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Messages - ersi

1
DnD Central / Re: What's Your Favorite U.S. Supreme Court decision?
For those few who don't know the terminology, let me explain in simple terms: SCOTUS does not make law.
You are wrong in this as in everything else. SCOTUS overturns law, makes law, and meddles in administrative matters beyond law.

SCOTUS interferes with the due process of other courts even when the case is blindingly obvious and self-evident. See the Mar-a-Lago documents case delayed by SCOTUS decision on presidential immunity. The question SCOTUS is considering here is not whether the president has immunity in this particular case, but whether the president is an unrestrained autocratic dictator, as Trump's lawyers would have it, or not. There is no question there to ponder. The law is clear. It's just that SCOTUS is affected by partisan hackery as everything in USA right now.

Another thing, SCOTUS likes to overreach and go beyond law into decisions of administrative agencies that are not matters of law, such as in the case of gun bump stocks. Here the judges — nevermind their partisanship — made fools of themselves from the standpoint of technical expertise and common sense.

Add to this the (lack of) ethics of the judges. They supposedly regulate themselves. The result is that nobody regulates them, particularly not themselves.

At this point it is safe to say that nobody knows what SCOTUS is there for. They have lost their own sense of purpose and they are no longer capable of getting back on track on their own.
5
DnD Central / Re: The Awesomesauce of the American 2024 Presidential Elections
When you say "Main-stream Economics" you must mean Keynesian...
No. I mean mainstream economics as characterised by the so-called neoclassical synthesis, where the Keynesian element is actually pseudo-Keynesian.

Yes, I know it is all over your head.

The "Great Recession" didn't end until the Trump administration's tax cuts enabled the economy's growth. (Reagan -and Kennedy- both understood this dynamic...).
False. Data clearly does not matter to you.

Also, the topic clearly does not matter to you, but let's remind you: Inflation. Your theory is that government print money = inflation. And inflation = bad.

Yet, Obama printed money. Inflation did not happen. Trump made tax cuts for himself and now we have inflation again.

In reality, moderate stable inflation is necessary for economic growth (as it appears in GDP growth rate). The minus-inflation and zero-inflation economy that lasted throughout Obama years was not healthy (such economy has lasted for decades in Japan, resulting in a fall from second-largest economy of the world to behind Germany). And you deny the current economic growth because Biden is president.

Are you seeing the pattern? The pattern is that you are wrong about everything and your measure of all things is partisanship.

—As an exercise in honesty I ask a simple question: What do you think caused the so-called Great Recession?
As if you cared about honesty. What caused the Great Recession according to you? I know: Obama. Because he is Muslim and does not have a birth certificate or something. Be honest: You do not care that the Great Recession began under W with the subprime mortgage crisis.

You missed (understanding) what actually happened: The U.S.S.R. tried to match the USA's expenditure for modernizing nuclear forces -specifically, SDI (so-called "Star Wars") which was to be an effective defense against a First-Strike... And, of course, a "defense" was -to the Soviets- an attack!
So, the U.S.S.R. spent more and more on keeping up with the U.S, technology — to the detriment of its obligations to its people.
If this were true, then there would have been visible upscale in militarisation in USSR from 70's to 80's. In reality there was degradation. USSR did not have any muscle to keep itself together, much less muscle to keep together the Warsaw bloc, and much less posed it any threat to USA at any point. The "Star Wars" thing was fear of a bogeyman who was not there.

I know it's going to cause your on-line persona some angst, but do you really think the election od Donald J. Trumpt is — a problem, for the world?
You see no problem letting a state-secret leaking anti-constitutional narcissist dictator wannabe close to the nuke button? Silly me, of course you don't. Trump is Republican, so he is all-good.

I personally see no problem with any president of USA, provided that only USA were affected. Unfortunately there is more need for NATO now than ever. From this perspective, the right thing to do is to abolish the entire Republican party, or at least the Trump cult section of it. In normal countries, anti-constitutional insurrectionist parties get banned.

(You'd of course think that by recommending a ban on Republicans I hope for single-party rule of Democrats. No. In a normal country there are always more than two viable parties. USA is not a normal country. USA is a third world dump with delusions of grandeur.)
6
DnD Central / Re: The Awesomesauce of the American 2024 Presidential Elections
Astonishing. You replied. What happened?

