the marketplace of ideas

youtube

In this video you can tell that panelists (specifically Larry Wilmore, but the others to another extent) aren’t particularly accustomed to aggressive discussion/debate.  Cued the time to the appropriate exchange, largely between Larry Wilmore and Milo Yiannopoulos.

Let’s specifically pull on the claim Milo made: transgendered people are involved more with sexual crimes than the general population.  Here’s what went wrong, so-to-speak, and basic steps for questioning or interacting with aggressive people in a discussion.

  1. Get their source.  To get this out of the way, if someone asks you for your source, you give them the source.  Saying “it isn’t a controversial statistic” is entirely dishonest when someone’s asking you for why you’re saying something.
    1. The other person might not be contesting it specifically but trying to understand what you’re saying/getting more information.  Source-checking is an important thing.
    2. Clearly it is a controversial statistic for the people you’re talking to.  So you’re just out-and-out lying to defend your point.
    3. This is much simpler digitally than in-person, as clearly people don’t walk around with legal and scientific research on them.  Even just a matter of “There was a review from the Bar Association” as an example, or “A study from psychology today a couple years ago”.  Usually answering “who” and “when” is enough of a general clue to where it can be verified simply enough after the fact.
  2. Refuse to continue until you have their source.  If you’re not working from the same data you’re never going to change minds or even come to an understanding.  If your data says Muslims make up 100% of the liars in the world and their data says Christians make up 100% of all liars in the world you two are never going to agree with them because, at that point, you have no empirical reason to believe them.
  3. Define the words used very specifically.  Trans people are more involved (Milo’s word, not mine) with sexual crimes?  Okay.  Define involved, please.  Define their relationships with sexual crimes; are they the victims or the perpetrators?  Are they more likely to be witnesses?  Are they more likely to be involved with sex-crime programs, both as patients (hence part of the subset of people actively trying seeking therapy and treatment) and administrators?  Are they more likely to be running or fundraising for these things than the general population?  In this instance “involved” is a purposefully nebulous word to both be something that can be verified by the literal meaning but only if you strip away context from it.
  4. Get specific claims.  I feel the need to stress this more clearly, but question the source and specific data more intensely.  They’re more likely to be “involved”?  Okay cool.  How much more likely?  Compared to what?  How is it a matter of 25%  vs 15%?  80% vs 14%?  Is this in absolute numbers (trans people making up 80% of all people involved in a sexual crime) or relative numbers (80% of trans people are involved in a sexual crime)?  Every good political/policy discussion starts with a specific thing being said.  The more specific the better.  If Milo was forced to change his stance from “trans people are significantly more involved in sex crimes” to “trans people are 4x more likely to be victims of sex crimes than the national average” then I don’t think Larry would’ve disagreed so vehemently.  
  5. Analyze their source.  Check their source for validity or credibility, both in terms of it being a solid piece of research (scientific controls) and the reputation of the person doing it (political leaning would go into this section), with the former being more important than the latter.  
    1. If the Bureau of Labor makes a report about the unemployment rate then that’s the gold standard.  
    2. If they then go on to make a study about sexual deviance in children under the age of 15  and their information goes directly against previous and concurrent research by the APA then you have a discussion.
  6. Provide your own sources.  
    1. This is damned critical.  Humans…don’t like being wrong.  They especially don’t like being wrong if they have no idea what being right actually is.  So give them something to review and look over, either then and at their leisure.  If seeing raw data or an article changed your mind there’s a good chance it could change theirs as well.
      1. If a person has no other information to latch onto they are just less likely to change their belief at all, preferring to know a lie than the wonder the truth.  If you want to actually change someone’s mind give them something else to know.
        1. This is largely a subconscious process and involves a whole host of other personality factors that I won’t go into here.  Just don’t judge someone too harshly if they refuse to believe what you do from a one-off conversation.
    2. You have to hold yourself to the same standards you apply to other people.  This includes providing people access to the reason you believe X over Y.  They deserve just as much of a right to question your information as you do theirs, as it’s always possible that you’re the wrong one.  This is what the Free Marketplace of Ideas is all about.
  7. Be vigorous in your own actions.  Call the other person out if they’re misrepresenting their own data to make it more powerful, or misrepresenting yours.  Disingenuous, or even just undisciplined, people will twist things either actively or passively.  Keep the claims in your head and make them clear, write them down if you need to.  Don’t let them change without a reason for why they’re changing and make sure that the both of you, explicitly, are okay with the change.
  8. You’re not in it to “win”.  This is an important rule in general, one that almost everyone on tumblr knows.  The odds of you actually getting someone to admit that they’re wrong, you’re right, and change their minds on the spot it about 0%.  But to paraphrase a line, “You’re not there for them; you’re there for everyone around them.”  Show everyone that they’re wrong, and if the conversation isn’t going anywhere then bow out and save yourself the time and frustration.  Trust in that you did a solid enough job demonstrating why your point was better than theirs, and provided at least one person was around (through followers or on facebook or a subway car) and your side will grow more popular than theirs and your message will spread, get reinforced over time, and become more persuasive.

