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Thread: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

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    An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    This is an experiment. Rule L-0 is: write your literal meaning. We may introduce other rules (L-1, L-2, ...) as we go, but L-0 is meant to make this thread different from all others.

    The inspiration was a situation in another of our other political threads, where it seemed like two posters were at cross-purposes because one may or may not have been using irony or sarcasm, the other may or may not have understood that and responded in kind, and a third poster then made assumptions about the other two.

    So what if we tried to be as sincere and precise in our meanings as we could? Obviously we will still disagree often, but maybe if we screen out the snark and jokes we would get to the points of disagreement relatively quickly, and understand each other with greater clarity.

    A few thoughts:

    We can still write "In my opinion..." since that's a valid truth statement, but when we do we should try to back the opinion up with facts or at least testable assertions. "In my opinion that is incorrect" is true but not very helpful. "In my opinion that is incorrect because x, y, z..." is much more valuable.

    As far as possible, it is probably a good idea to steer clear of normative or provocative language. "In my opinion that's stupid" might be a true picture of your current mental state but, again, unhelpful. "In my opinion that ignores the evidence that..." is something the other poster can work with.

    I'm tempted to say jokes are out because jokes almost always depend on irony or sarcasm or some sort of "sleight of hand" meaning. I know that will make the thread less fun in that way. But we have a hundred other threads to be witty and clever in. The idea here is to be precise and "flat."

    I'll start (but taking the thread anywhere you want is fine, it doesn't violate L-0).

    IMO Trump would be a dangerous president, even beyond policy considerations (although some of his policies are evidence of that assertion). I believe his temperament and worldview, as evidenced by his many off the wall tweets and statements, indicate he would not respect our political traditions and processes. He would often advocate actions which violate, if not the letter, at least the spirit of our laws and institutions. By dangerous I mean he would be destructive to our democratic institutions, which I do not think are indestructible.

    I am very interested in hearing arguments that attempt to refute my assertion and place Trump within the tradition of "normal" (in the sense of, "adhering to democratic norms") candidates.
    Last edited by Kepler; 08-01-2016 at 09:32 AM.
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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    My fear with Trump is that he will act as he has in business with respect to international relations. He has a history of treating his business partners as if they were disposable and nothing I've read has given the impression that Trump has ever been interested in win-win situations because his priority is how he can most benefit and move on to different business partners. You can't do that in international relations because of the limited number of participants and the fact that they all talk with each other. If you fail to live up to your word in diplomacy, people will stop trusting you and subsequently stop listening to you. Also, making deals in politics is harder because not everyone is motivatived by the same profit motive.

    The fact that no one with actual international experience has come out in support of Trump and his foreign policy really gives me pause.

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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Kepler View Post
    I am very interested in hearing arguments that attempt to refute my assertion and place Trump within the tradition of "normal" (in the sense of, "adhering to democratic norms") candidates.
    I'm unsure what you mean by "democratic norms". I'll take a stab.

    Mr. Trump is the "norm" as he came through a party primary process. He is the "norm" as he is a narcissist, and every candidate has to be else they wouldn't be running. He is the "norm" as he received automatic vitriol from the other political side.

    Mr. Trump is far from the "norm" because he seems to have direct wiring between mouth and brain whereas "norm" candidates have buffer after buffer between mouth and brain. He is also far from "norm" as he is not a "party machine" candidate that is spit out by party insiders. This last point is part of his allure in the eyes of some.
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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    By democratic norms I mean things like:

    1. Regular, free, fair elections
    2. Equal protection under laws transparently defined and adjudicated by an independent judiciary
    3. Near universal adult suffrage
    4. High popular support for the above norms and protection of institutions and rights

    In short, the idea that you carry on political battles within the system, not over the system. The tacit assumption that democracy, honored both in law and spirit, is the legitimate political arena.
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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    I believe Trump is completely unqualified to be in the White House. My hope would be that the rest of the government would not pass anything he proposes (maybe take a base idea of his and make it theirs, make it BETTER and not as...blunt? Over the top?). Basically, the next Jesse Ventura when JV was the gov of MN.

    However, I do not like the policies of Hillary (and Bernie) in general, and I feel they would get things passed that I do not agree with.

    I would rather have nothing get done than things I don't like get done.

    As for foreign policy, we've been in bed with so many friends, then enemies, then friends, then enemies again, I can't even begin to guess what would happen no matter who is president.
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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Kepler View Post
    This is an experiment. Rule L-0 is: write your literal meaning.
    My disdain for HRC's policies and principles(sic) does NOT equate to approval/support/acceptance of tDonald.
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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    If Hillary loses, it'll be her own fault*:

    On Sunday, the former secretary of state told FOX News’ Chris Wallace that FBI Director James Comey cleared her of misleading the public about her rogue email server at the state department: “Director Comey said my answers were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people, that there were decisions discussed and made to classify retroactively certain of the emails.”

