a distinct but still a subculture of Russian with a history which is indivisible from that of great Russian.

Now again, I don't give a shit about his sentimental/cynical argument or the argument of Ukrainian nationalists that say there is no relation or that ukrainians are genetically distinct or that there was only a relation of pure oppression. Neither of those narratives has any relationship whatsoever to international law, and it doesn't matter who dredges up what to "prove" their case History is complex and both sides are indifferent to history as such and see it as merely a tool for power and legitimacy in the present.

What Putin has denied is the legitimacy of the current borders of the Ukrainian state, despite international law and despite his own past agreement.

And what is the reason he gives?

Why, it's the same one that you give -- that it was a poorly demarcated boundary within a single state!

You are the one who started with a dismissive 'these are lies, these are lies, and

people who say this probably want Ukraine to be annexed by Russia' when my whole point is that you're falling into Putin's hands when you focus on the parts of his claims which are both 1) factually defensible and 2) irrelevant.

I've engaged with the words in the box and your initial responses were combative, dismissive, and not grounded in the historical record, while you also cast aspersions on my motivations. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and my first impression is that you're someone who will lash out at people who are sympathetic to your cause but are critical of certain tactics because they are ineffectual internationally and harmful domestically.

Ukraine's advocates and strategic decisionmakers have not acknowledged that the expectation of unlimited US support for an unlimited duration is a childish delusion nor have they acknowledged there is some complexity in the history, all of which sets the stage for a "stab in the back" legend and a failed state with an embittered, divided populace.

It is also a fact that the majority of governments on earth do not find the western coalition's case for sanctions persuasive or politically appealing. Trying to understand why this is so and working within a framework of mutually agreed upon facts seems like a better reaction than lashing out in an overtly racist way that only makes the situation worse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgeAXMbbl5M&ab_channel=HindustanTimes

If you attack people who are sympathetic, if you attack people who are neutral observers, if you attack national minorities, and if you even attack your strategic partners who have made Ukraine's successful defense even possible... not merely a stalemate but a catastrophic collapse becomes more likely.

It seems like you're helping by immediately declaring facts you don't like (such as the fact that the Russian dominant soviet union defined 99.9% of Ukraine's legally recognized current borders) to be lies and making insinuations that people with domain knowledge must have ulterior motives, but you're not helping!

The fact is that Ukraine seems to be running out of time to make a livable peace that will strengthen Ukraine and isolate Russia in the long term, and retreating into national mythos of pure victimhood narratives make that peace harder

Redoubling the fanaticism and turning to ever more crude propaganda which demands total victory and refuses to meaningfully engage with the historical facts or other perspectives will not change this, except to make Ukraine's future worse while empowering dictators in the mould of Putin who thrive on resentment but are endangered by successful societies.

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Explicit Ukrainian nationalism and attempts to create a Ukrainian nation, date back to at least 1848 and probably much further. And, as others have noted, a literally sovereign Ukrainian nation existed before the Bolsheviks were in a position to say yea or nay. So anyone saying that "Ukraine" is a creation of the Soviet Union, is A: factually incorrect and B: probably trying to justify the uncreation of the Ukrainian nation. If the person saying happens to own an army that has been trying to invade Ukraine for the past two years, then scratch the "probably".

The "older people in the Anglosphere", know what they are talking about on this one.

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You have merely reasserted something approximately similar while still asserting something factually incorrect, or at least incoherent.

The current exact borders of the really existing Ukrainian state which declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 via referendum were drawn heads of state and officials of the Soviet Union.

Is this true or false?

Regardless of their reasoning, external pressures put upon them, historical nationalist aspirations, the republic of 1917-1918, the Don Cossacks, Zaparazhonia, the Crimean Tartars, the founding of 9th century Kievan Rus... is the above true or false, as a statement?

You have said that it's factually incorrect and also implied that anyone who disputes it has a political agenda. My agenda is simple: don't tell pointless lies that are easily disproven, because those harm the Ukrainian cause outside of the propaganda bubble only a minority of the world lives in.

It's painful that as mendacious and blurry as Putin's account is, it still manages to incorporate some things which are factually true, while what you're saying simply disregards reality itself. If Soviet officials didn't draw the current borders, who did? Is there a secret esoteric history of Ukrainian cartography?

I obviously don't expect you to stick around to concede that you didn't read very closely and see accuracy as secondary to your immediate political concerns, but it's certainly instructive for anyone who has nothing better to do than read this.

I'm glad you posted so lazily and in such bad faith because otherwise it could seem like I was shadowboxing with a strawman. But no, you exist and you're exactly who I was talking about, the mentality of delusional will to power which reaches first for threats and aspersions.

This nihilistic overbearing attitude was maybe adaptive in the 1990s but it doesn't work when people have instant access to things like say, wikipedia's bibliography, or the most well-cited and primary source heavy two-volume biography of Stalin written by Hoover Institute fellow Stephen Kotkin. Or are they all in on it too?

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"The current exact borders of the really existing Ukrainian state which declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 via referendum were drawn heads of state and officials of the Soviet Union. Is this true or false?"

It is *completely irrelevant* The "current exact borders" of the nation have nothing to do with the claim made by Putin and endorsed by yourself that "a separate Ukrainian state did not exist as a historical entity in the modern era before the Bolsheviks created one." A separate Ukrainian state did in fact exist before the Bolsheviks created one; that state's borders have since been adjusted. As have the borders of just about every other state. A marginal change in the exact borders of a state, do not void that state's historic existence or continuity.

And the "current exact borders" of Ukraine are *particularly* irrelevant to any of your buddy Putin's other claims. Ukraine cannot be allowed to join NATO because its current borders were established in 1918, er, 1954? That is nonsensical; there may be reasons why Ukraine shouldn't join NATO, but they have nothing to do with where the exact borders are or who first drew them. Putin's claim that the current government in Kyiv is corrupt and illegitimate and run by literal Nazis, and so must be replaced by a regime chosen by Moscow, has nothing to do with the "current exact borders". The claim that Ukrainian nationalism and cultural identity are recent fictitious creations, has nothing to do with Ukraine's "current exact borders".

Ukraine is an old and long-suffering nation, predating the Bolsheviks by generations. The Ukrainian nation has frequently been conquered and ruled by foreign invaders for extended periods, without losing its basic identity. Vladimir Putin, plans to be the latest such invader, and probably the last because he seems to want to extinguish Ukrainian national and cultural identity. Vladimir Putin has told many lies to try and justify this. And he's apparently found that he can use a bit of irrelevant trivia about Ukraine's "current exact borders", to wrap you around his little finger and make you one of his minor mouthpieces.

I'm done with you, and I don't think I am alone in that. Please go away and peddle this nonsense elsewhere.

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It's not like the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic sprang out of ex novo, though - its borders *mostly* were those of the earlier separatist non-Bolshevik Ukrainian People's Republic (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_People%27s_Republic), and considering that all of the original non-Russian Soviet Republics (Belarus, Ukraine, Transcaucasia) signing the treaty creating USSR had had similar secessionist entities in charge before their Soviet takeover, it seems like a difficult claim that UPR's existence had no effect on the Soviet decisions that led to Ukrainian SSR's creation.

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Definitely an influence but so also with the drawing of the borders: almost all of the territory Russia is holding currently is territory that was not part of the Ukrainian People's Republic and was *added* by the bolsheviks. It's a historical fact, it's not contentious, and it's also not something that by itself justifies a war of aggression.

My somewhat rambling point was that it's unnecessary to play into these kinds of games where if your political enemy says the sky was blue in 1900, and therefore X, you must angrily denounce them and argue that the sky has always been yellow. And that the refusal to start the argument where it begins at the "therefore" is not merely imprecision or tactical cynicism but a genuine belief that freely available and well-documented historical information is easily subject to change as the political winds blow.

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It's like the claims that there's no such thing as a Palestinian nation. I believe that there's a Palestinian people-- they have a lot of experiences and culture in common, and Israel had a lot to do with causing them to become distinct.

I'm not sure how long it takes to create a people-- possibly as little as 50 years. The boundaries aren't sharp, there aren't handy legal distinctions, but it's relevant to how people live.

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Ukraine reunited with Russia in 1654 so it existed way before that date.

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Even before 1918 there was an Ukrainian nation at least in some distinct form, counted as "Little Russian" in the Russian census of 1897. The governorates where "Little Russians" formed a majority largely correspond to the governorates forming the UPR.

I also think that the "there's no Palestinian nation" claim is ridiculous. Whatever the historical record is, there's now decades of common historical experience of the sort that tends to be a crucial component in the creation of nations.

Edit: a good example would be Pakistanis - a nation whose name was literally invented in 1933, no-one before that would talk of Pakistanis - and whose nation was originally just formed out of the Muslim-majority areas of India. Despite this, people have no problems with talking about Pakistanis as a nation (or use "Paki" as a derogatory term etc.)

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Big boost for Scott - the great David French quoted and linked to him in his column!

> I’ve long appreciated the pseudonymous writer Scott Alexander’s description of liberalism: “People talk about ‘liberalism’ as if it’s just another word for capitalism or libertarianism or vague center-left-Democratic Clintonism,” he wrote on his Slate Star Codex blog. “Liberalism is none of these things. Liberalism is a technology for preventing civil war.”


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Why do writers like Scott write f--k instead of fuck in 2023? Are they avoiding some anti-vulgarity algorithm? It reads like something written before Joyce's Ulysses won its court battle against obscenity in 1933. Is 2023 like 1923?

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One good reason would be that Scott realizes that many of his readers would be offended by the use of that particular obscenity.