Liberalism is the dominant ideology of the capitalist system, encompassing ideas like classical liberalism, social liberalism, and neoliberalism. Modern conservatism melds old school concern for tradition with classical liberal and neoliberal economics (so in many ways conservatives are still liberal), and modern “Democrat Party style liberals” fall into social liberalism. It’s confusing because there’s a lot of overlap, but what’s important to realize is that everyone acquires varying levels of liberal ideology by default through living in capitalist society, regardless of whether or not they’re Democrats or Republicans, Tory or Labor, etc.

By dominant ideology, here’s a few examples of what that might mean in real-world context:
-Liberal representative democratic capitalism is seen as the “end of history”, an unspoken dogma that social organization cannot advance beyond what we find ourselves in right now
-A vague notion that “all views” ought to be accepted at the “marketplace of ideas”, with zero concern for power dynamics (which merely reinforces the imbalanced status quo)
-A belief that the system can be worked with and reformed to eventual perfection, even if there’s disagreement on what those reforms entail
-A reverence for the concept of private property and a belief that hierarchical market transactions are economic freedom in its purest form, even if they believe that that “economic freedom” needs to be curbed a bit for the betterment of society (as social liberals argue)
-Believes in some degree of horseshoe theory, where politics is seen as a “circle” (militant ideologies are all seen as inherently the same thing) rather than as historical struggle over the modes of production and the accompanying ideologies
-Will ultimately admit that the economy’s #1 priority is to meet the needs of capital when the chips are down (indeed, that is capitalism’s primary function).

With regard to the above examples, it doesn’t generally matter what a person labels themself – if they subscribe to a mainstream political position, they very likely believe in most of the above. When politicians accept “bipartisan” actions; when crisis afflicts the capitalist system and people need to “come together” to find solutions; when Michelle Obama hugs George W Bush and they act like best pals; when Democrats peacefully hand power over to Donald Trump after months of labeling him dangerous and on-par with proto-fascism – that’s when the idealistic bubble of political liberalism tears and you’re able to see the unified interests of the ruling classes, realized in the maintenance of capitalist society.

anonymous asked:

So Bethesda released their Creation Club service and so far it has gotten a lot of backlash. A lot of people are getting angry at Bethesda's response of calling the content 'mini DLCs' instead of paid mods, selling old armor that already exists for free despite the fact that the service stated that it would offer original content, and the fact that Bethesda is keeping all the profits. So what are your overall thoughts on this; do you think what Bethesda is doing right or wrong?

Bethesda’s Creation Club is a new thing and there are (and will continue to be) the sort of growing pains one can expect of any new service. I don’t think that the growing pains are enough to kill the idea over, it’s just stuff that will need to be worked out. Overall, my feelings on [paid mods] hasn’t changed - I’m generally in favor of them, because I support the idea of developers choosing how they want to distribute their content, and I support the idea of consumers choosing how they want to spend their money. I think that 

Here are some of the more common complaints I’ve seen about the Creation Club:

Complaint: The content currently offered isn’t worth purchase price

This is probably true. There are a lot of items currently available in the Creation Club that aren’t significantly better than the free options out there, which does not instill the players with the idea that there is much value in it (yet). This is not to say that the free mods are the exact same as the paid options - they are not, and this is provable. There are, however, many similar choices and this “is practically the same as” in many detractors’ minds. But this is arguing over small details - this isn’t a strike against the idea of the Creation Club, but its current implementation. It will naturally sort itself out - maybe $4.99 is too high for the current crop of offerings, but maybe $2.99 or even $0.99 could be the sweet spot instead. DLC in general started highly priced but is now both ubiquitous and popular.

Complaint: Creation Club creators don’t get royalties

Nobody gets royalties, not even us devs. The Creation Club creators get paid up front for their work - it’s freelancing. They pitch an idea to Bethesda, Bethesda’s team green lights it and agrees upon a price for it, the creator does the work and gets paid the agreed-upon price. If the offered price isn’t good enough, the creator can always walk away. If the content doesn’t sell, the creator still gets paid for services rendered. If Bethesda has enough difficulty recruiting content creators for the Creation Club, they’ll either kill the project or they’ll raise their offers. But saying that the Creation Club is a bad idea because it doesn’t offer residuals is nitpicky at best.

Complaint: The Creation Club will draw modders away from giving their stuff away for free

I’m pretty sure that this decision ought to be up to the modders themselves. Saying that content creators must make their stuff for free sounds awfully entitled to me.

But they can just get patreons or something!

Nothing is stopping them from doing this too. Adding a new option for them is not removing old ones. It just changes their attractiveness to modders.

Complaint: Bethesda keeps all of the money

If you ignore the sums that the creators agreed to be paid for their work, yes. Bethesda is keeping all of the money, because they are footing all of the cost as well. They pay for the development of the content. They pay for testing, validation, curation, certification, and distribution. They paid for the platform and the development tools. They pay to handle all of the financial transactions. These are all non-trivial costs. I do not believe it is wrong to earn a profit by providing a service that provides value.

Complaint: They just want microtransactions in their games!

They already have microtransactions in their games. They already sell DLC. This is a way for fan creators to get paid for their passions too.