Inflation is caused by the over-supply of money. Government spending beyond tax receipts (as a proxy for GDP) requires borrowing by the government. That borrowing is "deficit spending" and the mortgaging of future tax receipts is the only way to manage it. Unfortunately, deflating the currency has some nasty consequences!
I have heard of those theories. The problem with them is that they are just theories with no basis in reality. No basis whatsoever, zero validity. Anybody who holds to the theories you are citing is a miserable fool. You are having a big balls day, so I can upgrade you from doofus to miserable fool status.

First, over-supply of money does nothing when all of it is stashed away in holdings. This is easily seen by Obama's attempt to address the Great Recession. He pumped out trillions to keep the banks up in crisis and to encourage lending, which according to mainstream economic theory should in turn encourage general consumption, thus ending the recession. The banks used the windfall for CEO bonuses and other static hoarding, therefore the recession persisted. That was trillions printed that had no inflationary effect whatsoever for a decade.

Then covid hit, which changed the dynamic in economy. People stayed at home, with no way to go anywhere, nothing to do, and started spending online on little luxuries for nothing better to do. And only then inflation raised its head.

Conclusion: Only money in circulation, i.e. money mass in transactions, matters. Static money has no effect, no matter how much you print it, because it is, well, static — it is not participating in the economy. It starts having an effect when it starts participating in the economy.

You see, different from your theoretical nonsense, I have a practical sense of economics. I have the capacity to observe how economy works in practice. I have survived the hyperinflation at the collapse of Soviet Union. That hyperinflation did not happen because government printed money, but rather because politico-economic deregulation and introduction of private entrepreneurship brought about the explosion of black market and grey economy outside state control where alternative money was used (DEM, USD, and gold) indicating utter distrust for the official rouble, whose value thus collapsed.

Inflation is not government printing money. Inflation is reduced trust/valuation of a particular currency. It is called inflation because in every economic sector the increased price (=valuation in terms of currency) of a commodity is called inflation, so when there is an increase of prices across the board, which does not appear to be due a change of objective valuation of the commodities, but rather sinking value of the currency itself, then that is called inflation too. (It is nonsensical to call inflation "deflating the currency" as you do above. Keep your terms straight. Nah, I know it's too much for you.)

In addition to end-of-SU hyperinflation, I have also survived two monetary reforms in person. I know all about money. If you want to know anything about money or about broader economics, you ask me and listen carefully.
7
DnD Central / Re: The Awesomesauce of the American 2024 Presidential Elections
You don't know how to quote. Everything you quote is irrelevant to your point. I had to go to the full article to see if there is anything relevant there. The relevant part is this:

Obama’s guidance was never challenged in court, before the Trump administration swiftly rescinded it.
See how short it is? I mean, you see how full of nonsense you are? In so many words you are saying absolutely nothing. And they are not even your own words. They are mindless quotes from people whose air you like, but whose drift you do not understand.

This (what I quoted, not you) is absolutely all that this article says about what Trump allegedly did about DEI. The problem is that the article does not reference the document by which Trump did it. Therefore the article provides no timeline to assess how "swiftly" Trump did it.

The logical problem is that, if Trump indeed rescinded Obama's DEI swiftly, then Obama's DEI was never tested in practice, had no time to have a practical effect, so there is no way to compare whether Trump's policy was better or Obama's. But assuming that Obama's DEI policy stuck around long enough to be deemed bad by you, but there were no court challenges to Obama's DEI, then the problem is that you are deeming DEI bad based on your lunatic hallucinations only, regardless of law, order, justice etc. which are clearly meaningless things for you. This is your normal mode of operation.

What I was able to gather from primary sources is that in September 2020 Trump issued an executive order 13950 “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” that banned DEI trainings. As you very well (don't) know, 2020 was Trump's last year in office, not first or second or third, so there was nothing swift or prompt about his executive order. Trump lost elections by the end of the year and Biden became the president. In January 2021, pretty much as soon as he had taken over, Biden signed an executive order revoking Trump's executive order. So the facts are that it was Biden who was swift against Trump. Trump's executive order was in effect for less than one academic study term, thus having no practical effect. But of course you do not know any of this, because you do not acknowledge that Biden is the president, you do not care about facts, you do not know what news are, and you have no capacity to look things up from primary sources. You only look at factless word salad opinions of hyperpartisan think tanks who are probably producing their articles by means of ChatGPT these days.