Check out his SCC post from almost 10 years ago - it's apparent Scott aspires to treat people with respect. That word is evidently not offensive to you, and may not be to Scott, but is very offensive to many.


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> That word is evidently not offensive to you, and may not be to Scott, but is very offensive to many.

Do children read this newsletter?

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Are you talking about the debate post? Do you think a televised debate is going to allow uncensored "fuck"s on air?

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Then what does "f--k" sound like on the air? Are we supposed to assume we hear the f and the k without any vowels? Maybe. Perhaps I just had trouble imagining that. I'm pretty sure the debates are aired live and not time-lagged for censorship.

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When did Scott ever do this?

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The debate one, but see my comment above.

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oh, yeah, pretty sure that was supposed to represent censorship on the air. There's probably a few-second lag

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Anyone have any thoughts on the article linked here? https://twitter.com/cremieuxrecueil/status/1721938608985080259 It seems to provide pretty good evidence that antidepressant use in pregnancy causes (is not merely correlated with) a reduction in mathematics test scores in children. The main alternative hypothesis suggested in the Twitter discussion is that they haven't sufficiently controlled for the effects of maternal depression: although they did control for the presence of depression, they didn't control for its severity, and the latter could be correlated with who used an antidepressant.

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OC ACXLW AI interpretability Breakthrough from anthropic 11/11/23

Hello Folks!

We are excited to announce the 48th Orange County ACX/LW meetup, happening this Saturday and most Saturdays thereafter.

Host: Michael Michalchik

Email: michaelmichalchik@gmail.com (For questions or requests)

Location: 1970 Port Laurent Place

(949) 375-2045

Date: Saturday, Nov 11, 2023

Time: 2 PM

Conversation Starters :

The first concrete step towards AI alignment and safety and our ability to make it highly useful?!

Journal club video:


Community Paper Reading: Decomposing Language Models Into Understandable Components

Short paper walkthrough:


Anthropic Solved Interpretability?

The Paper itself: https://transformer-circuits.pub/2023/monosemantic-features/index.html

Zvi Moshowitz reports on the Paper:


Zvi Moshowitz reports on the reactions to the Paper:


This is a chatGPT glossary and brief overview of the ideas:


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There's a desire to quantify morality around these parts. Here's the question I've been asking about the current Israel/Gaza crisis when trying to figure out "what's right."

A common question to ask is "to the Israeli government, all other things being equal, how many Gazan civilians are acceptable collateral damage to kill one Hamas soldier/commander/leader?" But what I'd really like to know is, how many Israeli **soldiers** would the Israeli government be willing to lose in order to accomplish the same objective with one less civilian casualty? I wonder if military leadership has explicit answers to both of these questions (I hope they do).

What originally made me think down these lines are the last two decades of American wars in the middle east. Drone warfare was common as a way to kill enemy combatants without American casualties. Drones (and bombs generally) seem like an imprecise weapon compared with a human-held gun. In general, a horrible consequence of long-range warfare has been a dehumanization of conflict. Great for the people who don't have to see death, but sad for those whose death can be just a dot on a screen.

Now in Gaza a similar question is raised. Let's take it as a premise that Israel needs to dismantle Hamas. They can do it with a combination of methods, such as siege, bombing, ground invasion. Waiting allows civilians to evacuate, but maybe Hamas to fortify. Bombs are risk-free for Israel but despite best efforts catch civilians in the destruction. Ground invasion is slower, and puts Israeli lives at risk, but on the surface at least seems safer for the citizens of the city. There's some sort of Pareto curve between "our troops," "our objectives," and "collateral damage" that any army indirectly respects. I would really love to hear a government official be clear about their perspective on these tradeoffs, and barring that, all of your thoughts. From the outside it seems to me that Israel leans too far in the bombing direction when considering these tradeoffs -- to maintain the moral upper hand I think a government should value one of its soldier's lives at maybe the same level as an enemy civilian, even taking the destruction of Hamas as a positive.

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Israel is also surrounded by enemies; the death of one soldier in this war is the death of two or three or ten in the next one.

Also Israel has compulsory military service; the soldiers ARE the civilians.

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> Also Israel has compulsory military service; the soldiers ARE the civilians.

Wouldn't this undermine the Israeli claim that all 1400+ who died on Oct 7th and its aftermath were civilians ? If we accept that 10000+ Palestinian deaths because "Hamas is hiding amongst them", why not also accept the 1400+ Israeli deaths because "IDF is hiding amongst them" ?

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...no? That'd be like saying you can't tell schoolteachers from students. Or the difference between a student and someone driving by the school. Everyone has to pass through it, but you're clearly labelled as "in" or "out".

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You wrote " the soldiers ARE the civilians.", but now you say there's a difference between them. Which is which ?

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"You say the coats belong to the people in the house, but now you say the coats belong to individuals. Which is which?"

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That actually doesn't make any sense.

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The two most notable Arab neighbors of Israel have peace treaties with it and haven't fought wars with it for 50 years.

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Eh? I think the most notable Arab neighbor of Israel of late would be Palestine.

How would you characterize the relationship it has with Israel right now?

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It's hard to call Palestine a neighbor when Israel doesn't recognize its independence. I was referring to Jordan and Egypt, of course.

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Jordan and Egypt notwithstanding, having a region near you from which people like to attack you isn't a place you needn't monitor with soldiers, simply because someone says you can't call it "neighbor".

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Thanks for the response.

> the death of one soldier in this war is the death of two or three or ten in the next one

I've been viewing this conflict mostly in the isolated light of Israel-vs-Hamas, where despite Oct 7, it's pretty inconcievable that Hamas does any further substantial damage to Israel. But it's a fair point that they need to maintain resources for the future.

> the soldiers ARE the civilians

I think that changes the ratio but to me not the premise. The common phrasing of "worth the cost" is "civilians vs enemy combatants", but there's a real way in which this calculus can be nothing more than optics since neither directly harm the deciding body (Israeli government). The question is, what actual price are they willing to pay to achieve their goals.

And before anyone makes that annoying comment, I'm well aware of Hamas's preferred ratio, which involves dividing by zero or maybe a negative number.

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There is no rational calculus to measure the body count needed to achieve victory in war.

Life becomes pitifully cheap -- down to an industrial scale of slaughter, with entire ethnicities methodically lined up and shot into trenches. Down to Gallipoli.

But Israel isn't fighting soldiers or even revolutionists; it's fighting terrorists. If the United Nations truly wanted to save lives, they'd help the U. S. and Israel form an international coalition to eradicate Hamas, Hezbollah, and all criminal terrorist groups.

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> it's fighting terrorists.

Meaningless word with no objective definition.

> Hamas, Hezbollah, and all criminal terrorist groups.

Don't forget the Israeli West Bank settlers too.

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Of course Israeli life is already worth less than zero to Hamas. But what about the reverse?

I think the situation you describe above applies in two cases. One is when the perpetrating body is monsterous (Hamas, Nazi Germany). The other is in a war of survival. If valuing the lives of enemy non-combatants puts your state at risk of eradication, it's not surprising and maybe even sensible to put a price tag near zero on it.

I'm asking this question from the premise that this isn't the case with Israel and Hamas. As I see it, in the short term Israel is at almost zero future risk from Hamas specifically. They have the support of the US, as well as overwhelming military superiority. They're not fighting Hamas for their statehood but for their future security. That's not to discount the atrocity -- its just that Hamas can't really cause much damage barring a sneak attack. To me that means Israel is at more liberty to be thoughtful rather than maximal in their response.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I shouldn't take Israel's victory as inevitable. And as other commenters pointed out, Hamas isn't their only regional enemy. Though given the current world opinion, it does seem like they may be acting against their interests with their current approach.

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"If the United Nations truly wanted to save lives, they'd help the U. S. and Israel form an international coalition to eradicate Hamas, Hezbollah, and all criminal terrorist groups."

How many civilians would die in the process?

How many centuries would it be until the death toll from hamas, hezbollah and "all criminal terrorist groups" exceeds the death toll from eradicating these groups? Because make no mistake, it would take CENTURIES before a single net life has been saved.

Or are you going to spin some sad story about hamas being on the verge of holocausting all Israelis?

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Also, I imagine all of the civilian causalities would work very well to increase the support for extremists and terrorists in the affected civilian population, likely increasing supply of terrorists and support for terrorist organizations in the future.

A better approach would be to try to elevate the life prospects and comfort of the civilians to the point where they will not be interested in joining or supporting terrorists.

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You also have to take into consideration that this is probabilistic. So while the definite case is interesting (how many civilians for how one Hamas soldier), the actual choice is closer to accepting or rejecting a probability distribution.

That brings in variables like the variance - strikes which are expected to kill the same number of civilians might be very different in the tails.

Additionally, the nightmare scenario for Israel isn't typically death of its soldiers - it's capture. So you might be willing to kill, say, 5 civilians to avoid 1 soldier death, but 15 civilians to avoid one soldier's capture.

It's a grisly kind of math. One I'm glad I never have to make.

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> "[T]o maintain the moral upper hand I think a government should value one of its soldier's lives at maybe the same level as an enemy civilian"

This logic is nice and well-intentioned and idealistic. It's also responsible for probably millions of civilian deaths in the past 100 years. The logic is great if both sides follow it (for the most part; see notes below about the fuzzy lines around 'civilian'). It breaks down when up against someone that doesn't follow it, specifically, someone that values killing your people more than they value the lives of their own. At the 'perfect sphere on frictionless surface logic' level, it's simple math; if I am willing and able to trade one of my civilians per one of your military, I can win any war against any country that is the same size or smaller. At a more realistic level, you're eventually going to run into an enemy that shields his critical infrastructure under a wall of civilian bodies, and be forced to make a choice: international condemnation when the pictures of bodies hit the media, or a bunch of flag-draped caskets and 'we regret to inform you' letters to grieving families.