Complaint: The technical restrictions on Creation Club mods are too limited to make good content

That’s a matter of negotiation and dependent on engineering support. It’s in Bethesda’s best interests to provide a platform that can provide the customer with products they will like. Maybe the restrictions won’t allow the creation of an enormous sprawling expansion pack, but that doesn’t mean it will remain this way forever. Bethesda will certainly be interested in improving the Creation Club as time passes. They are certainly committing development resources to it for the forseeable future.

Unspoken Complaint: I really like mod content, but I don’t feel comfortable letting others set the price I pay (which is usually zero)

This is the general underlying feeling I’ve seen from people who are so angry about paid mods. It’s the same general feeling that people had when DLC was initially offered - I want this, but I don’t want to pay for it. Mods used to be free (or voluntary donations that the vast majority of mod-users ignore), but saying that some mods will no longer be available without paying for them feels like Bethesda taking something away, and it really sucks when it feels like they are taking stuff away that was previously available. Our brains literally make us feel as if we are under attack in these kind of situations, which can trigger a fight-or-flight response. The closer the person is to the material, the more powerful the response is. Hence the long-term (hard core) community reaction to the Creation Club. The modders themselves don’t seem particularly offended by the Creation Club, but I suspect this is because they don’t feel like they are losing anything. They’re gaining a new option in all of this, which I feel is a good thing.

I’m not saying that the Creation Club is perfect out of the box - very few things are. Players hated DLC when it first came out too, and Bethesda specifically took a lot of flak for their “horse armor” DLC. But I do believe a service that lets modders create content and be paid for it has a lot of potential, and we’re only just seeing the tip of the iceberg. There will be things that need fixing and improving, but that’s fine - everything does. It won’t be right in its current iteration, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to be thrown out completely. PC players hated Steam when it first came out too - why would anyone want a service that requires you to be online in order to play your game? However, Steam became a better value proposition over time. I firmly believe that the idea of the Creation Club as a mod marketplace has value. If creators can earn a decent living by making mod content, it would attract more developers and increase the overall quality of the offerings to players. But that would require people to look long term at what could happen, rather than immediately condemn it out of hand before they get a chance to iterate and improve on the design or implementation.


Got a burning question you want answered?

anonymous asked:

What is horseshoe theory normally? Your horseshoe post says "corrected"

Capitalist ideology intended to make liberalism appear “neutral” and “above the fray”. In the capitalist political spectrum, it is true that liberalism is generally at the center (with some very slight leeway into center-left and lots of leeway into full right-wing), but that doesn’t make it “neutral”. Political centrism is merely ideology that challenges nothing about the status quo. (The left seeks change that brings about less class distinction and the right seeks a reassertion of old traditions that maintain class stratification.) 

I’ve said before that liberalism is the dominant ideology under capitalism, and it’s true. It permeates our political landscape in how it sees capitalism as the end of history, how it contextualizes ideology as a “marketplace of ideas” where the best ideas inevitably outcompete, how it holds steadfast to giving “all viewpoints” a platform (with no class analysis or understanding of how dominant ideas remain dominant), how it believes that the system can be peacefully reformed to eventual perfection (even if there’s disagreement over what those reforms should entail), etc. 

The horseshoe frames communism and fascism as though they were fundamentally similar in practice, if not in rhetoric. This is ahistorical, and it ignores what the true grit of politics has always been about since the dawn of civilization: class struggle over the gears that reproduce daily life (i.e. the resources and the means of production) and the accompanying social ideologies; in other words, power, as realized through control over the sources of social wealth. I took the horseshoe and grafted it to the way in which “liberal” and “conservative” are viewed as rhetorical opposites – but are in fact both the same in practice. Modes of production (feudalism, capitalism, etc.) have material interests that dictate how they behave, typically focused around those with a dominant class position and around the broader longevity of the system as a whole. Under capitalism, this is realized in both the capitalists (those with the dominant class position) and the state (the apparatus that looks out for the longevity of the system as a whole). In the end, I boiled it down to this:

I don’t know if it’s altogether perfect, since assigning positions to political ideology along a line or a compass is hard to quantify, but I think it’s certainly better than the original liberal horseshoe chart. Of important note, I wouldn’t say that social democracy is a “halfway point” between capitalism and socialism, nor would I say that of distributism. But in terms of ideology, I think they come close to mapping between the two modes of production. Mutualism or market socialism is probably a better “intermediary” mode of production between the two (it involves markets but with collective control of means of production and banking). 

TLDR: It’s bullshit to write off political leftism and political rightism as fundamentally similar when they are founded upon opposing ideas about who ought to control social production in society. Centrism and liberaltarianism try to avoid this question, but they are just as ideological as either side – they assert that we should just “leave people to their own devices”, but their political ideology is one where capitalists control the means of production in top-down fashion as realized through private property rights, a fundamentally right-wing conception of society. There is no political “objectivity” – the centrist position inevitably supports those with power in society. 

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” -Desmond Tutu

-Daividh

The Circular Nature of Inspiration

We all live in a global marketplace of ideas and concepts, shared pop culture and experience.  This very website is a perfect example with people from all over the world coming together to share things they love.  My blog itself is a tiny microcosm of this, devoted as it is to the pop culture of another country I have never personally visited (though I would love to) but has come to be a major influence on my life and media consumption.

