In other news... (humorous news items)

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Neil_Boekend » Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:26 am UTC

HES wrote:What about debit cards though?

Dunno about the rest of the world, but in the Netherlands there is or used to be a PIN cost, paid by the shop. Once upon a time most shops had signs saying something like don't pay by card for transactions below 50 cents around here. Later the signs disappeared. I guess the transaction costs dropped to the amount where it doesn't matter anymore. I still say "sorry, but I'll have to PIN it" when I pay sub E10 and don't have the cash on me, although I know the amount of work involved in cash is more than the amount of work involved in card payment.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby elasto » Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:36 am UTC

commodorejohn wrote:It's not so much that it's a slippery slope as that people were holding up systems that require an $x9.99-x99.99 gadget to use as essentially equivalent alternatives, that's all.

In many ways they are. Digital transactions are in practice cheaper for businesses to handle than cash ones, just like e-books are cheaper to handle than paperbacks - in both cases it's just predatory price-gouging that has the pricing reversed - and eventually it'll flip round so that it's cash that will attract a 3.75% fee to pay with... Example 1: Up until this year, it was free with WeChat both to transfer cash to a person or business and free to withdraw your e-balance to your bank account; They only recently increased the fee to 0.1%. Example 2: For public transport in my city in China it costs more to pay for your bus journey with cash than with your contact debit card.

In addition, the cost of smartphones will eventually drop to the point that noone would be without one. If the Indian $5 smartphone turns out to be fake, one day it'll be real. When a smartphone costs less than a wallet, 'requiring' a gadget of people is not vastly burdensome...

Eventually the advantages of paying for stuff electronically will vastly outweigh the advantages of using cash - and it'll go from 90% of E500 transactions being illicit to 99.99% of transactions being so... The case for abolishing such banknotes will only get stronger, especially as digital cash will eventually become as anonymous and untraceable as cash currently is.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Zamfir » Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:46 am UTC

HES wrote:What about debit cards though?

I found a price list for shops from the local ING bank https://www.ing.nl/media/ING-tarieven_zakelijk_betalingsverkeer_nl_tcm162-37403.pdf

Debit cards are 4 euro/month to register a debit card machine, or 40 e/m to rent one. Costs are then 2 to 5 cents per transaction.

Paper money deposits are 3 euro per deposit, plus 0.1% of the value
Coin deposits are 60 euro per 10 coin bags. Shops rarely deposit coins - they give out more coins in change than they get in. They buy coins from the bank, at 25 cents per stack.

Webshop payments require a 12.50 e/m fixed fee, plus 42 cents per transaction

Credit cards are between 1.5% to 3% of the payment, plus 27,50 when a customer makes a complaint

Of course, discounts are negotiable for large customers. If I am not mistaken, the largest supermarket chain negotiated zero cost for debit card transactions.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby sardia » Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:38 pm UTC

I don't think we were advocating for banning cash, but we were claiming the costs outweigh the benefits at the higher bank note amounts. Yes, if you're a all cash store, it sucks that you're 50 grand a day haul will go up from 1lb to 2 lbs. However it also inhibits criminal transactions more.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby commodorejohn » Fri Feb 19, 2016 2:28 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Eventually the advantages of paying for stuff electronically will vastly outweigh the advantages of using cash - and it'll go from 90% of E500 transactions being illicit to 99.99% of transactions being so... The case for abolishing such banknotes will only get stronger, especially as digital cash will eventually become as anonymous and untraceable as cash currently is.

After all, it's worked so well for Bitcoin ("The currency of choice for any respectable Russian ransomware author!")
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby ucim » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:18 pm UTC

elasto wrote:...especially as digital cash will eventually become as anonymous and untraceable as cash currently is.
This will never happen.

The whole point of digital cash is that it's traceable and helps build a profile on you, where you go, what you spend money on, and where you get it from. Yeah, it's convenient and all, and (for now) it's a rich source of ancillary fees (which will eventually go away like the extra charge for touch tone dialing), but the kind of personal information that a money stream reveals is too ch*rpin' valuable for anybody to pass up, and most individuals are not aware of the implications of the massive invasion of personal privacy that networked computers have wrought.

As for the penny, I know a number is a number, but there's something unsettling about an economy that does not mint the lowest denomination of its own currency.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:25 pm UTC

HES wrote:What about debit cards though?