In a perfect world, the code that minimizes civilian casualties is: we will kill just enough people to stop you from killing any more of us, and not one more person. It works regardless of what moral code your opponents use. It works reflexively; it encourages and rewards opponents adopting the same code. In the real world, it's still vulnerable to mistakes and false flags, alas, but any code is vulnerable to those. Best of all, when it works, it works: if you don't start a war, then the number of your people I need to kill is zero (and if you started a war, there's a simple way to protect your people: surrender).

As far as civilians go, there is no solid line between civilians and military. Ultimately, at the ends, it's easy to make some distinctions, you'd much rather kill an enemy soldier on the front line than an enemy child. At the middle, it's much harder. In the US military, there are specialized transport units, which, being military, are valid targets. Would we be better off if we made those civilians and thus immune to attacks from 'moral' opponents? What about law enforcement and intelligence services? Is it really better for me to kill 10,000 enemy soldiers than 100 enemy workers in a critical munitions factory? These are hard questions, because there is no good answer.

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I'd be curious whether ground warfare is truly less impactful from a civilian casualty perspective than boots on the ground. At the point a trigger is pulled on a rifle, there will certainly be less collateral than if a drone drops a bomb on the same target- but first you have to *bring* the man with the rifle to a point where he can take aim, and that means going around or through whatever defenses, terrain, and civilian structures are in his path.

If the territory is already controlled by his military, and he can travel to the objective uncontested, that's one thing, but if the troops have to fight their way there using tanks, artillery, mortars, etc, a single bomb dropped on a structure, even if it causes a dozen civilian casualties in the process, might well be less catastrophic than sending ground forces to it.

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Also, when the guy with a rifle feels he needs to shoot something, he probably feels that he needs to shoot it *right now*. The drone operator can take their time, wait and see what develops, call in a colleague for a second opinion, run it by legal, etc.

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That's true at least in theory. Drones and ultra-long-range warfare still has the problems I described above, but the main tradeoff I'm talking about mostly relates to guns versus bombs.

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I would love to see Scott write about the Israel Gaza situation and the ideological schisms the West is going through at the moment. I know there probably isnt much original discussion to be had on the topic but I would love a classic Scott greypill.

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I think it's becoming increasingly risky for the personal relationships of professional class people in America to offer even a kind of meta-commentary about the discourse itself and how it cuts through existing positions.

That said, I agree that it would be very welcome to have some thoughtful analysis of how easily the illiberal rhetorical tools and positioning of the existence of opposing speech as acts of inherent bigotry and violence has cross-pollinated, not to mention the sudden shift in who now supports the fusion of state and corporate power to censor collaboratively.

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Is there some backstory as to why effective altruism generates such a strong reaction to some people such that there's a parade of articles trying to "expose" or "unmask" it and its followers? Personally, I don't care much about effective altruism, and as a result I am mostly indifferent towards it. The strongly negative reactions in a sizeable number of presumably intellectuals or otherwise educated people suggests there's some motivation that I'm unaware of. Does anyone have an explainer?

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You may be interested in the book "Strangers Drowning" (https://app.thestorygraph.com/books/ded6df13-350e-4da4-9f87-42964610cc98), which explores both the lives and motivations of extreme altruists (generally of the dedicate-your-life variety, but EA has a chapter in there) as well as some societal factors that effect a negative perception of "do-gooders".

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I mean, people who accept the repugnant conclusion are basically saying that, given the opportunity, they would (figuratively) tax away all of your excess standard of living and give it to billions of hypothetical people.

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One problem for EA is that some of its leading lights are apparently extremely easy to trick or to bribe, which tells us that as a system of thought it's something like being a communist; potentially laudable when practiced by an individual or within well-defined and narrowly scoped objectives (like literacy or malaria nets), but easily leveraged as moral camouflage by bad actors when attempted at scale.

The EA community does not yet seem to have gone through any kind of serious reckoning or re-evaluation, so again I would say its closest antecedents are something like libertarianism or communism. The more honest libertarians and communists you meet in everyday life, the more important it becomes to expose that the ones who rise to the top of those communities and make decisions within them tend to be sociopaths, conmen, or formerly principled people whose actions have begun to drift further and further from their stated ideals.

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Not a full explanation, but the fact that a lot of the fuss is headlined as "Tech Billionaires Cult" or "Silicon Valley Ideology" makes me suspect some outgroup hostility. And it's even worse because the outgroup is pretending to share our values! (improving the lives of those who are worse off through charity). It reads like They are trying to sneak some weirdo technophile agenda past innocent prospective do-gooders under the guise of effectiveness, altruism, and weird philosophical arguments, and must be stopped.

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It's a serious attempt to bring something that was usually done quite emotionally and intuitively into the realm of rationality. Which means that:

0. It brings some extra clarity in how effective different ways of giving money are in terms of suffering averted, and motivates enterprising young people to direct their efforts there. That's the part that basically no-one seriously objects to. But:

1. It implicitly ignores or belittles the pre-existing rational thought and institutional wisdom that went into traditional NGOs and charity organizations. (Not taking sides here, I'm sure the quality of that accumulated wisdom was quite variable.)

2. It raises the stakes for everybody else. If all of a sudden most of my friends are giving 10%+ and some of them are donating kidneys to unknowns, maybe your random yearly donation to a friend-of-a-friend's school in Nepal doesn't feel like actually doing much. For all the talk we like to have about first principles, remember that in practice our sense of morality is basically calibrated on your social surroundings.

3. Remember the catchphrase "dreams of reason produce monsters"? (No, I don't mean the Mick Karn album, but it's awesome anyway - google it). So-called rational thought is only one small part of what our minds actually do, and since it basically consists of symbol manipulation, it can easily go out far out into realms far away from anyone's living experience, yet still appear hugely convincing. In the case of the EA movement, as far as I've been able to watch from a distance, it seems to have been abducted into "long-termism", which is the belief that we can make educated guesses about the far future and plan courses of action accordingly. Couple that with some utilitarian felicity-calculus involving potentially huge future populations that will not be born for generations or centuries, and you end up with a moral compass quite at odds with those of the rest of the world.

I guess it's a bit of a motte and bailey, where the motte is sending anti-malrial mosquito nets and vaccines to poor areas of the Earth, and the bailey is all the long-termist stuff, often mixed with sci-fi scenarios of immortality through mind-uploading and the like.

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This does explain a lot, thanks. There are a few consistent patterns I've noticed when it comes to people's harsh reactions to certain moral frameworks. For one, people tend to have a visceral reaction against moral frameworks that make it hard *for them* to live a moral life. This seems to be a lot of the resistance to utilitarianism and Singer-style ethics. Ultimately ethics is to control other people, so placing harsh burdens on them is fine. But placing it on oneself is unconscionable must be fought against with your entire arsenal.

The other issue I've noticed is many people strongly object to favoring the welfare of hypothetical people over actual living people. This goes towards your point about morality, for them, being an expression of their emotions or intuitions. Their empathy isn't sparked by hypotheticals. They find it repugnant to favor hypothetical people over actual people in any moral calculus regardless of any claims about the relative quantity of suffering being averted. I guess EA is the perfect storm of the analytic encroaching on the once sacrosanct expression of human intuition. Those that find grotesque a moral calculus unmoored from intuition will feel a moral impetus to undermine it.

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There is also a fundamental theoretical problem with moral frameworks, which is that they get presented as hypotheses for what "real morality" is, in the same way that a speculative theory within physics gets presented and awaits further confirmation or disproof. But such confirmation or disproof is not forthcoming for a foundational moral framework, because unlike physics, the only thing we can test it against is another moral framework (explicit or implicit), not reality itself. So a moral framework end up sitting there in this weird corner claiming ultimate moral authority, while being actually subject to the higher authority of our strong feelings or intuitions, when they occasionally arise.

The purported benefit of a moral framework is that it first needs to match well enough with our intuitions that we may defer authority to it, and then think harder when its conclusions on tougher or edge-case situations are surprising or apparently unpalatable. But if you think about it, there's no particular reason why a framework that nicely describes 85% of our moral intuition must necessarily be "right" about the remaining 15%.

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I was looking at a comparison photo of USS Gerald Ford and a Nimitz-class carrier, and I realized why the redesigned island (it's smaller and further aft on the Ford) appealed to me:

The new carrier looks more like a Star Destroyer.

This amuses me greatly, though I would caution the Navy against adopting easily-targeted deflector shield generators located directly atop the island...

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Also why I'm disappointed the Zumwalt was cancelled. That stealth hull had some real Imperial energy.

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Nov 8, 2023·edited Nov 12, 2023

/Update 2023-11-12: it looks like I can probably get what I want using eww, Emacs's built-in text-only web browser. By default, eww lists only top-level comments, delimited by asterisks for easy isearch navigation, which is already an improvement over the Substack website./


Substack comment threads suck. Does anyone have a "Substack client" that makes them easier to read? This "client" could be a third-party site, native app, Emacs mode, GreaseMonkey script, whatever.


- Show only top-level comments by default, preferably only the first n characters.

- When expanding a top-level comment, expand only one level of replies, not the whole tree.

- Let me hide subtrees without scrolling to the bottom of the parent (which is where the official mobile app puts the hide button).

I know this probably violates the Substack terms of service, so no need to point that out. I'm happy to set up a fiddly hack on my own computer if that's what it takes.

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I just use the mobile web version on firefox android. Works quite well, if a bit slow on huge threads.