All this is not to say that I am in favour of DEI. I am not. I hate corporate wokeness. But, being corporate wokeness, there is nothing much for ordinary people to do about it legally. The power disparity is too steep. The DEI talks about gender and other BS, but does nothing about actual far more glaring inequality, such as income inequality, thus DEI policies demonstrate that their purpose is not to address any actual social issues, but to drive people mad with their hypocrisy. The best that people can do is to not take the bait, not go mad. But you have gone incorrigibly mad.

(Your comment about inflation shows a surprising ignorance! Like the weather? Really? :) )
And what insight are you providing here? What is inflation according to you, doofus? Nah, never anything of substance from you, just factless partisan blather.
8
DnD Central / Re: Everything Trump…
Trump's lawyer was in turn compensated from campaign funds
This was neither charged nor litigated... But — that's your style! :)

As for the rest, ...
As for the rest, he was guilty on all counts. All of them, no exception, and this was considered the weakest and shakiest case!

You are simply demonstrating that law and order and justice mean absolutely nothing to you. Personality cult for the rapist, serial adulterer, convicted felon, business fraudster, insurrectionist, nepotist dictator wannabe, peddler of state secrets and election thief is your holy ideological principle.

You don't (or didn't?!) recognize the egregious lapses of integrity performed by the Democrats throughout these "Trump prosecution"?
It is part of your hyperpartisan lunacy to frame the prosecutions against Trump as if it were a partisan thing. No. Prosecuting Trump is prosecuting a criminal, a business fraudster, rapist, insurrectionist, peddler of state secrets and election thief. Who on the Democrat side has done it so that they should be prosecuted for it? The corruptants who have actually been found out, such as Menendez, are in fact on trial too, while baseless accusations, such as impeachment attempts against Mayorkas and Biden have amounted to nothing due to lack of evidence, not because of some deep state Soros conspiratorial idiocy.

Justice is not a partisan tit for tat thing. Justice is when you prosecute criminals regardless of their political and social standing. Trump is a criminal and should have been prosecuted a long time ago. And to do it safely, he should have been locked up years ago ahead of trial as is done to others for the same crimes. As it was done to Michael Cohen because this is the normal procedure. There was far more reason to do it with Trump because of his doxxing of jurors, court officials, and incitement of thuggery against witnesses. He got away with mere gag orders and with fines for breaching them, but he should have been locked up fair and square like everybody else is for far less.

Let me quote a Berkeley law professor and former federal prosecutor:
John Yoo states it plainly:
Bush Torture Lawyer John Yoo Calls for Revenge Prosecutions Against Democrats
Poor, innocent Donald Trump must be avenged.
https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/john-yoo-demands-revenge-prosecutions-against-democrats.html

As is often the case, I have outread you. You prefer the comfort of hyperpartisan blinders. These are matters about your own country, so you should seriously try to know them better than non-Americans.
9
DnD Central / Re: Everything Trump…
Trump is now a convicted felon in the Hush Money case.[1] The case was not simply about paying a prostitute to shut up (which is apparently legal), but paying a prostitute to shut up in conspiration with print media to avoid reputational damage to Trump's presidential campaign, while the payment scheme involved Trump's lawyer compensating the prostitute, and Trump's lawyer was in turn compensated from campaign funds referring to legal consultation fees where legal consultation did not happen. Some of that was apparently illegal, altogether 34 counts of indictment. Trump was found guilty on all counts. In legal terms, the former president lost to a prostitute. 

What now? Republicans stand with the convicted felon. Larry Hogan, (R-Maryland) campaigning for U.S. senator, who erred from the party line by calling people to "respect the verdict and the legal process", was instantly ostracised by the Trump camp.

The verdict should have taken Trump off the race. I assumed it would, because I assumed that Republicans would remember that they are the self-described party of law and order. Wrong assumption. Republicans are the party of strict ideological discipline where the ideology is a plain personality cult. In their mind, their front-runner can do no wrong. Court decisions have no effect on this. Such cultists have also infiltrated the judicial system, which has stalled all other legal cases against Trump. According to legal analysts, the Hush Money case was the weakest of Trump's cases, but now it's the only case that has made it to a conviction and Trump was found guilty on all counts. If the analysts are right, then Trump is even guiltier in all those other stronger cases. However, none of it matters to a party where the ideology is a personality cult.

