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Ser Reptitious

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About Ser Reptitious

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    I exist!
  • Birthday 12/12/1977

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  1. Not that I particularly care, but did Yang drop out? Or did something happen that made him drop out of contention? I've noticed his name not really being mentioned anymore in connection with the election, even though he seemed to be the presumed frontrunner.
  2. Jesus Christ! Between these kind of shenanigans and the whole prison labour (including fire fighters) working for virtually nothing (throw in exploited illegal immigrants on top) it sure feels like the U.S. is sure trying its best to bring back slavery! I would never call myself a Marxist, but somehow it sure feels like when he described the excesses of capitalism that would lead to its downfall he had the U.S. of the early 21st century in mind.
  3. You know, when you’re siding with the likes of Rosanne Barr, Tommy Robinson, and Richard Spencer for the sake of defending free speech in the most absolute sense... fine. I strongly disagree, but at least I can see the philosophical point you are making. But then when people are exercising their free speech rights for a far nobler cause (against racism, rather than for it) and you suddenly change your tune and get concerned about the content or format of the message (which didn’t seem to bother you while you were defending racists’ freedom of speech).... well... hmm... it’s not really a good look, is it? Kinda makes it seem like you’re always defending the racists, regardless of which side of the philosophical debate they happen to be on.
  4. You and I clearly have fundamentally different views, but I feel that the bolded is needlessly condescending. I am doing my best to engage with your posts, but if you feel that a particular comment is too far off the mark or does not relate to what so said, then please point that out, rather than making such blanket statements. You make it sound like the tax system as it currently exists is completely neutral (as in, not favouring any particular economic group at all) and the sole benefit the very wealthy get is by hiring very expensive tax lawyers to navigate this completely fair and neutral system. Genuine question (seriously not being flippant here, because I don’t know the answer and you are the expert): does that include capital gains? Yup, and that would be extremely hard (if not downright impossible) to do, which is why I took issue with your “if you don’t like our current laws, change them” attitude in the first place. Agreed! Bingo! My point is precisely that they generally don’t have to bother doing anything illegal, because they have already rigged the legal system in their favour. They may not be a monolithic bloc, but they can undoubtedly agree on certain common interests. And regardless, the only discussions taking place among the influential law-making circles will be about how to best accommodate those interests, not the ones of the middle and lower classes, who lack the means to get a meaningful voice at the table. As to the part in the brackets, no, I’m definitely not! Again, my entire point is that changing the law (i.e. the system) is extremely hard to do, whereas the glibness of your initial rant seemed to make it sound like all you’d need to do was go around and gather a majority of voters to do that. Sure, in theory that’s how it works, but we both know that in reality entrenched (and well-financed) interests will make this virtually impossible. Glad that we agree on this as well.
  5. So doesn't this benefit the rich, who can afford to pay said fees? Who is more likely to run up credit card interest? The rich or the living paycheque-to-paycheque crowd? Who is more likely to have investment activities? Who was president in that era and which economic class benefitted the most from this? So? Speaking for myself here, I am not interested in raising the taxes of the mega rich with the intent of negatively impacting their lifestyles. I just want them to contribute their fair share. In fact, it is precisely the fact that raising taxes on them will not substantively impact their lifestyles that makes their complete obstinance so baffling and frustrating. Again, who was elected to accomplish this and which economic class supported him in this endeavor? Look, if you want to get into the weeds of specific U.S. tax laws and regulations you will undoubtedly run circles around me, since I'm neither a tax lawyer nor from the U.S. But my issue is with your assertion that things were done "according to the laws" and "if you don't like them change them". My counterpoint is that the rich and powerful in any society tend to have their way, so the assertion that it's okay because it's legal (and could technically be changed) is weak sauce in my opinion. I'm currently reading a book on the Roman Republic in the 2nd and 1st century BC, and the parallels in how the rich rigged the system in their favor while paying lipservice to equality are quite obvious.
  6. I think this is too simplistic. We all know who has the power to shape laws (via sizeable donations and lobbying) and who doesn't. The system reflects that.
