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187 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - "An unfortunate series... · 5 replies · -4 points

Actually, what I believe is that Journolist realized that Hilary's growing image as utterly corrupt was starting to reach the point where even MSM outlets were getting antsy, and decided Trump had to be seen as just as corrupt. (Since persuading the public that Hillary wasn't corrupt is basically impossible at this point.)

Now the talking points have been distributed, and magically the same line is popping up everywhere. Who knows, maybe it will work. But it's not Trump who desperately needs to be elected so that she can pardon herself. Hillary's legal peril is clearly worse.

A lot depends on whether the Republicans can make the case that, while Hillary actually solicited bribes, Trump was merely paying protection money.

187 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - The dignity of work · 2 replies · +2 points

What I'm saying, James, (And to NCGatSmFcts, actually.) is that talking about whether "poverty", as such, is just, is a category error. Poverty can be just or unjust, or merely a brute fact, in relation to particular people, but the phenomenon of poverty itself is neither just nor unjust, it merely is.

It's like men are mortal, "death" as such is not just or unjust, but somebody can be justly or unjustly killed. You don't know if any given instance is one, the other, or neither, until you inquire into the details.

Justice is not a mass noun. It is individual. That's all I was saying.

You know, Mark will probably delete this, as he doesn't want me commenting more than once on any given post. I only ventured to make this comment because you directly addressed me. I've included my email address in my profile if you really want to have a conversation.

187 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - The dignity of work · 4 replies · +2 points

I don't think poverty, as an abstract, is just, or unjust. How could you say such a thing of any given person, without knowing anything of his or her life story? And justice is unavoidably individual, in the details.

Surely there are people who are justly poor, (They had wealth and/or opportunity, and threw them away, or properly forfeited them.) there are people who are unjustly poor, (They had wealth and/or opportunity, and it was wrongly taken from them.) and there are people who are just poor, with neither justice nor injustice involved. Nobody took a thing from them.

Poverty, after all, is the default condition of mankind. It isn't poverty that requires explanation, but wealth.

Anyway, I think dignity is orthogonal to poverty/wealth. I've met dignified people who were dirt poor, the sort of poverty you never see in the US. I've met wealthy people who were clowns. Poverty and wealth have nothing to do with dignity, either way.

187 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - Wonkish note on ratifi... · 0 replies · +1 points

"So China or the USA or Vanuatu ratify the treaty when the paperwork is handed over to the Treaty Section of the UN Office of Legal Affairs, and not before."

And, to be further helpful, since the President seems to have developed some odd ideas on the topic, the USA ratifies a treaty when the Senate votes to ratify, and not before.*

*We didn't ratify the Vienna convention on the law of treaties, so, no, the President signing it has no legal significance. That the Vienna convention says otherwise is irrelevant, because, again, *we did not ratify it*. Try to understand that: The Constitution sets out the requirements for treaty ratification, and a convention we did not ratify does not amount even to law, let alone constitutional law.

The reason executive agreements don't require Senate ratification, is that they have no legal force. They simply represent a particular President's promise to act in a particular way insofar as domestic law permits. They aren't binding on subsequent Presidents or Congress, they're not even legally binding on the President who enters into them. They're the executive equivalent of a "pinkie promise".

So the Paris accord is utterly lacking in legal significance in the US, whether you regard it as a treaty or Executive agreement.

188 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - The Honorable Trade of... · 1 reply · +3 points

I've been a janitor, I've picked radishes. There's no work that's actually needed and wanted that isn't honorable.

I think that's something about the free market many people don't understand: In a free market, you prosper by doing things other people want. Business is inherently other-regarding, an exercise in empathy. Profit depends on understanding what other people want.

188 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - The University of Chic... · 5 replies · -5 points

"Just as sexual harassment is a form of expression which is nonetheless regulated to make it possible for women to function in the workplace"

Could you try to at least pretend these sorts of laws protect everybody? It's hard enough being a male in a country transitioning into matriarchy without having my face rubbed in the fact that I can't actually expect equal protection of the law. Watching my son suffer because virtually every teacher at his school is a woman, and they expect the little boys to act like little girls, or else. And, do you really think over 97% of elementary school teachers are now women by accident, rather than sex discrimination? But, eh, so what, sex discrimination only counts if it's against women.

Anyway, way to pretend there isn't any problem. That nobody is demanding that speakers they disagree with be disinvited, or abusively using claims of being "triggered" to attempt to censor discourse. You're teaching to the choir here, and I'm sure they'll love the tune.

188 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - Too young to wed · 0 replies · +6 points

I would think any age at all is too young to be wed involuntarily. Shouldn't that be the issue here? 16 is hardly so young as to be utterly inadmissible for a voluntary marriage.

188 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - The end of big trade d... · 2 replies · +2 points

"There is no need to bring in consumers; they benefit whatever the deal"

Do they? I mean, on average, sure, but you know about the camper in Alaska who fell across his camp fire; On average, he was comfortable.

Consumers are also workers. What happens to the textile worker in Portugal? Will he really manage to find a job at a vineyard? Will cheaper fabric compensate for being out of work? I mean, sure, the gains are enough to compensate the losses, but will they actually be used to compensate the losses, or will the losers just be out of luck, and the winners better off?

Part of the problem here stems from exactly that issue, I think. That, while in theory the gains are enough that the losers can be compensated in some manner, they don't actually get compensated, they just lose.

188 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - This is what "No enthu... · 1 reply · -2 points

Of course there's enthusiasm for Hillary. With the media portraying Trump as the reincarnation of der Führer, you could get up enthusiasm for Vito Corleone in drag. In fact, I think you have.

Oh, well. All good things come to an end, and the US was a good thing. I'm not under any illusions about how this election is likely to turn out. Most of the illusions are on your side of the aisle this year. But I think a few years of Hillary being in power will clear them up, God help us.

189 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - Questions for gun-righ... · 0 replies · +7 points

Perhaps Mark will let you see this: If you want to discuss the matter further with me, my email address is in my profile. Mark has reinstated the "Brett and only Brett is limited to one comment per post" rule.

This invitation is extended to anyone who thinks I don't have a response to their remarks.