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CatBus

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18-Aug-2011
Last activity
21-Jun-2018
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Post
#1205644
Topic
Politics 2: Electric Boogaloo
Time

Well, today’s Avenatti news was he’s started leaking who was receiving payments from Cohen’s shell company. First leak? Demeter Direct Inc. What do they do? That’s not really clear – it’s basically yet another shell company, but the owner is Mark Ko, who says he worked with Cohen on that Korean Aerospace deal, so there’s the link between the inbound and outbound money. But what is it exactly that Mr. Ko does?

Well, that’s not really clear either, just some flowery words about “assisting companies in the United States and Asia in entering or expanding into global markets”. But what is clear is there’s this property he owns on Wilshire (not giving the address because it’s the Internet, but it’s everywhere now so you can find it if you really want) with a really weird sales history. On July 13th, 2016, it sold for $600,000. Later, it sold for $2.4 million. That crazy California real estate market. You sit on a property for only a couple years and someone nets almost 2 million! So… how much time had elapsed between these sales?

Less than 24 hours had elapsed. The two sales for wildly different prices happened on the exact same day. For it to be registered like that it would really have had to have been within less than 8 hours, and probably a lot less than 8. The only question in my mind is if he did this in one sitting or took a bathroom break in between.

So… he’s into flipping real estate then. You know how people dig upgrades. Updated kitchen, bath, …laundry

Post
#1205531
Topic
Religion
Time

ZigZig said:

CatBus said:

How would people describe Hell if they’d never been told anything about it by someone else?

Sure. How would people describe Hogwarts/Middel-Erde/Westeros/Tatooine/whatever if they’d never been told anything about it by someone else?

Well, yes, that’s clear to someone who sees religion as fiction. But presumably there could be another channel for gaining insight if you didn’t see it that way. But in both cases, peoples’ thoughts about what’s possible can be constrained by what they’ve already been exposed to, so it’s no surprise people have similar ideas about Hell, and it doesn’t mean much one way or the other.

Post
#1205511
Topic
Religion
Time

moviefreakedmind said:

chyron8472 said:

The “ask anybody on the street” argument doesn’t really work because people also describe heaven as having pearly gates (when that actually is the Holy City in Revelation), or God being an old man with a long white beard, or to attribute proverbs to the Bible that it doesn’t say (like “money is the root of all evil” or “God helps those who help themselves.”)

That’s true, but the Bible does describe hell as the way people tend to think of it.

People used to describe their real-life encounters with space aliens in wildly different ways. Then, among UFO people, the Hill abduction in 1961 becomes a cause celebre, and the book Communion becomes a popular hit in 1987 and all people report encountering anymore are grays. How would people describe Hell if they’d never been told anything about it by someone else?

Post
#1205510
Topic
Politics 2: Electric Boogaloo
Time

Just in case you didn’t know: whataboutism is a real thing, it just hasn’t been a signature feature of American politics until recently.

This particular brand of changing the subject is called “whataboutism” — a simple rhetorical tactic heavily used by the Soviet Union and, later, Russia. And its use in Russia helps illustrate how it could be such a useful tool now, in America. As Russian political experts told NPR, it’s an attractive tactic for populists in particular, allowing them to be vague but appear straight-talking at the same time.

The idea behind whataboutism is simple: Party A accuses Party B of doing something bad. Party B responds by changing the subject and pointing out one of Party A’s faults — “Yeah? Well what about that bad thing you did?” (Hence the name.)

It’s not exactly a complicated tactic — any grade-schooler can master the “yeah-well-you-suck-too-so-there” defense. But it came to be associated with the USSR because of the Soviet Union’s heavy reliance upon whataboutism throughout the Cold War and afterward, as Russia.

Whataboutism — particularly directed toward the U.S. — was so pervasive in the USSR that it became a joke among Soviets, often in a subversive genre called “Armenian Radio” jokes, explains one Russia analyst.

“Armenian Radio would be asked, ‘How much does a Soviet engineer get paid?’ and they’d be like, ‘I don’t know, but you [in America] lynch Negroes,’” said Vadim Nikitin, a Russia analyst and freelance writer. Eventually, that punchline came to be synonymous with the whole phenomenon of whataboutism, Nikitin said.