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> the Substack terms of service

Substack exposes an API that sends some bytes to my computer. Once I have those bytes, I can do absolutely whatever I want with them, including displaying them in any format I want. Substack does not have jurisdiction over how I, on my personal computer, manipulate the bytes they have sent to me, nor does any other website.

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Yeah, but HTML scraping is a pain in the ass. I was hoping to avoid doing that from scratch.

Legally, it looks like you're right; companies used to use the CFAA to prosecute people for TOS violations, but this Supreme Court decision appears to forbid that. I didn't notice the decision when they issued it in 2021. https://www.gtlaw.com/en/insights/2021/6/us-supreme-court-limits-scope-computer-fraud-and-abuse-act-violations-restrictions-digital-data

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What are some podcasts or Youtube channels where:

1) The show talks about current events and not just a niche non-political topics like Formula 1 or model aircraft

2) The host(s) are not partisan and provide equal time to left, center and right viewpoints

3) The show editors take feedback seriously and start each episode listing factual/logical mistakes made in the previous episode or at least maintain an extensive list of corrections on their website

Most shows that satisfy (1) utterly fail (2) and (3). The All In Podcast and Joe Rogan satisfy (2) but fails (3). Tom Scott's channel satisfies (3) but fails (2) when it comes to anything political.

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NPR's "left, right, and center" does a great job at 1) and 2). They don't literally satisfy 3, but the discussions are such that takery that would require corrections is relatively rare.

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Is this a joke?

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No, why would it be?

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I'd be surprised if you could find even one. I'd expect most such media to fail (3), such that you might start by looking for (3) first and then filtering.

The best I could do, meanwhile, is produce a list of near misses. OTTOMH:

* Adam Curry - No Agenda

* Krystal and Saagar - Breaking Points

* Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying - Dark Horse

* Russ Roberts - EconTalk

* Jeremy Lee Quinn - publicreport.org


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The recent rally in the stock market allowed me to dump some investments I'd been wanting to get rid of without having to eat much of a loss. How shall I reinvest the proceeds?

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This is an hour about highly coded evidence that Bored Ape Yacht Club is actually a 4chan white supremacist conspiracy. I'm not sure whether it was worth my time, let alone anyone else's, but the temptation to post it was strong.

It's a shame that those guys can apparently do some real damage instead of entirely playing elaborate games to prove how clever they are.

I'm reminded of a combination of _Brain Wave_ (an sf novel about the earth moving out of an astronomical stupidity field) and the Flynn effect. What happens if people are smarter but don't have good sense to guide their thinking?

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The big question would be the same as with all conspiracy theories speculating about the conspirators using hidden language, which is... why include all the esoteric stuff here again? I mean, the idea of someone starting a NFT collection as a scam to get a lot of money from dumb celebrities and spending it, presumably, to support Nazi stuff isn't completely implausible... but what would be the point of then suffusing it with Nazi stuff?

The conspiracy doesn't need to attract more participants in the core for the mission to happen, and any potential Nazis that might join after decoding the hidden symbolism would be the scammee, not the scammers. Doesn't sound very ideal.

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In the case of these people, they might do it for the fun of it. Perhaps this isn't the strongest explanation, but the more you have to spare, the more you can show off for each other.

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I suspect, for trolls, part of the fun is seeing what's the craziest thing they can convince people of.

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My prior on this hypothesis is very low, for a couple reasons.

First, I place an extremely low epistemological weight on "highly coded evidence". If I learned anything from high school English classes, it's that if you work hard enough at it you can read just about any meaning into any text. Particularly if the meaning you're looking for is white supremacy: enough people really, really want to find highly obfuscated white supremacy that there's a pretty extensive toolkit for inferring signs of it whether it's there or not.

And for 4chan in particular, this doesn't really seem like their style in a few respects, although they do have a history of going in for white supremacy themes in their "pranks". One thing that doesn't fit is that 4chan stuff usually has an element of wit that I don't really see here. Another is that 4chan tends to coordinate their stuff semi-publicly while it's ongoing and brag about it afterwards, which makes their involvement easy to verify if it's there.

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That's a very good answer, and I wish more of the Internet could come up with it so quickly.

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White supremacy is trivially present, always and everywhere, because... well... you can fill in the blank.

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I find myself thinking about inheritance now and again. One asset supposedly coming my way is a house - but it's unfortunately not easily accessible without a car (I don't drive), in a different city than where I live, and it's got at least a decade remaining of mortgage that I can't afford to pay on top of current rent. On the one hand, renting it out would obviously be profitable, given Bay Area housing market insanity. On the other hand...well, I don't actually want to be a landlord-by-necessity? Doubly so if it's tricky to visit the place and I'd never voluntarily owner-occupy it. Yet cashing out early by selling seems like just as bad an idea, opportunity costs aside. "It's better EV to take the annuity," every lotto winner thinks before taking their amortized of gold anyway.

Advice? Third options I'm not thinking of?

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If you had a comparable sum of cash to invest right now, would you be buying a Bay-Area house to manage as a rental/investment property? Is that even a close call?

There's your answer. If it's a close call, then the transaction costs probably point towards keeping the house and renting it out. Otherwise, take the money and run - ideally, towards the broker who will handle what you actually do thing is the presently-optimal investment strategy.

My siblings and I put our parents' house on the market as soon as probate cleared, sold it earlier this year, and no regrets.

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That's a good intuition pump. No, I wouldn't use that equivalent level of liquid boon for attempting such an endeavor; it'd need to be proper "fuck-you money" levels of wealth to achieve the aspirational Nice House I Can Casually Rent To My Friends So They Stop Having Rent Worries dream. Like, if I did hypothetically win a medium-sized lotto, that would go towards minmaxing investment accounts and optimizing tax burden...possibly some reduction in working hours, possibly some one-time capital investments for quality of life. But chasing a house? No, absolutely not, that'd be ridiculous.

I think a lot of it is just sour grapes over how the last inheritance event in family played out - grandparents had a properly-valuable house in a swanky community which everyone in the family actually did have strong attachments to. But none of us could be bothered to landlord it, so it got sold with some regrets. So me being encouraged to hold onto *this* house is a reprise of same drama. That's no basis to make a life-changing financial decision on though.

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I'll be curious to hear what you decide. I may face a similar choice soon. There's a friend of mine who moved away who's renting out her old condo through an agency, and I keep forgetting to get in touch and see how that's working out...

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A with-friends or with-family arrangement would work out just fine for me...unfortunately I don't have any roots in that town anymore, and the only family member who'd potentially be a good fit is inheriting the *other* property in same will. One property is quite a lot to deal with already, I seriously doubt he'd want to manage two houses in two entirely different states.

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I see no reason not to sell the property right away. Unless you have run the numbers, I would not assume it would be profitable to rent it out. In most places with high house prices, especially liberal areas with strong renter's rights, renting is not profitable but it defrays the costs of holding the property while it appreciates. So the "profit" is the capital gains appreciation of the house, not positive cash flow.

Sure you could hire a property manager and rent it out, but if you had the cash that you could get from selling it, would you be looking to buy a house to rent out? If not why would you do this?

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Hm - I naively figured that if the median rent for that area is substantially above the mortgage payment, then even after taxes and such it'd be a profit. But then I don't know anything about homeownership, so there's probably costs I'm missing. Don't have access to nonspeculative numbers, which I agree would help settle the question...family's not super transparent about that kind of information.

The place isn't valuable enough to turn into buy-an-SF-house (outright) kinds of money, even a mere condo here is like seven figures...it would have been possible some years ago, we'd actually discussed the possibility of selling that house to get one kid or other a starter home. But SF real estate appreciates faster than small-town housing can remain solvent, or whatever. Mostly I'm just trying to figure out the least Pareto painful way to part with an unwanted-yet-valuable gift, along both the financial and effort axes.

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It could be, but you have to figure in taxes, HOA, maintenance, vacancy, etc., plus either you use a property manager who takes ~10% or you invest your own time into it. Also median rent is not necessarily the rent you will get for this property. Then you have to consider how much equity you have in it and what kind of return you are getting on that equity. It may well be better to cash that equity in and invest it in something else. Presumably you have a stepped-up basis and won't have to pay capital gains taxes.

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Those two axes pretty clearly lead to, retain a local (*) realtor to sell the house.

(* local to the property, not to you)

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Yeah, leaning that way too. We've had no less than three dear family friends who were all skilled local realtors, emphasis on past tense though. Seeing how much still went into such transactions at the "you're my best bud so we'll waive this" level...I absolutely don't want to deal with that myself.

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It'll cut into your profits, but is there a rental management company that could take care of maintenance and monitoring the property for you?

If it's a trial for you to visit, it's going to be a huge pain for you to handle your responsibilities as a landlord. If it's in a nice enough neighborhood, maybe any tenants would be easy to work with and always pay their rent on time, but that's not always an easy process.

If you can get a reasonable amount of money out of it (mortgage not underwater, etc.), then have you considered using the proceeds to buy a house local to you, to rent it out? Is there some kind of attachment to that particular house?

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Hadn't thought of that, but it might not be a large enough town to have one...it's the kind of service I'd expect to find in a proper city, not somewhere with <15k population. The place is a condo with an HOA and all that - they only take care of major things like roofing though, not responsible for clogged toilets or rodents or the myriad other landlord-y problems.

Place isn't valuable enough to trade in for an in-SF house. I mean the proceeds could be used to take out a new mortgage on something here, it'd be enough for down payment of course. But that's a one-time thing, my income would still be retail-grunt puny, so it just changes to a different Sword of Damocles. Definitely not attached whatsoever, that house has nothing but bad memories (which is also a strike against landlording for it, now that you bring it up). Hmm.