It’s really not surprising that the world seems like such a small place these days.  The internet had brought us all closer but what may be surprising is how much influence the culture of other countries had on each other before those days and how influence can circle back around, filtered through the markets of other places to impact the original source. 

A case in point here would be Akira Kurosawa. While other Japanese directors of his time were focused on creating very Japanese works, he was fascinated by Western films, especially during the American occupation of his homeland after World War II.  He learned from the works of American directors like John Ford and the Western (Wild West) genre of film. He then filtered this through his own cultural history and experience to create movies like The Seven Samurai.

Which in turn inspired a sort of remake as a proper Western in the form of John Sturges’ 1960 classic The Magnificent Seven.

I know what you are asking right now.  Yeah, that’s neat but how does this have anything to do with tokusatsu?  Well, let’s look at one of the biggest icons of tokusatsu and possibly one of the biggest icons of international film: Godzilla.

Godzilla had many Western influences beyond being a metaphor for the Atomic devastation made possible by America.  The two most direct cinematic inspirations were the 1933 RKO film King Kong, which has been recently re-released in Japan to fairly solid box office:

and the 1953 Warner Brothers film The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.

Beast in particular introduced the concept of a prehistoric reptile awoken by nuclear explosions attacking a major city. However, Toho’s genius producer Tomoyuki Tanaka and director Ishiro Honda took that basic concept and layered on the experiences of a war-ravaged nation that had experienced atomic attack first hand to create a much darker, more moving picture that went beyond mere spectacle and monster fun.  It was a movie that could only have been made in Japan drawing inspiration from an outside source.

Since then, Godzilla as a character has come back around to influence  directors and producers in the West.  Ignoring the remakes of the film or reboots or whatever you want to call the American Godzilla films, we can pretty much thank the men at Toho and their kaiju films for things like Pacific Rim and Cloverfield.

On the small screen as well, we have a great example.  When the 1987 Science Fiction action film Robocop was being made, production designers took inspiration from the 1982 Toei produced Metal Hero series Space Sheriff Gavan for the look of their cyborg hero.

The international success of Robocop in turn inspired the very producers of Gavan to make their own takes on it in the form of 1988′s Mobile Cop Jiban:

And the V-Cinema straight to video movie Lady Battlecop:

Now this is only scratching the surface of how the products of the pop culture of one country can influence another and then come back through that country to influence the originator again.  There is an old aphorism that there are no new ideas but I firmly believe that ideas get recycled and translated through the cultural lens of different countries to come back around again as a seemingly fresh concept.

World-building idea to steal:  An inverted ziggurat dungeon marketplace in a platform of rock floating above the city (Ad for “Game’s” store in Casus Belli 1, April 1980)  Game’s Paris location was in the Forum des Halles, the underground mall that inspired the illustration.

A couple of days ago an effective altruism student group in Victoria was scheduled to have a Skype Q&A with Peter Singer about his work on effective altruism. Singer is also known for his contention that there’s nothing wrong with killing babies, and the talk was protested by a university disability rights group, who brought a megaphone and drowned out Singer’s responses, including a question about whether he still believed that (he originally took the stance nearly thirty years ago). 

This is pretty common; disability groups protest Singer often, have been for decades. There’s a fantastic New York Times Magazine article by a disabled woman who protested Singer and later participated in a speaking engagement at Princeton with him; it’s fifteen years old, and the protests it references weren’t new even back then.

Because of the timing on the heels of recent violence at Berkeley and Middlebury, I think people are more sensitive to speakers being shut down by protests than they were a few weeks ago. Which is a shame, because this incident was nothing like either of those. Students were badly beaten during the Berkeley riots, and a professor ended up hospitalized with serious neck injuries at the Middlebury ones. In the aftermath of events like that, it makes sense that people would panic as soon as a protest starts, terrified that it’ll turn violent like the ones they heard about on the news.

But protesting is not bad - is, in fact, a wholly legitimate and useful tool - and I’m really worried that people will start treating peaceful protests as precursors to violent protests, and therefore terrifying. That’s a terrible idea. Most protests are peaceful and most peaceful protests stay that way, and being peacefully protested is part of participating in the marketplace of ideas. 

The protestors wanted Singer to never be invited to speak on any topic. I think they were wrong to want this; I think it was a good idea to invite Singer to speak. I think ‘no platforming’ people you disagree with is a terrible form of activism that doesn’t work and is usually actively counterproductive. But if protest is legitimate (and it is) then so is protest in pursuit of goals I disagree with. And good ideas will have bad proponents, so the misbehavior of some protestors doesn’t prove that they had nothing to complain about in the first place.