Still a fee, though typically a smaller percentage. Generally, it's framed as a certain cost a month per reader(maybe $25), and a flat fee + percentage for every swipe.

The former is at least partially taxes, if memory serves.

Flat fee is generally like a dime.

Percentage varies on card type. Debit cards are usually sub 1%, whereas Discover cards are particularly high, and keyed cards instead of swiped usually have a higher percentage as well(presumably due to higher fraud risk). You can clear 4% on the top end.

ucim wrote:
elasto wrote:...especially as digital cash will eventually become as anonymous and untraceable as cash currently is.
This will never happen.

The whole point of digital cash is that it's traceable and helps build a profile on you, where you go, what you spend money on, and where you get it from. Yeah, it's convenient and all, and (for now) it's a rich source of ancillary fees (which will eventually go away like the extra charge for touch tone dialing), but the kind of personal information that a money stream reveals is too ch*rpin' valuable for anybody to pass up, and most individuals are not aware of the implications of the massive invasion of personal privacy that networked computers have wrought.

As for the penny, I know a number is a number, but there's something unsettling about an economy that does not mint the lowest denomination of its own currency.

Jose


Once you stop worrying about integers, there is no lowest denomination.

And gas is already priced to the tenth of a penny, so....

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:30 pm UTC

ucim wrote:As for the penny, I know a number is a number, but there's something unsettling about an economy that does not mint the lowest denomination of its own currency.


Its already been done before though.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby SDK » Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:00 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
ucim wrote:As for the penny, I know a number is a number, but there's something unsettling about an economy that does not mint the lowest denomination of its own currency.


Its already been done before though.

Heh, I like that one line: "At the time of their discontinuation, the half cent had more buying power than a dime in 2012."

Puts our current situation into perspective. Canada abolished the penny recently (last year?) and about all that changed is you tend to see more nickels and dimes in the "take a penny" bin than you used to. Funny how people are about that sort of thing.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby morriswalters » Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:10 pm UTC

ucim wrote:As for the penny, I know a number is a number, but there's something unsettling about an economy that does not mint the lowest denomination of its own currency.
From the WSJ.

Just How Much Does It Cost to Make a Penny?
The U.S. Mint cut the cost of making the penny by nearly a third over the past two years, but the little copper-coated coin still costs more than a cent to produce.
An amusing, if largely irrelevant fact.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Suzaku » Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:11 am UTC

Australia withdrew 1- and 2-cent coins from circulation in 1992.

Transactions are rounded to the nearest 5 cents and no one has to worry about annoying low-denomination coins.

Now Japan just needs to get rid of the incredibly annoying 1-yen coin.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby K-R » Sat Feb 20, 2016 6:12 am UTC

Suzaku wrote:Transactions are rounded to the nearest 5 cents and no one has to worry about annoying low-denomination coins.

I have a large box of five-cent coins that disagrees with you.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Grop » Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:28 am UTC

They are keeping them around just so you don't fill boxes with ten-cent coins.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Djehutynakht » Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:48 am UTC

If we really wanted to we could probably keep the penny in circulation even if we stopped minting new ones (or just minted a very small token number each year -- which would probably be valuable as a collectible at some point). There are enough floating around, and honestly, they stand up pretty well. I don't think we'd be short on them, or anything.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby addams » Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:01 pm UTC

India?
https://www.facebook.com/notes/human-be ... 518512245/

This is a Good Thing.
People with no money to buy internet get a little internet for free.

But, wait.
https://backchannel.com/how-india-pierc ... .yohbg9yrn
What's wrong with a 'Walled Garden"?
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Coyne » Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:07 am UTC

addams wrote:India?
https://www.facebook.com/notes/human-be ... 518512245/

This is a Good Thing.
People with no money to buy internet get a little internet for free.

But, wait.
https://backchannel.com/how-india-pierc ... .yohbg9yrn
What's wrong with a 'Walled Garden"?

You can get your strongest indications from the attitude: That "Free Basics" isn't worth doing without the walled garden, which establishes where the profit motive is: in the walled garden.

Because that garden would contain a billion (their claim) people--a captive audience--who didn't have access to Google or Twitter or Amazon or even this site...at least not without the audience or the sites (or both) paying Facebook.

