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The Donald. 
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Post The Donald.
http://9gag.com/gag/apvw388?ref=fbp

Some good movie references in there. The following picture i found through google.

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Mon May 09, 2016 10:48 am
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Felix Rex
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We live in interesting times. Interesting times. Yes, interesting is a word. Another word would be "surrounded by droves of slobbering mouth-breathing idiots".

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Wed May 11, 2016 10:57 am
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Post Re: The Donald.
Nothing new, just another Reagan. Just another Bush. Another Cameron. Another Berlusconi.

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Wed May 25, 2016 7:43 am
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Felix Rex
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Post Re: The Donald.
I liked Reagan. :P He was crazy enough to intimidate the soviets. I'm good with that.

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Sat May 28, 2016 10:58 pm
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Post Re: The Donald.
Really? Reaganomics, banking and media deregulation, funding of Hussein and Bin-Laden, funding Khmer Rouge, Iran-Contra scandal, neglect of the AIDS epidemic.

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Sun May 29, 2016 2:37 pm
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Felix Rex
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Post Re: The Donald.
True. He also oversaw the collapse of the Soviet Union, the unification of Germany, the end of the Cold War... not that he was amazing or anything, but I can't think of a president in recent memory that was amazing. Maybe Clinton. :twisted:

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Tue May 31, 2016 10:26 am
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Post Re: The Donald.
As the general state of the world is getting calmer and more civilized, all the shit that goes wrong starts to noticeably outshine the things that go as planned. Not to mention the countless and limitless pseudo problems that surround us daily.

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Tue May 31, 2016 10:37 am
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Felix Rex
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Post Re: The Donald.
Yea, you're probably right. Most people don't remember this any more, but we had the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation hanging over our heads when I was a kid. All the crap that's going on now pales in comparison to the very real possibility of your city being vaporized. Stuff like terrorism or Zika or Ebola or whatever fades into the background against a threat like that.

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Tue May 31, 2016 10:48 am
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Post Re: The Donald.
I think "oversaw" is the key word, in that the USSR was by then already inevitably on its way out. The Berlin wall was a post USSR inevitability too. It is widely regarded that Reagan wasn't attributed to the fall of the USSR, and that in the end it was a question of macro-economics.

Regarding society, economics, and politics, i think complacency is a great way to corruption, loss of liberty, and neo-colonialism (including all it's murderous perks). If the second world war was a low point in civility, using that as a benchmark to define "problems" is inspirational to almost nothing.

To keep things into perspective, the threat of nuclear war during the cold war was inflated. McCarthyism had been around for a long while and had worked successfully in amplifying fear and mistrust for anything or anyone even remotely linked to communism. The idea of two countries slinging nuclear weapons against one another cancels itself out by the very definition of the requirements of those arms. Of course, it would have been in the interests of the American establishment to maintain an elevated sense of fear among the populace to justify all manner of domestic and foreign actions, of which we know that period is rife with. Tonkin Bay, Operation Gladio, Reagan's resumé, etc.

Times change. We are now in a period of time following the resolution of two competing global powers, where America "won" and was able to neo-colonise large parts of the world. We are seeing some of these structures under stress due to local social pressures, but also local organisational pressures as a consequence of long term sustainability issue that all empires face. Translated, this has resulted in, or has contributed to:

- Continued wars under false pretenses where millions die unjustly
- Loss of civil liberties
- Corruption of government to corporations
- Increasing of socio-economic inequality
- Increasing democratic deficit
- Increasing constitutional deficit
- Recession-inducing commercial deregulation
- Corruption and manipulation of the press
- Using religion as a justification for murder / mutilation

I don't think any political leader in recent history is worthy of being called "amazing", and I don't think the world is getting calmer and more civilized. Just because we're sat in comfortable chairs, using fancy computers doesn't mean most people are, nor does it mean we can lazily and ignorantly let the world rot into a shittier mess than what it already is.