That’s, of course, easy to say from across the ocean, and I don’t blame people at U-Vic who may have known on one level that protests happen and are okay but still been totally panicked and distracted by the prospect of a sudden violent escalation. But I do think people hearing about it secondhand have more ability to (and more obligation to) question the negative affect around disruptive protests that they may have built up over the last couple scary weeks. To refute some silly things that have been said on the Internet about the protests, people who are protesting an event you hold are not declaring themselves irretrievably hostile to you; protests often go hand-in-hand with outreach and debate. Effective altruism is not incompatible with disability rights; effective altruism does not need to Pick A Side in the culture wars; effective altruism is an idea, and like other ideas it will be debated and dismissed and discussed and protested and hopefully improved by all of these things, including the protests.

I value free speech a lot more than most of the college campus left. Preserving an environment of free speech will sometimes involve standing up to them. But sometimes it’ll involve reaching out to them, saying ‘hey, we’re inviting Peter Singer to campus, and we’d like to meet with you and talk about maybe co-hosting a speaker critical of Singer’. Commitment to free speech should extend itself readily to commitment to laying the framework for productive conversations. And so the first resort against the illiberal left should be to liberalism even harder - to listen, to give them a platform, to engage with them. And then, of course, to host speakers who you think you’ll learn something from hearing, whatever other people have to say about it: but respect first that they will have something to say about it, and that part of building a freer campus environment is listening.

Just Had To Let This Out

Normally, I wouldn’t speak up about this, but I just about had enough with the negativity brought upon our fandom by people who aren’t really part of it. I get that some don’t believe that Sprousehart is real or some don’t even like Cole and Lili together whether off-screen or on-screen, and I totally respect that. What I cannot stand is other people shoving their own beliefs to other people because they cannot take an idea that is opposed to theirs. I mean we live in the age of the internet where basically it is the free marketplace of ideas. At this point in time, we are supposed to be diverse, and such diversity is celebrated because being diverse helps our society grow and develop into something more. That is why I get really bothered with people constantly trying to shut down a particular group by throwing ad hominem or shut an idea down just because it is different from yours. Then when you confront them and try to have a healthy discourse with them, they play the victim card or again just throw ad hominem. It is regressive and counterproductive.

On this note, I would like to call out, specifically, a particular account who I find rather troublesome, @forthepalette .

Dear, first of all I want to say that I did try to understand you by reading your blog. I get it. You want more representation for the LGBTQ community. You believe that Cole and KJ are dating. You believe that the whole Sprousehart thing is just PR. Those are all fine with me. I may not agree with them aside for your want for more representation for the LGBTQ community, but I recognize that you are a different person from me and I respect your right to have your own thoughts and ideas.

What I don’t like is the manner you express them. You come out rather bullish and aggressive towards Sprousehart fans when you express your opinions on any particular post. You often use the Sprousehart tag even when you post matters that don’t involve us at all, like when you want to push forth your theories about Coleneti. You INSULT us. You had this post before which is short of calling us stupid with your believers of the world is flat vs believers the world is round comparison of SH fans vs non-SH fans.

I don’t know why you are like this. Maybe some fans may have insulted you before, that is why you feel entitled to insult us back as well. I admit I may have been rather harsh on some of my replies on the posts you commented and I apologize for that.

All I want dear is for you to just let us be. Stop calling us homophobic just because we ship two people of different genders. It’s about the same level of absurdity of calling Lili a homophobe when she expressed in an interview before that she doesn’t think Beronica will happen anytime soon since she knows that the canon in Riverdale now is Bughead.

I think labeling people for something they aren’t is just as bad as being the things you label us as. It’s divisive to say the least. What if we are also for your cause, but because you call us those names, we won’t feel welcome to be part of the community anymore. Actually, I am a supporter of the LGBTQ community in my country. I have very strong views with the lack of same sex marriage in our country. I was one of those who lauded the U.S. Supreme Court for Obergefell v. Hodges decision albeit it being, technically, judicial legislation.

Anyway, I feel like I’ve digressed a bit and this post is rather long now. To sum up everything, I guess what I just want to request from everyone and from you especially @forthepalette is a little thoughtfulness with how you post. Respect begets respect.

MOSCOW—Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of cities across Russia on Sunday to protest official corruption in the most significant challenge to President Vladimir Putin in years.

Sunday’s marches were called by leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny, who was detained during the protest in Moscow, according to supporters and local media.

“There are things in life worth being detained for,” Mr. Navalny said on Twitter.

Crowds chanting “Russia without Putin” and carrying placards decrying official corruption converged on Pushkin Square in the Russian capital, where they faced off with ranks of Interior Ministry police in riot gear.

Police officials told news agency Interfax that 7,000 to 8,000 people participated and around 500 were arrested. The radio station Echo of Moscow, drawing on unofficial estimates, put the number of participants in Moscow much higher.

Russian riot police detain a demonstrator during an anti-corruption rally in central Moscow on Sunday.
The demonstrations are a sign of public dissatisfaction in Russia despite the consistently high approval ratings Mr. Putin receives in opinion surveys.

In Washington, the State Department sharply condemned the Russian crackdown, including the arrest of Mr. Navalny, other protesters, human rights observers and journalists.

“The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve a government that supports an open marketplace of ideas, transparent and accountable governance, equal treatment under the law, and the ability to exercise their rights without fear of retribution,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

Russia’s economy has struggled and the country has been hit with international sanctions since it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Transparency International rates the country as one of the most corrupt in Europe.