I predicted earlier that Trump would not become the presidential nominee. To be pedantic, the prediction still has a month to go from now. In theory, the Republican party can still redeem itself. But the outlook is very bad. It rather looks like that it was correct of me to recommend the abolishment of the Republican party soon after the second impeachment failed. An insurrectionist party with openly anti-constitutional platform has no place in the politicial system, if the political system values integrity and self-preservation. American political system clearly does not.
10
DnD Central / Re: The Awesomesauce of the American 2024 Presidential Elections
I was expecting that you'd mention Biden's attempt to assassinate Trump on the Mar-a-Lago raid. Did you accidentally forget it?

Inflation, destruction of the auto industry, destruction of the energy sector; DEI in the military, schools and corporations...
Inflation is not what a president does. Inflation is pretty much like weather. The Fed and the Wall Street have the closest effect on it. The president does not. Besides, the inflation has been stabilised in USA. It is worse in the EU where there is no Biden.

Your auto industry started having a crisis as soon as you started importing Japanese cars. The worst times were under W. The city of Detroit went bankrupt in 2013. Since then, things have gotten better for the industry. Perhaps you don't like electric cars? Neither do I, except that I don't like cars overall. By the way, the biggest EV maker in USA is Elon Musk, who is part of the Trump cult. He is not complaining that the auto industry is being destroyed.

Destruction of the energy sector? You have been lied to.

DEI in the military, schools and corporations? If it's so bad, why did not Trump do anything to stop it? Maybe because in truth he really doesn't care to govern, as was demonstrated by his first term. He only likes to revel in attention and power, which he thinks must be absolute when he's the president.

The "Migrant Crisis" engineered by the administration...
You mean the migrant crisis engineered by Trump administration? First, he supposedly built a wall against migrants. If not, blame him. If yes, but there is still a real migrant crisis, blame him because his wall does not work.

But in truth there is no real migrant crisis, except for what Trump falsely claims for his campaign purposes. If you believe him, then you are exactly the factless type he targets. He targets the types who have no capacity to look things up. In other words, congrats for having been successfully brainwashed into the personality cult of your party leader.

Will you ever ask yourself why you are consistently wrong about everything? Of course you won't. You don't care about right or wrong. You care about hyperpartisanship for your dictator wannabe.
12
DnD Central / Re: what's going on in france
Macron will stop Ukraine war, Gaza war, and Sudan crisis...
Meanwhile he incited an uprising in one of his own colonies.

The protests were triggered by the French National Assembly’s vote to allow all citizens who have been living in New Caledonia for over 10 years to elect the local legislature. Voting in these elections has until now been reserved for citizens who settled in the archipelago before 1998 — when the French government launched a self-determination process in New Caledonia — or their descendants.

Pro-independence forces argue that broadening the electoral body would further reduce the influence of the indigenous Kanak population, whose share of the population has shrunk since France took control of the territory over 170 years ago. Proponents of the reform see a democratic necessity, underlining that the current rules exclude even certain New Caledonia-born citizens from voting.

The change would require a constitutional amendment, and therefore still needs to be approved by lawmakers from both houses of the French parliament during an ad-hoc session.

The decision to call such a session belongs to one man: Macron.
14
DnD Central / Re: The Awesomesauce of the American 2024 Presidential Elections
Trump attempted a campaign video. Did not go well.

Trump Posts, Then Takes Down, Video Online With Headlines About a ‘Unified Reich’ - The New York Times

I saw the video. Its bold points (all of them):

Quote
What happens after Donald Trump wins?
- The economy blooms
- The border is closed and the largest deportation in history is underway
- No more wars as we focus on home
- Law and order is restored
- The American dream is back and the best is yet to come
Make America Great Again!
These were all in bold and in caps in the video, and also spoken in audio. Normal campaign promises. American voters have no issue with those. The issue that NYT raised was instead that, in the video, which was designed as if newspaper headlines, the blurred newspaper main text (the "fine print") spelled out "the creation of Unified Reich". Trump evidently concurred it does not look good for him, so he took the video down.