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In an early-2023 survey of 55,000 college students:

- 72% of Jewish Students wanted to censor criticism of BLM.

- 74% of Jewish Students did not want to censor antiwhite speech.


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Why highlight the Jewish statistics here? They aren't an outlier or even the highest percentages (that goes to "Atheist" at 76% and 85%), and the *lowest* anti-anti-BLM percentage is 59% (Mormons) - this data says a lot about the state of free speech in colleges, but very little about Jewish students in particular.

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Because jews expect us to support a violent, jewish ethnonationalist state doing whatever it wants, while also being strongly in favor of promoting hatred against gentile whites.

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What do you have in mind for promoting hatred against gentile whites?

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This is an inflammatory comment which fairly clearly crosses the line between sloppy description and intentional malice.

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Some do. A lot of American Jews are not huge fans of Israel

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The polls I've seen show a higher share of Jewish Americans supporting BDS than non-Jewish Americans. https://jewishcurrents.org/recent-polls-of-us-jews-reflect-polarized-community.

As noted there, a 2022 poll of Jewish Americans found that 68% of them supported restricting aid to Israel so that it couldn't be used to expand Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, as opposed to "supporting a violent ethnonationalist state doing whatever it wants."

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Also, the phrases compared were "Black Lives Matter is a hate group" and "Structural racism maintains inequality by promoting white privilege" - pretty poor equivalents. It's debatable, frankly, whether the latter even constitutes "anti-white speech" a phrase which strikes me as more of an inflammatory elaboration on the statement it references than a concise summary of it.

Better points of comparison would have been something like:

"Black Lives Matter is a hate group" vs "Turning Point is a hate group,"

"Structural racism maintains inequality protecting white privilege" vs "Cultural differences account for at least part of the disparity in racial outcomes in the US"

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Nov 8, 2023·edited Nov 8, 2023

>pretty poor equivalents.

Oh really? Let's see how a "Jewish privilege" speaker get anywhere NEAR a college campus! There is absolute no way in hell that "jewish privielge" wouldn't be shouted down as "anti-semtism", so you can't sit there and tell me that "white privilege" isn't anti-white.

Take almost anything that gets called 'anti-semitic', replace 'jews' with 'whites', and what you're left with is almost certainly politically acceptable, if not actively taught at collges.

And that's the entire point!

Jews expect us to fund and support a jewish ethnonationalist state, they strongly support people's lives being destroyed for being 'anti-semitic', and then at the same time they strongly support anything that's anti-white.

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Nov 8, 2023·edited Nov 8, 2023

>>Jews expect us to fund and support a jewish ethnonationalist state, they strongly support people's lives being destroyed for being 'anti-semitic', and then at the same time they strongly support anything that's anti-white.

Actually, American Jews' views of Israel are mixed, and if you look at actual data (https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2021/05/21/u-s-jews-have-widely-differing-views-on-israel/ft_21-05-20_usjews_israel_news/), the least supportive members of the Jewish community are exactly the college students who were surveyed for the original graphic you posted.

Only 48% of Jewish people aged 18-29 say they feel "very" or "somewhat" attached to Israel. Asked if "caring about Israel is essential to what being Jewish means to them," that number drops to 35%. And it gets lower for things like "opposes the BDS movement" or "Believe that God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people."

If you have better data on this that's more on point then by all means share, but from what I'm seeing it looks like when you say "look at this hypocritical Jewish college-student, he expects us to fund a Jewish ethnonationalist state!" odds appear to be good that he does not in fact expect that and you're just tilting at windmills.

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Nov 8, 2023·edited Nov 8, 2023

>>There is absolute no way in hell that "Jewish privilege" wouldn't be shouted down as "antisemitism", so you can't sit there and tell me that "white privilege" isn't anti-white.

Are you saying that you define an "anti-white statement" as "a statement for which, if you swap 'white' for 'Jew," a Jewish person would call it 'antisemitic?" Just how authoritative do you think Jewish opinion is? What happens when the Jewish community disagrees about a particular statement?

It seems to me that's a poor way to define things. "A hamburger is a sandwich made with ground beef" will tend to serve a lot better as a definition than "a hamburger is a thing a Jewish person would call a hamburger."

I think we can distinguish between a statement which presents a fact, or at least a theory ("white people have economic & social advantages in the US," "black couples are more likely to divorce," etc), and a statement which is vague innuendo or little more than a smear ("black lives matter is a hate group," "white people are all racist").

The latter strike me as more suitable to being called "antiwhite," or "antiblack," etc, but the phrase "Structural racism maintains inequality by promoting white privilege" seems, to me, to be decidedly the former, not all that much different from something like "minimum wage actually harms communities it is meant to help," or "men generally prefer to work with things, women with people."

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Nov 8, 2023·edited Nov 8, 2023

There's is no chance in hell a talk about "jewish privilege" WOULDN'T be roundly condemned as "anti-semitic", you're simply divorced from reality if you think this isn't the case. Literally no chance whatsoever. "Jewish privilege" is an unacceptable concept. There is no chance a book about "Jewish privilege" would EVER be published by a large reputable publisher in the US, no chance that there could ever be courses at prestigious universities about 'dismantling jewishness', and even just pointing out the FACT that jews are overrepresented in almost all american institutions is a good way to ruin your career.

And how is "black lives is a hate group" a "smear"? If they do and say hateful things (like literally saying white people are subhuman: https://www.audacy.com/newsradiowrva/blogs/jeff-katz/blm-leader-calls-white-people-subhuman-genetic-defects), they're a hate group.

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Also, the question was not "Should this be censored", it was "Should this speaker be allowed at campus".

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Nov 8, 2023·edited Nov 8, 2023

Yes, OBVIOUSLY what I mean was "censored at colleges". And if a speaker isn't allowed at a campus because of their views, then their views are being censored at colleges.

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LOL -- so other than all that, the original commenter's summary was spot-on?

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An enthusiast with a bad idea ended up with the navy spending $100 billion on a ship that can't even travel well on the ocean. A tale of all the normal barriers failing which should prevent something this stupid.

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Here's bean's take, which seems to have less of an axe to grind?




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Tbf even though Bean is less negative I’d still characterize that take as very very negative

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It's negative, but it feels more as though he's done some investigating and drawn a conclusion which happens to be overall negative. Whereas the Propublica article feels a bit more like a hit piece.

That's just my subjective impression, though.

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Nov 7, 2023·edited Nov 7, 2023

I'm not speaking from a place of personal knowledge, but based on the limited amount I do know about the Navy, I think ProPublica is being used.

Virtually every single criticism they levy against the LCS is that it isn't an aircraft carrier. It can't travel far, it's not heavily armored, it doesn't have enough crew, it can't fight everything that comes its way.

From what I've read (which is one book from the eighties that I picked up at a thrift store), the Navy loves aircraft carriers. They want really big ships that can do everything and cost a ton of money. For virtually all of the Navy's history, mavericks and outsiders have been saying that aircraft carriers are too expensive and that we should invest in cheaper, smaller, more specialized ships. Ships like the LCS.

Of course, the establishment in the Navy hates these ships. They're small. They're weak. Pro Publica dutifully reports this, and reports that, in the end, the Navy made the commonsense decision to make even bigger, more heavily armored, more expensive ships.

Maybe that was the correct call. I'm no expert on modern naval warfare.

But after every sentence in that article, I challenge you to ask "What's the Navy's preferred alternative and would it cost less for the American taxpayer?" It really seems like Pro Publica is (intentionally or not) carrying water for the military industrial complex.

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Except the LCS kind of is a (small) aircraft carrier. Helicopters are aircraft, and pretty much the only thing an LCS does well is support two multirole helicopters on a smaller, cheaper platform than anything else we've got. And helicopters are arguably the most important system most modern warships carry, so that's not nothing.

The problem is, the LCS is a ridiculously expensive forty-knot helipad that fails at every other aspect of actually being a warship, for the sake of being able to ferry around helicopters at 40 knots rather than 20. For the cost of an American LCS, the Danish navy can buy two Absalon-class frigates, that can each carry two multirole helicopters and a whole lot more in the range of real-warship capabilties. They just can't do it at 40 knots (but they can cover twice as much distance, each, at 20 knots).

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Discussion of the article: https://www.metafilter.com/201297/Little-Crappy-Ship

The first comment basically makes your point. Then there are several comments from people who actually worked with the boats who say the LCBs really are that awful.

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I think it's important to distinguish two things that make boats awful. One is that the boats have an awful design. The second is that the boats have an okay design, but they aren't given an operational budget to make the boat work.

From what I've read, the Navy absolutely hates spending money on operations. They want all their funding to go to new boats, not to making the old boats run. As a result, you get the reduced crew levels, the lack of spare parts, the constant churn of sailors, etc.

So virtually everyone agrees that there are problems at the Navy. We just disagree on what the problems are. The ProPublica article seems to uncritically repeat the criticisms mostly commonly levied by the Navy's establishment - that the service needs larger, more heavily armored, more heavily armed, more expensive boats.

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Nov 7, 2023·edited Nov 7, 2023

There's one thing a carrier does that no other ship can do: be a mobile base for a load of high-performance, fixed-wing aircraft. High-performance, fixed-wing aircraft are an extremely useful tool if you want to be a military superpower, and mobile bases that can be deployed within a few weeks notice to any part of the world's oceans are a very useful tool if you want to be a *global* military superpower.

There are some aspects of a carrier's capabilities that can be replaced with other, more specialized ships, but there's no set of ships that can provide *everything* a carrier provides. I guess that's why the US Navy loves them so much.