Translated from Armenian into English, that punchline is “But her e-mails!”

Post
#1205084
Topic
Harmy's STAR WARS Despecialized Edition HD - V2.7 MKV IS OUT NOW
Time

Not entirely sure, but I think from a CD source (“Music of Star Wars” or some such thing). You can tell it’s not exactly the same source as the film because there’s tracked music in the trash compactor scene that didn’t get used in the film. At least until the THX PAL DVD releases it didn’t… 😕

Still very nice tracks, and quite useful!

Post
#1204973
Topic
Politics 2: Electric Boogaloo
Time

In other news, Avenetti is a showboat and a slippery eel (can’t say I like him one bit), but a smart slippery showboat, I’ll hand him that (and smart beyond simply knowing what makes other showboats tick, which he also does in spades). The numbers he reported on Cohen’s payments from various sources were all wrong, and much lower than the actual values. Some of the American companies stepped in to correct the numbers since the story was already out there anyway (if you think you might be headed to court, it’s a good idea to be on the record stating the truth from the get-go). I’d like to have been the AT&T or Novartis rep who said “This story is incorrect – our bribe was triple the reported value.”

There’s some speculation about why he might have done this. It gave the story some extra legs on the news cycle, a second round with increased numbers. But I think it was more likely spycraft. If you get handed a sensitive leaked document, you do not post an image of that document (bad move, Reality Winner). You carefully paraphrase everything, re-using none of the original text. And unless the numbers are publicly available elsewhere, you change all the numbers too, so long as it doesn’t change the overall thrust of the story. Any verbatim text or even close numbers could potentially point back to the source. And now some of the correct numbers are available to the public, and Avenetti wasn’t the one who put them out there. Smooth.

Post
#1204777
Topic
Politics 2: Electric Boogaloo
Time

moviefreakedmind said:

CatBus said:

I don’t actually see this as much of a realignment. It’s just the endgame of the Southern Strategy, coming to a head. Today’s Red America and Blue America isn’t really all that different than yesterday’s Gray America and Blue America. If White Identity Politics loses for a third time, if they’re no longer popular enough to be at the center of a national coalition, we can certainly hope for a more productive political realignment in the future, along, say, policy lines.

As for anti-reality, there’s a method to the madness: You call President Obama certain bad words, and you get pilloried, but you suggest maybe he has exotic origins that make him unlike the rest of us real Americans, and you get elected. Repeating patently and provably untrue things is often just a smokescreen, a way to assert group membership without betraying anything more malignant than stupidity. Trump made liberals laugh by denying reality, but he made white supremacists vote – and that was the goal.

I agree with that. Though, don’t underestimate the fact that he lost the popular vote by a lot. He’s not representing the majority of this country or even the majority of voters in this country.

You always have to be the optimist, don’t you? 😉

Post
#1204731
Topic
Politics 2: Electric Boogaloo
Time

I don’t actually see this as much of a realignment. It’s just the endgame of the Southern Strategy, coming to a head. Today’s Red America and Blue America isn’t really all that different than yesterday’s Gray America and Blue America. If White Identity Politics loses for a third time, if they’re no longer popular enough to be at the center of a national coalition, we can certainly hope for a more productive political realignment in the future, along, say, policy lines.

As for anti-reality, there’s a method to the madness: You call President Obama certain bad words, and you get pilloried, but you suggest maybe he has exotic origins that make him unlike the rest of us real Americans, and you get elected. Repeating patently and provably untrue things is often just a smokescreen, a way to assert group membership without betraying anything more malignant than stupidity. Trump made liberals laugh by denying reality, but he made white supremacists vote – and that was the goal.

Post
#1204481
Topic
Politics 2: Electric Boogaloo
Time

Mrebo said:

Do you have a link? What I see was that the payments occurred before the Russian(Vekselberg) was put on the sanctions list. And the Russian link, is that a NY company, whose biggest client is a company controlled by Vekselberg, gave money. There may be dots to connect, but at least on those facts there doesn’t appear to be a sanctions violation.

Possible bank fraud, campaign finance violations, and especially any evidence that the campaign knowingly took money from Moscow…would be serious as you say.