And the presidential race continues. Cheers!
15
DnD Central / Re: what's going on in france
Macron will stop Ukraine war, Gaza war, and Sudan crisis for the time of Olympic Games, despite the opinion of the warring parties. And he will take a dip in the river with the mayor of Paris when the games open.

Regardless of what happens on the Seine with the opening ceremony, Macron said he would still swim in the river, which he promised would be clean enough for the Olympics.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has also promised to swim in the Seine, despite sewer problems that have cancelled or delayed pre-Olympic events.

In a month, I will visit Paris and check out the bedbugs situation.
16
The Lounge / Re: Game: Forum Chess
My chess has become so good that I can play higher levels now in the chess game that comes with Pocketbook ereader. The game is mechanistic, i.e. if you play consistently the same moves, the game's response never changes.

I found that up to level 6 it is possible to beat the game in 12 moves as follows:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4 Nf6
4. d3 d5
5. exd5 Nxd5
6. Bg5 Be7
7. Bxe7 Ndxe7
8. Ng5 O-O
9. Qh5 Bf5
10. Bxf7+ Kh8
11. Be6 Bxe6
12. Qxh7#

The fastest sequence to beat level 7 of Pocketbook ereader chess game is probably the following:

1. e4 d5
2. Bb5+ c6
3. Ba4 dxe4
4. Nc3 Nf6
5. d3 exd3
6. cxd3 Bf5
7. Bc2 e5
8. Bg5 h6
9. Bxf6 gxf6
10. Qh5 Bxd3
11. O-O-O e4
12. Nxe4 Qd5
13. Nxf6+ Kd8
14. Rxd3 Qxd3
15. Bxd3 Nd7
16. Qf3 Nxf6
17. Qxf6+ Kc7
18. Qxh8 Re8
19. Nf3 b6
20. Qf6 Re7
21. Re1 Rd7
22. Bf5 Rd5
23. Qxf7+ Kd6
24. Qxf8+ Kc7
25. Qg7+ Rd7
26. Qxd7+ Kb8
27. Re8#

Looking forward to discovering how to beat level 8.
17
Browsers & Technology / Re: The Awesomesauce of Chrome
Webbrowsers have evolved over my head meanwhile, in a very bad way. They have stopped doing simple things, also stopped providing some obvious necessary features, and now mainly provide the wrong "service" to users. Many smart people have written about the phenomenon better, but here is my take from the perspective of a few simple needs and limited understanding.

Webbrowsers used to show webpages. Webpages used to be static text and images. The only glitzy-flashy parts were ad popups and embedded video-audio files. The ad popups were usually popouts. To prevent them, popup blockers were invented. Then ad popups moved into webpages. In fact, there are more popups than just ads that deserve to be blocked - most notoriously the cookie popups bureaucratically demanded by the EU despite all the harm it predictably caused to humanity for zero benefit - so the need for popup blockers is more acute than ever, yet there are no reliable popup blockers any more. The best I have seen out of the box in the area of ad/cookie/consent popup blockers is Brave browser. Something like /etc/hosts approach works to block the content of ads, but not their placeholders, so it is not real popup blocking.

When Opera went Chrome, smarter people had already noticed that the era of webbrowsers, as browsers of webpages, was over and the era of YT/FB apps had arrived. On FB you don't have a page. You have a service where you need to log in. The FB serves you a content feed interface and a chat-with-contacts interface. Both are somewhat customisable and provide notifications with limited reliability. This service would really be better provided by a specialised app - and it is - but in this day and age we have webbrowsers - all webbrowsers - built to serve it. If a webbrowser cannot do FB, the webbrowser is said to be not working. Which is ironic, because without logging in there is nothing to do on FB. A web address that only functions for logged in members should not dictate the webbrowser industry.

YT provides videos. I have never (never intentionally) been logged in to YT, but when logged in, you can subscribe/bookmark and comment and upload and have your "full experience" more or less like with FB. Different from FB, YT also works when not logged in. But the main content is videos - multimedia, not readable text. Again, since YT is not a standard webpage, it is sad to have it dictate the definition of webbrowsers.