As always, Perun has made an excellent video on this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv2C6EZW3Oc

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The idea, as I understand it, behind the LCS was that it was going to do some of the things that carriers couldn't do. Changing down dinghies in the Persian Gulf isn't really a carrier role.

Of course, chasing down dinghies in the Persian Gulf isn't why anyone joins the Navy. It's certainly not a fast track to becoming an admiral. Hence no one liked the LCS except the cost-cutters. Once they got rotated out, the program got cut and replaced with much bigger, stronger boats.

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But the USN has always had a bunch of small, fast, relatively cheap ships; like most other navies around the world they called them frigates. The Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates were very boring and non sci-fi looking ships but the US had 51 of them and sold another 26 to other eight countries. Most of those countries still operate them, but the US got rid of all its frigates in the 2010s in favour of Littoral Combat Ships. Now, the US Navy has no frigates left (apart from the USS Constitution, which is somewhat lacking in capability compared to more modern types).

Now that the LCS program hasn't worked out, the USN has scrambled to quickly acquire some normal frigates again, and decided to invest in an already-working European design (FREMM) rather than try anything novel or fancy this time. (Admittedly this new frigate is about twice the size of a LCS or a Perry class frigate but this seems to be the way things are going these days).

So I don't think it has anything to do with the Navy hating the idea of anything smaller than a destroyer. Instead it seems like a classic case of "good on paper" ideas versus "tried and true" concepts.

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Yeah, this is a story of the U.S. Navy trying to economize - trying to downsize - and it not working. All the people who thought they could constrain the Navy's bloat were wrong. The lesson is that we need to listen to the Naval establishment and not try to get them to accept smaller, more modular ships in an effort to cut costs.

Maybe that's the truth - again, I really make no claim to being the next Horatio Nelson - but it's a weird story for Pro Publica to write. It's even weirder that they tried to dress it up as the Navy being wasteful, when it's quite literally a story about the failures of anti-waste crusaders.

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Nov 7, 2023·edited Nov 7, 2023

What are the arguments that have caused corporal punishment to go out of fashion in this day and age? Is the issue that it's too likely to traumatize the child, or that it's not actually effective, or that it's damaging to the relationship between the child and their caregiver, or what? (Obviously it could be multiple things.) I'm asking because I frequently see psychological put-downs being promoted instead (e.g. timeout, being sent to your room, etc) -- but to the extent that they're more effective, they presumably are more unpleasant to the child; so what's the advantage?

ETA: I'm not asking for an argument for why I shouldn't beat up my children; among other things, something would have to go very wrong for me to be relying on advice from strangers on the internet for this. I'm wondering about the history of how society recently transitioned from corporal punishment being the norm to it being very much not the norm.

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"to the extent that they're more effective, they presumably are more unpleasant to the child"

-- this is not obviously true, at all. The claim can be either they are as effective with less unpleasantness, or more effective with the same unpleasantness, or both.

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Depending on the child and how each are administered, a child may be very upset and *also* not internalize the necessary message with something like time out, but would remember more easily and get punished far less with a spanking.

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Nov 7, 2023·edited Nov 8, 2023

Without researching this, I would guess it wasn't about arguments - let alone some particular argument. Rather, it seems like part of a larger shift towards viewing different groups as having privilege that had previously only been held by other groups.

In the case of children, that was a shift towards viewing them as a group that had to be treated more like adults than they previously were. An adult may need punishment, but corporal punishment has long been viewed as more taboo for adults than other types of punishments.

This shift extended more of the privilege of adulthood to children.

Other examples of such shifts include treating women with more of the privileges of men, treating other races with more of the privileges of favored races, and treating animals with more of the privileges that had previously been reserved for humans - e.g. recognizing that animal cruelty was problematic conceptually.

These shifts are not binary, of course and they can continue to develop both in scope and ubiquity.

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> An adult may need punishment, but corporal punishment has long been viewed as more taboo for adults than other types of punishments

Not _that_ long. In the UK, judicial corporal punishment wasn't abolished until 1948, and in prisons wasn't abolished until 1962. In the US it was last used in 1952.

I'm a big proponent of corporal punishment for petty crimes like theft or vandalism, on the grounds that it's a punishment that hits everyone equally. A fine hits unevenly -- a rich person barely notices the money is gone, a very poor person never pays it anyway, and only people in the middle actually suffer from it. A prison sentence hits unevenly -- a short prison sentence is no great inconvenience for someone of the sort of class that's always in and out of prison anyway, but for an upper middle class person it's life-ruining. But six carefully-calibrated strokes of the cane, that's something that everyone can fear equally.

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In the interest of taking this seriously, I disagree that corporal punishment hits everyone equally (pardon the pun) - if nothing else, beating someone sick or elderly is more likely to do permenant harm than beating someone young and healthy. Even controlling for health and fitness, different people have different tolerances for violence. I've done martial arts, I expect I'd find the experience unpleasant but tolerable, similar to a fine I suppose, but other people would literally find it traumatic and get PTSD, and other people would brag to their friends about how they only got six lashes. I leave it up to you to picture these different people, but regardless of any other merits of corporal punishment I don't think it's necessarily more "fair" than prison - if you're the kind of person who regularly gets into fights I think any deterrance would be minimal and would mostly come from the humiliation of it.

Personally I feel like income adjusted fines are a pretty reasonable approach to petty crime, and there are non-violent ways to do humiliation if that's what we really want. Objectively I understand that being hit by a cane is less damaging than a prison sentance, but I object to it on a visceral level and don't think you'd be able to sell the public on it.

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I think corporal punishment breeds resentment and makes behavior problems worse, that is one reason. Also the world is getting softer and people encounter less brutality and are more uncomfortable with brutalizing children. I don't think that milder punishments are more effective because they are more unpleasant but because they are less unpleasant.

I think there is limited evidence that after-the-fact punishments and rewards "work" much at all (i.e. at changing behavior, not at satisfying a feeling of justice for the parent). Punishments established before the fact that the child knows they will receive if they do something they are not supposed to are pretty effective- the more definitely the child knows the rule, that they will be caught, and that the punishment will be applied, the more effective- and therefore rarely need to be applied. However the punishment does not need to be corporal to be effective and corporal punishment is distasteful.

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I imagine that there is a high danger of actually damaging the child physically. Even if you tried to figure out safe ways of corporal punishment, teachers in general are quite incompetent, so I would assume them to be incompetent at this, too.

It could attract the wrong kind of person to the teaching job. (Someone who enjoys hurting children.)

The problem with negative reinforcement in general is that the negative emotions are associated with *everything*, not just the one thing you wanted. What you want is negative emotions associated with whatever deserved the punishment. What you actually get is negative emotions associated with the thing that deserved the punishment + with getting caught + with the teacher doing the punishment + with the school in general + with learning in general. (And occasionally the teacher is wrong and punishes an innocent student, in which case the negative emotions are only associated with the teacher + school + education.)

In general, punishment rarely works. The actual reason it is popular is that it establishes clear status hierarchy: the one who punishes is higher status than the one being punished.

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Nov 7, 2023·edited Nov 7, 2023

That's a secondary reason that punishment is popular, and one which varies dramatically across cultures and across individuals within a culture. The primary reason by far, the universal one, is parents' desire to feel like they are tangibly doing something about whatever way it is that the child is screwing up. It is really impossible to convey to non-parents how powerful, how primal, that feeling can be.

Realizing that punishment rarely actually works and has high risks of unintended effects, and that other ways of dealing with misbehavior are more likely to work, all of which I completely agree with, is an _intellectual_ exercise. The desperate wish to feel like you are taking some sort of action to keep your kid from screwing up is _emotional_. In moments of crisis -- which a misbehaving child is for a parent to at least a small degree and sometimes a large one -- emotion tends to kick intellect's butt. For most human beings most of the time, anyway.

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I know that anecdotes don't prove much, but as someone who did experience corporal punishment as a child, I would have – at the time as well as know – prefer approaches that don't involve physical violence.

Most negative aspects of purely "psychological put-downs" are still present in corporal punishement. Actually, even more so present.

Standing in a corner is mostly just boring.

Say, you get punished deservedly. You probably know that it will happen. So you are waiting for it, full of guild. But also full of dread and helplessness and despair. And eventually the punishement comes. And then there's humiliation of being half naked, and humilitation of pain (on top the physical pain itself), and then there's humiliation of ugly crying and yelling which you could only avoid at first but not till the end, and it only gets worse if I keep describing the experience. It's degrading, and children are just as capable of feeling that as adults.

But what's worse is that you will get punished unfairly (or at least believe to be punished unfairly). The punishement will come as a surprise, as a betrayal. All the pain and suffering is so much harder to bear when you think it's unfair.

For me, that alone would be enough to rule the corporal punishment out, but it's only the tip of iceberg. Because these experiences are traumatic, and what's worse, most way to cope with that sort of trauma are unhealthy and have long lasting consequences. It's an easy way to apathy and depression and learned helplessness. On the other extreme, it's an easy way to lying and decieving and manipulating and taking all the wrong risks because you learned to bullshit your way out of the consequences. So effectively, it teaches all the wrong lessons.

Other form of punishements are never quite that cruel or unpleasant, unless you take them to absurd extremes (yeah, sitting in a dark room for a month would be worse that most beaitings, but come on now).

And that's even when you compare fairly light corporal punishement to the least violent alternatives, but corporal punishement can be so, so much worse.

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As an argument for why society moved away from corporal punishment, this seems to prove too much. Surely children always preferred not getting beaten, or for that matter not getting punished?

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Well, yeah I was not even attempting to answer that question in my previous comment, I just wanted to make from a specific perspective highlight why corporal punishement is not a good idea. And as it often happens, my explanation has little to do with reasons as to why it was mostly abandoned (then again, some societies did not really move away).