Facebook really liked playing the game straight, too. One of the nastiest incidents was when they posted an advocacy piece on their site, and if you scrolled down to read it, it automatically (without your permission) sent a message to the India government proclaiming your support of Facebook's petition. (Facebook Busted Trying To Fake Support For Its Net Neutrality Positions In India)

Related stories at Techdirt.
In all fairness...

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby addams » Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:29 am UTC

https://www.techdirt.com/blog/netneutra ... ndia.shtml
Combined with Zuckerberg's claims that opponents of Free Basics are extremists that hate the poor, Facebook's making an excellent case for its critics who say that creating a walled garden version of the Internet in which Facebook is king is a very bad idea. A better idea? As numerous folks have suggested, how about putting all of this money being spent on Free basics, lobbying, spamming and marketing into actually updating India's lagging broadband infrastructure?


https://www.techdirt.com/blog/netneutra ... cess.shtml
In other words, if Facebook really wants to help the poor, it can do so by using Internet.org to fund access to the "real Internet," not some bastardized version of the Internet that lets Facebook and select ISP partners play god. The conversation in India mirrors the conversation we've been having about systems like AT&T's Sponsored Data here in the States; opposition to zero rating is simply about getting massive gatekeepers out of the way and ensuring equal access to the purest version of the 'Net possible.


oh.
The money spent on selling the 'Walled Garden' could have put the whole Wild, Wild West of the Internet into many, many hands.
I like Walled Gardens so much it is difficult for me when such a nice name is given to a Dark Capitalist Nightmare I don't understand.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby ucim » Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:34 am UTC

addams wrote:I like Walled Gardens so much it is difficult for me when such a nice name is given to a Dark Capitalist Nightmare I don't understand.
Think of a gilded cage, or a pot of gradually warming water for frogs.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Coyne » Mon Feb 22, 2016 3:15 am UTC

ucim wrote:
addams wrote:I like Walled Gardens so much it is difficult for me when such a nice name is given to a Dark Capitalist Nightmare I don't understand.
Think of a gilded cage, or a pot of gradually warming water for frogs.

Jose


The individual who chose the term "Walled Garden" was thinking of all the wonders that are offered...inside the garden. But nothing outside is available because of the walls.

But I agree "gilded cage" is a much better simile. Because the wonders that these capitalist companies provide inside the garden are but a pale shadow of everything available on the web.
In all fairness...

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby addams » Mon Feb 22, 2016 4:26 am UTC

Yep. Everyone should have the internet.
Freedom is what each one does with it.

This conversation reminds me of the heated discussions about teaching The Masses to read.
It was said, "They will read and write Porn." And; They did. They did other stuff, too.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby eviloatmeal » Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:34 am UTC

ucim wrote:As for the penny, I know a number is a number, but there's something unsettling about an economy that does not mint the lowest denomination of its own currency.

Norway got rid of the 50 cent (equivalent of a nickel) coin a few years back, now everything is rounded to the nearest crown (or dime).

The lowest denomination here hasn't been minted since the 70s, as far as I know. Long before I was minted.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Choboman » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:41 pm UTC

addams wrote:oh.
The money spent on selling the 'Walled Garden' could have put the whole Wild, Wild West of the Internet into many, many hands.
I like Walled Gardens so much it is difficult for me when such a nice name is given to a Dark Capitalist Nightmare I don't understand.

Why are people surprised when a for-profit company doesn't want to give their money away with no expectation of return? The Walled Garden offering is a bad deal for people who can afford their own internet, but it's not being marketed to them. If your only alternative is "No Garden At All", "Walled Garden" for free sounds like a nice option.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Mutex » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:46 pm UTC

Choboman wrote:
addams wrote:oh.
The money spent on selling the 'Walled Garden' could have put the whole Wild, Wild West of the Internet into many, many hands.
I like Walled Gardens so much it is difficult for me when such a nice name is given to a Dark Capitalist Nightmare I don't understand.

Why are people surprised when a for-profit company doesn't want to give their money away with no expectation of return? The Walled Garden offering is a bad deal for people who can afford their own internet, but it's not being marketed to them. If your only alternative is "No Garden At All", "Walled Garden" for free sounds like a nice option.