“I don’t like the kind of Russia we have today, or the people who are in power,” said Anna Tursina, who attended the Moscow march. “There’s no money for education, or science, for children, mothers and the elderly.”

Ms. Tursina carried a sign emblazoned with the slogan, “A thief should sit in jail.”

Images on Russian social media showed crowds of hundreds or thousands in cities across the country. Supporters of Mr. Navalny’s posted photos of demonstrations in Siberian cities of Irkutsk, Tomsk and Krasnoyarsk.

Interfax, citing local authorities, reported that 1,500 demonstrators turned out for a protest in Vladivostok on Russia’s Pacific Coast.

Source: https://www.wsj.com/articles/thousands-protest-corruption-in-russia-in-challenge-to-president-vladimir-putin-1490543312?mod=e2fb

anonymous asked:

Hiya. Do you think someone with a Mercury in 7th would also have other traits regardless of their aspects? Since the 7th house is the "house of mirrors," I was wondering if they could inherit traits of their peers

I do believe the common misconception with the 7th house is seeing Libra (its ruler) as passive, almost a pushover and needing others to be complete.  I think the reality sits more with what the 7th house originally represents in classical Astrology; that is the marketplace.  Why do we go to a market…We go to sell things and buy things that make our life better.  This is what “seeking balance of Libra” is kind of about.  Even it’s symbol is the scales represents the weighing of product at the market place..interesting often not known fact.

So Mercury in the 7th house is about bringing ideas to the marketplace.  You see this position with someone who loves to share a lot of ideas, “buy” peoples ideas and integrating them into their thought process.  By gaining other ideas their original viewpoints are challenged and shifted.  The indecisive natural is prevalent and here and often comes from gaining to much information…playing their own devil’s advocate.  Usually a partner or marriage spouse is required to constantly keep their ideas in perspective.  If gaining information is a form of inheriting traits through others…Maybe it is but I consider it more assimilating ideas and gaining a more broad intellectual perspective through others.  

These people HATE social disagreements and fighting, love to keep it diplomatic and “stop the music” to restore a civil exchange.

Ben Affleck partook in satirizing religion in the movie Dogma but thinks Islam is exempt from criticism. All ideas and beliefs are subject to analyzation. We challenge people’s political opinions or correct our friends if they spread a known urban myth. Religion is no exception and Islam gets no special pass.

I don’t care too much either way what the actor thinks but I feel this is worth mentioning because many otherwise liberal and libertarian persons in the U.S., who rightly question and criticize other beliefs and opinions, have a problem when Islam is being analyzed. This is illogical.

Challenging a belief system is not the same as hating the estimated 1.6 billion people who identify with it. Automatically hating or mistreating someone you perceive to be Muslim simply because of their religion is wrong and prejudiced. Bill Maher and Sam Harris, the people he was arguing with, were criticizing ideas that deserve to be pointed out, not calling for the hatred of every Muslim. The two of them also have criticized Christianity in great detail, but I haven’t heard any outrage from social liberals at that or accusations of racism. Then again, Christianity and Islam are religions, not races.

Liberals and libertarians know that criticizing Christianity or the Republican Party isn’t calling for the hatred of all those who believe simply for their labels. And most of us realize that there are degrees of beliefs and not every person who identifies with either Christianity or conservative beliefs all think alike. So let’s apply that same way of thinking when we hear Islam being picked apart, especially when it’s from someone like Sam Harris, who has actually studied and written about it in-depth.
With you by my side


So, this is my contribution to the ZoNami Bang! Bang! 2017 by @zonamievents! It’s a collab with the wonderful @jeannetteleven who drew this lovely picture for my story! Enjoy!


With you by my side

Everything hurt. That was the first thing Nami noticed. She felt dizzy and had trouble moving. Only then did she realize that everything around her was pitch-black.

The navigator felt how panic started to rise in her chest. Where was she? What had happened? She just couldn’t seem to remember… and what was that annoying feeling of somebody poking her arm?

“Oi, woman? You dead or what?” Sounded the voice of non other than the infamous swordsman of the Straw Hat Pirates, Roronoa Zoro, in her ears.

~Idiot!~ She thought. ~How dare he sounding so bored and uninterested in my wellbeing when I could very well be on the brink of death!~ The panic she had felt before was suddenly replaced by anger.

Nami’s eyes snapped open and she jolted up into a sitting position - and why had she been lying on the ground in the first place? - ready to scold the unsuspecting swordsman for his rude and insensitive behavior when…

Keep reading

Justice Democrats - Democrats That Represent People, Not Corporations

Operation Democratic Backbone.

It’s time to face the facts: the Democratic Party is broken and the corporate, establishment wing of the party is responsible. Republicans now hold most state legislatures, most governorships, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the presidency. So in 2018, hundreds of Justice Democrats will run a unified campaign to replace every corporate-backed member of Congress and rebuild the party from scratch. This is our plan:

Pass a constitutional amendment to put an end to Washington corruption and bring about election reform. Super PACs should be banned, private donations to politicians and campaigns should be banned, and a clean public financing system should be implemented to end the takeover of our government by corporations and billionaires. Americans deserve free and fair elections – free from the corruption of big money donors. The Supreme Court has effectively legalized bribery. It’s time for an Article 5 convention to take our democracy back from the brink of oligarchy. Prior to passing this amendment, all members of the Justice Party should reject billionaire and corporate donations when running for office to show the American people we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. Ranked choice voting should also be implemented to make smaller parties a viable option. All provisions of the voting rights act should be reinstated, and gerrymandering for partisan gain should be banned.

