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About Gorn

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  • Birthday 06/15/1987

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  1. I come from a country where election cheating has been turned into a fine art, especially on a local level. Here are a couple of examples from just the last couple of elections: - Vote buying is a standard practice, and the price and parties willing to pay are well-known. You take a photo of the ballot with your phone as proof and go to the local party offices to collect your money. - If you hold a low-level/unqualified position in a public/government company, you are expected to vote for the ruling party to keep your job. Again, ballot photo is used as proof. - Dead people regularly vote, and so do people who moved out of the country. - A politician from a minor party bought votes with government money. After becoming the Minister of Agriculture, he handed out "agricultural subsidies" to his voters in key areas, regardless of whether they actually did any farming. The story broke out, and nothing happened because his party was key to maintaining the governing coalition. That guy is still active in politics. - There is a natural-resource rich municipality with 200 registered voters and 17 people actually living there. - Ballots are often made invalid during the counting process simply by making a mark on it to make it look like you voted for multiple parties. - Major parties created "shell" minor parties filled with their people for the purpose of having extra election observers present during vote counting. - When the ruling coalition lost its majority, two opposition parliament members were outright bribed to switch parties. The biggest internet portal in the country published proof, together with phone recordings. Nothing happened. - Anecdotally, an opposition election observer in a remote village had a gun pulled on him during the vote count and was told to keep his mouth shut about what he saw if he wants to go home alive. And yet, none of that stuff kept me from voting in every single election since I was 18 for the party closest to my beliefs. This is why I find the complaints about gerrymandering in U.S. politics so silly. The only way to make a change is to keep pushing within the bounds of what is in your power. No election is ever "fair", either because of the money involved, unequal exposure for different political options, media bias, built-in advantage for incumbents and major parties, rules about voting districts and who is allowed to vote, or outright cheating like what I described. And yet even such imperfect democracy is preferable to the alternative (government change via revolution / civil war).
  2. Anyone who uses it as an excuse for not voting, or generally not engaging in the political process, deserves to be ridiculed. I might be overly harsh and bitter because I see too many people with this mindset in my everyday life. No.1 goal should be getting as many like-minded people to the polls on election day, regardless of the state or district they live in. Once your party is in a position of power, you can worry about changing the rules.
  3. One thing to remember re:gerrymandering is that it can only happen once every 10 years, and a lot of things change in 10 years. People die, other people come of age, some stop voting due to lack of political engagement, others start voting, some switch parties, and finally, a lot of people simply move to other districts or other states. A district which was carefully gerrymandered in 2010 to produce a 60% Republican majority might be far more vulnerable in 2018 or 2020 for all these reasons, because its effects become less powerful over time. This is why the attitude "the districts are gerrymandered, our voters are disenfranchised, it's not fair, waaaaah", really isn't helpful.
  4. Actually, it worked quite often in the past. Here are some historical examples of failed secessionist movements defeated by military force: Basquia, Chechnya, Confederate States of America, Biafra, Kurdistan, Aceh, West Papua, Sri Lankan Tamils, etc. Also, closer to home, there's Herceg-Bosna and RSK, but let's not get into those examples
  5. The problem is not the polls themselves, but the interpretation of the polls and the data on the Democratic side. I remember a lot of people thinking of the "blue wall" as this solid block of states they didn't need to worry about, and this type of thinking was unfortunately shared by many in the Clinton campaign. Also, a lot of assumptions are made still made based on previous election results, while ignoring how few data points are available and that the electorate is constantly changing. The next Democratic presidential candidate would be wise to give their turnout and messaging people preference over pollsters and data people in their campaign.
  6. The Eyes of the Dragon? I vaguely remember enjoying its ending.
  7. The problem with independence being decided by 50%+1 of population is that, in two or four years, you might easily have a new government which doesn't believe your country should exist at all. I hope I don't have to explain why that's a bad thing.
  8. They don't have to vote Republican. If a potential ally stays at home on election day because they feel they are not welcome in your party "tent", it is almost as damaging.
  9. You convinced me with your detailed and well thought-out rebuttal. Seriously, ME's point is that race should not be brought into discussion unless there is actual evidence that it plays a role, and statistics show that it doesn't. First, like dmc said, it sets a dangerous precedent that can be used against minorities (imagine someone writing "this is always how it works with these Asian guys" after the Virginia Tech shooting). Second, it distracts from stuff that is actually important, such as prevalence of males and discussion of mental health.
  10. There needs to be a clear supermajority for a major decision like the independence vote, because otherwise you are violating the rights of people who want to remain part of Spain. The EU-proscribed threshold to recognize the Montenegro independence referendum (last successful independence referendum in Europe) was at lease 55% voters voting Leave, and at least 50% turnout. The smart play for the Spanish government would have been to allow a legitimate referendum to take place, and then actively campaign for the Remain side.
  11. The talk about Bloomberg as Democratic 2020 candidate ignores the simple fact that he couldn't get elected to any major position anywhere outside of New York City. I remember a quote about him when he was talked about as an potential independent candidate: "a candidate who wants to take away your gun, your soda and your union card ". Add to this his history of racial profiling during his time as mayor and his Wall Street background, and you end up with a candidate who, at the same time, manages to alienate all the parts of Democratic coalition as well as all the additional voters that the Democrats need to win over (or at least not vote Republican).
  12. One thing I (as a non-American) always found bizarre about the worship of Confederate generals is the fact that these men were, literally, traitors. Sure, they were shown enormous amounts of leniency after the war for reasons of healing and reconciliation, and I can understand that. But erecting and maintaining monuments to them in public spaces? Imagine public monuments to Benedict Arnold or Robert Hanssen (who, by the way, did far less damage to their country). And the people defending them are often at the same time super-patriots with giant US flags in their yards. Like I said, bizarre.
  13. There is an awesome Game of Thrones mod for Crusader Kings 2: http://www.moddb.com/mods/crusader-kings-2-a-game-of-thrones-ck2agot There are plenty historical set points where you can start playing, and important characters have a bunch of special events (playing as Aegon the Conqueror is pretty fun), but the best part is that you can play as any character and nation in the ASoIaF world, from Summer Isles to Thenn and from Iron Islands to Asshai. I had fun playing as Basilisk Isles pirate kings and as random wilding chieftains.
  14. Singapore's unemployment rate is 0.8%. Besides, there are plenty of ways to accommodate increased unemployment - shorter work weeks, extended vacations, extended maternity leaves, lowering the old-age pension age, etc. The only thing that matters is that productivity increases, and this is what automation provides. Not too long ago, the work week was 48 hours and Saturdays were regular work days. Personally, I welcome our new robot overlords (as long as they provide me with a three-day work week and two-month vacation).
  15. After recently reading Gore Vidal's Lincoln, I just can't see any plausible way of this scenario happening. After all, preserving the Union was the No.1 cause the North fought for. Lincoln himself famously said "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that." Even after his assassination, and even if Johnson is out of the picture, i just don't see any of his potential successors (Seward, Chase, Grant, Stanton) reversing Lincoln's legacy and the reason why 365 000 Union soldiers died.