    That’s wrong and she knows it, which makes it a lie.
    Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/...-lying/493841/

    The Atlantic is calling BS on Hillary. And if he's willing to call it on Trump, CNN's Fareed Zakaria should call BS on Hillary as well.


    *Because Trump is right, the election is rigged ... by him ... he's throwing it!
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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by busterman62 View Post
    My disdain for HRC's policies and principles(sic) does NOT equate to approval/support/acceptance of tDonald.
    On many occasions, Hillary Clinton has said things that she knew were not true at the time she said them.

    While she was Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars from foreign companies and foreign governments with business pending before the State Department. Companies and countries with business pending before the State Department also paid her husband millions of dollars to give speeches.

    According to the WSJ last week, hedge fund managers have given $48.5 million to her campaign, Trump's campaign received $19,000.



    Her serial dishonesty is so extensive, The New York Times published an essay by Wm Safire called "Blizzard of Lies" ... in 1996. Nothing seems any different, 20 years later.

    Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that [Mrs. Clinton] -- a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation -- is a congenital liar.

    ....

    She had good reasons to lie; she is in the longtime habit of lying; and she has never been called to account for lying herself or in suborning lying in her aides and friends.




    What is wrong with the Democratic Party that someone so deceitful and so venal is their candidate for President?
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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    Why would Mrs. Clinton have set up her own private non-governmental server to conduct official business when the law is so clear on the subject that all records of governmental business are supposed to be preserved?

    One inference might be that she didn't want anyone else reviewing her emails.

    If that inference is reasonable, then why would she want the contents of her emails to remain secret?

    Might there be something in the contents that would be damaging for her?


    If so, and if a foreign unfriendly government has copies of them, might she then be subject to blackmail by them?
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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    En passant: IMO FF's last two posts are good examples of posts that delineate a case using literal, testable statements with no snark. As can be seen, it is possible for us to forward our agenda but do it sticking to the merits. His opponents will hopefully stick to the merits in trying to rebut / conditionalize his points.

    To everybody: when we cite numbers we should probably source* them, since the first response to an unsourced number will typically be a request to source it and because it's good manners.

    * By "source" is meant find the original source of the number -- the actual poll or study -- and link to it, NOT find a link to an article or editorial that cites the number. If it's a number you are introducing into the discussion, please do the homework and find its provenance.

    Suggested L-1 (up to the group for a vote): When citing a statistic for the first time, cite the original source, linking directly to it if possible.

    The linked-to source should include the details of the methodology used in obtaining the statistic. (This typically accompanies all published studies and polls). When linking to "batch" statistics, like for example the 538 or RCP poll of polls, it's only necessary to link to the source that performs the batching and analysis, since (hopefully) that source provides their sources and methodology. This isn't an infinite regress.

    In general: the spirit of this law is to source your numbers and do as much of the homework to back up that number as possible. The onus of testing a statistic's validity is on the person who introduces it into the discussion.
    Last edited by Kepler; 08-02-2016 at 09:30 AM.
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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    I will generally be staying out of this thread precisely because some posts deserve no other response but snark. Pretending that all opinions are equally valid and worthy of quality responses is just as bad as the media's current run of giving both sides equal airtime when one side days "The sky is blue" and the other side responds that the "the sky is potato."

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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by FreshFish View Post
    Why would Mrs. Clinton have set up her own private non-governmental server to conduct official business when the law is so clear on the subject that all records of governmental business are supposed to be preserved?

    One inference might be that she didn't want anyone else reviewing her emails.

    If that inference is reasonable, then why would she want the contents of her emails to remain secret?

    Might there be something in the contents that would be damaging for her?


    If so, and if a foreign unfriendly government has copies of them, might she then be subject to blackmail by them?
    She stupidly set it up to make email easier for her. As I understand the internal system it can be quite complex. I believe she set a policy for her office that all email communication with her was to be unclassified. If the information was classified she was to receive it via hard copy so it could be shredded or whatever.

    I actually find the above policy smart. I do find the entire my own email server thing stupid.

    Email is a cesspool and the least secure thing in the world.
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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoobyDoo View Post
    If the information was classified she was to receive it via hard copy so it could be shredded or whatever.
    From my work experience with classified data: this is not acceptable infosec unless the hard copy never leaves the SCIF unless it is being transported in accordance with security requirements (typically, double wrapped in an approved lock bag with no conspicuous external markings).

    Now I would assume that high cabinet officials (State, Defense, DHS, maybe Energy) work in personal offices that are SCIFed as a matter of course.
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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Kepler View Post
    From my work experience with classified data: this is not acceptable infosec unless the hard copy never leaves the SCIF unless it is being transported in accordance with security requirements (typically, double wrapped in an approved lock bag with no conspicuous external markings).

    Now I would assume that high cabinet officials (State, Defense, DHS, maybe Energy) work in personal offices that are SCIFed as a matter of course.