So, one feature lost over recent years is popup blocking. Adblocking by means of adprovider addresses works, but it does not block their popups. This problem is superacute when it comes to the cookie popup madness. Webbrowsers still allow an internal setting to block all cookies, but this does not block cookie popups. The EU demands that people must get cookie popups regardless of the choices they make regarding cookies, so everybody gets cookie popups. This is a modern form of torture imposed on people who browse the web as a matter of their profession. Employers aid and abet the torture by preventing employees from using browsers of their choice, extensions of their choice, particularly self-developed extensions. No. All choices are done by the employer, whose sole choice is to limit all choices to MS defaults in compliance with the EU directives.

Another feature on the verge of extinction is the ability to work offline. In non-Chromite webbrowsers the button or menu item is still there, but websites increasingly fail to function when there is no live internet connection. Also when you block Javascript. Javascript used to be a tiny extra enhancement, but some webpages think it is fully legit to show nothing when Javascript is off, even when the actual content has no inherent dependence on it.

Chromites do not think RSS is a thing. To be honest, I never liked RSS as a protocol. I think it should have been designed as something of a content grabber, e.g. look at the webpage, take <h2> element and then all <p> elements until next <h2> element, and present the result to me, instead of a separate protocol with its essentially distinct content which apparently does not need to duplicate or be related to the webpage content in any way. But RSS is there, it is an internet protocol, and despite its inherent independence and unrelatedness it more or less serves webpage content in a specific format, so as such it should be a built-in webbrowser feature.

The same for other internet protocols: FTP, IRC, email, and whatnot. Chromites don't let people know about them, and the industry and legislators think this is perfectly fine. Let Chromites dictate what people know or don't.

I am most disappointed with simple formatting in modern internet. On my computer, on my screen, I should be able to see things the way I want or need, whether black on white or white on black, any colours I choose, any widths or lengths I choose. It is an obvious accessibility thing. But the industry and the legislators think that accessibility means adding zoom buttons to webpages, despite zoom buttons being a prominent eternally present and easily accessible built-in feature in all browsers. And of course making cookie popups and other consent and notification request unavoidable and obnoxious - this is awesome accessibility in the mind of legislators and the industry.

Formatting is most easily fixed with text-based webbrowsers, such as Elinks or W3m, but every now and then they are denied content due to Javascript. Again, an accessibility issue that the industry and legislators should care about. They care in words, but their actions demonstrate the opposite.
18
Otter Browser Forum / Re: Logging in to Github
I'm trying it right now and it seems to be true. Github website says, "We just sent your authentication code via email to..." but my inbox has nothing new in it. Nothing new in Trash or Spam folders either.

The result: Cannot log in.

Is that a scam to get people's phone numbers or is it just a classic case of "everything Microsoft touches turns to $h17?"
Yes and yes.

What can I say? Everybody move over to Gitlab. This is similar to when Freenode was hijacked. An alternative had to be set up and everybody moved there.
20
DnD Central / Re: The Awesomesauce of Globalism
White House has warned Kyiv that continued [Ukrainian] strikes on [Russian] oil and gas infrastructure could harm Joe Biden’s re-election chances
So it's not just Trump promising to end the war in Ukraine by giving up Ukraine. It's also Biden giving up Ukraine because it would improve Biden's domestic situation.



There's this guy called Peter Zeihan whose thesis is that USA has given up on its world police role, turned inward to isolationism, and the rest of the world is on its own now, resulting in, among others, regional bullies extorting their neighbours. I have resented his thesis partly, because to me it seems that USA has always policed the world selectively and suppressed regional bullies selectively, occasionally switching sides. Instead of world police enforcing common rules, USA has been operating as the supreme colonial power to whom other (arguably ex-)colonial powers look up to as a primus inter pares.

So the post-Soviet-collapse World Order, in the Western mentality, has been:
1. USA, the supreme global colonial power
2. Currently lesser (ex-)colonial powers, mainly Old/Western Europe
3. (Re-)Emerging powers, such as India, China or Russia, which are termed "regional bullies" if antagonistic to the above-named elements
4. Smaller countries

The thing to note here is that smaller countries always ever were the last consideration under the Order (as they also are under any disorder). Smaller countries only received constructive attention as long as the (re-)emerging powers were not considered antagonistic to the primary powers of the Order. That is, #4 received the benefits of the Order as long as #1 and #2 thought that #3 were nice enough to have good relations with. In terms of trade and supply lines, the benefits of the Order to #4 may, geography permitting, have flown directly from #1 and #2, but the political will enabling this only flowed through #3.