Looks like either I misread or the sources have been updated. You can never tell these days. So yes, he was under sanctions, but it doesn’t seem that the payment we’re talking about was while he was under sanctions. Meanwhile further digging appears to reveal Cohen’s shell company was getting large cash payments from whomever Trump was meeting with that week. i.e. Trump meets with Novartis’ CEO. At the same time, Novartis pays $400,000 to a shell company with no staff or resources of any sort, run by Cohen. Maybe coincidence. Also coincidence with Korea Aerospace Industries, up for a multibillion dollar military contract. AT&T’s in there too, but frankly they bribe everyone contribute to both parties. But how should one classify political contributions that don’t go to a PAC or campaign, but to the shell company of a personal lawyer? Hmm, campaign finance laws are tricky. EDIT: Wait, it’s “consulting” – that may actually be a big enough loophole to hide behind most of the time, wonder if it’ll work this time?

Also:

Adam Schiff just said that members of the House Intelligence Committee were interested in Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, but committee leadership wouldn’t allow anybody to look into him.

Post
#1204348
Topic
Politics 2: Electric Boogaloo
Time

Cohen appears to be in serious trouble. The headlines seem to be blaring “Russian Oligarch Paid Cohen Half a Million Dollars”, which makes good copy but doesn’t really quite get there. He’s in way more doodoo than that. The Russian Oligarch in question was under US sanctions at the time of the payment, and Cohen appears to have misled the bank. And this single payment was just one of about 4.5 million dollars of suspicious transactions on this particular account. And this all happened while Trump was President and Cohen was acting as his personal attorney. He is likely open to federal and state-level charges on these matters (California).

No wonder the National Enquirer has gone all anti-Cohen. If he has a single functioning brain cell, he’s flipped already.

Post
#1203897
Topic
Religion
Time

moviefreakedmind said:

TV’s Frink said:

Dek Rollins said:

darthrush said:

Dek Rollins said:

TV’s Frink said:

Trident said:

TV’s Frink said:

Hmmm…you believe different than I do? Ok, you’re going to be tortured forever after you die.

Oh, and that other guy who led a terrible life, raped, robbed, murdered, kicked puppies and pushed down old ladies, but accepted Jesus as his savior right at the end? He’s a better person than you are.

Nah, doesn’t seem like a shitty belief system at all.

A guy who accepts getting saved at the end isn’t gonna fool God if he’s not sincere. And if he’s sincere? Why wouldn’t that matter?

I mean how would such a guy have heard of Jesus anyway if not for someone else taking time to point it out to him. Someone who noticed he was on a destructive path and took a lot of effort to help him onto a better one?

I don’t know why you’d be against the idea that even a horrible person could find a way to redeem themselves. I mean can criminals be rehabilitated or not? Should we lock people up forever on a 1st offense? Or should we give them other chances?

A rapist and murderer who legitimately gives his life to Christ is less of a sinner than me.

I’d just like to say that this is not really how it works. The rapist/murderer is not less of a sinner than you. He did not sin less than you just because that sin is forgiven. But, he will be saved rather than you, because he gave complete recognition to the person who bought him the choice to ask for forgiveness.

And it’s still just as repulsive of an idea.

If you say so.

I do too. It’s completely fucked up, and if God exists and is omnipotent, I don’t think he would judge someone based on their devotion to him, which he has no need for, being a perfect being. It’s lunacy.

I suppose I better just move on with my repulsive and shitty life, though maybe I could better my reputation by murdering a few unborn children with no medical issues.

Well I guess you get credit for throwing medical issues in there.

Too bad for women that were raped though I guess. Or for women with medical issues.

Or what about the couple whose condom broke and they simply cannot afford or simply don’t want to have a kid? (I’m guessing plan B counts as murder.)

Yeah, but who broke the condom…

…with his noodly appendage. Er, wait, no. Too hentai.

Post
#1203794
Topic
Politics 2: Electric Boogaloo
Time

moviefreakedmind said:

CatBus said:

Progressive is in many ways just the new label for what used to be called liberal before, say, the Clinton administration. The liberal label over time evolved (at least in some circles) to apply only to the more suburban white well-to-do part of the Democratic base – not particularly union-friendly, not particularly concerned about the social safety net, interested in looking environmentally-conscious without having to change their lifestyle, and so sad about racial injustice that they hope very fervently that somebody else will finally do something about it before they have to sit through another depressing movie about it.