  7. Whatever happened to the American-as-apple-pie "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps"? Seriously, though, Singapore also started out dirt poor and did not see itself in any way sustainable as an independent entity. It took some decades until it became a success story. IF (and I am very aware that this is a very big "if") a peace agreement can be reached which actually holds up, I don't see why Gaza can't succeed, not at a Singapore level, perhaps, but good enough to provide its citizens a decent standard of living. I mean, Gaza is already self-governing at the moment. If there was no economic blockade and it had a functioning seaport and fishing industry, why could it not succeed? It would certainly need some assistance to get going, but that is/was true for many far larger poor countries in the world. I fail to see why its size alone should doom such a prospect to failure.
  8. It would undoubtedly take years and be very complicated. The Good Friday Agreement would probably be a good comparable. It would be far from an ideal solution, but this isn't a problem on a scale that would justify the whole-sale relocation of two million people on its own. And how exactly do you envision accomplishing relocating (supposedly voluntarily) Gaza's entire 2 million population without the Hamas issue having first been dealt with?
  9. Because it's really about punishing women for having sex. "Protecting innocent life" is just a convenient bullshit excuse for the vast majority of people obsessed with getting rid of abortion.
  10. If an agreement on the Hamas/Gaza issue has not been worked out as part of the peace deal, then there is no viable deal in the first place. Full stop. Israel could simply agree to an easement across its land for a tunnel, but the actual building and maintaining of it would be up to the Palestinians or whoever they pick for that. Certain security and safety measures would have to be established within the peace agreement and Israel would have the ability to verify compliance. The tunnel would exist for the benefit of the Palestinians, after all, so it would make sense that the responsibility lies with them, rather than Israel, for its building and maintenance (although perhaps Israel and/or other countries would help finance construction as part of the peace agreement, but that is getting way too deep into specifics for this hypothetical). Either that, or else the major mode of travel between Gaza and the WB could be via air. As far as I know, Gaza does have an airport (although not operational at the moment). A third option would also be that Gaza and the West Bank each form separate Palestinian states, completely independent of one another, which removes the need for a land connection. And if a stable peace endures subsequent to the agreement, people could drive from one place to the other through Israel the same way that travelers everywhere else in the world cross international borders between two countries with normal relations.
  11. I think Kalbear and Mormont already answered some of this (particularly with regards to travel between the two entities), but at the end of the day what baffles me about your proposal is that you keep talking about an independent Gaza outside of full peace being achieved (and therefore being a problem for Israel), while on the other hand pushing a very drastic solution (relocating the entire population of Gaza - with their consent) that obviously also could not possibly be achieved outside of a complete peace agreement. So basically we are talking about what to do with Gaza once peace has been achieved (since your proposed relocation scheme could never happen otherwise). Then why not give some of the other options a try at that point? You seem to take the position that relocating about 2 million people (a notable number of which, even if massively bribed with benefits, might very well still be reluctant - or outright refuse - to go along with this) would be the simplest/easiest option compared to the others that would be on the table by that point, instead of being one of the most difficult.
  12. Just out of curiosity, why do you believe that? The Kaliningrad Oblast is not physically connected to the rest of Russia, nor the Nakchivan region to the rest of Azerbaijan, to name just two other examples. The lack of a land connection may perhaps be somewhat inconvenient, but I don't see why it would be a deal-breaker. If an actual, lasting peace was achieved, why would Gaza not be sustainable, either as part of a non-contiguous Palestinian state or even as it's own independent micro-state, similar to Monaco, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, etc? Its location on the Mediterranean would allow it to build a sea port and import what it needs that way. Also, if peace is achieved, presumably that would mean no further economic blockade from Israel, so goods could also be exchanged via land routes? Are you arguing that Gaza in and of itself is not viable, or instead that a Hamas-run independent Gaza is not a viable option from Israel's perspective? Those are two very different discussion, so I just want to be sure which one (or both?) we are having here. Regarding the latter, obviously no final peace settlement would be signed off on without the Hamas issue being addressed (sort of like IRA violence had to be addressed as part of the Good Friday Agreement).
  13. Speaking as an agnostic myself, religion may play a part, but more likely than not it serves as a convenient excuse. If Israeli and Palestinians shared the same religion, the ones among them looking for continued conflict would find some other reason. World Wars I and II, the American Civil War, and countless other examples where opposite sides (more or less) were of the same religion, are proof of that. Although I agree that it would at least remove one arrow from their quiver.
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