Re-regulate Wall Street and hold white-collar criminals accountable. Despite engaging in systemic fraud and causing a subprime mortgage meltdown and the great recession, you can count the people from Wall Street who are in prison for their crimes on one hand. It’s time to prosecute the criminals, bring back Glass-Steagall, and re-regulate Wall Street to prevent another crash. Prison is not just for the poor and the middle class anymore. We will have cops on Wall Street, not just Main Street.

End billionaire and corporate tax dodging, fix the system to benefit middle-class and poor people. Corporations dodge $450 billion a year in taxes by using offshore tax havens. We should end this injustice, as well as chain the capital gains tax to the income tax, increase the estate tax, and implement the Buffet rule so that no millionaire CEO pays less in taxes than his or her secretary. It’s time for a tax system that benefits the middle-class and the poor, and makes the top 1% and multinational corporations pay their fair share.

Defend free speech and expression. We support the right to express unpopular opinions without fear of censorship. We support free speech on college campuses. The marketplace of ideas should be embraced. A vibrant debate is healthy for democracy, and we should cherish our first amendment. We also support net neutrality for a free and open internet.

Oppose bigotry. We must speak out against racism, sexism, xenophobia, and all forms of bigotry. Non-discrimination protections that currently apply to race, religion, and gender should be expanded to include the LGBTQ community and the atheist community. Making all Americans equal is not asking for special privileges, it’s asking for the rule of law – justice and equality for all as outlined in the United States Constitution.

Make the minimum wage a living wage and tie it to inflation. This is about justice and basic human decency. If you work hard and you work full time you shouldn’t live in poverty.

Ensure universal healthcare as a right. The United States should catch up to every other modern nation and implement a single-payer, medicare-for-all system. There’s no reason we can’t be #1 in the world instead of #37. It’s time to end the destruction of American healthcare by rapacious, price gouging, for-profit, private health insurance middlemen.

Ensure universal education as a right. Educating the citizenry of a nation pays dividends in the long run, with the economy getting back much more than is initially put in. Crushing student debt for higher education would no longer burden young men and women trying to improve their lives through hard work. We should strive to have the best education system in the world.

End unnecessary wars and nation building. The United States maintains 800 military bases worldwide at a cost of $100 billion a year, this is money that can be spent at home creating jobs, rebuilding infrastructure, and investing in the future of the people. The disastrous war in Iraq cost trillions, the war in Afghanistan is 15 years in with no end in sight, and we’re currently bombing 7 different countries. We spend more on our military than the next 8 countries combined. Despite countless lives lost and destroyed, terrorism has only gotten worse. It’s time to end the wars and the perverse monetary-incentive structure that makes politicians flippant about sending young men and women to die. Unilateral U.S. military force should only be used as a last resort to defend the nation. The current budget could be cut drastically if we used our department of defense for what it was intended – defending us, instead of waging interventionist wars.

End the failed war on drugs. The goal is legalization, taxation, and regulation. Prohibition only makes drug cartels more powerful, increases crime, and makes drugs more dangerous due to lack of enforced safety standards. What you put in your body is your own business, and your right. A free society should allow individuals to make their own choices about their bodies. While most users are recreational and moderate, rehabilitation and treatment should be available for people struggling with addiction. Additionally, those serving time for non-violent drug offenses should be pardoned.

Create the new new deal. Our infrastructure gets a grade of D from the Society of Civil Engineers. The government should invest billions in rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, schools, levees, airports etc. There’s no reason why we can’t have the world’s #1 infrastructure.

Create the renewable energy revolution. Scientists are sounding the alarm on climate change. In order to avoid the worst case scenario and a dystopian future we need a massive green revolution. It’s time to drastically and immediately move away from fossil fuels and develop the technologies of the future. This will be a giant boon to both the private and public sector, as well as a necessary response to a global crisis. We can and we must be #1 in sustainable energy production in the world.

Block the TPP and all outsourcing deals that will further damage the middle-class. As a result of NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China and the WTO, Americans have lost millions of decent paying jobs. It’s time to end the race to the bottom and renegotiate these rigged deals that only benefit elites. We should not sacrifice our sovereignty, the only people who are allowed to make laws for the United States should be the American people, not multinational corporations.

End Constitutional overreaches. Ban the NSA from bulk data-collection and warrantless spying. Shut down Guantanamo Bay and all extrajudicial prisons. Prosecute torturers and those who violated the Geneva Conventions, Nuremberg Tribunal, International law and US law. Return habeas corpus and due process. Pardon whistleblowers like Edward Snowden. We shouldn’t be leading from behind on human rights, we must be the home of liberty. We should practice the values we preach.