Progressive identity arose the way lots of identities do – simply as a means of saying “I’m not one of them!

Yeah, I think of progressivism in a Lyndon Johnson “Great Society” way. We haven’t had a truly liberal president since Carter.

IMO we haven’t had a truly liberal President since Nixon, but different strokes.

Post
#1203675
Topic
Politics 2: Electric Boogaloo
Time

Progressive is in many ways just the new label for what used to be called liberal before, say, the Clinton administration. The liberal label over time evolved (at least in some circles) to apply only to the more suburban white well-to-do part of the Democratic base – not particularly union-friendly, not particularly concerned about the social safety net, interested in looking environmentally-conscious without having to change their lifestyle, and so sad about racial injustice that they hope very fervently that somebody else will finally do something about it before they have to sit through another depressing movie about it.

Progressive identity arose the way lots of identities do – simply as a means of saying “I’m not one of them!

Post
#1203289
Topic
Politics 2: Electric Boogaloo
Time

moviefreakedmind said:

Mrebo said:

CatBus said:

Mrebo said:

CatBus said:

Mrebo said:

Curious what people would think if Ryan did away with the chaplain position because he’s sick and tired of Catholics.

Most of the right things in history have been done for the wrong reasons. If you’re waiting for nobility, you’re in for a long wait, especially with this crowd.

It’s my view that merely having a bad reason for an otherwise allowed official act isn’t enough to render it void. If we were waiting for nobility, nothing would ever be done in this country.

Sometimes intent figures into legality, in which case it could be enough to at least legally void an action. But bad/stupid reasons don’t 100% overlap with illegal reasons. Hating Catholics would be an illegal reason, so in your example, the action would not be legal. Motivated by hate of the individual would be legal, or even hate of his haircut, but motivated by hate of the protected class is not. Hard to prove that in court, though, unless he was dumb enough to talk openly about it.

Intent does figure into legality but thusfar has remained subsidiary to the act itself. There are those who would like to see intent used to invalidate actions that are otherwise legal.

This is an issue raised in the case of the baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. Justice Kennedy - who is on the side of thinking intent extremely important - suggested there may be “a significant aspect of hostility to a religion in this case” based in part on a statement by a state official.

The idea that courts can decide whether a law is legal or not based essentially on perceived motivations is dangerous and impractical.

What’s so scary about it? Shooting someone because you hate the way they look is a different scenario than shooting someone because the spirit animal of Jodie Foster told you to do it in a dream. Refusing to serve someone because they’re black (or gay) is different than refusing to serve someone because they once wronged you personally somehow.

There’s kind of a libertarian opposition to hate crimes legislation that goes like this: “burn a church and it’s arson, but burn a church thinking certain thoughts and it’s a hate crime, ergo hate crime laws are gateways to thoughtcrime!”.

I think the problem with that analysis is that it doesn’t think about the effect of generalized intimidation. Prosecuting criminal intimidation as an individual charge typically requires a specific target, but hate crimes are designed to intimidate a broad group indiscriminately. There’s an implied “…and you could be next, because you are in a certain group” in a hate crime, and that is often the explicit intent of the criminal. Which is why it’s treated differently under the law. It really is a different type of crime with a worse impact on society, worthier of harsher sentences.

Post
#1203214
Topic
Politics 2: Electric Boogaloo
Time

Mrebo said:

The idea that courts can decide whether a law is legal or not based essentially on perceived motivations is dangerous and impractical.

Motives are taken into account all the time by courts for all sorts of reasons – criminal, civil, administrative, sanctions. Sometimes they get it wrong, I’m sure, but in cases like this, I’d say the evidence of illegal motivation has to be so ironclad that I’m not terribly concerned. I’m sure if the courts feel there’s any doubt at all about motivation, if there’s any sense at all that they’re dealing with perceived motivation rather than actual motivation, they would let the law stand. It would have to be the once-a-century unicorn case where some buffoon left around ample documentary evidence of illegal motivation for the courts to intervene.