No one is surprised, this is what everyone was expecting. It might seem better on the face of it - some internet is better than none - but the Indians were smart enough to see the trap. This deal would get the next internet generation of Indians brought up thinking Facebook is the Internet, and we've already got enough of that right now. It also kills off any local competition who might've been able to provide cheap internet services as the poorest in India gradually get more disposable income.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:53 pm UTC

Honestly, I'd prefer it if we cut out the penny, nickle, AND the dime. Besides, we can't cut the nickle, because $0.10 dimes cannot be the lowest denomination with $0.25 quarters around. Note that both the nickle is the least profitable coin (because for some reason, the Nickle is larger than a dime...)

Rounding to a quarter is easy enough, and most people "care" about quarters. I dunno if anybody would pickup a dime, nickle, or penny if it were more than a few feet away from them.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:04 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
Choboman wrote:
addams wrote:oh.
The money spent on selling the 'Walled Garden' could have put the whole Wild, Wild West of the Internet into many, many hands.
I like Walled Gardens so much it is difficult for me when such a nice name is given to a Dark Capitalist Nightmare I don't understand.

Why are people surprised when a for-profit company doesn't want to give their money away with no expectation of return? The Walled Garden offering is a bad deal for people who can afford their own internet, but it's not being marketed to them. If your only alternative is "No Garden At All", "Walled Garden" for free sounds like a nice option.

No one is surprised, this is what everyone was expecting. It might seem better on the face of it - some internet is better than none - but the Indians were smart enough to see the trap. This deal would get the next internet generation of Indians brought up thinking Facebook is the Internet, and we've already got enough of that right now. It also kills off any local competition who might've been able to provide cheap internet services as the poorest in India gradually get more disposable income.


Some *is* better than none.

It's not really a trap. It's pretty obvious.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Mutex » Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:26 pm UTC

Short term but not long term.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:55 pm UTC

It's not a "trap" in the sense that they won't be providing what they're claiming to provide (at least if we overlook the extremely unsubtle implications in their PR that Facebook is the Internet.) It's a trap in the sense that they're offering a bait in hopes of catching people who otherwise would not be under their sway. That is absolutely and quite transparently what this is about, no matter how many paeans to feel-good philanthropy Zuckerberg makes.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:18 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:It's not a "trap" in the sense that they won't be providing what they're claiming to provide (at least if we overlook the extremely unsubtle implications in their PR that Facebook is the Internet.) It's a trap in the sense that they're offering a bait in hopes of catching people who otherwise would not be under their sway. That is absolutely and quite transparently what this is about, no matter how many paeans to feel-good philanthropy Zuckerberg makes.


Look, this is a surprise to absolutely nobody. Everyone is aware that they intend to make money off it long term, because that's how corporations act, and that customer acquisition is a pretty straightforward path to that. Size of user base is pretty essential to social media. The motives couldn't really be more plain here, calling it a trap implies that there's some hidden gotcha.

Giving out a free sample to pick up users is seriously one of the oldest sales tactics in the world.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:39 pm UTC

We can argue semantics on this, but the more relevant point is this: Zuckerberg is trying to have a say in how people use the Internet. He is trying to redefine it in the minds of millions or billions of people to a definition that suits his ends. That's not cool, and I don't really give a fuck if it comes in the guise of a free service or not. Thankfully, neither do a lot of Indians, apparently.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Choboman » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:57 pm UTC

Giving out free first 'hits' of crack can be a trap because customer become quickly addicted and are then subjects to extreme markups once they can't say no. One of the more insidious traps I've heard of is giving new mothers a free one-month supply of breast milk formula, knowing that after about a month without nursing mothers will stop lactating and then be obliged to use formula for the rest of the child's infancy. Giving free 'limited-access' internet is only a trap if it damages the consumer in the long term and cuts off their access to other options, and is only a negative to the degree that it does those things.

Internet access in a developing region like rural India is not going to be available unless it is subsidized by the government, and I don't see that happening until they've conquered many of their more pressing infrastructure needs. So for now it is a choice between limited access and no access. There's a decent chance that giving ubiquitous limited access to the population will lower the priority that they government would assign the effort to give everyone full access, but that just means that the government will be spending the money on something else instead (hopefully mass transit, or food subsidies, or similar, not graft, but who knows) so I count that as not too much of a negative.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby ucim » Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:42 am UTC

It's a trap in the sense that bundling a free internet browser in Windows was a trap. It shaped the internet (or at least the web), and that made the entire internet a trap (that web designers are still trying to get out of).