    You think it wasn't? I guarandammtee that it was. Email is the worst security breach ever. It would have to be an entirely closed system that has no Internet access at all or it would be vulnerable.
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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by unofan View Post
    I will generally be staying out of this thread precisely because some posts deserve no other response but snark. Pretending that all opinions are equally valid and worthy of quality responses is just as bad as the media's current run of giving both sides equal airtime when one side days "The sky is blue" and the other side responds that the "the sky is potato."
    I hope you reconsider. My intention in creating this thread is to do something different from evaluating the merit of opinions. It is to precisely locate the point(s) where disagreements crop up. At that point, I suspect argument will typically terminate in differences in the weighting of input coefficients or (more rarely) differences in axioms.

    I hope you reconsider because I have found your contributions over the years on other threads to be clear and logical -- exactly what is most needed here. So far the signal:noise ratio of this thread is excellent, but it will wander. You are a person who I think can understand exactly what the purpose is and can help move that ratio in the right direction.

    Keep in mind: the project here is not to resolve differences, it is to identify root differences. We can fight over our opinions in all the other threads. Though there might be some of that here, it isn't the main idea.
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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Kepler View Post
    * By "source" is meant find the original source of the number -- the actual poll or study -- and link to it, NOT find a link to an article or editorial that cites the number. If it's a number you are introducing into the discussion, please do the homework and find its provenance.

    Is Donald Trump a racist?

    An examination of the source documents suggests "no." The link examines Trump's actual words, and then how they were misquoted in the media to promote a story that he is a racist when there is no actual evidence to support that contention.

    So the link does the work requested in the quote.
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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by unofun View Post
    some posts deserve no other response but snark.
    indeed! a fine example of a self-referential statement.

    Quote Originally Posted by unofun View Post
    Pretending that ["]all["] opinions are equally valid and worthy of quality responses ....
    .... is not at all what the original poster requested. He did not ask just for opinions, he asked for facts and reasons that underlie the opinion. So your "all" is inconsistent with the qualifier that we have a limited subset of opinion based on evidence that other people can assess for themselves.


    People can see the same evidence and arrive at different conclusions, yet we can still all agree that the evidence is what it is.




    It seems to me that, regarding the Presidential election, one can be of the opinion that neither Mrs. Clinton nor Mr. Trump are desirable as candidates, and produce lots of evidence to support that contention. Mrs. Clinton has been for sale to the highest bidder from her days at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, and Mr. Trump is impulsive and too casual with the facts. You cannot trust either one to do what they say since they both have demonstrated repeatedly that they will say or do anything expedient to get what they want.
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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoobyDoo View Post
    It would have to be an entirely closed system that has no Internet access at all or it would be vulnerable.
    This is not correct. There are USG classified networks that move over the internet. I do not understand how that sorcery works, but NIPRNET and SIPRNET are both closed systems and access the internet. Presumably it has something to do with the way packets are bundled.

    If Hillary's private server was in an approved SCIF and she stored classified information on it, there is no problem. If it was not in a SCIF and she stored classified info on it, it's a problem but it depends on the info -- it becomes a normal data spill and there are processes to deal with that. If it was not in a SCIF and it was directly connected to a classified network that is a big, fat, hairy deal, though frankly I don't see how it could be physically done.
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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Kepler View Post
    This is not correct. There are USG classified networks that move over the internet. I do not understand how that sorcery works, but NIPRNET and SIPRNET are both closed systems and access the internet. Presumably it has something to do with the way packets are bundled.

    If Hillary's private server was in an approved SCIF and she stored classified information on it, there is no problem. If it was not in a SCIF and she stored classified info on it, it's a problem but it depends on the info -- it becomes a normal data spill and there are processes to deal with that. If it was not in a SCIF and it was directly connected to a classified network that is a big, fat, hairy deal, though frankly I don't see how it could be physically done.
    That's interesting. I learned something today. Thanks.
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    Re: An Experiment: A Literal Political Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Kepler View Post
    I hope you reconsider. My intention in creating this thread is to do something different from evaluating the merit of opinions. It is to precisely locate the point(s) where disagreements crop up. At that point, I suspect argument will typically terminate in differences in the weighting of input coefficients or (more rarely) differences in axioms.

    I hope you reconsider because I have found your contributions over the years on other threads to be clear and logical -- exactly what is most needed here. So far the signal:noise ratio of this thread is excellent, but it will wander. You are a person who I think can understand exactly what the purpose is and can help move that ratio in the right direction.

    Keep in mind: the project here is not to resolve differences, it is to identify root differences. We can fight over our opinions in all the other threads. Though there might be some of that here, it isn't the main idea.
    I wouldn't be surprised if this turns into a thread that discusses politics...but actually has thoughtful discussion (unless that is ruled out). I'm already seeing some of the more posters capable of this showing up here.
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