Now Russia is considered a regional bully, and this disrupts the flow of political will of providing benefits of the Order to all smaller countries neighbouring Russia. That is, the flow of political will from #1 and #2 towards #4, which necessarily goes through #3 according to my thesis, is disrupted insofar as Russia's neighbours are concerned. Such affected neighbours are not only Georgia or Ukraine, which do not belong to EU or Nato, but also the Baltic countries, which belong to EU and Nato. That is, it affects all Russia's neighbours regardless of affiliation with global organisations. The same way as the Baltic countries received the benefits of the Order during peacetime because the Western Europe and USA had high hopes regarding Russia, they are now denied the benefits because Western Europe and USA no longer entertain high hopes regarding Russia.[1]

In other words, global/regional political organisations, which should institute and embody values (in this case the Western or alleged democratic values) and distribute the economic benefits, do not matter. The Order does not work according to the values. It works according to the relations laid out above plus geographic proximity.

Under this paradigm, the current support for Ukraine did not and is not demonstrating anything about Western values for democracy or whatever. Remember that the support first emerged in the Baltic countries and Poland, i.e. countries neighbouring Ukraine and Russia. The support emerged due to "survivalism" or "alarmism" in Russia's shadow, something that the Old/Western Europe resents and wants nothing to do with. The support spread from the East to the West because lack of support for Ukraine would have exposed Western lack of values. But now it's clear that they do not care to be exposed. The West are global #1 and #2 after all and a bit of reputational damage would not change it.

The formula is that Russia looks so bad right now that the West can afford to look a bit bad too. So the World Order aligns itself according to the worst common denominator.

This century, nothing has gone well for USA in terms of foreign policy. The "War on Terror" promising to export democracy to Afghanistan and Iraq failed to export anything constructive at all. Expansion of Nato antagonised Putin, so there are ever louder voices calling for the abolishment of Nato. And when USA's global policing does not go well, USA turns inward. All foreign policy is converted to domestic talking points in hyperpartisan bickering, and if it does not convert, then it does not exist. Currently there is no foreign policy at all in USA, and this makes Zeihan's thesis look right.

Sad to concede it to Zeihan, but with some modifications he is right. Because I know I am.

Corollaries: The West has once again betrayed Ukraine. Ukraine, territorially the largest country in Europe and population-wise among the largest, is ranked #4 according to the paradigm, due to its proximity to Russia which is #3. Under tolerable relations with Russia, both were considered candidates to the Western "system of values", but now under inflamed relations with Russia, the West is making territorial concessions to Putin, resulting in radically diminished country of Ukraine, so that Ukraine becomes more easily treated as #4.

Everybody else in rank #4 must take note: Values, such as territorial integrity or who is guilty of starting the war, do not matter. The thing that matters is your rank.
What benefits are denied? Most painfully, the values such as right to self-determination and territorial integrity, which is clear as day by now with the fate of Ukraine. In a smaller way, this has been evident all along with the West's siding with Russia's point of view in absolutely every single individual bit of geopolitical matters that concern the smaller countries, such as (mostly imagined) ethnic conflicts, citizenship policy, border disputes and membership in international organisations. Denial of values and hypocrisy with "narratives" is glaringly obvious for people from the smaller countries, but Westerners treat it as either irrelevant or not there at all. However, more traceable for everyone is the geoeconomic inequality, denial of equal trade opportunities, manifest in e.g. disparate fees within the EU (more expensive for smaller countries closer to Russia) when using platforms like Amazon or Booking, pushing Russian propaganda content over media services (which Easterners fight against, but Westerners don't, thus Westerners curiously fall overall more victim to it than Easterners), and prices and availability of consumer products.
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DnD Central / Re: Wealth Redistribution -- What, if any, is the justification for it?
The wealthiest man in the world receives an award for being the wealthiest man in the world.