I don't think I'm quite qualified to answer your question, but I'll try to do just that to the best of my ability, in rather broad strokes.

One part of the story is that children died like flies in not so distant past.

>As recently as two centuries ago, around 1 in 2 children died before reaching the end of puberty.

So their preferences hardly mattered, but that's not even the main thing here.

First we need to look at bigger historical context, because corporal punishement for children is just a tip of the iceberg. The time when children were recieving corporal punishement, but adults were not is rather an anomaly.

Corporal punishement was just normal in most societies throught the history, just about anyone except for highest class in any given society could get punished physically in various ways.

There are not many ways to punish someone who does not own anything, imprisonment is costly, and death penalty is too extreme for most offences, and pain is a language what everyone understands.

But as you know the class systems mostly crumbled thanks to technological progress and enligthment values, and that led, among other things, to laws changing so that adults were not longer routinely corporaly punished. And then, eventually, we moved away from corporal punishment for children, too.

Of course this is not the whole story, details matter a lot, must surely be different for every country, and are worth stydying. But the general idea would probably hold if you dig deeper.

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I think you're greatly underestimating the extremes to which corporal punishment historically was used. In the beginning of the 20th century in Europe corporal punishment could include striking the hands to the point of unusability, forcing children to hold stress positions for hours or just straight up beatings. And that's were just what the schools were doing to unruly children. At the high end corporal punishment is literally torturing kids into behavior. The modern paradigm that children will rarely or never be struck by a parent is very much a response to these extremes rather than the minimal violence you'll see these days.

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A couple of thoughts. "In this day and age" makes it sound recent but - UK experience here - I was born in 1967, and I never came across any in-the-wild experience of corporal punishment. That covers in my own family, at school (including a very traditional minor public school), anecdotes from friends. I'm sure it was still in use in some schools and households in the 1970s but it was vestigial.

An obvious problem is that CP is a reasonably popular sexual fetish.

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Did CP being a popular sexual fetish play a part in moving away from it as a society? That would be interesting if true, but also I'd want some evidence.

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I don't think CP was a visibly popular fetish at the time society moved away from corporal punishment for e.g. schoolboys. I was at least aware of it myself, but I had weirdly diverse bits of knowledge and basically nobody else was talking about it in mundane circles.

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In addition to the things you mention, I expect part of it is about how it might affect the child's relationship to physical violence. For example, It seems plausible that being physically violent towards your child makes it more likely that they end up behaving violently towards other children, or in other relationships they later have, in a way that doesn't straightforwardly analogize to being put in time out.

It also seems plausible to me that corporal punishment, even if it is fine when practiced in an ideal way, more easily drifts into worse, abusive or dangerous practices than e.g. a timeout system when parents are non-ideal.

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Has it always been associated with lower class behavior, such that e.g. aristocratic children got less of it? Or is this only relevant in societies with a lot of social mobility?

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> aristocratic children got less of it?


See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whipping_boy

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Not clear: "There is little contemporary evidence for the existence of whipping boys, and evidence that some princes were indeed whipped by their tutors, although Nicholas Orme suggests that nobles might have been beaten less often than other pupils.[3] Some historians regard whipping boys as entirely mythical; others suggest they applied only in the case of a boy king, protected by divine right, and not to mere princes.[4]"

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Americans protesting against Israel seem to think that the US government has the power to stop the war in Gaza. Why do they believe this? The US could of course defeat Israel in a direct military confrontation but short of that it seems unlikely they could persuade Israel to end the war, even if they ended all support for Israel, because Israel doesn't need US support to defeat Iran and its proxies. Or am I wrong, and they do?

If for some unexpected reason the US were suddenly to support the Palestinian Cause instead of Israel, it stands to reason that China would quickly rush in to fill the void, as Israel would accept China as an ally given American abandonment, and China would have more to gain from having Israel as an ally than they'd have to lose by alienating current Arab allies. Or do you disagree?

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I'd say it's wishful thinking. Americans generally want the conflict to stop. America is the last superpower.

Too many movies have convinced Americans that Virtue Wins. They don't get that Movies Are Fiction Designed to Create Happy Endings.

So if we're virtuous and have power, it must be possible to use that power to get a good solution.

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Nov 8, 2023·edited Nov 8, 2023

Do you understand the US provides billions of dollars in aid and military equipment to Israel each and every year?

Do you understand that the US is in the process of authorising 13.6 BILLION DOLLARS in aid to israel as we speak?

Do you understand that the threat of US intervention is one of the main reasons other middle eastern countries leave it alone?

Do you understand we could treat Israel the way we're treating Russia and Iran and however many other countries?

Do you understand that the US's security council veto has been the only thing standing in the way of other countries punishing Israel?

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Yes to all.

See my response below regarding how a US threat to sanction Israel might go. Feel free to disagree with my intuition there.

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I've mostly seen arguments for stopping aid to Israel, especially military aid, and "calling for a ceasefire". Stopping aid seems possible and I understand why people would want that (though I am not at all able to evaluate the efficacy). I'm unclear on what good asking for everyone to please calm down would do. Same reason people wanted the US to declare a no-fly over Ukraine maybe? Like, "this is really bad and we have to do *something* so lets get the government to frown disapprovingly."

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> short of that it seems unlikely they could persuade Israel to end the war

They could start by not sending 2 aircraft carriers, 14.5 billion dollars of aid, and 2000 US marines to die on the shores of Gaza in a failed amphibian assault.

> am I wrong

You're, as evidenced by the fact that the gallant IDF is losing tanks and personnel to Palestinian militants wearing knockoff Adidas and carrying weapons costing less than $100. That's what it means to be a colony, you need constant lifelines of relief against the natives.

> seem to think that the US government has the power to stop the war in Gaza

They're not wrong, the 2021 unprovoked aggression on Gaza ended with a single phone call from Biden.

> it stands to reason that China would quickly rush in to fill the void

No they wouldn't. China doesn't have lobbies to bribe its politicians into sending billions of tax payer money into a foriegn apartheid. China wants markets, and the Arab market alone is larger than Israel several times over.

> China would have more to gain from having Israel as an ally than they'd have to lose by alienating current Arab allies

Such as ... ?

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Prediction: zero US marines will die on an amphibian assault on Gaza. (Because nobody is going to do this dumbass thing.)

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The "to die" wasn't expressing an expectation of future events, it was a paraphrase of a retired US colonel, supported by various OSINT accounts on twitter. Never supported by a mainstream news source, it's still slightly more credible in my book than a hearsay, and the wikipedia for the colonel doesn't give any easy reasons for dismissals.

Agreed that I should have preceded it by any uncertainty qualifier.

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The retired US colonel in question, is a dumbass. The retired US colonel in question, is *obviously* a dumbass. The person who decides, of all the possible authorities they could quote, to quote the obvious dumbass, is a what now?

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Stay Classy.

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Every post you make is an argument against you. "2000 US marines to die on the shores of Gaza in a failed amphibian assault" seriously??

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> 2000 US marines to die on the shores of Gaza in a failed amphibian assault

That's from retired US colonel, Douglas Macgregor in an interview with Tucker Carlson. The exact quote is "Shot To Pieces".

I certainly could have done better to indicate that this claim isn't as credible as the 2 preceding it and confirmed by mainstream news sources everywhere but given your indignant tone I have a feeling you're not as interested in dispassionate fact checking as trashing a post that offends your political leanings.

> Every post you make is an argument against you.

Yeah totally, which is why you picked one sub-point out of a point out of 5 points I made to get offended about and ignore the rest, because my posts are totally unconvincing and self-refuting.

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Maybe the local frogs and salamanders are more dangerous than we realize.

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When you give a country 300 billion dollars in aid and your security council veto is the only thing standing between that country and being subject to economic sanctions which would be far more airtight than those apartheid South Africa was subjected to, it's absurd to position that country as fully independent and autonomous.

There is no Israeli governmental source I am aware of that claims that Israel has no need for future military, economic, or political assistance from the United States. How did you arrive at this conclusion, and what research did you perform if any to reach this assertion? Similarly, how did you determine that an economy which has to import over 11 million barrels of oil a day would benefit by alienating those suppliers in favor of a military alliance with a country whose leaders have indicated they require large amounts of economic and military aid in order to survive?

Even being charitable, it doesn't seem like you've made much effort to gather information that's freely available to you.

If your question is really being asked in good faith, I think you would find reading about the 1956 Suez Crisis informative. How things played out there is an excellent example of how the US was able to, without any direct military force, override the combined political will of Israel, Britain, and France to bring about a rapid ceasefire and return to the status quo ante bellum.

Perhaps you've been misdirected by official US sources which tend to take these kinds of rhetorical hedges in order to deflect criticism and responsibility for any bad outcomes.

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To be clear, US aid to Israel is on the order of a few billion per year. The 300 billion number you quoted is one estimate (on the high end) of all aid ever given to Israel from the US.

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Republicans are currently trying to give it 13.6 billion

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The overall aid is the most important historical context: it's not as though this is a country which has done fine on its own and has recently hit problems. Rather, this is a country whose long-term foreign and domestic policies would be impossible to sustain without past and ongoing massive external assistance from the US.

In realpolitik terms, Israel is a client state of the US in the same way that Cuba was a client state of the Soviet Union: bound by ostensible common interests and ideology, but geographically remote and likely to experience a dramatic decline in living standards and military capabilities when the patron's economic priorities shift.

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>the only thing standing between that country and being subject to economic sanctions

Good point. Economic sanctions could cripple Israel's economy. A credible threat of sanctions could cause Netanyahu to end the war. Although my guess is that, given the historic support the US has provided Israel with up to the present moment (the 300 billion dollars to which you allude), such a sudden change of course would not be credible in the near run, as it would be the diplomatic equivalent of turning around a freight-train at high speed.