Ban arming human rights violators. We recently gave Saudi Arabia billions in weapons and watched the civilian death toll in their vicious bombing campaign in Yemen tick up. We continue sending Egypt arms as they violently crack down on peaceful protesters. Israel received $38 billion in aid and promptly announced new settlements. The first step to peace is not enabling nations who regularly violate international law. We must be bold enough to stand up to human rights violators who aren’t just our enemies, but our allies. We don’t weaken our allies by holding them accountable, we strengthen them.

Enact common-sense gun regulation. 92% of Americans want expanded background checks, 54% want a ban on assault weapons, and 54% want a ban on high capacity magazines. This should be implemented along with a federal gun buyback program to cut down on the 300+ million firearms in circulation. Over 30,000 Americans die every year from gun violence, including over 10,000 homicides. The time to act is now to address this public health crisis.

Ensure paid vacation time, sick time, maternity leave, childcare. The United States is one of just three countries in the world that doesn’t offer paid maternity leave, the others being Oman and Papua New Guinea. We are the only industrialized nation that doesn’t offer paid vacation time. This should be changed immediately.

Abolish the death penalty. Humans are fallible, we’ll never get the right answer 100% of the time. 4% of the people on death row are not guilty of a crime and have been wrongly convicted. A system that puts innocent people to death is indefensible and should be reformed. We want justice for the American people but killing innocent people on death row is the exact opposite.

Defend and protect women’s rights. We support the Paycheck Fairness Act. We oppose Republican cuts to Planned Parenthood and women’s health clinics all across the country. In 2016 alone, 60 TRAP laws targeting abortion were passed in 19 states. We will vigorously oppose all efforts to dismantle reproductive rights.

The Analogy Of The Drug Dealer

The free market is not always moral but it is always just. It does not act with  favor toward any particular group (unlike aristocracy or Socialism which aim to advance the interests of the upper class or the common worker respectively)  but leaves men to exchange their own goods on their own terms. This is crucial for us to keep in mind for more than one reason. The free market is dependent upon us for its morality; it is an economic answer to human affairs not a general one.   The market is only concerned with the pleasure of the customer. A drug dealer caters to the pleasure of his client but it is a pleasure that  destroys the lives of him, his family and corrupts his surroundings. A person can deal in products that are just as deleterious  to the intellect and the character of those who consume it. What some have referred to as the “dumbling down” of society comes via the same free marketplace of ideas that we all cherish. This conditioning can ultimately even work to prejudice  the public  against the very market that made it possible. Only an authoritarian society is secure in itself, a free society always contains the instruments of its own undoing. 

This is why true Conservatism is not just watchful to preserve free markets but is mindful of the type of culture  that emerges within those markets and the society as a whole,  and fights within that free framework to  preserve the right principles. It does not respect something merely because it is profitable.  It respects the right for it to be chosen by free men,  but works within the marketplace and the society  to subvert it, and to replace it with higher alternatives .

top humor: watching liberals argue but falling all over themselves to tell each other how thrilled they are to be disagreeing, while neither of them is changing their mind on their position at all and getting visibly angrier and angrier. their fetishization of the “marketplace of ideas” and bourgeois politeness makes it impossible for them to have real discussions and watching them not only have pointless discussions where they just hear themselves talk but also suppress their rage is really amusing. 

Thomas Sowell on PC Campuses 25 years ago

Defenders of “political correctness” almost invariably evade the heart of the criticisms against it–namely, that it is an imposition of ideological conformity. Instead, defenders proclaim the merits of their particular ideology or its social goals. Those merits and those goals are things which might well be debated in the marketplace of ideas, but the charge against political correctness is precisely that is it is antithetical to the marketplace of ideas. The very rhetoric of politically correct zealots betrays the fact that they are not seeking an open debate between opposing viewpoints, but rather an institutional process by which they “raise the consciousness of others”, give others “awareness” or “sensitivity,” or otherwise engage in one-way enlightenment of the benighted. Everything from residential education programs to automatic deductions of students contributions to the Naderite P.I.R.G.s shows the weight of academic institutions being put behind one particular ideological vision.

This is done, simply at the expense of other viewpoints, but more fundamentally at the expense of the educational process itself, as more and more courses and programs are set up to lead students to ideologically defined conclusions– whether about the environment, race, sex, or other topics– rather than to develop their own ability to think for themselves, and a subject all arguments to the various kinds of systematic analysis known as disciplines. One symptom of this fundamental shift in the purpose of education is the zest for so-called “interdisciplinary” studies, where this means in practice non-disciplinary studies– studies which require no mastery of the analytical methods of science, economics, logic, statistical analysis, or other encumbrances to “exciting” ideological discussions.

What is routinely passed over in silence by defenders of “political correctness” is the institutionalization of ideological conformity, not only through propaganda courses– increasingly required– but also through active suppression of alternative viewpoints via cultural Gauleiters in the dormitories, restrictive speech codes, and administrative toleration of Stormtrooper tactics against outside speakers who seek to bring alternative viewpoints to campus. These issues are almost never confronted by defenders of “political correctness”.

-Thomas Sowell, Inside American Education: The Decline, The Deceptions, The Dogmas, (1993) pp.279-280