Emmanuel Macron a remis mercredi 13 mars au soir la grand-croix de la Légion d’honneur au PDG du géant français du luxe LVMH, Bernard Arnault. [...] Aux manettes du leader mondial du luxe, M. Arnault est aujourd’hui l’homme le plus riche du monde, avec un patrimoine estimé à 230 milliards de dollars, devant Elon Musk et ses 210 milliards de dollars, selon le classement Forbes. Bernard Arnault qui est entré dernièrement en négociations exclusives avec le groupe Lagardère, passé en novembre 2023 dans le giron de Vincent Bolloré, pour racheter l’hebdomadaire Paris Match.
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DnD Central / Re: What's Your Favorite U.S. Supreme Court decision?
This one, restoring Trump to presidential candidacy in Colorado, may yet take the cake for being the worst SCOTUS decision ever. It's all the more tragic because it was formally unanimous. [1] And some comments were unwarranted, such as the one saying that the court is turning "the national temperature down" on a politically charged issue. How do you turn the temperature down by enabling an insurrectionist?

The ruling is flatly wrong. The constitution, Amendment 14 Section 3, says that insurrectionists do not belong to state office. This is how straightforward it is. How was it possible to mess this up? The court focused on Section 5 which says, in full, "The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article." From this the court decided that the states cannot apply the sections of the amendment on their own. However, in reality the states have much liberty and variety in applying for example Section 1, the citizenship and civil rights section.

Moreover, we are talking about a candidate of the presidential elections. Had SCOTUS members read the constitution about presidential elections, instead of relying on stupid political propaganda, they'd know that such a thing as a candidate of presidential elections is not prescribed to the states by the constitution. Entire USA is widely brainwashed into thinking that the voting population choose the president. This is false. According to the constitution, the states appoint electors and the only requirement for the presidential candidates, insofar as the electors are concerned, is that at least one of them is not from the same state as the electors are. So, essentially, Colorado was in full liberty to remove Trump from candidacy, have a list of candidates as they themselves please, and instruct their electors as they please. If constitution matters, that is. To SCOTUS something else matters.

Now, what did Colorado do when this ruling was handed down to them by SCOTUS? Did they whine like liberals that their rights and liberties are being trampled on? That it is a witch hunt and persecution? No. They put Trump back on the ballot and bowed themselves to the SCOTUS idiocy in the name of formally upholding the rule of law. This is squarely contrasting to Trump's behaviour, who in every indictment against him whines like a liberal that his rights and liberties are being trampled on, that it is a witch hunt and persecution, while himself being an insurrectionist who cares nothing about the rule of law.

Also, SCOTUS deployed some technicalities in taking Trump's absolute immunity argument for consideration in order to delay the documents investigation case. Thus SCOTUS aims to ensure that Trump not only remains on the ballot as an insurrectionist, but also as the thief and distributor of state secrets, an asset of foreign powers.

SCOTUS evidently has decided that USA is ripe for doom and Trump is up for the job. However, according to reasonable projections, Biden will win, if he survives until inauguration. But I'd say that even when Trump loses, it is a very bad mark on USA that the country's highest justices stepped in to prevent justice from happening.
In reality, the assenting comments sounded occasionally close to dissent. There is evidence of actual dissent according to those who have examined the metadata of the document.
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DnD Central / Re: Maps-Maps-Maps! ?
In my experience, the map is quite accurately indicative of several cultural differences. First, when you are a guest for at least half an hour, you invariably get tea/coffee/juice/water suggested  everywhere outside the red area. In dark blue areas, this invariably includes wholesome snacks like sandwiches. In red area, a similar suggestion may (or may not) come up when you are a guest for half a day or so.

"Suggested" is different from "shoved in your face" but it is true that there are cultures where you cannot always refuse. For example when offered vodka in Russia, there is hardly a way out.

Also, in blue areas it seems to me that there is hospitality and liberal sharing when the guest brings nothing of his own. In red areas it is expected, e.g. when there is a party, everyone bring own drinks. In other areas it is more common that the host offers everything—the guest may suggest his own inputs, and depending on the culture/situation these suggestions are either happily accepted or politely declined.

(Edit: In some places in the dark blue area where I have been, it is expected that the guest suggest his own input and enter into an argument about it for a minute or so. It is not about the guest's input, but the guest making the suggestion and going through an argument about it. It is considered impolite to fail to make the suggestion and impolite to drop the argument too quickly. Tricky one, I know.)

And finally, nobody except the red area people are puzzled about what the "context" of this kind of map might be.