That's what Facebook is trying to do here.

Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby elasto » Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:00 am UTC

Visitors to Vienna might want to go easy on the beer and sausages, after a man was fined by police for offending public decency with a loud burp.

Edin Mehic was fined €70 ($77) for belching while standing close to a policeman in the city’s famous Prater Park.

Writing on Facebook, the local bar worker said he burped after eating a kebab with too much onion. Moments later, he wrote: “I felt a hand on my shoulder”.

“But what had I done?... I was being reported for a ‘decency violation’, the policeman shouted.

“I had a long discussion with him about why he wasn’t picking up real criminals who were obviously consuming and selling completely legal drugs. That didn’t get us very far.”

Mehic posted a photograph of the fine on his Facebook page, which says that he violated “public decency with a loud belch next to a police officer”.

Police spokesman Roman Hahslinger confirmed on Monday that Mehic had been fined for the offending burp. Mehic plans to appeal against the fine.

Though it was emitted earlier this month, the belch continues to resonate. By Monday, 118 people said they would attend a “loud belch” flash mob planned for next Saturday near the scene of the crime.


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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Link » Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:25 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:We can argue semantics on this, but the more relevant point is this: Zuckerberg is trying to have a say in how people use the Internet. He is trying to redefine it in the minds of millions or billions of people to a definition that suits his ends. That's not cool, and I don't really give a fuck if it comes in the guise of a free service or not. Thankfully, neither do a lot of Indians, apparently.
ucim wrote:That's what Facebook is trying to do here.

Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

Exactly. By my moral code, that falls under the umbrella term "evil". Which I've been saying Facebook is for years now. The fact that they call it "digital equality" is even more despicable. (Well, I guess equality enforced by silencing dissenters is also equality but... yeah.)

Fuck Facebook. With a gorram chainsaw.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Yablo » Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:33 pm UTC

Link wrote:Fuck Facebook. With a gorram chainsaw.

I feel that way about WalMart. I don't feel quite as strongly about Facebook, but I dislike it enough to sympathize. My wife set up a Facebook account for me so she could put me in some comic strip thing, and every once-in-a-while, she'll go through my friend requests and ask if I know a certain person or other, but I never use it personally.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Deva » Sat Mar 05, 2016 9:51 pm UTC

Skimmed a British Broadcasting Corporation article. Compared Donald Trump to other Republicans (past and present). Included images and a video. Blocked them due to NoScript, most likely. Changed its intended interpretation.

Source wrote:Who are Trump's voters?

View comments

Seems unsurprising.
Changes its form depending on the observer.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Mar 06, 2016 5:25 am UTC

Saw that a while ago. Kind of BS to compare the people at different times. I mean, do you think there is a single president weve had that wouldn't have gone to war after 9/11?

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Deva » Sun Mar 06, 2016 5:55 am UTC

Doubts it. Agreed in Congress. Forgot that could happen.

Supported action in different ways, though (including after Afghanistan). Feels relevant today. Argues between direct and indirect support for current events. Placed candidates by that standard. Measures by severity of proposed war crimes (if any) otherwise.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Mutex » Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:23 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Saw that a while ago. Kind of BS to compare the people at different times. I mean, do you think there is a single president weve had that wouldn't have gone to war after 9/11?


Against Afghanistan? No. Against Iraq? Hope so. Considering there was no evidence linking Saddam to 9/11 and the whole WMD thing was created out of thin air.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Mar 06, 2016 9:41 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Saw that a while ago. Kind of BS to compare the people at different times. I mean, do you think there is a single president weve had that wouldn't have gone to war after 9/11?


Against Afghanistan? No. Against Iraq? Hope so. Considering there was no evidence linking Saddam to 9/11 and the whole WMD thing was created out of thin air.


Ironically, there was a lot more evidence linking Iran to 9/11 than Iraq; had funded and coordinated with Al Qaeda in the past (Al Qaeda is not anti-Shia, and Iran has no problem in using filthy heretics as pawns), all the 9/11 hijackers had left Afghanistan through Iran, etc.


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