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Wed Jun 01, 2016 4:19 am
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Post Re: The Donald.
Who the hell are you and what did you do with our Derf :D:.

Anyway, considering the history of Europe which up until the 1900s was basically a war upon a war within a war, this region has probably never known such a long period of peace. And not just peace, at the moment the countries really aren't even motivated to go to war with each other. If you really dig into the history of european countries, it is so violent that schemes of the americans and genocides of the africans are child play in comparison. Even the puny estonians are known to raid and burn down cities. So just by having a long and prosperous period of peace in europe alone results in remarkable shift in the overall civility.

As for the consequences you speak of, put them in a bigger picture. Around 1825 the average life expectancy of a male was 30 years. The odds of living a long life where you have not been forced to kill, or to be killed, have never ever ever been so high. Of course there are countries where this varies but in most european countries (including australia, canada and the US) the odds are really really good.

- Loss of civil liberties. Around 150 years ago, people had no civil liberties and they were nothing more than puppets to die in the games of nobles and kings. And if one was not lucky enough to die in battle they had the pleasure of working to death as a slave.
- Corruption of government to corporations. At no point in history ever (EVER) has the regulation of government and corporations been so transparent. Sure there are the likes of monsanto and others but today they are the minority. And its getting harder and harder to hide the dubious deals thanks to Snowden and Luxemburg files.
- Increasing of socio-economic inequality. Yes the rich have more money and the poor have less. But look at the living standards and the state of basic rights. Your average "sack of shit" has the luxuries which very recently were available only to the few rich and powerful. The average Kia has more technology, comforts and R&D than the most complicated piece of technology 100 years ago. Yes the rich have more money but the poor have never ever had access to the amount of comforts they have today. The techonology level that is accessible to rich and poor has never been so similar or close.
- Increasing democratic and constitutional deficit. This has more to with our perception of things rather than an actual and significant deficit. As we get older we start to see through the bullshit but the bullshit has always been there, we just lacked the capacity and knowledge to see through it.

- Continued wars under false pretenses where millions die unjustly. There are no wars where one can die justly. The entire act of war where people revert to the very basic act of violence against each other is unjust so there really cant be a war where one dies justly. At least we are very very slowly inching towards the understanding that we can achieve more together than by killing each other.
- Using religion as a justification for murder / mutilation. As far as i can tell there is no sure way of bringing about the age of enlightment as it happened in europe which would cause the shift where religion becomes a question for the individual person about how to make their peace with the fact that death is inevitable. In the end science and religion tell the same story, that there are higher powers at work in the universe. Religion tells it through a fairy tale and science tells it through fundamental constants like newtons gravity, Plancks length and time, the speed of light etc. To me personally it is irrelevant how people deal with the afore mentioned inevitability as long as their method doesn't hurt others. Unfortunately this kind of stance seems to be the minority.

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Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:17 am
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Post Re: The Donald.
I am derf. I just levelled up.

Some flaws with those arguments:

1. Improvement doesn't imply resolution. I think you've implied there are no longer any real problems, and that what we have are merely "pseudo-problems".
2. In general, progressive scrutiny doesn't hurt. Better yet, it keeps the establishment in check at the very least.
3. Civility is morally subjective. You might think simply not murdering each other is good enough. I think we're far better than this.
4. Comparing what we have now from a libertarian and material perspective, with what we had before, is largely redundant because it doesn't take potential into the equation. Relative economic well-being should also take into account potential. For instance, over an arbitrary period of time, wealth for the top 10% might increase 100-fold, whereas everyone else sees the wealth increase at 2-fold. "Wow, that's a two-fold increase" you might say, but settling for that is dismissing of the potential that society could have had more, and reaped the rewards for the benefit of "civility". I am not talking about communism. I am simply outlining that wealth inequality is rising. It has problems associated with it, and no politician currently in power is even talking about it.
5. The bigger picture still encompasses what many authors describe (insofar as British history is concerned) as greater relative periods of civility during not Roman and pre-Roman times. Some even go so far as to argue that the dark ages weren't dark at all, and that life as a "barbarian" was relatively tranquil and well ordered. Life expectancy was lower, yes, but that is not the only metric for civility. What i'm trying to say here is that we have not enjoyed a steady increase in overall civility. We have had fluctuations, so an increase doesn't imply we're now at the maximum, and should be proud or content with that.
6. The democratic deficit has always existed, and probably always will. But its size fluctuates. In history, it has fluctuated (not exclusively) due to technological advancements that have had societal impact. The printing press for instance. Now, the interweb. The deficit isn't constant, so there are moments where there is a greater need to address the deficit, as it has a greater impact.
7. My point about "unjust" wars was in reference to wars in general. I didn't mean to differentiate types of war. My point was to affirm that we are still quite adept at carrying out these wars in frequent succession, and "amazing" leaders could have gone a long way to avoid them, but didn't.
8. But religion does hurt others. No political leader is doing anything about that.

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Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:45 am
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Post Re: The Donald.
Some thoughts!

Peltz is right that we are currently living in a period of almost unequalled peace and prosperity (even globally, not just in Europe). And there is a point to be made for the fact that so many of us now have access to things like clean water, food, basic rights and even the internet. But I would agree with Derf that this isn't the whole story. For one, there is always room for improvement (complacency is death), but more importantly there is an increasing inequality in the West. There has been much research into the effects of inequality in both developed and third world states, and the conclusion tends to be that once a society reaches a certain 'baseline' of comfort and prosperity for the majority of its citizens (as is the case in the West), inequality becomes the single most defining factor of how prosperous a nation is as a whole. Relatively poor people in societies with low inequality tend to be better off (on the whole) than members of the middle to even high class in societies with a very big inequality. It's almost hard to believe, but a very unequal society gets worse at almost everything that impacts almost everyone, regardless of their wealth. Health, social security, crime, happines and so on.

The US is the poster child for a society that is vastly rich but also very unequal in terms of prosperity. Which is one of the reasons why it tends to come in quite a bit behind +-10 mostly European states that are much, much less rich when evaluated for general prosperity or development. Which is remarkable given its unparalleled wealth. Anyway, my point is that while it is important to acknowledge how far we've come in creating a society that can provide basic comforts and necessities to almost all of its citizens, it shouldn't mean that we should become complacent or see that as the end station. Rising inequality is a real and corrosive force, that needs to be adressed by governments but somehow never really gets put on the agenda. For obvious reasons, as the people in the political game tend to be from the better off part of society. But they need to be made to understand that even for them, the rich few, they are creating a worse society.

As a side note and example: in Belgium, the government is basically accepting 'bribes' (it's an actual legal mechanism, fiscal amnesty) from rich people who previously put all their money in offshore accounts. Just pay the state a percentage (say, 5-10%) and BOOM, all of your semi-illegally begot gains are now legit. And that's only the tip of the iceberg, of course. But it goes to show how our national governments are now 'accepting' this as a reality and in fact accomodating these systems. While, of course, Johnny Tax Dodger living in a middle class neighbourhood is going to actual jail and gets fucked up the ass financially. Because the state doesn't care enough to get their hands on the little money he has. Class justice?

As for religion and science, there is a pretty big distinction in that I can't recall a scientist justifying terrorist attacks and wars by saying that a neutrino told him to, or that everyone who believes in a different scientific model should die. Some pretty terrible things have been done as a means to advance science, but as an "ideology" it is not dangerous.

Some recommended reading, in case anyone is interested

https://www.amazon.com/Price-Inequality ... 0393345068
https://www.amazon.com/Better-Angels-Ou ... 0143122010

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Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:16 am
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Post Re: The Donald.
Meanwhile....


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Sun Jun 12, 2016 6:40 am
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