Even if Biden threatened Israel with economic sanctions tomorrow if it didn't end the war, and such threat were credible, it seems incredible to believe that Netanyahu would cave to such demands. He could, with reason, believe that such sanctions wouldn't last because such sanctions by Democrats would hand the presidency over to Trump, who would end the sanctions.

This conflict is dissimilar from the Suez Crisis in that Israel is responding to a terrorist attack and therefore its actions are not driven by cold logic and consequentialism but by patriotic fervor.

>how did you determine that an economy which has to import over 11 million barrels of oil a day would benefit by alienating those suppliers in favor of a military alliance with a country whose leaders have indicated they require large amounts of economic and military aid

The US currently backs Israel and yet there has been no oil embargo or even the threat of one by Saudi Arabia. Crown Prince Salman seems only interested in realpolitik. China also buys oil from Iran, but currently-sanctioned Iran needs China as a buyer at least as much as China needs Iran as a seller. Meanwhile China, which is spending like mad on growing its military specifically for battle with the USA, could gain a bit from Israeli intelligence on the US. With as many Israeli sympathizers as there are high up in the US government, it's hard to imagine Israel losing its intelligence pipeline from the US anytime within the next few decades. That would make an alliance with Israel a substantial military asset for China.

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China would have no benefit from Israel. They would absolutely not take that side. Probably they would take no side.

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Wouldn't they benefit from all the intelligence Israel has on the US?

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Just like the Arab countries would benefit from all the intelligence the US has on Israel, so Israel has an incentive to avoid starting the tit-for-tat.

And even if China entered into a one-time opportunistic fling with Israel to share intelligence, it won't be anywhere near as continued or as unconditional a type of support as the one the US has been giving since the start of quasi-parasitic relationship.

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In my moral universe, to reference "the Palestinian question" -- after the inhumane, criminal assault of Hamas against Jews and Israel on October 7 -- would disgrace the memory of those so viciously murdered in the racist attack, and materially support terrorism.

Hamas knew some American airheads and the 85% of pop media that lurch leftward would treat Jews as dreaded White People -- soulless, heterosexual colonialists -- and Hamas as the brave victim-of-color. Ah, the pretzel logic of 'progressivism'.

Don't even try to talk to me about Palestinians or 'Palestine' until all Hamas's leaders are reposing in Osama been Hidin' Land.

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In my moral universe, to reference "the Israeli question" -- after the inhumane, criminal assault of the IDF against Palestinians and Gaza during the 2018–2019 March of Return

-- would disgrace the memory of those so viciously murdered in the racist attack, and materially support terrorism.

Netanyahu knew some American airheads and the 85% of pop media that lurch both rightward and leftward would treat Arabs as dreaded Middle Eastern People -- soulless, Muslim savages -- and the IDF as the brave victim American Ally. Ah, the pretzel logic of 'Pro-Israel' supporters.

Don't even try to talk to me about Israelis or 'Israel' until all IDF's and the Israeli government leaders are reposing with Nazinuahu beneath the land.

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The problem here is that a ton of the people actually dying in Gaza are random Gazans who had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks on Oct 7. I don't have any great suggestions here--there's no way Israel is going to *not* respond militarily to that kind of attack, and there's no way to do that that doesn't kill a lot of civilians given how Hamas operates. But it is still legitimately terrible that a lot of Gazan civilians are dying in this war, just as it is legitimately terrible that a lot of Israeli civilians died in the attack that kicked the war off.

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Thousands of innocent civilians, really truly innocent and possibly larger in number than the Palestinian civilian casualties of this war to date, were killed horribly in Normandy on or about 6 Jun 1944. And then there's all the residents of Berlin in May 1954.

Sucks to be living in Gaza City these days, yes, but sometimes necessity trumps innocence. Which is to say, war sucks but most of us have decided a war is appropriate right now and all this terrible stuff is baked in to that already-made decision, now we just need to get on with it. Or at least to let the Israelis get on with it without our backseat driving.

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My point is that, initiating any conversation regarding is "the Palestinian question" at this time -- while Jews are still mourning and trying to recover those kidnapped -- is disrespectful and inappropriate.

It also supports and suggests approval of Hamas's assault, and therein actively participates in terrorism. Of course, Hamas knew all this would happen before they began.

What is alarming is how so many "activists" are so obliviously happy to participate, They make the January 6 crowd look like amateurs.

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When you use terms like "disrespectful" and "inappropriate" you are no longer making any kind of logical argument, you are instead making a fallacious argument based on an appeal to tradition or appeal to emotion as you interpret it.

You are no longer engaged in discussion and have now moved to threaten anyone who disagrees with you by implying they are terrorists who are actively participating in criminal acts simply by disagreeing with your contextual framing and moral timeline which starts history on October 7th 2023.

This kind of rhetoric is authoritarian, illiberal, irrational and contributes to the erosion of free speech as well as rule of law.

If argumentative fallacies and empirically false timelines are the best arguments Israel has for its policies, every younger intelligent israeli with the means to do so can be expected to voluntarily emigrate rather than remain ruled by irrational people who threaten rather than convince.

And indeed, this is exactly what is already happening, with over 50% of israelis under 34 expressing a desire to leave: https://www.israelhayom.com/2023/07/17/survey-finds-troubling-proportion-of-young-israelis-would-emigrate-if-they-could/

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Terrorist supporters and propagandists deserve their day in world court for war crimes against Jews.

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Israel has refused to sign the Rome Convention and is not a member of the ICC, so I assume the world court you're referring to is an imaginary one.

That said, I hope you keep your fantasies to the realm of pseudo-legality.

Please take it easy on yourself, you seem to be heading down the path of someone who could rationalize committing a mass shooting against people you've already dehumanized in your mind.

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Ok, so once someone denounces Hamas, as I would, as every policy maker already has, as everyone except for a handful of college students and pundits with no power already has, would you in turn denounce the israeli government and settlers for the 100+ murders of Palestinians in the west bank which is not controlled by Hamas in any way shape or form?

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Hamas and other terror groups operate in the West Bank, and even Fatah has a terror wing which claimed responsibility for killing a cop and four civilians near Tel Aviv last year. IDF and border police frequently come under attack in the West Bank. I wouldn’t assume that most Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank are civilians.

In the past, Israel has arrested and convicted settlers who’ve murdered Palestinians. I don’t know if this government intends to do that. It’s an awful government for many reasons, but if they’re ignoring settler murders that’s a deeper low than I expected.

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The Israeli government has indeed sunk this low, it is perhaps the least capable and most thuggish in all of Israel's history, it exists as a coalition to keep Netanyahu out of jail for corruption rather than to serve their national interest.


Ben Gvir is the current Israeli minister of national security as described by the Israeli press. Baruch Goldstein was an Israeli-American settler, mass murderer, and terrorist who espoused an ideology of genocidal theocracy.

If we don't take this as prima facie evidence that some members of the current Israeli government tacitly approve of settler violence and that existing legal rights are not being implemented in good faith, what more evidence would be needed?

The current Israeli cabinet contains extremists who are engaging in a suicidal policy of unrestrained violence and ethnic cleansing which ultimately compromises Israel's security and survival, according not to any foreign critic or alleged anti-semite, but rather the head of Shin Bet:


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Unfortunately I agree with all that. I don’t doubt that Ben Gvir wants the settler extremists to have carte blanche.

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Just today Netanyahu said it was necessary to reign in settler extremism and tried to distance himself from them, yet now it's unclear how much control he still has. The coalition he's leading is not the one he would've chosen based on their abilities or rationality, it's just the one he's stuck with in order to stay in power and out of prison.

I'm no fan of his and I think he's acted in ways which are callous, criminal, and against Israel's long term interests, but I would still credit him with being a political survivor who is trying to manage a bloody campaign to his advantage while avoiding apocalyptic escalation. Independently of what I think of his other actions, we have to hope he is able to succeed in that.

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> Israel has arrested and convicted settlers who’ve murdered Palestinians

With penalties never exceeding a year or two in prison. (for murder.)

More often than not the penalties are financial.

You should also look into the conviction rate of settlers and IDF personal accused, low single-digit.

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The murderers of Mohammed Abu Khdeir are serving life sentences

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Only one case out of all the thousands that heppened ?

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The US has been giving Israel a lot of financial and military aid. We could presumably stop doing that.

I'm also pretty dubious. I think that probably the Arab nations are better allies than Israel; my impression is that the US supports Israel largely because of Jewish and conservative Christian constituents, not for clear tactical reasons.

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>The US has been giving Israel a lot of financial and military aid. We could presumably stop doing that.

What would the results of doing that in this conflict be? Iranian proxies (and Iran) could send enough missiles to overwhelm Iron Dome without US military help. The result of that would likely be an Israeli nuke headed towards Tehran. It seems likely that US defensive help to support Iron Dome decreases the odds of Iran joining the war directly.

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Well how about we end it first and then see how it looks. If Israel is doing fucked up shit (they objectively are), then the first step is to stop actively supporting it, even if this wouldn't completely stop them doing what they're doing.

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A reason for not doing that is it could encourage Iranian aggression which could widen the war across the whole region. The US carriers are there to discourage that.

The US doesn't want a direct war between Israel and Iran for reasons that go beyond caring about Israel's interests. It's in US interests to prevent such a war because it could destabilize the region and send oil prices to $500 a barrel.

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> The US carriers are there to discourage that.

And what the 14.5 billion free money and the repeated Security Council vetos are there for ?

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